Is the UFF MMA a scam?

By glblguy

Photo by: jepoirrier

One of the more popular internet searches that lead people here to Gather Little by Little is the term “UFF MMA Scam”. I wrote about the United First Financial (UFF) Money Merge Account (MMA) back in October after receiving a flier from one of my sons football coaches. Being fairly new to personal finance at the time, this was my first exposure to the MMA product and its promise of paying your mortgage off in half the time along with saving thousands of dollars in interest. The big red flag for me of course was the $3,500 cost of the software that supposedly helps you do this.

The article I wrote about the UFF MMA product provided an objective perspective that both addressed it’s positives and negatives. My final conclusion being that the decision to use the product was really a personal decision.

Since then, I’ve continued to receive fliers in our mailbox for UFF MMA and for other similar competing products along with reading about it many other blogs and money forums. As a result of the amount of searches I receive for “UFF MMA scam”, I decided to do a little more digging and decide if the UFF MMA product is really a legitimate product or a very cleverly crafted scam.

What is a scam?

A quick check on Wikipedia for the word scam yields something called a “Confidence Trick”:

A confidence trick or confidence game, also known as a con, scam, swindle, grift, bunko, flim flam, or scheme, is an attempt to swindle a person or people (known as the “mark” or sometimes “griftee”) which involves gaining his or her confidence.

One of the first examples listed is that of the “get rich scheme”, where cons work to separate marks from their hard earned money. I am pretty confident each one of you has encountered at least one of these schemes at some point in your life and most of you many. They aren’t hard to find, just turn on your TV and find on of those infomercials for real estate sales and how you can get rich seemingly overnight. What I found even more interesting on the Wikipedia page was that one of the variations of the get rich scheme was the pyramid scheme. I’m sure many of you have encountered these as well.

A pyramid scheme is a business model that involves making money through enrolling other people in the pyramid, often without the delivery of a product or service. A common example is an offer that would allow a person to sell the same offer to other people for a fee. The fee being paid to the person offering you the ability to sell the offer. It starts off with one person, who sells to some number of people, who then sell to some number of other people, and so on. The end result looks like a pyramid, with the person at the top making the most money. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the United States and in many other countries. Why? Because they don’t actually sell anything.

Multi-level Marketing

One very popular legal variant of the pyramid scheme is Multi-level marketing (MLM). MLM schemes allow companies to market their products directly to consumers through direct selling. Independent people, often referred to as distributors, represent the parent company and are rewarded a commission based on the amount of product they sell. Distributors sell the product either directly, or by utilizing their own set of independent distributors. Distributors earn commission based on their sales, along with any sales from their own distributors. Thus the name, “multi-level”.

The trick is distinguishing between reputable MLM companies and illegal Pyramid schemes. This can sometimes be a very difficult task and becomes even more complicated as pyramid companies try to present themselves as legal and reputable MLM companies. The key distinguishing feature in the majority of MLM companies is that commissions are sold based on actual products or services.

What type of scheme is UFF MMA?

Now that we have some foundation in place and a common understanding of scams, pyramid, and MLM schemes we can now properly evaluate whether or not the UFF MMA program is indeed a scam or not, and if not, exactly what type of scheme it is.

Is UFF MMA a scam?
No, by definition it isn’t. The UFF MMA product does offer an actual product, the software. The software also provides savings if used correctly. However based on my research, the product does seem to way over promise. You can utilize a similar approach for free save yourself the $3,500 for the software.

Is UFF MMA a Pyramid Scheme?
No. The UFF MMA offers a legit product and pays a commision ($1400) to their distributors per sale. This by definition and from the FTC’s perspective is not an illegal pyramid scheme. Remember, Pyramid schemes don’t generally offer a product for sale.

Is UFF MMA an MLM scheme?
Yes. Given the company does provide a product, pays it’s distributors per sale, and additional distributors can be hired, UFF MMA is an MLM company. Being an MLM company isn’t a bad thing at all, and there are quit a few very successful ones including Avon and Mary Kay.

With that being said, here is where things get a little fuzzy. I consider the UFF MMA program a “pseudo-scam” hidden behind the veil of an MLM scheme. UFF MMA is certainly a legal product but it utilizes deceptive marketing practices that make very grand claims. Claims that don’t generally deliver in the long run. Additionally, the upfront cost of the program is significant ($3,500.00). A similar approach can be developed using a spreadsheet. While more manual, it would save you the $3,500.00. Most people pay the $3,500.00 out of their mortgage as part of the UFF MMA program, resulting in interest being paid on the software and potentially doubling the overall cost.

One additional point that makes this product a pseudo-scam to me is that distributors are provided with a $1400.00 commision for each sale they make. That is a huge incentive for people to sell the product.

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is

In the end, I think the whole UFF MMA product boils down to the old golden rule of “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. The promise of the UFF MMA program is to cut your mortgage time in half resulting it ten to hundreds of thousand dollars in savings, all for a small investment of $3,500. Sound to good to be true? Sure does to me.

If this is such a great and wonderful product, why isn’t it more common place? Why isn’t it offered by more reputable financial institutions? Why is it being marketed to me via homemade fliers passed out by my son’s football coach? (that to me is enough to scream possible scam).

In the few hours I spent researching the product, there were far more people speaking out against the product than were for it. Most of those speaking in favor of it had some type of financial gain with the product. In one thread I was reading (which I won’t link to) the guy, whom I’ll assume was a distributor, was linking to information about the UFF MMA program and the link was an affiliate/referral link!

While it may not be a scam from a legal or purest aspect, it’s close enough for me. Personally I’m staying far away from it, but I would encourage you do spend time on the internet researching the programs and maybe even talking to some finance professionals before you make any final commitments.

Do you have experience with the UFF MMA program or any other MMA program? I’d love to hear how it’s going for you personally. Sell an MMA product and want to offer your opinion/viewpoint? Please do, but I would appreciate you making it clear you sell the product, and please don’t include any links to your companies product. I’ll delete any comments that do. So share your thoughts on the UFF MMA program, add a comment!

16 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Is the UFF MMA a scam?”

  1. MMA Agent Says:

    I have invested a total of approximately $500 in becoming a U1st MMA authorized agent. I am a debtor, mortgage, secondary mortgage, credit cards, et al. I paid $175 to become an agent so I could get in depth information and education from the company, which was valuable. Since, I have spent about $325 attending a workshop and purchasing consumer sales materials such as professionally produced brochures, videos, etc. I did not buy nor do I use the MMA software myself. I have never sold the software to anyone. I have, however, made as many people aware of the product and concept as I can because it is an education EVERY debtor needs. We all should be aware of the cost of debt and learn how our own income and good credit WHEN USED CORRECTLY can significantly minimize the amount of interest we pay on our debt. Whether one uses the software or not, the program works. And the cost? How about someone who has it all, 3 new cars, an RV, a boat, and a mega house or more. Obviously, this person knows how to make and spend money, but do they know how to manage repayment? If this person wanted a money management system at their fingertips that would help them pay all that debt off cheaper and sooner, the MMA system is a steal for $3,500, which comes out to less than a dollar a day in the end. In a nutshell, U1st and its agents are making us aware of a system FOR FREE and U1st founders should win a Nobel prize for devising a way to help the average debtor get out of debt faster and cheaper. Face it, we’re not all smart enough or dedicated enough to do this ourselves. Bottom line is, if you know how to make money but don’t want to spend your free time worrying about how to pay your debts back most affordably, get the program. But if you are too cheap, too poor, or too smart, then do it yourself. U1st and its agents are pleased to allow you to decide. This “interest cancellation” strategy will be used extensively, and like other disciplines, will only become popular over a long period of time, I predict a generation. In the meantime, if you are a debtor, go ahead and wait, procrastinate, ignore the fact that your debt is costing you tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars too much. Go ahead and save the dollar a day the MMA software will cost you for the chance that you can figure it out yourself, or even get a system for free. It’s bound to happen right? That would be nuts. Either learn the concept and the system yourself and use it now, or if you can’t learn it or don’t want to be bothered, buy the software. This concept of smarter money management could make our nation and our families much stronger. That is what is important.

  2. MMA Agent Says:

    Oh, by the way, if someone who I educate about the concept and system decides to buy the U1st MMA software for $3,500, I would not turn down the commission, someone has to get it. Of the $3,500, $2,500 is paid out to the sales force, generally $500 to $1,500 for the saleman depending on stature in the company, and the balance in bonus pools to sales people and managers. In the meantime I’ll stick up for this money management strategy and the MMA product. It has helped thousands of Americans, and to my knowledge, has hurt no one except the bank’s shareholders.

  3. Cortni Says:

    What about Quixtar/Amway? I know it’s an MLM, but it seems pretty shady in the way it advertises and what it promises too…

  4. Greener Pastures Says:

    These scam artists get me so mad. you really have to protect yourself, for sure.


  5. Mrs. Micah Says:

    Cortni. Quixtar/Amway is pretty shady on a lot of levels. The worst thing is probably that they try to have you get your friends and family all involved in it…so when they realize it’s bad it hurts your relationship. It also ends up consuming so much of your time that you lose track of people who aren’t involved in it and feel alienated when you leave.

    Oh, and they make you feel like you’re a loser if you don’t make money because you think everyone else is making money….so you’re the one with the problem.

  6. Four Pillars Says:

    I think you are right that UFF MMA isn’t a scam. I would however call it a ripoff – not unlike the some payday loans that charge ripoff rates, but are still legal – products like this one are basically over priced (by a huge margin).


  7. Shanti @ Antishay Says:

    UFF MMA make my blood boil.

    It’s not a scam, it’s a ripoff – a dumb tax, if you will. All it does is pay down your mortgage FOR you with YOUR money! You can do the same thing by paying extra on your principle, without paying $3500 for “magic software.”

    The only way to put more money onto your house balance is to make more money or spend less, or both. All the software does is tell you how to move your money around. But unless you’re earning more money or spending less money, and using the difference to PAY OFF YOUR HOUSE YOURSELF, the software won’t get you anywhere.

    And when it’s as “simple” as making more or earning less, why on earth would you pay $3500 to be taught that?

    It is morally corrupt that they would sell this and I think of UFF MMA as the same as the payday loans companies – exploiting the less educated, one poor sucker at a time.

  8. Shanti @ Antishay Says:

    As an aside, MMA Agent, how about people PAY OFF THEIR DEBT AND LIVE WITHIN THEIR MEANS?! You don’t need software to do that, just common sense – which in regards to finances, few people have enough of. The software doesn’t reduce the debt. In order to be debt-free and wealthy, you STILL have to pay off the debts. BY YOURSELF. WITH MONEY YOU EARN. There is no magical solution, and people who are buying into the software are buying into false hope that it will somehow take less money or less effort to get out of debt on all the things that they own on. End of story.

    (I’m done ranting now.)

  9. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    The MMA agent who left a message here is clearly on a sale drive, but having worked in sales myself for many years I know a pack of lies when I see it. You don’t need to pay for a system to help you solve your debt, you just need to be better informed and the internet has many free sources of information in which you can do this without spend $3500.

  10. Rebecca E Krebs Says:

    In response to your claims about the UFF MMA “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is?” IÂ’m sorry, but on what grounds are you qualified to make that statement?

    The Bible sure sells a lot that sounds too good to be true–eternal life for doing nothing but accepting God’s gift of Jesus? Sounds too good to be true too doesn’t it?

    I am not a UFF saleperson. Just a stay at home mom with a heart to help others.

    Upon researching the MMA ourselves 6 months ago, we came across a lot of negative sites like yours and had a healthy dose of skepticism. I am sure that you are a good willed person with the intention of helping others, but please consider what affect your uneducated assessment is having on honest hard working people who have invested much more than you into really understanding a company and product. When we were first doing our research about MMA, my husband and I found upon further examination of the negative comments–a curious pattern–NONE of the negative people were product users! Hu? That’s right. Of the people we talked to USING the PRODUCT not ONE had anything but rave reviews to say about the UFF MMA. As expected, I see that all of you naysayers on this discussion are people who don’t even own the MMA product! Please consider that what is posted here–on a site that looks like it has some Biblical or moral conscious–is disrespectful, dishonoring, spiteful and downright evil. Assuming you and your readers are Bible reading, God fearing people, please refer to Matt. 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” When making accusations and placing labels such as “scam” “con”,“scheme” etc. please consider that itÂ’s, well, just not nice.

    You have influenced people to make assessments like “these scam artists make me mad.” What makes me mad is people like you who damage the reputation of a wonderful, reputable company and hard working, honest sales people, just like any other commissioned salesperson when you donÂ’t even know what or who youÂ’re talking about. As far as the MLM piece, your description is also incorrect, UFF is not an MLM–there is no residual payout because it is a one time sale–just like you pay to your car salesman. And before you judge that $1200 is a lot of commission–how much would you pay your real estate agent? Let’s see, 6% commission on a $200,000 home–that’s $12,000! And what return on that investment do you get–NONE! My husband and I purchased the MMA software a few months ago and we LOVE it! It has been an answer to prayer for our debt situation and given us and many people we know new hope and a new future and has WAY over delivered, NOT over-promised. In fact, pilot users are paid off about 20% sooner than projected and 97% of the people are still on it and LOVE it. God bless the wonderful people who brought the UFF MMA program here and have had to fight the uphill battle to see it through and get it to people like us. Our life has been changed because of it. It does work–we know someone who finished the program in 2 years. There is also a FOX newsclip that shows that their own finance team tested it and also agrees that it does work. So what if it costs $3,500? ThatÂ’s peanuts to save the hundreds of thousands that we’re going to.

    Yes, I agree disciplined living with your finances and never incurring debt in the first place is the best way to go, but why all the unfair judgment about a system that is helping give good people, like us & thousands others, a little bit of grace? How many people know that they need to eat right and exercise to be healthy too but who does it consistently–NOT MANY PEOPLE! By our very human nature we need someone to help us develop daily habits. That’s why people join gyms and weight watchers to get and stay healthy–of course they know what to do, but doing it is not nearly as easy as it seems! Similarly, the MMA is a vehicle to guarantee success at the end of the race. It is in my humble opinion, extremely arrogant for you to assess a tool that you have no working knowledge of.

    You are sowing some very vicious seeds here sir and hurting a lot of good people. “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 KJV)

    Please reconsider directing your commentary towards an MMA agent who has the knowledge and expertise to help the people who are trusting your biased judgment. I would be happy to send you to the person who patiently waited for us to wade through the mire of the kid of garbage youÂ’re dishing out here and to get our heads on straight and make the best investment of our lives.

    Blessings and Peace,


  11. glblguy Says:

    Hi Rebecca. I’m curious, how do you know how much research I did? Also, how do you know whom I talked to and whom I didn’t? Also, who says I have to be qualified to make a statement? This is America right?

    Look, it seems you drank the kool-aid and now spend time defending your decision to make yourself feel better. That’s fine and I’m glad you are happy with the decision you made.

    With that said, my article is factual and based on real information gleaned from numerous legit websites and from discussing the product with a few ex-UFF MMA people that gave me the “real scoop”. I also discussed the issue with a number of mortgage people I know as well from 2 top 5 lenders to get their scoop on the product.

    As for tarnishing hard working people…I just stating the facts.

    So one last comment…a UFF MMA salesperson helped you “wade through the mire of the kind of garbage” I’m dishing out here right? Maybe that should tell you something. Do a little reading on these programs across a number of other top blogs and see if you don’t find a consistent message.

    Blessings and Peace to you as well.

  12. TUDrewser Says:

    Here’s the deal with MMA…you get a HELOC, borrow money off that HELOC to pay off your first mortgage, and then work at paying very little interest on your HELOC by putting your paychecks toward the line, putting your expenses on a credit card, and then paying a one time expense at the end of the month. This lowers your average daily balance, which is what’s used to calculate the interest, and you can pay very little interest (less that you would have paid if the money had simply been left on your first). So the entire program is borrowing at a lower interest rate to pay off a higher interest rate.

    I figured out the numbers in Excel WITHOUT the software and my wife and I started doing this. Over a course of 5 months we were able to pay down an additional $10,000+ off our mortgage. The math works…it’s the “magic of compounding interest” in reverse, along with the idea of lowering your ADB and thereby lowering your interest.

    However, HERE’S THE PROBLEM: Despite our high credit rating, despite the history of paying down the HELOC, and despite our great relationship with the bank, the bank SUSPENDED our HELOC shortly after our entire month’s paychecks had been deposited into it. Not because of us…it was simply an across the board freeze on all HELOC’s due to the decline of housing values. We were left with about $200 in our checking account because we were putting all our money toward the HELOC to lower our ADB. At the time it was no big deal because if we needed emergency cash, we had the $10k we could pull that we’d already paid off. But, that doesn’t work when the line is frozen. So with $200 in our checking account and a $4,500 credit card bill (all that month’s expenses), we were forced to start completely over from scratch.

    We had no idea that our HELOC could even BE frozen. THAT is what UFF will not tell you. By doing this program you are taking a risk…an unlikely risk, but a major issue should that risk be realized. “The borrower is SLAVE to the lender” (emphasis mine). We are living proof of being slaves to our bank!

  13. Joan Says:

    My partner is an agent.

    In the end, I think the whole UFF MMA product boils down to the old golden rule of “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

    “Well, putting extra money to pay down your mortgage seems to be true…. and it sounds good” I don’t get the parallel.

    The promise of the UFF MMA program is to cut your mortgage time in half resulting it ten to hundreds of thousand dollars in savings, all for a small investment of $3,500. Sound to good to be true? Sure does to me.

    “To allay your fears….there’s a money back guarantee. You might want to consider why a company would offer a guarantee if their product didn’t work”

    If this is such a great and wonderful product, why isnÂ’t it more common place? Why isnÂ’t it offered by more reputable financial institutions? Why is it being marketed to me via homemade fliers passed out by my sonÂ’s football coach? (that to me is enough to scream possible scam).

    “Again. Research. This product is only 4 years old in NA and 2 of those years were pilot projects (Not marketed) When the pilots were finished (and by the way VERY successful…. 98% were still using the product and 15-20% ahead of plan) the marketing began. Variations of this product have been used with success in Europe and Australia. UFF has just opened it’s doors in Canada where it is being widly received (Canadians are big savers)

    In the few hours I spent researching the product, there were far more people speaking out against the product than were for it. Most of those speaking in favor of it had some type of financial gain with the product. In one thread I was reading (which I wonÂ’t link to) the guy, whom IÂ’ll assume was a distributor, was linking to information about the UFF MMA program and the link was an affiliate/referral link!

    Perhaps doing reasearch from blogs etc, perhaps you should contact the Better Business Bureau who does not have one registered complaint from a user. If you’re going to set yourself up as an “expert”, perhaps it might be adviseable to use “reputable” sources for your research. It eliminate you being thought of as foolhardy.

    While it may not be a scam from a legal or purest aspect, itÂ’s close enough for me. Personally IÂ’m staying far away from it, but I would encourage you do spend time on the internet researching the programs and maybe even talking to some finance professionals before you make any final commitments

    “A very subjective comment. Again, I’m questioning the authenticity of your ability to research objectively. There are too many “personal” statements….well…enough for me to wonder about where your interest lies”

  14. Greg Says:

    I’m glad Rebecca gave her testimonial. She sounds like the type of person I would recommend the program too. For some people, the $3500 is a good investment.

    As for me, I’m a do-it-yourself type. I have implemented the same system behind the MMA to payoff my debt. I read a few books by a few UFF competitors and figured out how to do it on my own. I am also a computer programmer. To assist in my efforts, I created a computer program that generates estimates of payoff times and interest savings from the “HELOC Shuffle.”

    I too an put off by the negative postings about the MMA. I don’t think many of the negative posters have done their homework either. If you don’t like MLM’s, fine. If you think that $3500 is a ripoff, I understand. (For my situation, $3500 was a ripoff too.) But what gets lost in all this negative hype is that there is a very useful system behind how the MMA works that can actually be used to reduce debt quickly. And the majority of the negative posters are so blinded by their negativity that never actually take the time to realize what could be accomplished with this system.

    Did you know that the HELOC Shuffle can actually pay off debt more cost effectively then just making regular extra payments? I actually didn’t. I didn’t even think it was possible that it could. Then I used my tool to do the analysis and learned some that surprised me (and I already implemented the system.) The results of my analysis can be found here:

    TUDrewser points out some of what can go wrong. This system is not without risk. (But then was getting into debt risk free to begin with?) The HELOC Shuffle is definitely NOT the system to implement if you don’t have your spending under control. Before implementing this system, you need to do your homework and analysis to determine if this is right for you.

    Add my name to list of people that found value in the system of the MMA (while not the actual MMA itself.)

  15. JHW Says:

    So many inaccuracies in this article, it’s hard to know where to start. By the way…. AVON is not a Multi Level Marketing organization. Mary Kay is. Avon is a “Direct Sell” market…in fact the only direct sales company in the world.

    In doing my own research on this product and using it for 5 months, I’ve already saved almost double what I paid for it. I was unable to find a negative comment by anyone who was actually using the product. In fact I only found negative statements by people who I suspect were competing with the product. I came to this conclusion as I could find no one who was actually using it….complain. It seemed everyone was well on their way to saving a lot of money.

    Yes, one can do it themselves if they’re a walking calculator. Personally I don’t have the time…nor the talent to do so, PLUS I could never derive all the other benefits of this product. IE: On the fly, it will calculate the amount of interest and months added on to my debt every time I enter a potential purchase. This feature alone helps me make better buying decision (and stops domestic quarrels, which alone is worth the price of the product ;)

    There is a treasure of other features this program offers me…but alas… I’m out of time :)

    I would close by advising people to do a “thorough” research into the product and see for themselves. UFF will do a free analysis for clients and it comes with a guarantee. So where’s the loss?