On Monday night, I watched BBC Inside Out London which, following the tragic death of Danny Butcher who took his own life, has been investigating London based company, Property Investors.
The company tells its customers they can make a fortune if they sign up to their training course. It’s a two-day free course where attendees are supposedly shown how to find cheap houses for sale on property websites and then how to work out rental income. The trainers then say to be really successful at ‘Deal Sourcing’, attendees can pay for further training course – which cost in excess of £10,000.
Danny, who already had some outstanding debt, was persuaded to sign up and paid £13,000 to join Property Investors Academy. However, after finding himself unable to make the training work, and having been refused a full refund, Danny felt there was no other way out.
Companies like Property Investors, run by Samuel Leads, make guaranteed financial freedom sound easy, claiming individuals can make between £30-£50k per month, as the undercover reporter, Abi Jaiyeola discovered. Whilst it can be argued that people make their own choice to attend such courses, there is no doubt in my mind that they exploit already vulnerable people.
In another example highlighted on the show, Andrew Whyte explained how he had told the company he could not afford to sign up to the Academy. However, after been persuaded to open his banking App, was convinced to invest his army pension to undertake the course. He felt pressurised into paying for the training after being told the price would go up if he didn’t sign up that day. He has not had any deals or the one-to-one mentoring he was promised and is now facing severe hardship. He is having to pursue the company through the small claims court for a refund.
Dianne Granville, who managed to get a refund for her training, is currently assisting 78 other people to get refunds in a joint class action.
A petition has been launched by Danny
Butcher’s family calling for regulation of the property training sector. You
can view and sign up HERE
I must make clear, there are some very credible property educators out there but there needs to be a way for people to clearly identify the good guys from the rogues, as with any industry. As we know, affecting change can be a lengthy process and requires an enormous amount of support. So, I am currently working with Cyril Thomas of Property Investors Bureau on what we can do NOW to start cleaning up the industry.
Here is what Cyril has to say: –
“Many of you will know that the Property Investors Bureau will soon be launching the Property Educators Accreditation Scheme aimed at addressing significant and devastating issues within the property education sector. The main aim of the scheme will be to give credible property educators a way to clearly differentiate themselves from other property educators.
It is important to say the Property Educators Accreditation Scheme (PEAS) has not yet accepted any applications from property educators as the PIB team are working hard behind the scenes with a number of respected individuals and organisations in our industry. The PIB’s advisory board consists of leading industry figures such as Richard Bowser of Property Investor News and Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action. You can view all of the members of our advisory board at https://pibuk.org/advisory-board.”
From working with the likes of the Property Investors Bureau, and other names in the industry such as Vanessa Warwick and Kate Faulkner, it’s clear this sector of the market needs to be addressed. The first part of this is with the Property Education Accreditation Scheme. Members that apply to be part of this trade body will have to be part of a redress scheme which I’m pleased to confirm the Property Redress Scheme are already looking to assist with.
However, my advice to anyone looking to work with a property education provider is to do your research! First of all, look the company and the people behind the company up on Google. Look at their financial history regarding filing accounts and any detrimental credit reports. Then check out review sites, as well as going on important landlord forums such as those on LandlordZone, and also PropertyTribes as a starter. Also, speak to people who have been on the courses before and get their views. Its imperative they have a clear refund policy, a complaints procedure and are fully transparent in terms of costs and fees.