For years, I’ve heard John Cummuta’s ads on the radio pitching his debt reduction program, “Debt to Wealth.” The ads promise that he can simply and quickly show you how to not just reduce your debt but to eliminate it and build vast wealth. It sounds so good but it’s not at all clear from the radio what Cummuta is actually selling. (Note: Some folks think his name is spelled Commuta - it's not - it's Cummuta)
Not knowing much about Cummuta or his organization, I did some research and rooting around which revealed some concerning things I feel compelled to share and warn others about.
First, I called the toll-free phone number for Cummuta’s company. The eager saleswoman began by pressing me for my personal contact information. I refused but that only slightly delayed her polished sales pitch. She began by saying that Cummuta’s program had been around for 18 years and claimed that it shows users how to eliminate their debt 3 to 5 times faster that what they could do on their own by simply using the money they’re already earning. She further added that it wasn’t a debt consolidation program and included tips for building wealth.
After asking her multiple times what the cost was and not getting an answer, she then took the tack of telling me that the materials (CD or cassette tapes, workbook, etc.) would be shipped via UPS for a mere $6.95 shipping fee and that I wouldn’t be charged anything for the first 30 days. Then, she finally admitted the cost: I would make “just 5 payments of $79.99 each” to which she quickly added, “…that’s a lot less than most people pay in mortgage interest and credit card interest.”
After pressing me to buy it again, she asked why I wasn’t interested at this time and I told her that it sounded like a lot of money. Not missing a beat, she quickly and confidently replied, “$400 compared with the amount of debt you likely have I’m sure is small…”
While I didn’t buy the program myself, I have reviewed a copy of it obtained from a customer. My advice: save your money and don’t go another $406.90 (total cost) into debt to buy it. You can find far better advice at a small fraction of the cost ($20 or less) in many venues, especially and including any decent book dealing with personal finance, debt and spending, etc.
Also know that Cummuta's outfit has been awarded a grade of 'F' by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for their questionable sales practices and lousy customer service. BBB records show dozens of complaints filed primarily relating to sales tactics, refund and billing issues, including unauthorized charges on credit and debit cards. (The rating of ‘F’ from the BBB is the lowest possible rating out of 13 categories spanning from ‘A+’ to ‘F.’ ).
In surveying the complaints lodged against Cummuta, I quickly became aware of an even bigger problem than his selling of a grossly overpriced debt reduction advice program. He has even bigger fish to fry in his selling of personal coaching services for thousands to more than $10,000 dollars. (A subtle warning of this agenda can be found on his website where it says in reference to his CD and workbook product, “It's a proven system you can implement yourself, or we can help you if you wish.”)
The “help” is an even more grossly overpriced service which Cummuta and his minions sell. Cummuta recruits seminar leaders around the country to sell his products and coaching services (trainees have to fork over $295 and pay a $900 annual licensing fee to Cummuta). His web site brags that, “The average seminar, including product sales, can net you several hundred to several thousand dollars – FOR A HALF DAY'S WORK!” Funny he doesn’t make that statement to consumers when he’s selling them all of his overpriced, mediocre materials.
Cummuta coaches use high pressure sales tactics to sell their costly services and the coaches’ qualifications are highly questionable. This came to light recently when Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin accused a Utah-based Cummuta coach, Darin Floyd Beal, of defrauding a Worcester, MA woman out of $100,000. The woman got in the clutches of the Cummuta coach after she responded to a radio ad for Cummuta's "transforming debt into wealth" program. After buying Cummuta’s advertised program, the complaint details that the woman shelled out $9,270 for her Cummuta debt coach. Her coach then urged her to take out a $100,000 home equity loan and invest in “promissory notes” which he claimed could pay her up to 27 percent. After leaving Cummuta’s organization, it became clear that Beal had absconded with his investor’s money and his since declared bankruptcy listing over $5 million in debts.
All of this is yet another reminder that whenever you are considering buying any product or service, you should examine and compare alternatives. In Cummuta’s case, the analysis says you should avoid him and his pricey, poorly-rated services.