The One Time Clark Howard Got Ripped Off

Saving money is a way of life for money expert Clark Howard, and that's why he spends so much time trying to help people protect their wallets. But we all suffer losses from time to time.

Clark was recently asked to share a time when he essentially lost money, and when he thought about it, the incident that came to mind was one in which his advice led to other people losing money.

This Rip-Off Is One Clark Will Never Forget

“It’s not how I got ripped off, but it’s how so many of my listeners and viewers got ripped off following my advice,” he says. “And it’s something that I wear as a cape of shame: SunRocket.”

SunRocket was an internet phone service startup that was created by two executives from MCI, a former major player in the long-distance phone service industry.

“It was one of the first efforts of true, complete phone service over the backbone of the internet rather than the traditional phone system,” Clark recalls.

SunRocket ceased operations in 2007, but not before it amassed a 200,000-strong subscriber base, according to the New York Times.

Clark acknowledges that, back then, he enthusiastically trumpeted the startup as a way to prepay for phone service for several years. Even though he did warn people that there was a risk in prepaying, he says, “What people heard was my enthusiasm.”

Among those who prepaid for years of phone service was Clark’s own brother.

“My poor brother lost a few thousand dollars on SunRocket. Many of our listeners and viewers bought SunRocket,” Clark says.

“I collectively lost people I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he says.

Final Thoughts

Because he is unbought and unbossed, you can trust that Clark will continue to speak his mind and share ways you can save money and not get ripped off.

But Clark says the SunRocket incident has left an indelible mark.

“It’s not even my money that I lost, which I would be fine with,” he says. “It was your money that I lost. And I will carry that to my urn and feel really bad about it.”

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