Editor's note: Since issuing this press release, the BBB in St. Louis has learned that the company has responded recently to consumer complaints with the BBB in Florida. On May 20, 2011, the BBB ratings for Tigrent Inc. and Rich Dad Education were "No rating."
St. Louis, Mo., May 19, 2011 –
The Better Business Bureau is warning budding entrepreneurs to be cautious when signing up for upcoming “Rich Dad Education” seminars run by Florida-based Tigrent
The company has scheduled a real estate investment seminar here May 20-22 and a business marketing seminar June 24-26. Both seminars are scheduled for the Hilton St. Louis Airport, 10330 Natural Bridge Road, Woodson Terrace.
Tigrent Inc., Tigrent Learning
and Rich Dad Education
—which offer classes and mentoring on topics ranging from wholesale buying to commercial real estate to foreclosures—are based in Cape Coral, Fla. Tigrent Inc. and Rich Dad Education have “F” grades with the BBB, the lowest grades possible. More than 140 BBB complaints have been filed against the companies, including 28 that have been unanswered.
Many of the complainants claim Tigrent did not give them what it had promised and/or misled them into signing contracts that often totaled thousands of dollars. Several customers complained that the three-day grace period for a refund was not enough time to allow them to assess the value of the classes. Others said company salespeople pressured them into signing up for course work by telling them if they did not do so immediately, the price would go up.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said it appears the free one-day seminars and follow-up three-day events are designed to lure consumers with stories of get-rich-quick opportunities.
“Company representatives seem to offer no end to money-making come-ons,” Corey said. “Unfortunately, the reality is that many of these people end up investing their lifesavings into classes that, for a variety of reasons, never pay off. Some of their stories are heart-wrenching.”
A 77-year-old widow from Lady Lake, Fla., told the BBB her husband died shortly after signing up for a series of classes in 2005. She said she has been trying to get a refund of more than $11,000 since then. “Please help me,” she said in a BBB complaint filed last year. The company did not respond to her complaint.
A couple from Cincinnati, Ohio, said they paid Tigrent $10,500 after what the husband claimed were “high-pressure sales promising the moon and the sun.” He said they tried to get a refund after the company failed to schedule classes near their home, as promised. The BBB closed the case as unanswered last month.
A man from Roseville, Calif., said he was pressured to increase his credit card limit and borrow from his retirement fund to purchase a $25,000 real estate package. He said he asked for a refund of $10,500 after questioning the value and legality of the training, but the refund was denied. Records show the company did not respond to the complaint.
On its website, Tigrent describes itself as a “leading provider of practical, high-quality and value-based tools and mentoring where customers acquire learning they can apply to accumulate wealth.”
Through its affiliates—Tigrent Learning, Tigrent eLearning and Rich Dad Education—Tigrent “provides an innovative training model that imparts skills and knowledge in investing (real estate and financial instruments), entrepreneurship and personal finance,” the website says.
Tigrent Learning’s website calls the May 20-22 training session in St. Louis “Property Management & Cash Flow.” The site says the course work “is an essential for every serious real estate investor who is building a portfolio to generate wealth and cash flow.”
St. Louis also will be the site of a three-day marketing conference June 24-26. “We will break down the marketing blueprint to fast track your marketing message to increase your market share and increase your profits,” the website says.
Earlier this month, an attorney for Tigrent told a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter that the poor BBB rating was a result of actions by Whitney Information Network, Tigrent’s predecessor. Since the fall of 2009, he said, Tigrent has been more diligent in responding to consumer complaints.
BBB records show that most of the complaints that have gone unanswered have been closed since January 2010.
The BBB offers the following advice for persons attending investment seminars or other programs designed to market wealth-building courses:
- Understand that the purpose of most so-called “free” or low-cost business seminars is to sell other products to the public.
- Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics and claims that seem too good to be true.
- Investing hundreds or thousands of dollars for courses designed to help you make money is a serious commitment. Do not be coaxed into making a decision you may later regret.
- Before signing any contract, make sure you have read it thoroughly and understand exactly what you will be getting for your money. Do not hesitate to ask to take a contract home to investigate it more thoroughly or ask the advice of an attorney. If the company rejects your request, it is usually better simply to walk away.
- Get in writing how long you have to cancel your agreement and still get a full refund. If a company refuses to give you that information in writing, or if the time is too short, be prepared to walk away.
- Check the BBB for a Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
Contacts: Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-645-3300, email@example.com