If anyone ever offers you the opportunity to make money in a “network marketing company”, run like it’s the plague. This is a code word for “ponzi scheme.”
A little over a week ago, the vice president of my school’s entrepreneurship club reached out to me, offering me the opportunity to “make a lot of money” with the company he works for. He told me the company was BMG International, but this turned out to be a lie.
His interview with me consisted of questions to see if I was of the entrepreneurial mindset. I passed his test, but I was still confused and had a number of questions. Instead of answering these, he gave me a book by Robert Kiyosaki and said, “I think this will answer most of your questions.” It didn’t. And so he invited me to a meeting a few days later so I’d have the opportunity to meet his bosses and learn more about the company.
The meeting clarified a lot for me, and this is where it was unveiled to me that this was not BMG International, but rather Amway Global. I was one of a number of guests being recruited by the company to fill their ranks, and they advertised this not as a job working for Amway, but as an entrepreneurship program where you’d be mentored by entrepreneurs who have had success creating their own businesses. Their pitch entailed that you would help grow Amway’s distribution network, and that this would serve as practice to help you learn how to grow a business. Many of my questions still went unanswered however, and they gave me more pamphlets and CDs that had nothing to do with the company.
I met two executives named Steven Henriquez and Jag Pataria a few days later to attempt to learn more about the business. They kept complimenting my business ethics and communications skills, telling me they would serve me well in this business. Steve and Jag told me I was ripe for success and that this business would be my only ticket to it. I was close to giving it a try until I saw the price tag.
They were expecting $400 up front; $160 to register an IBO, and greater than $200 to attend a conference down in Ocean City, Maryland. It was in this moment that I knew I was being scammed, and so in order to weasel my way out of this, I asked for more time to think about it because I didn’t want to rush into a decision. Steve and Jag then questioned my abilities as an entrepreneur for daring to think it over.
Despite the fact that I told them my family isn’t that financially well off right now, Steve and Jag were still relentless in their attempt to swindle me. They said you need to spend money to make money, and that I shouldn’t let $400 stand in my way. I once again reaffirmed that this was not a cost I could afford and would need more time to think this over.
On the train ride home that night, I went to Google and searched “Amway.” It turns out the first option that shows up is “Amway scam.” I quickly found out that Amway’s multi-level-marketing scheme has a 99% fail rate, and that in 2010, Amway’s operations were deemed to be illegal and they were forced to pay a restitution of $150 million to those they scammed over the years.
The next day I called Jag to let him know that this wasn’t something I wished to go through with, and before I could get a word out of my mouth, Jag informed me that they were recanting their offer to me because of my hesitancy the night before. Steve and Jag’s decision to recant their offer due to my desire to think it over confirmed that this was indeed a ponzi scheme.
If I had all these excellent qualities that they were looking for, and they truly wanted to have someone like me aboard their team, wouldn’t they be more than willing to give me time to make sure this was a decision I’m comfortable with? We’ve all been offered jobs before, and companies will often give you a few weeks to a few months to make a decision. Yet Amway will recant their offers if you don’t decide in the moment?
Jag claimed that my hesitancy to pay $400 without any questions asked proved I wasn’t entrepreneurial, and thus why they revoked their offer. But is it really wise for an entrepreneur to jump into a large investment without first conducting adequate research and having a full disclosure of the information?
They did not allow me the opportunity to do this. They feared me knowing the truth. Steve and Jag wanted to swindle me out of $400 and have me sucked into this program where I’d be forced to continue spending money on books, CDs, and seminars in order to try to recover the lost money.
This is how Steve and Jag make their money. They lie to people and take advantage of enthusiastic young entrepreneurs that hope to make a difference in the world, using them to make easy money and expand Amway’s distribution network. They are sinister men looking to take advantage of good people.
What Amway is doing is criminal, and is a clear violation of the non-aggression principle. Good people are being stolen from by evil men, and I’m hoping you will help share this truth to prevent them from scamming anyone else.
I’m not counting on the government to hold them accountable. While I’m surprised they were ordered to pay out $150 million in restitution, the state and corrupt corporations like Amway have an incestuous relationship with one other. The state helps rid Amway of their competition and permits them to continue with their criminal behavior, and the state reaps the benefits in tax revenue.
We don’t need the government in order to hold Amway accountable for their ponzi scheme. This is why I am calling for a full boycott of Amway products, to starve them of their ability to scam anyone else out of their life savings. If justice is something you value, I am hoping you will join me in this effort to stop the Amway ponzi scheme.