Buying a Job With Haverhill Home Staging? Questionable.

index_10Do-it-yourself home renovation projects are still all the rage, years after shows like TLC’s Trading Spaces became popular. No doubt the economy has also influenced people to try to increase the value of their real estate for little or no cost. People are decorating and selling their homes themselves. And they’re having fun doing it.

And there’s always an opportunist waiting in the wings to make a buck on the latest craze. In steps Haverhill Home Staging. Buy our correspondence course. Pass the test. And we’ll guarantee you a job paying $24 to $31. Does it sound too good to be true? It just might be.

On its face, the concept doesn’t sound shady. “Home staging” is a big part of the process of selling or renting a residence, and plenty of people hire professionals to help them with their presentation. Haverhill says it’s “North America’s largest and fastest growing Home Staging Company.” Impressive? Maybe. True? Who really knows. Helpful in peddling its correspondence course? Likely.

Haverhill Home Staging advertises on cable television, particularly during home remodeling shows like Designed to Sell and The Stagers, both on HGTV. The commercials say the company is in need of stagers across the United States to provide services. And oh by the way…. successful completion of their $997 “course” in home staging will guarantee you a job with them.

Here’s how it works: Pay Haverhill nearly $1,000 for a correspondence course (yes, it’s self-study all the way). Take a test. They’ll guarantee you a full-time or part-time job which their website says pays $24 to $31. That’s probably a lot more than many of your friends are making at their jobs. What’s not to love about this?

Here’s one of their commercials for “Haverhill Institute of Staging.” The graphics say “GUARANTEED EMPLOYMENT. OR YOUR MONEY BACK.” But notice the clever language as spoken in the commercial: You’ll “qualify” for full or part-time employment. So are “graduates” guaranteed employment? Or are they guaranteed to qualify for employment? I’m skeptical.

In this day and age of scams, schemes, and frauds, it’s important to ask yourself about this “guarantee.” How many guarantees have we seen recently that really offer little substance? I’m not saying this is true of Haverhill, but the savvy consumer ought to wonder.

The first question you should ask is why Haverhill is spending so much money buying advertising on cable television. This sounds like a fantastic deal for the “student.” If it’s really all it’s cracked up to be, why aren’t people beating down their door begging to buy the course and get a “guaranteed” job? Why must they spend tens of thousands of dollars on these advertisements?

Who is behind Haverhill? The man behind the company is Darren Morgenstern, a man who was pursued by the FTC in 2001 for allegedly perpetrating a domain name scam. (Note to Haverhill lawyers: The FTC called it a scam in the page I linked to. If you don’t like it, complain to them, not to me.) Morgenstern’s company went by the names National Domain Name Registry, Electronic Domain Name Monitoring, or Corporate Domain Name Monitoring, according to the FTC. The FTC says he got at least 27,000 consumers to pay him fees to obtain domain names that he fraudulently represented to them were being sought by competitors. He essentially “warned” them that a non-existent competitor wanted a domain name similar to theirs, so they should pony up money to him and get the domain name for themselves.

Morgenstern settled these charges in 2002, and the companies accused by the FTC paid $375,000 to compensate alleged victims. He also agreed to be barred from making false or mileading statements in the sale of goods or services related to domain names, email, or webhosting services. He’s even barred from using unsolicited marketing faxes. With this type of settlement, Morgenstern didn’t ADMIT to doing anything wrong.

The guy’s also got an interesting past related to a website he started for people who want to cheat on their spouses. Read up on that and judge for yourself.

What’s happening to the “students” who participate in the Haverhill Home Staging course? Who’s getting a sustainable job with Haverhill? Morgenstern apparently says that 20 people have gotten full-or part-time jobs with Haverhill. And he says that another 100 will be getting jobs with Haverhill soon. Does that sound impressive? I’d love to know how many people have “passed” the correspondence course. That’s the only way to evaluate their guarantee.

Students of Haverhill are talking. Some praise the company.

Others, not so much. One student had this to say on a message board: “Soon I became one of those people who were deceived with the false promises and paid Haverhill $1047 for the vague opportunity to be employed. I enrolled in this “course” in April and worked hard on all those 6 impossible to complete assignments and submitted them on time. I asked to meet Kimberly Uksik, instructor I was assigned to, and handed in all the projects directly.  She didn’t even mention about any changes to curriculum or possible delays. It was DIY part. No assistance whatsoever though I was reassured that Haverhill will provide real customers for assignments. Instead I received 15 Haverhill door hangers to distribute and got one respond 2 weeks later. The happy customers e-mailed to instructor, Thank you letter full of sincerely nice words on my behalf. Waiting. Nothing in return, no training, The manual was  a simple compilation of common knowledge statements which can be found for free on any HGTV related site.

This student reported difficulty in even getting through the class. How can you get the “guaranteed” job if you can’t even get through the course?

Another student on the same message board had this to say: “During the discussion portion someone asked Kimberly “How many stagers have your hired to date”, the answer was “4”, only 4, there were 114 people in this tele class.  I had to pick up my jaw off the desk, only 4 to date, how long has this school been operating for.  That’s when a light bulb went on, for me and I think a few others in the tele class, is this a scam, do they make every precaution to not evaluate anyone at 80% or above.”

If you can’t complete the course with a grade of 80% or better, you’re not “eligible” for the “guaranteed” employment.

Another complainer: “I am here to hopefully prevent anyone else from losing their money and time by signing up for this course. I registered for the course June/08, I have been in the home renovations and design business for over 10 yrs. My husband and I own a painting and renovations business. I have many connections in this field. I completed all the assignments on time for real clients who loved my work and have since referred me for more re-designing work. I have been through college and received my R.N.A with a grade point average of 4.9 on the Dean’s List. Never have I received a grade under 80%. I totally wasn’t worried. My grade was 51% out of 70% on the assignments and I received little indication as to the grading system or why I received that grade. The test, I studied 4 hours prior to writing and it is open book. I was timed out the first time, ran out of time at question 50 the second time and was later informed they added 5 more questions, so I wrote again and completed the test with flying colors so I thought only to receive a grade of 22% out of 30% and got a comment of “well done”. My final grade was 73%  leaving me just shy of being eligible for employment.”

A Haverhill instructor responded to one complainer with a lengthy post, which included criticisms of the student’s work and this: “Naturally, our course is going to be challenging. We make it very clear that there is minimum eligibility requirements to being hired. And why shouldn’t there be high standards? Nobody ever built a company on the efforts or integrity of people that want to fake their way into a job.”

Haverhill apparently takes the of complainers seriously. Not in remedying the problems. But in threatening those who make the complaints publicly. One of the complainers wrote: “Thank you Barb. I’ve just received a warning from Haverhill for speaking that truth which can be harmful to their reputation. The fact that I was easily identified speaks for itself. Now they will see me behind every posting. What else can I say? Does anyone want to share their experience? Haverhill threatens me with legal actions this is really nice. Below is the original text.”

Correpsonce from Kimberly Uksick at Haverhill allegedly stated: “Please consider this as further notice that we reserve all rights and recourses against you for all remarks posted by you on various message boards and may seek damages against you.”

There is more interesting discussion of the company found here. And another string of complaints is found on this page.

Where does that leave the consumer? It’s just good business to be skeptical about offerings like these and guarantees which may appear to be too good to be true.

My book Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide offers a checklist for anyone considering an investment. And I think $1,000 for a self-study course in home staging is quite an investment for many people, so they owe it to themselves to ask some of the questions suggested in the book:

  • What do objective third parties have to say about the company and its business? Are those things in line with what you are being told? Or are third parties suspiciously quiet about the company and its offerings?
  • Is the company guaranteeing rates of return on investments with them?
  • Can their promises be verified in any way?
  • Are certain parts of the business unusually secret? Is there a general reluctance to disclose key facts?
  • What is the background and experience of the principals? Do they have industry expertise?
  • Have any of the principals been involved in scandals or bankruptcies? Do they have criminal records? Have they been accused of running any scams?

Trust your instincts. Don’t fork over money without a thorough investigation of what you’re putting money into. Be very cautious and conservative with your money. And be very careful about falling for guarantees which are questionable.

In this case, it looks like a consumer is “buying a job” with Haverhill because the $997 course is a requirement before getting the job. If you even get a job with them.


  1. Local Realtor

    Thank you for publishing this. I recently received an email from a Haverhill Grad looking for work. After looking at her website it was obvious that most of what they had taught her was to “clean” the space. I felt bad for her that the before and after photos she had to show probably came from her own home and showed “Before” a messy bed, a pile of laundry and “After” the bed made and the laundry gone. The poor students are not being given anything for their money.

  2. Lisa Bond

    OKAY – I JUST HAVE TO SAY THIS – I AM a graduate of Haverhill and I can say that this course is a very comprehensive course, it is self=paced – you have 6 months to complete the course. During that time, you have several assignments that students are given that relate to topic items that relate to everything that is involved in the staging process. You are then required to submit those photos for grading to an assigned instructor. Your assignments are then your first portfolio and are graded on a scale of 1 to 10. You are then asked to complete a 2 and 1/2 hour test that consists of essay questions, true and false questions and multiple choice answers AND FILL IN THE BLANK. You are graded on proper grammer, professional presentation (all ncessary in your profession) as well as design knowledge about things such as scale, balance, proportion, emphasis (focal points), as part of the principle of design. You learn about color, symmetry, room elements, how to use a space planner for a furniture redesign or layout, various types of furniture styles, accesssories – textures, creating rythm in a room, elements of lighting – direct, semi direct, diffused, task, accent lighting, different types of flooring, decorating styles. The training course then goes into depth about all of these topics and also includes ROOM STYLES= formal/informal, traditional, contemporary, eclectic, etc. How to decorate with color to acheive the purpose.

    The test is open book but it comes from 3 books that include, the main course material, a definition and glossary book and a book that includes secrets of the trade. There is absolutely no way, anyone could memorize or even be appropriately prepared to pass a test with just 4 hours of studying. i STUDIED FOR 2 WEEKS. I passed my exam and the instructor graded my projects appropriately and fairly, with exceptional critiquing, SO I COULD LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. I learned everything I know about staging from that course. The people who have made complaints obviously did not meet company standards – I mean is someone supposed to hire you because you passed a course with mediocre results and test scores. You have to pass with a minimum of 80%. Perhpas that just dont have the talent to be a stager. To the realtor who saw those photos – they are one student’s photos, who probably has not mastered staging – you are given the option to use your own home if other homes are not available to you. Some of us put more time and energy into our work and reaped the benefits.

    I HAVE LEARNED EVERYTHING I KNOW FROM HAVERHILL- STARTED MY OWN COMPANY AND MAKE MUCH MORE THAN WHAT THE COMPANY OFFERS. I am licensed, insured and belong to several professional associations. I have even trademarked my company name. \

    As for the author of the artilce – I am not sure where you got your information – but, as with all of the training courses – you have to pay money to take the course, just like college, etc.???? some of them are extremely costly and you then have to start your own business – not sure what you are exactly trying to say – but 997 is a very relatively low investment to start your own company or learn a trade – in fact, it is a BARGAIN – Go check out some of the other home staging courses – the others make money off of coaching people, extended books, now they even teach realtors how to stage – IF MY REALTOR SPENT TIME DOING THE NITTY GRITTY PART OF THE STAGING LIKE CLEANING, DOING EVALUATION REPORTS OVERSEEING REPAIRS- OR PACKING UP ITEMS FOR STORAGE, I WOULD LAUGH, = WHAT ARE THEY THE JACK OF ALL TRADES? WHY ARENT THEY MARKETING MY HOME AND GETTING BUYERS INTO THE HOME.

    TELL THE PEOPLE THAT COMPLAINED – It is like any other hiring company for a graduate, if your grades are less than stellar – they do not have to hire you – and if you are in another profession, MAYBE YOU JUST ARE NOT CUT OUT FOR HOME STAGING – TO THOSE OF US WHO TOOK THE COURSE, PASSED AND STARTED OUR OWN COMPANIES AND ARE SUCCESSFUL – THERE ARE MANY MORE OF US – TAKE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR YOUR OWN FAILURE.

    1. Debra j

      I also pass my HarverHill exam. I did have a hard time but i received my staging certification. Now i am in the process of setting up my own business. I just hate they went out of business. And i could not get my couse work back. Let me know lisa if you have start to change home or redesign it would be nice to here form you.

  3. Andrea

    i just wanted to say I took the course, I worked really hard and was hired by Haverhill. They pay me exactly as they said they would and I have many clients that rave about my work and Love haverhill products.
    It’s normal for people who don’t know to speculate but I’m here to say i love Haverhill and it’s the best, most rewarding job I’ve ever had! At the end of the day I’m energized instead of exhausted and can’t wait to move on to the next project!
    If you are willing to do the work required it pays off!

  4. Andrea

    If you think staging is only about cleaning house you don’t really understand staging. I learned way more than cleaning with Haverhill!
    All the houses I stage are advertised on HGTV and my clients love that added bonus to their staging.
    Recently I staged a house that sold to the first people that viewed it after staging and they paid full list price. Needless to say the homeowners and the agent were thrilled!
    Not all who dream of working for Haverhill make it and I’m sure that is disappointing but for those of us who were lucky enough to be chosen, we are extremely happy!

  5. Karen Newton Farrow

    Haverhill has scammed more than one person. I took the course and didn’t learn anything from them that I didn’t already know. In fact, I think that the students are teaching them, we were the only ones that had to produce anything. It also seems funny to me that everyone, including myself ended up with a score of 73%, just short of the required 80%. As the previous woman stated, I too have been to college and have never gotten a score of less than 80% on anything in my life. I demanded my money back and of course I was given every excuse in the book, but I did get my useless (very expensive, $997) piece of paper that said that I am now an accreditated stager without a job.

  6. Tracy Coenen

    Andrea – I didn’t say staging was just about cleaning, but one of the Haverhill “graduates” suggested on this thread that she was a big deal because she cleaned and packed up boxes. Glad she learned that in “staging school.”

  7. Thank you Tracy for helping to shine light on this sad state of ethics.
    I have worked very hard over the past nine years to be a successful redesigner, stager and trainer. I am here in the Chicago area where there have been many come and go training program. My course is not only approved by the IRIS organization,, but also by the Illinois State Board of Education and I am the only training program with that accreditation in the entire Midwest. I am so tired of doing what is require to offer training and then have to deal with others that have not met the same standard. I have personally talked with two Haverhill graduates (oops) not quite graduates neither passed the test, one from Ohio and one from Indiana. They both decided it might be easier to train at home, but found out the key part of training is to learn what to do in a clients home, to experience a home staging or redesign and do the work with the guide of an instructor in a small class of 4-6 students.
    Neither one could reach a real person after the initial sales pitch and registration. The ongoing support seems to be lacking for both. I have offered to try and put together a one day seminar to fill in the blanks for them.
    I want to encourage those who read this and are consider training to do their homework and talk with several people that have taken the exact training you are looking into before you pay any money.

  8. Christine

    I was sent this lovely article today by someone I just met at a workshop and glad I did. I hear your excitement (Lisa) about being a HaverHill graduate, I would love to know where you live…California, maybe NY. I own my own construction company coupled with staging; and let me tell you my experience if YOU DON’T THINK THIS IS A SCAM. You are graded 1 – 10, one being poor and ten being great. Can you tell me how someone who deals with subs (“subcontractors” for those of you that graduated HaverHill and still don’t know that)anyways I deal with subs on a daily basis. As a matter of fact had to hire another one today. Did you know I receive a 3 because “HaverHill” didn’t think I knew how to look up and/or deal with contractors…I AM A CONTRACTOR. I own this company and my husband of 10 years (15 years as a carpenter) is my project manager. What does that tell you??? I received a “1” on focal points, yet one of my pictures had a fireplace in the room. You can’t get more focal point than that. Also, do the math… I was allowed 2 hours for a 55 question final exam, that’s 2.1 minutes per question; mind you 2.1 minutes to read the question, look up the answer (if necessary) then type an essay answer. When I didn’t get the grade I felt I deserved I asked to speak to my instructor and to look over my test. They told me I COULD NOT VIEW IT, but they would go over it with me. Now why can’t I see my own work? Shady? I think so. To top that off, they told me my phone call (coming up this Wednesday) will only be 15 minutes long. Now how can they put a time frame on something when they don’t know all the questions I have? HMMM. Let’s go over the teleclass… I must have heard 40 – 50 people call in (that’s $40,000.00 – $50,000.00 to you and me, sorry to HaverHill). She answered the same questions over and over and the slide show was pathetic. You would think they would have used a different house to show their “HaverHill” quality.

    I basically paid $1,000.00 for a piece of paper. I mean literally a piece of paper. They sent me a check for $15.00 because the company that frames our certificates ran out of frames. Classy!

    Luckily I can write off my “tuition”, I feel sorry for the ones that can not. So Lisa, I hear you, but do you hear us?

  9. richard mansfield

    Please tell us what all of us who have been scammed can do about this. Apparently what they’ve set up is bulletproof. Are they just going to get away with it?

  10. Tracy Coenen

    It’s hard to say whether anything can be done about Haverhill. The company apparently has attorneys working for them, and something tells me they’ve covered most or all of their bases with what they’re selling.

    The best thing, I think, is to just get the word out about Haverhill so that people considering spending $1000 on the program see that there are questions about it. Point them to this article and others like it which can give them good information and opinions about Haverhill.

  11. I have been a professional stager for 3 years and I have to say I don’t clean or pack for clients, I stage their home, which is my expertise and what the client hired me to do. If the client requires a cleaning service to clean their home, a home organizer to help with clutter, movers to pack, storage rental, contractors for repairs, landscapers, etc. I provide them with a list of professionals who perform these services. My job is to create a warm and inviting home with properly scaled furnishings that are placed correctly for the space, the right accessories to compliment their home and furnishings, suggest paint colors for the homes interior (and sometimes exterior), remove unneeded furniture and accessories and provide new items if necessary among other things.

    For example, if I am staging a bookcase or shelves I will remove the items and place them in a bin if they are unneeded, the homeowner then takes care of the items in the bin deciding if they should be packed and stored, donated or disposed of. That is up to the discretion of the homeowner.

    It’s no wonder home sellers (and realtors) are confused about what a home stager does when stagers themselves don’t agree with what services are provided.

  12. Local Stager

    I took the Haverhill class and passed. The course as presented doesn’t really give us an opportunity to really stage a home or show our best work.

    The photos we submit are based on 3 classes – Lesson 1 was Evaluating the home and making recommendations to the seller. We had no budget and part of the class was focusing on what the homeowner already had so our photos only reflect what was there to work with. Lesson 2 was De-Cluttering and so again our photos were only about clearing away the home and showing before and after of having done that. Lesson 3 was about creating focal points – obviously that’s what our photos reflect.

    I am trying very hard to start my staging business and since these class photos are all I have – my portfolio is skimpy and doesn’t have all those “wow” photos that established stagers have. I need someone to take a chance on me and help me get my foot in the door.

    Sadly, people looking at just my website pics don’t have the opportunity to see my entire coursework from Haverhill. No-one gets to see my complete home assessments and the changes and recommendations I would have made had I a budget and paying client. Again, the point of the Haverhill course was working with what the homeowner already has.

    Unfortunately for me, all the bad press about Haverhill is hurting my chances at establishing a successful business. To the local realtor who commented that he felt bad for the student – perhaps you can remember back to the days when you first started out and needed someone to take a chance on you and give her a chance. Maybe she’ll surprise you…


    Hello, I also took the Haver Staging course. Just received my certificate. I to am very disappointed. I worked very hard and scored high on my exercises. But was denied employment. My phone interview was
    they guarantee employment. After seeing how well I did on my exercises
    I thought for sure I would get employment. I found Haverhill on HGTV.
    They get to much recognition they do not deserve. What about a class action suite?

  14. jeannie muenzer

    you have giving me alot to think about– i have been looking into taking haverhill staging course and your web sight has given me the other side of the coin–

  15. Martha

    Thanks for posting this!! I am an Interior Design major who considered part time work as a stager to help pay for childcare during the school year. I considered Haverhill but it seemed to good to be true.

    Whether or not this program is a scam I would NEVER give money to a sorry man who started a business to help people cheat on their spouses!! That is ludicrous. It doesn’t matter if it is going to happen anyway. Facilitating something like that is horrible. How can you trust an unethical boss? How can you work for a man who obviously has no moral base? Ridiculous.

    Thank you for saving me not only from a potential scam but from hating myself for giving my money to such a scumbag.

  16. gimmie a break

    They offer AN EDUCATION.. the job is a bonus…. if you did well (80% or better) then you will receive a job offer.. OR YOUR MONEY BACK

    you didn’t get a job offer but made the grade? YOU GOT YOUR MONEY BACK

    MY EDUCATION WAS NOT FREE… WAS YOURS??? I paid $20 000 a year for my education.. plus 5000 hours in hands on work for trade certification…

    I WAS NEVER GUARANTEED A DAMN THING…. I got a job on my own.. had to work my way up.. became the head of my devision….

    Funny how all you people are just looking for a free hand out… not everyone made 80% in my course in college.. although we all had the best intentions.. SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T WORK OUT

    Grow up people learn what the real world is all about.. this company is trying to MAKE employment in a field that is new… you try being new at something and tell me how perfect you are.



    I started Haverhill in January and just finished up the course. For the most part the work is self taught thru the at home course material but If this is what you love to do then it is not hard work. I was able to complete all of my course work lessons with TOTAL points of 62pts. The highest score is 10 for each lesson. I made 2-8’s, 4-9’s and 1-10. Sounds pretty good to me!

    I’m really excited to get my test taken because I’m ready to start working, so I thought. I take the test and score 17pts which you have to make 20pts in order to quality for GUARANTEED employment (and that has to be on the 1st time the test is taken). I was sooo disappointed. I was told that I can pay 50.00 to retake the test and MAYBE eligible for employment but it wouldn’t be guaranteed. I was only 3 pts away so I figured I will take it again and sure I will pass it the 2nd time.

    I waited almost 2weeks to re-read over all of my course material again and take notes to ensure that I pass the 2nd time. I retook the test on June 1st and got my result today and guess what I made? A FREAKING 19!, I know for a fact that I studied that information and really knew the 1st time I DIDNT do to well because of the FILL IN THE BLANK QUESTIONS but after reviewing all that information over and taking the test again there is no way that they are telling me I only did 2pts better than before.

    I called and requested to speak to an instructor but after reading this blog, I don’t think its going to do much good. But of course they say I can retake the test and there is a $50 fee and it may affect my employment eligibility. YEA RIGHT, if I take it again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    On top of all that, since my grade for the course material was high, I still totaled 81% which is higher than there minimum requirement of 80% for employment but you still have to score 20pts on the test. I have alot of great pictures that are MUCH NICER than the pictures they showed on the teleclass so I have already started my portfolio and WILL start my own business. I DON’T NEED HAVERHILL. Everything happens for a reason and I will take this as a learning experience.

  18. G

    Whoa. I am just finishing up the Haverhill course. Before I signed up for the course I read so many negative posts on the internet. It delayed me in purchasing the course until I did some more research and talked to Haverhill, and a stager who has been hired by Haverhill. I did ask them about all of the negative comments on the internet, and she gave me the # to a stager near me that I could call and ask questions. If it is a scam why would they do that? After talking to the stager, my gut feeling told me to go through the course….How can it be a scam? It costs them lots of money to make a website, the training materials, sending out letters, employees, advertising, having the telecourse etc.. Of course there are going to be tons of thousands of people signing up for this with such a great opportunity offered on HGTV and we all are not going to get hired. $1000 is not alot of money. It is when you don’t have alot, but in general. College is $10-$30 thousand a year?!? If we don’t get hired and want to start our own business, now Haverhill has such a bad name because of all of the people blasting Haverhill on the internet who cannot accept failure or had way to high of expectations. STOP! The course material is great, and you are ruining it for everybody else. I think the IDEA is to be resourceful and innovative and to be able to work on YOUR own. That is exactly how the course is b/c that is what you are going to be doing if you are employed with Haverhill. All of these comments are stressing people out, and giving them anxiety about their course and not being able to have a business by being accredited by Haverhill!!!! If this is a SCAM then I have really really been duped.

  19. Kim

    Thanks G.
    I’m glad that I made it down to your post. I just signed on for the Haverhill course, and I am very excited about it. I couldn’t help but notice that most of the “posters” who were complaining about Haverhill had grammatical errors in their posts. I believe that professional communication skills were included in the employment requirements. Just a thought…

  20. G

    In case you are reading all of these posts, you can take the test 2x without it affecting your qualification for employment. If you pass it on the 2nd time you are still qualified. 3rd and 4th time they go by a case by case basis and you pay $50 to retake the test…I will tell that you do need to study for the test, and there are lots of essay questions!! It takes you the WHOLE 2 hours to complete!

  21. K

    Haverhill’s training program is quite simply a SCAM. Anyone who is on here promoting that it is in any way a good program with good learning tools is obviously working for them (and probably NOT as a home stager). Every step is designed to fail you, and if you persist, they just lie and change things so that they can deter you from finishing the program. I just got fed up with their games and deceit. NOTHING about this ‘program’ is designed to teach you or help you, if you want to learn anything, you might as well do it yourself, without a $1000 binder full of useless type-o’d information. Whoever said that they just tell you how to clean is spot on. Oh, p.s. apparently, this company was started by a known con-artist who has been in the news for other scams, just do a little extra googling and read other blogs. (keywords: “haverhill scam”). I wish I’d put it together beforehand.

    If you have complaints against Haverhill, please submit them. Please consider a class action suit with me.

  22. K

    Is there anyone else out there who’s credit card got charged an extra charge after they had already paid for the course? I got charged almost $300 twice! They claimed is was a mistake, that they had charged the wrong card, but twice? I’m wondering if this is something they are doing to other people too.

  23. K

    Can everyone who is interested in pursuing this to get their money back join the facebook group “Haverhill Staging Students”? Would that be an easier way to keep in touch?

  24. Thank you for the information. I recently decided to become an accredited stager. I had initially wanted to sign on with Harverhill, but changed my mind at the last minute and became a ASP with an accreditation that is recognized by Realtors. I will definitely pass the word.

    Shawna Duplants, ASP®, IAHSP, ARM
    Professional Home Stager
    Owner/ The Dressed Home

  25. Rula

    I was going to sign up when I saw the negative stories. I said I changed my mind and I was not going to take the course and refused to accept delivery of what ever they sent me. When they tried to reassure me everything was above board I said I would like to speak to a stager who works in the Toronto area so I could ask questions and get information from someone already working with them. They said no problem. I waited a week, nothing. After calling again I was told I would definitely hear from someone this week. That was Nov/08. I’m still waiting.

  26. cornelia

    Hurrah to all of you who have successfully completed the course and are using your skills. My thinking is like the great man said…”there is no success like failure and failure’s no success at all.

  27. I took the Haverhill course and passed with a good grade…83. I didn’t get hired but my money was refunded and I have started out in business on my own. Haverhill sometimes gets me jobs as an independant contractor. All in all my experience has been good, mostly b/c I love what I do now. It’s a lot of hard work but I love when I get an end result that pleases everyone. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

  28. Shelly

    I would love to know if anyone has taken the course who lives in Central California or Northern Nevada. I, too, am considering the course and have read both the positive and negative blogs and am trying to keep an open mind.

  29. Jenny

    If Haverhill is a scam, then why did I take and complete the course and get HIRED by them? Oh, and yes, I receive regular paychecks from them like clockwork exactly for the promised amount – just as they said I would. Every question I had about my coursework was answered in a timely manner, course grades were discussed with me over the phone and I was given the opportunity to improve my grades. I also discussed with an instructor, by phone, the test I took the first time and was timed out of. They may say they will alot 15 minutes for discussion but in essence I was on the phone with them for about 45 minutes. I found them to be helpful and encouraging. This opportunity has been a godsend to me. I have the freedom and flexibilty to work my own hours and to do work from home. I am thankful every day I took the chance with this company.

  30. Jame

    I am a licensed Realtor in Maryland and I have been looking into these staging courses with HaverHill and other staging institutions. I’m glad I read this because I really want the opportunity to assist me clients with every possible opportunity to make a fast sale or to just give a nice face lift to those strickly looking to change up the scene in their home and making the extra wages and not to menton the additional free marketing of myself and the services I offer in both Real Estate and Staging.. I dont know why anyone would “laugh” if your Realtor is a one stop shop?? I am a very successful agent and recommend home stagng to all of my clients and it works. As far as where I want to receive my credentials, I am definatly going to be looking into all of whats out there before putting my name on anything.

  31. I have passed the exam with better than the required minimum – 21% with a total score of 84%, applied for the guaranteed employment two months ago. When I called recently I was told that unless they notified me that I was disqualified, I would still be eligible. How could I be disqualified, if I achieved the required score and followed all the rules adjusting to all their continous changes. I have asked for my refund of $997 because I have not been offered the quaranteed full or part time job but they have refused a refund.

    They consistently changed the rules of the game on their website. Now they are not offering full time – only part-time and independent contractor and want me to provide a full FBI background check and liability insurance; yet another tactic to drag out the employment issue.

    I will be registering my compaint with the Oregon and Texas State Attorney General’s Office, BBB and any Investigative organizations that can assist in stopping this deception from continuing; also open to a class action suit. I suggest that others take the time to do the same.

    In a time when there is high unemployment which is the situation I am in, it is shameful for Haverhill to deceive the public and take money from people who can’t afford to lose their savings. I will also be protesting the charges through my credit card company.

    Haverhill was recently sold to a group of real estate investors and don’t know if that is really true or another added layer to this deception.

  32. To all of you negative people who posted, life is too short to be negative. Take what life gives you and make it work. I know those who have taken the course and have seen the work they had to do – it’s very in-depth instruction. A lot of people blame others and want to get even.

    Attitude is your choice. You’ll live longer and attract positive situations and people with your good attitude!

  33. Craig Hansen


    Against my will, I have seen a lot of posts in defense of scam-a-rific companies, like Haverhill. I find your defensive post lacking in some key areas.

    First, use more common cliches. For example, instead of “Take what life gives you and make it work”, try “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

    Second, make your post longer. If you can’t think of anything else to say, then just repeat yourself. Long posts show just how wrong everyone else is.

    Third, provide more real-life examples of success stories. Make them up as you go along. Give them names, like “Joyce Hamilton”. I just made that name up, but I’ll let you use that one.

    With work, I bet you could single-handedly defend Haverhill from all the Tracys in the world (call them “naysayers”), and make everyone forget about the jobs that never appear.

  34. Dee Dee Ness

    I am a college professor with, in addition to my teaching credentials, over 20 years of experience in private industry. For years I’ve been staging the homes of friends and families for “fun” and decided that the Haverhill course / employment opportunity would be a great way to spend my summers. To complete the course I staged four homes. I spent most of the summer completing the exercises and documenting my work. When I received my grades I was shocked. When I took the exam, I timed out. In the end, I passed the course but failed to qualify for employment. Over 50% of the courses I teach are online – I know a thing or two about establishing objectives, delivering high-quality material, defining metrics, measuring results and providing feedback. Had I known then what I know now… the Haverhill course would not have been my choice. They may known staging… they don’t know adult education. As for a class-action suit, complaints with the BBB etc., I recall that the terms of the course require arbitration of disputes under the laws for doing so in Toronto. A better solution is to start your own business, compete against them and let HGTV know that you had an unpleasant experience with their advertiser. They say that a satisified customer will tell one person and that an unhappy customer will tell ten. I’m satisfied that I’ve now done my part to encourage potential students to look elsewhere.

  35. I signed up for the course in late May. i completed all of the exercises, tele-class and test.
    I completed the course with a score of 86. I then applied for employment per the guarantee.
    I was offered an Independent Contractor position with no expense reimbursement and no
    guarantee of hours$$. They say this is comparable–I do not think so–they will not refund my $$ even though their guarante say s “Successful completion of our Home Staging Course guarantees that you will be hired as a Professional Honme Stager that pays $24/hr, or your money back!”
    Anyone know HOW I can get my $$ back?

  36. Kim

    I signed up and completed most of the course work in the allotted time and requested an extension.
    Never received so much as an e-mail back, but I did just get a letter saying that I didn’t finish in time.
    A VERY deceptive company. I don’t see their ads on HGTV so much anymore…wonder why?

  37. mary

    Why would any of you pay for a job? Shame on all of you that think you can buy a career! I took the Haverhill Course and graduated with 92%. I was offered a position and declined. I have my own agend for the knowledge I gained. The program is a course to obtain knowledge not anything more. They do offer you a position if you meet all the ceriteria. My experience with Haverhill was nothing short of wonderful. I learned a lot and am using all my knowledge eveyday.

  38. Ann Corion

    I can soooo totally relate to the current student who had an 81% pass.
    In my case, I feel that my marks were lowered as the comments did not match the marks they gave
    me. I was fortunate that I did not get graded with 1’s or2’s but from 6 – 9. Then they ignore you..the support isn’t there WHATSOEVER! I WANT MY MONEY BACK! ALL OF IT
    What i don’t understand is how can 55 ?’s give you a 9 as an answer score and a resit only gives you 2 points extra….If I took this to court I would like my answer to address this ISSUE.
    I have done open book exams before and I score higher in these than revision text, and I had only just completed a Medical Lab science course..So I guess home staging is ROCKET SCIENCE! Go figure,
    but something is definitely wrong here. I’m ready for any libel/civil action if we can get it off the ground

  39. I am just now completing the course. I feel sick that these posts were not around when I signed up for Haverhill’s course. I studied Interior Architecture and Design at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco with excellent grades. I am good at design but had to put work on hold for starting a family. Now my kids are older and I thought it would be good to expand my repertoire by doing home staging as well. Everything that has been taught in this course could just as well have been learned in a thirty dollar text book on home staging. It is impossible to be able to communicate with the instructor Kimberly Uksik except by using the FAQ section. How can effective training be done this way? The final exam also seems to be rigged so that very few can pass. They only way to pass is to memorize the text on all the books. It took me a few minutes to find the exact answers, killing my chances of finishing the test on time. Some say that I must not have done well, I must not be good at design/staging. My clients would beg to differ. I would suggest if anyone is interested in Home staging, train with a reputable accredited program backed by the BBB. Steer clear of Haverhill!!!

  40. janine

    i completed the course and was COMPLETLY DISAPOINTED from start to finish. i conveniently recieved a 79 as my grade, one point shy of being accepted for employment. i learned nothing i did not already know. the course leaves you without any idea of running the business end of staging.

    walk away from this expensive mistake. it is a sham. class action suit sounds like a good idea.
    there is no way of knowing if your test is actually scored fairly as you never see it.
    i could go on and on. STEER CLEAR INDEED!

  41. Nicole

    I signed up during the ‘hire program’ and was told there was active business in my county. I completed the course material, passed the test and received a final grade of 91. I completed ALL the employment requirements (6 reference letters, FBI backround check, vehicle & licence info, etc.). Now they will not hire me or honor their commitment to refund my money. I would highly reccomend you NOT get involved with this organization. Their buniness practices are corrupt and they lack any form of business ethics.

  42. Joanie

    I am keeping my eyes open (apparently for the first time in my dealings with Haverhill) for a class action suit. As Nicole said on 3/29, I completed everything, with the highest possible scores and jumped through every single hoop they put in front of me in the “hiring” process. What I received was an offer to be an Independent Stager, with literally no tie to Haverhill. Even the agreement they gave me to sign is completely inaccurate. It states that I will be compensated by Haverhill at an hourly rate of $31.45. I called with questions and was told that basically I am on my own…Haverhill has no obligation to me…including those stated in their original hire agreement. When I asked what the process was for receiving a refund as promised in the “Hire Guarantee”, I was told that there is no money and no refunds are possible. Instead what they are now offering is a 1 1/2 hour Webinar about setting up your own business and one free year of a cloned website. When I asked what happened to those full-time stagers who were already hired, I was told that there was no work and they are not being paid by Haverhill. It is a total SCAM. If you would like to attempt a refund on your own, you can call the 800 number and go to extension 2204. I wish you luck though. I started this entire process with Haverhill in February 2009…received my “accreditation” in July and my “offer” in March, ridiculous. I did everything asked of me and with exceptional performance. Looking back now, there were sooo many suspicion signs. Delays in verifying my credentials before I could go on to the next step, delays waiting for my background check, etc…all of these delays were due to Haverhill. Bascially I paid $1000 to take a course that I took very seriously and for which I worked very hard. I exceeded all of the requirements for employment. The fact that I am currently not employed by Haverhill is because they have not met their part of the agreement. It has nothing to do with my abilities, willingness to work and THERE ARE NO TYPOS OR GRAMMATICAL ERRORS in my post…as lamely stated in an earlier post. Was their “Hire” Guarantee too good to be true? Absolutely. There are plenty of reputable places to earn accreditation as a stager. Expensive lesson learned! STAY CLEAR.

  43. maple

    All I can say after reading all of these posts is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
    All I was interested in was learning the basic ins and out of home staging business. I wasn’t even interested in the guaranteed employment. From what I’ve read here though, I wouldn’t have even received that much. It seems to me like the people who haven’t been taken advantage of by Haverhill are actually just working P.R for the company. I’m sorry for the rest of you that you have been through the ringer with this company. Thank you for putting your stories and your voices out there for those of us that would have been allured by the siren call of Haverhill’s employment guarantee, seeming expertise and fancy web page.
    You are all troopers and I hope you get your money back, PLUS!

  44. Joanie

    Maple…if you are looking for some good resources for basic ins and outs of Home Staging, go to Amazon and search Barbara Jennings, she has some awesome books that will give you tons more valuable information that we received in our $1000 Haverhill course. Wish I would have found her sooner. Good luck!

  45. I completed the Haverhill course last October 2009. I finally received my certificate in January 2010. Today, April 26, 2010, I looked at the certificate and reread it. They got the date wrong. According to the certificate I was accredited on Dec. 2, 2010. Pretty cool trick!!! I didn’t pass with a 80 or above so I didn’t qualify for employment. But considering the problems I encountered while I completed the course, I didn’t want to be employed by Haverhill anyway. I lost points because I used the same house for 3 lessons instead of 3 different houses. I lost points because I wasn’t able to completely empty the rooms and take pictures. I explained that I have fibermyalgia but the Haverhill people didn’t care. Their system of asking questions sucks!!!! You never got to talk to a human being. You typed your question online and in a day or two you get an answer. You didn’t get the benefit of seeing what other students asked that might have helped you. I would never recommend Haverhill to an one else.

    1. Bree

      Very interesting. I also completed the course in Dec of 09 and havent received my cert. When trying to log in i find all these postings about it being a fraud. And can no longer find the website. If anyone has any information on law suits i would love to help. I want my money back. I haven’t heard of anybody receiving an 80% or higher. How can everyone fail an open book exam? I have never done so poorly. The test itself was a fraud. The questions were ridiculous! Please if there are any suits suing this company please someone e-mail me!
      Thank you

  46. Debra Peck

    Dont’ do it! Haverhill is such a scam. I’ve tried talking to them. They are just rude and will not even begin to work with you. Arlene, Colleen, Kim, Rick, just forget it!
    I took this class to learn a trade and because employment was promised. When I spoke on the phone with someone about that class they told me that all the graduates of this particular class would be offered at least part time employment at $24.00 per hour. I paid for the class, that is when the communication stopped. After they got my money I had to trick them into answering the phone, leave countless messages, send emails and regular post. They would never call me back and rarely answer my emails and when they did it was always a form letter. When the material arrived I read the package and found out I had been lied to. They only way you are employed is if you pass with a 70 or better. I tried to get someone on the phone to find out about the grading system. It was then that I found I had been conned. They would not refund my money even though I had a 14 day window where they promised they would have and I was just barely within that window. I decided to try my best. I worked very hard. I studied and put everything I had into this course. My friends let me use their homes, I called in Real Estate Professionals to judge my work and they told me that I had been scammed. My work was very good but they already had heard of Haverhill. They told me there was no way I could pass this test, no one could. The only way was to memorize the book. I turned in my pictures and course work allowing myself ten days to get it to Canada. I would like to say that during this time I was very ill and still managed to complete this. My materials sat in a post office in Canada for more than 30 days! Because Haverhill said they had no one to go and get the packages that came in while they were closed and the shipping and receiving clerk was too busy to go. I did get this information after calling and crying on the phone. Finally Colleen told me this. She sent someone that week to get them. I then sat for the teleconference. I re-read the material and studied for 4 days straight and took the test for the first time. All the reviews I had read on the internet were true. No one can pass this test. You must memorize the book in order to pass. To many of the questions are direct quotes from the book. More than half are sentences from the book that must be fill in the blank questions and must be in the right order. Such as, “The 7 dimensions of design are ____ and _____ and _____, color, light and testure.” Also on my design work, we were told we could use our own homes and since I had just bought a new home and moved I had the perfect house. So I did use my home for some of the work. Points were taken from my grade for that and Kimberly told me I could not use my home. I told her I had it in writing, in the book and verified from Colleen that I could. She said, “I don’t care.” and I received a 50 on all that hard work, when local professionals had raved about it. I actually ended up doing a show for one of the local Real Estate sales people here who said, “As soon as you get your certificate please call me.”
    The second time I took the test was very difficult and there were many more fill in the blanks but I had memorized more of the book. My grade was better, and I passed with more than a 70. I should have been offered part time employment at $24,00 per hour and I have to this day never heard from anyone at Haverhill. I have called several times, emailed and no one has called me back. My final grade is not posted on my Haverhill website and no one seems to have any information. I would also like to say that I was laid off my job in July. The money for this course was my final paycheck from my job. Haverhill knew that and made me a promise that I was doing the right thing with my last little bit of money. TO day I have not been contacted by anyone, and I have not been hired.
    Whatever else you do, DON”T DO THIS> HAVERHILL IS A SCAM!!!!!

  47. Carole

    I was never able to finish the course since the “trades” lesson was flawed from the get go. I would ask companies for help and they would go on the net and see all this negative information (that was not there when I signed on with Haverhill).
    The lessons I did complete were all scored at the required 70%.

    I would like my lessons back now!
    Is that possible? What did they do with all the names, addresses and phone numbers I sent them with my lessons?

    I understand that a home stager does not require acredidation or a certificate but since our world is so competitive I think it’s a positive to have one (this is not my bread & butter job, I work full time but love home design).

    Ottawa, Ontario

  48. Meghan

    This is a joke. I bought it, and there is no way of getting the required assignments done in time….unless you were unemployed. Like it is mentioned above, they can grade you however they want…it’s a scam.

  49. Laura

    I took the Haverhill Home Staging Course over a year ago and after receiving my home study course knew it was a scam. I completed all courses and handed them in. Haverhill sent me a 7th lesson explaining the binder I received was not up to date. I completed the 7th assignment and handed the work in IN PERSON. I handed it to an employee and I am positive it went straight in the trash, as they could not find it and I had to wait for another lesson book.
    Contacting anyone who worked at Haverhill was like squeezing water from a rock. It wasn’t happening. I think it’s sick that these people work for a scammer and actually have the *@!$ to call themselves instructors. Get a real job and stop giving people false hopes.

  50. Realtor in Toronto

    Think about it… they are selling the course and offering employment opportunities as a stager, right? So why, when you go on their website or try to contact them to actually EMPLOY THEIR SERVICES FOR STAGING A HOME is there no information, contact info, price list, no one calls back and there is no way to book a consultation?? They do not really stage homes – they are in the business of selling misguided people their binder full of crap. Save your money – go to an accredited school or apprentice with a solid staging company that’s actually in the biz!

  51. tonya, chicago

    It’s for sure a SCAM! I had the same problem that everyone is talking about….I couldn’t pass the test….and when i inquired about the their scoring system and how many questions to the test no answer….they set it up for everyone to fail the test….you can not go back and see what you got wrong or anything….I hate i spent my hard earned money on this program…it was never designed to guarantee people employment….

  52. Rhonda

    I took the course cause I saw it wast on HGTV, which lead me to believe that it held some sort of credibility. OBVIOUSLY, they screwed HGTV as well which in turn also means that you can trust any of the bullshit HGTV puts out either.

  53. Camille

    Thank you. I was seriously considering the Haverhill course, as a single mom, I want to thank all of you who commented for preventing me from spending the only savings I have.

  54. Traci

    Just to let everyone know, there is no such thing as accredited home staging. Unlike interior design, people who work in home staging generally have an art background, or something along the lines of set/stage deco, prop house work, etc.

    Don’t be fooled by the BBB rating on some of these staging “institutions”….that rating is only for any actual jobs done, usually nothing to do with classes and baloney certification.

    If you have an artistic eye and would like to try this work, have a one-on-one talk with a real stager. See if they are willing to take you on and show you the ropes, like an apprentice. All it takes is some talent, inventory, and connections.

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