A sick woman fighting to get £13,000 back from Touchstone Education says she feels “raped” by her dealings with the property investment training firm.

The woman – who wants to remain anonymous – has appeared in a video on the Andrew Burgess Property Education Truth Seekers YouTube site, speaking about how her attempt to get a refund on the basis of ill health left her feeling violated when the firm asked to look at her medical records.

She first paid £1,000 for a Touchstone Education online course and then another £12,000 after attending a very persuasive ‘free course’ last year – which was to pay for about seven courses and a monthly meeting.

But after being signed off sick for six months with complex physical and psychological problems, her GP agreed that attending a course could seriously affect her health, and wrote to the company supporting her claim.

Touchstone Education boss Paul Smith says he can’t comment on an individual case due to GDPR rules, but that when people ask for a refund it’s better to encourage them to finish their course.

“If someone has made that decision to invest in themselves, it’s not unusual to get cold feet, and people can miss a session, and when you speak to them they are embarrassed,” Smith tells LandlordZONE. “You need to get straight back on the horse again; those people that come back, the next month are typically gold standard.”

He says that when someone says they’re too busy it’s better to help them do the full course than give the money back. “That won’t change their life, but doing the whole course probably will.”

Smith adds that this year, out of all the thousands of people it has dealt with, only five have made any kind of refund request. “Our goal is to help people become wealthy and get a positive income for property. If that person isn’t happy with my decision we invite them to take it up with the ombudsman and will help them through that process. We have never had the ombudsman find against us.”

The image used in this article is taken from a Touchstone video.

Watch an interview with the former student involved



  1. The right thing to do would be what gives the student the less stress. If the student passes away through stress then completimg this ‘Gold Plated’ course won’t help anyone.

  2. The sick mentee’s friend has given the following response to the video:

    Thank you Andrew for the interview and sharing on PT.

    I have watched the video and seen some comments.

    This student who has been badly treated by Touchstone wishes to thank everyone for their support. She stated that she is sorry if her own triggers has triggered anyone.

    She is so sorry that how Touchstone makes her feel offends anyone but owns those feelings and asks that people be sensitive as she is already delicate, stressed and traumatised.

    She confirms that the use of the strong word is in relation to how the request for her intimate NHS records makes her feel. Sharing so many personal letters and details despite her doctor’s letter to people who had no plans to give her money back just to ridicule, exert power and control is reminiscent of past exploitation and trauma.

    She owns these feelings and acknowledges that they may be stronger than “an average person” because of her past and ongoing issues. She asks that people please respect her expression of her feelings but is willing to remove any trigger words in the interest of those who may be triggered by her true account.

    Her distress has clearly been increased by Paul Smith and Abi Hookway posting constant videos of how they are buying multiple properties (using investors’ money), buying a boat, and buying a luxury home in the South of France. It is not fair. They should look up the word “magnanimous” – to be generous or forgiving, especially towards a less powerful person.

    She is already on the verge of giving up and has not shared her story to beg anyone for money. Only in the public interest to help others avoid this.

    It has taken a lot for her to come out to speak.

    If you have no kind words, please respect her feelings and please let us keep the focus on those who took her money and won’t give her a pro-rated refund despite her condition, yet they have this money.


    • What a i insensitive thing to say ‘how can you suddenly have such problems’?! You dont know what has happened to her and whether sge has suffered an accident or attack.

  3. ” …..when people ask for a refund it’s better to encourage them to finish their course……….. it’s better to help them do the full course than give the money back. “That won’t change their life, but doing the whole course probably will.” ”

    Regardless of the rights or wrongs of this case, or whether or not a refund is appropriate, the arrogance of this attitude defies belief. What right has this individual to dictate what’s “better” for someone else’s life?

    • At Touchstone Education or Diamond Estates, their sister Company, decisions appear to be made by Office Manager. They seem to decide if you get a refund or not but what right do they have to make that decision? They are covering up and refusing to refund anything. Also I notice that when they as a Company deliberately run over the 14 day cooling off period when providing other services they then blame the Customer. It is not fair or ethical way to do business as aaccording to Consumer Rights, Customer has yet a further 14 days after notifying during the first 14 days to get the product returned to them.

  4. Smith ONLY cares about selling courses, because the money is too good, and more often than not, vulnerable complies to buy into these courses due to desperation (often as a one last effort or a silver bullet to accumulate wealth).

  5. Why is Paul Smith being blamed, he is a businessman. She did not like the course tough luck. Let the buyer beware. Utter nonsense talking about “dehumanised” Everyone can ask for a refund if they did not like the course. Any one can go and get doctors note. I am no friend of PS or his company. I have no affiliation. I have never used PS. Go to the Ombudsman as they have said.

    • Go to the Ombudsman and they will send you to the Property Redress Scheme who can do nothing as they beleive as long as you had your 14 day cooling off period then you don’t have any claim on a refund. Also then they suggest that you find a Solicitor. So not much help.

      • Jesus-Christ and not ‘jeezus Christ’.
        Many thanks for your effort in writing the name correctly. It has importance for all Christians. Thanks

    • Even if the training has changed or is delivered in a different way like online opposed to in person my opinion is that they should refund people. But if you are over the 14 day cooling off period and they cause delay they are not interested or care about giving refund. They just want to make money by selling courses, it is dishonest and Property Redress Scheme say you should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

    • I totally agree. I have just been taken in by Paul Smith to the tune of £1700. I asked for a refund as was within 14 day cooling off period but I have yet to receive it. I will take legal action soon if not. Totally disgusted. I didnt look up reviews first. My mistake. He is a hard sales pressure conman. The bastsrd appears everywhere. On Utube, Facebook etc. So in your face. You are right. So unprofessional. Business world is like the Wild West! Wholly unregulated.

      • I am interested to know how you were taken in to the tune of £1700. Did the course sound like a good fit for you in the beginning! and what turned you off the course before the cooling off period.

  6. Hi, I did ask for refund a week later my purchase and they yes at 1st, then make me wait a month and they not because i done 63% of the course which wasn’t true. I took screenshot where said I only 2 videos from a module and 1 video from another module. I had a strong feeling i wont get the money back even thought was my right. So i ask to change the course and they were happy. But not comment was made by the person i was asking refund about the course was not even 1 % of the total.
    I feeling I just go for it but of course is not honest what they do, specially now that I read this story.
    If they said they would refund they must to be fair.

  7. Con artists have been around forever. You tube has helped son,any more on to the market. I don’t feel sorry for people that fall into obvious traps. There now so many scams going on everywhere from text messages to emails etc. If people haven’t caught on by now it begs the question did they deserve it. I hate property gurus and it makes me mad that they can take 12k off people so easily. The lady’s personal problems is no ones concern though. It is her problem to deal with and no relevance. No one will care when something happens to me or my loved ones. It’s something we all have to deal with.

  8. Caveat Emptor – You can’t please all the people all of the time. I think the lady concerned needs to re-calibrate her senses and choose a different narrative rather than using the words ‘felt raped’ and ‘violated’ just because she’s lost a few quid…. Wake up !!! I’m not associated in any way with the company or it’s directors or staff just sick of moaning minnies who won’t take responsibility for their own actions and blame everyone else except themselves. A fool and their money are soon parted.

  9. I found this particular post by accident and feel surprised in many ways.

    Firstly that so many comments have be sensibly posted and caring for the plantiff. It is beautiful to see and really positive to read.

    Secondly that all non-positive comments feel the need to mention that they are not associated with the unlawful treatment of a Human being.

    I am writing as an outsider and don’t understand why you would need to justify your comments by non-association. You are not complicit to the unlawful act, just simply adding your own opinion.

    Let’s just stop and think for a moment what is the right thing to do here, irrelevant of financial gain. Since times of old. Laws were introduced as a protection or suppression of individuals and groups. Surely in your hearts we all feel what should happen here and it should never of needed to go through any legal process.

  10. Surely this is a disguised MLM, or in layman’s terms a Pyramid scheme, which is illegal? The guy sounds like to Michael O’Leary of the property world. No way would I give him a penny!

  11. What I dont understand is how this Paul Smith guy is even allowed to run another company?
    Look him up. He was banned in 2013 for 9 years (till 2022) from being the director of another company after losing millions of his clients cash and folding his business.

  12. This guy keeps comming up on utube , his tone body language he is so untrustworthy… there other people that come up might be con also but they come across different. Desperate people sucked in want to be rich, the only rich person will be the one selling course


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