Haverhill Home Staging Course – Have You Been Had?

by Darwin on July 14, 2009

So, I had posted about this Haverhill Home Staging course at Everyday Finance regarding the frustrating experience that people are citing and the comments are coming in every few days from irate people that feel that it’s a Haverhill Home Staging Scam.  If you haven’t seen the commercials, evidently, they advertise routinely on HGTV touting jobs paying $24-$31/hr after taking its $997 course.  But readers are stating that it’s next to impossible to be granted the opportunity to pass the exam and actually make any money.  I have to be careful what I say here since according to some bloggers, Haverhill is coming after them for “libelous claims” and I’ve found that battling it out with corporate attorneys over a single blog post isn’t worth the hassle (Shop to Earn MLM anyone?).  I just wanted to revisit this one and bring it to your attention since it’s a moderate comment stream for such an old article at my old blog and now they’re riled up enough to be talking class action.  Below are some comments left by individuals who feel that they’ve been scammed and came back to comment so others would avoid the same fate.  I’d say, do the research yourself and decide whether you think Haverhill home staging is a scam or legit and – (for the lawyers)…the citations below are reproductions of comments from other readers and do not reflect my opinion nor are they portrayed as a statement of fact:

Reader #1

“…Haverhill is a scam, my wife just finished the coarse, and test. As I suspected all along, they failed her. The test was ridiculous, impossible to get the correct answers even with the open book test…”

Reader #2

“…I have taken the Haverhill training coarse. Yes, it is a scam. I am so very disappointed that Haverhill has just taken my money and not given me the material, information, support or resources needed to be successful…If you are looking for a training program please research all of your options. If you still choose Haverhill consider yourself warned…”

See the original article for full comment stream.

What I haven’t come across yet is an actual success story or favorable review.  Does anyone have anything good to say about Haverhill Home Staging?

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1 Michele July 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Haverhill is a joke. It is NOT in any way, shape, or form an educational opportunity. I was even told by a haverhill employee that “it is not set up to walk you through the course, we want to see what you can do.” Really? then why take my $997?

Through the “course” any questions of mine had to be posted on an FAQ site, where I would have to then check back to see if someone responded. When I did get a response it was vague. Then, when it was time for grading, points were deducted from assignments that were completed based on those vague answers.

To top it all off, I apparently “timed out” of the test even though I completed it in the allotted timeframe. When I posted my complaint about it on the FAQ site, my comment went ignored because I “did not post the proper wording.” You’ve got to be kidding right? I asked if robots were reading the questions since it seemed that any human reading the post would understand this: “The test site said that I timed out of the test, and I did not. Please contact me immediately at XXX-XXXX.”

No, robots are not reading the posts. Apparently just a bunch of scammers who are looking to rob you. I WILL be disputing this with my CC company, as well as posting warnings anywhere I can. A libelous lawsuit? BRING IT ON HAVERHILL

Sue Reply:

@Michele, After reading your post, I was just wondering, were you able to get your money credited back to your card after disputing? I am also one of the unfortunate ones who took this course, and had decided to just let go of the money I have lost. However, I have been wondering if anyone has been able to get their money back and how?

Debra Peck Reply:

I too was scammed by Haverhill. I timed out 2 minutes after I completed the test but there was no submit button on my page until it timed out. I lost 1200.00 total on my package. I say we need to all get together and hire an attorney. Sue them and see what happens. I do know this, Chef Michael that does the Beneful Dog Food commercials is an owner. He actually answered the phone one day when I called repeatedly trying to get someone on the phone. Later they told me I just heard wrong. But I had the number on speed dial because I had tried so many times. I didn’t dial wrong and I didn’t hear wrong. This company is just a scam. We can’t let it go!

scott kennedy Reply:

@Debra Peck, please email me I want to know more about this.. please I do not want ro be scam

Debra j Reply:

@Michele, I hate that everyone had a bad time with haverhill. Well so did I. But thank God i did get my staging certification with them. And now i am setting up my business. I had a hard time because my instucter Kinberly Usik was hard. I was able to get 67 point on my hands on training where i had to redesign my own home and a model home and a relative home. I work with what i had. I didn’t buy A lot just a few accessories here and there. so she gave me only 67 points i work so hard. I felt like i should have gotton more points being that i cou;d not see her and the book had some typeing mistake. I questoin her about a lot of things. so i did the teleclass and send of info for my contrattors contact. I could not get aholf of her to give me the points on the contractors. So thank God o got hold of a real nice instructor because Kim Usik was out. But she told me my contractors in fo was in. I got my point for that. The it was time to take my test and it was timee. I made enough points to add to the 67 . i pass with a 70. I barely made it. She told me i passed and my certificate would be in the mail. I found out Harverhill was going out of business. I got angry. Now I am going to use it. At first i was so disgusted about them and i still am . but i will not let that stop me. A lot of unfare thing eas do to me taking the course but i got my certificate.

Kat Reply:

@Debra j, I got mine too and had Kimberly as my instructor and passed with a 93,,,,
I did not have a hard time at all and I am using my experience to my advantage. People just need to move forward and make lemonaide out of lemons.
Listen if you took the course thinking you were gonna make a ton of money then you did it for the wrong reasons. If you had a passion then……you should still have tht passion for passing and getting your certification…it is still an educatiopn!
and want to continue your education just with a tweak now that staging isnt that big because of the market!
I.m doing designing of all kinds….branched out into set design and re-decorating!

Debra j Reply:

@Kat, Yes I do have the passion and i really was not fooled about the money. I just wanted to work for them it sound so exciting. They did a lot of lying. But i will make a good thing out of it because this is what i was born to do. I just not good a takeing a test that is timed.I learned a lot form HarverHill i hate they went out of business and i didnt get my work i did sent back to me. Hey help me out and tell me some pointers of redesign. I was just setting here to night putting some info together for redesign.Do you nees a designer kit Let me konw i tell you how to get a free one.

Kat Reply:

No, I have a sucessful business already! Thank you though

stacye evans Reply:

@Kat, If you had good luck with them you must work for them. The test was a joke I studied and have a great memory. The questions did not even make sense. It would be nice if we could all get together and sue them. I could not even get a hold of anyone after I took my test. I received a certificate with my name spelled wrong.

Daina Reply:

I am sorry to hear so many people have had a bad experience with Haverhill Homestaging and Desin. I obtained my certification through them in 2009. I scored high in the duplication of house plan and furnishing. I would of liked to have more imput and communication from them. I never felt i had been scamed. I have a job i love now because of that certification. It has opened doors for me and i plan to begin my home staging business in the near future.

2 Andrea August 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I took the Haverhill course, I was hired shortly after I finished. I am currently staging and Haverhill showcases all my work and the work of other Haverhill stagers on HGTV and DIY.

Debi Peck Reply:

To be honest I would have to see that to believe it. Now I will say that I was told by the shipping clerk that Haverhill has now hired people to sit and post all day, to find as much on the internet regarding negative feedback that they can and put good stuff up. They are being offered a bonus or incentive plan for this work. Could it be that you are one of those? Because I have it straight from Suzanne that HH is a scam. She called me to apologize for getting me into this before she knew more about the company. Could this be considered bad karma, this thing you are doing? I would be careful, you don’t want all this coming back on you for sure. If it’s true, my hats off to you. You are smarter than that average or even the above average person. I will also say that shipping clerk told me NO ONE HAD BEEN HIRED for this last program.

3 tina August 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I was glad to see at least one positive comment about Haverhill. I have taken the course and now have my own business. I feel I have learned a lot. Even though I considered myself very good at paying attention to detail I was amazed at how much I didn’t know even about making a home spotless. It was an eye-opener. I was not hired but got my money back so I feel the experience has stood me in good stead.

4 cornelia jones August 6, 2009 at 9:46 am

There are a lot of satisfied graduates of Haverhill and I am one of them. Not employed full time yet but an independant contracter. In one year my life has changed for the better. The course is very demanding u have to be up to it. I wouldn’t advise a casual attitude everything has to be just so. Make sure you’re really serious about it. I’m a perfectionsist and so should u be. I wish u all well.

5 sydney tanner August 7, 2009 at 11:37 am

Haverhill has helped me to become a home stager in a relatively short time. Even thought they did not hire me I am still finding work and my Haverhill accreditation is getting me customers. It’s important to accentuate the positive I think. I returned all the materials and got a refund so I have no complaints.

6 Helene August 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Some good information on the Haverhill home staging course. Thanks for informing the readers os The Work at Home Family Carnival.

7 laverne August 27, 2009 at 8:31 am

I would just like to post another scam and warn consumers about ordering products from companies in the UK. I recently searched the web trying to buy a towel warmer and found a company by the name of HudsonReed. They had the best prices so I called placed an order and sent them a check. They recieved my check, cashed it and never processed an order in my name. After calling them for months and speaking with their operations mgr Steven Darwood who promised that he would refund me. One year has passed and I have still not recieved my order or my money. Please do not, I repeat do not order from companies in the Uk after doing some research I’ve found that there are alot of scams coming out of the UK targeted towards consumers in the US. consider yourself warned.

8 Tracey September 13, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I found this site while researching Haverhill home for staging opportunities. Upon reading the reviews I noticed the post from Laverne.
I would like to tell you about my experience with Hudson Reed. We used this company for certain parts while remodeling our master bath. Their prices were much better than any US company that we could find. Several months after the remodel our shower started to leak. We pulled out the copper fitting which is part of the piping to the sh0wer head and noticed a hairline crack. We called Hudson Reed. They asked us to email them a picture and we did. Right away they sent us a completely new shower head and copper piping. We couldn’t have been happier. This is a legitimate company. Laverne, please call them again. I am sure it must be a huge mistake. Hope this helps

9 Kathy September 30, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I want to take this course but am now a bit worried. I have some bad and some very good comments…I’d like to hear more before putting forth that kind of money. Could anyone elaborate on the test part of it…Why is it so difficult to pass…What seems to be the problem?

Debi Peck Reply:

@Kathy, Kathy don’t do it!!!! I lost 1022.00 of my severance pay. DON”T DO IT!! Try QC Interiors instead.

Michelle Reply:

@Debi Peck, Yup i agree its BS! They ripped me off and havent returned my money and the exam is so hard to pass its like they fail you even if you did good its impossible

myer Reply:


10 Michele October 1, 2009 at 9:48 am

Here was my experience with the test:

You are told you have two hours to take the test, you are not told how many questions there will be. I think it ranges from 50 – 55 questions, but throughout the test, there is not a timer nor any indication of how many questions you have left. Of course you have your own clock to use, but it’s just a little added stress/confusion trying to pace yourself without the black and white information laid out by the test. That’s the annoying part of it.

The really bad part of it is that the test is literally a compilation of word for word sentences taken out of all the materials you are given. The sentences have missing words that you are left to fill in. This means that it is not enough to have the knowledge of the concept, but you must find that particular sentence in the book and fill in the missing word. This may not sound bad, but when you are taking the test and you clearly know the answer but not the exact word used, it’s very frustrating to have to waste time scanning through ALL of the material trying to find where you read that sentence. It really becomes less about what knowledge and skill you have about home staging, and more about playing the game of “Memory.”

In my case, I was very close to the two hour mark however I completed all of the 55 questions that were given to me. Then, after I completed the test, I got a pop-up window telling me that I had timed out of the test. At what point (according to their test module) I don’t know… my clock still had me within the two-hour time frame. So, immediately before the test was even submitted for grading… I failed because of “time-out.” I submitted my message protesting this through the FAQ’s (another ridiculous part of this course). After a week had passed and I had heard nothing, I called the school and the person who took the call basically said that if their test module said I timed out, I timed out and I would have to request to take it again. Mind you, at this point my required completion date had passed and I was told that regardless of my results of the test I would not be eligible for employment.

This experience on top of the rest of my experience with the “school” really just left a very bad taste in my mouth. There were other issues throughout having to do with the school’s lack of communication throughout the course, which caused many problems with the grading of some of my assignments. It just really seems like they try to “get you” with the administrative hoops that they make you jump through, and really aren’t concerned with any talent that you may have.

If you are expecting to take this course and get a job, don’t. If you want to take the course to learn and become more knowledgeable so you can go out and do your own thing… don’t waste your money here, take another course.

Debi Peck Reply:

Dear Miochelle, I absolutely agree with you about
Haverhill and the test. The posts written above are by Haverhill people posing as independent people. The lady that runs the shipping told me that. I would love to be part of the lawsuit as they took a huge part of my severance wiht lies and the woman that signed me up called me at a later date to apologize as she stated she had no idea. And what’s with Chef Michael answering the phone? I would love to have an answer to that. Keep me posted and I will join in the lawsuit. Also I have the name of the law firm that sued AOL and won if you and others would like that.

Sheridan Reply:

@Michele, My other problem with their test was that after taking the two-hour test TWO times, (I paid to take it a 2nd time since I couldn’t fatham how I failed because it seemed like a breeze to me) the Haverhill rep on the phone could not give me feedback as to what areas I answered incorrectly. They set you up to fail….I feel they do not want many, if any people to pass their test. Like I said, I felt the test was a breeze for me as I enjoyed taking the course and always got great marks for my projects…..

Sheridan Reply:

To clarify, I DID pass both tests, just didn’t get the impossibly high score they require to offer you employment….it’s been a little while and I forgot that that was they main issue. Passing isn’t that hard, achieving the monumental score they require is the scam.

11 Monica October 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I agree with everything Michelle said about the test above. The same thing happened to me and it timed out on the 54th question. I failed by 2 points but ironically still passed the course. I got a pathetic little certificate that is not worth the paper it is written on.

Debi Peck Reply:

Same thing happened to me, never got the certificate. When I called, they told me it had gone to the printer and to this day I have not received it

12 kathy October 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

They claim to have fixed the problem…How long ago was your testing done??

13 Pamela Deans October 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I want everyone to know something that I found out. Haverhill is going bankrupt any day now. I received this information from a very reliable source. Employees are getting there last pays and that is the end of it.
They are bust, no money for you to get back. Sorry you all had a bad experience.

14 Monica October 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I talked to a relative (Attorney) and he said that there is no question based on the questions (I wrote some of them down) and the Internet method of testing that the test is designed for students to fail. If the test was changed, this is further evidence that the prior tests were rigged. He said that they are possibly guilty of (1) Deceptive Trade Practices (triple damages) (2) Outrageous Conduct (3) Breach of Contract. Even if they were to claim Bankruptcy, FRAUD is NOT discharable and can still be pursued in federal court for deceptive trade practices. The fact that the owner already was investigated by the FTC further lends credibility to our claims. We need 50 – 100 people to make a class action suit worthwhile and need to find an Attorney that would possibly work on a contingency basis.

Allyson DeFelice Reply:

Have you found an attorney yet for a class action suit against Haverhill??? Count me in!!! You should see the response they wrote to my credit card company when I disputed the charge. Please let me know ASAP- Thanks!!!

Debi Peck Reply:

Monica I’m in if we can get enough names. The attorney that sued AOL might be interested if we could get enough people. Can we start a blog?

Lori Reply:

I too was scammed by them…I was told when I wasn’t hired (after more than ‘qualifiying’ according to their guidelines) that I would not be recieving my refund because of ‘the ecomonic downturn’. (exact quote). I have tried finding a lawyer to help..but told needed many other complaints to take it seriously.

15 Michele October 8, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Thought I posted my response to Kathy already, but I see it is not here… I took my test in June of this year. I never heard anything from the school about “fixing the problem” which would have been nice since they consequently failed me on the test!!

Also, Monica, I would be willing to move forward with a lawsuit. Anyone else?

Debi Peck Reply:

Me! Debra Peck of Groves, Texas 409-962-6296

16 PDeans October 8, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I will repeat this again. They are going bankrupt. Not due to scams, they just are bust. I have heard that they are finished this week, office closed.
It is done.
I have to say that I passed my test with no problems, so I dont understand
why so many failed.
Anyway, just wanted everyone to know so they can tell others not to sign up.
Sorry it didnt work out for you.

17 Michele October 8, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for repeating. However, if you read carefully Monica said that the lawyer stated bankruptcy or not, fraud is not dischargeable.

Also, you passed the test with no problems… were you hired? I “failed” the test but passed the course and received my “certificate.” I was still deemed “ineligible” for employment. Are you seeing a theme here? Pass the test, but not eligible; fail the test, pass the course… however they want to slice or dice it just to be sure they don’t have to hire.

People were scammed here. You really don’t know why they are going bankrupt (if they are). Could have been the plan all along. Does it really matter though? They deceived people and should be called out for it. Don’t assume we are looking for a pay out. Congrats on passing your test.


Hi All,
I didn’t pass the test either but received my certificate and they won’t hire me. I totally agree, the test was ‘open book’ yet difficult to pass. The course was not bad but the wholw thing is a scam.

18 Monica October 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I have to agree 200% with Michelle. Pamela, I don’t know your personal situation in regards to the course, but Michelle, it appears that we are in the same situation. I too passed the course and received a certificate. Apparently, we both excelled on the “staging” part of the course (which SHOULD be the important part) that despite failing the test (me by 2 points without even finishing the test) I still passed the course. This speaks volumes for our staging abilities – yet, because we failed a test with questions that were so ridiculous, we’re not fit to be hired by the Company? They’re basically saying that although you almost scored damn near 70% on the staging part, you failed the written test so we don’t want you? Puleesseeeee ………… And coupled with the fact that the owner of the Company is or already has been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission…. even my relative (Attorney) said that it has SCAM written all over it…. a very well planned out one. And I have recently learned some new information since yesterday and I know for an absolute fact that it is a scam. Also, nothing is posted on the website about them claiming bankruptcy – not that they would anyway. I want to investigate this further. I am going to go back to the original blog page and contact the folks that left their e-mail addresses and direct them to this page for an update on what is going on. Michelle, please do whatever you can as well.

19 Monica October 9, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Michelle, I just sent an e-mail to the individuals that listed their e-mail addresses on the original blog page to see if there is any interest. I didn’t have your e-mail address. Please send and I will forward the e-mail that I sent to them. Although there were a ton of comments, everyone didn’t leave their e-mail address.


20 Michele October 10, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Hi Monica,

My email address is [email protected].


21 Paula October 14, 2009 at 2:11 am

I’m also a Haverhill graduate. Spoke to someone recently in my area (Chicago) and she was hired and making very good money working for Haverhill. I was just recently hired. I do think the company is going bankrupt. My e-mail is: [email protected].

Please include me in your e-mails.


22 Peyton October 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I am interested in a class action suit as well. Totally scammed by Haverhill…same stories as all of the above, plus before I had even started the course, they had posted a message that the materials were to be sent to Canada and not Oregon. All of my course materials said to send to Oregon. I sent 2 day air so I could track and see that they arrived. Sent 2 week early. 3 weeks later get a later that they didn’t get my materials and I was disqualified. I had the tracking info, and was told they were sitting in Oregon. I asked them why they weren’t forwarded, and was told they were waiting to send one large box of courses. So I then said, “I’m not the only one that was unaware then…” and was told I was correct, but would have to pay $100 to be reinstated since they didn’t have them in CANADA by the deadline. I paid it because I had put alot of work into the project, and received extremely high scores…all 10’s and 9’s. Took the test, and like everyone else says, you had to find the EXACT sentence for the EXACT wording, even if you knew the concept and answer. Then of course timed out, and last two essay questions worth 10 apiece. Got the certificate and $15 because it came unframed. I didn’t even bother to take the test a second time. This was such a total joke. I didn’t find the blogs til it was too late!

23 Michele October 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Glad to see more of us are finding each other. Peyton, didn’t realize I was entitled to $15 because my certificate came unframed as well…. I will have to contact the school about that! LOL! ugh! what a joke!!

At any rate, lets all stay in touch with each other and see what we can do about this. If you don’t mind Peyton, post your email up here so we can keep you in the loop.

24 Helen October 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I, too, had a horrific experience with Haverhill and have heard from other stagers in the industry that a class action lawsuit is going to be filed against them. I did manage to get my refund but the entire experience with Haverhill was a complete nightmare. I would be more than willing to share my story if it would help with the lawsuit, I feel that I should do what I can to help others not go through what I went through.

25 Helen October 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Monica, can you post your email address so I can contact you to get on the mailing list? I am apprehensive about posting my email address as I too have had a horrible experience with Haverhill but have since launched my own staging company. I’d be more than happy to help with what you are working on.

26 Peyton October 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

My email is [email protected]…keep me informed!

27 Monica October 15, 2009 at 12:35 am

Hi everyone – my e-mail is [email protected]…. also found out some additional news that I will post separately… I have to go to my Facebook page to obtain the information that I was sent earlier today.

28 Monica October 15, 2009 at 12:44 am

Also, if you do NOT have a Facebook account, please open one up just for the purposes of staying in the loop with the unfolding of this nightmare.

Type in Haverhill in the search bar and a variety of items will open up. One discussion board is :The Haverhill Institute of Staging and Design and the other one is: HAVERHILL HOME STAGING STUDENTS

29 Monica October 15, 2009 at 12:46 am

This is the e-mail on Facebook that I received today from a student that DID get hired. This sounds like a precursor to what Pamela Deans states in her posting above:
Monica- After the letter I received via email today, you may not have a hard time getting your 50-100 people for the lawsuit. They said that they have no money and have no idea when they’re going to be able to pay what they owe to their stagers. They offered a website and a year of hosting in lieu of the “final” payment if we’re willing to accept that (I already told them I will not and do expect to be paid what I’m owed). They said they would pass a long any staging work that they generate to the stagers and that we can contract directly with homeowner and take the full payment. As far as I’m concerned I no longer work for them and my non-compete is null and void. You shouldn’t have any trouble rallying the troops after today.

30 Diannah October 15, 2009 at 4:40 am

I was only to be charged half of the 997.00 according to my correspondance with a Haverhill represntive. They charged my credit card twice. I tried to contact the office
without success. I wish I had put in this time toreresearch before I began this course.

31 AWS October 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I have had a similar experience to many of you. From the very beginning, I realized that the entire Haverhill course was poorly designed. Just to let you know my background… I am a Curriculum Developer with a M.Ed and I write textbooks and assessments for major school publishing companies (although in a completely different subject area). I want to change careers and follow my passion and talents for decorating ,and thought this would be a great course to begin (especially being advertised on HGTV). I too completed this ridiculous course. The course is actually done backwards–one should begin with their mission and find tradespeople to work with, and then learn about decorating styles before being required to show their work in actually home staging. But Haverhill asks you to do it in reverse. That’s the first problem with the course. Then there is the test! The final test does not test a student’s knowledge of staging or staging concepts. On most of the fill in the blank questions, one could insert various terms (or synonyms of that term) that would make the sentence true. You cannot have questions such as “The ____ of the _______….” and expect students to answer correctly. An open book test means that a student can use the book for assistance, it shouldn’t require the student to find the exact sentence in the book to lift words from. This is the most ridiculous test I have ever come across. I know because I write test questions for many standardized tests for various states. If you need an expert witness that knows about curriculum and assessment, please contact me…and I would love to be included in this class action suit. Please keep me in the loop.

32 EMG October 19, 2009 at 8:20 am

I am new student who recieved my course just two weeks ago. After reading all the material I was ready to start projects but had some questions. After several unreturned phone calls Iwas concerned. That’s when I found your web site & fraud info. I was very pissed off when I realized you could not even return the course beyond 7 days and even if you did they kept 1/4 of your money 250.00 I am trying to dispute the charges paid by my VISA. I don’t know if anything will come of it but if not I will be MORE THAN HAPPY to join a class action law suite!!!

33 RMR October 20, 2009 at 4:53 pm

EMG…I had the same experience as you so I sent in my request for the cancellation and was told that I am responsible for the remaining cost of the program which is 747.00 how is that possible if there was no signed contract so I lose 275.00. I would also like to join a class action lawsuit.

34 Amy October 21, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I started the Haverhill course two weeks ago. I paid $500 for the course. I never intended to work with Haverhill, I plan my own LLC and wanted some form of staging accreditation.

The Haverhill course itself gets high marks from objective sources, and won a coveted award, the 2009 Axiom. It was the most reasonably priced option out there. All good, unbiased reasons to choose Haverhill.

I’m not having any significant problems so far. I have an art& design degree, so that part of the material comes easily to me. Any questions I have about the course itself are being answered by a great group of graduates on the Haverhill Institute of Staging and Design group at facebook. (This is not the group of complainers, it’s the group for students and graduates.) There are some small confusions, but nothing out of the ordinary for a distance learning program.

Some of the students who were hired in the last few months got caught in the upheaval caused by the management failures and ownership change at Haverhill; some of those are still waiting for paychecks for marketing work done in late Sept. The staging company is promising to sort it out, and is re-vamping their whole marketing strategy under the new ownership. The institute, meanwhile – the course – seems to be going along just fine. For what I paid, it’s a steal to get the accreditation.

The new ownership is planning a much more sensible and frugal approach to building the company. I fully expect Haverhill to be my biggest competition down the road. They created an imbalance between the growth of the institute and the growth of the staging company. It happens when companies are rapidly expanding, and points more to poor management than to unethical behavior.

All of the “qualifiers” for the employment offer are contained in the material received. No surprises.

[email protected]

35 Michele October 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm


#1…I don’t know which course you paid $500 for but, as you will see, most of us paid $997.

#2…The “Axiom Award” is a business book award… whatever that means and how it relates to the student’s experience, I don’t know. But clearly, we have a majority of dissatisfied students, who by the way, are also graduates.

#3… Wow, if you have an art & design degree, just wait until you get to the teleconference portion of the course. The staging work that was displayed by Haverhill during the call (via web-based presentation) was hideous. You’ll want to run fast.

#4…That’s great that your questions are being answered by the FB group of students & graduates, but they are not the ones grading you.

#5…Have you read the letter that Haverhill has sent out to the student/employees? You can also find that on FB. Sure, maybe they are sorting things out… via a hosted website as opposed to a paycheck.

I wouldn’t listen to any “promises” Haverhill is making. They certainly found a way to renege on all of them whether it be deem graduates ineligible for employment for some bogus reason, or to offer employees their web-hosting services in lieu of payment. And certainly, do not believe that a Haverhill accreditation is something to base your career on. If you have any question on whether Haverhill has had poor management or is unethical, google Darren Morgenstern.

Sorry… but yes, I am bitter.

36 Dana Banks October 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm


I received the Haverhill Home Staging course as a “gift” from my fiance. I guess he got tired of me screaming at the television about “decluttering and focal points,” while watching home staging program on HGTV. 🙂 Anyway, when HE ordered the course for me, I was in no position to completely give my attention to this course and when I told them as much, I was told that I had 6 months to complete the course and not to worry too much about deadlines. I just got a call this morning saying that I had to reactivate the course ($100), there was no way I would be hired by them AND I had 30 days to complete the course. When I told them that I was having trouble getting the 3 homes to actually stage so that I can complete the course (I just moved to the Raleigh, NC area), I was essentially told that this was not their problem. They weren’t going to help me complete the course, find any homes to assist me in completing the course and the woman I spoke with’s attitude was “We got your money, now deal with whatever issues come up.” She was very curt with me on the telephone and when I asked whom I should call if I had additional questions, she told me NOT to call her because she couldn’t help me and directed me to FAQs page on their website. I have called several real estate companies in an attempt to get homes to stage and if you’re not buying a home, they just “don’t have time” to talk to you nor do they have time to train a stager, but said I could try to call back once I’m accredited. Just for “kicks” I googled others with problems with Haverhill and found this site. Now, I don’t know if I even want to bother finishing the course, but I definately would like to get some of my fiance’s money back! So, please contact me if a class action suit is filed. I feel that Haverhill is taking advantage of people’s hopes and dreams. With the way the economy is at this time, I feel that it is actually CRIMINAL to take a person’s money knowing that there is no chance that they will actually become stagers. And, the 2, 3 or 4 people that actually do get hired by Haverhill is NOT enough for this not to be a scam. I’m happy for those people, but the ratio of people that are NOT satisfied versus the ratio of people that are screams SCAM to me! Right now, I’m extremely upset and am at a loss at to where to go from here. Again, I’m interested in any court action taken against Haverhill. My email address is: [email protected]. Thanks for the insight as well as the forum to “vent” my frustrations with this company. And, although I would like a full refund, if this blog helps one person, then it was worth my time writing this critique. Also, any suggestions on how I can become a REAL home stager are welcome from all.

37 Karen Gilston October 28, 2009 at 8:03 am

I am struggling with the focal point section, of the Haverhill staging course, so I came and looks at the forums. OH BOY I wish I had checked before I coughed up $997 for the course. I dont know if I have the heart to finish it. don’t know what to do, I would love to actually get the focal point section completed, I have asked the question on the FAQ page but am not getting anywhere. Can enyone help?

38 Monica October 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

I don’t think the e-mail I listed before is working properly. An alternate e-mail is [email protected]… Please include Haverhill in the subject line so I don’t delete it as it will automatically go to SPAM.

Karen-I don’t know what to tell you honestly. I’m hearing different things about the validity of the certificate. I am one of the ones that did pass the course, but not the test, and didn’t get hired. I’m going to move forward and use the certificate and hope that it helps me. You still have quite a bit of the lessons to complete if you are only on the Focal Point Lesson. I wish I could be of more assistance in advising you what to do… I’m torn – I am one that likes to always finish what I start, but in this case…. I would follow the blogs (Esp. the Facebook one since Stagers that were actually hired participate in those forums) and see where the Company is at… I hear that they are trying to rectify and restructure?? Sorry I couldn’t give more sound advice.

39 PAM October 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I am another of Haverhill’s victims, with the same sad story of passing the staging part of the course with flying colors, finishing the test, but “failing” the course by 3 points (which I believe were very subjective points at that!)…good enough to get the accreditation, but not for hire! I recently received my “certificate”, also unframed (but no $15). I wish I had googled this company before signing up. Hopefully their students will now have a loud enough voice to bring them to justice. I would definitely like to join all of you in a class action suit.

40 Joy November 1, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I too have felt the uncertainy of HAerhill. I did th projects in a month’s time. Waited two weeks for grading. Got enough points and kudos to take the tele-class which was generally a waste of time becuase to ask questions you ahve to wait in line with like 30+ other people in the same class. Passed that and got the code to take the test. Test timed out on me and I failed. Talked to my instructor and was allowed to toake the test again – passed. Got accredited right away and mailed my certificate. Got the go ahead to apply for employment. Did so immediately. Two weeks later was called to schedule a phone interview. Took 20 mu=inutes, she called 1/2 hour early so I wasn’t prepared and the baby wasn’t down for her nap yet. She told me in the mean time to have my fingerprints taken and mail to the FBI for a background check as wella s get a quote for liability insurance. What a pain that was. Most people had no iedea what i was asking for when I said word-for-word what they told me to request. Argh! Got a hire aggreement emailed to me anda ccepted it the same day. Was told to order supplies which I have and are in my posession. Had a training webinar scheduled for 10/9 that should have given lots of insight into how to begin and what to expect. The day before the webinare it was cancelled via email with no explanation or idea of when another would come. After two weeks of getting ahold of no one – my course rep, the FAQS section, Danielle Rodriguez’s direct line I get a call from a stager in a town a couple hours away from me y=who says Haverhill lost their funding in the sell out that happened this summer. They were bought and the lenders dropped their funding. Her check dated th 24th of Sept. BOUNCED! THen we get a letter from Danielle herself saying we are still emplyees and work will come our way as soon as they get the funding issue resolved. – make of it what you will.

41 Dana November 2, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Hi All,

Well, after doing some research on how to REALLY become a home stager, I regrouped and contacted the National Assoc of Home Stagers (Raleigh chapter) to see what the requirements are to become acredited. I was told tghat I needed a portfolio with all of the criteria that Haverhill requires (focal points, decluttering, etc), which is about 4 to 5 homes staged with “before and after” photos and a short account of what I did for each home. I have to present this potfolio to the association and then I can take a test and upon passing that test, I will receive a certificate of accredidiation from the National Association of Home Stagers. So, I called about 20 real estate firms offering my staging service “gratis” so I can build the portfolio and I now have two homes to stage! When they asked me who was training me, I didn’t even mention Haverhill. I’m now actually afraid and embarrassed to mention that I was associated with them! I definately still want to get my fiance’s money back, but I wanted to update all on what they can do in the meantime if they really wanted to become stagers. Contact your local Association of Home Stagers and they’ll tell you everything you need to do to become acredited the RIGHT WAY. Also, I’d try to do it soon, as they feel that very soon there will be some government required classroom hours in the future, but if you’re already acredited and having some experience, they would probably waive the classroom requirements. Keep me posted on the lawsuit!

42 Madalyn November 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I took the course in February 2009, I too thought the questions were ridiculous. I was knocked offline in the middle of the teleconference, only one of my tradespeople said they were contacted, I even went in and offered others, no points..final grade 75% go figure, the points fro trades would have mad me eligible to employment

43 Cindy November 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Thank God for your comments! I have been researching this company since the beginning of this year and always felt someting not quite right. Your comments just finalized my decision to proceed on with Haverhill. Does anyone out there have a success story with a prestigious and fully financed staging company who has high credentials as well as offer a professional staging certification?

44 Cindy November 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Correction: I will NOT be proceeding on with Haverhill!

45 Melinda November 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I just completed the Haver Hill staging course and I’ve met all of their requirements yet they refuse to let me be eligible for employment with them. It’s quite aweful seeing as you pay a large sum of money to them and they make false claims. They’re horrible about answering the questions you post within 24 hours as they claim. They also are impossible to reach unless you leave a message on the board and they manage to call you back on their own time schedule not even considering your schedule. I’d like to know if legal action is being taken against them so I can obtain the money I spent on this program back.

46 Amber November 10, 2009 at 5:47 am

I WISH I HAD SEEN THIS BEFORE LOOSING $1000. I am pretty much in middle of the course and had just built an amazing house on the web design program “Icovia”. I had followed all the requirements to make sure I could save, email & print etc. I saved it a million times in the 30 hours I invested in designing it, then on the 4th I logged on and went to open it….
The 2 file names were there but not the image, (you cannot delete a file with out deleting the file name on this program). I contacted haverhill 4 times about it, explaining each time in more detail what I had done to clarify the error was not on my part and each time asking for IT support to find out what had happened (on the web program or remote server side), but nothing more than, “you must have deleted it.” I am totally annoyed. I would have tried my very best and (I think) done great, even though I know it’s a crap course with little or no training and that you could have collected all the info on your own with out loosing $1000. BUT now, I dont want to complete it if my work is vanishing with no help to where and there is only a sliver of a chance at a job with a bankrupt or poorly run company. Its really disheartening! I would join the suit as well. I am past the 7day/30 day return (which I am hearing isnt even being honored) and I wrote my name in Level 1 course book, so it is not in “PERFECT CONDITION”.
As for the people who completed the course, you ladies didnt even need it! I bet you are all excellent at design and staging and should be making better money and contacts than with Haverhill, who have taken peoples money, effort and time. Just my thoughts.
Thank you for being here…
Please email me whats happening and your recommendations and I will join the FB group.
[email protected]

47 Barbara Jennings (Academy of Staging and Redesign) November 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Gosh, the saga goes on. I feel so bad for everyone.

I just put up a $500 discount (33% off) on my most all-inclusive course that has brought full and total guidance to so many. I promise you won’t have any problems reaching me for help either!!! You can also buy individual components “a la carte” if a course is out of the question.

We have an A+ rating from the BBB and just won an interior design award from the US Commerce Association. There are ethical companies, I assure you.

48 Gina November 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

Let me jump onboard with the massess of dissatisfied ex-/current Haverhill students! Having overcome many obstacles while enrolled in the Haverhill Staging Course (death in my immediate family, serious illness of my own, etc.), I finally took the “Test” in July 2009. Guess what? I too timed-out! Having devoted a lot of time compiling notes, highlighting and tabbing the course material for ease of access during the test, I was DEVASTED with my performance on the test. I have always considered myself an intelligent person so I couldn’t believe it when I encountered such difficulty. For a brief time, I questioned my abilites but then got myself together and realized that Haverhill makes the test SO extremely difficult with questions that have such obscure answers, very few, IF ANY, will ever pass and become ‘eligible’ for employment. I also believe it is a SCAM!! Don’t be fooled by the neglible amounts of positive comments you may read they could very well be Haverhill cohorts. Keep me posted: [email protected]

49 Stephanie November 14, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I too wish that I had read some blogs before I signed up for the course in September 2008. I did some research but I regret not digging further. I too feel this is a scam and all payments should be refunded. I passed the course with 9’s and 10’s but failed the test not once but twice (missed by 3 and then missed by 2 marks). When I called and insisted on seeing a copy of my exam and how it was graded, I was told this was not an option at this time. The vague reasons as to why I failed were not supported by any proof. No way was I going to pay $50 for a third attempt at passing the exam. I regret my decision for having paid Haverhill for a course that did not teach me anything that I did not already know. Please keep me in the loop regarding any potential lawsuit.

50 keri November 15, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I now call them haverhell.
I am one of the ones who passed and got hired..it is still a scam at the point of hiring
as they wait and tell you that your job is to hang doorknockers and data entry
the name of the realtor..and all pertinent info on said realtor.
You have to hang 300+ doorhangers in 10 days..and have all your data entered.
The data entry part takes forever and if you happen to make a typo they will reject it.
They will reject it if there is any missing info as well..so you may even have to call around to get said info.
Anyhow, I learned my lesson..if you have to pay to be hired for any job it is a scam.
They were a nightmare from start to finish..always hurry up and wait and then u end up doing a marketing campaign for them .
I decided to bail at that point..I did not have 3 hours or more a night to do free data entry for them..nor pay for gasoline to go around and hang door knockers.
The one bright spot is the general manager – her initials being DR.
She is a professional through and through..she is however bound by the loopholes they have to get around offering what they promise.
I could never recommend them to anyone in good faith- it is a legalized scam of sorts.
Also any training worth the money will give her a clear job description before you take it. (If they offer employment), HH waits till you have rearranged half your life around working for them only to dissapoint with this canvassing and data entry angle.
I decided I did not even want to be an independant..I can’t bear working for them
with all their punitive type rules..and I hunch they want the work done too fast for too little pay.
I noticed the slickest thing about them was their doorknockers..they spared no expense because it reflects them..they nickle and dime the “stager” while making themselves look slick.
All of the above is based on my experience. It is not necessarily the opinion of others who have been hired by them.
All I know is they are not what they purport to be in substance even though they
have these loopholes to make it look like they fullfilled their obligations.

51 Rhonda Coffey November 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I enrolled in the Haverhill Scam almost two months ago. When the materials arrived, I was out of town. When I returned home it took me a couple of days to open the materials. By this time my 7 days was expired. As soon as I opened the materials and logged on the website I realized this was a scam. However it was beyond the refund period. I did get a special when I started to pay the 275.00 up front and the remainder in 30 days. Now I called and asked for an extension on the 30 days and was told by Rose Green no problem. Well you can guess, they charged my bank card for the remaining 750.00. I called the main number and explained and to my surprise they did reverse the charge, but of course in a few days the balance will be charged. I plan to go to the bank, explain the situation and hopefully prevent the balance from being charged. If anyone else has this scenario, I urge you to try to work it out before the charge is posted, with your bank. The materials they sent look nice, but seriously, where is the content?? I did not learn anything from the books that were sent. I just do not understand what it is they are teaching with this class, and I absolutely do not believe the employment contract!! I am also enrolled in online classed to complete my degree in Psychology and believe me online classes should have some content! Haverhill is a joke and I am happy to join in any lawsuit that is pursued! I am just glad I did not waste the time to go through all of the “hoops” they want everyone to jump thru!! I can be reached at [email protected], feel free to email me and let me know how I can help !

52 debbie November 27, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I took the course and failed, like most every one else—-but my questions are—what is the grading process? we cannot see our graded work and no real response to the process used. I asked kimberly what am I failing at-she said to read the comments from the instructor—that is not an answer to my question. I had that book memorized, but of course I got a score that barely passed the written test. Also, at what point did they become “full”, and why not tell students they are full and you will not get hired. is this when the company was bought out and essentially closed down? why would a company buy then close the business if it is so successful? Were new students accepted after this buy-out point?

53 Ann November 27, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I was furious with Haverhill staging course instructions that not enough of content of materials to work on, also my skepticism about their promising job offer, so I decide to search the Haverhill reviews during middle of my course. After reading all of your letters, its not worth of my time and effort to complete the course and hoping to hired by them. I had sensed it from the start with people who work in the office, it like ” I got your money and you are on your own or your job is in our mercy”. I wish I had done this before I had paid them.
I am kind of relieved that I am not the only one who felt scammed. Please keep me in post on lawsuit. [email protected]

54 Kristin November 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I was scammed and furious – but after filing numerous complaints & getting nowhere, I decided it was taking up to much of my time & focus. I’m glad that people are coming together on this, though & I would like to stay posted with the email thread as well. I have numerous emails & letters back & forth with them & they blatantly lied in order to deny my refund. They tried threatening me as well.

I had suggested that people joing the facebook page for ‘Haverhill Home Staging Students’ or something like that, I’m on it.

[email protected]

55 Kristin November 30, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Oh, and by the way, I told them before registering that I was a single mom with a 5 month old baby, and I really needed solid work – and they had no problem whatsoever with stealing my money. Soul-less.

[email protected]

56 Rhonda November 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm

If you have a pending payment with them, contact your bank. If you paid in full your bank may be of assistance in disputing the charge. A simple phone call could help, and is worth a try.

57 Andrea December 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I was also scammed by Haverhill…same story as many others listed above. I’m very interested in being a part of the class action suit. Keep me posted:
[email protected]

58 Elizabeth December 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I just want to say that there is some sort of unprofessionalism and dishonesty stemming from this company because they are so cut and dry. Coming from an Executive profession, I decided to embark on something new..being that I have a flare for creativety and style. I was looking a HGTV too..and say to myself I can do that. I requested some information and I ask the rep questions and she referred me to a recent graduate and I spoke to the lady. At that point in time May09. I kinda felt reassured. I made an investment as anyone would do to start a home base business. I put in a lot of effort doing the exercises, buying a camera, photo copying paper etc. The exercises grade could have been better..I know that..my pics was good I received 4 goods from each exercice and I was proud of myself..not proud of the grade the instructor gave me..so I think they give you what they what to give you. They indicate you can make revisions..I did that mailed it out Dec1-09. Again, coming from an Executive and Real Estate background I can type 60-70 words a minute so I was not worried by the timing. On Dec3, I took the test at 4:30 finish at 6:24pm. I know for a fact that I did goood. I had to skip at least 4-5 questions out of 55 and I had notes to go by to answer those ridicolous questions. I received a 14 from the whole test..the last two questions I answered in about 50 words in detailed. I reviewed the comment section and it said the same thing to someone else on here “some were answered incorrectly and some were not answered…Ok! I know i skip a few but incorrectly..My deadline is Dec13 to retake…I click on the buttion to request to take it again..They ask you to write something in detailed your reason to retake the test again.

I said “Because I paid a $1000 and why not..I totally disagree with the grade and whomever gave me the grade for that incredible impossible test”. I think they pick and choose whomever they want to grant a grade to and pass whomever they want to make that quota a month. For me, they are a little bias. I am a little disappointed about how they come to grading and not really giving anyone the credit that is deserve. Im not mad at them because they will reap what they sow.

Also, Im not looking forward to them hiring me.. I just want to become accrediated. Im working on building my own home based home staging business. Just plug into other sites..join otherstaging associations and buy books…they will not get no more money from me.

59 Darlene December 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Did anyone realize they now have a website available with a price tag of $498.00,
what a joke.
Interested in class action suit.

60 Bobbi Strong December 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Absolutely I would be most interested in a class action lawsuit. I have been disputing a charge made to my bank by Haverhill since September and today received a notice that the temporary credit given to my account will be reversed in 4 days. A representative of Haverhill sent my bank a letter stating I had enrolled in the school in 1/0709 which is lie. I had simply logged onto their website to read about the program. I subsequently enrolled in August “09, received the materials within 4 days, and after reading the first 3 chapters I knew this program was a hoax. I packed up all the materials and sent them back, requesting a full refund. I’ve been a degreed & accredited interior designer for 28 years, having lived and worked in many states east to west. I explained to Haverhill that there are statements in their material which could, under certain circumstances, get a “home stager” arrested in California. Apparently they choose not to listen. These people give the industry a very bad name and destroy the credibility of authentic staggers. I not only encourage a class action lawsuit but also writing to HGTV and informing them as to the unsavory practices of this advertiser. By allowing them to advertise during programing, and not giving a disclaimer, they are giving recognition and credibility to Haverhill. HGTV should show some responsibility.

61 Rhonda December 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

If you have proof that you sent the materials back, I would take that to the bank along with the refund policy stated by HaverHill. The bank might see your side and refund the money.

62 Allyson January 7, 2010 at 3:30 am

As all those above, I too feel I was ‘scammed’ by Haverhill. I had been working professinally as an Interior Designer (on a commission basis) for some of Long Islands most prestigeous for the last 12 years. I saw the commercial on HGTV and thought ‘wow! a job that pays $31/hr, no more worrying about the stress of meeting sales goals’. I also thought ‘I’m an Interior Designer with a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC- how hard could this course be???’. So I also forked over my $997 which was a HUGE mistake. Same story pretty much as everyone else… my assignments were impecable (no reason I should have received less then a 9 out of 10 on any of them) and the test is a JOKE!!! After taking it the first time was when I really started to get suspicious that nobody passes. Then I took it the second time….I failed by 1 point!!!! Really???
What a HOAX!!!! I can’t believe some people got their $$$ back. When I called them and messaged them on the FAQ’s about my suspicions they directed me to the website about them taking LEGAL ACTIONS ON STUDENTS!!!! Seriously???? This company needs to be stopped. I received my “certificate” in Feb 09′. I have since wrote a letter to HGTV expressing my concerns and am now scanning the internet on any information about a class action law suit against them. Please contact me at [email protected] with any information- thank u!

63 Kristin January 9, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Don’t expect HGTV or Scripps Networks to care. They never even got back to me regarding my complaint.

64 Bobi January 11, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I have just finished the Haverhill test for the first time and have never been so disappointed in my life. The test was impossible to finish on time and was the most frustrating exam I have ever taken. Because of the fill in the word for word sentenses, it took forever to find…some never found. I want my money back, but have written in my books, as they suggest, so I’m not sure that I will ever be able to get it back. I will file a complaint with the BBB.

65 Kristin January 12, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Everybody please please file your complaints with the BBB – one or two won’t do much, but if there are as many as there are complaintants on these blogs, it might have an effect. It is very easy to file online.

66 sasha January 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I passed the exam, I didn’t finish the first time but I asked for help, was given quite a bit of help actually and passed the second time with flying colors. Has anyone who is writing this thought that maybe they aren’t as good as they think? Scam or not, I do believe that the instructors there are quite experienced and know more about the subject than we do. It’s too bad you all feel that way. I got what I was after and that was my certificate.

67 Bobbi Strong January 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Sasha, the “certificate” you received isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. The school has no accrediation so it isn’t recognized. I have been an interior designer since 1981 with a bachelor degree and credentials (ASID, CID , IIDA). The instructors know more than me??? I seriously doubt it. This school is a sham and an embarassment to the design industry. I’m curious as to why you left a comment on this website – you said you got what you wanted from the school so why did you go searching for a website with dissatisfied former students??? Perhaps you’re just a “plant”? Sounds like something Haverhill would do.

68 sasha January 15, 2010 at 9:11 am

Bobbi, I was trying to research to help with marketing for my business. I typed in Haverhill and saw this -went to it out of interest as I had no idea there were problems. Like I said I didn’t have any. I would guess with your credentials, you might be right in that they may not know as much as you, unless they too have similiar educations. But the majority I’m sure would not have what you do, wouldn’t you agree? I am a stager as it stands. This is how I make a living. I have certificates from 3 different staging companies-always want to learn more. No, I’m not a plant! but that is a funny thought. I posted here because I suppose I find it offensive that everyone assumes they can do my job-like it’s no brainer. It seems that everyone feels that this is something they should obviously be good at. As a designer you should know that some people in the industry think they have it when really they don’t. I’m not defending the company, I’m defending my profession. How could it be that everyone who takes this course is naturally gifted in this area of expertise? Seriously, with it being all over N.A-is everyone who signs up as tallented as you might be?

Dana Banks Reply:

@sasha, Sorry Sasha, but I just HAD to reply to your posts. I’m glad that you want to defend your profession, but we are not talking about rocket science here! Everyone thinks that their chosen profession is great and when they get a fair amount of success, they’d like to believe that they are the only ones who really know what they’re doing and NO ONE ELSE could possibly be as good as them. It’s okay to have that attitude, but to get on a soap box on a site that is specifically here to talk about the experiences (good or bad) that people have had with a SCHOOL is ludicious! If you are so good, have so much success and are so busy, I would think you would be too busy to come on to this site and *itch and moan about how “no one can do my job” and “how dare anyone else think that they can do it.” Just don’t log on, don’t read the posts and get along with your great career! We’re happy for you and it makes others feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel for those who are serious. We think you’re a plant for Haverhill, because this is a site about HAVERHILL, not a site for people who think feel slighted by the least mention of someone else even considering doing what you already do so perfectly {sarcasm}. Just acknowledge that you are a good designer and move on already! The *itching and moaning is not endearing anyone to your side and it’s certainly not making anyone NOT think that you are a plant from Haverhill.

sasha Reply:

First of all, you put quotations around statements I did not make. Nor did I say how busy I was or how “good a designer” I am. Nor did I say “No one else is possibly as good”. But I will say who are you to dictate who may write on this blog? It’s on a public forum-that makes it for everyone. I agree, it’s obviously not rocket science. But it is also not for everyone. How could you possibly think that it is? I am not attacking anyone, nor am I “on a soap box”. I am simply stating that it is unrealistic to assume that all across North America every person who wants to be a stager is an effective one. Your anger comes through in your writing. That makes your response less about the topic I raised and more about your emotions. You need not reply, I will not be visiting this site anymore. If you believe this is a blog about people and their experience with Haverhill, then you should have nothing further to say to this either.

Dana Reply:

@sasha, Oh, but I have to respond. My anger is not about you specifically, but about Haverhill, which is what I thought this site was about. You’re the one who veered off topic with the comments about everyone in North America not being able to be a stager. Again, it’s not rocket science and I feel that a person can do anything if they have the heart, soul and work hard at it. I think if you wanted people to take you seriously and not think you’re a plant, you would have picked a message board or started a blog about your views – not logged onto a message board that is CLEARLY about a school and tell the people on the board that you think that while some will “make the cut,” most will not. This message board (I thought) was about people who have had experiences with Haverhill, but I guess it’s just a “free for all” for anyone who has anything to say about staging. And, if that’s the case, then I was the one who made the misake. Although from the emails I have read and still receive, I doubt that’s the case. Enjoy your day and continue to post your comments freely, just be prepared for rebuttals/responses that you might not like. You can’t have it both ways.

69 Gidge T January 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I too have been scammed by Haverhill. I passed my course but was told I was ineligible for employment. I sent a letter to Daniel Rodriguez, the General Manager and the Better Business Bureau explaining that I wanted my money back because Haverhill did not live up to their employment guarantee. When the BBB contacted Haverhill, they said there was a miscommunication and that I should apply for employment. I have done so but have not heard back from them. I passed my course in N0vember, 2009 but have yet to receive my accreditation certificate. In my heart, I believe Haverhill will not hire me and their response was to get the BBB of their back. In my area (Kitchener-Waterloo), there have been 48 complaints filed against Haverhill with the BBB. Having read everything I have on this site, I regret having taken the course and like everyone else, I just want my money back. So I too would like to join in the class action law suit.

70 Elaine Sadori January 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm

There is nothing more to say. I received my certification and I met ALL necessary criteria for employment, then I was told “we no longer give that” when I asked about the many things that we were offered. the answer was always the same.
I live in Montreal, Quebec and am trying to figure out how to pursue legal action against a company that is out of my province. There seem to be a whole new set of rules when changing provinces.
Any idea, anyone???
Count me in if here is a class action law suit

71 A. Thomas January 24, 2010 at 8:51 am

I really wanted to do this. Had unexpected life situations and could not get course done in aloted time. Also did not have knoledge of time deadline. Talke to one person who told me this and dais I could only get 1 month extention. I did not ask for this option which was an extra $100.00. I was charged $100.00 for extra month that I did not authorize. I called , left phone messages and emailed over and over for a couple of months and never got a response or live person or return call in refernce to my concerns over unauthorized charge to my account. Reputable companies call you back. Add me to a law suit. This was a scam and BIG dissapointment!!!!!

72 Talibah January 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I too am a victim of the Great Haverhill Home Staging Course..My story is just a repeat performance of those already told..I would like to ad, those interested in starting a class action lawsuit please leave your contact information..I am sure the bottom line is all involved want a resolve.We can go on and on about our disappointment and loss but this means nothing if we don’t get started.file your complaints with the BBB first, contact HGTV with your complaints.

73 Rhonda January 30, 2010 at 11:52 am

I received my first collection call from Haverhill after stopping payment on the 750.00. They claimed to be an outside collection group, but I am not buying that for a second. I was yelled at, screamed at, and midways in the conversation when I told them I chose not to pay the balance and that they were notified in advance of my decision not to continue the course, I was told the conversation was being recorded. This is a violation of a federal law. I was a supervisor for a collection department for a large store for quite a while. There are just some things you can and cannot do, one of those being that at the beginning of the call you MUST be told the call is being recorded. If there is a class action lawsuit please count me in,and can anyone tell me which BBB to report this to?

74 Michelle February 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm

My story is the same as the other’s. Test that was impossible to pass… I was shocked. There is so much to tell. I do agree you have to be a self starter and a good study but come on already…. ” I may have been born at night but I wasn’t born last night” it was the most ridiculous thing . Unframed certificate equals $15 what the H…
Count me in if there is a class action law suit.

75 ELAINE February 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I am currently in contact with a class action suit lawyer and will keep you all posted.

Michele Reply:


Hi Elaine,

Can you update us on any contact you’ve had with a lawyer. I am pretty sure that we now have enough people here who have been taken advantage of. I would love to talk to you so we can possibly split the responsibilities of making a lawsuit happen. You can reach me at [email protected].

JRT, I feel your pain!! I still get soooo mad every time I think of my experience with Haverhill. It is just absolutely ridiculous that this is happening to people and they are not being made responsible!!


Julie Durdak Reply:

HI Michelle, Let me know where you want me to send my info for any lawsuit re: Haverhill I’ve been reading this blog, your name seems to come up alot. I also have had all the bad experiences that everyone is talking about, and I would love my money back too!! Thanks for any information.

76 Judy Kavanagh February 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm

My experiences have been very similar. Even when offered employment, no training or work is coming forward for independent stagers. PLease keep me informed of any upcoming law suits.

77 KD February 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I just want to say thank you to all who have left a message about HaverHill…. I am glad my computer redirected me to this site because I am days away from signing up for staging school and was looking into HaverHill. I now see that it would have been a huge mistake and I really dont have the money to make that mistake. I know that this is what I really want to do so if anyone out there has a better idea for me please let me know!! I appreciate all your comments and look forward to some better advice on where to start!!

78 Tandy February 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I would like to be included in the class action as well. I passed the course and the test on the second try, I applied and have since been doing nothing but waiting!!! I send FAQ questions with no response, have no luck with any phone contacts I make and never even received a certificate. My e-mail is [email protected] please let me know what I can do to help.

79 RSeaton February 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

I had a bad experience with Haverhill, and I am very attentive to detail. I tried to do everything by the book. Somehow, my information did not arrive at their office even though I sent it two-day delivery a week prior. As a result, I was kicked out of their program. I contacted them about this, but they were unforgiving. To this day, no materials have been returned to me, leaving me to wonder where they are. Did they receive them afterall?

My advice is to find a school in your area. You don’t have to work with Haverhill to be successful anyway. As a matter of fact, in time, it will probably hurt you rather than help you with all of the complaints across the Internet. I see few positive comments. Forgive me if you are legitimate, but since I think I was scammed, I have to question the legitimacy for those posting in Haverhill’s favor. I suggest U.S. citizens to look for schools locally. They are there, and they are cheaper.

Haverhill advertised as a school, and if you were successful in their course, they guaranteed to offer you employment. I’m sure they use this as a justification to weed people out. Microsoft’s certifications exams are tough and weed people out. That’s legitimate. What is not legitimate is advertising as a “school” and doing this. If they advertise as a school, then I expect support, feedback, good customer service, a learning environment and one set up to help me succeed.

The lack of interest in their “students” is a red flag. I should have known when the girl I initially talked to was more interested in signing me up for the class than providing me information on the school. I was foolish for trusting its legitimacy simply because they advertised on HGTV. I learned my lesson and encourage you to do the same–always research the school before getting in their program. Watch for red flags:

Eager to sign you up for the course rather than give you the information to make up your mind.
Not good customer service
Unwilling to talk with customers over the phone
Unwilling to followup with customers to see if they are ok and if they have any questions.
Unforgiving over extenuating circumstances

You can probably add to this list.

As they say, “Buyer Beware”.

80 JRT February 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I am truley ticked off right now. Everything that has been posted above is completely 100% true about Haverhill. Let me start off by saying that I am an interior designer with experience in hospitality and residential design and at the time, I was trying to decide whether I should try to start my own design/staging company on my own or if I should work with a company making a regular paycheck every two weeks and still be able to work on the side, developing my design business. The reason I went with Haverhill is because I thought that if I didn’t end up with a job in the end, assuming I would pass the course, then I would at least get my money back and a certification to add to my resume/portfolio and I could use the money to invest in my own company after all.

I applied for the course May 09 and was skepticle due to the many negative comments I had seen but I too was convinced by the course representative that these were just negative people who could not “make the cut” and she also informed me of the lawsuit they were filing against the blogger back in March of last year. She also had one of their recently hired homestagers call me and answer any questions or concerns that I had so that immediately made me fell better (Now I’m pretty positive all of this was part of the scam as well). I pursued the course and completed the course material as required. I passed the exercises with no problems at all, however I had to contact all of my tradespeople and have them send emails to haverhill confirming my credentials because Haverhill never contacted them directly to request their information, which in turn would have caused me to fail my course material.

I then took the test the first time and was absolutely dumbfounded by the ridiculous questions. Everything stated above is true about the “word for word” answers so I will not reiterate. However, I took it a second time after forcing myself to memorize the book and I passed. (I honestly believe that they do choose who passes because they don’t tell you what questions you missed so who’s to know if they’re being honest or not, probably NOT according to everything else they have done).

I was then notified in late November that I was eligible for employment so I began gathering all of the useless and time wasting information that they required, which took me almost 3 weeks to get together before I could send it off. I applied within the 30 day deadline to get all of my information in and I waited and waited and waited. I didn’t want to feel pushy so I emailed and posted a question on the FAQ’s page and was notified that they were understaffed at the time and that they had to catch up before they could get back to me. I waited a few more weeks. Then, 2 months after I had sent in all of my application information, I called and spoke with someone who told me I should hear back within the next day or two if I was accepted or not. (Why this had not happened sooner, who knows?) I then received an email stating that I had been accepted and it directed me to the hire agreement under my student login, which I was required to sign and send in for further information on training, etc. Well, I had a few questions regarding the hiring agreement so I wanted to call before I signed anything. I was told that they are not actually hiring stagers anymore because they are fully staffed due to the “buy out” back in July (which I had absolutely no knowledge of) and they have had to lay off a large percentage of their company , however I was still offered the “independent stager position”. Translation,” independent stager position” means that you are able to open your own company, charge what you want, run it the way you want, and Haverhill has absolutely NOTHING to do with you except give you a free 5 page website for a year (whoop di doo) and a free webinar training video (which I think is a total hoax as well) to get you started. The whole reason that I took this course is because I was not sure if I wanted to pursue starting my own interior design/staging company yet. If they were no longer hiring then they should have informed the current students months ago. It even states under the home page “Haverhill will no longer be accepting enrollment for our “Hire Program”. If you have already paid to enroll in the “Hire Program”, your terms will be honored as originally contracted.” This means that even though they may have stopped hiring then you should still get your money back if you pass the course with the required marks, which was originally stated in the contract I signed on for. The worse part of it is that the Hire Agreement they wanted me to sign is the exact same agreement that they have their actual full time employees sign. It tells you the rate you will make and everything!! I just don’t understand how they can expect me to sign some irrelevant contract when it possibly could come back to haunt me down the road somehow. That’s fine that they can’t hire me, I could care less (I’m actually grateful because it would have wasted that much more time) , but the fact that I wasted 8 months of my life on this company and $1000.00 when I could have started my own company and used the money to invest in that instead just really really irritates me.

Please include me on any upcoming law suit. My email is [email protected]. They should not be allowed to take advantage of any other innocent victims, especially in such a crappy economy where we are all struggling to get by. (I’m sorry for the long rampage but I literally just got off the phone with them about an hour ago and did not know what else to do!) Thanks for any help you can provide.

Seth Reply:


I actually have not taken the course. My girlfriend has, she is a college student and comes from a poor background. She saved up 1000 dollars so she coud do this thinking that if she passed she would get hired or at least get her money back. Well she passed everything that they needed her to. She aced the test and got like 89/100 on the course work.

She applied for the job sent all of her information in and waited. It took a little over three weeks for them to respond saying you got hired. She then called them and they said the only one she could get hired on for was as an independed contractor. basically the same situation as JT. Except my girlfriend has no other money and cannont finish paying off her tuition because her parents have poor credit and she can’t get a loan, with no credit herself yet. I mean shes only 20 years old. So she said she did not want to except the position and she wanted her 1000 back so she could finish payingher semester off so she could take summer classes.

Haverhill said that she was right and they should give her money back but… they don’t have any money to give back. That she was out of luck and out of 1000 dollars. Now I looked at the contract she signed and it clearly states Haverhills contractual obligation to give her her money back. This is not happening and I have checked the laws of ottowa and the u.s. and found that she is owed her 1000 dollars. I do not know what to do If someone has any advice please contact me at [email protected] or [email protected] I would greatly appreciate.

I will not allow this to happen to anybody else

p.s. sorry about the long post

81 Michele February 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

Hi Elaine,

Can you update us on any contact you’ve had with a lawyer. I am pretty sure that we now have enough people here who have been taken advantage of. I would love to talk to you so we can possibly split the responsibilities of making a lawsuit happen. You can reach me at [email protected].

JRT, I feel your pain!! I still get soooo mad every time I think of my experience with Haverhill. It is just absolutely ridiculous that this is happening to people and they are not being made responsible!!


82 Beth April 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I also took the haverhill test. The whole course was a joke. I have a real estate license and passed that test with no problem. I couldn’t pass the haverhill test.
Count me in .
E-mail [email protected]

83 Elaine Sadori May 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

I am sending this to everyone in my mailbox.
Please watch CTV news tonight (May 7).
I was ‘scammed’ by Haverhill. They took my money, I took their course, I passed and they neither hired nor refunded me – which is what they promised to do when I signed up.
After many calls to many people, I contacted CTV news.
They interviewed me and the segment will be on television tonight between 6:05 and 6:25.
After 6 months of my trying to speak with someone in the company, they finally phoned me 2 days ago. He finally agreed to refund me – if I have CTV pull out of airing the interview.

I chose to do the ‘right thing’ and not be taken for a fool by the company. I chose to allow the interview to run and have the company exposed!
So, tonight, please tune in to CTV news (ON YOUR SIDE) segment and see this company for who they really are.
Before that, PLEASE, encourage as many people as you can to watch tonight’s segment. Please forward this to as many people as you can.

I am grateful to CTV for listening to me and having my back.


Theresa Reply:

@Elaine Sadori, Is it possible that this airing on CTV could be downloaded for those who do not live in Canada see it?

Elaine Sadori Reply:

After it is aired, you can go onto the website, that I have already provided:
and simply click on the segment that was aired on May 7th

Theresa Reply:

@Elaine Sadori, Elaine I feel you should be commended on your efforts to help people. You are going way beyond the call of duty. Thank you, Theresa

Heather Reply:

Congrats, Elaine! Good for you, I’ll be watching, as will my entire family and group of friends who watched me go through my horrible experience with Haverhill. Good job!!

JRT Reply:

@Elaine Sadori,

Thank you so much Elaine for taking a stand for all of us. It just baffles me at how they can still be in operation after all of this? I have noticed that they stopped airing the commercials on HGTV quite some time ago. However, I don’t know if it’s just me but has anyone else noticed the new commercials on HGTV that are out for the interior decorating course that is being offered online, and if you don’t make your money back by your first job (or something crazy like that), then they will refund you your money for the course?? It looks strangely familiar from the setup, the way the commercial is arranged, even the voice of the spokesperson. I wouldn’t be surprised if they opened up another company and are pulling the same scam with this course as well! I may be wrong but from what I have heard about the owner of this company and the scams he has pulled in the past, it wouldn’t surprise me. Anyways, just wanted to point that out.

Thanks so much again Elaine for stepping up to the plate. Hopefully now they will be forced to shut down because the word is out. I’m still upset that I never received my money back but I have to move on and do what I can. I’m in the process of starting my own homestaging/design company as well so I wish the best of luck and much success!

84 Beth May 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

I know haverhill is a scam. I think if people start writing to HGTV about letting them advertise on their channel it might have an effect. Thats what I am doing.

85 Barbara Jennings May 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

So the misery continues. I feel so bad for everyone.


You can visit http://www.bbb.org and find the links there if wishing to register a complaint.

But just so you know this is not the norm, I allow my students to download the exam from the first day, read through the questions to help them prepare to study and know what to focus on, then allow them to take the test whenever they are ready with no time limits whatsoever. I’m sure I’m the only one who does this but then I’m in the business of helping and supporting students, not the other way around. There are trainers who are student-centered and those who are not, unfortunately.

The Academy of Staging and Redesign

P.S. I’ve written many, many books for the staging and redesign industry. Most are available from Amazon.Com and all are available from my website. Your opportunities are not over. Help is all around you.

86 Theresa May 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I agree with you Beth. I am somewhat surprised that HGTV did not check them out better before allowing Haverhill to advertise. I am disappointed in HGTV.

87 Elaine Sadori May 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm


88 Barbara Jennings May 8, 2010 at 12:03 am

Congratulations Elaine. Too bad they didn’t mention your website for you.

Elaine Sadori Reply:

@Barbara Jennings,
Ya, that would have been nice

89 Debbie May 10, 2010 at 2:21 am

I had no idea Haverhill was a scam. I took the course and test, but I was told I didn’t meet their requirements for employment. Not happy about that and not really wanting to have my own business I have began the plan to do that. I have purchased books on how to start your own business and gone for help from SCORE. I hope having a certificate from Haverhill won’t hurt my chances with my own Home Staging Business.

Was anyone successful in getting a refund or is it a waste of time to try?

I’m glad I came across this article and everyone’s comments. Now I understand why when I asked for a Business in a box(to help me with the business planning) and a subscription to the Home Staging magazine Haverhill talked about on their website I was told they didn’t have them yet.

Thanks again.

90 Debbie May 10, 2010 at 2:36 am

Has anyone started a Home Staging business even though Haverhill scammed them? Now I’m unsure what to do. I will follow the advice of others by contacting BBB and HGTV.

[email protected]

91 Barbara Jennings May 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

For a time, when things were at its worst, I offered a significant discount on my courses to help unhappy HH people and have seen many go on to build a successful business who had been hoping to get hired by HH. Many have purchased my books to “fill in the gaps”. Many have gotten too discouraged and fallen by the wayside, I’m sure.

I’ve heard that many realtors and tradespeople came to dislike anything connected with them due to barrage of requests for the same thing. I suspect that will be worse in highly competitive areas but I doubt anyone has a gauge on that. My recommendation is to test the waters in your area and see if you get negative responses or vibes. If so, discard association with them.

It’s important to remember that “certification” (or whatever it is called), while helpful, is not what will or will not make you successful. In the end, it is YOU who will make or break your endeavor. You need to be well trained and confident. You need to properly promote and advertise your services. You need to be likeable. You need to be trustworthy. You need to be good at what you do and get repeat business and referrals. You need to be dedicated and committed to your business and to your clients. You need to be a self-starter. And you need to have “lasting power” – the ability to hang in there during low seasons and high seasons, no matter what the economy is doing.

Debbie Reply:

@Barbara Jennings, Thank you so much, Barbara for your comments. I wasn’t sure that I should even start my business after reading all the comments. Your comments have made me feel better. Hopefully this won’t come back to bit me.

I have ordered your new book; Home Staging for Profit. I am looking forward to reading it. What other books of yours would you suggest I purchase to help me out. Do any of your books cover how to start a business? I have talked with SCORE and read a Home Staging book from FabJob.

Again, Thank you for your comments and suggestions.

92 Barbara Jennings May 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hi Debbie,

Home Staging for Profit is my basic tutorial on how to start your staging business. It covers all of the business set up concepts generic to most businesses, regardless of industry, plus it teaches you how to do consultations, questions to ask, gives you lots of forms, teaches you about marketing and promoting your business, tools to acquire and lots of in-depth stuff. I think you’ll find it is loaded with just what you’re seeking and goes way beyond any other book on the market for starting a staging business.

It does not get into design concepts, hwoever, which are also very, very important. I cover the design side of things in an electronic book (loaded with over 600 colorful photos). This teaches you now to professionally arrange a clients furniture and accessories so that buyers will fall in love with the home. Some homes you will stage will be furnished, so you need to know how to edit what’s there and arrange each room appropriately. If the home is vacant, you’ll need this knowledge to figure out what furniture and accessories you should bring in to do the home justice and help buyers fall in love with the floor plan and visualize themselves living in the home. The name of this ebook is “Decor Secrets Revealed”. It has a sequel workbook called “Arrange Your Stuff”.

I’ve covered the whole gamut with several books, each focusing on a different aspect of the business, but you’ll go a very long, long way just with these two or three. I’ve been told by other HH students that they learned more from just one of my books than they did in the entire course with HH. Since I have not taken their program, I cannot comment, but I do take their word. So I think you’ll be very pleased and you can always write me for personal advice too and actually get a same-day response.

Look, you feel you got lemons when you thought you were getting something better. So you just have to regroup, get some “sugar” and “water” and a large spoon, stir it all up and turn the lemons into lemonade and never look back. Never let anyone else spoil your goals and dreams. As Winston Churchill said, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” You’ve just got to re-group and move on and you can do it. Many others already have.

Debbie Reply:

@Barbara Jennings,
Hi Barbara,
I have been reading your book Home Staging for Profit and really enjoying it. I had some questions about your other books. I am going to order Rearrange It! and probably Decor Secrets Realed. Is it necessary to have both Decor Secrets Revealed and Arrange your Stuff? What is the diffeent between the two? Do any of your books include a section on wall groupings or should I buy your Wall Groupings book too? What is the book Home Staging for Yourself helpful for?

Can I bounce some business name of you too? I thinking of Ready! Stage!
Sell!, Ready! Set! Stage!, Debbie’s Staging & Designs or DD Staging & Designs. What do you think?
Thanks for listening and your help.

Barbara Jennings (Academy of Staging and Redesign) Reply:


Hi Debbie,

Got your email and I’m pleased you’re happy with the training you’re getting in “Home Staging for Profit”.

To answer your questions:
1) Decor Secrets Revealed is the introductory guide (ebook) on the professional techniques you’ll want to know to properly arrange a client’s furniture and accessories.
2) Arrange Your Stuff is the sequel (workbook style) that teaches you how to look at a room with furniture and see that it can often be successfully arranged several different ways. This helps you think of multiple solutions rather than just one because you’ve also got to take into account the usage of the room by your client. It also gives you a reason to return in the future and give your client a different arrangement for a whole fresh approach. The workbook can be carried in your vehicle so if you find yourself at a client’s home and can’t resolve their problems, you can slip out to your vehicle and scan the workbook for an idea or resolution. There will be those pesky rooms that are very hard to arrange.
3) Wall Groupings! deals solely with learning how to arrange pictures, mirrors, artwork, shelves and a wide array of wall ornaments into cohesive wall groupings. It’s probably not that necessary when doing staging because in staging you’ll be removing most of the wall decorations, but it is crucial training for re-designing a home. There is some training in wall design in the other books but not that much. I think you’ll find this book really teaches the subject thoroughly.
4) Home Staging for Yourself is a 100+ page booklet that is written to the seller. It is a massive checklist of to-do things for the typical home – more thorough and exhaustive than you’ll find anywhere. Each item in the list (broken into rooms and areas of a home) has a bullet next to it. Instead of wasting the stager’s time to go back to one’s home or office to construct a list of recommendations for the do-it-yourself seller, you simply carry one of the booklet’s into the home and as you walk thru the home, you circle the bullets of the tasks that need to be addressed for each part of the home. Each section has blank lines at the bottom of the section so you can write in any task you see needs doing that isn’t listed already in the book. So it allows you to easily cover virtually everything quickly and easily and customize it as well. If the seller wants to do the work, they have an action plan to use (which will probably look and feel so overwhelming they’ll want you to do it for them after all). If you’re going to do the work, you’ve got the action plan for yourself already in hand. Saves you incredible time and effort and you just pass the cost of the guides along to the client so they cost you nothing. It’s a brilliant way to do a staging consult. You can buy them in quantities of 5 or 10 at a time from my website. They are not available to the general public.
5) I like the first business name you mentioned as it is catchy and mentions staging, though it does not include re-design. So it depends on what you’ll be focusing on, so if staging is your main goal, it’s a great name. Hopefully it is not already in use.

93 Rose Rodriguez May 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I too was a victim of HH and I have been researching your program and it looks like it’s alot to learn in 21 days and I’m not sure which program to order please advise…

94 DZ May 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Thank you so much Barbara for your comments. I have ordered your new book Home Staging for Profit. Looking forward to reading it. Do you have any other books you would suggest for me to purchase?

95 Barbara Jennings May 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Hi Rose,

Unlike HH, I have no time limits ever. So even though we advertise it as 21 days, you can take as much time as you like to go through it. We ask you to take the design training and read the basic business training for staging and redesign. You’ll know more than enough to feel confident to get your business started and launch it and start to work. Down the road, after you get your feet wet and get some experience, then we suggest you come back and study the more advanced training you’ll also receive in the courses.

I wrote previously that you’ll be able to download the exam from the first day and read thru the questions and you can go through that phase any time you feel ready. Many of the questions are on design, so you’ll not only need the design training to pass the exam, you’ll want and need it when your clients or prospects ask you questions. It’s all part of preparing you to work, think and respond as a true professional.

It really is very natural and common sense stuff, but it does involve your time and effort to learn – and I’ll be just an email away to answer any questions you might have along the way.

My best overall valued course is the Diamond Ruby. Naturally it is the most investment, but you get tons of training (your own library of reference material), lots of visual aids and tools. I’ll load you up with more than you’ll ever need, but not less than you’ll want. Currently we’re running an extra $300 off promotional on that course.

I know you probably feel it’s a lot after spending what you did with HH, but remember, you’re still spending far, far, far less than you would to get the average business up and running. Believe me, I’ve spent tens of thouands over the years to acquire the expertise and wisdom I’ll be passing on to you for a fraction of what it cost me to learn. So even though you feel your investment with HH was a huge disappointment and you regret the loss of that investment in $$$$, it’s still pocket change comparatively speaking. I don’t know if that helps any, but everyone would do well to look at the bigger picture, not just what you feel you’re out right now.

This experience will also embed within you the importance making sure you always give your own clients everything you promise them and more. So look on this as a vital learning experience that will help keep you on track in the future, safeguarding your future decisions and those of your clients who will put their faith and trust in you. It’s all good then.

And home staging is one of the few industries that is growing, inspite of the economy, so the profit potential is HUGE, particularly at this time of year.
Let me know if you have additional questions.

Elaine Sadori Reply:

@Barbara Jennings,
I commend you on putting your comments on this page. In your position this is very smart marketing. Here you have a very long list of names of disgruntled ‘waiting to be’ home stagers. There is obviously much to be learned from you.
We must all think outside the box at where and how to market our businesses.

One step at at time and determination. Be sure to get a website up and running and give out your business cards to EVERYONE! Read as many books as you can. I have read many and intend to keep on reading. Think of Haverhill as just the beginning of all great things ahead of you.
Good luck to everyone

96 Barbara Jennings May 10, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Elaine, I don’t know if you have any Court TV shows in Canada like we have here. In the US you go file your civil suit at the appropriate court jurisdiction and then contact the Show and submit an application to get on the show. If approved, the show invites the defendant to also appear to defend themselves and each party is guaranteed to come away with some cash to varying degrees. Whoever wins the suit is paid the amount awarded by the Show instead of having to try to get their money back directly from the loser. So you not only would win the case and get paid the award by the Show, the case would go out over TV wherever it airs and maybe even get a rerun or two before it is canned.

My daughter was in a band about 4 years ago and the band was scammed out of $1000 for a performance (one of 4 bands scammed by the producer). She got him to sign a personal IOU the night of the show when he claimed he couldn’t pay the band. Then she had to scrounge around for nearly 3 years to find a good address to have him served with the documents. Just before the case would have exceeded the statute of limitations, she found him on Facebook announcing he was throwing himself a birthday party with date, time and place. So she filed the paperwork, had him served at his birthday party, and was accepted on the Show. Naturally he lost. He got a small stipend and the award paid to the band on his behalf, and the band got their $1000, lots of free publicity, and she herself walked away with a nice tidy profit for her trouble on top of that. And the show has aired all over the country at least 3 times since.

When you’ve got contracts that were signed or issued by one “owner” and it’s a corporation, in the US you have to sue the corporation and can only sue the individual if you can prove the person was an officer and/or director and that there was deliberate fraud. I know it sounds really good to try to band together into some kind of class action, and I’m certainly no expert, but I believe that class actions really only benefit the attorneys, if you can even find one to take it on.

If you’re out of the area and purchased over the internet, you might check with your local courthouse to see if you can file a suit locally, which might get you passed your first hurdle – distance. I’m sure your laws are different from ours but that, as you rightly said, is your first obstacle I should think. Sounds like you’ve got the proof to make your case all right, but here in the US you get very little help actually collecting your money even when you do win. If a corporation doesn’t care about their reputation it’s even worse. However, here a judgment of this sort is good for 10 years and can be renewed, but it still doesn’t help you collect if they evade payment.

I’ve had to sue two corporations in my 40 years in business. I got my money both times out of court just before the date to appear, but they knew they would lose and didn’t want it on their record. I’m afraid you don’t have that leverage working for you in this case, plus you’re out of their province (as you stated).

Still, wonders never cease, and you might get lucky and they might pay up to keep from going to court or at least you have the satisfaction of putting a judgment on their record. You probably can contact someone at your court via email by going to the website of the court in your jurisdiction. So many things can be done over the internet nowadays – not like in the old days.

Some 15 years ago I was scammed by a guy out of about $8000. I tried to sue him in civil court and won, but couldn’t get a dime out of him. He was self employed and went on the run. So I filed a criminal complaint. I was told it was almost impossible to prove he committed fraud, but I didn’t let that deter me. I built a strong paper trail on him, wrote up my complete story, and submitted my documents to the police. It took a year before an investigator started to look into the matter, but he eventually did his job and the DA took on the case (another miracle) because they considered it a slam dunk. An APB (all points bulletin) when out to have him arrested, but because it was not a violent crime, they just waited for him to get a traffic violation or some other incident to happen. It took 8 years for him to finally get arrested and by then the money was worth much less, alas.

He decided to plead guilty if I was willing to accept restitution, which I did, and he spent 4 months in jail and paid me back the money, plus had 3 years probation and now has a felony on his record in a state where you only get 3 strikes before going to prison for life.

So there are steps a person can take if they feel that strongly about it, but you’ve got to ask yourself if $1000 is worth all that time and effort. If you decide not to pursue it in civil or criminal court, then let go of it altogether and free yourself from the anger and disappointment and focus solely on your future. It is just money and money can be replaced. Your time cannot be replaced. You have survived and you’ll continue to thrive from here forward and be a wiser person to boot. I know I am.

I write all this to everyone so that you all might feel better about what has happened (you are not alone) and know that “what comes round, goes around” eventually. So even if you let it all go (which they count on you doing), God is still a just God and vengeance is His and there’s nothing wrong with cutting your emotional and mental losses too.

There is always recourse – but is it worth the time and trouble? Only you can answer that question. I hope this lengthy comment is helpful to many.

Elaine Sadori Reply:

@Barbara Jennings,
Thanks for your reply. One of the first steps that I took was to call Small Claims Court, the Quebec Government and the BBB. We were well on our way, when they said that because Haverhill is based in Ontario, the Quebec Small Claims court had no jurisdiction. Then I went to a federal level and spoke to many people. I was told that there was nothing that they could do for me. That is when I called CTV. They said all that they could, within legals limits. They had their lawyers check the entire script before it aired.
My next step will be the newspaper.
I don’t think I want to bother with continuing to chase the different levels of government. After the newspaper, that’s it! I must worry about my business.
I tried to find your website, but for some reason, couldn’t get directly to it.
Could you please send me the link. You can email me at [email protected].

97 Barbara Jennings (Academy of Staging and Redesign) May 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Hi Debbie,

Got your email and I’m pleased you’re happy with the training you’re getting in “Home Staging for Profit”.

To answer your questions:
1) Decor Secrets Revealed in the introductory guide (ebook) on the professional techniques you’ll want to know to properly arrange a client’s furniture and accessories.
2) Arrange Your Stuff is the sequel (workbook style) that teaches you how to look at a room with furniture and see that it can often be successfully arranged several different ways. This helps you think of multiple solutions rather than just one because you’ve also got to take into account the usage of the room by your client. It also gives you a reason to return in the future and give your client a different arrangement for a whole fresh approach. The workbook can be carried in your vehicle so if you find yourself at a client’s home and can’t resolve their problems, you can slip out to your vehicle and scan the workbook for an idea or resolution. There will be those pesky rooms that are very hard to arrange.
3) Wall Groupings! deals solely with learning how to arrange pictures, mirrors, artwork, shelves and a wide array of wall ornaments into cohesive wall groupings. It’s probably not that necessary when doing staging because in staging you’ll be removing most of the wall decorations, but it is crucial training for re-designing a home. There is some training in wall design in the other books but not that much. I think you’ll find this book really teaches the subject thoroughly.
4) Home Staging for Yourself is a 100+ page booklet that is written to the seller. It is a massive checklist of to-do things for the typical home – more thorough and exhaustive than you’ll find anywhere. Each item in the list (broken into rooms and areas of a home) has a bullet next to it. Instead of wasting the stager’s time to go back to one’s home or office to construct a list of recommendations for the do-it-yourself seller, you simply carry one of the booklet’s into the home and as you walk thru the home, you circle the bullets of the tasks that need to be addressed for each part of the home. Each section has blank lines at the bottom of the section so you can write in any task you see needs doing that isn’t listed already in the book. So it allows you to easily cover virtually everything quickly and easily. If the seller wants to do the work, they have an action plan to use (which will probably look and feel so overwhelming they’ll want you to do it for them afterall). If you’re going to do the work, you’ve got the action plan for yourself already in hand. Saves you incredible time and effort and you just pass the cost of the guides along to the client so they cost you nothing. It’s a brilliant way to do a staging consult. You can buy them in quantities of 5 or 10 at a time from my website. They are not available to the general public.
5) I like the first business name you mentioned as it is catchy and mentions staging, though it does not include re-design. So it depends on what you’ll be focusing on, so if staging is your main goal, it’s a great name. Hopefully it is not already in use.

98 Debra Peck May 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

This is a huge scam. I can’t say that strongly enough. They took the money I got when I was laid off my job, promised me success and a job and even praised me for the work I did. But when it came time to take the test, there was no way anyone could pass that test. There are too many fill in the blanks… unless you can memorize the whole book you can not pass this test. Now I’m so what of a professional student with more than 198 credit hours at school. I also have a GPA of 3.75. I could not pass this test!!!!! They won’t take my calls, they won’t refund my money, and some one named Chef Michael answers the phone from time to time. I did however manage to get HGTV from being one of their sponsors by calling them repeatedly and sending them the sites that have reviews about Haverhill. So please spare yourself the time, money and emotional heartache and don’t do it.

99 Debbie May 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I agree with you Debra about test. Those multiple choose questions were Impossible. I email HH, HGTV, and the BBB. Never heard back from HH. I don’t think I’ll be getting a refund, but I didn’t send back anything. Do you think that would help?

100 KATHY May 23, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Why don’t you privatley email each other ????? why are you posting publicly your converastions? Can I say….free advertising????? Knock it off…. we are wanting education…..not publication….c’mon for sure what a set up!!!

Debbie Reply:

If it wasn’t for this blog I wouldn’t have found out about the scam. I would have just thought I just couldn’t pass the test. Isn’t ths what the site is for to conmunicate with other HH grads? It’s not advertising…its warning others not to take the course thinking they will be hired and here about other peoples experiences.

101 Kathleen May 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I wish I would have seen these posts before I went through the cost, trouble and hopes of becoming a home stager. I started my course work in November 2009 and sent in my homework in December with proper time for it to get to Canada. Because of the holidays it arrived 4 days late and they used that as the excuse for not hiring me. I passed the homework with excellent grades and with comments like “excellent work” and “you really have great potential for being a great stager” , passed the online test with flying colors BUT cannot be hired because the homework showed up a few days late. When I posted a comment that they are basing my potential as home stager on the fact that the postal service delivered my homework late the response was “we need documentation that you sent the package before the due date”. Well I didn’t have a receipt at that point and now I understand the reasons. It has nothing to do with me or a receipt, it was an excuse NOT to have to hire me. It also said on the website that my certificate was mailed out in March and it is now May and I still do NOT have it. I went to the website today and it is not longer working. This is so disappointing but it will not stop me from trying to get a business going of my own. Good luck to all of those who share my pain of being ripped off.

Debi Peck Reply:

@Kathleen, Folks go to http://www.facebook.com and in the search bar but haverhill staging students. the facebook page comes up and I do believe we together can start a class action lawsuit but we must be together to do it. TOo many of the stories are the same.

102 Heather May 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Hi Kathleen,

I understand your frustration 100%. I too went through the “H” word for training and had a horrific experience that was incredibly stressful and maddening. On a bright note, I did launch my own company and am doing well. Don’t be discouraged; if you have the will to get your own company going, you can do it. Don’t let them get you down, although that’s easier said than done. Go for it!

Elke Braun Reply:


Hi. I read your commentary. I too had nothing but trouble with Haverhill. How did you go about setting up your own business and how did you decide what to charge? Elke

103 Kathy Dimovski June 29, 2010 at 11:42 am

I took the Haverhill course and I feel like many others, they scamed alot of people. There is a lawsuit pending against them and I would like to know more about that. Can anyone there tell me more about this. Who is involved? Can I join? etc. Your prompt attention would be greatly appreciated.

Debi Peck Reply:

@Kathy Dimovski,
go to facebook.com and join the haverhill staging students in their fight. I will see you there.

104 Debbie June 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I’d be interested in finding out about the lawsuit too.

Debi Peck Reply:

@Debbie, I have an attorney that I’m currently working with on something else. I will mention this to them. Please if you have been scammed by Haverhill please join the Facebook group. The more their the better. We could shut them down and possibly get our money back.

Rose Reply:

@Debi Peck, Hi Debi, I also have been scammed by HH. and have not heard anything since but the ironic thing is I just recieved a certificate from HH and I did not even take the course I paid the 250.00 at first… do you know how this could be and if anyone else recieved this certificate ? I see that they are no longer in operation.



105 Darlene August 14, 2010 at 10:13 am

I completed my H.H. course 2009, but of course did not get approved for employment, on my own I am doing small jobs regarding home staging, but if you have the talent before H.H. , theirs is just a piece of useless paper.
Count me in for a lawsuit, nobody has extra money to spend on a course for $1000.00.
Thanks Darlene

106 Sue August 15, 2010 at 11:06 am

I too took the Haverhill course. I did manage to pass it & get my certificate but not without tons of frustration, minimal guidance & a lot of stress. As I was going through the course, they continually changed what they needed from me making me feel like it was impossible to complete the course, never mind pass it.
At the end of it, I emailed them….because as we all know, you could never phone them…& mentioned that I wanted to purchase the book that they advertised in their course manuals, that gave you the know how to continue as a stager. Their response was that it hadn’t been published yet. I was miffed at how they could advertise a course the way that they did & leave people at completion time, with minimal tools to be able to start their own business. I will go on to work as a home stager…..Unfortunately, it won’t pay the high wages that Haverhill claims that it would but I will make the best out of a bad situation & carry on. Good luck to everyone out there that has been scammed by Haverhill. Hopefully they can find some kind of positive out of a negative situation.

107 Rose August 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Has anyone recieve a certificate from HH? I did and did not go through the course.


108 JoLee September 6, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Hello everyone. I actually paid and completed the Haverhill staging course. As I do not live in the US I expected not to be offered work etc. I just did the programme as I had an interest in Home Staging and interior design. I actually did everything requested and passed. I was only waiting on my certificate. I was informed that the certificates would be send sometime soon. I am still waiting. Sometime ago I went on line to read when my message board only to find ‘nothing’. They have disappeared. So upon further investigation I now find all the various comments and disappointed clients. So like everyone, HS seems to be a scam and I would like my money back. Is there a class action suit in progress?

109 Barbara Jennings January 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I completely sympathize with all of you who feel victimized.

While you’re totally within your rights to sue in small claims, I fear you would have to do it in the court system within their jurisdiction, not yours.
To form a class action suit, is far more difficult, costly and time consuming and, honestly, not worth the time and effort, I fear. Whenever you involve attorneys, they can deliberately drag it out, costing everyone huge sums of money. Even if you win, which you clearly would do, that does not mean you’ll get a single cent back.

I know for a fact here in the USA, you can take someone to civil court (in California the maximum you can sue for is $5000), but even after you win, you still haven’t received any money. Typically, here is how it goes down:

1) You sue in Small Claims and probably win
2) The defendant gets 30 days to appeal
3) You’ll win the appeal too – probably, but nothing is guaranteed, and you still haven’t received a cent back
4) You get a judgment against the company for 10 years
5) But the company has gone out of business and claims they have no assets
6) Company was likely incorporated, so you have difficult time getting judgment to go against the individuals as you have to break the corporate shield to do so.
7) If you are successful in getting a judgment against the individuals, unless individuals are working for another company, you cannot attach their wages. If you want to, you have to find out their new employer, how to serve the employer and have documents served. More fees involved.
8) Some people get fired when another company is notified they are being served a wage attachment on an employee – there’s a risk.
9) If they can’t have wages attached, it’s really even more difficult to get any money out of them at all. Many people could care less that they have a judgment against them. They just won’t pay it – ever.

I tell you this so that you have a small clue as to how difficult it is to recapture your money. I’ve had success suing large corporations, but only because they were still in business and wanted to protect their reputation and prevent a judgment going against them. I have not been as successful suing individuals, especially those who are self-employed. You have to haul them into court to declare their assets, then go after those – more costs, time and effort with no guarantee of success.

Any time you’re dealing with a company that is already defunct, or seriously dishonest defendants, you’re going to have immense trouble getting any money back, even though you win. And if attorneys are involved, they will take the lion’s share of the proceeds for their efforts, leaving you with a small amount to divide up amongst yourselves.

I know, it’s not fair, but it’s the way the court system works – at least that is my experience in California. Your ultimate reward for your effort would amount to little more than the satisfaction – but you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it or not. I’m a big believer in standing on principle – but there are times when it’s better to cut your losses and leave it in the past.

Know that you’re not alone. There is some comfort in that. In the future, take more time to evaluate promises, particularly those that seem to be too good to be true. You are now wiser and smarter than you were before, and that’s always worth something. It’s now all water under the bridge – spent money. Move on and stay positive as best you can. Regroup – money is replaceable but time is not.

Those others of us who are home staging trainers in the industry absolutely hate that this happened to you. It hurts all of us. But we are grateful for your diligence and efforts in getting your stories out there. You can take some comfort in having helped bad companies go out of business and helping innocent future victims reconsider before meeting the same sad end.

Good luck to all of you.

My heartfelt advice: Continue to seek after your dreams and don’t let this unfortunate situation deter you from your goals. If you want to continue forward, the Academy of Staging and Redesign has many, many inexpensive resources to fill in the gaps and help you realize your dreams afterall. You can rise from the ashes and triumph in the end! It’s up to you.

Best wishes,
Barbara Jennings, Author/Director
Academy of Staging and Redesign

110 Joan February 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm

They are definitely a scam. I should have listened to my inner voice when I was speaking to a representative and I had asked her how they were going to guarantee me a job when they did not exude a presence here…I live in the U.S.
The person I spoke with hesitated and stuttered while she tried to explain to me how they would make it possible. She was NOT very convincing, as she had to think of the response AND she did not even seem sure. She gave a tentative answer. “We will have SOMETHING,” she said.
And yes, they WERE featured on HGTV, a national broadcast…which only goes to show, don’t think anyone or any business is reliable just because you saw them on national t.v., or Google ads, etc., etc. Scams are here to stay. Question EVERYTHING.

111 Debbie DeMarco March 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Has anyone started their own business with the training received from Haverhill? Do you feel like you have enough knowledge? I wonder if I should take another course.

112 Traci June 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

I wanted to leave a message for people regarding home staging in general. I am an artist who does independent home staging, and everyone should know this: there is NO SUCH THING as being “accredited” for staging. As other people have said above, interior design and the like are different.
Most of these staging “universities” are scams, and the BBB rating they have is only for actual job performance, not educational institutions.

It’s a pyramid scheme, where some people are suckered into both taking the course and also hiring them….but usually short term. To make it in staging, you simply need a good eye, maybe some background in set deco, and connections with Realtors. And inventory availability.

Honestly, it’s all crap.

113 Barbara Jennings June 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm

There is a measure of truth in the above comment but there is a good deal of falsehood as well.

Haverhill, unfortunately, did turn out to be a dishonorable company, making promises it did not intend to keep or making the process so difficult most people “failed” to pass their standards. The marketplace as forced them out of business.

As for accreditation, there are no statewide or federal standards in the home staging industry – it is unregulated, thank goodness. Government intervention prevents average folks from even starting a business, let alone succeeding in one. So be thrilled we are free to enter the field and build our own success stories.

Companies or individuals that offer to teach often offer their own private “credentials”. Each has their own criteria or standard, which differs depending on the integrity of the trainer. My standards are far more stringent than others because I require my students to pass an exam (so I know they have studied the vast amount of design and business training I provide) and I insist they submit a portfolio of their early work (so I can see if they are able to translate what they have learned into real projects and if they are functioning at a professional level). Some students have failed; some have been put “on hold” giving them time to fix or improve their work; and many pass right away. Not until our professional panel is confident that a student will serve their clients in a professional manner are they granted the use of our valuable designation which makes it the designation of choice. We chose the term “certification” rather than “accredited” because the latter word we felt could be misleading as one usually thinks of a 4-year institution of higher learning when that word is used.

It is true that no one needs to be “accredited” or “certified” or have any other designation to be successful. I have said this since 2002. However, it can certainly help when marketing one’s business as the consumer and Realtors often look for some kind of designation as an indication of one’s professionalism. Our successful candidates can honestly tell their prospects that they EARNED their designation. I’ve often found a student’s own confidence and sense of fulfillment rises to a much higher level after achieving the designation – and confidence is essential for success. But just as in any other industry on the planet, beware of trainers who will give you a meaningless designation just because you paid for something.

As for what you really need to be successful, it is a good deal more complicated than a good eye, set deco and connections with Realtors. You actually don’ t need a good eye because you can learn what you need to know and develop an “eye” for design. You must learn how to professionally arrange furniture and accessories, create unity and flow, balance a room while making all parts of a room accessible and visually appealing. But this can all be learned with the right trainer. As for connections with Realtors, this is certainly a plus, but there are many, many additional ways of garnering business too – sometimes even more effective – and a good trainer will teach you all of this. And let’s not forget training in how to set up and manage a business, especially important for those who have never been an entrepreneur before.

To say “it’s all crap” does a disservice to you, a disservice to legitimate, hard working and ethical trainers and a disservice to the industry as a whole. Are there unethical people in the industry? Yes there are, so one must feret them out and avoid them. It’s called doing your due diligence. But are there genuine trainers and companies and online “schools” with high standards waiting to help you? Yes, there are.

I’ve written 11 books for the home staging and interior redesign industry which formulate the core of my courses (which can also be acquired individually). I’ve examined every conceivable aspect of the industry to guide a student seamlessly into a whole world of confidence, professionalism and integrity. I’ve also written several electronic books on design aspects and offer a private training website filled with hundreds of articles, forms, discounts, other resources and much, much more.

Many ex-Haverhill students have come to me for help and to get past the bad experiences they’ve had. It has given me great pleasure to help them turn their “lemon” into “lemonade”.

Lastly let me say this: Everything in life is a choice. We can choose to live in defeat or we can choose to move on and do whatever it takes to achieve our dreams. No matter what one’s experience has been, education should never stop and, in the end, it all boils down to the individual person and what they are willing to do to reach their goals.

I hope this brings more balance to the debate.

114 Traci June 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Barbara, with all due respect, I stand by the fact that people were suckered into the “accredited” and “certified” classifications. And the light is shining on that now. And that, my friend, is “crap”.

115 Barbara Jennings June 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm

It is unfair to lump all training companies together in the staging industry just as it would be unfair to lump all companies in any industry into the same group. The same can also be said of people “in general”. Your original comment which I responded to states you wish to comment regarding “home staging in general”. I totally agree that there are companies who have been less than honorable in the industry, but certainly not all – not even the majority.

I became successful without being certified by any one or any entity and resisted offering certification of any kind for several years. But students requested it. So I decided that were I to offer some kind of designation, I would do it the right way and insist on accountability and proof of professional performance. Otherwise it would be meaningless.

In an industry of any kind where a certain segment of those providing services claim to have one designation or another (irregardless of how it is labeled), it then forces a trainer to offer something so that their students can be competitive in the marketplace. That’s why I say it certainly can’t hurt to have a designation, if it is legitimate, but if you don’t have one you could be losing potential business and never even know it, much less why.

I therefore still say that to claim it is all “crap” on the internet (your words, not mine) is unfair, untrue and even defamatory and could open you up to a legal issue. I would therefore caution you to refrain from over generalizations of this nature out in the public forum. You’re welcome to your opinion, of course, but putting this type of declaration on the internet that defames the innocent could come back to cause you real legal problems.

If you think a particular company is poor and you feel you were victimized, then voice your opinion about that company and name the company specifically. But I would invite you to use extreme caution when it comes to making gross generalizations geared to preventing consumers from a fair and honest assessment of all other companies in the field.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want anyone posting claims that “all home stagers regardless of who they are or how they were trained” are phony and unprofessional and therefore full of “crap”, would you? Because a generalization like that would be totally biased, untrue and unfair. And it would invite anger and possible action from those who are victimized by the claim.

The internet is not an anonymous vacuum, Traci. To assume so is a mistake. When making an accusation one must have specific proof, such as a personal experience. Then one is entitled to share the experience and one’s feelings about the experience. That would fall under free speech. To make comments and bold statements in public of a general nature, however, one needs to be able to back up those statements with proof from several sets of experiences sufficient enough to form a consensus of opinion. You have provided no such proof or examples – just your general suppositions – and based on what? I don’t know and neither does anyone else reading these posts.

This is NOT protected as free speech. It is irresponsible speech and therefore actionable. By law you are not allowed to defame others in a general attempt to squelch their ability to freely represent and market their products and services to consumers.

Our ten year track record speaks for itself – but I’m sure you could understand (if the situation were reversed) why any reputable company with long years and considerable assets invested in developing an outstanding product line (including designations) would vigorously defend their reputation and the reputations of others in the industry that have been maligned by publicly posted statements that are gross exaggerations aimed at attacking ALL companies in the industry. A word of caution, “my friend”. You’re walking on the edge here.

Free speech is free only so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of the innocent and is supported with concrete proof to back up the claims being made. And even then, any claim made public can still be challenged in court and there is no such thing as anonymity on the internet.

Barbara Jennings, Director
The Academy of Staging and Redesign

P.S. Our company, by the way, has always enjoyed an A+ rating with the BBB and we’ve trained tens of thousands of satisfied students across the United States, Canada, Australia and other parts of the globe.

116 Traci June 8, 2011 at 12:43 am

Barbara, please don’t start veiled threats about lawsuits, especially since you are the only one talking about yourself here. I don’t know, maybe I touched a nerve? I advice spending such precious time elsewhere.

117 Barbara Jennings June 8, 2011 at 1:13 am

Lawsuits, veiled or not, are a reality of our times. You should heed the advice because it’s good advice.

118 Traci June 8, 2011 at 1:32 am

The irony of your tactics, is now your name and business comes up on Google hits for “home staging” and “scam”. All because of some aggressive marketing choice you made to place yourself in a thread about another company. First you play nice and concerned with others, then threaten people.

Good job, you showed me!

Good luck, Barbara!

119 Barbara Jennings June 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

I have defended the industry as it is a good industry, but like all industries has, unfortunately, those few who are not ethical and those few who are not fair in their evaluations. I have spoken the truth and I believe those that read these exchanges will easily recognize that fact and see the wisdom of the good advice I’ve given you. If you feel threatened, Traci, then at least your awareness has been heightened to the unintended consequences that can result from publishing generalized negative opinions as if they were facts which only serve to hurt innocent parties.

I’m very comfortable with being part of this forum or any forum so that I can bring out the truth, encourage those who have been led astray and keep the discussion balanced for the good of the industry as well as the good of consumers. I have helped many, many people as a result and that’s a very good thing. Though you won’t admit it, I’ve even helped you.

So in return, Traci, I wish for you wisdom and better judgment going forward.

120 Linda Bennett August 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

OK- I just found this site about Haverhill and now I don’t feel so alone!
I too took the course and paid the $997 (plus shipping charges to send them the completed staging exercises they required). I too failed the first test (the only test I have ever failed in my life) but passed the second time I took it. After that there was a waning of communication from them. As I kept inquiring about when I would be hired and start work, I was put off several times and then referred to their “Start your own Staging Business” seminar. Of course that was a huge red flag – so I called them repeatedly and was finally told they were declaring bankruptcy! I demanded my money back; quoting to them the verbiage in their contract I had signed promising me my money back. They said sorry, no can do. So of course I was very angry after all the hours of work I had done and the money I had paid.
Is there a current lawsuit? If so, I want in.

121 carolynn October 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I took the course and failed the exam twice,,, yes,I even let them have more money.When I first signed up for the course I had access to a “teacher” on a 1 to 1 basis and then all of a sudden she was gone and I had to write in all of my concerns. they never walked me through any thing and then when I did get a hold of them they told me that everything was posted on my info site, Not impressed.

122 Kathy October 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Why is everyone still complaining? I took the course and passed it with a 93%.
I don’t understand what was so difficult about it!I have been working as a designer ever since I graduated…get over it people…time to move on!

123 Linda April 30, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hello, I also was scammed by Haverhill Staging…..spent over a thousand dollars on this course….I am wanting to know if there is a Class Action Lawsuit that I can put my name on…..It looks as if I am a bit late getting into this, however, I had put my “so called” class on hold and wanted to start it again, only to find out it is a “huge” scam…..Please help if you can …Thank you! I would like to recover some of this money if possible…Sincerely, Linda

124 Barbara April 30, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Linda, I’m sorry to hear you were one of Haverhill’s victims. They have been forced out of business as far as I know. It’s one of those truly unfortunate situations where getting any kind of refund is pretty much out of the question, I fear. My advice is to just toss it up to a mistake from which you can learn going forward. Extract as much from what you got as you can. Be more discerning in the future. When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Unfortunately it has given companies who are legitimate (such as mine) a tarnished reputation but at least they have been stopped. If you are still interested in getting into the staging business, I have many resources available to help with that. Best wishes and good luck.

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