Pimsleur Approach Scam: Fact Or Fiction?

“Learn a language in 10 days with Pimsleur”– that’s the title on the Pimsleur Approach website, but I personally think that’s stretching it a bit.

Some people may be able to, but I know from my own experiences with spending sometime in a foreign country that it takes a lot longer than 10 days to “learn a new language”.

In 10 days the only thing you are realistically going to pick up is maybe the basics…hello…how much?…where?…maybe some numbers…and maybe a few simple sentences.

Initially the Pimsleur Approach website looks like a good site with a couple of recommendations from Forbes and PBS, but the recommendation from Forbes was just a mention on an article written in 2006 with a comparison on price between learning at university and purchasing this course.

However it was only a comparison rather than a recommendation.

On the Pimsleur Approach website there is a special offer where you can buy a package for under $10 with free delivery but this part stands out to me:

“Entry in the Pimsleur Rapid Fluency Purchase Program”

Is this a free addition, or are there more costs involved? Nothing is mentioned about this on the front page.

However, after a considerable amount of searching on this website and clicking on the sale tab I was able to discover the additional costs involved.

It seems that after 30 days you are automatically signed up to the Gold Course, and the amount that you pay is dependent on the language you have picked.

Gold Level 1 is 4 monthly payments of $64, totaling $256

All languages have a minimum of 3 levels apart from:

  • Spanish which has 4 levels.
  • Modern Greek and Korean have 2 levels.
  • Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), Polish and Vietnamese have 1 level.

The actual product does seem to be a reasonably good product as Amazon themselves sell it, and it does have some very good customer reviews.

Looking at this then some of the language courses can be very expensive to purchase and there is a lack of clarity when it comes to what is really included.

Without doing a thorough search through the website this can be very confusing for any would be purchaser to suddenly find additional costs taken from their credit card.

With that in mind, I can see why some people feel like they are possibly being scammed.

When purchasing anything from any online merchant it always pays to look through the website thoroughly before making a purchase…no matter how tempting the offer might be.

After doing a reasonable amount of research into this website I discovered that there are many complaints about the lack of service, the additional charges, failure to deliver anything ordered and so on. This is a great shame.

One thing that we notice with the majority of complaints made to us about a website or service online is a distinct lack of TRANSPARENCY when it comes to explaining what is included, and any additional costs that might occur at a later date.

This is of course what businesses refer to as a ‘sales funnel’, where a cheaper or even free initial offer encourages the consumer to eventually consider the more advanced (and expensive) version to be something they simply cannot live without.

This is an unfortunate situation that we all face in life from time to time, but in the online world it often results in a scam claim.


As already stated, my main concern is that there is no clear display on the front page of any additional costs involved, nor any link.

Also, the fact that once you have signed up and paid for the the Quick & Simple Course you are automatically set-up into a rebilling program without your prior knowledge, DEFINITELY rings alarm bells for me.

If you really do want any of the language courses then my recommendation would be to purchase it from Amazon rather than Pimsleur Approach because you will at least have the added security of being able to return the product.

Neil – WFHW

Leave a Comment


  • I got the Gold Spanish plan, did a lot of the first edition and learned a ton. Loved it so far but the cost is way out of line and they charge your credit card without your knowledge, Yes they can, its in the fine print, that no one I know ever reads. But the best part is when I called they offered me a full refund and free shipping of the products return. And they did it! I received within 3 days of the call a refund and the shipping labels with RMA numbers. If I could afford it I would have it. It is a lot cheaper on Amazon and eBay though, so if you want it go that route. I was quite surprised and impressed.

    • Hi Sully,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Pimsleur Approach. I’m pleased to hear that you enjoyed the product, and I must say that I am impressed with the fact that they offered you a full refund without questions. Regarding the cost, I agree that buying it on Amazon is a much better deal.

      Best wishes,

      Marcus – WFHW Founder

  • Thanks for this! I already had my credit card out and was this close to buying the Greek and the Hebrew. Now I’ll make sure to get it from Amazon. That ad sure was brilliant, though, wasn’t it?!

    • Melissa we are glad to hear that our article was helpful for you. We wish you well with your language classes.

      All the best,

      WFHW Team

  • Wow! thanks seen the advertisment and felt really hooked..,but i always do some research before purchasing and i came across your post, thank you for saving me Lmao

  • I bought the entire Mandarin Series and listen to it over and over. I have had it for 2 years. I think each time that I do the entire 90 1/2 hour lessons I pick up about 5% of the material. I must be on the 8th pass of it. I’m never sure if I am repeating the words/phrases correctly.

    There are some phrases that I still do not understand such as “Get off the train after 5 stops”. I cannot tell what the CD is saying.

    There is a one minute conversation at the start of most CDs. Even my Mandarin speaking teacher has trouble figuring out what they are saying.

    I wish that Pimsleur would have a QA feedback channel so that I can assist them in improving the series if they decide to upgrade the CDs.

    I want to go on to learning more material, but if I stop listening to the CDs for a few days, I start to forget it.

    but I have to say that I impress myself in Chinese restaurants! I get a lot of attention from the American customers and Chinese staff.

    I could say it is a gimmick, but on the other hand I can speak Mandarin to some level.


    • Hi Kevin,

      That’s very impressive to learn Mandarin, which I would say is a difficult language to learn.

      What you can do is contact a Customer Care Specialist here: pimsleurapproach.com/contact-us/



      • Neil,
        I spoke with Pimsleur last week. I told the woman on the phone that I think the 3 part series was really good but parts of it do not make sense and could be improved. Some parts seem out dated such as do you have a telephone book? I dont even have one in my house or at work. it keeps asking me to say my name is Mathew jones. when I use my name in the same format, Mandarin speakers do not understand me. The folks at Pimsleur have been helpful and friendly. I work as a software Quality Assurance tester. I wish I could work with a team to do an improved update. I would start by having a native speaker listen to others trying to speak and then strengthen where it’s confusing.



        • Hi Kevin,

          I take it you contacted the support side of things and although they were helpful there isn’t any real resolve.
          You could create the update yourself and see what they say.
          But I wouldn’t offer it for nothing.
          Let me know what you think?



  • Thanks for the feed back on the Pimsleur Language product. I too almost ordered it but decided to go to the web to see what others thought. but… do you think Rosetta Stone is better and can I really learn a language from this method. thanks

    • Hi fish Commander,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I honestly don’t know about Rosetta Stone but it is something that we will be looking into at a later date.


  • I’ve read several reviews on the Pimsleur and most of them are complaints about credit card charges. How is this different from any other marketing company. Theres always a catch when it comes to money. What I’m trying to find out is, does the program actually work? Aside from the fact that you could possibly be scammed out of money. I have no intentions of purchasing the product from Pimsleur. I have found the complete sets via ebay as well as Amazon. So is this a proven method, does it teach one to speak spanish?

    • Hi Leah,

      I don’t know but as I mentioned in my Conclusion you can Purchase from Amazon because you can get a refund if
      it isn’t any good.


  • Woah, thanks for posting this. I always look to horoscope for guidance everyday, and today it says Sagittarians shouldn’t reveal any of their information. I think they meant your credit card after reading this. I was going to pay the $10 too. Thanks for proving that horoscope IS accurate. Thanks!!!

    • Hi Winfred,

      I am very happy that we were able to save you from wasting any money and that your horoscope proved to be right.

      All the best,

      WFHW Team

  • You’re very welcome John!

    Don’t forget the Amazon option if you really do want this product. It’s the much safer route to take.

    All the best,


  • thank you i was about to purchase it too, but i always check comments on products before i purchase so thank u for saving me a headache.

    • That’s great to hear Karen, and thanks for making your way to Work From Home Watchdog :)

      Best wishes for your future ventures,


  • Thank you so much! I was about to buy the $10 special deal but when I noticed they didn’t have Paypal(or any other trusted card-company) I decided to look around and what you said is true. Thanks for saving me from inadvertently being stolen tons of money on something which was supposed to be $10