Shaw Academy (ShawAcademy.com)
Online education platform
Is Shaw Academy Fake or Real?
Why is Shaw Academy Borderline Fake?
Shaw Academy is an online learning platform that offers various courses for subjects such as Digital Marketing, Nutrition, Beauty and more. The website claims that more than 12 million students have graduated from Shaw Academy.
Their marketing hook is to offer a free trial to users for trying out the platform before deciding whether to sign up. The catch with the free trial is that it is mandatory to enter card details for availing it.
A domain name lookup of the website shows that it was registered on 8th November 2013. Traffic data shows that the website has been active since around that time, but picked up in traffic only around October 2016.
Shaw Academy offers 4-month long certification courses for various subjects. On the home page, they are trying to position their courses as an alternative to attending university. However, it should be noted that unlike a university degree, Shaw Academy’s certifications are not accredited. This means that they don’t hold nearly as much value if any at all. Though Shaw Academy calls its students as ‘graduates’, a certification from Shaw Academy does not count as graduation in the traditional sense. Therefore, this seems to be a dubious marketing tactic.
The organization itself is no doubt legitimate as the company leaders are established public figures. The company has also received funding of nearly USD 8 Mn a few years back. It also has a robust social media presence across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Surprisingly, Shaw Academy’s website does not provide any contact details for any of the company’s locations.
Shaw Academy’s user reviews are the biggest matter of concern in the context of this review. There is a heavy negative sentiment about Shaw Academy wherever reviews are present, be it on TrustPilot, Scamadviser, Web of Trust, Quora, YouTube or BBB‘s website. TrustPilot even has a long warning message which states that Shaw Academy has been found to be manipulating its score and misleading consumers. Despite the alleged manipulation, Shaw Academy has a considerably high 20% negative rating consisting of 1 & 2-star reviews.
The complaints are the same across all the channels. Users are furious that they are being charged monthly for Shaw Academy’s courses despite having cancelled before the free trial period ended. They claim that Shaw Academy’s representatives refuse to give them refunds for the charges and customer service is generally unresponsive. There are also a few Facebook groups with hundreds of members formed by people who claim to have been scammed by Shaw Academy.
It seems from the information gathered that Shaw Academy is bordering on being a scam. Their marketing tactics are undeniably shady and misleading. Sharing your card details with them is a risky proposition, as they have several ‘one-click purchases’ on their website that can lead to an immediate charge on your card.
Numerous users have stated that their cards were charged without their permission as they had cancelled the subscription before the trial’s expiry period. Shaw Academy’s customer service has apparently given many users a hard time with the cancellation and has refused refunds for charges made on their cards.
Shaw Academy is also trying to imply that enrolling in their courses is equivalent to attending university, even though their certifications are not accredited and do not hold the same value as university degrees.
The website also does not provide any contact information, making it difficult for users to resolve their queries. TrustPilot has put up a public statement that Shaw Academy has been found to be indulging in misleading practices by artificially manipulating its ratings.
These facts reflect poorly on Shaw Academy and even though it is a legitimate organization, it’s trustworthiness is questionable. While no organization is without its share of criticism, the high prevalence of negative reviews across various channels cannot be dismissed as ‘normal’.
It is advisable to not share your personal card information with Shaw Academy, as there is a chance it may be misused. If you are inclined to try out the platform, it might be wise to use a ‘burner card’ such as a prepaid gift card. There are several other platforms available for online education with better reputations that could be worth considering too.
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are presented as an educated opinion based on facts and evidence. There is no malicious intent or attempt to defame any individual/s or organization/s. If you are a website owner and would like to provide clarifications regarding your business and/or website, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org