Update by user Sep 15, 2016
To my astonishment, and without any notification or communication, eTeacher sent me a full refund of the outstanding balance this morning. It has taken a while but we got there in the end.
I did make a complete nuisance of myself of course. They do have fine teachers although their Biblical Hebrew courses are badly in need of a major overhaul. Outstanding scholars just as Fiona Blumfield, Richard Jude Thompson, Sigal Zohar, Netanel Barak, Roberto Cole-Atkinson and Scott Booth can hold their heads up in any company. Shlomit Ben, whilst not a Biblical scholar, is a wonderful teacher.
There are undoubtedly some other teachers who are very accomplished who I have not come across. Unfortunately there are also some teachers who are not in the same category and who, quite frankly, should not be allowed anywhere near a class. There is no effective supervision and once a teacher is off the leash he or she is left to treat students disgracefully without any redress. At least my issues are now resolved.
Much of my time with eTeacher has been of enormous benefit.
I decided to study with them after 40 years away from the academic world to improve my knowledge of Jewish scholarship and because of some fantastic teachers I have achieved just that. Despite this very bad experience I will always be grateful to them for opening my eyes to the Mishna, both Talmuds and the Targums and to Fiona in particular for pointing me in the direction of some outstanding Jewish Biblical scholars.
Update by user Aug 24, 2016
The issue is not resolved. eTeacher have blocked my access to my account and refuse to communicate with me.
The matter will only be resolved when I travel to Israel and sue them which I will do - I have seven years and I will travel to Israel well before that.
The administration is totally unscrupulous and I am not the only customer they have stolen money from. I will get it back from them through the Israeli Courts and will send press releases to the Israeli media when I sue them.
Update by user Jul 26, 2016
Just received an abusive phone call from William. They don't have to pay me for a number of convoluted reasons - none of which address the fraudulent manner which they used to sell me the Biblical Hebrew C Course in May 2015.
"Stop what you're doing" he shouted.
Exactly what it is I'm supposed to be doing except for asking for my money back and exposing the failings caused by some very poor teaching I have no idea as he would not specify - except that it seems to concern Joab Eichenberg-Eilon my Aramaic adversary. Whatever you do, if you are foolhardy enough to pay for a course with eTeacher do not allow yourself to be placed in a class with Joab Eichenberg-Eilon. You will regret it.
Update by user Jul 26, 2016
As soon as I altered my contact information back it was immediately altered once again to a non existent email address. I have, of course, taken more screen shots including the time and date.
I wonder how often this will be done today? The new image is of my post on the subject to the eTeacher Biblical Languages Forum.
Under no circumstances deal with this company!!!!! Some of the teachers are fantastic but eTeacher sucks big time.
Update by user Jul 26, 2016
The saga continues. I managed to access my eTeacher account this morning - and lo and behold my contact information had been altered once again.
I have screen shots with the time and date although I have not uploaded them here as the fake email address they added and would be unreachable is similar to my real one. My account name was also altered to @blocked As this information would only be of interest to employees of eTeacher who were trying to contact me in order to resolve this dispute, what possible reason could there be for altering my contact details yet again?
Somebody clearly does not want me to be contacted. I wonder why not.
Update by user Jul 25, 2016
When viewing the video it is best to click through to Youtube in order to see the explanation which is available there. It shows my careless Aramaic "friend" giving a wrong lesson to a class of students and laughing about it with a class of his "favourite" students.
Original review posted by user Jul 25, 2016
I first found this company in 2012 and signed up for two courses Biblical Hebrew A and Aramaic. I had read theology 40 years previously and wanted to revise Biblical Hebrew. BHA was a dream with a wonderful Israeli teacher. Aramaic less so with a very strange man who used to yawn loudly when you were attempting to read Aramaic verses, on two separate occasions I was left for an hour at the beginning of a lesson staring at a blank screen because he had a "deadline to meet" and because of his short temper I was often terrified of opening my mouth in case he snapped my head off but I struggled through it until I discovered that he was inviting all and sundry to come to my class and use it for their own purposes as an Open Class. At that point I switched to a class with another teacher who was superb and had outstanding academic qualifications - just what I was looking for. I bought Biblical Hebrew B asking specifically to continue learning with him and they assured me that I could. Then the fun started - no class with my chosen teacher. As it was only the B Course I decided to go with another teacher who was outstanding. I had to end the course early and they held my last few lessons open for me. I then ended up for my last few lessons with my old Aramaic adversary and it seemed to go surprisingly well. For the last few classes I was the only student who attended and he seemed very enthusiastic and the classes were excellent. At the end of the final class he asked me to keep in touch which I did and despite my earlier bad experience with him I decided to opt to continue with him as he was a native Israeli and an ordained Rabbi. Who better to study Biblical Hebrew with? That was my first mistake.
I was called by the sales team - if you sign up immediately you can continue with your current teacher they said. I fell for it again. No teacher - in fact he was not assigned to a Biblical Hebrew C course for another 8 months. I refused to learn with anybody else but when the class was finally scheduled there were so many students assigned to it that I decided to opt for private lessons instead - at a huge hike in fees of course. I emailed him to tell him my intentions and he did not reply - which he often didn't to emails - so two weeks later I went ahead and booked the lessons asking specifically for him and paying out a further £992.00 which was added to my initial payment of £699.00 making a total payment of £1691.00 (that is of course sterling and not dollars). I was in regular communication with him at the time through email and on Facebook and he was always very friendly. Then as soon as I had paid my money the communication shuddered to a halt. Two weeks later I received a call from eTeacher "this teacher cannot take your class as he's too busy". Which was news to me as he was advertising quite openly online for private students claiming to have over 10 hours a week of tuition time available.
Over the course of the next few weeks I sent him a handful of pretty stiff emails telling him exactly how I felt and how hurt I was - not simply because he did not want to take the class but because he had waited until I had spent so much money before getting someone else to call me and tell me he would not take it. My emails were ignored. There was, of course, no chance of getting any money back from eTeacher so I looked at the CVs of all the teachers and found one who seemed ideal - a Jewish lady from London who lived in Jerusalem and had outstanding academic qualifications. The few lessons I had with her were fantastic.
Then my former "friend" appeared on the scene again. He was assigned to take the only Open Class that I was able to attend which had previously been run by a very nice man. As an olive branch I sent him as email about some research I was doing and thought might be appropriate for discussion in the Open Class. He ignored me. I then sent him a follow up email which made it abundantly clear what I thought about his behaviour. He complained to eTeacher and I was banned from the class. Bans and lifting of bans continued for a couple of weeks during which time I sent him one or two very pertinent emails. Eteacher then decided to kick me off the site altogether and cancel my lessons with my wonderful Jerusalem lady - accusing me not just of sending Mr Aramaic outspoken emails but of disrupting his Open Classes - which was a total fabrication as I was careful not to say a word during the classes which could easily be verified if anyone had bothered to look at the recordings. They didn't. At least under the circumstances, or so I thought, I was entitled to a full refund. According to their terms and conditions if they cancel a course students will be reimbursed all the money that they have paid. Not so. The initial £699.00 that I paid to them they are refusing to refund as they say it was for a class that was "active in January 2016". As I paid for my private lessons on 20 November 2015 what does a class "active in January" have to do with anything? When I paid them in November, they agreed that they would take into account my previous payment for Biblical Hebrew C which was made in May 2015 and which would go towards my private lessons and in effect they created a new contract. There was no active class - and certainly not in January two months after I had started payments for my private lessons!!!!
Since then they have gone to extraordinary lengths to ignore me - even deleting enquiries that I have sent them about the balance of the refund that I am entitled to. I have received a full refund for the November payment but nothing at all for the one I made in May. They have changed my password to try and prevent me from accessing the site which has evidence of all my communications with them (except for the ones they have deleted), courses taken and payments made. As I'm computer savvy I have managed to find a back door whereby I can access my account. Somebody at eTeacher has changed my contact information on their site on two separate occasions so that the contact information for my email address and telephone numbers has read in the first instance as a series of 0s and in the second instance "notvalid" (screen shot attached) which was how I found my student contact page this afternoon immediately after I had sent them a complaint asking them yet again to refund the money they still owe me. This has meant that anyone in the organisation attempting to contact me would be unable to do so. In any other organisation such as abuse of a client's contact information would be a very serious offence which would lead to the termination of an employee's contract.
Everything about eTeacher is not negative. Most of my time with them has been very productive and the teacher Fiona Blumfield with whom I was taking my private lessons is, in my view, one of the world's leading Biblical Hebrew scholars. However other teachers, such as my Aramaic "friend", are not so well qualified and seem to be able to behave in ways which are totally inappropriate towards students without any effective supervision or censure and some - not all - of the sales/customer care staff feel free to act in the same irresponsible manner. They have no idea how to placate a good customer who has been very badly treated by one of their own teachers and by members of their own administrative team. They need to put their house in order with immediate effect and act in a professional manner and in the best interests of their paying customers.
Product or Service Mentioned: Eteacher Group Hebrew Course.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $917.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
I liked: Well qualified teachers.
I didn't like: Incompetent teachers, Irresponsible administrative staff, Customer service.