Valley women's blood boiling over phlebotomy fiasco

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Jennifer Riggs is a big fan of animals.
   
“I have lots of animals in the house and outside and spend my time with them," she said.

But Riggs also knows the importance of getting ahead and earning a good paycheck.

That's why she decided to pursue a career in phlebotomy. She found an ad on Craigslist offering a phlebotomy training course.

Riggs says the course could be completed in a weekend and after paying $200 for the class, she says she was supposed to get her certificate of completion.

That certificate, she says, would help her get a job.  She's not the only who saw the ad and signed up for the course either.

"I'm in the nursing program so I was taking it to be a better nurse and to be able to draw better because it's more experience," Cassie Gahr said.

Gahr was in the same class as Riggs. And so was her daughter.  In fact, all three of them say they completed the course together on the same weekend.

"I just wanted to better myself for the patients," Gahr said.

All three women claim the course was put on by a company called National Phlebotomy and the total for all three together was $600.

But on the final day of the two-day course, they did not receive those certificates they thought they had earned.

"So the last day, she said she forgot her certificates and couldn't get back to the office to get them for us," Gahr said.

The woman who instructed the class is only known as Joy. Neither she nor National Phlebotomy ever sent the three women their certificates.

"I texted her, 'Where could the certificate be because I haven't received it,' and she said that it was some mix up with UPS," Riggs said.

All three women say they heard excuse after excuse and months later, they still haven't received their certificates.
   
"As far as I know, that you need a certificate to get a job from a prospective employer to show you have the education under your belt," Riggs said.

3 On Your Side tried contacting Joy, who in an email promised to send out those certificates.

But like so many promises before, she did not follow through.

3 On Your Side discovered there's not much information on National Phlebotomy.
   
Their website has been taken down and they have no records filed with the state that we could find.

But we did come up with an address connected to National Phlebotomy, and it's an office building in Mesa.
   
The receptionist told 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper that Joy isn't around that much.

Gary Harper: “How often are they even here?”
Receptionist: "Not very often."
Harper: "I didn't think so."

The woman claims National Phlebotomy simply rents a tiny office space inside the building and that the rest of the complex houses bigger, well-known companies.

She went  to tell me there's really no day-to-day business dealings done by National Phlebotomy.

My visit though must have rattled Joy because she sent me another email saying, "The women will receive there (sic) certificates when our company is ready to send them out."

Well, it's been nearly three months and the women wonder if National Phlebotomy is even qualified to be teaching and issuing phlebotomy certificates.

"They need to give Jen and I our money back and they need to take their ad off and quit ripping people off," Gahr said.

Remember if you ever want to take a class or get certified in anything, before signing up or handing over any money, really research the company and make sure the school or company is accredited.