HGTV's 'Flip or Flop' Star Defends Real Estate Seminar After Complaints

Christina El Moussa responds to students claiming the program to be misleading.

ByABC News
October 28, 2016, 10:01 AM

— -- Christina and Tarek El Moussa of HGTV's "Flip or Flop" are facing backlash from some students of their real estate seminars who claim the couple's program is misleading.

The El Moussas are known for renovating homes and selling them for a profit on the show. Their seminar program, titled, "Success, Path, Education," advertises that it will teach student the secrets of their success.

Former Florida student Doug Stephens, of Havana, told ABC News that he attended one of the couple's seminars in the state after seeing an online advertisement featuring their photo. But he said when he attended the class, the El Moussas were nowhere to be seen.

"If you think you're getting Tarek and Christina, you're not going to get them," Stephens said on "Good Morning America."

"You're going to get some sales pitch the entire time," he said.

In addition, Stephens claims he was "aggressively pushed" to buy more courses.

"I paid almost $2,000 for the conference and I paid $1,000 for some software, so I paid almost $3,000," Stephens said. "For me to give up almost $3,000 was a huge sacrifice."

But, Christina El Moussa told ABC News that she and Tarek are proud of their program.

"I stand by our product," she said. "It's our tools, it's our system. It's what Tarek and I do. I've only heard very minimal complaints."

The El Moussa's seminars are run by a Utah-based company called Zurixx, which develops, promotes, sells and fulfills financial education programs throughout the United States and Canada, according to its LinkedIn page.

Stephens said he launched formal complaints with Zurixx, the El Moussas and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and that he has not received a refund.

Zurixx told ABC News that Stephens' feedback is "unusual" and that 33 other evaluations from the same workshop were very positive.

"Over 99 percent of all paying students rate their courses as insightful, valuable, understandable and helpful," Zurixx said.

Christina El Moussa said that she does attend seminars, when the events are close to her home.

"If it's going to be within 45 minutes from my house I'm definitely going to come," she said. "It gets harder to travel all around, especially [because] we have two kids."

Christina recently attended seminars in St. Louis and Miami, but Zurixx said even those appearances are uncommon, adding that "nowhere on any other marketing does it state the El Moussas will be live and in-person at any event."

"This year, we'll do over 100 houses," Christina said. "This is our program. We meet each and every coach, we do training with them one-on-one. Tarek does tons of training via webinar."

ABC News found more than 150 complaints online about the El Moussas' program with the BBB of St. Louis. But Zurixx said statistically, 150 complaints out from more than 374,000 students, is extremely low.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had at least 50 complaints since 2013 about classes conducted by Zurixx.

HGTV told ABC News that its network and its owner Scripps Networks, LLC are not associated or affiliated with these real estate seminars, or with Flip Advantage/Success Path.