Infomercial Company To Modify Business Practices, Reimburse Dissatisfied Customers

LAWFUEL – Legal News Daily –
~ Consumers will have collectively received more than $1 million in refunds
for non-productive seminars ~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that
his office reached a settlement with Whitney Information Network, Inc.,
parent company of several companies that advertise through infomercials
throughout the State of Florida. Dissatisfied consumers will have received
more than $1 million in refunds as a result of the state’s investigation
and settlement. Under the agreement, the companies – which include
Millionaire University and Whitney Intelligence Academy – are also
prohibited from making misleading statements or other baseless claims in
their infomercials which promote various educational and training seminars
and programs on how to make money through investing in the stock market and
real estate.

“Advertising should never intentionally deceive or mislead our
consumers. When companies make direct or indirect implications that by
using their products or services, a consumer can attain wealth and
financial independence when that is not the experience of the typical
consumer using the product, these actions could indicate potential
violations of our consumer protection laws,” said Attorney General

More than 250 consumers complained that Whitney and its related
companies engaged in deceptive advertising and misleading business
practices, whether through the use of “testimonials” from individuals
claiming to have achieved success using Whitney’s educational products or
through other inaccurate statements in the infomercials about what would be
taught at the seminars. Consumers complained that the introductory programs
and seminars, touted as training that would change careers and lifestyles
and give persons financial freedom and independence, covered only very
rudimentary information and were used mainly to entice consumers to
purchase “more advanced” and significantly more expensive training programs
costing thousands of dollars.

Many of the individuals who signed up for Whitney’s classes were
elderly or retired couples on fixed incomes who were persuaded that using
Whitney’s “proven” methods, they could gain financial independence and live
the lifestyle they desired without the investment of a lot of money or
time. Whitney Information Network, Inc. has already refunded consumers more
than $580,000 and, under the terms of this agreement, will reimburse the
remaining consumers more than $450,000 and create a reserve account of
$150,000 to be set aside for any pending and unresolved consumer
complaints. As part of the agreement, the companies must also pay $150,000
to the Attorney General’s Seniors vs. Crime program and will reimburse the
state $150,000 for the cost of its investigation.

Whitney must also strictly refrain from making false statements or
implications in its advertising or at its seminars that financial
opportunities, results or claims will occur as a result of the use of its
products and services unless the company can substantiate the claims as
feasible for a significant number of consumers or unless a disclaimer is
provided specifically stating that the purported results are not typically
obtained by the majority of consumers.

Among the companies affected by the agreement are Whitney Education
Group, Inc., Whitney Intelligence Academy, and Millionaire University. Some
of the educational and training seminars and programs include “Teach Me to
Trade” and “Star Trader” allegedly designed to teach and train consumers on
how to make money through investing in the stock market, and “Focus on
Foreclosure,” “Wealth Builder Workshop,” and “Cash Flow Generator,”
supposedly created to teach consumers how to make money through real estate
investments. Whitney has also recently begun sponsoring similar educational
programs under the name “Rich Dad Education, LLC.”

A copy of the agreement signed with Whitney is available online at:$file/WhitneyAVC.pdf

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