We bought into Dean Graziosi's real estate coaching program (ITS Training) from PMI after reading a book written by him. The book explained the various techniques to make money in real estate and choosing the right technique based on the current market in your target area. The reason we got the coaching was for the promise of walking us through deals in our area "for as long as it takes to make our business profitable" (after the card was charged we learned that they will only work with you for one year).
We were also promised half our money ($14.5 thousand) back upon completion of our fifth deal (after the card was charged we learned that this had to happen within one year). The other half was going toward a top-notch coach (only two in the country) coming out to our house and walking us through a minimum of three offers himself. We were interviewed by two different people to see if we were "good enough" to be accepted into this program, even given a background check which gave them access to our social security numbers, dates of birth, etc (worries of fraud now cross our minds). Obviously we "passed" and our card was charged.
January 25th 2010 (approx.) - I made 2 phone calls to the advisory hotline to speak with coaches at PMI who were supposed to give us sound advice on any real estate deal. Each coach ran the numbers and gave conflicting answers on a specific deal that was on the table. In all the confusion, the deal was lost.
February 2nd 2010, 1pm - 1st phone call with our assigned coach, Jeff **. We told him of our concerns with the coaches giving conflicting advice on January 25th. Jeff said that we needed a coach who knew the market in our specific area and would ask around the office to find someone. Jeff called back and said that he was the best choice being that he at least knew about the Santa Barbara area (which happens to be 120 miles away from our target area).
He then proceeded with the "coaching" and we noticed that he was just basically reading the book (we already read) back to us. He also was giving us advice that was not useful in our target area. For example: Jeff stated many times the importance of finding a highly motivated seller and you do this by looking at houses that have been on the market for 6 months or more. Problem being, in our area everything is bought up right away. Realtors set prices purposely low to start a bidding war and they get between 10-30 bids on each home, most over asking price and are cash deals.
February 11th 2010, 11:30am - 2nd Phone call with Jeff ** - Jeff suggested that we focus on a different area such as Las Vegas and some areas in Arizona so we would be capable of using other techniques that are not working in our area at the moment. He said our area was part of the 5% of the nation that is reacting this way. Then he proceeded to "read" the book back to us.
At this time we let him know that we were thinking about a full refund and we definitely did not want the top-notch coach to come out to our house. We felt like the company could not help us in our area so why focus on this. Jeff flat out agreed with us and told us whom to call to get half of our money back.
February 11th-14th- I spoke to Adam ** about the refund. He sent the paperwork to us for this portion of the refund which we signed and returned; have yet to receive a credit. February 15th-March 1st 2010 - Away from contact in Costa Rica searching for real estate investments.
March 19th - phone call returned from Jason Cox to my fiance about cancelling. He said that he was certain that they could help us and we just needed to let them do their job. He didn't however have an answer to any of our problems such as the conflicting info we received. She felt like no matter which issue we were discussing he seemed determined to say that she was wrong and that he was always right after admitting that he had no knowledge of the conversations that were being referenced. He also admitted that he didn't know about the real estate business, but was sure that his coworkers did.
He then said that his job was customer service and to solve problems with customers. He did none of this. He said "You are not getting your money back. The only option you have here is to either go through with the program and do the 5 sales or let go of the money." I called later that afternoon - No answer - left a message.
March 22nd or 23rd - Returned call from Jason ** to me (in AZ) about the cancelling of service. I expressed the concerns we had with the company and Jason didn't give any explanations as to why these things were happening or how we could fix them. When it got down to it and the statement was made that we just wanted out of the program and wanted a refund, Jason's only response was that they wouldn't return the money because we were paying for them to teach us something and he was certain that they could. (He made this comment after earlier stating in the conversation that he himself didn't know anything about the real estate business.)
I said, "Well how long do we have to wait for this information? We have been waiting and we haven't received it." Jason could not answer this question. After a long conversation it was very apparent that we weren't going to get anywhere.
I was then bullied into giving it another try with a new coach named Dawn ** who supposedly knew more about our target area. This brought up the question of why we weren't assigned to her earlier in the process, especially when our first coach Jeff ** even stated that this would be a necessity for us to be successful in our area. Regardless I agreed, but only because we made a deal that if this coach didn't deliver new information that was valuable and useful to us Jason would then be open minded to refund the money.
March 29th, first scheduled meeting with Dawn **. She called to cancel due to family emergency. New appointment was booked for 31st at 11am over voicemail as directed by Dawn. March 31st 11am - Dawn ** didn't call. I called at 11:15 got her machine. Called Jason ** at 1:45 about this issue and got his machine. At 2:15 Dawn called to say that she just retrieved my message and had no way to check her messages while out of the office.
April 2nd, 1st official phone meeting with Dawn** - Dawn shared no new information in our 40 minute conversation. She was made aware that we were looking for specific guidance as to what was the most effective technique in our area. The expert knowledge of our area she shared was nothing extended from what we had already learned in reading the book ourselves.
After this drawn out conversation that lead to no new information, we ended it by saying that we would be contacting our personal real estate agent for advice. We did speak to our real estate agent and she advised us to cut our losses as she believed that this company wasn't helping our goals of being successful in our real estate business.
April 2nd-6th - I left more than a dozen voicemails for Jason **. April 6th, Final conversation with Jason ** - After letting Jason know on a voicemail that we would be turning info into the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs stating his name specifically, we received a call back. I made it clear that if we didn't come to an agreement about a refund that I would be passing along this info to these agencies. It seemed like he was trained as he was very methodical, and he let me talk, but at the end there was no negotiating. It was stated in a very matter-of-fact way that they were keeping the money regardless.
At this point he started acting like a coach. Giving advice against my real estate agent's approach (which is a valid technique taught by his company); he said that this approach was a waste of time and it was not going to make us any money. This came after previous conversations with Jason where he admitted that he knew nothing about the real estate industry and was a customer service representative.
* There was no cancellation agreement made between us and the company upon signing up. Even checked email correspondence and nothing was sent notifying us of a cancellation policy. There are well over 200 reports of the same type of treatment on the BBB website along with many pages of complaints in blogs flooding the internet.
* Note - Upon signing up we were told that PMI offered full personal and corporate asset protection. We were then contacted by Ryan ** who said that he was calling to set up our company. Unbeknown to us this was a separate division of PMI called "The Tax Club" who also charged us $5495 to that which we have another dispute in process for not providing promised services. We have many other points which could be made to reinforce the absence of value this company had for us. Please inform us if this is necessary.