I was lured into the San Francisco Real Estate Wealth Expo on the names of Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, and others. I listened to Marshall Sylver speak of his "Turning Point" seminar. The cost was $1495, and came with several CD packages related to the subjects to be presented at the seminar of improving one's life and finances. The verbal guarantee that Mr. Sylver confidently and convincingly presented was that if the person making the reservation was not happy after even the first day of the seminar, they could not only keep the CD's as a gift but they would receive a full refund of $1495. I thought that was a great money back guarantee, so I naively signed up.
Due to some major changes in my life, I tried to contact Sylver's company, Mind Power, three times by telephone in order to cancel the seminar reservation well ahead of time. I got a voice mail every time. Finally, after contacting my bank for a refund, the Learning Annex responded to my bank that I had signed the contract which indicated I had three days to cancel "which was in full compliance with FTC's Rule concerning Cooling-off period for Sales made at homes or at Certain other Locations."
The letter went on to state that I had already signed the contract, so it was too late to cancel any reservation or to receive any money back. They sent copies of the contract to my bank, citing Trade Regulation Rule Subchampter D, part 429. They informed my bank that any cancellation period had passed, and that it was too late for any refund. They claimed this was in full compliance with FTC law. Of course, they seemed to have forgotten to mention the money back guarantee that Marshall Sylver made: that you could cancel even after the first day of the seminar and receive a full refund and keep the CD's. I sent the CD's back, USPS confirmed, and canceled, but I have received not a penny.
It is amazing to me that the Learning Annex would use FTC law to make their argument. They effectively replaced a verbal money back guarantee made at the seminar with a written "3 day cooling off period" contract designed to protect consumers in the absence of other guarantees. I am sure this is not what legislators had in mind when this law was written!!
San Francisco, California