If you received an invite to an event with a photo of Tarek and Christina El Moussa of HGTV's Flip or Flop on the cover, and their signatures inside, wouldn't you expect them to actually be at the event? As in, make a real-life physical appearance in the room where the function was being held?
If you're thinking "yes," you're not alone. But if you showed up at said event—a real-estate seminar hosted by Success Path, the reality TV stars' partner—expecting to meet the couple, you'd be disappointed, according to one reporter.
That's what happened to DallasNews.com when he attended an "exclusive event" that was promoted with signage and other printed materials bearing the couple's likeness. But the closest Lieber ever came to meeting the celebrity house flippers was taking a selfie with their life-sized photo.
Lieber claims the hotel seminars use the El Moussa name to "lure potential buyers of real-estate education packages as high as $40,000."
Lieber recently joined hundreds of others in a hotel ballroom for a chance to learn house-flipping tactics from a lineup of instructors that he believed would include the Flip or Flop stars. Instead, the host of the event showed a video in which Tarek explains, "Due to our busy work and filming schedule, we can't make all events. But we've done the next best thing. We've reached out to our network of top real estate trainers."
"Obviously, a lot of people there think that [they were fooled]," Success Path CEO Jim Carlson told Lieber in an interview later. "We've got our marketing reviewed. It's not false, and doesn't contain any inaccuracies. We've had people who were disappointed."
Carlson referred to the company's website, where the Frequently Asked Questions section addresses the query, "Will Tarek and Christina be at the event?" The response: "Tarek, Christina, or one of their team members will attend each event. ...Unfortunately, Tarek and Christina are unable to make it to every event."
It's unclear whether the El Moussas have made it to any event.
Lieber is not the first to admit to feeling fooled by the events backed by the couple. Earlier this year, a review of the program compiled several responses from people who had paid to take the seminars. One woman, whose mother attended, stated that "the whole thing is a scam...I would like to see their show suspended until an investigation is done about them profiting from this. It is a shame to have people attached to your network that would try to take advantage of your viewers."
Last year, one of Tarek and Christina's seminars in the Portland area had to be from residents who claimed the stars were preying on an area already plagued by affordable housing problems.
CBS News reports that Success Path, the company that partners with the house-flipping gurus on the events, also does business as Premiere Mentoring. According to the Better Business Bureau, there have been 159 complaints against Premier in the past three years.