TruePersonalTrainer.com Is A Scam

After finding her resume on Monster, TruePersonalTrainer offered Linda what sounded like a great deal. If she created a yoga instruction video, True Personal Trainer said, they would sell it on their site and she could make up to $5,000 per week, depending on how many people downloaded it.

Undeterred by the sketchy looking site, Linda made a video and sent it in. She got friends to pay for downloads of the instructional video. The day came for Linda to get paid… and passed, without her receiving a dime.

After multiple calls and emails with no positive response, Linda finally got some money. A check for one dollar…


This is low, on so many levels. We suspect True Personal Trainer gave Linda a dollar because that’s the minimum amount for them to be able to say “some payment” was given for services rendered.

When we asked Linda if she had noticed the site’s underwhelming appearance, she wrote, “I know I could do a better job of it personally without them with the aid of some of my former colleagues.”

That may be a great route to go, and you’ve already done the hardest part, making your first video.

We see three options:

1. Harass them into paying her what is due
2. Sue them
3. Take the video she made and market it elsewhere

Judging from the looks of their site, they may not be working with a whole lot in the brains or money department. Option 3 might be the best use of Linda’s time and talents.

For the future, if it sounds to good to be true, it often is, especially if it’s also got a bunk-looking website. Also, despite what the commercials say, we’ve never gotten anything but sketchy job offers through Monster.com.


Here’s the original letter TruePersonalTrainer sent Linda:

From: “True personal trainer”
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:19 PM
To: [redacted]
Subject: RE: Monster Job #50201391 Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor professionals needed. Recruiting through January 30, 2007. Monster Resume #XXXXXXXXX

Linda,

Thank you for submitting your resume. After reviewing it, we wish to continue forward with your recruitment. The first stage of the recruitment procedure is for you to submit one of your fitness programs for us to evaluate. We would like to see what your teaching capabilities are. Once we have reviewed your program and decide we would like to bring you on board, the next step will be to have you complete our mandatory competency form. This form will give us a better idea of when and how we’ll be able to use your services. Once we have reviewed your competency form, we will be able to move to the next stage of recruitment which will involve discussing your exercise program(s), dates of implementation and going over the particulars of your freelance contract which will specifically describe the compensation breakdown as well as other legal interests.

To reiterate, we’ll need one fitness program no longer than one hour and no shorter than 30 minutes to move forward. Your exercise program, which by the way should be recorded in digital format, needs to be ready within two weeks. Once you have it ready, write and let me know so that I may provide you with a username and password that will enable you to upload it directly from your computer or camera onto our website server. I will wait to hear back from you as to when to provide this information.

Aerobic, pilates and yoga instructors may consider utilizing current, popular music during any of your programs. Any and all uploaded programs containing copyrighted music will be protected through our ASCAP and BMI licenses which pay all royalties due from usage of copyrighted music.

Personal trainers should note our most popular exercise programs tend to be:

#1) Abdominal programs (Successful instructors sell in the range of 1000 to 2500 programs a month, grossing $800- $2000 a month per program

#2) Glute/Hip programs (Successful instructors sell in the range of 1000 to 2000 programs a month, grossing $800- $1600 a month per program.

#3) Biceps/Triceps programs (Successful instructors sell in the range of 800 to 1500 programs a month, grossing $600- $1200 a month per program.

Initially we’ll only need one exercise program but once brought on board, you’ll have exclusive rights to submit as many programs as you’d like which will increase your exposure and earning potential.

Contact Melissa from hr (melissa@truepersonaltrainer.com) if you have any questions as we look forward to speaking with you soon.

Sincerely,

Chris Thomas
Vice President of Business Development
TruePersonalTrainer.com
chris@truepersonaltrainer.com
1-800-537-9058

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. acambras says:

    “Up to $5000 a month.”

    Kind of like telling people they can lose up to 50 pounds a month, isn’t it?

  2. William Mize says:

    Five grand a week?
    I’m thinking she had dollar signs in her eyes and didn’t think to ask for references from other trainers who had been in the program, etc.
    I feel for her and hope she gets some sort of recompense, but what’s that saying? If it’s too good to be true….?
    This is a good cautionary tale.

  3. Jesse McBesse says:

    Also, despite what the commercials say, we’ve never gotten anything but sketchy job offers through Monster.com.

    I’ve gotten every post-college job I’ve had through Monster (and they’ve all been great jobs in the advertising/publishing field). Just thought I’d throw that out there!

  4. Jesse McBesse says:

    dingo ate my comment! :(

  5. Elara says:

    Those metal plate buttons look like the stuff I learned in my basic programming class way back in the mid-90s.

  6. bluegus32 says:

    Dear Consumerist:

    As other companies have done before me (see Lycos and Weddingdepot.com) I’d like to make an asinine demand that you cease and desist being mean to me and my company.

    What you said about my company is just wrong. That you would peddle this truth . . . . er I mean lie about me is unconscionable. Please know that I have no intention of conducting myself in an honorable manner but I do demand that you withdraw any negative comements about my company immediately.

    And if you don’t, then I will sic my ill-informed lawyer, Lionel Hutz, on you to make you quiver in your boots.

    So there.

    Very Truly Yours,


    Ass-hat Smith
    Owner of TruePersonalTrainer.com

  7. ideagirl says:

    They’re using Paypal as their payment system, she should lodge a scam complaint with them just for GP.

  8. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    This is another case of..

    If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

    Warning signs..

    * Third rate web design.
    * No physical contact address on the site.
    * Promises of huge income and cash flow.
    * Job ad placed through Monster.com

    Sad to say, but Monster.com has become a breeding ground for spammers, MLM schemes, 419 scams, and other nonsense. Linda’s video is probably being mass duplicated, redubbed, and sold at flea markets around the world.

  9. lindafmb says:

    Thanks for posting this, Ben, and everyone else for your comments.

    My motivation for putting this webcast on TPT was to get my workouts to my friends in far-off places, not so much to make a ton-o-money. Look for my upcoming webcasts being launched from my own website, which, while no great shakes until we update it for that capability, is still more professional looking than TPTs (www.fitmind-body.com).

  10. My first thought was that TruePersonalTrainer needed a newer version of FrontPage, but no – they’re using Homestead Sitebuilder, a lurching abomination from the Before Time that’s responsible for many other outstanding sites.

    Homestead was, I think, a relative latecomer to the cheap/free site hosting market. It accommodated people who thought that a Geocities or Tripod page was just too cool for them.

  11. shutupman says:

    Whether it’s a scam or not, Linda should read the contract for the use of her image, as she may find this horrid company now owns the public rights to it (her image), and she may not be able to make her own video if she plans on selling it
    Yet another backwards law out there to get the little guy
    It’s also hard to go after these website oafs, as many use P.O. Boxes, only to close them at the first sign of trouble, and fade into the shadows only to trick someone else later on =

  12. czechm8 says:

    First clue to a scam should be the word “True”. At least thats what the Honest Book of Lies says.

    (This message brought to you in part by Ministy of Truth Brand Yoga Mats and Equipment “Yogis in India spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on fitness clothing and accessories! You should too! Honest!!”)

  13. Hmmm. This page looks fine in both FireFox and IE7 yet in Opera the comments are aligned top left and transposed over the other text and the contents of the letter are aligned top top top. I have sent a couple of screencaps to tips@consumerist.com although I’m sure its no big deal since I am probably the only reader who uses opera.

    And firefox proponents, dont tell me it is because opera is broken. Usually, one must break their html to get it to display properly in internet explorer so this may be the case here.
    >/offtopic

    I appreciate the advice to stay away from monster.com I have been planning on using online resume sites recently and now I know not to waste my time.