FTC Obtains Proposed Orders Against ‘The Sales Mentor’ Scheme, Defendants to Pay $1 Million for Consumer Refunds

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced recently proposed orders against the operators of a scheme known as “The Sales Mentor,” which reportedly made millions by falsely promising consumers significant earnings from telemarketing sales. The defendants have agreed to proposed court orders that would require them to pay a total of $1 million for consumer refunds.

In a federal court complaint, the FTC charged a group of Tennessee-based companies, their owners, officers, and a former sales director with deceiving consumers into paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for supposed telemarketing training programs. These programs rarely, if ever, delivered on what was promised. Moreover, the FTC stated that the companies continued to make deceptive earnings claims even after receiving the FTC’s Notices of Penalty Offences warning them that such conduct is illegal.

According to the complaint, the companies, their owners Taylor Welch and Christopher Evans, and employees Payton Welch and Ashton Shanks falsely claimed that The Sales Mentor program could net consumers incomes of $10,000 to $20,000 per month on average. The defendants allegedly made false claims in their ads, online videos, and other sales pitches, stating they had successfully “helped over 25,000 people find secure, dependable, consistent, and life-changing incomes.”

Another advertisement claimed that it’s virtually impossible not to enjoy a job-replacing six-figure income, even part-time. The defendants also falsely claimed to have access to a “waiting list” of companies looking to hire consumers who completed their program, while often all they had available was an outdated list of job openings.

The Sales Mentor “packages” ranged in price from $97 to more than $9,000. Consumers complained that the supposed private mentoring at higher levels was never made available, and that in many cases, the higher levels received the same online video series that could be purchased at lower costs.

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The complaint states that consumers paid more than $29 million to the defendants when the scheme was active between 2018 and 2022. The complaint further charges that the defendants violated the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule and engaged in illegal practices described in the Notices they received.

Two proposed court orders were agreed to by the defendants to settle the case: one against Evans and the other against the Welches, Shanks, Evans and Welch, Inc., WE Capital, LLC, Traffic and Funnels, LLC, and Evans and Welch Holdings, LLC. Both orders include a prohibition on deceptive earnings claims and deceiving consumers, and require Taylor Welch to turn over $600,000 and Evans to turn over $400,000 to the FTC for consumer refunds.

The orders contain a total monetary judgment of $16,363,073.11 against all of the defendants except Shanks, which is largely suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay the full amount. If the defendants are found to have lied to the FTC about their financial status, the full judgment would be immediately payable.

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