ESLinsider reviews scam? This article digs deep into the Ian Leahy/ESLinsider TEFL/TEKA online course.
ESLinsider reviews scam? We have the inside scoop below for you.
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trustedteflreviews.com verified customer reviews of the ESLinsider Online TEFL/TESOL certification course program: https://trustedteflreviews.com/category/eslinsider-tefl/
ESLinsider is owned and run by one individual: Ian (Patrick) Leahy.
Ian’s online operations consist of:
- A personal blog, where he shares his worldview and TEFL opinions (inghh.com)
- A professional blog, where he trashes all of his business competition (eslinsider.com)
- A school website, where he sells his unaccredited TEFL/TEKA course (course.eslinsider.com)
Whilst Trusted TEFL Reviews cannot guarantee with 100% certainty that ESLinsider is a scam operation, there are credible (first-hand) testimonies documented online which claim that Ian Leahy:
- Convinced people to take his TEFL/TEKA course, placed them in a school, and then creamed off between 20-40% of their monthly salaries without their knowledge or authorization.
- Recommended to foreign teachers that it was acceptable to use fake college diplomas; resulting in a number of foreign teachers being detained in China, imprisoned for 30 days, and then subsequently deported from the country with a lifetime travel ban.
- Made non-TEFL-related purchases with the credit card details of his customers, without their prior knowledge or authorization.
To be fair here, Ian Leahy has flat-out denied all of these accusations. However, when directly confronted in a popular TEFL forum by one of his alleged victims, Ian avoided acknowledging his customer, a female American teacher in her mid-twenties, and avoided answering any of the allegations levied against him.
Instead, and in true-to-form Ian Leahy style, he simply claimed “fake news” and that he is the focus of a “witch hunt”. When the forum administrators asked how the customer complaints written on over 20 separately-owned websites could be classed as being a fake-news witch hunt, Ian replied that all 24 separately-owned and separately-operated websites are run by the same person – a person who is out to tarnish his reputation. This defense just doesn’t appear to hold any credibility whatsoever.
This article hasn’t been written to prove or disprove Ian’s innocence. It has been written, instead, to shine a brighter light on Ian Leahy and ESLinsider – to illuminate better for the general reader the credentials of the individual who claims to be an insider expert on everything TEFL-related.
We do raise questions and fact-check Ian, but we also give Ian the opportunity to present his side of the story. Ian provides his side of the story in his own spoken and written words: in the website screenshot images below, and in his comments section response further down this page.
The first section of this article below was published back in 2020, and additional material has been added further below that more recently in 2021.
For the convenience of our readers, we have labelled the first article section ‘Article Section A’ and the second ‘Article Section B’.
This post was updated on 2nd January, 2022, to add ‘Article Section C’.
Article Section A
On July 29, 2020, Trusted TEFL Reviews added a blacklisted warning to the ESLinsider Online TEFL/TESOL (TEKA) certification program and its owner, Ian Leahy.
ESLinsider is run by a guy who goes by the identity, ‘Ian Leahy’. He appears to spend a significant chunk of his free time publishing defamatory material and conspiracy theories on his school blog. Incredibly, these posts are mostly about other Online TEFL programs; i.e. his business competition.
A common thread in his posts is to claim that all positive reviews recorded or written about his competition are fake, and all negative reviews recorded or written about ESLinsider are fake.
Another common thread in his posts is to claim that he has personally taken the TEFL courses of his competitors and that they were all terrible. It could be true that Ian has spent his own money to go Undercover TEFL Student on his business competition, but we feel that this is highly unlikely.
After reading some of Ian’s negative posts levied against his business competition, we can see that Ian definitely doesn’t shy away from writing the most absurd lies in order to try and convince his readership to instead take his TEFL/TEKA course. We tried fact-checking ESLinsider.com, but after a while we just gave up because so much of what Ian publishes is simply not true.
This in itself should be a red flag for anyone considering whether to pay money to him.
We also feel that it is very strange that the only reviews of ESLinsider.com are on ESLinsider.com, and (with the exception of one, 4-star review) they all appear to be 5-star ratings.
ESLinsider also doesn’t appear to have any social media footprint to speak of at all. It has been claimed online that ESLinsider were banned from Facebook for spamming. However, there is absolutely no way that we can verify this claim.
Ian Leahy likes to painstakingly point out, though, that he has reviews on his YouTube channel – something that he, of course, has control over. Ian also likes to brag about how popular his YouTube channel is. Upon closer inspection, though, we see that the majority of his videos have less than a few hundred views and for a channel that has been active for so many years, the number of ESLinsider YouTube subscribers is not as impressive as Ian likes to make out.
Continuing on the theme of reviews: we noticed a batch of recently-written (June, 2020) Quora posts – all praising his course. All five reviews were written within a couple of days of each other, and all five reviews contain the word, ‘legitimate’.
We checked and all of the posts were written by people who registered with Quora at around the same time, just to write their review. The language structure in all five reviews is also remarkably similar.
Prior to this sudden burst of enthusiasm from these supposed ESLinsider course graduates, who suddenly felt a strong urge to join Quora and write how legitimate his program is, no one had written any feedback of Ian’s courses on Quora since he first began operating his program.
Logically, it would appear that those Quora reviews were likely written by someone connected with ESLinsider. As Ian is the sole owner of the program, we would make a logical guess that he in fact wrote those Quora reviews himself.
Here is one of those Quora posts that Ian has successfully managed to market online for himself:
In recent weeks, we also noticed that Ian Leahy has been spreading false information online about trustedteflreviews.com, and spreading garbage online about the top 5 TEFL/TESOL courses listed on Trusted TEFL Reviews. Our interest was piqued, we dug more into Ian Leahy/ESLinsider, and the red flags just kept popping up.
It is in our professional opinion that Ian Leahy is probably an English teacher, living in Fukuoka, Japan, who created a website and who tries to drum up business for his unrecognized courses by attacking the big TEFL/TESOL course players with outright lies – hoping to catch some crumbs of business in the process. It is also our professional opinion that the reviews that he lists on his website are probably fake.
We advise proceeding with extreme caution when dealing with this individual.
If you do find yourself being convinced to take his TEFL/TEKA course then ask the owner for examples of reviews that are not listed exclusively on his website, on his YouTube channel, or on Quora. We advise asking Ian for reviews written on third-party review websites, where he has no control over the content of those reviews.
In the meantime, Ian’s program will remain on trustedteflreviews.com – acting as a public service warning.
His introductory, zero-review rating does mean he will need to begin (alphabetically) at the bottom of the Trusted TEFL Reviews ranking table and then work his way up, once we begin receiving verified customer reviews, written by real people.
We welcome any comments from Ian Leahy, and we welcome any student reviews of his program so that we can actually hear from anyone who might have taken his Online TEFL/TEKA course.
Ian has been contacted and invited to add his response to this post.
If it transpires that our information is wrong, we will delete this ESLinsider reviews scam warning.
Article Section B
This section of the article was updated on February 8, 2021.
The following Ian Leahy/ESLinsider website screenshots appear to show a rather different individual than the one who claims to be an insider expert on everything TEFL-related. Two of them, of serious concern I must add, also appear to demonstrate a misogynistic lean in the social philosophy of Ian’s worldview.
Aside from spamming the internet, and offering an unrecognized, unaccredited TEFL/TEKA course, Ian has also been linked to credit card fraud and recommending to teachers wanting to teach in China that they use fake teaching credentials – resulting in their imprisonment and subsequent deportation from China.
This ESLinsider reviews scam accusation can be read online by conducting a Google search.
Article Section C
We wanted to show a typical example of Ian Leahy’s attempt at discrediting a well-respected and fully accredited, reputable Online TEFL/TESOL certification program online:
We really can’t imagine what “Based on my experience” means because it is highly unlikely that Ian Leahy has paid the course fee to take this course.
Why has Ian published this nonsense on his TEFL school blog?
He has published it because he hopes that students looking for reviews of the University of Toronto TEFL/Teach Away TESOL program will click on the link, think that he is a TEFL authority, and then gradually become directed to take his unaccredited TEKA TEFL course instead.
It’s basically spam, and Ian’s spamming was the reason why ESLinsider’s Facebook page was deleted by Facebook and is the reason why Ian Leahy is still banned from posting on Facebook.
We advise proceeding with extreme caution when dealing with Ian Leahy and his ESLinsider TEFL/TEKA program. We can’t write with absolute certainty, but it looks very likely that the ESLinsider reviews scam is a genuine concern.
Instead, we recommend choosing to take your international TEFL/TESOL certification course with a program offering a fully accredited course that is far more recognized internationally than ESLinsider TEFL.
The four highest-rated ESLinsider TEFL fully accredited alternative course options, listed in order of customer review ratings:
- TEFL Online Pro – https://teflonlinepro.com/
- OISE Toronto TEFL – https://teflonline.teachaway.com/
- CIEE TEFL – https://www.ciee.org/
- Maximo Nivel TEFL – https://maximonivel.com/
CIEE TEFL, Maximo Nivel, OISE Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro are Level 5 and CELTA-equivalent Online TEFL/TESOL certification programs.
TEFL Online Pro verified customer reviews:
(TEFL/TESOL online programs receive an additional program reviews category when they win the Teachers’ Choice Award).
OISE Toronto TEFL verified customer reviews:
CIEE TEFL verified customer reviews:
Maximo Nivel verified customer reviews:
CIEE TEFL, Maximo Nivel, OISE Toronto TEFL, and TEFL Online Pro certificates are Fully Accredited and internationally recognized. ESLinsider TEFL/TEKA certificates are not accredited at all and are not internationally recognized by any stretch of the imagination.
TEFL Online Pro won the Teachers’ Choice Award in 2019, 2020, and 2021:
All 46 Online TEFL/TESOL certification course programs currently listed on Trusted TEFL Reviews, ranked in order of customer satisfaction: https://trustedteflreviews.com/tefl-course-directory/
Read more ESLinsider reviews
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Verified Online TEFL/TESOL certification course program reviews, ranked in order of customer satisfaction: Courses Directory