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We've discussed several MLM scams in the World Financial Group discussion thread, but this thread is to provide a one-stop reference for those who may be solicited by these organizations.

Please add your MLM scams and a description of the REAL way they work to this thread. I'm sure many people have been solicited for these scams , saw past the hype and discovered the "real" deal, and know the dirty details of how they work. While I know many FW Finance readers are very knowledgable and would not fall for such schemes, there are many younger members and lurkers who may find this info valuable.

LIST OF MLM SCAMS

Cutco / Vector Marketing - is an MLM targeted at students, usually see flyers advertising "$17.50/hour to start" requires demonstrating expensive knife sets in homes of friends family and strangers. Must purchase your own "demo set" for about $150. You get paid for each "1 hour demonstration" you do, but it obviously takes several hours to arrange, travel and find suckers willing to listen to you do the demonstration.

Quixtar

Amway

Shaklee - gets people to sell private label household products (cleaners, soaps, vitamins, etc) to friends and family. Most salespeople buy their own items as well. Youll never make money smokin what you sell <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>

Stayin Home and Lovin It - just like Shaklee

Marketing America

World Financial Group / WFG / WMA - this is an interesting one, the premise is that you will sell insurance to friends and family. Have to pay a "Background check" of about $150 which is bogus, and since people still need to pass their states insurance licensing test, most people abandon the pursuit after paying the background check but prior to ever taking the insurance tests. by that time, the "mentor" has usually sold several policies to the new recruits friends and family.

Primerica - similar to WFG, but is owned by Citibank


TIPS ON SPOTTING MLM SCAMS
1. they talk about "unlimited earning potential", financial freedom, and all the other feelgood lines, without ever really discussing business facts.

2. theres no education/experience requirements

3. you are asked to pay a penny for ANYTHING - "background check", "processing fee", "demonstration set", "website setup", etc.

4. You are asked to sell to friends and family

5. There is a "residual income" plan enabling you to earn money even if you dont work

6. It is touted as the solution to all your prayers, financial problems, etc.


To keep this thread as a useful resource, lets not get into a "proMLM/antiMLM" debate. Please keep this thread focused on discussing the various MLMs you have encountered, the tactics they use, the products they sell, the "real" deal when you get past the hype, and any known fees/costs...MLM success stories are certainly welcome as well.

Excel Telecommunications - You sell long distance phone service to your friends and family. Lots of talk concerning profit potential as you build your downline; i.e. convince others in your downline to become representatives for a small nominal fee which was $170 back when I heard the spill. Probably more now.
I actually saw a few people experience success with this however. The caveat though: They were already extremely established businessmen in the community with thousands of initial contacts. One of the reps was pulling approx. 1/4 million dollars a year before greed got the best of him. Tried pushing other pyramid products through his downline and got busted. He and others were booted from the program and lost all income.
Good point to make with these pyramid schemes. If you don't already have thousands of contacts at your fingertips or dont have any experience or success with cold calling, DO NOT GET INVOLVED!!! There are better ways to make money!

BTW - I'm not sure about this but I think Excel is pushing a 10-10 number now; something like 10-10-287.

Good thread, thanks.

A friend of mine went to a Partylite party (high-priced candles, etc).

Did a cursory google search and it appears to be quasi-legitimate although
5 out of the 6 points in 'How to spot a scam' were applicable.

Here's a very interesting list of members of DSA -- Direct Sellers Association.

http://www.dsa.org/directory/index.cfm?fuseaction=show_CompanyResults

Lots of info at www.dsa.org trying to legitimize their business model.

There was a link from www.reliv.com which was an MLM that was hawked to me when I was younger. Not my cup of tea - Reliv or MLM.

excellent link SV - they might as well title that webpage "LIST OF MLM SCAMS"!

Another tip-off I've heard for MLM scams, the assurance that "you WILL be rich by the time you are 40" (or insert any other appropriate age for the given audience). Of course, I heard this from a kid who was 24 and right out of college, not yet rich himself, but had no doubt that he would make others rich...

HAHA CUTCO... my grandparents have these knifes.. for over 20 years.. they love them..
Infact, they had some distant family stay with them.. and there was a big fiasco over the cutco knifes, when some of them ended up missing!

Anyone heard about Mary Kay for Cosmetics?

How is this scheme?

Here's another site that may prove helpful...

http://www.pyramidschemealert.org/

The FTC issued a warning yesterday about work-at-home envelope stuffing scams.

A friend tried to get me to do this once. It is the Endowment E65 insurance.


Link



Here is a link to some information about scams as well.

Scam Info

could someone post some info on quixtar

and what does mlm stand for

myth465 said:

<< and what does mlm stand for >>

Multi-Level Marketing.

myth465 said:

<< could someone post some info on quixtar >>

Try googling. Here's a little somthing: url.

How to spot a scam:

#7 - The members you know are idiots and are wholly incapable of success in the private sector. Yet they wow you with stories of their good fortune and obscene potential for future profits.

huh, so that's what primerica is... I'm looking for a job and put my resume on monster.com and someone from primerica sent me this email.

From : Primerica <primerica@columbus.rr.com>
Sent : Tuesday, December 9, 2003 10:30 AM
To : debtman7@hotmail.com
CC : Primerica <primerica@columbus.rr.com>
Subject : I saw your resume on Monster.com

I am a Regional Vice President with Primerica, a division of Citigroup.  I recently reviewed your resume on Monster and would like to discuss the opportunities I currently have available.  Please contact my Division Manager Jeff Leichman at 614-807-1212.

I look forward to possibly meeting you.
 
Dan Moss
Regional Vice President
Primerica, a division of Citigroup

No idea what it was about but as a standing rule I'm not going to call some company about a job if they don't mention what they are hiring for. That explains a lot <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

My roommate does Herbalife. I hear him tell people that there's a $299 fee to get started for "first months' products" (they tell you that you HAVE to use their stuff in order to sell it) as well as "distributor ship license," etc. Anyone have any other info on them? Are they considered an MLM Scam o r similar?

manakt said:

<< Good thread, thanks.

A friend of mine went to a Partylite party (high-priced candles, etc).

Did a cursory google search and it appears to be quasi-legitimate although
5 out of the 6 points in 'How to spot a scam' were applicable.
>>



PartyLite works just like Tupperware, Mary Kay, Southern Living @ Home and any other home party companies. My friend is a representative and has been very successful.

The candles are a little higher than your Drugstore variety, but they are worth every penny.

At least with the "home party" MLMs, the participants usually understand they are SPENDING money and this isnt the "path to financial freedon" touted by most of the other MLMs.

If anyone actually sat down and tallied the money they spend on these companies products compared to monies received, the MLM will always come out ahead.

I hate to break it to you all, but MLM is a legitimate (read: legal) business model that has worked for years. Lots may make outrageous claims that are down right unethical, but to label all MLMs as "scams" just shows one's ignorance of the industry.

I don't currently work for an MLM, but I did for about five years a while back (IT stuff). I never personally sold their product, but I did become very familiar with their business model, www.nuskin.com (it’s on the MLM list posted above).

In your standard corporation you have cost of goods, marketing, and regular overhead involved in selling a product. In an MLM the money spent on marketing is paid to the distributor on a sliding scale with the person who actually sold the product making the most, the person who recruited them next, and so on. The key to the profit always being selling product, the more people you recruit the more product you sell obviously, but the product is where you make your money.

A pyramid scheme works exactly the opposite in that recruiting people is where you make your money. Some MLMs really are just pyramid schemes dressed up like MLMs to keep the local Attorney General out of their back yard, but when you break down their compensation structure and the products they sell. The business plans looks less MLM and more pyramid. My friend tried to get me into an MLM that sold sporting goods. It would cost me $1,000 or so to join and as a result he got $250 and a % of whatever I would have sold. Problem is, how many sets of golf clubs or tennis rackets can you sell without opening up your own sporting goods store? Not many, so your only option is to recruit bodies. Sucker them into paying the $1k entry fee and make your $250 and run. It just doesn't work and eventually crashes in on itself, and that's why they're illegal and shut down (which my friend's company was) by the govt.

When I was at Nu Skin the distributor fee was something like $50, and most people signed up just to get the product at a discounted rate. I know at times they toyed around with sign up "kits" and whatnot that were more expensive, but they came loaded with product, materials, yet the end play was to sell the product.

For myself the #1 rule to identify a scam and/or pyramid scheme is to look at their product. Is it consumable? Amway is famous for soap, Nu Skin sells lotion/vitamins, shampoo, etc, Mark Kay sells make-up and what not...All consumable goods that require the customer to keep buying more, and that more is what makes you money as a distributor. This is why Cutco strikes me as dirty. How many knives can you sell someone? You sell 'em a set and you're off to find a new customer, doesn't jive to me for the above mentioned reasons. They may be good knives, but you're not going to catch me selling them or any MLM product for that matter. It’s just not my cup of tea.

There is money to be made in MLMs. I have personally seen the insane monthly checks as they come off the printer(stuff that would make CEOs jealous) going out to distributors, and they let everyone know how well off they are and how you can be just like them. However they are the exception to the rule, and the rule is very few (fraction of a %) are the people who make it big or even make it worthwhile.

I got solicited for a quixstar thing, it was done undercover style.

One night after work about a year ago, I stopped by the Barnes and Nobles to check out a few car magazines. I was standing there reading one, and this little
indian guy walks up to the rack and grabs a magazine then stands next to me. Next thing I know he is talking to me asking me all sorts of questions
about work, where I live, age, whatever. He seemed like a nice guy so I was like 'what ever'.

Then he tells me that he is starting a 'business' and that there is no specific skill set needed, just young intelligent motivated people.
He gives me his buisiness card, it says "Networks" on it and his name and number. ANd I give him my cell number.

A week goes by and then he calls me and says that his 'business' is having a meeting at some hotel conference room and to try to dress formally for it.
So I invited a friend and we went to the meeting in our shirt and ties.

We get there, and the room is full of Indian people who I assumed are in this 'Business'. I see the guy who recruited me. He has us meet all these other heads (who I assumed were his 'higher ups') and then he sits us down in the front row.

The other recruited people sitting around us also had no idea WFT this thing was all about. The chick sitting next to me was told me "Oh it was such a coincidence how we met, this guy just asked me for directions and we got started talking about jobs and stuff, and here I am." I was thinking that it wasnt really a coincidence that you two met.
Then right before the presentation started, my bud said "oh i know what this is, its a thing to get you to sell stuff over the internet at lower costs than retail".

So the meeting started and this guy (a very well spoken person) starts jibber jabbering about financial freedom, choices and all that crap. He gets all of the recuits involved with his presentation, writting down their names and stuff onto the 2' x 3' white board.
Then he gets into the Pyramid thing and how the $275 entry fee was your 'capital expense' to start the business. He said pretty much everything that pertained to the 6 MLM scam tips at the top.

Finally when it was over, we met up with the guy who recruited me, and he gave us these quixstar booklets to review. And we had to set up a time when to meet and discuss when we were going to join.

Well, after the meeting, my bud and I were cracking up! It felt like we got Punk'D. I couldnt believe I fell for this undercover solicitation and felt bad that I dragged my friend to it!
I ended up email the guy telling him that we were both NOT INTERESTED, he said "fine, but can you stop by to give me back the quixstar booklets",and he left a few voicemail messages demanding for the booklets. I emailed him telling him that I would mail them back to him. His response was that his apartment mailbox wasnt big enough to fit the booklets, and asked that I stopped by to hand them to him in person. I really did not want to see this schmoe ever again, so I mailed them back anyways.

Basically what rsviperman said; if you know a lot of people, then you might have a shot of having a pyrmaid scheme thing working out for you.
The reason why all of the people in this quixstar meeting were Indian was probably because they all have pretty big families and know lots of people. Its power in numbers.
So maybe they are all doing well with it, which is good for them.

DISCLAIMER: I am not racist nor do I have anything againts Indians or any other race. Im just stating what I saw. All of the Indians I met seemed like really nice people.

-AVP

MLM tip-off: they talk mainly about becoming a distributor and selling to other resellers, instead of selling to consumers. In a legit business, selling to other resellers is something that should only come up if you have been in the business for a long time, or you are making a signficiant upfront commitment and are being assigned an exclusive sales territory.

well reasoned post in support of MLMs. The bottom line was summed up in your last sentence:

lumens said:

<< the rule is very few (fraction of a %) are the people who make it big or even make it worthwhile. >>


For this reason, I label them SCAMS. I dont care if 1% of people in MLMs make great money (hey someone needs to make money in the operation, right?). The problem is that EVERYONE who signs up is duped into thinking they will achieve comparable results.

Some interesting pyramid scheme analysis at null. Good discussion of the Dinner Party (aka the airplane game).

Remember that social security is not a pyramid scheme but a wealth transfer organization.

From what I have heard the so called retailers have to actually spend their own money to get the booklets and the material and also have to pay for your seat at that hotel conference room. So actually he has lost some money on you.

DrippyClam said:

<< I got solicited for a quixstar thing, it was done undercover style.

One night after work about a year ago, I stopped by the Barnes and Nobles to check out a few car magazines. I was standing there reading one, and this little
indian guy walks up to the rack and grabs a magazine then stands next to me. Next thing I know he is talking to me asking me all sorts of questions
about work, where I live, age, whatever. He seemed like a nice guy so I was like 'what ever'.

Then he tells me that he is starting a 'business' and that there is no specific skill set needed, just young intelligent motivated people.
He gives me his buisiness card, it says "Networks" on it and his name and number. ANd I give him my cell number.

A week goes by and then he calls me and says that his 'business' is having a meeting at some hotel conference room and to try to dress formally for it.
So I invited a friend and we went to the meeting in our shirt and ties.

We get there, and the room is full of Indian people who I assumed are in this 'Business'. I see the guy who recruited me. He has us meet all these other heads (who I assumed were his 'higher ups') and then he sits us down in the front row.

The other recruited people sitting around us also had no idea WFT this thing was all about. The chick sitting next to me was told me "Oh it was such a coincidence how we met, this guy just asked me for directions and we got started talking about jobs and stuff, and here I am." I was thinking that it wasnt really a coincidence that you two met.
Then right before the presentation started, my bud said "oh i know what this is, its a thing to get you to sell stuff over the internet at lower costs than retail".

So the meeting started and this guy (a very well spoken person) starts jibber jabbering about financial freedom, choices and all that crap. He gets all of the recuits involved with his presentation, writting down their names and stuff onto the 2' x 3' white board.
Then he gets into the Pyramid thing and how the $275 entry fee was your 'capital expense' to start the business. He said pretty much everything that pertained to the 6 MLM scam tips at the top.

Finally when it was over, we met up with the guy who recruited me, and he gave us these quixstar booklets to review. And we had to set up a time when to meet and discuss when we were going to join.

Well, after the meeting, my bud and I were cracking up! It felt like we got Punk'D. I couldnt believe I fell for this undercover solicitation and felt bad that I dragged my friend to it!
I ended up email the guy telling him that we were both NOT INTERESTED, he said "fine, but can you stop by to give me back the quixstar booklets",and he left a few voicemail messages demanding for the booklets. I emailed him telling him that I would mail them back to him. His response was that his apartment mailbox wasnt big enough to fit the booklets, and asked that I stopped by to hand them to him in person. I really did not want to see this schmoe ever again, so I mailed them back anyways.

Basically what rsviperman said; if you know a lot of people, then you might have a shot of having a pyrmaid scheme thing working out for you.
The reason why all of the people in this quixstar meeting were Indian was probably because they all have pretty big families and know lots of people. Its power in numbers.
So maybe they are all doing well with it, which is good for them.

DISCLAIMER: I am not racist nor do I have anything againts Indians or any other race. Im just stating what I saw. All of the Indians I met seemed like really nice people.

-AVP
>>


lumens said:

<< I hate to break it to you all, but MLM is a legitimate (read: legal) business model that has worked for years. Lots may make outrageous claims that are down right unethical, but to label all MLMs as "scams" just shows one's ignorance of the industry.

I don't currently work for an MLM, but I did for about five years a while back (IT stuff). I never personally sold their product, but I did become very familiar with their business model
>>


Just because MLM's are legal doesn't mean they're legitimate - they are all scams in that they are founded upon deception. They hide the fact that for the vast majority of participants, they are a hopeless enterprise. In fact their entire reason for existence is to deceive the vast majority of partcipants about this fact. If their cosmetics, household soap, life insurance, knife set, etc., was any good and could stand on its own, it would already be on the market through legitimate sales channels, but it can't, so they wrap it in a pyramid scheme, and sell it to a duped distributor organization.

If you worked for an MLM outfit for five years I guess you'd feel the need to rationalize that and justify what they're doing, so you wouldn't feel too bad about it.

I'm getting a little concerned this thread may be headed offtrack into a "pro MLM/anti MLM debate" - theres plenty of internet forums where MLM members and exmembers discuss this to no end...search for vector /cutco and youll find several discussion boards.

To keep this thread as a useful resource, please keep this thread focused on discussing the various MLMs you have encountered, the tactics they used, the products they sell, the "real" deal when you get past the hype, and any known fees/costs...MLM success stories are certainly welcome as well.

spidy said:

<< From what I have heard the so called retailers have to actually spend their own money to get the booklets and the material and also have to pay for your seat at that hotel conference room. So actually he has lost some money on you.
>>



I feel so much better now.. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> I was duped too ..
btw one reason I can think why several Indians are in the conference is because most of the Indians are immigrants and don't know much about these disguised scams.. and once you are sucked in only way out is to get more suckers in..

As per suggestion of Sis:
I got sucked in at Best Buy in south bay area about 2 years back .. I was there to purchase a cordless phone (didn't know about FW then <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> ).. also the economy was at it's best and as any other tom dick and harry I was planning to start my dot com too..
then this guy appoached me and started talking about which phones are good and which are not.. then he mentioned something about owning own business.. when I mentioned that I plan to start a dot com, he immidialty latched onto the idea and told me that he and "few of his friends" are gathering in a hotel to discuss some business plans regarding "e-commerce" (yes he said e-commerce).. he invited me over and asked to wear formals.. << read middle portion from DrippyClam post <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> .. it is same >>
Since I was sitting in front row seats I decided to bear the whole lecture.. in the end the guy made me meet his 'diamond' (or @ss whatever) .. when I mentioned that we were supposed to discuss about some dot com that guy's answer was real genius.. 'oh yeah.. you can link to quikstar from your website'.. that really got my blood to boil.. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-mad.gif"border=0>

Few intresting observation I had in first 5-10 minutes :
1. When the speaker came on stage, there was lot of cheering and whistling as if he was some celebrity (even britney spears won't get that much cheering if she came out in raw).. since most of the people were noobs and didn't know this guy, who was cheering ?
2. during his speech there was again lot of applause.. i looked side ways and back (from corner of my eyes as far as I could), very few people was clapping (and that too with cold hands, mostly beacuse they thought others were clapping too) then where was the loud applause coming from ?

Obvervations midway through the presentation:
1. not even a single mention of what actually the company does.. or what it would actually involve.. still rambling about what do to with a million dollar

Obvervations at the end :
1. Last 2 minutes mentioned something about selling products at 'near' supermarket price ..
2. All 'members' were told to stay behind for classes (motivational classes or something)

One more thing most of the times the visiting cards given by "recruiter's" are from vistaprint.. (for those who do not know, they used to print you a box of visiting cards for free for price of shipping) .. and on back vistaprint prints 'get free visiting cards at vista print'.. now only if you are really stupid you would think 'wow.. this guy makes tons of money and saves too by using free business cards with printer's ad on backside'.. how many serious businessmen would have such a business card ??? that's the dead giveaway

SUCKISSTAPLES said:

<< I'm getting a little concerned this thread may be headed offtrack into a "pro MLM/anti MLM debate" ... >>

My concern is that there is a negative connotation to both 'pyramid' and 'work at home scam' while MLMs are arguably of benefit to some under certain conditions. I hestitate at combining MLMs with the other two.

MeraNamJoker said:

<< btw one reason I can think why several Indians are in the conference is because most of the Indians are immigrants and don't know much about these disguised scams... >>



This is 100% correct... most of these MLM-pushing lowlifes target immigrant groups... whether it be Indians, Asians or Hispanics.

bssc said:

<< Remember that social security is not a pyramid scheme but a wealth transfer organization. >>


Hmmm.... make one wonders.... is SS a pyramid scheme...

SS sends out notices stating the program will run out of money in like 2030 or therabouts....


zender said:

<< My concern is that there is a negative connotation to both 'pyramid' and 'work at home scam' while MLMs are arguably of benefit to some under certain conditions. I hestitate at combining MLMs with the other two. >>

All depends on how you define them. "True" Pyramid scams involve putting in money upfront with promises of great earnings, but in actuality only the first entrants (usually the founders at the top of the pyramid)make money, while others receive nothing and the pyramid collapses. The "latest generation" of stay at home and MLM programs share a pyramid payment structure, though you typically do receive products and commissions (although usually more money is spent than is ever earned). In theory, they are self sustaining through product purchases and can last indefinitely. MLMs seem to outnumber the "true" pyramid/ponzi schemes. They are much more widespread and attract a wide interest. Chances are many of us have been solicited to be part of a MLM.

For purposes of this discussion, and so people can refer to this thread for more info if they are ever solicited for any of these programs , they may all be discussed here. The posting of specific details for each program, and specific stories of success, or stories of being scammed/misled, is helpful for others who find themselves in similar positions.

Not sure if it's already mentioned: Equinox. Got suckered into it through a 'trusted' friend during the mid 90's. They pretty much sold everything from herbs, toothpaste, vitamins, and othe craps at inflated prices. You can buy yourself up in the rank through buying big orders. They charge outrageous admission fees to their seminars to meet w/ their superstars and the 'CEO' on feel good sessions.

The friend that got me in ended up buying this stuff in bulk and ended up in the garage. Luckily for me, I didn't get too deep in it. MLM seems to be a lot more popular back in the 90's.

Your comments only go to further prove my point regarding how ignorant some are regarding the MLM industry please read up more on the subject. http://www.dsa.org/ would be a great place to start. Out of respect for the thread originator I'll leave it at that.

Regarding your rediculous "you're just rationalizing comment". I have no qualms with what my previous employer did nor what I was asked to do for them. They ran a legitimate business that on the whole made peoples lives better be it throught the product or the income. As a matter of fact I have many more moral concerns with my current Fortune 200 employer who sells through your so called "legitimate channels" than I do with little ol Nu Skin.


DWJoe said:

<<
If you worked for an MLM outfit for five years I guess you'd feel the need to rationalize that and justify what they're doing, so you wouldn't feel too bad about it.
>>


edit....this thread is starting to break down....

lumens said:

<< They run a legitimate business that on the whole made peoples lives better be it throught the product or the income. >>



You can tell when someone is brainwashed when they just repeat the specific language that was used to indoctrinate them.

Crazytree said:

<< This is 100% correct... most of these MLM-pushing lowlifes target immigrant groups... whether it be Indians, Asians or Hispanics. >>



few months back in bay area they busted a MLM which was started by 2 caucasians women but most of the targeted members were elderly orintal women ..

zender said:

<< My concern is that there is a negative connotation to both 'pyramid' and 'work at home scam' while MLMs are arguably of benefit to some under certain conditions. I hestitate at combining MLMs with the other two. >>


You're right - MLM's shouldn't be lumped in with pyrmaid schemes. They're worse, because their supposed "product" allows them to cloak themselves with a flimsy legality, and dupe many more people as a result.

Discussions on whether MLMs are a scam or not aren't terribly useful. Any Fatwalleter worthy of the name should already know the answer to this question.

DrippyClam said:

<< I got solicited for a quixstar thing, it was done undercover style.

DISCLAIMER: I am not racist nor do I have anything againts Indians or any other race. Im just stating what I saw. All of the Indians I met seemed like really nice people.

-AVP
>>



AVP, Quixstar is actually Amway..

Regarding your disclaimer, I shared your view completely and as an Indian, I am ashamed.. It is so rampat here in jersey that we stopped going to some malls like Menlo Park, Woodbridge etc.. By product of all these is that now if we see other compatriots (sp?), instead of saying hello, we go in other direction...

SIS I would add a few warning signs to your excellent list.

*The company solicits partipants/vendors/victims through "blind" ads that don't tell you what company is soliciting you or what it is you will be selling. Before you can get any information on the company, you have to give up a reasonable amount of information on yourself.

*Price lists, ingredient information etc. are closely guarded secrets, as are company practices. Many MLM scams will not provide any written material to prospective vendors until they have signed an agreement not to disclose it. There is often an active effort to retrieve marketing/training materials from vendors who "wash out."

*You are required to accept and pay for minimum amounts of merchandise, and are usually required to have a credit card/credit line established to pay for the products.

That said, I would put two other scams on your list: Seasilver and Melaleuca. Both of them sell what I will charitably call "nutritional" products (I obviously have a slight difference of opinion LOL) and both meet all the red flags I've outlined above.

Also, two very good links:

Quatloos! MLM page (The Quatloos site is a treasure trove of consumer info on several issues, including a howlingly funny page on the Nigerian scammers.)

MLMWatch,, hosted by Stephen Barrett, the same guy who does Quackwatch, a site detailing health-related scams. There's a LOOONG list of suspicious MLMs on his site. Barrett links to a true/false article on MLMs and a list of tip-offs that should help you steer clear of a particular MLM.

Edited to add: I do believe there are legitimate businesses structured as MLMs. For example, it is possible - not easy, but possible - to make money in Mary Kay.

Skipping 726 Messages...
thread of the year? you guys are sad really....you believe threads have quality has in good and bad...just sad



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