• Report: #851306

Complaint Review: Fortune Builders

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  • Submitted: Fri, March 09, 2012
  • Updated: Sun, November 18, 2012

  • Reported By: Angry Consumer — Elk Grove California United States of America
Fortune Builders
4655 Cass St # 214 San Diego, California United States of America

Fortune Builders Jonathan Steingraber Charged $200.00 For a INFOMERCIAL SEMINAR. No real evidence of proof other than pictures with Blurbs. San Diego, California

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: What do you want for $200

*Consumer Comment: Do people really think about what they are saying?

*Consumer Comment: $200 - Well Worth the Investment for a 3-Day RE Seminar

*Consumer Comment: Was worth every dollar

*Consumer Comment: Attended Seminar and Purchased Mastery

*Consumer Comment: Seminar was crammed with useful information

*General Comment: Too good to be true.

*Author of original report: Than Made Good on promise

*Consumer Comment: Its not all that bad with Fortune builders

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Fortune Builders charges you $200.00 so you can go to a 9 hour a day, 3 day seminar that is nothing more than a seminar INFOMERCIAL.  Once there, you learn that you have to spend another $20,000-70,000K to get and use their products, real estate programs and coaching to get rich. 

They do not provide any solid verifiable proof of evidence from their past students AT THAT SEMINAR like local examples using the same MLS that anyone in California has access to, only pictures of their students with pictures of the properties they made money from and written blurbs not live videos.  

BUT they do use pressure sales to try and get you to sign up during those three days by telling you that the price they are offering the program is for the seminar days only.  They do have live videos of hyped up seminar attendees from past seminars, why not of their happy rich students. [continued below]....

At the initial meet and greet that is free, you are told that Fortune Builders lends their students money to purchase the homes.  Once at the $200.00 INFOMERCIAL seminar, you learn that you will have to spend $20-70K to be their student, but Im not sure at which level you have to buy into for you to be considered for that loan, AND only at that INFOMERCIAL you just paid $200.00 to be at, you learn that they charge 14% for their loans to their students.

YIKES!!! That doesnt even make sense to me, if I were a student that just paid $20-70 to Fortune Builders and was using their program, coaching and was taught how to invest by their top pros in the company, Id expect to get a better rate than that.

Then they show you an automated program, whether that is included in the 3, 6 or 12 month cost of being their student, I dont know.  I did look up the program on their website and it lists it for $300+ for the medium level.  No mention of that cost was talked about, so whether it is included in the $20-70K price, I don't know.  Maybe he forgot it was another "hidden" cost.

Here it is in a nut shell, NO ONE that shows me pictures of people that made money by spending $20-70K for a program, coaching and training isnt going to convince me to buy their program for any price no matter how many days and hours they keep telling me why I should buy it.

Example: I have a picture of me and a few other people standing next to a check made out to me with 7 figures on it or a couple of my students standing next homes I they bought and sold to make that checkand Ill only charge you $20,000-70,000K to teach you how they and I made thatso sign here and press hard, there are three copies, and make your check payable to my corporation.  Spending 9 hours three days in a row telling you why you should give me $20-70k to coach you to make that same 7 figure or any income for that matter, isnt going to convince you is it?

Me neither and thats what you pay $200.00 for, a seminar INFOMERCIAL. 

Does their coaching, programs and company really deliver on their promises for $20-70K? I dont know I didnt spend the $20K to find out, but I can tell you that Jonathan Steingraber, the speaker at the seminar told us he Under Promises and Over Delivers and promised to send us slides, what we received was worthless and when I emailed their company, they responded by saying thats all there was.

I emailed the company a few times requesting the slides; I ask that Than Merrill contact me, nothing.  I'm not sure what Than Merrill's involvement is with these seminars but they use his and another guys large cardboard figures at the enterence door on the first day.

Then I posted my disgruntlement on a review website I thought was independent of Fortune Builders but later I think it is run by Fortune Builders because I got a call from Jonathan on my unlisted number, so apparently, they were able to trace my IP address. He wants to address my concerns but no calls from Than Merrill.

And, on the website that he posted his reply to my post, it wouldnt let me respond to himgiving me the impression that the website is run by Fortune Builders.  Why else would the seminar presenter be able to give himself a raving and high rating review yet rebuttals cannot be posted.

His reply basically stated that I misunderstood that he would send us the slides of the seminar.

Dont worry about taking notes, I will send you the slides, I want your attention on mehow can that statement, repeated several times throughout all three days, be misunderstood?


Bottom line: the INFOMERCIAL SEMINAR should be FREE!!! NOT $200.00 And, if it is really that good, they need to do away with the pressure sales, provide evidence of proof and you should be able to sign up at any time for a reasonable price WITHOUT having to take out an equity loan on your home.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/09/2012 01:14 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Fortune-Builders/San-Diego-California-92109/Fortune-Builders-Jonathan-Steingraber-Charged-20000-For-a-INFOMERCIAL-SEMINAR-No-real-851306. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

What do you want for $200


 This company has spent years putting together a system. The $200 is nothing for the information they give you in a 3 day seminar. They're not going to give you everything they have spent years putting together for a meer $200. I bought the Mastery program offered and it is worth every cent. They delivered on all of their promises. The system they have set up is fail proof. If you follow it and put the effort in, it is impossible to fail. Everything you need to become successful is included in the package. Some people want everything for nothing, and will complain when they didn't even sign up for the program and therefore have no first hand knowledge as to whether it's a good program or not. The investment to get into the program can be paid back in 6 months and sometimes less,depending on how much money you have to invest in Real estate to begin with. This will determine what exit strategy you use and some exit strategies are much more lucrative than others.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Do people really think about what they are saying?

AUTHOR: Todd Burton - ()

I just read another consumer comment that said something like "If their program is so good, why is it so expensive?"

Seriously? Do people think about what they are saying? THese guys started a business, got recogized for it enought ot be on TV and they built a seminar business, that is very profitable...

So because they have a good model they should sell it cheap if it really works? They are not a non-profit organization or a charity.

I guess McDonald's should charge less for their franchise's or hamburgers. (well maybe the burgers because they are crap)

Adter attending a three day class I felt they were forthcoming and even addressed the costs to get onboard well by illustrating the costs of other Franchises etc.

I believe many people are upset because of how the process works to get people there and I can understand that... at first its a free seminar, then you go and there is another seminar, then you go and there is more to sign up for - Mastery, then there is even more you can ssign up for... So maybe someone could feel ripped off but if so its because of their own expectations and thinking they deserve something for nothing.

I haven't seen any complaints from any Mastery students that followed their program.


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#3 Consumer Comment

$200 - Well Worth the Investment for a 3-Day RE Seminar

AUTHOR: Todd Burton - ()

I've been doing some of my own due diligence on Fortune Builders & had to reespond to this comment after attending a 3-Day seminar myself.

First let me say that I have been in commercial real estate for over 15 years as an in-house deal maker for such companies as Westfield Corporation, THe Children's Place, Disney Store, The Swatch Group US - to name only a few... I've completed hundreds of transactions, mostly commercial leases. 

I LEARNED A TON OF VALUABLE INFORMATION AT THE FORTUNE BUILDERS SEMINAR - Information that has application to other businesses. Could you find out this information reading a book? Sure, maybe a few books but you also are able to network with other local people, hear personal testimonials etc. Lot's of Pros to attending.

When asked to put a valuation on the seminar I couldn't, I think the price was fair considering the revenue they generate from those who sign up for Mastery and if you can't afford the Mastery program, they are giving you a tremendous amount of ideas, guidance and examples of success stories. I'm planning to build my business on many of the principles I learned over the weekend, how can I put a number on that?

If they wanted to be totally above any criticism perhaps they could advertise that there are addtional buy-ins etc. in the first introductory meeting. It may weed out a lot of "dead weight" people really not serious that want something for nothing and don't have much to add to the weekend other than irrelevant questions...

The cost for the Platinum Mastery program was $25,000. The question in my mind is not weather its a ripoff or not... not at all, the question is if you only had $25,000 what would be the best use of that money? Buying into the program or using it to make your first deal? And that I believe is totally up to the person and their abilities, resources and knowledge. It would be a tough call for me personally because I recognize the value in having access to their systems, program and network of deal makers.

It's not a rip off... a rip off is when someone over promises and under delivers and that is simply not the case with the Fortune Builders (3) day first level seminar. I have not attended any other meetings or participated in any other programs so I cannot speak to them.

If I had the cash to sign up for the Platinum Program I would have because I am confident that their system would help me not only find the right deals but manage the process and repeat the process and I liked the energy and people I met at the event. In my opinion the $25k would be a good investment for anyone else confident in the CT Homes/Fortune Builder systems with the drive and ability to follow through on them.

It's also a great business model for them (Fortune Builders) with relatviely low entry costs for someone to get started.

I think they are missing an opportunity to attract and develop talent that is slipping through their fingers, guys like me that have made other people a lot of money but have had circumstances in life like divorce or unemployment that have set us back... but then again we are the type of people that don't feel sorry for ourselves and figure out a way to make it happen, if it was my business I'd want to bring thos people in too.








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#4 Consumer Comment

Was worth every dollar

AUTHOR: Demitri - ()

I just attended the Fortune Builders $195 seminar in West Palm Beach, Florida and can tell you without hesitation it was worth every penny spent and the time invested. Evaluating just the information on tax savings and investment options for my IRA will net me thousands of dollars each year.

As far as the report of a three day infomercial, maybe the person who started this report was sleeping through the end of the first day when they asked if you were gettting value and want to continue. If you believed it was a waist of time you were offered a full refund.

Back to the infomercial and cost for training. It amazes me that people believe they should get things for free or are entitled because they are breathing. What Fortune Builders offers is a complete business in real estate investing. I am wondering where the break down in logic occurs in people to think they can magically start doing something they have no expiereance, track record, or more importantly education and be successful. Fortune Builders is offering an education along with a pre packaged, systemized proven business plan to greatly increase your odds of success. 

A doctor can spend eight or more years in school and residency before they can really start to earn a meaningfull paycheck on a doctors standard. Thier debt in school loans easily will be $300,000 or more. The doctors earning will be dictated by how many patients they can see and how much billing they actualy get paid for by the insurance company. The 24 hours in a day limits thier earnings so they will likely earn $200k a year and put about $120k of that in thier pocket after taxes. At $20k a year paying back school loans that is eighteen (18) years of just school debt.

For a solid real estate educaiton you may rack up $40k in debt with Fortune Builders that has to be compaired to what your income potential is. When you follow thier systems and manage your business, your earnings are not limited by time. You can earn $100k, $1mil or any amount you determine. Because of the systems, the demand on your time is vastly reduced, freeing you up to enjoy life, your family, and anything elese that is important to you.

As a note, I did not take on the Mastery Program. My only reason was I lacked the funds to get started with Fortune Builders. My action plan is to create the funds I need and get started with Fortune Builders at that time.

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#5 Consumer Comment

Attended Seminar and Purchased Mastery

AUTHOR: taken - (United States of America)

I attended the 3 day seminar. I found the seminar worth the 197.00 that I paid. I am new to real estate so I did receive information that I thought was valuable. I also thought that the days were extremely long and there was a lot of "fluff" added to keep people there for long hours. It was definitely a sales pitch for the mastery program.  I guess I was one of the gullible ones because I actually thought it was going to be a training seminar. There was some information sprinkled in with the Mastery Marketing. I was enjoying it, was excited, and went out on a limb and purchased the program. The MAIN reason I purchased the program was the software applications that were offered.

One being the back office (I have not seen hide nor hair of it yet) and the other being an application that would actually put in SKU numbers of items you need to rehab a house. All set up and ready to go based on normal recommendations of items to use. Have not been able to find that one either. Have asked about it a couple of times. They do offer training seminars and coaching that are all informational. What I really wanted was the software that was offered as I know that can be an expensive investment. I dont have it!

Lots of pre-made forms and templates that you can find on the internet. Other things that I was told before I signed up for mastery have proven to be untrue by their own course instructors. They will tell you that you do not need to be a licensed Real Estate Agent in the seminar and then later they really push the MLS and the only way to get access to it is to know a RA that will do the work for you or to get your license. Also a lot of the applications they promote that you should use to build your business will cost you a monthly fee. Mastery students get a month or so paid for. 

I am sure that some will say that I am just not motivated enough but I really feel that I did not get what I signed up for. I did not get access to the Mastery Site until I signed an online agreement that I am sure protects them completely from any misgivings I now have. I signed wholeheartedly still thinking that I was going to get some automated applications to help run my business. I have not found them yet. If I am wrong about this I will happily retract my posting. At this point I just want my investment back as I feel that I was not delivered what was promised and what I expected.    
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#6 Consumer Comment

Seminar was crammed with useful information

AUTHOR: Pam - (U.S.A.)

A couple of weeks ago, I responded to a radio commercial toattend a free 90 minute seminar. As I expected, the free seminar was just tointroduce you to the potential of making money in real estate investing and to get you to pay $197 to attend another three day seminar. I have invested inenough other programs (mostly worthless) to know that $197 is a very low price to pay for a three day seminar.  Most ofthese companies, once you pay the initial feesusually in the neighborhood of about $400-$800to attend a one day training, teach you just enough that you know that you need to know more. Then they try to upsell you on personal coaching, which usually costs between $5,000 to $10,000.

So, before I paid the low cost of $197 for a three day training, I tried to find out what the upsell costs would be. I asked the speaker afterwards how much more I would need to invest in addition to the $197 to get personal coaching or whatever the rest of the program consisted of.  He finally said that if I was one of the few chosen to be a Mastery Student there would be no cost. I had a hard time believing this, but decided to pay for the seminar anyway. Having watched the  program, Flip This House many times (which is a weekly TV show about how the owners of Fortune Builders make money flipping houses), I knew that, unlike the other companies that sell money making systems this company really does make their money from actually doing what the teach. They were probably the most successful real estate flippers inthe country long before they started teaching their system.

As I expected, the first speaker had lied to me. It does cost money to be a Mastery Studenta lot of money. I had taken what he said with a grain of salt anyway so I was not surprised. I knew that I had put him on the spot and he said what he did to get out of discussing a topic that was not supposed to come up at the initial seminar (which, however, doesnt really excuse him for flat out lying).

What did surprise me (in addition to just how exorbitant it is to be a Mastery Student), is just how much I learned at the three day seminar. It was worth every penny of the $197 plus the two nights motel costs I paid. At the end of the first day, they offered to refund the entire $197 to anyone who felt it was not worth attending the next two days. There were about 200 people in the room and, judging by how many came the next two days, there were not many people, if anyone, who took them up on their refund offer.

The second day, they spent one hour after lunch discussing the different levels of the Mastery Program, what you get in each level, and how much they cost. The three levels, if purchased at the seminar, cost $14,995, $19,995, and $25,995. Purchasing later it would be $10,000 more at each level. In reality, however, if you dont purchase, they call you later and offer you lower prices. I do not know what is included at the lower costs because I did not have the money to proceed any further. At the levels discussed in the seminar, the cost was pretty much for purchasing a complete turnkey business with all the software and processes you need provided for you (similar to buying a franchise business),  in addition to further training events and one on one coaching.

Aside from that one hour about the Mastery Program, the rest of the seminar was cram packed with useful information on topics such as, how to find houses, how to market, both for selling and buying houses (lots of good tips there), what to look for in a house, how to estimate costs and profits, how to find financing and resources, and how to structure your business. It was pretty much a mini MBA in real estate investing. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this seminar a 10.

In addition, at various times during the three days, they asked for a show of hands of people attending who were private investors who might finance other peoples purchases, contractors who could be hired in rehabbing houses, and others who might be able to provide resources. Then, they made sure we had time to network with them. As a result, my business partner and myself were able to hook up with someone who has the money available to finance us on a profit sharing basis. Will that money be expensive? I am sure it will. However, if we are able to also make a few thousand ourselves and get a start in this business, it will be worth it.

I would love to be able to buy the complete business with all the software used for estimating costs, building websites, etc., etc., that comes with the Mastery program. Putting all of that together myself will be very time consuming and it would be nice to not have to reinvent the wheel. The couple sitting next to me bought in at the $25,000 level. I plan to contact her soon and see how they are doing. If I find out, I plan to come back and post again. I dont have that kind of money myself, but I still consider the $197 I paid (which covered attendance for two people) to be money well spent. Hopefully, we will have our first deal put together soon.
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#7 General Comment

Too good to be true.

AUTHOR: micatoung27 - (United States of America)

I paid the 200 dollars, 197 to be exact.  Was told I would learn how to write contracts, how to find house's, buyers, and how to rehab.  The first day of the class's I was excited and learned some information.  Although, they go so fast it's hard to take notes or to keep up.  I even signed up to be interviewed for the mastery class.  The 2nd day of training, my husband and I arrived on time and the first speaker was educational.  That lasted an hour.  

The rest of the day was spent selling the mastery program.  Telling us why we should want to do this and what it involved.  I was getting upset after the first 2 hours of talking about the mastery class.  So, I went to one of the speakers and asked when we would be learning about real estate, as we were promised when we paid for the class.  He said that they were just covering the mastery class to get all questions out of the way.  

After 4 hours of still talking about the mastery class and finding out it costs anywhere from 15-40K, I decided to ask for a refund.  Which, I got but was incredibly disappointed that I wasted two days of my life, gas, and energy on something that wasn't what I was told it was going to be.  I think that if their program is so great, why charge so much for it.  Why not say, pay us between 1,000-5,000 to get started and because we know our program is so great and you'll be successful at it.  

Then, after doing a few deals we want the rest of the money?  And, why do an interview and fill an application where they ask for your financial information for the mastery class?  When I asked why they did an interview.  I was told it was because they used to take anyone but was tired of being paid 30,000 and the person wouldn't do the work to be successful.  I said, "what would that matter?  

If someone is dumb enough to pay 30K and not do the work to be a millionaire that's their fault.  At least you got paid,"  The guy instantly told me that the program was not for me.  I wanted to say, "But, didn't the speaker just tell us he made 20K in a day and who else would like that?"  So, for them to say making 30K in 5 hours was frustrating because some people don't want to follow up with it, is a joke.  All I can guess is, they do the interview so they know who can and can't afford it.  

I don't know if it's a scam but think that if  their information and education is so great, why does it cost so much?  I actually went to another seminar where their 3 day training would be 1300 but it included a coach and they would finance your first deal because they were so sure you would be successful.  Wish I would of done that instead of waiting for this class.  But, all I can say is if it's too good to be true, it usually is!
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#8 Author of original report

Than Made Good on promise

AUTHOR: Angry Consumer - (United States of America)

I want to thank Than Merril for getting me the slides AND refunding my $200.00.

I had a great conversation with him and he is a sincere person.  I would venture to say that Thans program, although not for the seasoned veteran, may very well benefit rookies looking to get into the investment business. 

I do hope that someday he will offer some of the automated programs to seasoned veterans looking to tweak their business without the large outlay it costs for the less experienced, I would be interested in taking a look at that program.

Best wishes Than.  
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#9 Consumer Comment

Its not all that bad with Fortune builders

AUTHOR: Natomas - (United States of America)

Disclaimer: I am not in any way connected to Fortune Builders, or Ct Homes or any of their employee or students. In fact, I am not even in real estate business. I am actually, an executive in biotechnology industry and my only connection to this was my spouse wanting to start her own real estate business and my support to her when attending Fortune Builders seminars.

I may sympathize with above rip-off report but i don't think it paints balanced picture on FB seminar.
My spouse and I just completed 3 days seminar March 16-18 in Sacramento, CA; my spouse was interviewed  and selected to enter mastery program but we did elect not to pursue at this time. Probably,  due to not enough information, time or just it was all new to us and we just wanted to let it sleep before we make an informed decision. Perhaps, my spouse would decide to pursue Mastery program later on.
Here are some of my comments:
1. 200$ spent was worth every cents - in fact more than, what we have learned during these 3 days could potentially be a money savers for us, for example: just a few tips given at seminar on retirement could be quite beneficial etc. There were many, many other quite useful tips it is my opinion.
2. Although tiring (seating 8 hours, 3 days in a row), coffee free (talk about cost management) and small not comfortable chairs, meeting were highly professional, motivational, positive and have also thought about life in General with quite a content and references. Great presentation from Ryan Burk and JD! Good job - Consequently, I might be using some ideas for my Team building, as well.
3. Tuition fees for mastery students although high at first (15-40K) were not transparent prior to the Seminar. I would highly suggest to Than and his Team to consider being more transparent about prices and curriculum just like any University program would be with of course their own touch. They should not be afraid to this, at all. In fact, if my spouse (we) had more time to evaluate the program prior to the seminar, she might have made her decision during if not prior to the seminar, to consider pursuing mastery program. More importantly, it is my opinion that by being transparent that FB would be able to attract higher quality of students, which should be the goal of any quality educational program, anyways.
All the best to FB, mastery students and all of the rest of seminar participants.
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