A few people in Connecticut thought they would be able to meet the stars of a popular house-flipping show on HGTV after signing up for their seminar on how to profit in real estate.
The invite may have popped up on a Facebook feed or in a residents mailbox: hundreds of invitations with Christina and Tarek El Moussa’s photos on them.
NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters decided to attend one of the sessions. Some attendees left disappointed, while others ponied up thousands of dollars to learn more.
From the beginning of the Success Path presentation, that included posters of “Flip or Flop” stars Christina and Tarek El Moussa and handouts explaining how to get started in their real estate education program, we were told no photography. However, NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters took video outside the meeting room at the East Hartford hotel where the seminar took place.
Inside, an expert from Success Path, the company the TV stars created, made it clear Christina and Tarek were not attending and gave a presentation about how to make money in real estate without having a real estate license, or buying property. If someone signed up for three more days of intensive training, the cost would be another $2,000.
That didn’t sit well with Donna Gagnon of Farmington.
“I’m a big fan of Christina and Tarek and I watch the show all the time. I came here expecting to see them,” Gagon said.
Gagnon’s friend who also attended said they did not like the presenter because, “he was a fast talker”.
Of the 40 or so attendees, about a quarter ponied up cash for the three day seminar.
NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reached out to Christina and Tarek’s publicists to learn more and were soon contacted by an attorney representing Success Path. He said over the past year Success Path has made improvements and said, in part:
All marketing and other materials convey team members will be there to teach the class
When asked on social media, and on a frequently asked questions page success path says it makes it clear that Christina and Tarek do not attend every event and they have partnered with real estate experts that teach success path strategies on their behalf
When NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters registered for the seminar, we received three follow up emails and a pair of texts. The first email said, “We’ve hand selected trusted real estate partners to teach our strategies on our behalf.” Success path adds Christina and Tarek, who are in the middle of a divorce, do show up at some seminars, like recently in Maui and Las Vegas, and, when that happens, “It is explicitly stated.”
Gagnon said, “I was reading that they did a seminar in Las Vegas, and they were there. And I figured it was the same seminar.”
For sure, Success Path has taken steps to notify people Christina and Tarek may not attend with precise wording and caveats that NBC Connecticut recognized, but may not be clear to all fans, like Gagon who said, “I was disappointed.”
Success Path adds “All of our Success Path team members are trained and qualified to perform their jobs at a high level, and it is this combination of experience and recognition that we promote when marketing our programs. We continue to refine and update the marketing and delivery of our programs to ensure a positive customer experience.”
Success Path materials state the real estate seminars are not in any way affiliated with HGTV, or Scripps Networks, which broadcast the El Moussas' house flipping program.
Here are the full comments from the attorney representing Success Path:
Response to complaints about Tarek and Christina not being present:
- All marketing materials convey that Team members will be there to teach the class. Nowhere in the marketing materials is it stated that Tarek and Christina will be live at the event unless they are scheduled to do so beforehand.
- All follow-up correspondence after a client registers for an event uses the “Team” terminology.
- Tarek and Christina even state that “Their Team” will be teaching the material when promoting the events on their social media channels.
- All social media responses prepopulate to say that that Tarek and Christina cannot attend every event and that we will specify when they will be live in attendance.
- Every ad specifies Tarek and Christina’s “Team” will be at the location, and there is even an asterisk clarifying that Tarek and Christina may not attend the event.
- Our FAQ page clearly states that they do not attend every event and explains that they have partnered with real estate experts that teach Success Path strategies on their behalf.
- Every registration page states that Tarek and Christina’s Team will be teaching at the event. There is also a video on every registration page that talks about the trainers that will be teaching at the events.
- When Tarek and/or Christina are going to attend an event live, it is explicitly stated. This most recently occurred when Christina taught at the Maui Success Path seminar.
Tarek and Christina were in Las Vegas last Friday for a Success Path seminar.
“All of our Success Path team members are trained and qualified to perform their jobs at a high level, and it is this combination of experience and recognition that we promote when marketing our programs. We continue to refine and update the marketing and delivery of our programs to ensure a positive customer experience. Even though the El Moussas do attend events in person or via Skype when their schedules allow, our marketing materials do not promise that the El Moussas will be live at any specific event. Our materials focus instead on the content the recipient will receive at the program or seminar.
All of our instructors are active real estate investors and are highly trained and qualified. The Association for Talent Development, which is a certified partner of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training, trains and certifies all of our instructors. These are highly regarded educational accrediting agencies, and we are unique in our industry in this insistence on outside certification.
Our collective goal is to ensure that program attendees have a positive experience, and the El Moussas have taken steps personally to make sure that our team delivers on that.”