Nearly 9,000 consumers who paid Seed Consulting LLC for "funding" to pay for expensive training courses are getting refunds.
The Federal Trade Commission is sending 8,843 checks totaling more than $2 million to consumers who signed up with Seed for training programs that the FTC says were expensive and ineffective.
Seed, based in Las Vegas, pitched the deal as a way to get funding that would enable the consumers to start a new business or become a real estate investor.
But instead, the FTC said, the company charged them $3,000 or more to apply for multiple credit cards with high credit limits, a process known as "credit card stacking."
Seed allegedly inflated the consumers' income to get credit limits of more than $50,000 in some cases, according to the FTC. The consumers then used the high credit limits to buy expensive training programs from Seed and some of its affiliated companies.
"A year ago I trusted **** and bought their program which I did not have money to buy. A team of 5 representatives from Seed Capital were present in the event to hunt people like me that have no money and provide them with credit cards to make to buy ****'s programs and in return charge/gain almost $4000 in commission," said a disgruntled consumer who filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
No free lunch
Consumers often fall for schemes that promise to reveal "secrets" of starting and running a successful business. The truth, of course, is that there are few secrets in business but lots of opportunities for hard work, missed opportunities and poor choices.
Successful business people often spend years getting advanced degrees and learning the intricacies of engineering, finance, marketing and other essential skills. Business acumen isn't something you can pick up from a company that advertises on matchbook covers.
Seed agreed in January 2021 to settle the FTC's complaints and to pay more than $2 million to cover partial refunds to consumers. Each check recipient will receive $232.12.
People who receive checks should deposit or cash them within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their checks, as well as anyone who paid Seed Consulting for business training and real estate investment programs, should call the refund administrator, JND Legal Administration at 1-833-823-0045.
Don't pay anyone who offers to help you collect your check. The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.
In 2020, FTC actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but recently the United States Supreme Court ruled the FTC lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the FTC’s ability to get money back for consumers.