MERRILLVILLE — You've probably seen the social media ads for upcoming house-flipping seminars in Northwest Indiana featuring the stars of A&E show "Flipping Boston," which is modeled after the successful "Flipping Vegas."
Flipping Formula seminars will take place next week in Merrillville, Chesterton and Michigan City. The ads, which have been plastered all over Facebook in recent weeks, promise to help people "gain financial independence" by house flipping, which is buying homes, renovating them and then selling them for a profit.
The ads prominently feature Peter Souhleris and Dave Seymour, who have hosted the "Flipping Boston" show, which debuted on the A&E Network in 2012.
But as they say, buyer beware. A disclaimer at the bottom of the Flipping Formula website says the "event is not affiliated with A&E Networks, LLC or any of its series, subsidiaries, divisions or affiliates." Also, the television stars won't actually be there.
"I wanted to reach out to you regarding your inquiry about Pete and Dave attending the Flipping Formula seminar in Northern Indiana Jan. 12-16. Pete and Dave will not be at this event personally," spokeswoman April Critchfield said. "However, their team will be presenting on their behalf."
Multiple online reviewers on websites that include Hiya and Bigger Pockets say the TV stars did not actually show up at the "Flipping Boston" real estate investment seminars they went to. One attendee claimed he was promised their email addresses, but they were never provided.
A summary of reviews on Hiya alleges attendees at Flipping Formula events have been subjected to high-pressure sales tactics to encourage them to spend more for additional training, which is a common complaint about many real estate investing seminars.
The Flipping Formula website offers free tickets to the upcoming seminars in Merrillville, Chesterton, and Michigan City and has carefully worded text that promises the "Flipping Formula team," not necessarily Souhleris or Seymour, will give a presentation. It says the "Flipping Boston" stars created "the formula" on which the seminars are based.
"Now, Pete and Dave have turned this formula into an educational program that has helped thousands of people, just like you, start their own real estate business," the website says. "The Flipping Formula team is coming to Northern Indiana to present a live training."
When contacted on Facebook, Flipping Formula said Souhleris and Seymour do attend "as many events as possible," but can't go to every single one since the educational program has grown so rapidly, to where it's having multiple seminars in multiple cities daily.
The summary review on Hiya states it appears The Flipping Formula is built around the initial free seminar, which is intended to convince attendees to purchase access to a seminar that costs thousands of dollars, which in turns seems to be primarily aimed at convincing attendees to sign up for even more expensive programs.