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mikthe20

Multi-Level Marketing Scam & Close Mate

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When out for a beer last night with an old and dear friend of mine (we were at school together).

His career peaked in the 90s/noughties so although doing OK by most people's perceptions, he's not on the 6-figure income that he was then. He's always been prone to get rich quick schemes (Bulgarian property - burned, southern European property - burned, gambling arbritrage and no doubt one or two others). All of these he has at one time or other tried to get me involved with and I've always (and will always) turn it down. He's getting a bit desperate though as we get older.

Anyroad, last night he said he is setting up a new business with his missus. To me this sounded exciting as I've got my own small business too. Anyway, it turns out he's going to be "selling" a dietary supplement which sounded dubious and, with a bit of research, is really just a multi-level marketing scam. I did tell him that I thought it was a scam and a pyramid scheme. He says it's been going for 30 years so couldn't be a scam and it's network marketing, not a pyramid or multi-level rolleyes.gif. He says the product really works (he's on some weird diet) and that the people he's met are earning huge amounts of money, have Ferraris, kids at private school, etc. He said he just needs to find 2 people to also sell and he's immediately on £700-£800 a month and can get more on board to then really ramp up his income. He said I really should buy some product as it would be good for my health. He was talking like a bit of an evangelist so massive alarm bells AFAIC. Again, I told him to be very careful before he signs up fully and to run when, not if, they ask him for a big lump sum.

So should I press him further to get out or just leave him to his fate? I know the "rich guy" from this company is going to see him tonight. He's the sort of close mate I can say "don't be a twit" to but it will need some hard truths to really get him to think as he seems to have fallen for it hook, line and sinker and despite his previous mistakes doesn't really put huge thought into what could go wrong. I'm worried that once he's deep into it and struggling he'll resent that I warned him but as he's such a close friend feel I ought to do something. Any thoughts? (sorry for the long post).

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Herbalife no doubt.

Similar, Forever Living Products (aloe vera base shite).

ETA: Although I'm fighting Herbalife on another front as a friend of my teenage daughter is trying to sell her that crap at school!.

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People who get involved with these usually envisage "recuiting" people that would do all the selling. Very few ever look to make a living from their own sales.

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People who get involved with these usually envisage "recuiting" people that would do all the selling. Very few ever look to make a living from their own sales.

Indeed, and I told him that. But he doesn't care - he just wants to get rich quick! Thing is, he's a really nice, generous guy who was there for me when I went through a really crap time.

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Some do get rich very quick..the founders....and they make their fortunes with the rights to run "training" and conferences.

I gather there are vast lawsuits going about breakaway factions of herbalife...fighting over these very rights...

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Commiserations. A few years back when I was doing something in publishing an acquaintance asked whether we could run an advert for his new business selling health drinks / snacks. A one minute gander at the supplier's web site (you've heard of them) told me everything I needed to know, leaving me with the difficult task of breaking the bad news.

The main argument I used was this: why is this large well-established company still using home workers to flog their stuff, instead of selling direct from their own distribution centre in the midlands or selling via Amazon?

I also suggested the person chat in confidence with some colleagues who could advise him (he's a copper). This did the trick but it sounds like your friend will be more difficult to persuade. I was going to suggest searching youtube for relevent documentaries / accounts but a quick gander here at work suggests the vendors themselves have already latched onto it as a sales channel.

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Commiserations...

I also suggested the person chat in confidence with some colleagues who could advise him (he's a copper). This did the trick but it sounds like your friend will be more difficult to persuade. I was going to suggest searching youtube for relevent documentaries / accounts but a quick gander here at work suggests the vendors themselves have already latched onto it as a sales channel.

Thanks. Yes, on my searching it's both amazing and disconcerting how much the positive stuff is apparent online and the negative has been burried. Any critical threads get taken over quickly by their disciples. It really is for the gullible and desperate. My pal is already talking about how his mother would benefit because of her arthirtis, and his mate because of his bad back. Quite ridiculous (and anyway similar stuff can be bought from Holland & Barrett for a fraction of the price).

Think I'm going to take one more shot across his bows and then leave him to it. My suspicion is that he'll be struggling with it for the next few years, pushing it constantly, without ever having found the pot at the end of the rainbow. The great irony is that he said to me "The people who made money in Bulgarian property are the ones who got in early and not 10 years later like I did". I made the comment to him that he seems to be making exactly the same mistake with this scam. Response - "this time it's different". For me, this is really quite sad as he's a top bloke with a lovely family. sad.gif

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Thanks. Yes, on my searching it's both amazing and disconcerting how much the positive stuff is apparent online and the negative has been burried. Any critical threads get taken over quickly by their disciples. It really is for the gullible and desperate. My pal is already talking about how his mother would benefit because of her arthirtis, and his mate because of his bad back. Quite ridiculous (and anyway similar stuff can be bought from Holland & Barrett for a fraction of the price).

Think I'm going to take one more shot across his bows and then leave him to it. My suspicion is that he'll be struggling with it for the next few years, pushing it constantly, without ever having found the pot at the end of the rainbow. The great irony is that he said to me "The people who made money in Bulgarian property are the ones who got in early and not 10 years later like I did". I made the comment to him that he seems to be making exactly the same mistake with this scam. Response - "this time it's different". For me, this is really quite sad as he's a top bloke with a lovely family. sad.gif

TBH, just say "its not for me" and walk away.

These are the very words herbalife use in their pitch. Its not for me...walk away.

then talk about something else with your friend. because of the pseudo religiousness of the disciples, criticizing the "opportunity" is tantamount to a kick in the family jewels.

Im sure there are many actual religions that use the self same techniques and we know where this can lead..self and infidel flagellation...actual harm in the name of the cause.

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Wife's cousin sells this sh1t, quite pushy (pleasant enough tho) does very well out of it, but only because she has developed a large network of willing sellers who I presume make f**k all from it.

She is forever posting look at how great my life is cos I sell this stuff type messages (presumably as a recruiting tool facebook must make this type of operation far easier to operate than the old days

Facebook being the perfect place to harvest "friends"

that aren't so real as to prevent you from recruiting them as worker drones to bump you up the selling feedchain.

incidentally back in the 80's my old man was made redundant and having asked for a remortgage to extend our house to ramp up bed and breakfast business my mum was running, the Abbey branch manager tried to get him into selling AMWAY $h1t. This is the branch manager of a major Building society effectively being in a position to target customers who might have the cash and the reason to sign up to his pyramid scheme. The old man told him to do one, but really he should have reported him to HO looking back now.

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A colleague is selling "Jamie's at home kitchen appliances" sort of stuff.

Is that more like 2014's version of Tupperware perhaps?

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A colleague is selling "Jamie's at home kitchen appliances" sort of stuff.

Is that more like 2014's version of Tupperware perhaps?

I dont know. Is Jamie at Home the new Pampered Chef?

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MLM people are very odd. I have a mate in Vegas who is running one and 2 years ago when he first started asked me to run the UK branch. I declined, stating it was an obvious pyramid scheme. He couldn't see it though and neither could those he was working with. they all had this over the top personality and truly believed they were doing Gods work, lifting people out of poverty and getting rich doing it. He still asks me if I would consider doing it from time to time, often bringing up the fact he has made $2 million after tax but to me it is dirty money. Even if there is a product involved it doesn't change the fact it is an unsustainable business model. I'm surprised his hasn't imploded yet actually. For anyone interested it is called the "Empower Network".

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Had similar many years ago with Amway if that's still going (overpriced - "because they're better" - household products) a mate who sounds like yours had been along, seen the numbers and had the old dollar signs. Make money by doing nothing.

I was one of many dragged along to these presentations and, like everybody else (all friends from a decent uni bar this chap) saw it for what it was: becoming a door to door salesman and giving away a chunk of your meagre earnings to whoever first signed you up. We all individually and politely said "not interested".

We all left him to it as there was nothing for him really to lose, other his dreams of a fortune, and the only sales he made were stuff he bought for him and his housemates so he lost a small amount of money but no more than if he bought his shampoo at Harrods instead of Asda for a few months.

The only investment IIRC was in a bit of stock so I don't really see it as a scam. I'd leave him to it and not mention it again.

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A few Christian friends of mine seem particularly prone to falling for this crap. Maybe it's because they believe in sky fairies and are also more gullible, but also I think it's because the scammers know how to play on their beliefs and values.

Most of it didn't even pass the 5 second sniff test, never mind warrant any further examination.

The telling thing to me was that most were living in social housing (due to other half being a key worker) and driving distinctly average cars.

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A few Christian friends of mine seem particularly prone to falling for this crap. Maybe it's because they believe in sky fairies and are also more gullible, but also I think it's because the scammers know how to play on their beliefs and values.

My experience exactly - a pal of mine thought he could make money FX trading despite being thick as ****. He has now received his eviction notice and is just waiting for the bailiffs to turn up.

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“I have seen people using a credit card to pay for a £20,000 one-year trading course and then having to sell their house because they lost too much money,” he says speaking from his small trading floor in Brentwood, a 37-minute train journey from London’s City centre, the global heart of forex trading.

Having a trading floor in his bedroom must add thousands to the value of his house. I'm surprised estate agents haven't picked up on the potential of this feature.

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My experience exactly - a pal of mine thought he could make money FX trading despite being thick as ****. He has now received his eviction notice and is just waiting for the bailiffs to turn up.

Most that jump in are gamblers and so taking their money is easy. I love the stop running days, it's easy money. So many place orders around round numbers like 10, 100 etc and so picking them apart is childsplay. Most have zero money management either and are way over leveraged. To anyone here looking to trade then do what I did and seek out a mentor or hang around with successful traders. I found people happy to impart knowledge free of charge by simply becoming a part of their small community. You need to bring something to the table though i.e knowledge of an industry or excellent maths skills. You can't just take and take.

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Thanks everyone for all your comments. I've decided to not take it any further. I told him exactly what I thought the other night on several occasions and he kept rebuffing them with stupid excuses which I suspect he had picked up in the process of becoming a disciple of this crap. My conscience is clear and I think if I pursued it any further he'd resent my view. My plan is, when he tries to sell me that stuff, to tell him I don't take part in pyramid schemes in any way and remind him of what I have done to support him in the past (quite a lot).

The consensus on here is that gullible fools can't be helped, and I have to agree.

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A few Christian friends of mine seem particularly prone to falling for this crap. Maybe it's because they believe in sky fairies and are also more gullible, but also I think it's because the scammers know how to play on their beliefs and values.

Most of it didn't even pass the 5 second sniff test, never mind warrant any further examination.

The telling thing to me was that most were living in social housing (due to other half being a key worker) and driving distinctly average cars.

This is a very astute comment and one that hadn't occurred to me. My friend is very religious. Based on the language he used the other night, I suspect a lot of moral arguments have been placed in his head through the indoctrination process. The main one that stood out, which was repeated several times, was "I've got no problems in selling to friends and family if I have used the product myself and it has helped me, because I would also be helping them". This "product" is supposedly good for losing weight. The fact that the diet also restricts calories per day to 600 seems to be ignored - anyone would lose weight no matter what crap concoctions they were also taking.

It seems though that his main cost will be embarrassment and the opportunity cost of not doing something productive instead of this nonsense so hopefully there won't be any major financial fallout.

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I honestly believe people who get involved in these MLM things have got something missing. I just don't get how anyone's immediate reaction to the concept is not this is distasteful/unethical/immoral etc.

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Argh! 5AM, awake as couldn't sleep from eating a big curry. Just read this thread. Was familiar with this stuff but it's only just dawned on me that my Mrs is likely to be propositioned by a friend in the coming weeks! This has all happened in the last few days.

This friend has just signed up with Mary Kay. Asked my Mrs to go with her as it was open to bring-a-friend. Now I know why!!!. Nothing yet but I will definitely be recommending she keep her distance the next few weeks.

It depends on the person but I will 100% not be trying to explain to this girl (the friend of my Mrs). Wouldn't even begin to understand and would be ultra defensive.

Shame, a friendship at risk of being ruined.

I'm guessing she'll struggle to sell much then see she can recoup her losses by approaching my Mrs.

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