Report: #1079680

Complaint Review: Ripoff Report | Fortune Builders Inc

  • Submitted: Tue, August 27, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, June 29, 2015
  • Reported By: Foreclosed — Portland Oregon
  • Fortune Builders Inc
    960 Grand Av
    San Diego, California

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Ripoff Report Verified™ REVIEW

EDitor's UPDATE: Positive rating and recognition has been given to FortuneBuilders for its full commitment to quality customer service.

Ripoff Report's discussions with FortuneBuilders have uncovered an ongoing dedication by the company to total client satisfaction. This means that clients can expect that the company will work towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution to any concerns. FortuneBuilders listens carefully to client concerns and sees them as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and become more efficient as a company in the services offered and the support for those services.

The founder of the company Mr. Merrill has informed us that his personal philosophy is that his students are the heart of the business. As a successful real estate investor and one of the most trusted and well respected real estate educators and authors, Mr. [continued below]....
..... Merrill feels it is critical to listen to his clients and respond properly. By always putting his students first, Mr. Merrill hopes to maintain his company’s strong reputation as one of the top educational company’s in the country. Another top executive, Mr. Chadwick told us that he has worked at the company for the past seven years and that Mr. Merrill, the founder, is extremely committed to constantly improving the educational development and experience of their students.

He said “Mr. Merrill is always inspiring and challenging everyone within the company to continue improving the educational experience for our students. Whether it’s adding more live training events, or improving our online training curriculum, or continuing to improve the systems, tools, or software that we offer students.”

Mr. Chadwick went on to say that he really has never met someone as dedicated to their company as Mr. Merrill. He went on to say “ Mr. Merrill doesn’t sleep and that he has never met anyone with the work ethic and commitment to the company’s programs and students.” He went on to add that “he is also constantly teaching and coaching students within the program at a lot of their advanced live training events and that their students really appreciate how connected he is to the student body.”

One of the things Ripoff Report learned in the course of its review is that the company has thousands of successful investors students around the country. The common thing their students said is that they “truly feel part of a bigger family.”

Many of their company’s clients reference the fact that the company is always sharing best practices not only of the founders real estate business, but also of the numerous successful students who have also created extremely successful real estate businesses in different markets around the country.

Ripoff Report also learned, in the course of the review, that the company is extremely responsive when and if the company knows about an issue that might arise with a student. It is very clear the company is committed to their students and that even when a student falls behind they stick with the student to help them get back on track.

FortuneBuilders is Ripoff Report Verified
Ripoff Report Verified™ .. part of Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program.A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business..

The information provided in this report is based on comments made by Geoffery Chadwick during an onsite inspection held by a third party verification company with no biases toward Fortune Builders.

Fortune Builders is a real estate education company that has developed education tools and platforms in order to provide their clients with the highest quality information to further develop their real estate careers. Fortune Builder's goals are for their customers to develop real estate education for buyers and investors to buy, hold, redevelop, and or manage real property. Geoffery Chadwick went on to state the following, "there is no specific area of real estate emphasized, but each course and coaching package is aimed at what the client wants to do and their comfort level in dealing with real estate.”

The leads for Fortune Builders are developed through several different avenues including referrals, radio advertisements, television advertisements, direct mail, and online inquires. Once an initial interest has been made Mr. Chadwick explains the typical experience a client would receive with Fortune Builders, "clients are offered at attend a free two hour seminar. It is mostly a informative show of real estate techniques, then they are offered an opportunity to attend a three day training course at a cost of $197.00." The training course offers in depth details and training materials for the client's review.


During the onsite interview Mr. Chadwick was asked to describe a situation where a client was not satisfied with the level of service they received. Mr. Chadwick explained that the complaints Fortune Builder is most aware of involve the sales approach and pitch at the seminars. Some customers are unaware of the dedication necessary to effectively own real estate, and they request their $197.00 back. Mr. Chadwick explained that when this happens, "our policy, at the time, was a delayed return of their money within 7-10 days. We have since streamlined the refund policy to within 48 hours of their request and that has proven to be satisfactory to the clients. We also made the offer for clients to cancel at the end of the 1st day of the seminar instead of at the end." These complaints were at the local workshops in San Diego, and at other workshops throughout the United States and Canada.

When asked to comment on complaints posted on Ripoff Report's website Mr. Chadwick stated the following, "if the client was not satisfied with the product or service promised, perceived or not, a simple phone call to the office would have rectified the problem in the clients favor." Fortune Builders is a company dedicated to education and customer service. This can be shown through their many clients who are successfully selling, owning, and redeveloping properties.

Fortune Builders is proud to be a part of Ripoff Reports Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program. Mr. Chadwick further explains by stating, "as you may be aware, many complaints are made and posted by anonymous posters with no form of rebuttal available to our company. Being a member of the program has given us the ability to interface with the complainant and deal with the problem in a timely and professional manner."


"We are one of the top educational company’s in the country that helps real estate investors start, grow, and scale their real estate investment businesses.

FortuneBuilders's The company has an extremely positive work environment. Everyone within the company is encouraged to grow both personally, professionally, and financially. The managers within the company are also always pushing everyone to always think of ways to improve the educational experience of our students while at the same time making sure that every employee is also growing.

If you have any questions please email the company’s chief officer of customer care Roy Lindenmayer at”

FortuneBuilders takes employee satisfaction seriously as well. Employee feedback and surveys reveal comments such as this, "Opportunities for suggestions and improvements are encouraged within the company. The founders are definitely committed to providing growth opportunities and have created a family like atmosphere within the organization.”

Ripoff Report was pleased to learn that FortuneBuilders's past and current approach to business is focused on its pledge to total commitment towards client and employee satisfaction.

Mastery Coaching

Top professionals in any industry know coaching is an invaluable resource, with some surveys indicating 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs utilize business coaching. We believe to be the best, you have to constantly surround yourself with people who have a different perspective and have already achieved what you desire. Mastery is our program that allows investors to reach their financial and personal goals by learning how to strategically invest in real estate. Mastery students receive unparalleled support through one-on-one coaching, foundational systems and course materials and exclusive access to our live training events.”


"We are passionate about real estate and business and we believe education, systems and coaching are the key components to running a successful real estate investing business. We have built our business on this foundation and our sole purpose is to share our knowledge, systems and coaches with investors at all levels from aspiring to experienced. Our education and systems are designed to accelerate the learning curve associated with investing in real estate and running a business, and reduce the risk and costs associated with the challenges all new investors and business owners encounter.

Truly wealthy people do not trade their time for money. Truly wealthy people invest in their financial education, start businesses and accumulate assets that do the work to produce income for them. This is why we have made it our mission to teach our students how to build a business that is not dependent on you trading time for money. Browse our educational programs and resources to learn more about how we can help.


FortuneBuilders recognizes that complaints posted on Ripoff Report (whether true or not) are issues that need to be addressed, not ignored. If handled correctly, complaints can be valuable learning opportunities. With the feedback generated by Ripoff Report's review, FortuneBuilders has made organizational changes allowing its clients and employees a more streamlined approach to problem resolution and a commitment to a great client experience.

In summary, after our review, which included discussions with Mr. Merrill the founder, Mr. Chadwick, and Mr. Roy Lindenmayer the chief officer of customer care, Ripoff Report is convinced that FortuneBuilders is committed to quality delivery of services resulting in total client satisfaction.

Read more about why consumers should feel confident when doing business with a member of Ripoff Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. Yes, it’s a long name for a program that does a lot for both consumers and businesses alike. Read about Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program, a program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. This program works.

As a matter of policy, when a business becomes a member of the Corporate Advocacy Program they agree to allow Ripoff Report to contact every client who filed a complaint so they can make things right with them. In order to confirm that the complaints were resolved, Ripoff Report is copied on all responses so we can insure that the member business did right by their customer.



Fortune Builders Inc Did you know that a library card is worth 24,997 (Twenty-four thousand nine hundred ninety seven) dollars? San Diego California


  • Date Occurred: 06/18/2013
  • Reported Damages: $24,997.00
  • Location: San Diego, CA

Please, Please, before giving this scam outfit your 25k do your research. Do not research on the internet as all of the FB 'review' sites are controlled by Fortune Builders. Ask a local realtor or a real estate investor at your local Real Estate Investors Association.

Fortune Builders will give you a slick presentation about how they hand pick a few 'select' individuals to let into their circle. The inference is that you are 'special' if you are selected. They talk about who should join, the inference being the 'winners'. "People are either winner or they are losers", they will say. How's that for a not too subliminal challenge to one's ego?

Well, you are special if you are willing to give them 25 thousand dollars. They will conduct an interview that seems as though it is just that, with questions about your work history, maybe your education. Then the real questions that concern them. How much money do you have in the bank, how much available credit do you have, can you ask for higher limits, how much equity is in your home. If it adds up to 25k you are in, you are awesome. They do fail to mention that there will be a few added expenditures. You need to buy some domain names (money) you need to buy a business name (more money) you need to do marketing (way more money) you need to hire someone to do your logo ( you guessed it more $) to do your stationary, your business cards, your envelopes etc ($). They could plainly see that all I had was 25k and would never have the money for the added 'incidentals', but still they decided to not talk with me about them. Because they DO NOT care. If you happen to decide that 25k is just too steep, they will (I found out through other people I met at the seminar) hound you and hound you offering you discount after discount. Then after you join they will call you with an 'invitation' to join the coveted "Inner Circle' Oooh, now you're going to be really in the loop. An insider. Oh boy. Oh yeah, it'll cost you. Thousands more.

They tell you that this is an easy business with millions to be made. They fail to tell you how truly difficult it is to find a deal. At the prices one can offer to make a profit it is nearly impossible. You will make offer after offer and come up empty. If your market is at all competitive (which nearly all are right now) you are up against a big number of much more savvy, much more connected investors. You will most likely NOT get a deal. As a realtor told me RE agents make more money and don't have to risk anything. (Many, many rehabs lose money). Many, many-and that can be disastrous.

Fortune Builders has a Facebook page that allows students to post questions. This is to help all with their lucrative new businesses'. If you are looking for a lender for a project you will receive Zero responses. If you are looking for a reliable, affordable contractor you will have Zero responses. So if you do get a deal you have no money and no contractors. If however, you are wondering which of your 5 logo choices is the prettiest you will receive 50 responses and if you are an idiot wondering if you should refinish the wood floors in a 1920s bungalow or carpet over them (!) you will receive 100 responses. These are serious business people you know.

Additionally, Fortune Builders will recommend that you work with Nevada Corporate Headquarters, an even slimier outfit than FB. DO check the reviews for them online. Ech. They also recommend that you sign up for Realeflow, a company that provides a product to help you organize your company data and provide you with some basic websites- they have worked with me for two months and still websites are not up and working correctly.

Bottom line is if you want to get into the business ask a realtor ask an investor, go to the library, join BiggerPockets (for FREE!). You will find that you will get more realistic info from these sources and save yourself 25k. All I have is a 1000/mo credit card payment that I can not afford because the slime balls at FB thought that they could use it more than I. BEWARE and be SMARTER than I!!

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/27/2013 11:00 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Agreed, with the Original Report

AUTHOR: VegasDJ - ()

I am in agreement with pretty much everything in the original statement of this complaint, but not the back-pedalling.

All you have to do to qualify to be one of the few people that are admitted into the Mastery program is have some way (through credit cards, home equity, etc.) for them to get the money from you for their program.

Unfortunately, I did not see this complaint before I dropped $25,000 on a credit card for Mastery, plus another $10,000 in Nevada Corporate Headquarters fees and other business costs, in addition to what I am putting out monthly for services that I have to continue in order for my business to someday, hopefully, earn the money back that I have put into it.  I began the Mastery Program eleven months ago, and I have yet to make one penny with the "training" I've received.  I couldn't even deduct the $35,000 I spent on the program, NCH's fees, and other costs from my taxes because I haven't had any revenue.  They don't tell you that at Fortune Builders.

They don't tell you that you have to keep spending money to grow your business.  They told us at the seminar that there would be someone to work with you directly, physically at your side, to help you build your Web site, set up systems, and train you exactly how to do absolutely everything, step-by-step.  Never happened.  For the Web site, a "coach" referred me to Realeflow, who can't even make a site function correctly.  For one example, when I asked them about words on my site that were misspelled, they tried to tell me it was Internet Explorer's fault.  When I told them I was using Firefox and Chrome, they said it was a problem on those browsers too.  Then one day, it was mysteriously correct.

After about five months of getting nothing but training on how to spend more money, Fortune Builders calls me and tells me that I've been invited to the Inner Circle.  I was told that normally it takes a long time to get to the Inner Circle, but so many people told them that they wished they had the info from Inner Circle much earlier, that they decided to start inviting people sooner and I was one of they wanted to invite.  Apparently, they assumed I had been in the program long enough to have made some money at it, so they called me in the evening so my wife could be there too, and started telling me how to call our credit card companies and rudely demand to speak to a manager and tell them to increase our credit line, etc.  I was told to get back to them after I done that.  I told them that so far the Mastery Program has been a burden to me financially and there was no way I could afford to increase my credit card payments after I told them what my limit was already and that I was at that limit now.  Not surprisingly, I never heard from them again.

Then I did a postcard mailing campaign through Realeflow to people filing bankruptcy.  One person responded to the first set of 60 postcards Realeflow mailed for me.  I called Fortune Builders to find out how to respond to this guy.  They referred me to an incomplete phone script by Than Merrill that didn't tell me how to help the prospect at all.  When I e-mailed again (after they sent me an automated e-mail saying my issue was resolved), they forwarded my e-mail to a "coach" who offered some slightly helpful instruction.  When I asked a question about that instruction, another coach responded and finally gave me something useful, but just enough to realize that I couldn't help my prospect, so I referred him to someone else I knew of.

The main issue is that Fortune Builders is concerned with only that: building their own fortunes.  No one there is interested in how the markets are structured in places other than Connecticut and San Diego.  They aren't interested in the fact that while they are telling people in Las Vegas to advertise with bandit signs because they're such a great marketing tool, bandit signs cost you a $200 fine in Clark County for EACH ONE!  They don't care that Las Vegas homeowners know that they can ask top dollar for a house, and some California investor will offer them cash the same day the home lists, sight unseen, then sit on it for three or four months without touching it, and sell it for $10,000 to $20,000 more than the 200 grand they paid for it.  That's because Fortune Builders wants you to believe that you can use other people's money and not your own, to finance deals.

What they don't tell you, because they don't have an answer, is what to say to someone that has that kind of cash (if you can even find them) to convince them to finance a deal for you, and then split the $10,000 with you (before closing costs and realtor commissions) when they can just do it themselves.

How do you buy a house at an auction if you can't show a bank statement or letter saying that you have $150,000 cash in the bank?

How do you convince a realtor to send deals your way if you haven't done any deals?  One of the Fortune Builders coaches that has done some of their training seminars says to tell them about your training and convince them you're a go-getter.  That doesn't mean squat in Las Vegas, where money talks and BS walks!

Speaking of the training, you also receive this set of CDs that Than Merrill recorded on his lunch breaks (you can hear him eating and drinking) with crappy audio quality, and some of them are not even complete.  One ends abruptly in an audio bowel movement, and re-starts in the middle of a completely different topic, so you don't get the whole message of either one.  I don't even want to get started on Than's attempts at being personable and humorous on these CDs.

So, yeah, I got suckered into the concepts Fortune Builders is selling.  I realized that in spite of what they say ("You can do it in your spare time while continuing to work in your job"), I couldn't stay in my job and make this thing work, because I worked in the convention audiovisual field here in Las Vegas, and would work 14 some days with no advance warning, couldn't take calls while I was setting up an event, etc., so I left my job.  Now I am totally committed to making this work, because it's all I have.  The problem is, Fortune Builders doesn't deliver on their IMPLIED promises, they cover themselves by telling you that success is not guaranteed, they just suggest that there's no way that anyone but a complete loser could fail by using their program.

Fortune Builders Mastery Program has been the worst decision I have ever made, has created a financial hardship for me, and caused serious problems in my marriage.  Unless you have $200-250,000 in cash (or whatever is appropriate for your real estate market to buy an average-priced two or three bedroom home), I recommend staying away from them.  Before Fortune Builders, my wife and I had our credit cards paid off.  Now we have $550/month in card payments, plus two business phone lines (that only ring when someone is trying to sell me something I don't need for my business), domain names for two Web sites, and other things suggested by NCH to build my business.

By the way, I'm not having any physical or emotional issues right now that would cause me to retract this statement.  I'm just regretting wasting the money on Mastery that I could have used to finance my first deal.

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#2 Author of original report

A little more...

AUTHOR: Foreclosed - ()

I am updating my claims and statements above. Due to my current physical health challanges, I have not been able to fully implement the Mastery program and therefore really can not fully comment on how good it is or isn't. I did conclude that the program would not work for me at this time and really needed to get out of the program. I did not contact Fortune Builders with my concerns but instead turned to these various on line complaint sites to vent. Admittitdy this was done in a very emotional state. To my surprise, the head coach at fortune builders reached out to me and quickly made it crystal clear that they are here for me and stand behind their students. I am absolutely 100% satisfied with the outcome and the solutions that have been provided.


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#3 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Foreclosed - ()

When my coach found out what huge problems I was having he personally contacted me.  He told me how to resolve the problems I was having with FB.  He said that if I had just reached out before he could have helped me with my issues.  I guess it is better to ask first rather than giving it all up.

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