Robert Allen promises to make you millions teaching you how to buy real estate with no money down. Unsurprisingly, Ripoffreport is littered with complaints about his company and those that use his name. Here’s the story they tell:
There’s an ad for a free seminar. The crowd gets hyped with tales of fabulous wealth. High-pressure sales staff are on hand to sign you up for more courses for thousands of dollars. Each successive “course” has little information, just fluff and hype and a push to get to the next level where the real secrets will be revealed. There’s a few thousand for the 3-day course. Some more thousands for the mentor hot-line and one-on-one coaching. More thousands for the at-home study course. Many more thousands for the weekend retreat where Robert Allen himself might appear. Then, if you really want the big juicy secret that will make you millions instantly, it’ll just be $29,999 for the mastery class. Don’t worry, you’ll make that all back, they say
What actual info is in the materials? Little, it seems, but lots of promises about all the wealth you can generate. One person complained the books he paid over $5,000 for were:
“Thin on substance, but very thick on all the other classes and courses that I could enroll in to help further my dream of becoming a Certified Real Estate Specialist”
“massive books of crap with empty costly paid promises”
There’s supposed to be a 100% money-back guarantee, but people complain about getting the runaround when they try to get refunds. Only chargebacks and complaints to the state’s attorneys general work.
According to the complaints, once your email and phone number is in the database, the constant stream of calls to enroll in more classes and services begins. Probably the list gets sold around to the various sub-companies and they all take their crack at shaking your wallet.
I worked with a trainer for approximately 15 weeks, then was given a number for a coaching hotline after the 15 weeks. During that time, I made over 30 offers in 3 states, all with my coach’s instruction. None of the offers ever came to fruition, mostly because you can’t (legally) get something for nothing. In other words, many of the techniques for acquiring real estate were ethically questionable, particularly when trying to finance real estate deals with little or no money down.
When consumers get mad, the common tactic they write about is for the people they’re talking to to say, oh yes, the parent organization is sleazy, we’re trying to break away, we don’t like them, now, THIS is the class that you need to sign up for.
From how it all smells cruising online, Robert Allen has little to do with the system anymore. Somewhere along the way, the rights to his name and aura were purchased and they slapped his likeness on top of a seminar/education scam and a multi-level-marketing scam. There seem to be an endless parade of “companies” which have bought the rights to use the Robert Allen name and resell his information. Places with names like: Enlightened Millionaire Institute, Business Skills Corporation, Emerald Capital Group, Inc, Go2Trade Corporation, International Acceptance Corporation, Life Skills Corporation, MyMediaWorks.com Corporation, Saris TEchnologies, Inc, Securities Trading Corporation, Timeshare and Vacation Properties Online, Inc., Life Skills Corp., Market Place Pro, The Institute of Commercial Real Estate and so forth.
They talked us into spending our severance pay to pay for mastery classes. They promised ‘are you dumb enough to be rich?’ and how easy it would be. We spent over $19,000 for classes and had to fly to other states to get some of the training. Two classes were cancelled and we had to choose different classes. Our field training was constantly postponed. They never teach you enough to be successful. We have not met anyone at these classes who has made money the ‘Robert Allen’ way. Everyone says they just are pressured into buying more classes. When you try to talk to customer service, they tell you to listen to more calls and make more offers. The calls are very vague and they try to sell you something else. No one is just going to ‘give’ you their house.
How does it work? MSNMoney wrote when they looked into Robert Allen, “They operate according to a tried-and-true principle of behavioral psychology called the variable ratio reinforcement schedule. Basically, people (and rats) will persist in doing something, even with little or no return, if they are given the tiniest bit of hope of a coming reward,” In that same article, they also spoke with Mark Wilson, who said he had made lots of money using the Robert Allen system. He paid just $5,000 for a one-year course, and already had lots of experience in real estate.
I’m not sure what the final secret is. Robert Allen crows in his book “Multiple Streams of Income” about how he flew to LA, hooked up with a LA Times Reporter, handed over his wallet, and in 57 hours bought 7 seven properties worth $722,215 without putting any money of his own down at all. The title of the article supposedly was “Buying Home without Cash: Boastful Investor Accepts Time Challenge-and Wins.” I Googled and looked on Lexis/Nexis but the only references I could find to it were reams of get-rich-quick webpages reselling the Robert Allen system, some of which, in oh irony of ironies, you’ll likely find being advertised in the Google Ad Words block on the left side of the very page you’re reading right now.
If I had to guess, it sounds like the big reveal is get a 0% down loan and then flip the house. Hmm, where have we heard this before? Oh yes, it was the lifeblood of the sub-prime meltdown. Right. Got it. There’s also all this talk of “using other people’s money,” which I guess involves convincing other people to give you money to buy the house and then everyone gets their money back plus a bit of profit when turn around and sell it.
Even though banks are only loaning to people with stellar credit who can put solid money down, I still saw a full-page ad in the Daily Post last weekend for more of Robert Allen’s seminars. Though, from what I hear, he doesn’t actually do them anymore. No, they’re now run by various coaches who are part of the Robert Allen institute and figured out the real money is in selling the schlock to the next sucker who believes you can get something for nothing. Hm, maybe we should go to one of these, just to find out how they operate and what the people who show up look like…