According to the Boston Globe a pair of Hong Kong parents are outraged by the actions (or inactions?) of their children's US based university admissions consultant.

In what has turned out to be a, "a cautionary tale for the thousands of parents who are fueling the growing global admissions-consulting industry," this pair of frustrated parents funneled US$2.2 million into this admissions outfit to help their teenage sons gain admission to Harvard. But it all came to naught.

“While it is certainly possible that in individual cases an admissions consultant can be helpful to an applicant, we have encountered no evidence to indicate that is the case generally,” Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said in a statement to the Globe.

It is unclear how much, if any, Harvard knows about (this admission consultant's) activities early on. (He) listed no affiliation with his industry’s dominant trade group, the Independent Educational Consultants Association, or IECA, which bars two of his alleged practices — raising family fears that admissions are cutthroat, and acting as a middleman for donations.

Then there were his prices. The association has refused to accept consultants who charge in the mid-five figures for several years’ worth of prep work “because we consider that so outrageous,” said Mark Sklarow, its executive director.

(The consultant) proposed to provide unusually thorough services, but the complaint alleges he asked for an astonishing amount in return.

At first, according to invoices, receipts, and financial statements, (the parents) wired him at least $8,000 a month for their two boys. Then, in late 2008 and early 2009, they gave him a $2 million retainer.

In exchange, several of (the consultant's) employees provided intense tutoring and miscellaneous help not only to (the parent's) sons, but also to their father... The invoices suggest that some of the employees went so far as to write papers for their clients.

That, too, should have been a red flag, said Michael Goran, an admissions consultant and member of IECA: “We sign in blood that we won’t write essays for people.”

Quest for admission to Harvard ends in $2 million tangle - News - Boston.com
According to the IECA there are a variety of criteria you should consider before hiring an educational consultant.

The consultant in question made a point of targeting affluent parents throughout the Asian region, so it is worth seriously considering the IECA guidelines, and even contacting the IECA directly, if you're thinking about hiring a university admissions consultant.

Does anyone have experience or advice with university admissions consulting? Has it worked for your child?