BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Recommends Intellibiz Modify Certain Claims for Real Estate Education Program; Company Agrees to Do So
New York, NY – July 23, 2015 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Intellibiz modify or discontinue certain claims for the “Simple Man’s Guide to Real Estate” investing course.
ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP through an anonymous competitor challenge.
ERSP reviewed online advertising claims for the real estate investing course, including:
- “Give me 30 minutes and I guarantee I can teach anyone how to make at least $5,000 in 14 days” – Bill Vaughn
- “Earn a minimum of $100,000 each and every year you use our program, working only part-time, or we will send you a check for double the purchase price, no questions asked.”
- “The only COMPLETE Real Estate Investor Training Program Outperforming every other real estate investing course since 1989”
- “Best guarantee in the business!”
- “Homero Guerrero pocketed this certified check for $10,000 in less than 2 weeks (wholesaling)”
- “Angela Pockets $150,000 On First Deal”
ERSP was also concerned about the omission of clear and conspicuous disclosures concerning the typical results consumers can generally expect to achieve.
Although ERSP was not troubled by claims describing the general performance methods included in the advertised real estate investment program, ERSP found that the specific quantified earnings created real income expectations for consumers that required substantiation and could not be adequately qualified by a single disclosure stating, “Results may vary from one transaction to another.”
In response to ERSP’s initial inquiry, the marketer addressed certain concerns raised by ERSP. ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue earnings and performance claims presented in a comparative context, although ERSP did agree with IntelliBiz that its “Best guarantee in the business!” claim would be interpreted by consumers as statement of puffery.
Finally, ERSP recommended that the marketer clearly and conspicuously disclose additional qualifying information when communicating earnings representations using consumer testimonials to provide more clarity to consumers regarding generally expected results.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said that it is “in the process of substantially revising our advertising and continue to improve our consumer messaging to be as truthful, accurate, clear and conspicuous as possible.”