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.

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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.


    • Certain property trainers would rather ruin their reputation than give refunds for very valid reasons. Paul should show some compassion. RIP Danny Butcher.

  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?

  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.


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