By Debra O'Connor
Posted: 03/28/2011 12:01:00 AM CDT
The college senior in Colorado felt cheated when for $23 per page she ordered a custom-written term paper from a Twin Cities company and it wasn't delivered on time.
Never mind that she was cheating by passing off a paper written by a stranger as her own. She complained to the Better Business Bureau about Essaywritingcompany.com, owned by Jordan Kavoosi of Farmington.
"I ordered it, and they were supposed to have it back to me within four days," she told the Watchdog. "I constantly emailed. Nobody replied to me. Then (Kavoosi) calls me and says under no circumstances am I going to get a refund."
It wasn't the first complaint filed against the company, which has resolved most of those registered with the Minnesota BBB.
But President and CEO Dana Badgerow calls Kavoosi an "entrepreneur who is skating on the thin edge of legality, and for sure he's plunged into what we think is unethical behavior."
The Watchdog, whose favorite part of academic life was writing term papers, asked Kavoosi if he had any problem with making a living by enabling students to commit academic misconduct that, if caught, can result in failing grades or worse.
"It doesn't bother me at all. I just see it as a business. It's as if I was selling shoes," Kavoosi said. "I just chose something that would make money ... and was kind of catchy and would help people out.
"People are too busy, and that's why we exist."
His Colorado client, who said she has disputed the credit card bill for her term paper, would agree with that.
She has used Essaywriting company.com and other such companies because, she said, "I work full time and I go to school full time and I'm a single parent. Lack of time, basically."
Dubious claims — specifically the one guaranteeing an "A" grade — prompted the BBB to go "secret-shopping." For $40, the BBB purchased a two-page paper titled "The Ethics of Advertising to Children," then took it to Dan Wackman, a professor in the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication who teaches the topic.
He gave it a "C."
Wackman knew that it was purchased from a company, but that didn't affect his grading, he said. He had concrete reasons to mark it down: It cited unidentified sources, it was unfocused and it failed to refer to recent dramatic changes affecting the topic.
Every class syllabus at the U is required to have a section on academic misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating, Wackman said. Each instructor denotes a consequence such as getting an "F" on the assignment or flunking the entire course.
But that's not the only bad consequence of buying a term paper, he said.
"When students skip the steps of actually doing the work, which is when the learning occurs, they're cheating themselves," he said. "That woman is cheating herself. It's her own loss."
To ask the Watchdog for help, go to TwinCities.com/watchdog, call 651-228-5419 or email email@example.com.
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