The SPAMMERS at Permaculture Design Training / Regenerative Leadership Institute threaten me with lawsuit

So many Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) are nothing but money making ventures for opportunists.   Because of this, I didn't care for permaculture until I discovered Geoff Lawton at http://www.permaculturenews.org/.

Geoff's video GREENING THE DESERT instantly turned me into a permie. I know good people when I see their work.

I also know SPAMMERS when I see their SPAM.

On 11/26/12 philipjhonson553 spammed my Yahoo group with an ad for Permaculture Design Training. I posted to the group several questions about this OVERPRICED course containing FALSE advertising.

Instead of answers, I got another SPAM from Permaculture Design Training for a free ebook.

I tried to get the book at their site, they got my email address and I got nothing. Their SPAMS and my followup post with questions about their false advertising are posted in their entirety below.

The SPAMMER's profile http://profile.yahoo.com/y/pulse/philipjhonson553 did not exist when I checked today — typical for SPAMMERS.

Today I received this email from Vladislav Davidzon :

Christine,

Please understand that we will definitely respond to such posting with a lawsuit given the nature of the libelous claims you're making.

Please consider this e-mail a formal demand for $10,000 in damages for the previous claims made. We are prepared to settle this matter in full if you agree not to make any further statements against our corporation and retract all claims made previously. If this matter is not settled by 5pm next Wednesday, we intend to file suit against you in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon, where we are headquartered.

We will not allow our good name to be dragged through the mud. You may want to think hard about whether this is worth it to you — because we are absolutely certain we will prevail in court — and demand all legal fees we incur.

With gratitude,

Vladislav

Regenerative Leadership Institute
The nation's sustainable living and permaculture design school
A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau.
1-800-376-3775 // www.permaculturedesigntraining.com
14525 SW Millikan Way, Suite 17760, Beaverton, OR 97005
Like us on Facebook: http://permaculturedesigntraining.com/facebook

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing
model obsolete.” ¡ª Richard Buckminster Fuller

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is
that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us.” — M. Williamson

Typical for any greedy corporation, he threatens with a LAWSUIT when their scummy and illegal advertising practices are exposed. Vladislav Davidzon is definitely not the smartest cookie in the jar. His signature screams “I'm a MORON!”

Not only did they SPAM my group TWICE, but they falsely claimed that they have “scholarships” for their overpriced course:

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: Thanks to a generous sponsor, we are able to offer TWENTY (yes, we've just been able to add ten more!) scholarships which lower the tuition by almost seventy percent to just $1250 (regular tuition is $3000!). We're able to make ONLY TWENTY need-based scholarships available — ten are left as of time of this e-mail.

1) There are NO “need-based” scholarships, as evidenced by this offer:

Use code SCHOLARSHIP to sign up online ($1250 tuition – regular rate is $3000)

Absolutely NO proof for a “need” was required, so that's FALSE ADVERTISING with the intent to DECEIVE! SPAM and SCAM go hand in hand …

2) The tuition is not “almost seventy percent” lower.

70% off $3000 would make it $900.  $1,250 is not even 60% off.  Did they go to school?

Vladislav, I really WANT you to sue me and I will accept waiver of service by email so that you don't have to incur the cost of serving me. PLEASE email me your complaint and summons as I'm ready to expose you IN COURT for what you and your Permaculture Design Training / Regenerative Leadership Institute really are.

I hate SPAMMERS and SCAMMERS and I rarely pass up an opportunity to educate my readers and expose their false and misleading advertisements.

I wouldn't attend the Permaculture Design Training / Regenerative Leadership Institute PDC if it was free.   My time has value and I won't waste it on a course taught by unidentified instructors.

If you're looking for a GREAT permaculture design course and you're anywhere near Phoenix, please check out the Valley Permaculture PDC.

Here's the schedule:
http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/page/pdc-schedule

And here are their instructors:
http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/page/instructor-bios

Incredibly qualified instructors and it was only $800 WITHOUT any FAKE scholarship. You can also attend individual classes if you don't have the time/money/interest in everything.

It's sad to see deception, false advertising and SPAM in the permaculture scene.

RESEARCH the instructors, the class size and what all is included in the tuition BEFORE you sign up!

Here are the entire SPAMS at my Yahoo group:

11/29/12 SPAM # 1:

Hello friends,

Join an incredible regenerative leadership and permaculture design
certification retreat in the San Francisco Bay Area, February 16-24th, and
go beyond sustainability towards a wildly fulfilling life and a truly
regenerative culture. We offer a no-nonsense, deeply pragmatic, mainstream
approach to permaculture. No ideologies, only functional design and
solutions that truly work.

-> Read more @ http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com

Go beyond sustainability towards a truly regenerative culture. Imagine
waking up each day with the knowledge that your whole life, including your
career, is completely aligned with your deepest passions, desires,
principles and values. The experiential permaculture design certification
course is your path towards a career in regenerative permaculture design
and a truly thriving life, deeply rooted in the patterns of nature and a
larger vision of regenerative community and regenerative culture.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: Thanks to a generous sponsor, we are able to offer
TWENTY (yes, we've just been able to add ten more!) scholarships which lower the tuition by almost seventy percent to just $1250 (regular tuition
is $3000!). We're able to make ONLY TWENTY need-based scholarships
available — ten are left as of time of this e-mail.

Come get inspired by learning pragmatic permaculture design and
regenerative leadership skills for your life, career, business, and
community from the world's leading sustainability experts; and earn your
internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. The skills
offered in this course are applicable to every aspect of your life, far
beyond the garden – you will learn to design nature-inspired, resilient,
regenerative systems – composting toilets, water-catchment system,
natural green buildings, eco-villages and much more.

“This course was the BEST time I have had in the past 6 years” — Lana T

While many people think of permaculture as gardening, that's a lot like
thinking of math as being about building bridges. Permaculture is a
sustainable design science rooted in observation of natural patterns. For
example, the same branching pattern of a tree is present in every river, as
well as in our own bodies — the pattern maximizes edge, increases
diversity, and serves at least a dozen other functions. The very concepts
of diversity increasing stability of natural living systems and edge
increasing diversity are core permaculture teachings.

-> Read more @ http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com
-> San Francisco Bay Area – February 16-24
-> Use code SCHOLARSHIP to sign up online ($1250 tuition – regular rate is
$3000)
-> Call 1-800-376-3775

Consistently ranked as the single most powerful and transformational
experience of participants' entire lives, the experiential intensive
inspires real vision and personal regenerative leadership through practical
solutions of natural pattern observation and biomimicry design for a truly
regenerative culture.

Want to know why you should join the program? Check out just some of the
many testimonials from past participants
(http://permaculturedesigntraining.com/reviews):

“I really enjoyed the experience, I can feel my permaculture mind
continuing to grow as things settle in from the course.” — Jaye M

“Thank you for the experience I had – it was wonderful. Best wishes and
continued growth.” — Susan L

“My experience in the course was invaluable. I find myself with a new
permaculture lens that I can put on at will, and see the world around me in
a way that I feel leads to making more conscious decisions and living
better in harmony with the earth.” – Deborah F.

Join an unforgettable program in leadership, permaculture and sustainable
design with the world'smost renowned instructors and change your life, your
community and your planet. Not only do Regenerative Leadership Institute
courses offer the most complete curriculum of any similar program, but the
people who come to the programs make this the most powerful training
offered anywhere. Gain cutting-edge skills in nature-inspired sustainable
design that's applicable virtually anywhere design is used — from green
businesses to your own back yard.

-> Read more @ http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com
-> Use code SCHOLARSHIP to sign up online ($1250 tuition – regular rate is
$3000)
-> Call 1-800-376-3775

The Regenerative Leadership Institute is the nation's ecological design and
sustainable living school; our instructors are key leaders in sustainable
living and permaculture design.
We hope you will be able to join us for this incredible, life-changing
experiential course!

Regenerative Leadership Institute
The Nation's Sustainable Living and Permaculture Design School
A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau
1-800-376-3775 // www.permaculturedesigntraining.com
14525 SW Millikan Way, Suite 17760, Beaverton, OR 97005
Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/regenerativeleader

My response:

I think the “scholarship” enticement is very misleading, why not just call it a discount?

I looked at the website but couldn't find who the instructors are, the curriculum, etc. I ended up at an FAQ about cycling. ???

So does the $1,250 include room and board? What all is included?

I just looked at the Valley Permaculture PDC, here's the schedule:
http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/page/pdc-schedule

And here are the instructors:
http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/page/instructor-bios

Some very cool people!

While I'd love to visit SF again, I don't think it would be nearly as useful as the DRYLAND PDC.

I'd love to attend the Valley Permaculture PDC and it's “only” $800. Unfortunately we're 250 miles away.

Anyway, instead of writing about “scholarships” and engaging in bankster type advertising, you really should focus on the WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHO the instructors are. You're coming off like you're advertising a scam,

Christine


I received NO reply!

Instead, I got SPAM #2:

FREE E-BOOK: Introduction to Permaculture Design and Sustainable Living

Thu Dec 6, 2012 6:31 pm

Hello friends,

We're thrilled to announce the availability of our FREE e-book,
Introduction to Sustainable Living and Permaculture Design!

For a limited time, you can download the e-book FREE online:
–> http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com/ebook/

The Regenerative Leadership Institute is committed to taking the wisdom of permaculture mainstream, and we're thrilled to be able to offer this e-book freely to the larger community.

We hope you enjoy and look forward to offering more materials in the months and years to come.


Regenerative Leadership Institute
The Nation's Sustainable Living and Permaculture Design School
A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau
1-800-376-3775 // www.permaculturedesigntraining.com
14525 SW Millikan Way, Suite 17760, Beaverton, OR 97005

I went to their website, had to enter my email address, got NOTHING.

The URL to this post emailed to Vladislav Davidzon .  I will update with the response, if any.

26 Responses to The SPAMMERS at Permaculture Design Training / Regenerative Leadership Institute threaten me with lawsuit

  1. My review of Rak Tamachat in Thailand:
    I did the course in 2016, and don’t do my mistake: Christian is teaching at Panya and not at Rak Tamachat, i regret badly because the teacher and owner is Beau Wickbolt.
    Beau was a engineer in oil industry and he is a billionaire boy and he still does not need your money but he needs people to pretend he has friends and/ or to entertain himself because he does “social experiments” as he openly says. His experiment is simple: he steps on you (physically, emotionally and mentally) and see how you react. He has a huge ego and you can not talk to him, he will never listen to you, he just need 2 ears to listen to his non-stop talk. Most people don’t dare to tell him that he is boring or even wrong so he thinks he knows everything, outsmarts everyone and he will always prove that you are just a stupid poor “hippy”. He despises permaculture and hippies so much, it is even insane to teach permaculture… The deep truth is that he just hope he can hook a girl…
    People who works with him (residents, volunteers) know about it but they are delusional or lying to themselves, they think he is an “asshole” just when he drinks alcohol but it is not true, that is his personality all the time.
    If i have a good advise: don’t go there because it is cheap : you will have an horrible time (unless you are totally masochist) and he will crush permaculture and all your dreams because that entertain him and you even pay him for it.

    • Thanks for your review, Rocco. I just found out recently that comments at this post had been closed (somehow accidentally) when a reader emailed me and I just opened comments a few days ago.

      It’s really important that we publicize bad permaculture experiences as offering courses turned into a money machine for so many crooks and unethical opportunists.

    • OMG Rocco- Just found this posting now however you had me LOL reading this review. You couldn’t be anymore accurate. For some reason my past adventures at Rak Tamachat passed through my head today and I looked them up to see if is Beau’s antics had caught up with him yet. Didn’t find much- just the same facade that had always been presented through the eyes of the internet- same facade that originally drew me in. Then I found your review and my past experience flashing before me through your precise report. Anyway, just wanted to give a shout out and commend you on your sharp perception and reporting. Aloha!

  2. I tried to sign up for their $9 course – should have known better but, hey, never know – and ended up at a wall of having to buy bundle of more expensive with money back gurantee, guess good thing just coudnt do, already waiting for money back from something that didn’t come through like supposed to

    • Yeah, they show a picture of a book. Making you think you got a book. So by the time I’m tired of waiting the book I ask where my book is, and notice somewhere that I need to check my spam, I figure out that it’s an ecourse. But then at four in the morning my password changes and I had no idea and can’t figure out why my credentials are not working and I get locked out of the e course. I hope they fix it.

  3. Omg….😳😩😡I guess I just realized that have been scammed And joined your group….😭😭My hard earned money….!!! I hate scammers😡😡😡
    What can we do now..???😔🤔

  4. I saw an ad for $9 as well. You had to order within 24 hours or the sale would be gone. I’m not sure what happened after that. I may have had to leave for work or I may have fallen asleep. But two days later I’m looking for where this thing downloaded onto my pc. I do a search for Regenerative and two files appear both with no information in them.

    Now I admit I don’t know a lot about pc so I came to their website to ask them for help. There was no way to contact them on their site. So I googled their name and I found this Spammers post. I was thinking when I bought this that those $3000 prices were pretty high as they tried to get me to buy other things. I wouldn’t I just wanted to see if it was even worth it and it wouldn’t break the bank at $9

    I read above that someone had to check their spam filter and I have not done that yet. Even if it is there. I think it is bad not to have an email, phone number web contact fill in box what’s that all about.

    OK just searched the spam folder. nothing there. So from now on if you see their ad just post the link to this blog. ANd I’m trying to contact the Better Business Bureau with a screen shot of my bank account and my file folders wanted to place here too but don’t know how.

  5. Well I left a comment earlier and then I went to BBB to leave a SCAM report. And don’t you know later on deeper at the bottom of the pile of my endless email (mind you I used the search engine to search before) Lo and behold I found the product I paid for. Still scared of this company now

    • Marcia, thanks for posting and the update. The reason there’s no support is likely that they’re busy MARKETING. I get almost daily emails from them.

  6. Vald is ruining the image of permaculture. He is a scammer – like a GMO weed. He needs to be stopped. Please contact the Oregon Attorney General and leave feedback on BBB (he is using that as a sales endorsement). He emailed me that no refund and he has over 25,000 negative customers – which is over 10% that we he admits to. Please take action on this… he needs to be stopped cheating people. Please don’t not allow him to continue – speak up and fight this criminal!!

  7. I guess I can count myself as another victim. Also fell for the $9 thing, now 4 months later I am still seeing $99 being charged monthly to my credit card. Its a Discover card, wonder if I can get my money back through them? No where can I find the actual amount of the course. I was afraid I made a dumb $400 mistake, but if it turns out to be $3000?! That’s crazy!

    • Lisa, contact Discover right away! By law, you have to dispute within so many days from your statement.

      From SPAMMER to SCAMMER — it’s a small step.

      Take the FREE online course from Oregon university and/or join permaculture groups, that’s where you really learn something. Maybe you can volunteer at some farms (WWOOF).

      Please update and let us know what happened!

  8. Sooo I had the same issue, suddenly noticed a $99 repeating charge on my bill for three months. Called Capital One, and they told me that I should contact the company first. Good thing I did because it turned out I did actually agree to this…

    I vaguely remembered there was some kind of free trial I accepted on second page of the order form. That’s what the charge turned out to be for – it gives access to their whole library of green living courses. They do send you a separate email for the trial with the price in it if you take them up on the trial. I had them resend me all the details; the rep was pretty friendly. I do wish I had paid more attention from the start. Sucks, but such is life.

    That said, be careful disputing with your card as their contract says they will bill you $450 “processing” fee! Ouch, especially if you dispute several charges!! Not cool, but it does look like it is legal (I never seen this sorta thing before so I asked my brother who is a lawyer). Fascinating. Their lawyer-up approach royally sucks but this is Amerikka after all. Ugh.

    Oh well. I wish I had used the library for these three months I’ve paid them, but I think I am going to keep it going for a few months as the courses really do look great and are well worth the money. Just bought a new property a few months ago up here in Northern California and want to put this stuff to good use, so it looks like a good investment. The land needs to be healed, one way or another. A lot of damage was done here long before I got my hands on this property.

    The owner might be obnoxious as @#$!, and their marketing is over the top for sure, but the courses are solid I think and as long as the product is good, it’s not like I have to actually talk to the idiot, so who cares?

    • OUCH!!!

      I’ll start with your last sentence. “but the courses are solid I think and as long as the product is good, it’s not like I have to actually talk to the idiot, so who cares?”

      You are supporting a deplorable spammer and in my opinion, these business tactics are disgusting. In fact, that teaching permaculture IS a business is disgusting. Anybody who is SINCERE, would NEVER charge these outrageous amounts for these courses.

      Why are you interested in permaculture?

      Why are you paying these enormous amounts of money for some courses?

      What makes you even think that they are “solid?” Are you an expert in permaculture, reviewing the courses to determine how “solid” they are?

      I know, many questions, but I really don’t understand you. To me, permaculture is about supporting all things POSITIVE. What’s it to you?

  9. I was having a doubt about the credibility of this website after starting to receive mail after mail every single day, promoting a limited time offer for $199 of the original fee of $599.
    I checked the website for a contact us link, but could find none. No email address, no telephone num.. nothing.. This increased my doubts, and then I did a google search about reviews about this website and found this.
    Alhamdulillah..
    Just saved myself from getting scammed.
    I read a lot of negetive reviews on BBB. And the response and attitude from the institute is absoulutely ridiculous.
    They keep referring to their terms and Conditions. I went through them. If you actually take the time to read these terms and conditions, you will never do this course. One of their terms and conditions is as follows:

    Section 7. Accuracy, Completeness and Timeliness of Information: We are not responsible if information made available on the Web site is not accurate, complete or current. You acknowledge that the Web site is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting primary, more accurate, more complete or more timely sources of information.

    Really Ridiculous..!!

    • Shaheen, thanks for posting from the terms. It is so unfortunate that just about ANYTHING you do comes with so much fine print.

      I can only reiterate that to learn about permaculture you need to go LOCAL. Check you local WWOOF and HelpX farms and see what people are DOING. learn while CONTRIBUTING. I would not take these courses if they were free — I’m busy DOING. Of course I do lots of research, but all the SO MUCH BETTER info is FREE on the web and on youTube. There are some permaculture principles to learn and in my opinion that includes to be benevolent and NOT to spam people and NOT to rip people off.

  10. Hi Christine!
    I have recently been scammed by these guys as well. They offered me a $9 introduction course (a discounted price from the normal $99). I agreed, put in my credit card info and pressed “purchase.” The same webpage reloaded, I thought it was an error. So I clicked purchase again. I then received two emails. One a receipt for the $9 purchase. The next was a receipt for a $299 purchase!!! What kinda crap is that!? That’s flat out bait and switch.
    I wrote to the company and told them to cancel all my orders with them on account of their trickery. I then was written back by someone who said that it was my fault but they would refund my money. That person also asked me for suggestions and comments. Which I gave… first rule of customer service: don’t blame the customer when stuff goes wrong. I also told them I would no longer use their company ever. Vladislav then wrote me to further say how it was my fault and that I am forbidden from making purchases with them. I wrote back confused at why he would write me back when it was already handled and his comments were unnecessary. He then wrote back again, basically to just talk more crap and say how it’s my fault and all of that.
    This company is no good, and we really need to let people know so they don’t get scammed further.

  11. I also want to add that Vladislav always must respond to my emails. (I have been having fun with this). Every time he responds he tells me how his company is the best in the US and that I am at fault and blah blah blah. It’s honestly hilarious if he actually believes his words because it just shows how completely out of touch with reality he is.
    If you want to have a good business, in any field, you should really look into how your company is making customers feel. Customers buy stuff based on how they feel, if I feel like you screwed me over why would I ever do business with you? If you make me feel like a king, then why would I do business with anyone else?
    I will keep you updated as I am supposed to receive my refund with ten days.

  12. If it actually goes to court and there’s anything I can do to help, like send you my emails or testify or something I would gladly do it. Just send me an email 🙂

  13. I must also admit that I fell for a sale price, $9 permaculture course on facebook. I input my billing information and apparently also purchased a $299 program on an upsell page without needing to reenter my billing information or confirm what products I was checking out. Obviously I overlooked the fine print, however, I was told if I completed the course within 30 days I could request a refund. This policy was to “prevent abuse” of the program, yet I emailed to request the refund before I even logged into the program. I ended up spending hours of time listening to audio files, playing video clips, and taking the quizzes. Within the 30 days, I ‘completed’ the program. Yet, my account was re-set and I was being told I had to redo the program because my quiz scores seemingly indicated I didn’t learn the material, even though you can re-take the quiz for a passing score in order to proceed through the whole program. I’ve never experienced such poor customer service, and although their policy suggests you can request the refund, this is based on their opinion of whether or not you learned the material. I am willing to share this experience, contribute my information to a law suit, etc. I am filing a complaint with the BBB, but if anyone has information to assist in how to recover the money I paid for a course I didn’t intend to invest in, I would appreciate you contacting me. I hope others do not find themselves in the same position, this company does not deserve to be promoted by news channels and should not have the rating with BBB that it does!

    • Stephanie, please update with your BBB complaint results.

      “I was told if I completed the course within 30 days I could request a refund.”

      That’s just nuts. Why didn’t you dispute the charges with your credit card issuer?

  14. Hi All,
    We got conned too. Signing up for the $9 course, adding payment details, then the screen says “Please Wait” and instead of “Success” or “Thanks for your payment” or something that would indicate that your payment had gone through, another screen comes up with a big “CHECKOUT” button, same as the last page. There is a lot of stuff in bold saying “100% RISK FREE TRIAL” etc and you think that your payment hasnt gone through, so you click Checkout again as there is no other way to proceed to another window where you expect to see a payment confirmation. You click Checkout, and instead of coming up with a cart for you to confirm your $299 additional purchase, it just takes your money and you find out after you have been screwed.

    We called our bank straight away and they put a hold on the charge and are investigating. We get an email from this douche bag saying that the terms were very clear and they will not offer a refund unless I complete each of the 18 courses that I never wanted in the first place!

    So the bank is investigating and the payment is still pending. I then this morning get a letter, in blue tacky envelope with very poor hand written address on it.

    Vlad, goes on to tell me that we are now being charged two hours of Lawyers fees at $225ea in addition to what we owe to recover our debt. However, they will generously lift this fee if we lift the hold on the payment with the bank.

    Well, they can get stuffed. I can’t believe these people are allowed to operate and no governing body doesnt close them down as they are clearly just scammers with a half baked product that isnt even worth the $9!

    Do not touch anything these guys have to sell.
    Matt

    P.S. Half expecting to get an email from them to sue me for these factual comments. haha

    • “Vlad, goes on to tell me that we are now being charged two hours of Lawyers fees at $225ea in addition to what we owe to recover our debt.”

      Vlad ought to be in prison! I’m sure there are MANY people afraid of lawyers and this spammer reaps the profits by intimidating people.

      Thank you, Matt, for standing up to Vlad and posting here.

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