The Trump Institute is a seminar-based education program. The cost of each seminar is much higher than other seminars on the same topic- Real Estate. The first seminar is free. That particular seminar is developed to build attendee's trust in Donald Trump, exemplify his reputation, and crown him with the highest honors of both knowledge and experience in the business of real estate.
Also in that first seminar, the speaker dazzles the attendees with the rich life-style that awaits them, even going to the point of proving his own credibility pulling out of his wallet a "black" American Express card, holding it out with an extended arm walking down the center isle of the audience. He changed his manner of speaking, as if in an exaggerated adolescent but condescending way as he swung his arm to the right and left so that all may have a glimpse of the familiar American Express logo. He asked if anyone knew about the black AMEX card and explained that getting the card was by invitation only and had an unlimited spending amount. That little act didn't impress me, but only put doubt in my mind as to the seminar being only a dog and pony show.
As pretty much expected, the offer to attend an upcoming Trump Institute seminar was announced at the end of his "show. This was a one-time only opportunity. "Make your decision now; are you a do-er?", "Take the first step in changing your life." And yes, he made a guarantee. The speaker said that if we invested money to attend the next seminar and we used the strategies taught at the seminar, that we would make our investment back in 90 days or less.
And he went on: "Learn from the best- Donald Trump himself.", "The material presented, the methods and strategies taught in the seminar is 'the Trump Way' to do things. Everything taught at the seminar is 'the Trump Way' and the material, which will be handed out, has Donald Trump's name on it. He will be sharing his own strategies in business and how you can successfully use OPM (other people's money) to buy houses. You don't need to have money to start a business. You'll learn where to get free money to invest. There are hundreds of sources to get money, so don't let that stop you. There are government grants, government loans at hardly any interest at all. You will learn how to get the money you need to start your own business and never have to pay any of it back."
Donald Trump's successful strategies in business and his own secrets in real estate will be revealed. Learn the "Trump way" of doing things- look where he is! Is Russ Whitney, Carlton Sheets or any of those other experts as successful as Donald Trump? They're out there selling tapes.
Stories were told about how Donald Trump successfully pulled off a couple of risky real estate deals. The stories were meant to be so impressive, that anyone leaving that seminar would have to admit that Donald Trump was a real estate god.
The purpose of that first seminar was to lay out the foundation that Donald Trump himself (figuratively speaking) was offering to teach anyone who was willing to pay the set amount of money.
Everything that was said, everything that was implied, every expression of assurance that was made, was based on only one thing, that is PUTTING TRUST in Donald Trump and BELIEVING that he had a very high regard for his reputation.
It seemed to be such an honor and a chance of a lifetime opportunity to be taught by Donald Trump. It was a no-brainer for anyone seriously interested in putting an effort in being successful, and to be taught how to be successful by the most successful man in the world. Sign me up; here's my American Express card. I don't have a job and don't know how I am going to pay the bill, but I am putting my trust in Donald Trump to give me what he says he's going to give me. It was his representative that held that seminar; right?
I could actually write a book about the continuing story about each of The Trump Institute's seminars I paid dearly to attend. It seemed to be somewhat of a new business for Trump, having some disjointed consistency between some information from one seminar and one of the others. So, realizing that no business is perfect, I just wrote these quirks off as a fairly new business having growing pains.
The seminars were always weekenders. I will speed this explanation up at this point and only mention the two RIP-OFFS I am seeking to get resolved.
The third seminar I attended we were offered to buy a software package. "Anyone serious about continuing in real estate will really benefit from this software; it's almost a necessity." , we were told.
"If you purchase it right now at this seminar it will only be ~$1999.00 and you will get lifetime upgrades."
"We want people who are serious about this business. We don't want any whiners or complainers. The software is not returnable."
Still putting my full trust in Donald Trump and his reputation, I not only signed up for another seminar, but also purchased the software too- because my heart was in this all the way. I DID make a commitment to myself. OK, by this time, I am out (without looking at my statements) $6,000.00
Again, keeping this story short, I couldn't wait to load the new software on my computer and discover all the goodies that were going to help me as a real estate investor. I can hardly put into words how I felt when I first took a look at the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of the program. That's basically how the program is laid out on your screen, along with how it interfaces with the user.
The program looked like it was something I could have picked up in a discount bin at a place like CompUSA for $9.99. It looked like it was for kids. I was not happy or satisfied with the purchase AT ALL, so far. Giving it the benefit, I decided to check out some of the features. I thought maybe it just "looks cheap". I went right for the calculator. There was an icon to get to the calculator at the top of the page. I double-clicked on it hoping to at least see something that I would have to learn how to use- maybe it could do an amortization schedule. After the double-click, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! It brought up the default calculator that comes with Microsoft Windows, the operating system.
What could I do; it was not returnable, like the guy at the seminar said. I didn't want to be a "whiner" or "complainer", because I would be breaking my part of the agreement for the purchase of the software. I didn't want to appear as not being committed to my success, or to be ungrateful in being so privileged to be taught by Donald Trump. So in my mind I was showing allegiance to Donald Trump's program by keeping my end of the agreement and not whine or complain.
I know this story may seem bizarre to some readers. Some may even be shaking their heads unconsciously thinking, 'this guy was not only gullible, but he was stupid too'. I got ripped off for two-grand for a software program that wasn't worth $20.00.
There is more deception and misrepresentation throughout my seminars ENDORSED BY DONALD TRUMP, but like I promised, I will only mention the two that are unresolved, one was the software and the other issue I seek restitution about is the final part of the program, called the Master's Program.
The pitch on this one was very methodical and cunning, but I will not get into that. Basically part of the Master's Program is a mentoring program with a so-called expert. A one-on-one mentoring to "help you get to where you want to be". There are a very limited number of one-hour telephone sessions with your mentor. The first couple of sessions are expected to be "get to know ya" sessions. We were to talk about my goals, plans, direction, path, etc. It didn't turn out that way at all. I ended up with an insecure real estate agent.
Our first three sessions were about how disappointed I was with the Trump Institute. By the time we were halfway through our first session, I was so angry, that we spent the rest of that session and the next two sessions after that, trying to muster up a trusting rapport with each. The Trump Institute deceived me so many times, but this time I was put over the edge.
Let me take a step back to when I agreed to sign-up for this "Master's Program". I received a telephone call one evening from a representative affiliated with the Trump Institute. Making this explanation brief, I was even more privileged to be offered this "Master's Program" opportunity than I was to have been born with all my fingers and toes! "Only a very small percentage (less than five-percent) of those in the Trump Institute program are even considered to be screened for this, even less are accepted.
Yes, I had to go through a screening process over the phone. I was asked very very personal questions. (I was privileged, I had to answer) I was getting a chance to be in the Master's Program; that's the highest you can go! Along with the personal mentoring with an expert, came a seminar opportunity held in either Florida or Las Vegas- my choice. This seminar was all about Asset Protection. Sure I needed it. I have to know how to protect all my assets when I get rich. Because of course I was in The Trump Institute's Program and attending the Trump Institute's seminars, I was bound to acquire a collection of assets that needed to be protected from lawsuits and tax "avoidance".
I was given my first assignment and a due date by the representative after I signed up for the Master's Program. I was to write down my 1-year, 5 year and 10 year goals. My mentor and I were to discuss these during our first session. Instead, she began telling me what I should be doing step by step, when I stopped her.
I asked her if she read about my goals. She responded, "What goals?" That was it! I was over the edge. They had just taken ten thousand ($10,000.00) worth of my credit through American Express- and still having no way to pay it back and What I am getting is NOT what I paid for. I know what the interview was all about now, especially with the personal financial questions- how much do you owe on your house? What is the market value of your house? How much equity do you think you have in the house?
Were they really asking, "Is there any way he can pay this off with an equity loan so that he doesn't go bankrupt and try to sue us? By the way, this $20,000.00 was all given to The Trump Institute within a three-month period.
I have attempted to resolve only these two issues with The Trump Institute. The resolution that I received was a repayment of the UNUSED sessions of my mentorship, even though no assistance was given me to reach my goals.
Regarding the software, I have made several attempts for a refund, only to play a game of ring around the rosie. HEY, TRUMP! You got $20,000.00 from me. You gave me back about $1500. I do not want the software, I do not need the software, and it's absolutely useless, I DO NOT AGREE with the terms of the EULA of the software.
If there is anyone reading this who can help me at least recoup two thousand dollars for the software, please contact me. If anyone from The Trump Institute has read this, let's put an end to this unresolved issue. Just refund my money for the software. Although a day in court with a good lawyer isn't such a bad idea. I would just need to find a good lawyer who would work on a percentage basis. We would get into more than just mentorship and software; I have lots of details.