It’s been awhile since I’ve written on Medium, and unfortunately it’s another bad review that’s drawn me out of pandemic hibernation. Very rarely have I written company reviews on the web, and this is the second such review I’m writing on Medium. My experience has been so bad that I simply could not let the moment pass without bringing it to public attention. I will try to keep it brief.
I am in the midst of revamping my online business and considering a new marketing funnel to advertise my services. If you’re like me, you might find yourself Googling all sorts of things. And when you find yourself on Facebook, like magic, timely ads start popping up in your newsfeed. Enter Marya Jan.
I clicked on her ad about how to build a profitable audience fast. It took me to a sales page for her FAB Course (Facebook Audience Builder) that’s designed to build warm audiences by selling a low-ticket product as an impulse buy—then, after the customer makes a purchase, pitching them your big ticket product. Given how fast I bought her tiny course (at less than $40, it was a no-brainer), I was totally sold on the concept.
So when I got an email later on about her flagship course, Tiny Course Project, I purchased it on the spot. I wish I could say that the experience went well, but I can’t. And beyond how annoyed I’ve been about wasting money on a course I never received—and likely never will, as it’s now been more than one month since I paid her—I have decided to post a review of the experience given that there are real lessons to be learned here.
I also believe this review is likely the only way to get Marya Jan’s attention.
Marya Jan describes herself as a Facebook Ad Strategist for coaches, experts and service-based entrepreneurs. I can attest that there was solid information in her FAB Course, which I found affordable, easily digestible, and timely. I also purchased the add-on course, Superseller, about “How to create a HOT course offer that will sell out.” The latter was less useful for me, as I already had built out a course and so was merely using hers as a benchmark.
But because of the relatively easy experience of the tiny offer (apart from my Discover card not working on the sales page, though it was listed as one of the accepted credit cards), I was ready to buy when I got an email about Marya’s new Tiny Course Project.
Hope you are doing well. :)
Time to get off the fence. Doors to the Tiny Course Project are closing VERY soon.
https://fbaudiencebuilder.com/tcp-webinar — Training
https://fbaudiencebuilder.com/order-form-tcp — Order Form
The next round of TCP will open in 2021.
Last chance to join the Tiny Course Project and save $2000, snag bonuses worth thousands.
This is all.
[There is a lot of chatter going on in Facebook groups at the moment.
What’s up with all the $27, $37 offers flooding the market?
They must not be very good.
Are people actually buying them?
Are the people buying these offers good quality leads? Would they buy my higher priced offer? (YES!)
I would never buys something like that.
It won’t work in my business.
They must be losing a lot of money upfront.
These are called SLO funnels and they a lot of work, not gonna lie. But when they are profitable, you are golden.
You are building a list of BUYERS (a much higher quality lead in general) and turning a profit.
My SLO is doing $500- $1000 per day at the moment and it’s still only a couple of weeks since I launched it.
I am so excited to present a brand new FREE training on SLO funnels:
How I am Generating $500-$1000 PER DAY Selling a $37 Course
60 minutes masterclass
(That’s some crackling on the sound, but it’s not too bad, apologies in advance.)
Also, if you can’t wait to create your own Tiny Course Funnel, I have a very special invite for you and a special bonus that expires in 48 hours, so you want to watch this ASAP.
Regardless of whether you join me, you will learn a ton.
Because that’s how I roll. :)
I can’t tell you how fast I clicked on the link to the free training! And after that, I immediately clicked on the link to the sales page and started calculating whether or not I could afford the $997 paid-in-full course fee. I figured if it delivered even the modest results she projected, then it was money well spent.
The first red flag: again, the sales page wouldn’t take my Discover card. I replied to Marya’s pitch email to inquire about what the problem was with the site’s payment processor, but with the clock ticking down on the 48 hours till course doors closed, I felt pressured to just use my debit card. (Actually, I wasn’t quite sure when the 48 hours was up, as she’s based in Australia and I live in New York.) Using my debit card meant I needed to sign up for the payment plan instead, which would end up costing me roughly $200 extra over time in installments.
Marya never replied my email asking what was wrong with the site. But I did get an email autoresponder welcoming me to the course.
From: Marya Jan
Date: September 15
Subject Line: Congratulations, you’re in!
Body: Hey there,
Congratulations on making the best decision of your life. I am so excited for you.
Tiny Course Project will change your business and your life, I am sure of it.
Hang tight, you will receive more information from us very soon.
Have an awesome day!
The next thing that happened was fairly surprising: nothing. I mean nothing. Three days after I received the above email, I replied to ask when I’d be getting the course materials and more days went by with no reply. That’s when I realized the confirmation email was from a “no-reply” Clickfunnels address, which meant that it was a dummy email address. I dug around in my email for Marya’s personal email address, and sent the following message to her.
Date: September 23
Subject: Fw: Congratulations you are in!
Hi there -
When will I receive course information? I emailed regarding a credit card issue on the order page and still haven’t received a response on that days later, and now I am still waiting for course info more than one week after payment and still not one email. Please explain what is going on.
When does the course start? When do we receive materials? What is the course schedule, etc? It feels like you’re not ready to start or don’t have staff to monitor emails, both of which make me very nervous about participating in a course that is now costing me more than $1000 because your site would not accept my Discover Card to pay in full, so I had to choose the more costly installment plan on my debit card. Please advise what is going on. I am starting to think I’ve been scammed.
-Iquo B. Essien
It was actually my sister who raised the possibility that I’d been scammed. Up until that point, it didn’t occur to me that someone would go through all the trouble to prey on a small business person. I’d certainly taken Marya’s tiny course, so I chalked her lack of response up to “disorganization,” thinking that she just couldn’t get her act together to deliver on her flagship course.
But then I finally got an email back from Marya, or whomever replies to her emails, which read:
Date: September 23
Subject: Re: Fw: Congratulations you are in!
You signed up after the enrollment was closed. For this reason, you unfortunately can’t join in this round.
We will issue the refund within 5–7 business days.
By then, I was still confused, but actually relieved to hear that I’d be getting a refund. I no longer trusted Marya to deliver anything, respond to emails (and I’d like to note that her email response came from a different address than the one I emailed), or generally monitor her business well enough to know that a customer had paid hundreds of dollars and not received anything. Still, I wasn’t entirely sure I was being scammed, and was hopeful that I’d get the refund I’d been promised.
So the next thing that happened was really interesting: nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. In the past month since I received that email from Marya Jan, I’ve sent almost a dozen more emails and received no refund. Not only that, but I got so frustrated I posted a comment on one of her FB ads and she blocked me. And still hasn’t responded to any of my emails or issued a refund.
I don’t know how someone who says she helps small business owners can do that and look herself in the mirror, but there you go.
It bears stating that, if the course enrollment was closed, shouldn’t the sales page have been closed down, too? Why was it open? Why was I allowed to put in my payment details? Up till this moment of writing, the training page and order form are still accessible—which means that many more people could be in my situation. (It reminds me of a previous review I did of PopSocial, an Instagram growth hacking service that has essentially shut down although the website is still live and open for sign ups.)
I will say that my response to this scenario is both heightened and blunted by the pandemic. Money is tight now. I am spending down my savings and each dollar is precious. Maybe I should have done better due diligence before purchasing the Tiny Course Project. (I definitely could have. If I search for her now, most references to her online were self generated. Frankly, the whole thing could be a deck of cards.)
To add fuel to the fire, I had a close family member sick in the hospital with COVID, which put an added strain on an otherwise fragile situation. I lost the money at the same time as my COVID Rent Relief request was denied, ostensibly because I’m not poor enough. It felt like being kicked while down.
I finally called my bank to file a payment dispute regarding the charge. I submitted all the paperwork, including copies of my emails to Marya, and her one reply stating she would refund my money. The bank told me it could take 60–90 days to resolve, if she never refunds my money willingly.
To add insult to injury, because I’d purchased a payment plan, I grew concerned that a second installment fee would be automatically deducted from my debit card. My bank told me the only recourse was to cancel my card. That’s right, I had to cancel my debit card—and I’m still, as of writing this, waiting the standard 7–10 business days for another one. I’d like to note that the day I cancelled it happened to be the day before my birthday, a few days before I was planning a party, which really cemented the experience in my mind as one of the worst online experiences I’ve ever had. If I had an emergency right now and needed cash, I’d just be out of luck, simply because I paid this sketchy woman for a course I really wanted to take.
But there is a silver lining.
This whole situation has made me think about how important it is for consultants, course creators, and small business owners alike to deliver on their promises—especially at a time like this, when everyone is struggling. It’s not acceptable to take money for products you can’t deliver. It’s not acceptable to ignore customers’ emails. It’s not acceptable to promise a refund and not give one. It’s not ok to block people whom you’ve essentially robbed.
And being “shortstaffed” is not an excuse for doing any of the above. To put it plainly: If you’re providing important services to people whose livelihood depends on it, it’s immoral not to deliver them. Don’t pretend to be credible to get somebody’s dollars. If you’re not equipped, you have no business taking anybody’s money right now. Just get out of the game. People work too hard to deal with your foolishness.
(To be honest, I’d really like to think I haven’t been scammed, that she’s really just an incompetent businesswoman. This is truly an elaborate way to rob someone, so much so it defies belief.)
But what Marya Jan helped me realize—whether she’s a scammer or merely a poor businesswoman—is how important it is to properly address administrative issues BEFORE you get an uptick in business. If I wasn’t outright robbed, then all of the drama I experienced could have been prevented with proper staffing: someone to close down her sales page, check emails in a timely manner, and process refunds.
And frankly speaking, the fact she doesn’t have those things in place definitely disqualifies her as a business consultant.
As for me, I’d like to hire a virtual assistant, accountant, and course enrollment coordinator, for starters, in this next phase of my business development. I’ll post an update in a few months when this is all resolved (fingers crossed).
Or before then, if Marya wakes up and decides to finally refund my money.
Dec 2020 Update: See comments section! Spoiler alert, I finally got my money back after 3+ months fighting with my bank and receiving no response from Marya. I also met another disappointed customer who was promised a refund and never received it. She hasn’t been so lucky at getting her money back. Marya is a definite scammer.
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