This is an in-depth look at the Real Talk Network and Dave Burke coaching programs that are being sold to consumers over the radio and through in-person seminars in a number of states. If you spend a lot of time examining this group you will probably come to the same conclusion as I have, that, in my opinion, while much of what they say sounds deeply intriguing, it is without support or substance.
In fact there is enough of an element of truth in the claims made that make is seem plausible and believable but that’s just, in my opinion, the keystone of a great confidence game played to separate people from their money. And it appears here that is exactly what is happening.
At the end of my investigation and review I am left with a few deep concerns. First, if this is such a legitimate offer then why are people that are sold a program of help and assistance to break free of debt, sent to collections for a program they either did not signup for or did not want? Second, for a program that is supposed to be based on the power of having Dave Burke and his cronies as your coach, why is the actual coaching time so severely limited?
If you peel all the other issues aside I think the collections issue is the true smoking gun here. By sending people that attended one of his seminars to collections that never utilized the services or even arguably did not sign a contract for services it certainly appears, in my opinion, to be the the true motive of this enterprise is for pitchmen to extract money from people without providing much of a benefit.
Even the contract that is signed, in my opinion, seems terribly unconscionable. People are left with bills owing nearly $3000 for a program or service they have remorse signing up for or want out and have not received any benefit from it yet. The contract used by Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network really does nothing more than lock you in to paying even if you never use any of the coaching services and a week latter want out. “All sales are final.” In my opinion this is not a contract from people that want to help. It is a contract from people that want to snare and trap consumers.
Poll – Vote Now
Real Talk Radio Network, Inc.
1333 W 120th Ave Ste 113
Westminster, CO 80234-2709
Original Business Start Date: September 2004
Principal: Mr. David Burke, President & CEO – [email protected]
Customer Contact: Ms. Billi Sue Carwile, COO/Director of Operations
Real Talk Network, Inc was incorporated in Colorado on August 23, 2008.
Here is how this appears to work. People are hyped on a radio show with limited distribution and can be heard over the Internet that Dave and his current cohort Erik Sale put out on his Real Talk Network. The show is nothing more than a sales pitch to promote getting people to attend their “financial freedom” workshop. In listening to the show below I heard nothing of substance, all hype.
In my opinion, the radio spot is a sales pitch to get you to a financial freedom free workshop which is just a sales pitch to get you to signup for future coaching services. In the process you get some purchase Mortgage Accelerator Plus (MAP) software, credit repair services, and a workshop. This coaching program will cost you nearly $3000.
He also mentions that he will help people to get lines of credit (HELOC).
Now all of that sounds okay, doesn’t it? Some dude wants to help you with your finances and you sign a coaching agreement to do so. But the majority of complaints I’m getting from people either never committed to coaching or did not realize they were signing up for a two or three thousand dollar package of, well, we’ll call it “coaching.” Those that signed an agreement or just a registration piece of paper are told they can’t cancel the relationship.
How many legit money coaches do you know of that would not let you out of coaching you did not want and then send you to collections? Or how about a money coach that would bind you in an “all sales are final” contract for coaching services not yet delivered?
So What Do You Get for $3,000?
What appears to be absent from all the pitch selling videos and radio hype about the Real Talk Network Coaching Program is what you actually get in coaching time. The heart of the hype appears to be that the primary benefit is the coaching by Dave Burke and his cronies. But a close inspection of the agreement and contract one signs shows what you actually get, not much. The fluff parts are a workshop, some software and a spreadsheet that’s been given away for free.
Here is where a real problem is created in the fine print of the coaching deal. And you can read the contract and details towards the bottom of this article.
What people are actually paying the vast bulk of their money for at the new $2997 price is:
- Only twelve (12) coaching sessions with Dave Burke or a coach of the Real Talk Network.
- Each coaching session may last up to an hour. But feedback from a current client tells me that the sessions on average are about 15 minutes, with half of that time take with the coach reviewing the spreadsheet sent in by the client.
- These coaching sessions must occur within every ten days from the previous coaching session.
- All coaching must be completed within 120 days, four months, from the signing of the contract.
And That’s All You Get.
So it appears for $3,000 you are getting between 2.5 to 12 hours of total coaching time for your contract price. My vote is the coaching for all students is going to roll in closer to the three hour mark. Meaning that what unsuspecting consumers appear to be actually buying is “coaching” that costs nearly $1,000 an hour from pitchmen.
But by their own admission on the Real Talk website, students won’t get a full 12 hours of coaching.
“Over-the-phone coaching sessions are extremely comprehensive. Students should expect their first few sessions to last about an hour. You can expect shorter sessions after you have these preliminary sessions under your belt. ” – Source
This is even though the sales presentation slides you will see below say the coaching is “One hour weekly for 12 weeks.”
An argument will be made by Burke and RTN that the software they provide students known as Mortgage Accelerator Plus (MAP) has a tremendous value as well. In fact, it doesn’t and it is based on junk science and hype. Don’t believe me, read this. But if his software is so valuable then why do they give it away for free to people that bring a flash drive to a free seminar as claimed in a video below? “Arrive early and bring a flash drive for a copy of our Financial Freedom Software. $3,500 value for FREE!” – Graphic.
But Here is What the Software Developer Has to Say About Dave Burke
Here is what Norm Bour had to say about Dave Burke and his use of the MAPS software.
At one time Burke was a MAP Affiliate but he decided he didn’t need the product/ program itself, and instead created an overpriced package that we never endorsed or promoted. I totally disagree with his claims and his overly aggressive sales tactics. MAP was always designed to be educational first and was promoted as such. – Source
The Real Talk Network Sales Pitch Closer Caught on Video
title="The Real Talk Network Sales Pitch Closer Caught on Video"
description="Video of Real Talk Network closer caught on tape."
The RTN Sales Pitch Close
Here is a shocking video that is actually titled RTN Close0317. In fact this is the closing sales pitch to sign people up for the Real Talk Network. The price on the screen appears to be $1997, an older sales price I’ve heard from others. You’ll see that price mentioned in the complaints below.
And at the very end, before the video stops, the guy (don’t know who he is) seems to be talking about a flexible payment or installment payment plan.
I really had to shake my head 0:32 in when the closer starts talking about his father crying in the bathroom. He also mentioned Dave Burke has been doing this since 1997 and that the product includes unlimited coaching, which seems factually not true.
Consumer Complaints About Dave Burke and Real Talk Network
The complaints below are fairly typical of what I’m hearing from many people:
I went to a free real talk network seminar in May of 2009 with a friend. After the seminar they were putting people into groups according to their situations.
My friend and I decided that this is not really “FREE” because they were asking people for credit card information. We decided it’s time to go, on the way out the door we were approched by one of the workers. I told him that I was not able to make a decision at the moment because I need to get my husband’s permission. He told me to fill out the application and put the best time to call us.
I filled out the application, and he called us that same night. My husband told him that he was not intetrested and we did not have any money to pay someone to get us out of debt. That was the last of the conversation.
On November 27th 09, I received a letter from a collection agency stating that I owed 1997.00, I went crazy.
I called the agency, and told them that I was not going to pay. They said the application that I filled out was a contract. I think I was mislead by the coach of Real Talk. We specifically told him that night that we were not interested, nothing else was said. They did not send me a letter, or told me that I signed a contract. I was not told that I could have written a letter to cancel within three days. – Sophia
This truly is a deceptive practice and as I mentioned, this is not an isolated practice by Dave Burke and his Real Talk Network.
I have read 2 articles by you about people trying to do business with this company and getting sent to collections.
This happened to us also. We were not contacted by RTN, just sent immediately to a collection agency. They refused my husband’s calls and the collection agency representative even told us that we shouldn’t do business with them.
This company is unethical and immoral. They just want to build their own wealth at the expense of others. You had mentioned in one the articles that the writer (Stan, I believe) file a suit in small claims court. Is it possible to to get other people in this situation together to file a class action suit? Kelly – Source
But the complaints keep rolling in.
I went to the Real talk “Free” seminar. At the end of the session they asked us to sign up for the program. I told them that my wife pays the bills and would need her on board, because there is work involved in managing your payables. Dave Burke told me to give him a $200.00 refundable deposit to hold a spot if my wife wanted to participate.
My wife was not interested, So I just forgot about it. approximately a year and a half later I got a letter from a collection agency stating that I owed $1297.00 plus $153.00 in interest. I was not contacted by nor did I recieve any goods or services from Real Talk Network. Real Talk Network says that it is out of their hands. The Collection agency has reported to credit agencys, yet they cannot produce a contract. I would STAY AWAY from Real Talk Network, its easy to become debt free if you charge people for nothing. – Chris
Even people that have been roped in by Dave Burke, Erick Sale, his new partner in crime, or Matt Pillmore and John Deckys, his older partners in crime, have some serious issues and unhappiness about the services being provided by Dave Burke and his coaches. More About Matt Pillmore and John Deckys, latter.
In October 2008, I paid $1494 to join a debt free program call Real Talk Network sponsored by Dave Burke. After 3 sessions, I was told they had done everything possible to reduce my debt, which wasn’t much. I was told I needed more income and to get a job to help pay off my debt. Obviously, I all ready knew that a job would help but who can get a job with the recession? Plus, I’m almost 60 years old.
Since about January 2009 to the present, I have contacted the Corporate Office in Westminster, Colorado by phone many times, have sent certified letters and a demand letter requesting a refund with no results. They even changed the requirements for a refund which is not even in my contract. They made it sound so easy to received a refund if you ended up not being a suitable candidate for the program. What a scam? I feel “somewhat stupid” but then when one is in debt, we “hope” for a solution. I’m not quiting because $1497 is a lot of money for me right now. I live in California and I’m not quite sure what to do at this point but would love to hear from you, if you experienced the same with this corporation. Please write, Joy – Source
Another California resident and former military service member, Elan found himself knee deep in the the Dave Burke scam like business pitch.
My name is Elan and I joined Dave Burke Real Talk Network in October and I’m on a $100 monthly payment plan. I have been taken advantage of and he has not gotten my situation better then when I signed up. if anything I have gotten more in debt because of him. i just paid my bills normally like I know how. I have been personally coached by him and at this point I’m positive this company has ripped me off for what i have paid.
When I went to the seminar [in Ontario, California] with Dave Burke, I summarized my current debt and payments that I new about on a piece of paper for both me and my wife. I told them there was no way I could make a lump sum payment of $3,000 dollars. So then Dave Burke himself came and looked at my paper and said we can work something out and he went on saying that we could wipe this credit card out within a month and both car payments within a 5 months or whatever.
So basically I fell for it and I felt like hey this guy makes since and he can really show me how to do this even faster. So he allowed me to write up a contract for payments of $100 per month for one year. Then after that one year if my personal coach sees that it’s okay that I am stable. Then they would automatically charge the rest of the balance, but on the other hand if I was still struggling to make payments, I would continue on the $100 per month plan.
All in all, the service I am paying for is for them to improve my credit score and to coach me and teach me and advise on things I could do or methods that would allow me to pay off more of my principal debt with the money I currently make. Which would therefore accelerate my debt pay off and increase my monthly cash flow. And Well, up to this day i am still on the same page were I started.
I did ask for a refund or to cancel the contract 3 days after I singed up when i came to my senses. And they pretty much said i would not be able to cancel the contract because it was already singed and I would have to follow trough with it. The only way i could cancel it is if I provided proof that I have been laid off or have filed bankruptcy or hospitalized for whatever reason. – Elan
Elan is a hard working guy that just wants out of the Dave Burke Real Talk Network scam, but can’t get out. He’s asked to get out but told he can’t unless he goes bankrupt or is hospitalized. And we already know what the path is going to be if he stops paying because he is fed up, he’ll get sent to Conrad Credit Corporation for collections.
Others have asked immediately for refunds but also told they are not available.
The answer was the same from all–that all sales were final (which was stated on the contract) and that there was no recourse. The receptionist basically hung up on me when I mentioned seeing them in court. – Source
Decided Ive been frauded for 3000 dollars and opted out of contract before two business days. Had paperwork notorized and certified mailed. They said they honor my opt out and would refund my money. its been 2 months now. Every week I call they say the refund is processed just a couple more days. – Source
We provide a 60 day unconditional guarantee provided that you attend at least one Implementation Workshop. If you feel you made a mistake in your purchase we refund your money, DONE. We have never been asked for a refund after attending our workshop. – Claims rebuttal Real talk Network Poster
After signing up with VIP I find out from one of he working at VIP credit experts Mr. Matthew Pillmore that Real Talk Network, INC only work with people that own a home. He told me he well talk with Mr. Burke about my refund. ( This was in early December ) I personally called and left message at Real Talk Network, inc office about a refund with no [response]. – Source
The number of complaints against Dave Burke and Real Talk Network seem like they are growing rapidly. See the many Dave Burke complaints on the RipoffReport site.
And apparently the lack of being able to get a refund isn’t the only problem. Even if you’ve paid for Dave Burke’s services in full you can still find yourself in collections.
Last April, I went to a pay off your debt seminar by Real Talk Network/Dave Burke. I charged $1997 to my Nordstrom Visa. Burke did not disclose thet his secret system is dependent on a decent FICO score and so he could not help me. No refund was offered and I forgot about it. About 3 weeks ago, I get a letter from their collection firm, Conrad Credit Corporation, saying I never paid Real Talk Network the $1997. I finally found proof that the $1997 was paid to Real Talk. Stan – Source
Now once people go to Conrad Credit Corporation for collections they are basically being extorted to pay their way out of a service they never signed up for to begin with.
It seems that we went to the same type of “free” seminar. I too filled out the application without filling in the credit card info. All they had was my name and address but according to the collection agency this was a contract for the RTN service and I was agreeing to pay them for the service. Nowhere on the application does it state that by signing you are entering into a binding contract for service. I ended up negotiating with the collection agency after receiving zero replies from RTN. I left several voice mails and sent them a letter requesting how this information sheet was in fact a contract for services. In order to keep the collection off my credit report I paid the fee necessary to get off the list of RTN “dead beats”. I still haven’t heard anything from the RTN. I did receive a letter from the collection agency stating that my account with RTN was paid and no other chargers would be pending. It cost me $540.00 dollars that I didn’t have to get them off my back. Jim – Source
Apparently Conrad Credit Corporation, acting as an agent for Dave Burke, knows this is a scam and is collecting the money anyway.
The collection company representative told my husband that they are aware of their practices and wouldn’t recommend we do business with them. Kelly – Source
Potentially Illegal Credit Repair
The Dave Burke Financial Freedom strategy is also said to include activities that appear to be nothing more than fee-for-service illegal credit repair. According to one active client I spoke with, a Robin, at Dave Burke’s Colorado office sends or is responsible for overseeing the process to have knowingly accurate but negative credit report items disputed by sending dispute letters to the credit bureaus as part of the “coaching” fee paid for by the client.
All I know is that they just disputed all my negative items for which I received letters from all three credit bureaus and they did not remove anything or make my credit history better. The only thing that improved my credit score was by may paying down my debt on my own and going to www.optoutprescreen.com were I took mine and wife’s information off to stop receiving pre approved credit offers.
That claim about removing your name from the opt-out lists for credit to improve your credit is one Dave Burke and Erik Sale make in the video below.
I contacted Craig Watts, spokesperson for FICO and he confirmed that opting out of pre-screened credit offers does nothing to increase your credit score. “How would/could opting out be reflected on your credit report? If it doesn’t show up on your credit report then it won’t affect your score,” Watts said.
Dave Burke’s and His Cohorts in the Mafia
I’m not sure who is the chicken or who is the egg here but this hyped bunch of nonsense is not the formula used by Dave Burke alone.
Before Dave teamed up with his current co-host, Erik Sale of his radio show that he claims is heard all across the country, but upon checking, many of the stations he claimed it was on were not airing it, he was working with Matt Pillmore and John Deckys on this enterprise. If you watched the first video then you saw Burke mention these guys as his top coaches.
Matt Pillmore and John Deckys – VIP Debt & Credit Mafia
What I can’t figure out is why two of Dave’s top coaches he brags about in his videos have a separate company, the VIP Debt & Credit Mafia, that provide, in my opinion, essentially the same thing. Did they split? Is it a franchise? Did they steal the idea?
Here are Matt Pillmore and John Deckys all decked out in mafia attire on television in Colorado and giving a very similar pitch for their offer VIP Mafia offer.
In the past, John Deckys and Matt Pillmore actually held at least one Real Talk Network seminar and listed Dave as the guy to contact to register. The class is even held in the same building that Burke has his offices. 1333 W. 120th Ave. Westminster, CO 80234 Conference room 112 Source
And at one point the VIP guys and Real Talk Network had a referral relationship.
On October 21, 2008 me and my sister sign up the Real Talk network, INC. service. We made to full payment of $1997.00 each for the membership. that day we was giving instruction that for the next month meeting. On November 11, 2008 the coach looked over my financial statements he told me at I could not get into any of our programs with a low credit score so he told me I needed to call VIP Credit Experts. During that month I call someone from VIP Credit to start working on my credit. That day I called I found out that the cost is $1,000 but for members its only $500.00. – Source
But comments by people online seem to indicate that the lads had a falling out and split or maybe they just franchised the idea.
This is a scam plain and simple! The reason it’s a scam…because they preach this Australian shell game to people that do not have credit, can not get a loan and a looking for a quick fix for their problems. These idiots salesmen of Burkes know this as well but they still sell hard to get their money. Burke has several websites with different names all pitching thier scam. Now one of his diciples John Deckys has created his version of the scam – V.I.P. Mafia…still pitching the same crap! STAY AWAY FROM THESE SCAMMERS!!!!!!!!! – Source
title="Investigative Report: Dave Burke and Real Talk Network (Real Talk Network, Inc.). Is It a Scam?"
description="Investigative report into Dave Burke and his Real Talk Network."
But this video posted by the VIP Mafia on YouYube on November 5, 2009 lists Dave Burke and Real Talk Network in their keywords.
Well the VIP Mafia claims to be part of a company VIP Enterprises, LLC
VIP Debt & Credit Mafia
John Deckys, CEO
Matt Pillmore, President – [email protected], [email protected]
10955 Westmoor Dr., Suite 400
Westminster, CO 80021
phone: (877) 969-2738
fax: (888) 225-3238
What is interesting about VIP Enterprises is that it was originally organized by Matt Pillmore and a man who I assume is Matt’s father. Poor guy probably isn’t aware of what he’s tied in to here.
John Deckys comes into the picture on VIP Enterprises, LLC in 2006 as the registered agent. The corporate return also lists the principal mailing office as 1202 26th Ave, Greeley, CO 80634, a property that is latter listed as being foreclosed on and associated with Matt Pillmore’s name. Is it just me or does it seem like bad news when the person offering himself as a debt coach for others is recently foreclosed on? – Source
It appears that Dave Burke became associated with Deckys and Pillmore through a real estate background and he even taught a class together with Deckys, “How to Buy Income Properties for Little Down and Cash-Flow Them”, at Your Castle Real Estate which has an office at the same business address where the Real Talk Network corporate offices are located today, 1333 W 120th, Westminster 80234. And coincidently that address is listed as the address of the registered agent for VIP Enterprises, LLC.
The Mafia Continuing the Dave Burke Formula
According to the VIP Mafia Welcome Package the credit repair part of the services sold is probably similar to what Burke is hawking. The VIP material talks specifically about how the VIP Mafia working to improve the credit of clients when they say, “…which identify very clearly the items we are working on to increase your scores quickly.” The material also tells clients they can dispute items on their credit report that may be accurate but where “I do not believe these listings are verifiable.” Now that’s coaching.
Erik Sale – The Apparent New Guy With Burke at Real Talk Network
In this video with Dave Burke and Erik Sale ([email protected]) the pitch is that you can go to one of their workshops and they will show you how to get up to $3,000 of “Free Money” in your pocket. The strategy, in my opinion, is nothing more than putting all of your expenses on a credit card and since the bill won’t be due till the due date after the closing date, you’ll have cash in your pocket that you would have used to pay the bills, now on the credit card. It’s a freaking shell game. It only pushes your obligation out into the future. It is not free money.
Erik Richard Sale comes from a real estate investment background also. He appears to be yet another guy that was involved in buying or flipping distressed properties and when the real estate market went sour he suddenly became a debt elimination coach. He has a company, Salermade Investment Corporation that is a CO & NV corporation and also a site at EZKeyRE.com ([email protected]) that claims to be a real estate investment company.
The guarantee Erik Sale gives or gave at the Financial Freedom Workshop.
Dave Burke and His Legal Troubles
I did find an interesting lawsuit between Real Talk Network Inc v. Deckys, John Paul Et. Al. It appears that on August 2, 2009 Real Talk Network and Dave Burke sued John Paul Deckys, Matthew Thomas Pillmore and VIP Enterprises, LLC. Colorado case 2009CV001383. It looks like a falling out it is then between them. My assumption, the lads took what they learned from Burke and split to start their own thing and Burke got pissed.
While I was at it there are two other cases against Real Talk Network in Colorado. Jamie L. Wing and Rodney Wylie and Judy Wylie. The Wylie case resulted in an unsatisfied judgment against David Burke and the Real Talk Network for $1,500. You would think that with all the money Burke is taking from others that he could at least pay this judgment off and the Wylie’s back.
As I was searching for the case above I came across another one where Dave Burke and his wife Melodie sued Nick Feldman and Reality Financial. CO 2006S000375. I’m not sure what this was about but it does confirm his real estate and mortgage background. Reality Financial was a site listed on realtalknetwork.blogspot.com.
So What’s This All Mean? What’s The Bottom Line
In my opinion, Dave Burke and his merry band of Mafia guys have created a sales pitch to rope people in with promises of secret tricks or credit repair and to help them become “coached” into doing better financially.
The premise seems plausible. Here is how they describe what they are trying to do.
The Real Talk Network of professionals is dedicated to changing the social economics of our country. We are a coaching network that provides critical financial education to families across the country. What we do: Pay off debt in an average of 5-7 years. Our primary mission is to help families get out of debt rapidly, using advanced financial techniques. We provide ongoing coaching support to ensure our techniques are understood and provide a lifetime of empowerment. How we do it: Nationwide events to educate the public; Group Coaching; One on One Coaching at each event; Ongoing access to our network of coaches via phone coaching and web access. We provide free workshops where our listeners can come and receive valuable information and take the next step in their journey towards becoming debt free and building wealth. Source
In my opinion, where my scam labeler comes out is when a group of guys promotes themselves by saying, “Our primary mission is to help families get out of debt rapidly, using advanced financial techniques.” But in reality they appear to do nothing more than enslave people in debt that are unfortunate enough to attend one of the “Free” seminars and put any pen on any piece of paper.
These attendees are then claimed to have entered into an “All Sales Final” contract for services and subsequently find themselves in collections or unable to escape a contract or payment plan for services they don’t want. Some people have had to pay their way out of collections even though they did not have a contract and at least one collection representative said people should not do business with Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network.
And oh yes, Burke takes payment monthly or in lump-sum on your Visa, MasterCard or American Express, putting you further into debt.
I frankly believe the claims about how fast people actually get out of debt are unfounded and that most of their “advanced financial techniques” are not what they seem to be. In this article I’ve shown the Australia Loan HELOC trick, the opt-out removal to improve your credit score and the free money in your pocket pitches they deliver are simply unfounded hype that do not get out out of debt or increase your credit score.
I understand they are planning to branch out into life insurance or are coaching some wealth building strategy that will encourage people to purchase life insurance. Sure sounds like the same insurance scam that got shut down in the late 1980s. The pitchmen were simply making money from selling insurance, all the rest was a sham to get you to buy the insurance.
According to the Real Talk Network website events schedule it has held seminars in the following states:
- New York
- New Jersey
There were many cities listed where the seminars were previously held for some of those states above.
If You Feel Like You Have Been Taken Advantage of By Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network
If you feel you have been taken advantage of by Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network and you want to try to get out and/or get your money back then you should contact your State Attorney General Office and file a complaint. In addition you should file a complaint with the Attorney General in Colorado and you should consider finding a local attorney to represent you, give you specific legal advice about what you can to do go after the Real Talk Network and get your money back if you feel you have been defrauded.
The unfortunate reality is that my bet is the money people have paid for future coaching has been taken as income in the month the contract was signed and not escrowed and released as service were performed so funds are not available for refunds.
To File a Consumer Complaint And Try to Try to Get Your Money Back
You can use the links below to file a complaint online or find out how to file a complaint and try to get your money back. I would suggest you do it quickly before Dave Burke files bankruptcy.
- New Jersey
- New York
- Federal Trade Commission
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office Consumer Credit Unit has expressed an interest in learning about the activities of Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network. You can send them a fax to 303-866-5474 or send an email to [email protected].
More Information About Dave Burke and Real Talk Netowrk
If you want to stay p[osted about information as it is posted in the comments below, then leave a comment below and check the 'Notify me of followup comments via e-mail' to follow this article for future information.
If You Have the Stomach For It. More RTN Videos and Unsubstantiated Claims Are Below
- “We wipe out all their consumer debt in months.” – Dave Burke
- “100% of the time when we put on this event and the people are engaged their credit card debts disappear, it gets erased in days and weeks. I mean gone! – Dave Burke
- “100% of the time we can wipe out all your consumer debt.” – Dave Burke
- “Real Talk is dedicated to keeping families safe” – Female Voiceover
- “Why do you have to carry $20,000 in credit card debt when we can show you how to get rid of it in a few weeks?” – Dave Burke
- “Make your credit score spike 1 to 150 points.” – Dave Burke
- Anybody out there that could actually use a spike in your credit score within the next 30 to 45 days? – Erik Sale
- “Even if you are paying your credit cards off every single month and you are paying them down to zero there is a good chance your credit score is still taking a punishing blow.” – Erik Sale
- Dave Burke responds, “No there’s actually a 100% chance.”
- This information is not accurate. Not all creditors report the statement balance. Some report on the last day of the month like HSBC, or third week, last Thursday, etc. You can check when your bank actually reports by looking at the last reported date on your credit report. Some cards don’t report the balance till the middle of the next month.
- “We are going to wipe out all of your debt faster than you ever thought possible.” – Erik Scale
- “When I started here I was upside down about $1,100 a month in income and now I’m positive cash flow.” – Man
- “It’s an excellent program and it’s guaranteed so you can’t go wrong.” – Man
- This is the video that shows you how to put “Free Money” in your pocket by not paying your bills till the following month.
- It certainly seems to fly in the face of their above claims that you need to payoff your debt prior to the due date.
- I talked about this video earlier in this article.
Who Is This Guy?
- “How to Find $2,400 in your OWN bank account” – Graphic
- This is a similar presentation by a different presenter, in fact the guy in the close video, who is given the same “Free Money” video Dave Burke and Erik Sale did but this is a video from a workshop.
- You will notice a very similar side to one shown in the Erik Sale slide show above.
- “Arrive early and bring a flash drive for a copy of our Financial Freedom Software. $3,500 value for FREE!” – Graphic
- “You’re listening to Real talk with your host Dave Burke. Real Talk is the number one show in America today totally dedicated to keeping families safe.” – Voiceover, Dave Burke
- This is the video where they claim you can increase your credit score by opting out of credit card offers. I discussed the fallacy of this above in the article.
- “Credit card balances gone in days or weeks, not every time, but certainly months or a couple of short years. And no matter what we are going to put you in the best possible financial situation we can put you in based on everything we know.” – Dave Burke
- “We will give you the tools to wipe out your credit card debt in weeks, auto loans in months, eliminate your mortgage in a fraction of the time.” – Dave Burke
- By utilizing Real Talk’s Advanced Financial Techniques and Ongoing Coaching and Support – NOW YOU CAN BECOME DEBT FREE!!! – Graphic overlay
- “And because of that everything rolls up hill. What’s that mean? Well first of all I’ve got all the coaching happening in a place that we can see. I’m not blind anymore. Am I? You call into our corporate office and you are going to get a coach between 12PM and 9PM, Monday thru Thursday. Right? You’re going to get coached over the phone. And guess who’s right behind all those coaches? Matt Pillmore, John Deckys, me.” – Dave Burke
- “That coach has someone that works on getting you guys lines of credit, so they can direct you where to go and what to do.” – Dave Burke
- “I made you a promise here and I’m going to keep it.” – Dave Burke
- “We’re building the most huge call center. I’ve got T-1 lines coming in. We were going to do this over six months, we are doing it in three weeks.” – Dave Burke
- “We are going to seven days a week coaching to, 24 hours a day.” – Dave Burke
The Real Talk Network Contract[This is the text of the agreement people are asked to sign to get in.]
This is a contract for services and materials for you to receive the Real Talk Network Coaching Program. This program is a service of Real Talk Network, Inc. (“RTNI”) of 1333 W. 120th Ave, Suite 113, Westminster, CO 80234 and includes intensive coaching and cash flow planning procedure that uses the most advanced budgeting tools available to assist you on the path to being 100% Debt Free. RTNI workshops provide one-on-one coaching, lectures about cash flow management techniques, and a personalized action plan that RTNI helps you create. RTNI’s Program will teach you how to maximize every one of your dollars to maintain the lowest possible debt balances, which will reduce your interest costs and get you paying your loan principal(s) down instead of paying high interest charges. The RTNI program will teach you how to eliminate debt so you can begin building real wealth. By signing this contract at the place indicated below and providing the required information accurately, you are agreeing to pay for this RTNI Coaching Program and to follow the advice and instructions provided in the Program in order to obtain its described results. RTNI agrees to provide you with all of the elements and materials of the Program and to teach you how to eliminate debt. I also agree that I have received the RTN program software, which provides me with access to my financial freedom. All sales of this Program are final. RTNI does not provide refunds of any payments after the program is purchased. [Now that's interesting since several people have been told they could get back their deposit or first payment if they changed their mind after signing up.]
The Real Talk Network Debt Elimination Program Commitment[This is a secondary document that buyers are given.]
The Real Talk Network, Inc. (“RTNI”) Coaching Programis an intensive coaching and cash flow planning and management system. The RTNI Coaching Program uses advanced budgeting strategies and techniques that greatly accelerate the elimination of debt. The Programs ultimate goal is to coach its students to obtain complete personal debt elimination.
The Real Talk Network, Inc’s Coaching Program Commitment shall include:
- Diligent analysis of its students financial information to determine the best strategies and techniques that can be applied to accelerate the elimination of a particular student’s debt.
- Continued RTNI coach training to ensure the highest level of service and satisfaction to each and every RTNI student.
- Continued product and strategy development to ensure the relevancy and effectiveness of the strategies and techniques utilized to continue the elimination of the student debt loads.
- Eliminating student debt including, but not limited to, credit card debt, auto loan debt, mortgage debt, student loans, collection accounts, charged off accounts, and IRS tax liens.
- A professional and straightforward approach to communicating with RTNI students by explaining to them clearly and in detail what they need to understand about the creation and elimination of debt as it applies to them.
- The best advice possible in making tough financial decisions and connected lifestyle choices. [Lifestyle choices?]
The Student’s Commitment to the Real Talk Network Coaching Program shall include:
- An obligation to himself or herself and RTNI to supply current, accurate and honest financial information to the RTNI to enable RTNI to provide and facilitate successful RTNI coaching.
- Following RTNI protocols as outlined in the “Next Steps / Getting Started” form.
- Following, as nearly as possible, the advice of the RTNI coaches regarding the techniques, strategies, and processes that each student must implement in order to gain the knowledge and ability to accelerate the eliminations of the student’s debt.
- Communicating immediately to RTNI any financial changes or problems that may arise in the student’s life or financial picture to enable RTNI to effectively coach a student through the challenges presented by these changes or problems and continue onward to complete debt elimination.
- Making timely and complete payments to RTNI for contract services rendered and honoring any RTNI installment Payment Plan Contract terms that may have been put in place for the financial benefit of the student. [How is trapping a student in an installment plan for future services they don't want considered "for the financial benefit of the student"?]
NOTICE OF CANCELLATION
Date of this Contract: __________
You man CANCEL this contract for services, without any penalty or obligation, within THREE (3) BUSINESS DAYS from the above started date of contract.
If you cancel, any property traded in, any payments made by you under this contract, or any negotiable instrument executed by you will be returned within THIRTY (30) BUSINESS DAYS following receipt by RTNI of your Notice of Cancellation.
If you cancel you must make available to RTNI, at your residence, in substantially as good condition as when received, any materials delivered to you under the contract, or you may, if you wish, comply with the instructions of RTNI regarding the return shipment of the materials at your expense and risk.
If you fail to return the materials available to RTNI, or if you agree to return the materials and fail to do so, then you remain liable for performance and payment of all obligations under the contract.
To cancel this contract, email or deliver a signed and postmarked copy of this Notice of Cancellation or any other written notice, or send an e-mail with the cancellation attached to Real Talk Network, Inc. at 1333 W. 120th Ave, Suite 113, Westminster, CO 80234 (E-Mail: [email protected]) not latter than midnight of __________, which is three (3) days after the date of this contract as set forth above.
I HEREBY CANCEL THIS CONTRACT:
(Buyer’s Signature:) __________
The Real Talk Network, Inc. Coaching Program Includes
- One intensive Educational Workshop to be given either in person via a classroom setting, web video, web tutorials, webinars or instructional materials. This Workshop teaches the strategies and techniques used in the Coaching Programs. It prepares the student for beginning a successful journey to elimination of all of his or her debts and increasing their credit scores. [Could this be the credit repair services mentioned previously?]
- Twelve (12), One-on-one phone Coaching Sessions of up to 1 hour in length. [One student told me that the coaching sessions were typically about 15 minutes long with half of the session silent as the coach reviewed the spreadsheet sent to the coach before the session. The agreement does not say the sessions will be an hour long, but up to an hour.]
- All 12 Coaching Sessions are to be completed within 120 days from the execution of the student’s Coaching Program Contract. [So here is what I find odd. The contract says all services must be delivered within 4 months but the installment payment agreement I'm holding in my hand from them for a particular student is for $100 a month for 12 months plus a final payment of $1897 and a plan admin charge of $100. And if the student could not afford the final payment of $1897 then the $10 a month would continue for an additional 19 months.]
- Each Coaching Session must take place within ten (10) days of the previous Coaching Sessions to insure continuity of the teaching and to maximize success. An extension of this 10 day time frame can only be requested in writing or by email and will be granted only in the event of sickness, vacation, or other reasonable cause. However, in any event, all 12 Coaching Sessions are still to be completed within 120 days of the execution of the student’s Coaching Program contract. [One student told me that his coach Dave Burke routinely cancelled his scheduled appointments and pushed them a week out. I wonder how that impacts the ten day stipulation?]
- One (1) customized, written Action Plan that your Real Talk coach(es) will create with student participation to help the student accelerate the elimination of their specific and particular debt. [I think this is the Excel spreadsheet with limited coach notes that is emailed to the student. The copy I saw from a student only had notes like "keep a ledger of all expenses including credit cards and cash", or "have the date of a purchases." That hardly seems like a professional Action Plan.]
- If necessary, the RTNI Coaching Program will provide and additional modified, written Action Plan with every one-on-one follow-up Coaching Sessions.
- From time to time, RTNI may, but is not obligated to, provide free educational seminars for its students in areas of cash flow management, debt elimination, and credit management. The student will be notified of the times, dates and places of these free seminars as they may be produced and provided by RTNI. [So if RTNI is traveling all over the country and roping students into contracts, are student expected to travel to attend these free classes? How does that improve their financial position?]
Update: March 13, 2010 – Dave Burke and Real Talk Network Respond and Want Me to Take Down This Article Or Say They Will Sue Me
I received the following statement from Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network through their attorney Berkley Freeman, Jr. and I’m more than happy to reprint it and present their side of the story.
The Real Talk Network Statement
Real Talk Network would like to respond to Mr. Steve Rhode and his “Investigative Report” on Real Talk Network and the Financial Coaching Program and Services the company provides. To begin, Mr. Rhode did not contact Real Talk Network, nor has he attended a Real Talk Network Seminar, nor has he attended a financial coaching session, in order to substantiate any claims or complaints against Real Talk Network. Mr. Rhodes claims that Real Talks program is without support or substance, while he has never attended a seminar nor has he been a part of the Real Talk program. The Real Talk Network coaching program shows individuals how to manage their monthly bills and reduce debt by utilizing certain tools that allow for a significant decrease in the amount paid on interest therefore decreasing the length of time on is in debt and by doing so allows them to pay their debt off sooner. The program teaches students how to obtain certain tools, such as zero percent interest credit cards and lines of credit in order to pay off their high interest debt faster. The program also included credit counseling to help students raise their credit scores, in order to obtain these tools faster. Mr. Rhode also claims that our coaching times are severely limited, Real Talk Network has coaches on staff that coach Monday through Friday 9 am to 9 pm MST and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm. Real Talk Network coaches roughly fifty students per day and each student is scheduled for a one hour session. Mr. Rhode also claims that people are being sent to collections without ever signing a contract or utilizing the services. The collection agency utilized by Real Talk Network will not accept a collection without a legal signed contract for payment. It also the students responsibility to contact Real Talk Network for their coaching schedule; which it clearly states on the Real Talk Network Contract. The program contract in no way “traps” clients as it clearly states, per law in several states, that clients have a cancellation period. Once the cancellation period has expired, then a client does not have a refund option for the program. Mr. Rhode also points to an old Mortgage program that Real Talk Network has not utilized in over a year. The Mortgage Accelerator Plus program was purchased from Real Talk Network in 2008 and was only utilized during 2008, for which Norm Bour was paid in order for Real Talk Network to utilize.
As for the Real Talk Network contract, Mr. Rhode has posted an outdated contract. The contract for services includes “at least” 12 coaching sessions that are one hour in length and the coaching sessions are to be schedule once a month. Any coaching’s that are less than an hour, as Mr. Rhode points to a fifteen minute coaching, for which we have no record of this ever happening, does not go towards a client initial 12 coaching’s. The new contract also clearly states that a client who needs more coaching, will get more coaching at no additional charge. Most clients, however, will finish their program within a year. The program is designed to teach students during that year, how to budget their money and obtain tools to pay off their consumer debt. While the program may only last a year, the program gives each student the knowledge on how to sustain their monthly budget in order to continue paying off their debt.
All of the video clips Mr. Rhode has obtained are also old clips that are no longer utilized for the program. The company has moved away from “emotional” video and marketing and moved towards educational information that gives people a true sense of what can be accomplished by utilizing the Real Talk Network program.
The complaints that Mr. Rhode has posted are clients who have been coached, or decided after the cancellation period that they did not want to finish the program and requested that their fees be returned. Since the clients had signed a non-refundable contract, for which it clearly states and for which each client signs that they understand this policy, a refund was not given, therefore these clients have become indifferent with Real Talk Network making claims that are false towards the program and the company. The claims that Real Talk Network sends people to collections without a contract or that the company can not produce a contract are unfounded as previously, the company will not accept a collection account without a legal valid contract signed by the client. Any client who wishes for a copy of their contract are permitted to have a copy, if requested. The company will and has also removed people from collections if they can provide proof that they had cancelled the contract prior to be sent to the collection company.
The credit coaching Real Talk Network utilizes is not credit repair, rather it is credit coaching. The Real Talk Network Coaches obtain the clients credit reports to research if there are any negative reporting’s in order to create an action plan on how to boost a client’s score to better help them to obtain a higher score. This same system is utilized by several other credit counseling companies, such as VIP, former associates of Real Talk Network. Mr. Rhode states in his report that VIP is associated with Real Talk Network, for which the two companies parted ways in June of 2009. Any information on VIP in relation to Real Talk Network is not valid or accurate.
There are several other inconsistencies in the investigate report issued by Mr. Rhode. Real Talk Network does not sell life insurance, all videos being utilized in the report are over a year old and no longer being utilized, Real Talk Network is like any other services company that provides contracts for payments prior to services rendered and allows for a payment plan for better financing options for its clients. In no way are Real Talk Networks sales practices any different that other service companies that have prepaid contracts for services.
Mr. Rhode has taken roughly thirty complaints from clients who signed a contract for services and signed the contract stating clearly what their obligations were financially and as a student in the program. These clients did not follow through with their commitment, and decided to become negative about their situation. Real Talk Network is company that provides services for fees and provides a client with those services per a valid, legal contract. Just as with any other service industry, if the client decided within the cancellation period to cancel, they would have received their fee back and the contract would be cancelled. If the client decides after the cancellation period to cancel, any fees paid prior to the cancellation would not be returned, but no further payments would be taken on the contract after cancellation. If a client defaults on their payment plan, as it clearly states on their payment plan contract, for which Mr. Rhode did not post, a client would be sent to collections within thirty days of the defaulted payment date. What Mr. Rhode did not post, was that Real Talk Network has thirty complaints out of 8,000 previous and current clients.
Real Talk Network invite Mr. Rhode to contact the office to finish his investigative report to obtain a response to these allegations he has posted and to obtain current copies of contracts, marketing materials and videos.
My Observations and Response
In my opinion Real Talk Network does a fabulous job on addressing the contract and their policy in retaining funds and going after people through collections. What continues to perplex me is they feel that complaints are the result of clients that are unhappy about the lack of refunds so why don’t they issue refunds? I’m still stuck on the fact that the company relies upon a cancellation policy to retain funds or enforce collections or payments from consumer that were attracted to the program because they had financial problems and debt to begin with. How is that helping the consumer client?
People who signed up for the services possibly believed that the Real Talk Network services would help them do better financially. But once the time limited cancellation period passes the consumer is locked in, even by the Real Talk Network admission. But why would no refund be issued if services were not yet delivered or delivered in part, even if the consumer cancels after the cancellation period. If the agreement is for coaching sessions and the compensation paid is for future coaching sessions and the coaching sessions are not delivered then how is the company out for services not delivered? If they are not then the funds should be still in escrow, waiting to be earned by the company when services are delivered. Those funds should be readily available for refund.
Real Talk Network in their response labels themselves as a credit counseling company. No recognized credit counseling company I know of accepts advanced fees for consumer services for services like a debt management plan which includes free budget help and ongoing as needed coaching from their credit counselor to get out of debt. In fact a consumer can bail from a mainstream credit counseling program at any time without any additional fee commitment.
Although I have not checked to confirm, I suspect Real Talk Network is not a licensed credit counseling provider in any of the states they operate in.
Their statement about the videos is perplexing to me. The videos I included were online at the time I originally wrote the article and are online still right now. – Source. In fact they have published another video since I originally posted the article on January 10, 2010.
A lot of good people are getting hurt right now, they got blind sided. – Dave Burke from above video.
Real Talk Network claims “All of the video clips Mr. Rhode has obtained are also old clips that are no longer utilized for the program. The company has moved away from “emotional” video and marketing and moved towards educational information that gives people a true sense of what can be accomplished by utilizing the Real Talk Network program.” Do you find that latest video to not be designed to be emotional with the music and message and if they are no longer utilized by the company why are they still online?
At the time of the article the contract I used was that given to me by a current client of Real Talk Network.
The Real Talk Network video posted on June 8, 2009 in which Dave Burke stated 24×7 coaching was going to soon be available.
However, my original statement about coaching time being limited was not about the available hours, but about the length of the sessions. If a consumer is supposed to get an hour session then why was the feedback I was getting that “the sessions on average are about 15 minutes, with half of that time take with the coach reviewing the spreadsheet sent in by the client.”
Real Talk Network states in their response “The credit coaching Real Talk Network utilizes is not credit repair, rather it is credit coaching. The Real Talk Network Coaches obtain the clients credit reports to research if there are any negative reporting’s in order to create an action plan on how to boost a client’s score to better help them to obtain a higher score.”
I’m still confused how that does not wander into murky waters with the Credit Repair Organizations Act that says a credit repair organization is:
Credit repair organization. — The term ‘credit repair organization’–
(A) means any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails to sell, provide, or perform (or represent that such person can or will sell, provide, or perform) any service, in return for the payment of money or other valuable consideration, for the express or implied purpose of–
(i) improving any consumer’s credit record, credit history, or credit rating; or
(ii) providing advice or assistance to any consumer with regard to any activity or service described in clause (i) – Source
As for the rest of their statements I’d be happy to respond to anything further but don’t want to drag out my response and make this longer than it needs to be. If you want me to respond to anything else in their statement just post your question in the comments section for me to answer.
By the way, there have been four new posted complaints on RipOffReport.com about Dave Burke and the Real Talk Network since I wrote the original article and this update. You can read the new consumer complaints here.
Update: March 15, 2010 – Real Talk Network BBB Rating Downgraded to D
Yesterday I had looked at the BBB rating for Real Talk Network and it was a C-. Today it has been changed to D. The BBB is publishing the following statement regarding the program.
Your BBB has notice a pattern of complaints concerning this company and the company has failed to address the underlying cause of those complaints. Complaints allege the initial seminar lacks information to reduce, eliminate or consolidate debt. The seminars are tools to have attendees purchase their products for $2000, an up front fee, so as not to incur more debt. Consumers state that the company does provide small tips on debt reduction throughout the initial seminar leading the consumer into the purchase of the program software; such as, compound interest converting to simple interest. Consumers report being told there is a money back guarantee during the seminar. They also express difficulty obtaining a refund after they have paid. Consumers are later told that no money back guarantee is in the contract. Consumers allege that after they pay for the program they are given reasons why they don’t qualify and referred over to another program which has additional cost. – Source
There is also a new complaint today on RipOffReport.com about Real Talk Network and Dave Burke. See Dave Burke, Real Talk, 630 KHOW, Real Talk Radio Network, Real Talk Network Dave Burke, 650 KHOW Credit consulting scam is robbery! Internet, Denver, Colorado.
Update: March 16, 2010 – Another BBB Complaint
Just out of curiosity I check the BBB listing for Real Talk Network today and discovered that since yesterday they have had an additional complaint. This brings their total to 80 in the last 36 months with 79 closed in the last year alone. – Source.
Here is how the complaints breakdown as of today.
- 8 – regarding Billing or Collection Issues
- 2 – Failure to correct billing errors
- 1 – Improper collection practices
- 4 – None of the Above – Credit, Billing or Collection Complaint Issue
- 1 – Unauthorized credit card charges
- 19 – regarding Contract Issues
- 5 – Failure to honor a contract or agreement
- 2 – Invalid or false contract
- 11 – None of the Above – Contract Complaint Issue
- 1 – Work performed outside the terms of the contract or agreement
- 10 – regarding Customer Service Issues
- 4 – Failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services
- 5 – Failure to respond to phone calls or written requests for assistance or support
- 1 – Inappropriate behavior by customer service personnel
- 8 – regarding Guarantee or Warranty Issues
- 7 – Failure to honor money-back guarantees
- 1 – Failure to provide promised written warranty or guarantee
- 1 – regarding Product Issues
- 1 – None of the Above – Product Quality Complaint Issue
- 14 – regarding Refund or Exchange Issues
- 9 – Failure to honor refund, exchange or credit policies
- 5 – None of the Above – Refund or Exchange Complaint Issue
- 16 – regarding Sales Practice Issues
- 2 – None of the Above – Sales Complaint Issue
- 12 – Sales presentation misrepresented the service
- 2 – Sales presentation used dishonest sales practices
- 4 – regarding Service Issues
- 1 – Delayed completion of service
- 1 – Failure to honor service estimate or agreement
- 2 – Improper or inferior service
Update: April 2, 2010 – Real Talk Network Has New BBB Complaint
It had been a while since I went back to check the RTN BBB report and it appears yet another BBB has been filed since I last looked. The current total is at 81 and the new complaint filed was a contract issue. – Source
8 – regarding Billing or Collection Issues
20 – regarding Contract Issues
10 – regarding Customer Service Issues
8 – regarding Guarantee or Warranty Issues
1 – regarding Product Issues
14 – regarding Refund or Exchange Issues
16 – regarding Sales Practice Issues
4 – regarding Service Issues
Update: April 7, 2010 – More BBB Complaints
Current total is 84 complaints. In the last five days three more BBB complaints have been filed.
Here is the current count. – Source
8 – regarding Billing or Collection Issues
22 – regarding Contract Issues
10 – regarding Customer Service Issues
9 – regarding Guarantee or Warranty Issues
1 – regarding Product Issues
14 – regarding Refund or Exchange Issues
16 – regarding Sales Practice Issues
4 – regarding Service Issues
Update May 17, 2010 – TV Investigative Report Airs
WESTMINSTER — The Real Talk Network, owned by Dave Burke, promises to improve your credit and help wipe out your debt in 84 months, on average, if you have a good credit score.
But the CALL7 Investigators have learned a few things about Burke that many of his clients have not been told. And, several former employees and some unhappy former clients of Real Talk Network told 7NEWS the program is not about eliminating your debt, but instead taking your money — at about $3,000 a pop.
“All your debt is going to disappear even if you don’t have any money,” said Burke as part of his radio sales pitch.
Burke buys air time on radio stations in several states, including Colorado. He’s a self-proclaimed financial icon — a guru on the economy.
At seminars, attended by CALL7 Investigators, Real Talk employees promised to improve people’s credit scores. And we were told that if we had a credit score of 680 or above, Real Talk Network would coach us on eliminating all our debt in 7 years. The cost would be $2,000 to $3,000 for coaching sessions.
“I believe they are an unethical company that is taking advantage of people for the economic situation that our country is in right now,” said a former Real Talk Network employee, who asked us not to give his name.
He’s one of half a dozen former employees who contacted CALL7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski, outraged by what they witnessed. He quit Real Talk Network.
“Several clients were encouraged to put the full cost of the program, though not necessary, on to a credit card or pay in cash with the promise that that debt would be eliminated within a short time of coaching.
“However, in my experience, I spoke to several clients that had been through coaching for a year without any results,” said the former employee.
He told 7NEWS, the debt “coaches” underwent minimal training and said the “coaching sessions,” done over the phone, were little more than stringing the client along in order to keep them paying for the service. He also said most “coaching” calls were less than 15 minutes.
“How did that make you feel as an employee?” asked Kovaleski.
“It made me feel dirty and that I was partly responsible for these people’s financial frustration,” said the former employee.
“Has this program saved you any money?” Kovaleski asked Real Talk Network client Ryan McCue.
“Not a dime. Probably cost me more,” said McCue, who had paid more than $2,000 to join the program.
McCue is on a list that now has about 100 clients from 7 states who have formally complained to the Better Business Bureau, with whom the Real Talk Network now has an “F” rating.
“There’s comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one that got taken advantage of. Discomfort that the company’s still getting away with it and still expanding, taking advantage especially in this market,” said McCue.
Many of the complaints accuse the company of overly-aggressive sales tactics. “Was this a high-pressure situation?” asked Kovaleski.
“Absolutely, fast talking, high-pressure and he’s threatening to chase you to your car if you walk out of this seminar and not sign up for it,” said another former client who asked us not to reveal her name because her husband would be mad she paid for the debt elimination counseling.
Other complaints surround a previous contract Burke used with his clients, which promised a money-back guarantee.
McCue told 7NEWS he has not received any money back and doesn’t think he will. The Real Talk Network has revised the contracts to remove the guarantee promise. The contracts previously said “money-back guarantee” but also contained the phrase “all sales final.”
CALL7 Investigators attended a couple of Real Talk Network’s seminars and listened to the sales pitch first-hand and spoke to some of Burke’s employees.
Of Burke, one employee told us, “He’s got finance degrees and economics degrees from USC in California.”
According to records from the University of Southern California, Dave Burke does not have any such degree. USC’s records indicate he attended the school for two years in the 1980s, but did not earn a degree.
Real Talk Network has told 7NEWS the employee who made the statement no longer works for the company, however, an employee of the company made the same claims to us at one of the seminars.
“What’s my hourly rate? $10,000 an hour,” said Burke on one of his radio shows where he claimed to be one of the top financial experts in the country. He’s also told seminar attendees, “Bankruptcy is not an option,” and “Debt is dangerous.”
But public records show Burke filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2000. And records show he has federal tax liens for failing to pay more than $200,000 in income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and the state of Colorado.
7NEWS wanted to ask Burke about the bankruptcy filing and tax liens and made several requests to interview him about the findings of our investigation.
His company sent a certified letter declining an on-camera interview and explaining that the company replaced two executives, hired more staff, implemented an intensive training program for new coaches and is focusing on fewer states.
Since Burke had refused an interview, the certified letter from the company did not address the issues of his tax liens or his bankruptcy filing (ultimately withdrawn). It is unclear if any of the liens have been paid because 7News could find no public filings on that subject and tax officials declined comment. In a letter, an attorney representing Burke wrote: “Mr. Burke is presently working with his personal tax specialist to address certain tax issues from many years ago.”
Staff from 7NEWS met Burke outside his office in Westminster.
“Your system works right?” asked Kovaleski. “How come you haven’t used your system to get rid of nearly $200,000 in tax liens, sir?”
“We welcome the opportunity to meet you at a later time,” said Burke repeatedly.
“You have given people contracts that say money-back guarantee. They have the contracts and you have not given them their money back. Why not give them their money back, sir?” asked Kovaleski.
Despite promising to meet at a later time, Burke and his staff did not return phone calls seeking the interview.
In a letter, Burke’s attorney confirms the bankruptcy filing and the lack of a degree from USC.
Update: May 18, 2010 – Discussion of Dave Burke and Real Talk Network on KHOW
Here is an interesting slam on Real Talk Network by one of the very stations that has broadcast his radio show. This was a brutal discussion. You can listen to the Burke segments below.
Update: July 7, 2010 – San Diego Television Investigative Report.
As you will see in the comments on my story on the new incarnation of RTN, COO Billi Carwile made the statement that Dave Burke will be involved in ICEE and his wife is the owner of ICEE and purchased the assets of Get Real With Dave (Real Talk Network) and that then became the Institute of Consumer Economic Education (ICEE). Carwille says, “Mr. Burke will be contracted by ICEE in a consulting manner to train a new speaker for ICEE as well as continue training for its counseling program.”
Just yesterday a San Diego television station reported the following story about Burke and his business practices. Only time will tell if they become part of the ICEE approach.