BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Recommends Private Money Pro, LLC Modify Certain Claims for Proof of Funds Service; Company Agrees to Do So
New York, NY – Aug. 22, 2017– The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Private Money Pro, LLC modify or discontinue certain claims for GetPOF, the company’s proof of funds subscription service for real estate investors.
ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP through an anonymous challenge.
ERSP reviewed online advertising claims for the direct response, proof of funds subscription service, including:
- “I am hearing stories weekly of investors making offers and getting multiple offers accepted.”
- “It’s like clockwork, I just heard a story of a guy who made six offers, got four deals accepted. That is unheard of in this real estate investing world we live in right now, but that has all changed with our proof of funds.”
- “We have proven that with our proof of funds you are over 1100% more likely to get your offers accepted over any other proof of funds out there, yes we did the actual analysis to come up with that statistic.”
- I have recommended GetPOF to every single one of my students because it gets results. I highly recommend this product and I am so glad they do what they do. No one supports their people better and the fact they have a phone line for sellers to call is such a huge advantage. Don’t make an offer without it!” [Nate A. Minneapolis, MN]
- “I have raised over 45 million dollars and done over 550 real estate deals.” [claims specific to advertising spokesperson, Keith Yackey]
The GetPOF proof of funds is a service that provides customers with a template prequalification letter and a copy of a bank statement from a third party investor, which can then be used to have offers to purchase real estate accepted. The service is primarily marketed online through emails sent directly to consumers and the marketer’s website (www.GetPOF.com).
ERSP agreed with the marketer that there was sufficient support for its performance claims that the proof of funds service “gets offers accepted.” However, ERSP also determined that there was no evidence to determine how many offers have been accepted using the GetPOF proof of funds or offers are accepted weekly. Therefore, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue claims that consumers get offers accepted weekly and refrain from referring to its “high acceptance rate.” ERSP remained concerned that one message reasonably conveyed in the advertising was that the third-party investor named in the proof of funds letter was also providing the funding for the purchase of the real estate when, in fact, that may not be the case. As such, ERSP recommended that the marketer include a clear and conspicuous disclaimer on the advertisement that the proof of funds is not a commitment to fund the purchase of the property.
ERSP also determined that there was no evidence in the case record to support the comparative claims that GetPOF has superior results than hard money lenders, prequalification letters, or free proof of funds services. This was particularly troubling because the advertisement explicitly stated that an analysis was done by the marketer. ERSP determined that these comparative claims, and all performance claims that may be interpreted as comparative superiority claims, should be discontinued. Alternatively, ERSP agreed with the marketer that general comparative claims (“Best customer service anywhere on the internet and anywhere in the world” and “…the best proof of funds EVER”) would be interpreted by consumers as statements of puffery.
In addition, ERSP reviewed the consumer testimonials and the claims by Keith Yackey, the advertising spokesperson, about his own personal success from using the advertised product. ERSP determined that these claims were not supported in the unqualified context in which they were communicated. ERSP recommended that the marketer include a clear and conspicuous disclosure in accordance with the FTC Guides.
Finally, ERSP recognized that the marketer’s pricing claims did not necessitate modification.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said that it would follow ERSP’s suggestions and that it “… will be making said recommended changes to our website and claims to better educate and inform our clients, present and future.”