By Tom Winnifrith, The Sheriff of AIM | Wednesday 10 April 2019
I am afraid that I still continue to get a stream of letters from victims of charlatan and snake oil salesman Darren Winters. His courses are worthless and the claims he makes are just untrue, as the ASA noted here. Yet Winters regards brushes with the ASA or The Sheriff of AIM fighting on behalf of victims in the Courts (and winning!) as just another cost of business and carries on, as he has done for almost 20 years, with industrial scale larceny. What follows is the teacher’s tale
Looking for a change in direction from my teaching job, I attended the Power to Achieve. I signed up to Darren Winter’s two day stock and forex two day seminar which I attended a month later. I had zero knowledge of the stock market but I will openly admit he gained my interest with his enthusiastic delivery of information over the two days.
We were bombarded with statements like ’‘This stuff is easy ……. Even beginners can do this ….. Now you all know more than the majority of traders out there’ And then towards the conclusion of the second day the real sales pitch began. Huge promises were made how Darren was looking for 17 apprentices to train up. He was writing a book and he wanted to find some case studies. At that moment I thought that this would be great, to learn from the great master. I was determined that I would be one of his success stories – from humble teacher to great trader.
My understand being that I would be handheld throughout the process, nurtured every step of the way until I was able to trade independently and successfully. He talked about the three packages, the focus for six months, the full for a year and the elite for lifetime. We were told of some success stories who had been a part of the Elite training and their purchases and acquisitions with their great profits. He explained his share profit scheme which meant that if you were on the full course he would expect 10% of your profits up to 100k. This all sounded great to me and we were all given a form to fill out to see if we had what Darren was looking for to be accepted as one of his apprentices.
Everyone seemed to be filling in the form desperate to be one of the lucky ones and one by one we were called out and interviewed by young, ballsy salesmen. Mine was called Sean and he questioned me on my reason WHY. After all you can only be successful if you have a really good reason. This all sounded pretty fair to me. I dithered for sometime over which package to sign up to before being persuaded to sign up to the ‘Elite’ and a few minutes later 29k was deducted from my account.
I then returned to my seat but on the way overheard one of the salesmen saying, ‘He’s good , isn’t he!’ Clearly impressed by newby Sean’s selling tactics. I blocked this out and was genuinely excited about this small group who were to be guided and nurtured and trained into a really proficient trader.
However when I returned home I carried out some research – due diligence I believe they call it. To my horror everywhere on the web I found scamming stories about Darren Winters. This was enough for me to phone the office on Monday to ask to scale back from the Elite to the Full (a difference of £14,000). I subsequently received a prompt phone call from Ludo who assured me I was doing the right thing and would need the support over Brexit and the uncertainty that would bring. Over 40 minutes I was convinced that I had not made a terrible mistake.
And so I embarked on my journey into the unknown. I was allocated a coach – the long-term partner of Darren Winters, Tania, who possessed poor communication skills and less patience. She advised me not to use stops as you could get stopped out too easily. When spreadbetting she told me it was boring to bet 29p per point and suggested pounds per point. Nothing was explained clearly and I became very frustrated and depressed, spending hours at my laptop and going around in unsupported circles. I could not believe that I had signed up to be an ‘apprentice’ but I was left out on my own, trying to work things out.
I eventually asked for another coach as I was becoming increasingly irritated by her arrogant style of teaching. This resulted in a string of abusive emails from her, calling me lazy as I should have made millions by now if I had been spending so many hours trading. She also told me that Darren’s book was available on Amazon which was strange as Darren has not actually published one yet. But watch this space he has apparently just finished drafting one and he assured me he would let me know when it was available for purchase. This book with his case studies has been promised for over 10 years now!
My next coach was a young likely lad called Guy who after many attempts by me finally agreed to a coaching session. This was to be an extra at no extra cost. However, on our trading session he had not updated his Winway Charting for over two weeks which really made me question how much trading he actually does. It turned out that he was an ex salesman for Andy Harrington, the midget Tony Robbins wannabee.
The Elite package included 2 sessions with Rob in London. He taught different strategies and with his help I placed a couple of trades, both sadly did not play out.
I attended the live trading day in Guernsey with the great man himself. He also got all three of his trades incorrect. This was all very demoralising for the complete amateur who had really expected to see talent in action.
His monthly watchlists rarely play out. On the occasion I did email Darren to query him about his failings, he displayed tactics to cover himself which were as good as his selling skills. His monthly webinar is formulaic and again is rarely correct but clearly addresses all his new apprentices who are still hopeful at the beginning of their journey.
I got in touch with an ex-employee who has admitted that Darren Winters and his trading courses are a scam. Sadly she is afraid of Tania and Darren Winters, who she describes as ‘a very powerful man’.
I have asked Darren for a refund or at least to scale back to the one year course but he has refused. His course represents zero value for money and is simply a lazy selection of videos that are 10 years old. His coaching sessions are not sufficient to make somebody a proficient trader. His strategies are inconsistent and he is never prepared to share his own trades.
How long can this man get away with such gross misselling and misreprentation?
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