LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Home renovation shows are all the rage.
The married couple Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of the popular Waco-based “Fixer Upper,” are the current cover subjects of PEOPLE magazine. “The Property Brothers” (Jonathan and Drew Scott) who seemingly have had 20 spinoff shows, are bickering twins who rehab and renovate homes, humorously, of course.
“Flip or Flop” on HGTV is another show that would be hard to miss. It, too, features another charismatic married couple — in this case Tarek and Christina El Moussa of Orange County — who take viewers through the drama of flipping rundown homes.
The half-hour show features the El Moussas — the ridiculously photogenic parents of two ridiculously photogenic children — taking on a house, sometimes unseen, which they then renovate to re-sell or “flip”. Most often the couple makes a tidy sum but every so often, they end up taking a loss or a small profit, “the flop.”
The couple is capitalizing on their popularity off screen, launching their own series of seminars across the country promising to teach the secrets of their success.
But some folks, reports CBS2’s Tom Wait, feel like they have been duped by the seminars.
“I know a lot of people who were there were not satisfied,” says Doug Stephens.
A teacher and pastor in Florida, Stephens spoke to Wait via Facetime. He spent almost $2,000 to attend one of the El Moussa seminars. The celebrity couple was a no-show. They appeared on videotape.
“On Friday night when we go to the paid conference they give us a homework assignment. They tell us to extend your credit card limit,” Stephens said.
Stephens says the seminar was all about up-selling.
“It’s about getting you to the big conference,” Stephens said. He said those conferences could cost between $26-56,000.
The El Moussa’s seminars are run through a company called Zurixx based in Utah. Consumer advocates say it’s buyer beware for any celebrity seminar.
“When you’re putting money into education, make sure it’s a college or university,” Consumer Watchdog’s Jamie Court says.
An attorney for the El Moussa’s says thousands of people have gone through the seminars and have given them positive reviews. The attorney says his clients take great pride in their work and at times have worked one-on-one to help dissatisfied customers.
For more about Tarek, Christina and “Flip or Flop,” click here.