This happened to me last summer and I didn’t have the nerve to come forward then. I really felt and hoped it was a one-off event, even though a few other bloggers had warned me that Teri Hardy wasn’t to be trusted. I did try to gently guide people away from investing in her group without telling them too much, as she had bullied me and put so much fear in me that she would sue me I was genuinely afraid. She had also turned so many people against me and she had a good reputation that people just wouldn’t believe me, right? That’s how I felt anyways, so I just kept my mouth shut.
Well, over the past few months, I slowly started getting friend requests back from people who had deleted me and I was getting stories of what they were going through and it was often worse than what I had endured, because they had been duped into waiting past the Paypal period of complaint and also her amounts were increasing in what she was asking for in investment. But people were still afraid until one person finally came forward and said enough is enough and then it all came out like a tidal wave. You can read much of the first story here: http://lifeinahouseoftestosterone.com/2015/05/an-alert-for-the-blogging-community/ (The unaltered version: http://hearthealthyinflorida.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html)
I have also been hearing stories of her not fulfilling contracts with companies, clients, or fulfilling prizes from winnings. Please feel free to share your story in the comments and I will update my post.
Now to my story:
Let me first state that months before all this I was in a group discussion with several ladies and mentioned I was going to iRetreat and didn’t yet have a hotel room. At this point in the group conversation (when we had no working relationship and were just Facebook friends), Teri Hardy offered to let me stay with her. I OFFERED TO PAY FOR HALF OF THE ROOM, but she said that wasn’t necessary. She was happy to cover it as she was paying for it anyways and wanted to do it.
A few months later, there was an auction to benefit a fund to raise money for the son of a mutual friend. Teri Hardy put up several services, including a package to be a partner in her company, which included many perks, including mentorship. I asked repeatedly about this, because the nature of the work I would be doing I needed and wanted some mentorship and also because there was another package being auctioned off and I was willing to bid on that package as well separately so that I would get the mentorship I wanted and felt I needed, but she said that the mentorship was included in the partnership package and there was no need for me to bid on both packages. These conversations took place on the Facebook Event page that she deleted to cover her tracks since she has not followed through on many of the auction items and because of this issue with me.
Also, note in the conversation that I post below that she says at one point she says she is going to go public about me getting a refund, yet she threatens me saying I had a contract with her, which I never did. I never agreed to a confidentiality agreement with her, but she is a master bully and has a way of manipulating words. She made it sound like I wasn’t allowed to get advice from others about what she had done with me. She tried to find out who all had been talking to me about her and had advised me to get my money back before it was too late. If that person wants to come forward, I will leave it to her, as it is yet another blogger who Teri Hardy stole from in the past. She had tried to warn me, but I was naive and thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Teri seems so nice at first.
And even with all that happened, I still thought it was something that just happened to me and she wouldn’t do this to others quite like she did to me. I just couldn’t believe someone could be that unethical. And then the stories started coming.
In the beginning of what happened with me, I lost a lot of friends and contacts, because despite Teri’s so-called threats and comments that I had made a verbal contract to keep my mouth shut and would be in breach of this and wasn’t even allowed to get advice from friends or family, she was talking about me behind my back and slandering my name and my blog. Big bloggers, Media companies, Brands, and PR firms were all turning against me because of her and for a time I was ruined. I was the one that was slandered because of remarks she made about me, but I was afraid to stand up for myself and to publicly announce what I had been through, as people I had even tried to warn, without going into too much detail, just couldn’t believe Teri could do anything bad. And I was afraid because she constantly threatened to sue me.
So, not only had I lost some of the money I had invested to be a “partner” with MPM (I did achieve a settlement, but not the full amount), but I was never paid for work done while working with MPM.
Let me also make clear that Teri had been making claims that people in her group were talking about me and making claims that they weren’t wanting to work with me and you’ll see them mentioned below. The comments about Erica were that during the auction that I bid on to be a partner, she was constantly begging Erica to bid on it and was disappointed that she didn’t win the auction, but that I did. However, after the auction, which was supposed to be for one partner, which would have given me a larger stake in the company, she got greedy and offered to bring on two more partners by letting them by in for the same amount. Those poor souls were also scammed and didn’t receive what was promised either. They both have lost their money and still have not received a dime back and have written their stories. As for the other claims that people were complaining about me in the groups, I later found out that these were lies. You can see Erica’s and Sharon’s stories here:
Let me make a few more things clear about this conversation, towards the bottom, it wasn’t my husband who was giving me advise, it was another someone else and it wasn’t Steve I was talking to, but someone else, but I didn’t want to get someone else in trouble and she was making, what I later found out to be false threats on false information. She was just bullying me.
Also, at the end of all of this, she claimed that any of the clients I brought in or had worked with that I could never work with outside of MPM, even though they were my contacts. So my contacts were her contacts now. Also, she had created a group that wasn’t part of MPM that included some big bloggers just to steal their contacts and tried to tell me that was something that she gave me and contacts she gave me (D.B. was one of the biggest contributors to this group and she wasn’t yet a part of MPM). She banned me from that group as soon as I asked for my refund, even though it had nothing to do with MPM.
Towards the bottom of the conversation she mentions that I had received a few things, which I really hadn’t received anything promised in the auction and as part of the partnership. To this day, I am still owed money for sponsored posts. She was supposed to be paying me a percentage of her profits, a percentage of twitter parties, etc during all of this and I never saw a dime and never received even a minute of mentorship.
Because I did go forward with the claim (and only received a partial refund), she did make it public and slandered my name. That summer she went to Blogger Bash and at a night out (see picture above), trashed my name to a number of bloggers, including some important contacts. As I mentioned, she slandered me and nearly ruined me for a time as a blogger and I’ve had a difficult time coming back from it. Yet, she claims there was a confidentiality clause? She broke it. She slandered me. I don’t slander people. I am just stating what happened to me for the record so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else, because now I realize it isn’t just something that just happened to me, but it is now a pattern and has happened over and over and over.
Yes, I wanted to make money, but more than anything I wanted to be mentored and to be a part of a team and I got screwed.
Here is some of the conversation from when I filed my claim (inserted below). To be as transparent as possible, I am leaving in as much as possible, even the parts that reveal how emotional of a person I tend to be. Also, please forgive any spelling errors and the weird formatting, as it is cut and paste from chat on Facebook.
Teri Hardy I’m giving you a chance to explain before I go public concerning this
Michelle Swank you haven’t held up your end of the agreement plain and simple
- as far as i am concerned. this was an investment and it hasn’t been metand i feel i am out a lot of moneyfor nothingand i have been treated poorlyi don’t see a reason to make a dispute public, but fine we can make it public. i think that’s rather shady
i also still haven’t gotten the wraps i paid for
you conveniently deleted the event so i don’t have that, but whatever
- 6/29, 7:38pm
Teri HardyHow about half the hotel room, meals, drinks, etc. Let’s just be honest this was premeditated.
- 6/29, 7:38pm
Michelle Swankyou offered that hotel room to me before i even bid on the auction, but i’ll pay you back for the hotel
if that will make you happy
that was not premeditated get over yourself
Michelle Swankyou didn’t even give me a chance with the 20K group and that was Erica teaming up against meand I told you that SEndible dropped my posts
and I was rectifying that
You offered to mentor me and you haven’t
- 6/29, 7:40pm
Actually it was Susan who had complaints against you in that group that got you removed.
- 6/29, 7:41pm
then why did Susan ask me to be in an event with her just today?
- 6/29, 7:41pm
Sharon and Joie are not members there either. You don’t have the qualifications for that group.
What event? I didn’t ask you to be in any event today.
- 6/29, 7:42pm
i paid a significant amount of money to be a part of what i think is that group too to benefit my blog
- 6/29, 7:42pm
Susan offered. It was NOT included in the package.
- 6/29, 7:42pm
I asked you if mentoring was included in the package and you said it was
before i bid
- 6/29, 7:43pm
So are you willing to pay for all the host pages and links for events you were included in.
Plus the hotel and meals you took advantage of?
- 6/29, 7:43pm
i didn’t take advantage of anything. i’ll pay you back for the meals. you promised the hotel before i even bid, but if you think that is necessary
i will pay for my meal
and my drinks
you bought me one meal
- 6/29, 7:45pm
And cake and drinks and then your millionaire coffee.
- 6/29, 7:45pm
give me receipts
honestly, teri, i just don’t think you wanted me to be a part of MPM and you have done everything you could to bring me to this point
you wanted Erica all along
why didn’t you just offer it to erica to begin with instead of doing the auction
- 6/29, 7:46pm
By letting you stay with me and asking you to participate. You took advantage of the situation.
- 6/29, 7:47pm
no i didn’t, because i didn’t plan on this, i am just sick of getting shit on teri, because that is how i feel
i wasn’t taking advantage
i never planned on bidding on that an auction i didn’t even know you were going to create
and i was delighted at the opportunity until i realized you just wanted erica from the beginning
i tried to be friends with you and tried to be nice but i just constantly felt shafted
and i just don’t know why
i feel crapped on and i feel taken advantage of for the money i invested to be honest and i’m hurt
- 6/29, 7:53pm
If you had concerns why didn’t you say something before? Why wait till now?
- 6/29, 7:53pm
i have teri. i have asked about the mentoring repeatedly and have asked about what was offered and nothing has been done
and time is running out on getting a refund through paypal
i have had certain people advise me that this was the best course of action
and i just felt communication was getting worse and worse between us
Again you were reminded that Susan offered. Mentoring was a completely separate package from what you purchased. However if you had come to me and said she is not helping can you, I would have.
no, it wasn’t. you told me that it was part of the package
but that susan would be covering it was told to me after i bought it
she hasn’t been helping
i have told you this
i don’t want you mad at me. when i was advised about this it made me sick to my stomach because i hate upsetting people
this isn’t what i really wanted to do
So you claim that I owe you 17 months of mentoring plus a team slot and 10% of profits till 2015. Plus conference extras for your DONATION of $1475?
that is what you eluded to
Teri HardyIt’s fine if you are not happy. Remember I OFFERED a refund before conference. You DECLINED. You taking advantage of events and my hospitality is what is so upsetting.
Michelle Swankbut that is not what i was doing. and i’m not trying to upset you
again, i have people advising me to do this
because they feel i was taken advantage of
Teri HardySince you were also aware we have a confidential clause you agreed to, I’m curious who you received advice to file this from.
Michelle Swankexplain to me why i am wrong
where do i have that from?
i never signed anything
Teri HardySo they is <redacted> – correct?
where did i sign a confidentiality agreement?
Teri HardyOkay. So do you and he agree to a partial refund minus the cost of links and host pages you have received since this agreement began.
Michelle Swanki don’t know. i’ll have to know what that amounts to
Teri HardyHost pages are $10 each and links are $5
Michelle Swankand i paid for some of those anyways
because i had paid for a cohost package on at least one of them
Teri HardyAs for confidential information make sure you read through all of our group convos. Fb messages do stand up in a court of law.
1 just 1
Michelle Swankshe claims that was one way she was helping me.
sorry that was to <redacted>
saw that you removed me from some groups already
Teri HardyI just did. By filling the claim you are relinquishing your rights to MPM and all of its attachments.
Michelle Swankit hasn’t been settled, but ok
Teri HardyI can’t allow you to to take any more client information than you already have.
Michelle Swanktop secret blog fight club is MPM?
i haven’t taken any client information
what have you even given me?
i haven’t gotten a single thing
and i’m not the kind of person to take things
you make me out to be this bad person
Teri HardyJust as a reminder I didn’t make a penny on your donation. It went to DJ.
Michelle Swanki just feel you don’t want me to be a part of MPM and it wasn’t so much of a donation on my part but an investment in an auction
you auctioned a service
that you haven’t delivered
if you can make me feel like i am wrong, that for some reason i am wrong in this that you did want me in this and that you see value in me working with you and that you want to complete this arrangement, then i will rescind the claim
Teri HardyNot a single thing Michelle? Not a link, a host page, a dinner. Nothing? It may not be 1475 worth but you’ve only been a team leader for a few weeks. You are letting go of 17+ months of possibilities.
Michelle Swanki just don’t think you want me to be a part of the team
i don’t think you really want me here
or want to work with me teri
and it is a waste of my money and resources
Teri HardyI want you to be a responsible and reliable part of of the team.
Michelle Swanki’m not rich
but i need to feel like you see me as a member of the team
and you want me to be a part of the team and you value me as much as erica
Teri HardyThis was not responsible. It was backhanded and sneaky. I’m positive you went to another blogger for advice as well.
Michelle Swankand the rest and are willing to help me
Teri HardyEither way you made a decision and you will get your refund.
Michelle Swankso which is it?
are you willing to work with me or not?
Teri HardyUntil the claim is settled you are suspended from MPM.
Michelle Swankwell, i can’t settle it without an answer from you teri
are you willing to work with me and give me some sort of mentorship?
and make me a part of the team
that is what i’ve wanted from the beginning is to be a part of the team, more than my own blog
i’ve said that from the very beginning
i care more about being part of the team than i do anything
i wasn’t trying to be underhanded, but i felt like i wasn’t being taken seriously either. i’m sorroy
Michelle SwankEither way you made a decision and you will get your refund. so which is it? are you willing to work with me or not?
Until the claim is settled you are suspended from MPM.
i don’t understand this teri
what is it?
Teri HardyI need a little time to think it through. You have the claim in place.
Michelle SwankYou give me your answer, and I will suspend the claim if you want to work with me and work with me as a team member and honor the agreement. That is all that I want.
If you really want to work with me and that is what you want.
If you don’t want to work with me then let me know.
END OF PERTINENT CONVERSATION
She never gave me a real definitive answer and just kept berating me and I think she was just playing for time to make the time limit for my claim to die out, so I went ahead and filed. She had no intention of ever following through on her promises. I’m just one of the lucky ones to actually have gotten at least part of my money back.