We hear of parents who are serious about sending their kids to Ivy League schools. They put their kids in the top private elementary schools. They fill their weekend schedules with tutoring and various lessons.
They even hire outside consultants to advise them on how to get their child into Harvard, reports The Boston Globe.
But what if all of this fails?
Then they sue.
Gerald and Lily Chow sued an education consultant after their sons didn't get into Harvard.
Here's the back story: They hired Mark Zimny when they were back in Hong Kong. Knowing little about the U.S. educational system, they relied on Zimny.
Zimny's plan was foolproof. He would train and tutor the boys. He would also grease the admission wheels by creatively planning donations in the Chow family name.
The Chows forked out $2.2 million.
But that $2.2 million didn't buy their way into Harvard. And so, they decided to sue the man who promised them Harvard.
A simple Google search on Zimny could have shown the Chows that they were wasting their money.
But knowing so little about the U.S. education system, the Chows went all in.
Zimny is on the line for fraud and misrepresentation. He held himself out to be well connected. In actuality, he was no longer at Harvard and hadn't been there since 2005.
An allegation of fraud requires that a false or misleading statement was made and that there was detrimental reliance on that statement. The Chows certainly relied on the statements made by Zimny.
And they relied on them to their detriment.
But does Zimny have a valid defense? After all, could he say that they simply misunderstood him? How accurate were his assertions?
And besides, had they done their research, they might have known that an education consultant could not guarantee their children's way into Harvard.
In fact, according to ABC News, legitimate education consultants never guaranteed admission into any college.
So what's the lesson here? Caveat emptor -- Latin for "let the buyer beware."