Wealth Intelligence Academy / Rich Dad Education — False Advertising, Aggressive Marketing, Predatory Practices
I am writing this letter to make known a dishonorable and deceptive business is operating out of California and targeting credit worthy innocent citizens wanting to better themselves. In order to detail the events of how I was taken advantage of and am now facing serious financial harm, I will detail the story of what has taken place over the past few months.
The company that I am filing a complaint against is Rich Dad Education LLC who I now know still wholly operates also as the Wealth Intelligence Academy. The total amount that I am disputing is $26, 125.52, which was to include four training classes and a mentor. This was upsold to me in a bait and switch scheme which included a free workshop, upsold to a three day weekend training course which taught people how to “raise their credit scores by increasing their credit card limits” (see the script attached) which was really to get people to be able to afford their outrageously over priced training courses which provided no guarantee of the satisfaction of their training.
There are a popular financial books like Rich Dad Poor Dad in which Robert Kiyosaki is the spokesperson for that I have been reading for years. I have been a follower of the teachings for a while and so I decided to want to know more. I went online to www.richdad.com and found that there were free seminars being given to teach people about investing. I signed my fiancé up for one and came as his guest. This was in August 2008. While at this free seminar we learned a little about real estate investing and was then up-sold to a three day weekend course which was$495 and advertised to teach you all about real estate investing. I signed up for the three day weekend course and was allowed to bring my fiancé as my guest. We were given a CD and workbook from Robert Kiyosaki’s Choose to Be Rich program as well as a real estate investing book that detailed strategies on Wholesaling, Lease Options, Foreclosures, and Negotiating, etc. They all had the Rich Dad Education branding on them (the purple and black wording) so I never thought there was any other company involved.
My fiancé and I attended the three day seminar on September 12-14th 2008 at the LAX Airport Hyatt. The first day of the training we were instructed by Scott Zuckman. We were taught some real estate investing strategies such as rehabbing and foreclosure. We were given books that all had the Rich Dad Education branding on them. We then went over a script that we were told to call our credit card companies with to increase our credit card limits so that we can increase our credit score. I have included a copy of that script.
The next day they gave us a booklet with courses in it showing that it teaches different strategies of real estate investing. None of them had prices. We were given a price sheet and then told to write in numbers that was written on the board. I have included that sheet as well. The prices ranged anywhere from $9, 000 to $60, 000. I was shocked at the cost, but I didn’t want to not continue the course that I paid for so we continued to go through the training. We were told to think about our financial future and if we wanted to change anything in our lives we were going to have to take action. Scott Zuckman kept repeating the number of $60, 000 and asked people to raise their hands who had access to that kind of cash this weekend. We were told if we signed up for this course we could become financially free within two years. We were told not to look on the internet because it has bad things on there (now I know why). That should have been a cue to leave and not go back, but I was really wanting to make a change in my life and I trusted the Rich Dad brand because Robert Kiyosaki is such a well known name.
The Wealth Intelligence Academy was told to us to be the people who do the training, but I assumed that was just what they called that section of the organization. I only realized much later after I got involved with the company that they have an awful reputation and a bad history of the exact thing I was conned into.
My fiancé and I almost did not attend the last day of training because we were so disgusted by how we were constantly being pressured to buy the program. We were told the only way to success was to at least learn 2-3 real estate investing strategies and have a mentor there to help you. That meant if we were going to sign up for any program at all it would at minimum have to be the four courses with the mentor which was $25, 997. I would have never signed up for the program prior because I did not have the means to pay for it, but now that I had increased my credit card limits and had the available credit I could purchase it. We were also taught about bad debt and good debt in this training. And good debt was an asset or anything that put money in your pocket as well as education. Everyone there that represented the company said that education was good debt and what you were going to learn you could pay off the credit cards in no time. I should not have believed anyone and stuck to what I always knew about how dangerous credit cards are. Another thing that didn’t occur to me at the time was, if they were such a good training program, why do they have to have all their money up front? Why don’t they have their own financing? Why don’t they have a money back guarantee? I was so new to anything like this at the time, that I never thought to question those things. Especially since I trusted the Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad brand.
My fiancé and I attended two trainings in October 2008. They were the Rich U (which was a mandatory class) and Wholesaling. We were sorely disappointed in the training and after the Wholesaling course we started to realize that I was ripped off and taken advantage of.
Upon taking the first advanced training course (of the charge I am disputing), called Rich U, the training material provided was the Rich Dad brand. The instructor, Jennifer Oliver, however, did not go over all the material in the training manual provided and did not deliver the promised service of learning how to set up your real estate investing business and develop a plan. The class was very general and repetitive of other information already stated in the $495 three-day course given by the Rich Dad program.
Upon taking a second course (of the charge I am disputing), an advanced training class calling Wholesale Buying, taught by Travis Howard, the manuals were now all Wealth Intelligence Academy branded material. On the last day of the three-day training, I was told by a facilitator there, Shar, that if you came in through the Rich Dad system you were now a Wealth Intelligence Academy student. The training given was said to be complete instruction, however once again, the instructor did not go over all of the course material in the manuals given. Not only that, but the training manual given did not have very much more information than the initial three-day $495 real estate investing training guidebook. What was promised was very detailed instruction that was not included in the $495 three-day initial training, and what was delivered was nothing more than a long-winded version of the initial training. For the cost of the advanced training course, the value was no where near worth it. Also, when students asked questions about the course materials, the instructor avoided the answers and phrased the questions to be asked to a licensed professional such as a lawyer or accountant. The training received was not complete enough to start successfully wholesaling real estate properties as promised. It was incomplete in that it was promised that we would be able to “create immediate profit by learning how to put properties under contract and quickly sell them – with no money out of pocket”, but the contract examples given and explained in class were not sufficient to do such activity. The training also was told by all of the instructors to be teaching things that were moral, ethical, and legal.
However, when consulting three separate lawyers on the methods I was taught, one said it was illegal, while the other two said it was very risky and borderline ethical. They all three agreed that the contract examples given in the course were insufficient to conduct business and that they would require additional services to create substantial contracts.
This prompted me to question the legitimacy and the ethical standards of the Wealth Intelligence Academy a.k.a. Rich Dad Education. And when I further researched the company I found that they had been conducting unethical business practices and that the parent company, Whitney Leadership Group, Inc., had a lot of lawsuits brought against them for false advertising and aggressive marketing. Had I known that Rich Dad Education was actually in all completeness still the Wealth Intelligence Academy that was associated with the Whitney Leadership Group, Inc., I would not have purchased this program because of its bad reputation with the Better Business Bureau among other bad press about it’s aggressive pressure marketing techniques and unethical practices.
Not only that, but they were cited against for teaching a technique called “Bird Dogging” where a person collects a fee for referring distressed properties to an unlicensed investor. I questioned this technique to an attorney as well as I was taught it in their training and he stated that it was outright illegal since you must be a broker to engage in such activity. They are still teaching this technique in their training and it is documented in their written training material.
I read online a detailed incident publicized in another’s state local paper about a woman who attended a free seminar, which lead to another seminar for $500, and then told to call her credit cards to increase her credit lines and increase her credit and then told if she really wanting to be financially free she should purchase the over priced training and she did and was very unhappy, and the company was then found guilty of aggressive marketing and false advertising, except this was with the Whitney Education program who as I researched and found out is the affiliate company of the Wealth Intelligence Academy. When I read that story and found out the link between the Wealth Intelligence Academy and the Rich Dad Education as being the same company I was furious!!! How can a company who was found guilty of such practices still be allowed to do the same things under a difference name that people trust!!! The website /link removed/ has numerous complaints of people having the same issues that I am with the company. This needs to be addressed and the public has to become aware of this scheme to protect themselves and their good credit. My credit has now gone significantly down because of the balance I am carrying from this company who is in constant denial of my hardship situation.
I would also like to warn the Utah Attorney General’s Office against large charges made on the credit cards of people who may fall prey to the same aggressive marketing techniques, and misleading advertising to the Rich Dad brand. The way that they get people to purchase these programs is by offering a free seminar, which leads to a three-day weekend seminar for $495 where on the first day you are taught how to increase your credit card limits over the phone to supposedly increase your credit score. I have included a copy of the script they provide in the training material. All they are trying to do is have you have enough credit to purchase the largely overpriced education packages which range anywhere from $9, 000 to $60, 000. I believe most people are embarrassed, as I am myself, about what they were conned in to, to admit that the value of what they purchased was not at all what was promised.
I have been disputing the transactions with my credit card companies in an effort to seek resolution to the refund and they have provided the credit card companies with misleading information regarding correspondence between myself and Rich Dad Education as well as lying to the representatives. I have a letter from Chase Credit Cards stating that a representative from Rich Dad Education said I gave the reviews of their training as excellent, when I detailed in my reviews my dissatisfaction of their training. The Rich Dad Education representative stated that I also failed to provide information regarding a financial hardship I was having, when in fact I did provide follow up and sufficient evidence showing a 47% reduction in pay. When faxing information over to Discover card they submitted incomplete information regarding our correspondence which included only one of the four pay stubs I provided to show the difference of my financial hardship. The pay stub they submitted to Discover card was prior to my pay cut and the pay stubs that show the difference in my pay was never faxed to Discover card.
I would also to address how the company has lied and that the person your Chase representative spoke with at Wealth Intelligence Academy. The review that he stated that I said was excellent was not such as I specifically remember writing a detailed explanation of how I felt that the training was lacking. Also, I have information that was faxed by their corporate office to one of my credit card companies that forwarded it to me showing that I did in fact write in correspondence to my dismay of the company and their practices as well as not only respond to their asking for further information on my financial hardship, but I provided ample information showing my decrease in pay. Their response was that it was not enough to demonstrate a sufficient hardship. It is a 47% reduction in pay!!! I believe that to be more than sufficient of a financial hardship, but they have chosen to say that it is not. This company lied to Chase and is also predatory on their practices to people.
I would also like to address their three day cancellation policy. It is just another example of how this company operates their business as very borderline ethical. When I purchased this training program it was told I had to purchase it in the full amount on that day which was a Sunday. The three day cancellation policy expired on Wednesday and the first day to take any of their courses always begin at the earliest on a Friday. This doesn’t allow for anyone to ask for a refund after they have seen how bad their training is until well after the three day return policy period, but it allows them to tell the credit card companies that they had a return policy in place. The only way you would submit the cancellation notice in time would be if you had buyer’s remorse the next day since the cancellation notice must be received to their headquarters in writing by the third day.