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It’s troubling enough for a company to claim that consumers who take their course can make major money by learning “high demand” sales skills as a telemarketing “closer.” (Insert your favorite David Mamet quote from Glengarry Glen Ross here.) But to keep on making those representations after receiving Notices of Penalty Offenses Concerning Money-Making Opportunities and Endorsements from the FTC? That’s brazen. Proposed settlements with operators of a scheme called “The Sales Mentor” serves as a reminder that the law looks askance at outfits that bilk consumers out of their savings through false or unsubstantiated earnings claims.

The Tennessee-based defendants conveyed their big-bucks pitches online, in social media (mainly YouTube and Facebook), and through telemarketing. Using a variety of names – in addition to The Sales Mentor, consumers may know them as the Sales Closer Academy, Inbound Closer, Inbound Closer Accelerator, and Sales Pro Academy – the defendants claimed to have “helped over 25,000 people find secure, dependable, consistent and life-changing incomes,” often between $10,000 and $20,000 per month. From a low of $97 for access to a video library and sales script to as much as thousands of dollars for “private” coaching, consumers shelled out cash based on the defendants’ wallet-grabbing claims:

  • “These commissions can get so massive . . . it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE NOT to enjoy a job-replacing six-figure income, even part-time.”
  • “This High-Demand Skill Puts You Dead-Center in A Thriving, $129 Billion-Dollar Industry That Will Stuff Your Pockets With Daily Commission Checks of $980 or More.”
  • “And if you follow the steps that I’m gonna show you in this video, you’ll have an army of entrepreneurs with multi-million dollar businesses practically beating down your door . . . DESPERATE TO HAND YOU A GIANT COMMISSION CHECK OF $980 OR MORE SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE ONE EASY TO LEARN SKILL THAT THEIR BUSINESS CAN’T SURVIVE WITHOUT.”

 

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Traffic and Funnels complaint illustration

In one marketing video, co-CEO Taylor A. Welch represented that “10-20 thousand dollars a month in earning potential is what we’re seeing on average.” In another video, co-CEO Christopher A. Evans claimed, “As a high-ticket closer, you’d earn around 8-12 % of every deal closed,” yielding “an average of “$700-$1000 for every single deal that you finalize,” which “often happens in about 45-60 minutes or less.” In addition, Sales Director Payton Welch claimed to tout his own experience with the program:

Within a week, I had people lining up to pay me. Within two weeks, I had already made $15,460 in commissions. And within 21 days, I looked in my bank account and I saw something crazy . . . I had earned more money in those 21 days than I had earned in SIX MONTHS at my old job. Not to mention I did it part-time, on my own schedule, using nothing but a cell connection. So I could earn a stable six-figure income on my own terms from anywhere I wanted.”

One of the defendants’ telemarketers told a consumer that after taking the training, people could expect to make “about $1,000 bucks a day, 5 grand a week, 20K a month.” Another telemarketer offered that consumer this dizzying calculation:

If we’re working 40 hours a week, okay, that means we could probably take 40 calls. Average show-up rate is 80 percent. So out of that, you get 32 calls. Average close rate, we’ll say it’s like 30 percent, but since you’re newer, we’ll say 25. So 25 percent of those 32 calls would be an average close for someone newer to the game, right? So that comes out to around 7. My math might be a little low, but 7. Okay? So 7 times 1,000 is weekly income for someone who has a full-time calendar of calls inbound closing. . . . So that comes out to about 28 a month; annual, around 300.

“300” as in earnings of $300,000 a year. What the telemarketers didn’t know was that the “consumer” to whom they were making those pitches was an undercover FTC investigator.

According to the FTC, those pie-in-the-sky promises were false or unsubstantiated. In fact, the defendants had no reasonable basis to support their money-making claims because they never systematically tracked the results of the more than 55,000 people who paid for their Sales Mentor products. What’s more, the FTC contacted The Sales Mentor on October 27, 2021, with the two Notices of Penalty Offenses. But as the complaint alleges, the defendants “continued to make deceptive or unsubstantiated earnings claims in marketing their Sales Mentor program.”

The complaint, which names Traffic and Funnels, LLC, various other corporations, Taylor Welch, Christopher Evans, Payton Welch, and Ashton Shanks, alleges violations of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Citing the Notice of Penalty Offenses Concerning Money-Making Opportunities, a third complaint count charges the corporate defendants with “violations of prior commission determinations known to defendants.”

In addition to prohibiting a broad swath of money-making claims and telemarketing conduct, the proposed settlements contain a monetary judgment of $16,363,073 against all of the defendants other than Ashton Shanks. Although the total will be partially suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay the full amount, Taylor Welch will turn over $600,000 and Christopher Evans will turn over $400,000, which the FTC will use to provide money back for consumers.

The most important takeaway for any company or individual who has received a Notice of Penalty Offenses is that the FTC has already used its statutory authority in six recent cases and will continue to seek appropriate relief for consumers when defendants are aware of conduct that previous FTC cases has established as illegal and yet choose to flout the law.

If you know someone thinking about sinking their savings into a money-making “program” or “system,” share advice from the FTC about how to protect themselves from big-bucks sales pitches.
 

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Wilkin
December 13, 2023

I was coerced into purchasing their $10000 product because I was told I would get 1-on-1 mentorship and when I got into the community, that wasn’t the case AND when I did go to the group calls/ask for support, I was told ‘advice’ that pushed me in circles and doubled down on their ‘process/mentality’ (this is in late 2020). I spent money I was gifted by my ailing grandmother and even mentioned to them how their process was unhelpful for me. I knew there was something ‘fishy’ about it all but let myself be deceived through psychological manipulation/sales techniques because I was desperate for hope. Im glad to see justice being served. I wonder if I’ll receive any compensation for this, but if not, at least other people will be prevented from the same abusive sales practices I experienced.

Danielle
December 20, 2023

I was charged over $31,000 by this company and asked for refunds multiple times given that they did not deliver on their promises. How do I receive a refund now that they have been charged?

Steven
February 05, 2024

In reply to by Jennifer

The FTC will reach out when the settlement money is being dispersed. Until then you are welcome to give them a call and file a complaint so it's documented in the system.
I lost just about $9,500 to these crooks. They still be posting on there X accounts too. They will continue to be con artists. They have more money than they let on to the FTC. Still living in there luxury houses and traveling across the country. What a joke

How do I claim…
February 05, 2024

I'm in Germany and also haven't seen the results promised from the program I bought for $11k from Traffic and Funnels.

Mark
February 21, 2024

I was scammed by 7 figure Accelerator which is now high achievers society. They scammed me out of $2500 and then they deleted access to their site and their Facebook group and then they tried to sell me their new course for me to gain access.

M
March 29, 2024

Please do not give this man any of your money I signed up to the seven figure accelerator under the premise of $10,000 out of his own pocket. Should I not make a sale I have spent the last six months working at least five hours per 7 days a complete misrepresentation to the 2/3 hrs promoted , sending out emails trying to grow on social media And I have saw absolutely no results despite all my hard work

You are you are actively encouraged to use a click bait side hustle videos which felt wrong especially when I found out that you can’t do anything like the videos suggested
I was told that it was because you would find out this once inside the course

I was also actively encouraged to get into debt by putting it on my credit card. “If I wanted bad enough I’d find a way to pay “I was told I would easily make this money back in a matter of weeks or months five months. Nearly 6 months later still nothing

You’re also actively encouraged to model it this is the phrase he likes to use, other social media people with high follow accounts in their niche down to copying their fonts, positions, music, & just put your story or spin on it

I was also actively encouraged to put this on my credit card. I was also told that if I wanted it bad enough, I would find a way to pay I paid $600 then made 5 x payments of $145.00 I’ve stopped all payments at my bank

Over this time more & more red flags have come up some of his top affiliates have left the program citing it no longer aligns with them

I have spoke to other 7 figure / HAS members and some of them feel like they have been swindled out of commissions and leads. And are concerned about how are we to compete with our homemade videos when he has a full professional team making his . It just drives traffic to his account

We have no way of knowing whether this lifetime cookie that apparently does not exist is being cooked to us when we get a lead

I have seen multiple complaints on Reddit thread that confirm my suspicions that this is a scam so so I asked Copecart if I could have an immediate contract revocation, per their own terms & conditions they have refused citing. I must contact the vendor which I have done today.

II underwent a vetting process, which I thought at the time was to see if I was suitable to join the program to see if I was a good fit & if I had the right stuff, but I think it was to see if I was actually vulnerable enough to be taken for a mug

I’m disabled & unable to work many of the people in the groups and who have joined up to. This are also what I would consider vulnerable people with some who are paying for cancer treatments some who are trying to pay the way out of massive amounts of debt the list goes on

We were told not to accept anybody from third countries, is because they would default on payments and they would have no way of chasing up these payments unlike us in the top three tier countries

I am absolutely distraught . I have no way of paying this money back I am in £3000 worth of debt all because of his lies.

He claims to be a reformed alcoholic as part of his inspiring backstory yet atChristmas. I saw a live for myself where he was definitely drunk. This is also circulating on social media. If you look hard enough, which for a reformed alcoholic this is something I would he would unable to do as an alcoholic

I live in the UK and on our UK trustpilot site. The high achievers Society has been flagged as submitting false reviews.

If anyone can advice me I’d be very grateful as I am receiving threatening emails from his support team Threatening legal action

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