15 April 2024

Online ‘help’ for course assignments – make sure you are not ripped off

By Gurbir Singh:

Online help sites have increased on social media
Online ‘help’ sites have mushroomed on social media (Pic for representational purpose)

Several online advertisements offering ‘expertise’ to ‘help’ university students with their assignments have mushroomed on social media in recent years, thanks to the influx of international students in New Zealand.

As the system of university education in New Zealand differs from their home countries, including India, overseas students often struggle with their course assignments. Lack of academic writing skills in English to research and write original work, is one such reason.

At times, claims made in some of these advertisements range from having “maestro writers” or capability to “write high quality researched content” to offering “guarantees of ‘written from scratch’ assignments (that) will win you the most elevated score…”

Necessity to obtain good score often entices overseas students and makes them gullible.There  have been a few instances where some students have fallen prey to unscrupulous online ‘assignment experts’ or ‘helpers’. Affected students do not usually come forward to make a complaint, fearing penalisation from their institutes or the practical difficulties to recover their money in the absence of any physical contact details.

One victim of an alleged ‘rip-off’, however, has come forward last week.

‘Balakrishnan’ (not his real name), originally from Kerala but settled in Auckland, has alleged that he was ‘cheated’ of his hard-earned money by an online assignment help team that he found on Facebook.

According to ‘Balakrishnan’, who is now a permanent resident of New Zealand and is studying part time to up skill, he did not get anything in return in spite of having made full payment in advance.

“I had already written my assignment and needed help to do proper page set up, arrange photos, and some proofreading as I had only two days left to submit my assignment, and I was not getting time from work”, he said.

“I emailed my assignment, transferred money in two instalments to their Sylvia Park account of BNZ Bank, but even after two weeks, I have not received my corrected assignment. There has been no response to my emails and messages on Facebook messenger, and they never provided any physical contact details or phone number,” he added.

“I even asked them to resend if it was sent earlier, but still no response.”

Frustrated ‘Balakrishnan’ is now thinking of taking legal action as “I want to stop this kind of cheating as there must be many other victims like me who have lost money, but do not have courage to come forward.”

Veracity of his allegations could not however, be confirmed though ‘Balakrishnan’ has provided documentary evidence of messages and payments made. 

With over 18,000 Indian students in New Zealand last year, help with checking/writing university assignments on behalf, is a big market. This could be the reason that there has been a significant increase in the number of such online ‘shops’. Continue reading P 2

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