Your Stories - September 97

Dear Sir: Thank you for providing such good information concerning Amway. My assistant and his wife got into Amway about 6 months ago. They don't have anyone under them yet, but they figure they will be successful if they work at it. You know the routine better than I do. My assistant is always talking about bonus cheques that are supposedly paid to distributors who achieve certain levels. None of your articles mention these, at least I don't think they do. Can you give me any information about this? Are these bonus cheques legit or is it just a lot of hype? Also, you don't seem to mention in home shopping. My helper seems to think they make enough off in home shopping sales to pay for the cost of the tapes etc. He is in "Worldwide". Can you tell me if all these Amway organizations are the same?

Thanks for your time,

Excellent web page. I was tempted to post several pages of it outside of my cubicle, but as an Amdroid sits across from me (yes, the condescending, slightly-too-chipper tone, the boxes of Modern Magic Meals all over her cubicle, the scriptures about success on the wall - you know the routine), I decided to keep it inside my cubicle. I will, however, bring in a big empty box of Tide, display it in my office, and say how great it cleans my clothes - and for so little cost! And my washer has never drained better or faster!

One of my close friends was brought into Amway by the woman he was dating at the time. He is known now as the "guy who overdresses". When I asked him whether he was investing in our company's deferred compensation plan, he said that he was investing in "his business for his future." He has called several friends three times to see if they were interested in making more money - after having been turned down twice, I would hope he would get the picture.

His car has massive mileage on it, and is starting to break down more often. I am afraid that he will not get out until it's too late - and this person has a decent income from his primary job. I am going to send him some of the info from your site and Sidney's site and see if he will open his mind beyond the system.

I have seen many emails asking "well, dream stealer, what do you have that's better?" Well, this is what I have that's better:

1. Free time to do with as I please. I do not have to wait until the future (which may or may not arrive for each of us) to golf, swim, camp, hike, woodwork, take a nap in the afternoon if I feel so inclined - I can and do have these things now and in the future as well. Time cannot be purchased.
2. No credit card debt because I don't buy it if I can't pay cash;
3 . Investments that will provide me with substantial income in the future because of the retirement system at my J.O.B. (hey, Ambots, what's YOUR retirement system? You still have to move product and/or tapes, don't you? Um, hat to tell you, but, that's called WORK...), the deferred compensation program, and a diversified mutual fund portfolio.
4. Health insurance, also paid for by my J.O.B. (uh, Ambots, when you "retire" from your J.O.B., what are you going to do when you get sick? Those vitamins may be concentrated, but not THAT concentrated...)
5. Freedom to buy what I want and when I want, not what I am forced to in order to make my PV and still wait for delivery ("Gee, I wanted Salisbury Steak, but all I have left is 56 of these Big Fiber Cookies...). I also get free choice about whether I feel something is worth the price associated with it. If it's not, I shop elsewhere, or don't buy it. I also do not have to put up with claims from a store clerk that Glimmer toothpaste is worth $4.00 + a tube because it's "concentrated". What, you put less on your brush? Uh huh. Wanna buy a bridge? And by the way, doesn't connoting "negative" feelings toward inanimate consumer goods seem a little, well, STRANGE to you?
6. A decent house that's half paid for in three years. Actually, my friend's upline went through our house and kept repeating "serious dreambuilding session" in between repeated attempts at finding out how much we paid for it. She still doesn't know. She makes about what I make in my place of work.
7. The peace of mind in knowing that if someone asks me what I do for a living, I can tell them up front, and not have to hide the name of my company because of past FTC litigation and ongoing defamation lawsuits with Proctor & Gamble.

What do I have that's better? Uh - what do YOU have that's better?!?!?

And, by the way, this was not "given to me." My father worked as a body shop and service department foreman (he still made more in a year - $12,000 - than most Amway directs, and had his free time to teach me well about life in general and cars in particular), my mom was a housewife, and I went through school on loans. I work hard, but I am by no means an overachiever. I am a midlevel professional who would rather spend 5 minutes carefully planning than 5 years carefully showing the plan. I am also blessed with a working wife who knows more about managing money than most people will ever hope to.

No, I never tried Amway. Never tried smoking or shooting myself in the kneecap with a pistol, either. Some things are so obviously bad that you pay no attention to the advertising hype and pass them by. Keep spreading the truth. Please do not use or spread my name or Email address - I get enough Email fluff already to last a lifetime.

I should have been suspicious when my daughter came home from college one day and began talking about her friend who had become involved in the Amway business. As with most folks, I had heard of Amway but did not think much about it one way or the other. I did receive a phone call from a person about 10 yrs ago, but she was so pushy that I hung up on her. Sometime later, I learned that Tina (my daughter) had signed up under her friend and husband. Shortly thereafter we received "the call".

They came over and showed us the plan and all I saw was the chance to make $2000/mo part time and with another daughter in college thought what the heck, go for it. I was not excited about selling, but the products seemed ok and we really needed the money. Tina did not know much more than I at the time and she left immediately for the east coast and graduate school leaving this couple as my "surrogate" sponsor.

It is now June, 1995 and I have been in about a week making plans to go out and sell, sell, sell. I was informed that that was not exactly the way to go about the business, that I needed to contact all my family, friends, and acquaintences to show them the business. Furthermore, I was expected to attend something called "Family Reunion" in Phoenix in July plus two or more meetings a month in San Jose which is about 1.5 hrs away. This did not sit well with me for a couple of reasons: 1. I signed up to earn money and am not afraid of work, but within a month's time I was $400+ in the hole to a major function and they had my order for the first round of tapes and books not to mention sample kits and everything else one needs to "succeed". 2. I am a morning person and do not function well driving late at night. I certainly did not want to start driving all over creation after work to all hours for meetings, etc. When I mentioned this, they said lack of sleep never killed anybody and everyone who was successful did it. The very real possibility (for me anyway), of falling asleep at the wheel and killing myself or some other poor schmuck never seemed to enter their minds.

Well, we did need the money and I bought into the argument that I did not have to re-invent the wheel; just do as those who had gone before and you will be able to afford anything you want. A year and a half later I had two downline and had spent around $3000 which we could ill afford. The exact opposite for which I had joined was occurring and although my wife tried to support me as much as possible ( I was working as a single as she has her own that actually makes money), the strain on our marriage was taking its toll.

In the end, I could not justify the expense verses a $7.50 "bonus" check. I could not sit around at a nuts and bolts and listen to our Ruby encourage his people to go into credit card debt to pay for major functions, tapes, etc. Bad advice no matter how you cut it. I am a spiritual person, but could not reconcile the twisted precepts of faith, success, and riches especially when accomplished or attained at the expense of others. I could not listen to Dave Severn and Jimmy Head demean women as little prettys to do one's bidding while calling men wimps with Mickey Mouse tails who have the temerity to discuss important issues with their wives and appreciate their intelligence and opinions. Jimmy Head really went off on this issue at the last FED I attended in Sacramento. They always said that great decisions were made at major functions and I made mine; not to go diamond, but to go home..

In the end, I received a rather unpleasant phone call from our Ruby and I explained my position as best I could over the phone. I am not very good at thinking on my feet, but put pen in hand and look out! I wrote him a scorching letter and called Amway to drop my distributorship.

I had become extremely depressed. I had lost all interest in the things which used to bring me happiness and joy. To this day, while I am much better, things still are not the same. Fortunately, I found Ashley Wilkes on the net and he has been an excellent resource, mentor and friend. No one likes to feel alone and he has helped me realize that I am not alone in this. he has helped me confirm in my mind that all the misgivings and feelings of guilt I had developed were symptomatic of many others who have gone through this experience. Most of all, however, he helped me free my daughter and her husband and I will always be thankful for that.

As of this year, I have been teaching for 28 years. lord, I cannot believe it has been that long! I realize that I will not be retiring as a Diamond with helicopters carrying me off campus to Peter Island but that is ok. We have two beautiful, well educated daughters to send off to the world and I (we) are well respected in our professions. How much richer does one need to be? I feel positive about the future; we will recover from eight years of university tuition (eventually, ha!), but we do not regret one day or one nickle of it all. I just wish I could fully rid my myself of this Amway thing as it nags at me in the back of my mind and still bothers me some. I feel as though I have had two years of my life stolen from me and some of the mental changes that occurred during that time, while fading, never seem to go away. I just want to be left in peace....

I discovered your pages over the course of the past year. I was an Amway distributor briefly in 1991, and did not care for it at all. But in July 1995, a "brother" at my former church hooked me at a time when I was vulnerable. You know the routine, all the friendliness, telling me I'm such a "winner", want to "help", etc. The organization was International Leadership Development (ILD), a group that broke away from World Wide Dream Builders in June 1995. Oh yes, such a "Christian" business.

I was disenchanted not only with the business but found that the "friendship" was good only if I kept in the "business", otherwise, it was surprising how there was never any time to build a "friendship"; after all, kids "business comes first" and "you understand - don't you"? My ass (excuse me, but I'm still angry, even after going inactive in October 1996 and ending my distributorship in February 1997). I could not, in good conscience, or more deeply, be true to my faith by using all the clever "techniques" on others that were used on me.

When I discovered your sites during the past year, all I could say over and over was - "I knew that something was wrong, but I could not put my finger on it". You all did. I found myself reading your information, and although my former uplines were less blatant on things, it was still the same smooth talk; what is called in the South "shucking and jiving". And they were very good at it. I am deeply grateful to all of you for your courage to tell the real truth to the public, if I had only found you all a year earlier....

I wasted my money, my time, and my heart on those guys, and I deeply regret it, even after being out for seven months. So many of them claim they are "Christian" - well, what is on their "reading lists" and in their "tapes" is a

very subtle but deadly and perverted version, known in many circles as "aberrant Christianity" - and it is very dangerous! Hassan's mind control book and site

do as good a job as any in exposing the AMO techniques and subtle games. To all who are considering this, be warned - it is a big con. Whether you are Christian or not, stay away from it, it will mess your mind and heart up. Just keep on walking and don't talk to any of them.

Some, and I'm sure my former upline "brothers", would say I will be a "dead broke loser". Hmmm, someone bigger than I might tend to disagree with your assesment. Perhaps I am a "loser" - but I have a clear conscience knowing I don't scam my friends and fellow Christians, and I can look at myself without being ashamed. No Diamond, Double Diamond, Peter Island, or 25,000 member organization can buy those things.

Keep up your outstanding work in warning people about this aberrant "Christian" cult and it's poisonous deceptions.

Thanks...I spent over two years in the Britt Org. I was 9 wide and had about 30 people in my organization. I even hit 1800 PV! Of course most of the folks in my organization got out as fast as they got in...Imagine that...Anyway..I was a core person...and I kept hearing at the functions to stay away from the Internet because of all the negative hype from bitter ex-Amway distributors...I got AOL and decided to check out what was getting all the big pins in an uproar...I even felt guilty about going on line...I was one of the guys spouting all that stuff in the "plan" because I was duplicating my upline...I've heard all the objections and I always had a good response for them...I don't know what I would have said if I had confronted as prospect that was armed with the truth..Anyway, before I decided to flush the business, I did learn some good people skills that have helped me at the J.O.B., and I am a Born Again Christian least I got something good for all the money I spent...God Bless You..Keep up the Good Work..

Subject: Amway Victim #238475526375960483646238
I too have to sheepishly admit that I was taken in by the Amway people. It's funny - I had read this board before - when I was still in. But I guess I didn't want to believe what you had written. But it's true - all the comments I have read so far from ex-distributors - they're all true.

Here's how I got suckered. I had lunch with an old colleague with whom I had worked several years ago. At the end of the lunch, he asked me, "Mary- are you ever interested in getting into business opportunities?" Since I knew him ( or at least I thought I did) and he seemed level-headed, the last thing I thought he was referring to was a multi-level marketing business. I thought he was starting a regular business and wanted to know if I was interested. I asked him what it was about, and he replied, "It's distribution technology - electronic marketing." I asked him what I would be selling, and he replied, "It's about 10,000 different products - stereos, TV's cars, etc. You can now sell them with the latest technology." I had visions in my head of using the Internet to sell goods - being a bona fide distributor - and having an organization back me up and show me how to do it. It sounded just like what I had been thinking about doing for quite some time - finding a way to market products the high-tech way. He handed me a CD and told me to go home and listen to it. Note - no word of Amway was ever mentioned.

I went home and listened to the tape. On it there was a gentleman talking about how these days one has to have his own business, about down sizing, layoffs, etc. We all know the familiar story. He was quite an eloquent speaker and what he was saying was true, but there was no explanation as to how one would sell products.

I called my friend again and told him I was interested and that the CD hadn't explained much. He said that it was deliberately vague because they wanted to explain more in depth later. Note that the CD had no Amway name on it at all. It was manufactured and produced under the label, "I.N.A.," and the title of the CD was something like, "Your Key to Financial Success." At that time my friend said that in order to learn more about it there were some information sessions which I could attend. He indicated that he would call me back when he had days and times.

He took me to a meeting, at which there was a man standing at the front talking about how to enter this business. After a few minutes I thought I heard him mention Amway, but I wasn't sure. "What did Amway have to do with starting a business in distribution technology?" I wondered. I must have heard him wrong. He continued talking and again mentioned the main distributor as Amway. I leaned over and asked my friend what Amway had to do with it. He said that the Amway products totaled only 400 - but that there were 10,000 total products. I let him know that I was definitely NOT interested in selling soap products, and was not interested in multi-level selling. He said not to worry about that - that there were many different ways to do this business.

Note here that my friend has only been in for a short while. I don't want to malign my friend - I don't' think he was deliberately trying to mislead me. I think he was just doing as he had been told to do by his sponsor, whom after I met, turned out to be a real sleaze ball. My friend's worst sin was that he was naive.

After the meeting, his sponsor, he, and I stood outside in the parking lot, along with his sponsor's wife. I again explained that my interest was in retail: I was not comfortable finding people to sign up, and I was not interested in selling soap products. There is nothing inherently wrong with these two activities - it's just that they didn't interest me. First of all, I don't know a lot of people to ask, because I currently work out of my home and don't come into contact with many people. Also, I know that none of my friends would be interested in a multi-level selling plan. And if I tried to get them interested in one they would think I was a laughing stock. My friend's sponsor and his wife continued to assure me that there were many different ways you could do this business - that many people did it with just retail so I didn't have to worry. Even prior to our conversation in the parking lot, during the meeting, another person had had the same question - he said he didn't want to sell the Amway products. The speaker replied that no one was forcing you to sell the Amway products - there were 10,000 products and Amway's products totaled only 400.

Later that week my friend took me to another meeting during which it was announced how many people had sold what, and who had reached what goal, etc., with rounds of applause. it was like a pep rally. I really didn't understand specifically what was going on, but I knew in a general way what they were talking about. Later that day I went to my friend's house, again still believing that I would sell 10,000 varied products - Coca Cola, Panasonic, etc. with Amway as the intermediate distributor. That seemed OK to me. Already I was thinking of how I would get customers: I would leaflet - advertise, - be a real distributor, like they told me I could.

I gave my friend a check for $163.00. He gave me a box of products - ALL AMWAY. "That's odd," I thought. "Why are there no products from any of the other 10,000 distributors to use as samples. I reasoned to myself that perhaps these were just the ones that they had samples for because it was truly Amway corporation.

My friend gave me a kit - a huge box of papers. I was so excited. I felt sure that I would get home, read through it and there would be explanations as to how to be a distributor of products - (the 10,000 that everyone had been telling me was the crux of getting into this business.) I got home and emptied the boxes, and read every sheet of paper. EVERY SINGLE SHEET IN THE BOX, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, WAS ABOUT NOTHING BUT AMWAY, except for a thick catalog which had a variety of products in it. It was stuck in the back. This catalog contained the 10,000 products, but there was NO explanation of how to sell the items, NO clear pricing sheet, NO pamphlets that went along with it NO description of any kind. It was simply a catalog stuck back there - much like a Speigel catalog, that one would come across and order from. The Amway products, on the other had, had tons of accompanying literature - how to sell the products, the upcoming specials, the product bonus value (which was way higher for the Amway products than for the non-Amway products) and all kinds of other information - about 2-3 hours of reading material - all about Amway products and how to sell them. Moreover, much of the literature was about how to sponsor people. You have to get 6 people, who get 4 people, who get 2 people, and this is how you make the bug bucks.

As I wrote above - I had told them I don't know how many times I was not interested in that. They assured me that I could just "do retail." Yet when I got the kit home, EVERY sample was an Amway product, and EVERY BIT OF LITERATURE was about how to sell Amway and how to sponsor people. ALL of the information made much of the fact that sponsoring was the ONLY way to make money and the way to do the business.

By this time I was getting angry. I called my friend and again told him that I was interested in retail - NOT in finding people to sponsor and NOT in selling Amway. He assured me that he had been told this was possible. Note here at this point that at no time before I gave them my $163.00 check had anyone mentioned Amway much. They kept stressing that I would be involved in "distribution technology" of "10,000 products." Then, as soon as I am in, suddenly ALL the talk is about sponsoring people and selling Amway soap products. So this was exactly like any other run of the mill multi-level marketing setup. I met not one person in the organization who seemed to be robustly involved in selling the "10,000 products', and the catalog was simply stuck in the back of the kit they gave me, with no information with it on how to sell these items and no other information of any kind, in stark contrast to the Amway products.

At that point my friend knew I was angry, so he suggested to me that since I was interested in a high-tech product that I try the MCI. They had mentioned before that Amway had a joint venture with MCI and that there were people who had made a lot of money just selling the MCI. I did have interest in selling this product - especially since it would also involve selling their Internet provider. I think also I was in denial - trying to "grab at straws" - hoping to find SOMETHING that I could do with this program so that my investment wouldn't be a total loss.

Let me digress just a moment and discuss the kit they gave me. Everything that you wanted to do in terms of selling involved buying very expensive items - like $6.00 tapes. I asked my friend's sponsor if distributors could have copying rights of the tapes - for even a reduced amount. No. Could we make up our own leaflets, to avoid paying the $10.00 to $70.00 for the catalog and pamphlets? No. Was there a way to share materials? You could, but it was much better to have your own.. I stood there wondering how I was going to afford all these items. I then thought back to the pamphlet in the kit which told about how Amway the corporation had had such phenomenal success in terms of profit and growth in sales. I have a business background, and it became apparent to me right then and there that the reason that Amway corporation was making so much money was that the distributors were paying so much for the materials to sell the goods. Whether or not the distributors actually turned this investment into sales was irrelevant to Amway corporation. It was profit for the corporation - and sheer expense for the distributors.

A few days later my friend called me and told me there was a meeting. This meeting was called "Football." During the meeting, each successive person would announce the things they had done for their business and they would get yards on a toy football field. The more things they had done, the more yardage. Different things got different yardage - for example, if you purchased a tape, you got 10 yards. If you showed the plan, you got 50 yards, etc. Scanning the list, I noticed that the items which gave you the most yardage were those which involved you, the distributor, making a purchase. The heftier the purchase, the more yardage you got. The person giving the meeting was the, I guess the Diamond. What really struck me was that YOUR GRAND PRIZE FOR GETTING A LOT OF "YARDAGE" WAS A ROUND OF APPLAUSE. You got no monetary prize of any sort - not even a mug. "So this is the trick." I thought. "The Diamond invites people over to his house to applaud them for spending money which makes the Amway corporation rich." But it gets better. I didn't know at that time, but I know now that a portion of the money that distributors spend on materials goes into the Diamond's pocket. so this guy is inviting people to his house so that he could applaud them for lining HIS POCKETS! AND THEY WERE ALL FALLING FOR IT! I don't know about you, but I will invite anyone to my house and applaud them if they want to spend money that makes me wealthier. I will give you all the applause you want. What a con game!

So this was the scam: Sell these people on the dream of Amway: Make them believe that they have to buy these products.

By the end of the evening of the "Football" pep rally, as it were, I came full circle and it all came clear. First, I saw my friend's sponsor. I asked him about the MCI. I told him that, as I had said before, I was NOT interested in sponsoring people - I was interested in a distributorship, like they told me it was. I was also interested in a high-tech type product - NOT in the Amway. Remember, they had assured me all the way that the Amway products were only 400 of the 10,000 products. When I asked my friend's sponsor about selling MCI, which appeared to be the only last ditch effort I had at selling a product that I really wanted to sell, he replied, "Oh, you can't make a lot of money selling that. The only way to do it is to have sponsorees. How about next Wednesday night at your place, you invite as many friends as you can and we will have a house party to sign up some sponsorees."

At that moment I knew what had happened. It was a bait and switch. They knew all along that this was a typical, multi-level selling set-up, in which you sell Amway products. The "catalog of 10,000 products" was just stuck in the back of the kit they gave me as a decoy so that they could get away with calling it a distributorship. When you got in, all anyone ever tried to get you to do was sell Amway and recruit sponsorees.

I called my friend and told him I wanted out. I told him that no one ever had said it was Amway until I got in, and that that was dishonest. He replied that that was because "there was a lot of misinformation floating around." Yeah, right. I think my friend is an honest person, but terribly gullible and misguided. But his sponsor is obviously extremely dishonest. And his sponsor after that.

But it gets better. Shortly after that, some packages came in the mail from Amway. When I received them, I thought to myself, "Well, I am glad I'm out, but at least they were good enough to provide distributors with these items free of charge to help them sell. Perhaps they weren't all bad." I sent them back, however, since I was no longer interested. Lo and behold, I get my bank statement that month, and there were three charges on there that I did not recognize - all for a "GCA International." I called the bank and they said they did not recognize the company, and that they had to put a trace on it. Moreover, when I spoke to them that day, they informed me that, that same day, several more charges had gone through for the same vendor. All total the charges came to close to $100.00 Well, you guessed it. These were charges from Amway. THEY SENT ME MATERIALS TO SELL WITH WHICH I DID NOT SOLICIT AND DEBITED MY CHECKING ACCOUNT WITHOUT INFORMING ME OR ANYTHING. Granted, when you sign up, you sign that they can debit your account FOR MATERIALS THAT YOU REQUEST. I did NOT even request these materials - they simply decided to send them to me and debited my account.

No wonder the Amway corporation as a whole is doing so well. All they have to do is sign you up as a distributor, and then send you mountains of selling material, and then automatically debit your account. Meanwhile you run around like a crazy person trying to sell the product and get sponsorees. Whether you get any one or not, and whether you sell anything or not, Amway corporation has made BIG bucks off of you as a distributor - in effect they have sold the DISTRIBUTORS a product, "The Amway Dream." This is what Amway is really selling: - Its real money making product and the reason for the company's financial success is NOT because it sells products - it's because it sells the "Amway Dream" to its distributors.

Your website was insightful and answered many concerns and questions I dare not ask my uplines. We have been in the business for two years and I honestly have to say, I wish we'd never seen the plan. We dove into the business with the idea of 'we have nothing to loose, let's check this thing out.' I was so wrong.

But my dilemma is this: I love my boyfriend very much and we've been dating for years now and have plans of getting married. The system and his uplines have REALLY embedded ideas into his head. He has sworn to do this business for life! This, I'm pretty sure, has made his uplines VERY happy. I, wanting to spend the rest of my life with this man, have forced myself to attend meetings, functions and drive literally thousands of miles to show my support for him. I have no belief in the system and feel that the business plays with people's basic emotion. I am SO DEEP into letting him think that I also support the business that I will hurt him so much when I tell him I don't have the same agenda.

At the beginning, I also believed in the business. But as time passed, I found myself disagreeing with misleading ideas and numbers, not to mention the uncomfortable doses of religious fill during functions. Or the many times we risked our lives driving through tremendous snowstorms just to get to the functions. How about close encounter with death driving back from functions (because we live up in New England, our drive to a function can be anywhere between 12-18 hrs.EACH way) because we had only 3 hrs of sleep the night before.

I like to get back to a life where I don't need to be made WRONG or RIDICULED or TO JUSTIFY for not doing Amway, a talent by trade for some uplines and diamonds.


Charles I first visited your site several months ago, and have been meaning to send you mail ever since. You are to be congratulated for the time and effort that you have taken to compile such a site. Your site is, in my opinion the most informative AMWAY site out there, filled with facts from both those who have and have not succeeded at THE BUSINESS. I was involved in the business for just over 1yr with results that were far from what I had expected given the time, effort and MONEY required by THE SYSTEM. I have been involved in business all of my life and from the beginning there were always some things that just didn't smell right. There were two reasons I looked at the plan. As a business man if I am not open minded to change and different ways of doing business, I am an idiot and will soon be out of business, so I agreed to see the plan. The ONLY reason that I looked at it again during the follow-up was because my company had done a lot of business with the company of my future sponsor, so there was a degree of trust there as well. Otherwise I am sure that I would not have looked any further. I attended several meetings, rallies etc AIN'T IT GREAT and listened to (and bought) many tapes many, many, many times. Probably more than much of my up-line. I also did a lot of the work, phone calls, plans, and spent much more money trying to promote MY BUSINESS. Not to pat myself on the back, but any who know me would tell you that I am the GO-GETTER that everyone in AMWAY spends their existence looking for. I had heard of AMWAY before, but had never been shown the plan until this time. After tiring of wasting a lot of time,energy and money with minimal results you have to take a serious look at what you are doing. If the horse is dead, grab the saddle and get off!

The final straw

My wife and I have two small children under the age of two. While sitting down with the Pearl Direct , I said listen we both know that I am the type of person that you look for in this thing (ambitious) but I need to be making decent money in the next few months. The reason was that my wife was to go back to work at that time and child care expenses would be about $1000/mth. His response was that if I was SERIOUS he would help me. I was, and continued to do more work as well as handing him many International contacts throughout our relationship with no results (that I was told of). He apparently forgot our talk and did nothing. BIG MISTAKE, HUGE...(burt gullick tape). It was at that point that I went searching for more unbiased information, and then found your site, which confirmed much of what I had suspected. I immediately canceled all SOT,DBR tapes book of the month and the latest program SOP. I also printed about 75pgs of your information and compiled a nice package that was sent to each of our front line. For those who don't know SOP (standing order product) is designed to automatically send PRODUCTS to your door monthly and no doubt minimize the amount of negative products that you buy. Needless to say that over the last few months our organization has disbanded, much to the dismay of my up-line.


First let me say that there is NOTHING wrong with AMWAY as a company. The majority of the products are grossly overpriced offering similar quality to most anything you could buy for far less at a store. The AMWAY compensation package is RIDICULOUS in comparison to the amount of time, money and effort you will have to expend to reach ANY given level. The SYSTEM does teach some good principles of success etc, but at what cost? The number of tapes that you need to weed through at $5 or $6 bucks each to find some useful information seems to be many. The business and MARKETING knowledge that you actually need to succeed in any business is NEVER taught. I can only assume this is because you would begin to understand what is actually going on. All of this aside, the single biggest problem is DECEPTION, and it begins from the minute that the plan is put in front of any one. After you build this big DREAM, you talk about a 6-12 month plan when you make $3000/mth. It very rarely happens in that time frame unless you happen to run into 100 or so very co-operative people in a row. The DECEPTION and secrecy continue through every aspect of the business and getting a straight answer as opposed to a snappy AMWAY one is hard to come by. People with integrity begin to tire of this. I should mention that my sponsor works 70hrs/wk at his regular job and is separated from his wife. There is no doubt in my mind that his AMWAY business was a contributing factor. If this is the price of so called success in AMWAY then most would agree that it's too high. There is a reason that only 1 billion of AMWAYS estimated 7 billion in business last year was done in North America. The public's image/perception of AMWAY is TERRIBLE, and if you are the one STP then you are doing PR work for a 7 billion dollar corporation for FREE! Hmmmmm. As with anyone who has been actively involved I could write a book, but I'll stop here. As is usually the case in life, most lessons are expensive ones, but thanks Charles for your excellent site which surely saved me and many others more time and money because you have offered FACTUAL information!

First of all I just want to thank you for using your own brain, for searching for the truth and for presenting an objective look at the other side of the business. Your web site provides concrete information about a side of the business hidden by the upline. How I wish I could have accessed this site (and the wide variety of other sites out there) before my husband and I signed on the dotted line. Like you, I do not have an axe to grind. I just want others to be able to hear both sides of the business before they make that commitment.

Let me share a few things that may add to your site. My husband and I were 100% loyal, go-getter every month distributors. We bought extra tapes, books and sponsoring materials. We prospected people at the malls on our lunch breaks and in between plans. We always had a spare kit in the car. Our upline lived 5 hours away (one way). Two weekends out of every month were spent driving to their functions. We counceled upline regularly, and frequently dropped plans with family & friends in order to attend funcitons. We were committed, we really thought the business would work for us. I knew the business was not a get-rich-quick scheme. I knew I would have to work very hard to become successful. I have never been afraid of hard work, in fact, I embrace challenges.

Over Christmas last year, my husband and I took a week off to enjoy the holidays and each other. After that, I came down with pneumonia and had to spend a week in bed. During that time, we reflected on the time, energy and money we were spending in the business. We realized that after one year of "doing whatever it takes" and sacrificing important family time, we had no results. We hit 1000 pv one month, but it was because we sold water treatment supplies and some Amagrams. We were still at 300 pv because we bought everything through the business. Everytime we asked our Direct what we could be doing to improve, he would reply "just keep doing what you're doing."

My husband and I have always had an excellent relationship. We have always been positive people with a real desire to help people, to be successful and to be genuinely happy. I can honestly say that while we were working the business, we were unhappy. We were anxious all the time because we never felt like we were doing "what it takes." We always felt guilty because our upline seemed to be perfect, and we were not. No matter how hard we tried, we could never reach the goals they said would be reached within one year of work. Everyday we listened to stories on the tapes telling us of people who went direct in 3 months or 6 months. We wondered what these people were doing! We were busting our butts, but we felt like real failures. We were told to "do more." But we had no more time left to "do more." We were exhausted all of the time. When we did get together with our families, I usually spent half the time asleep on the couch. And when we did spend time away from the business, the guilt was incredible! Guilt is a powerful tool used by Amway distributors. It was used on me and I suffered because of it. I think I got pneumonia because I was so tired, so run down, so upset with myself.

My husband and I slowed down after I was sick. We just didn't have it in us to continue prospecting, calling people and showing the plan. We continued to listen to tapes and attending functions.

In my current job I am very professional. I have high standards and do well because of them. I decided that if I were to continue in the business, I must do independent research so that I could be intelligent with prospects. I work in a media environment. All of my colleagues, friends and associates are very well read. They know how to research an issue and make sound business decisions based upon facts and experience. I had the experience. I believed that if I was to talk to them about any business, I had now better know the facts. I thought being informed would make me a more effective distributor and sponsor.

And here I am now. Your web site and countless others mirrored the experiences I had been facing for the past two years. I expected to come across evidence supporting the business that I had put so much of myself into. Instead, I came across people who had been lead blindly into a business, a club, they knew only one side of. When I realized that my upline Diamond was still "working" while living a life that appeared to be perfect, I decided to leave the business. I don't want the lifestyle of a Diamond because I realize they too must continually work to keep their people ""fired up." They make you believe that they are totally free, but in reality, they are not free. They are bound by their upline. They must get permission from their upline before they make major purchases, before they take vacations, before they do special promotions within their business, etc. Their whole being is based on the upline's advice. That may be fine for them if they are happy, but I know I could not be happy living under the law of the upline for the rest of my life. With any wealth comes a price. I will not sacrifice my ability to reason, to think on my own and to question authority for any amount of money -- ever.

Everyday my husband and I tell each other "thank God we aren't doing the business anymore." I am so happy that I am my own person again. We are having fun with our families and friends. We are enjoying our lives once again. I still have my dreams, and I will find a way to achieve them. I was successfule before Amway, and I will continue to be a positive, successful individual long thereafter. Like my husband always said when we were frustrated, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." There are other ways to earn income out there, contrary to popular upline belief.

Let me leave you with a list I developed while frustrated at one of the last functions we attended. It has helpd me immensely:

My Ground Rules:
1. Always remember your own priorities: take care of them first.
2. Never, ever stop "thinking" on your own.
3. Never act out of fear; act because you want your goal.
4. Don't take your current job for granted. Like your boss and the others you work
with. They are people who deserve respect.
5. Be patient with yourself (& your spouse). Enjoy life today.
6. Never quit, never give up on your goals & dreams
7. If someone hurts you, makes you feel inferior or makes you angry, it is because you let them.
8. Never answer rhetorical questions.
9. Never explain yourself to others.
10. Never apologize for who you are!
11. Take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
12. Choose your mentors wisely; don't just accept advice from anyone.

PS - I am in the process of trying to return some tapes to my upline Direct. You, and others, were right. They are putting up a fight. I told him that if Amway guarantees their products, then why won't you and Internet Corp. guarantee yours? The tapes are unused & unopened. He had returned others before, but now he says he can't return mine. Double standards? Any advice? I was in the Yeager-Gooch-Lewis-Grabil-Brown line of sponsorship.

PSS - info you requested in your site: My sponsor threw away the "Ten Retail Customer Rule" information when we broke our kit. I was told to do the same when I sponsored people. I was told that if I wanted to build a strong, profitable business, that I should put my efforts into sponsoring, not retailing.

Charles, I realize you are probably very busy. I would appreciate it if you could e-mail any advice about returning tapes to the upline. Thank you!

I don't know if this happened to you, but when I talked to my direct last night about getting a refund on my opened tapes, I saw a totally new side to the man. I knew him as a sweet, sensitive guy. A nice man -- I liked him better than my sponsor! When I confronted him about this issue, he was condescending, belligerent and pompous. He tried to make me feel guilty. He told me I never had to buy the tapes in the first place! (yeah right) I told him I had been doing some independent research into the matter, and he replied in a sarcastic tone, "I bet you have..."

No matter what mind control tactics he tried to use, I was strong enough to debate my case. Two months ago I could not have done that. Hearing your story, and the others available via the net, has given me strength.

I will continue to watch your web site. And I will certainly let you know the outcome of this ordeal! You know, if we can emotionally detach ourselves from this situation, it really is kind of hilarious, isn't it?

I lost my only brother to Amway! We were close until some amway asshole got him in, now everyone in my family hides there head when he comes to visit. When he comes to visit we cannot just sit down and talk like brothers, the conversasion always ends up with amway saving and changing how the fuckin world does buisness. My bro works his regular job and works his so called amway biz. He has no time for his wife and kids, and is truly burning the candle at both ends. I wish him success but at what expence, (lost family, wife, brother and sisters, freinds). If your in amway GET OUT! while you still have your family and friends. If you want to better your finiacial position, BUDGET AND SAVE YOUR MONEY AND INVEST IT IN THE STOCK MARKET, and you wont loose you love ones.

It's amazing, after spending over 5 years in Amway, in 3 different organizations (Yeager (Tim Bryan), WWDB, and another), I never knew of the money from the tapes. I don't know how these guys can sleep at night knowing they have brainwashed a person into having a garage sale and selling all sorts of stuff just to go to Family Renuion. I remember eating beans on toast and bean burritos just to get by. Meanwhile, I was on SOT SOB, and attended all local functions, and all majors. WHY? Because I was serious abou it. Sheeesh! What a scam. I'm spreading the information from all of these sites as fast as I can.

More on the mindcontrol. I'm going to have to look around, but I want to transcribe the words and scan some pictures from a book, called "we're going DIamond". What's really sick is tht this is a childrens book. It's meant to indoctinate them early.

I"m getting really sleepy, but I'll eamil you of what I went throug. I was in Ross and LEslie Halls group. Are you familiar with them? They were sponsored by Theron and Darlene Nelson.

I thank you for sharing your amway story with others. I knew a little about amway for the past three years. Several people approached me for starting the business (in malls, grocery stores) etc. But, I did not want to make that kind of money so I ignored them. Last three months one of my collegue, working in the same project asked me if I want to start some kind of business, I did not say no. But I kept on asking for more info (I knew he is an amway). Finally, yesterday he came home to explain the business. I invited him to my place to get more indepth info about amway. I don't know what kind of black magic he did for me and my wife. We kind of got convinced and decide to sign-up this weekend. This morning I came back to work and was browsing the web and got hold of this web site and learnt a lot about this kind of industry. Thank god I will not be in it. Thanks a lot for you once again.

Why I got out of Amway

1. While I believe in the freedom of speech, the same cannot be said about Amway.

Your Amway family (the uplines) encourage and program people not to express any thoughts that might be construed as "negative" comments or criticisms of the business. From the very beginning, you are indoctrinated to believing, without question, what your uplines teach you and what information they feed to you. When I was in the business, any seeds of doubt that I had about information relative to Amway was outweighed by my obsessive enthusiasm for the business.

Though many, well-intentioned Amway distributors proclaim that the Amway business is not a "cult", there are many cult like attributes promoted and fostered by the Amway motivational organizations, including but not limited to instructing down line distributors not to read newspapers, magazines, or watch TV, as these "outside" influences could taint an Amway true believer and introduce "negative" influences into the Amway family. It's as if the powerful Amway upline distributors are afraid that "outside influences" may act like viruses that will attack and perhaps kill the Amway body.

During the time that I was in Amway, I was concerned about these teachings, but was hopeful that enough enlightened people would join the organization in order to blunt and then eventually change such a close-minded philosophy and mentality.

2. The religious overtones and influx of religion into the business.

I was dismayed by the religious overtones in what I initially thought was a sophisticated business. Tapes were pushed on us like drugs pushed on an addict. It seemed to me that some of the tapes were religious testimonials or the teachings of an evangelist, rather than helpful hints on running and expanding an Amway business.

Even worse were the religious segments of rallies and major functions. At the very beginning of any rally, there would be a prayer, even though many of the distributors in my group were Jewish. I was concerned that a sophisticated business organization would condone religious services at the rallies. At the major functions, religion was an integral part of the function, whether opening or closing prayers, religious speakers, or continuous references to God by the major speakers.

I have no problem with religious freedom, but I take issue with religion being co-mingled with business.

3. The "real income" of Amway:

During my time in Amway, and based upon my reading of the Amway materials, the information that I received from my uplines, and tapes that I listened to, my business plan was to develop a down line organization of consumers of Amway products as well as develop the retail business of Amway products. The tapes were merely to be used as source materials, to encourage distributors, and to provide helpful information on building an Amway distributorship.

Like most distributors, I invested both my time and money in the business, especially investing a sizable sum of money in tools, such as ad packs, overnight kits, and educational and motivational tapes. When I left the business, I had boxes of tapes but believed that the tapes had been a business investment.

In reality, the tapes are a major source of income for some of your high level uplines. Please note the recent lawsuit filed by double Diamond distributors Brig and Lita Hart, in which they allege and reveal that:

"In addition to the profits distributors earn from sales of Amway's products, certain mid-level and high-level distributors obtain revenue (and profits) from the sale of Amway-related products -- books, cassette tapes, selling aids, videotapes, flip-charts, etc. -- called "business support materials". These materials are used by distributors to help train and motivate their down-line distributors. Although the great majority of these materials are not manufactured or distributed by Amway, Amway has recognized the existence of this aspect of the business and has promulgated various rules regulating the manufacture, sale and distribution of these business support materials. These rules require the sale of these materials to follow a distribution system that is parallel to the lines of sponsorship used to sell Amway products. For some distributors, including Plaintiffs, the sale of business support materials produces revenues far exceeding the revenues generated from the sale of Amway's consumer goods." (Emphasis added)

I encourage any Amway distributor or person interested in the Amway business to read the entire complaint filed by the Harts, which can be found in the excellent website maintained by Sydney Schwartz. His website is as follows:

I encourage you to ask your upline direct, pearl, emerald, and Diamond how much "tools" profits they are making and the percentage of "tools" profits to "overall" profits. Also ask them for their comments on the Harts' lawsuit.

Lastly, I encourage you to engage in an open forum about the Amway business. Whether you agree with me is not important. What is important is that you investigate the Amway business with an open mind and make your own inquiry into the pros and cons of the Amway business.

Remember, knowledge is power, and ignorance is for the powerless.

I want to thank you for providing this unbiased information on the Amway corporation. I am so thankful for the first amedment and the power of FREE speech that gives you the authority to provide such information to those of us who are just trying to make it in this world.

I recently went to a rally here in Minneapolis on September 23 where Dave Severn was the featured speaker. He is a dynamic speaker and he really had me sitting on the edge of my seat ready to sign onthe line. The play on my emotions, my views toward my current job, the lack of time with my kids, every aspect of my pathetic life were at his mercy. He had the answer to my short comings and I was ready to go for it.

but my wife has a strong will and she keeps me in line when it comes to impulsive decisions. I decided to do a little more research on "THE BUSINESS". I've only heard one side ofthe pitch and it's amazing to me how shady and secrective the answers to my questions were handled.

I may be naive in my business thinking skills, but to me, a successful business is one that is bulit on honesty, integrity and a strong beleif in the products and services that you represent. All 3 of these things are needed for me to be successful, not only in business, but in life.

Once I visited your site, and others like it, I had to step back and take a closer look at what I thought was so great about the Amway way of obtaining success. Deception, coersion and falshoods are not my style and I'm very offended that my so called friends would try to include my family in the like.

I want success. I want financial freedom. I want to spend more time with my kids, but not off the lies and deceptive tactics appluaded by the "slicksters" at Amway!

Your site filled all of the holes that the recruiters from Amway left wide open to avoid giving me, in Paul Harvey's words,"THE REST OF THE STORY".

Needless to say, my opinion of the business has soured. I'll continue to plug away like the rest of hard working Americans. I may be just above water financially, but I'm flyin' sky high with the integrity and honesty that a TRUE God fearing christian should have.

Thanks again forthe insite.

This was one that I couldn't pass up. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
>hi...very interesting...charles.. very.. very.... ha.. ha.. how stupid
>a man can be?...

I was pretty stupid for many years..I refer to them as my Amway years

>if you had spent this much time building the business..

Actually, we will be well into the next century before I come anywhere close to matching the time I spent building the "business".

>you probably would have touched somebody's life some how...

How can you say that? Didn't you see my web-counter. I have touched TENS OF THOUSANDS of lives. Some positive...some negative. My average is probably no different than most distributors.

>what did you get out of this after wasted
>some more money online?

Get original...I had internet access long before I put up this web-site and it doesn't cost anything more to have it. You're probably not used to this, but I shopped around and found an ISP that would give me internet access AND web-space for less than $20 a month.

>unless you own the company... in a way i'm glad... why? because
>you are trying to compare amway to perfectness...

You missed the main thrust of my web-site. It's the "honest, impeccably ethical, and moral" distributors that will lie, cheat and cause tremendous financial and emotional harm that I'm talking about.

>but is there anything called perfect around here?

Yep...a chocolate peanut butter pie! Hmmmmm

>your job...dude.. i would rather work hard 25 years
>in the amway business

You probably that time you MIGHT reach direct and start earning enough to cover your annual expenses!

>and live happy than work for sombody like you do...
>(probably) what you do after all...? work for a

Try "doing your own thing" with your amway busines. Ignore what your upline says and do it your way. Find out how much of a "boss" YOU are when the system ignores you because YOU AREN'T DOING WHAT YOU ARE TOLD TO DO. If you don't toe the line, you don't participate in the system income...dude...haven't you learned that yet?

>you talked about direct and up making money off you...!!!
>how did they all get there... free?

I don't ever claim they don't deserve the income. Just reporting it. I'll let people make their own decision.

>or bill clinton appointed them directly?

NOW you're talking. His appointees would certainly do a better job than what's out there now.

>so what do you do after quitting amway...
>work 24 hours a day for a BOSS?

No I don't. I work 8 hours a day at my J-O-B, then come home and I have the freedom to do what ever my wife and I please. Our marriage is better, our finances our better, and the only time we've come close to being this happy was pre-amway.

I've also got a part-time consulting business. This month I've already earned $4,000 and the month ain't over yet. PV checks should be out by now, WANT TO COMPARE CHECKS BUDDY?

>and play lotto...

Yes I do play the lotto occassionally. My chances of winning are about the same as hitting diamond.

>you know i will tell you a coffe and a
>donut for your boss every morning...

Actually HE buys the coffee & donuts (this is no joke!)

>he might give you A 25 cents raice right away...!!!

I hope you're talking about a raise, it was last July. It was a $4,800 a year raise. HOW MUCH DID YOUR AMWAY INCOME INCREASE FROM LAST YEAR?

>you are very funny you know that...!

I know! I should have been a comedian! I missed my calling.

>also i guess you must be making millions of dollars
>from this web site i guess...

Nah...I'm doing this for truth, justice and the American Way!

>you must be really hurting their business a lot!

Actually, WE ARE!

>ow! i think they gonna go out of business pretty soon....

With distributors like you around, you're probably right.

>because of your web site.. after all do you have anything
>better to offer for the possible victims who visit your
>web site?

Sure do, instead of sinking $200 a month in a very very long shot at success, put the money in the bank and invest it. You chances of having something in the bank at the end of 25 years would be better than working an amway business. Now of course, your upline will be poorer, but hey...that's life.

>Ha...ha... ha...where is the beggars cup..?
>i feel like giving you 10 cents for he immaculate work
>you have done...!!!

Well if it makes you feel better, why don't you just give that dime to the Salvation Army in a few months. I just hope at that time you don't need it to buy that tape or go to that function that will leapfrog your business..BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Thanks fo the info. My husband and I were "marked" by a couple the other day in a mall b/c of the shirt my husband was wearing (Living Epistles). Anyway these two were slick. Chatting us up about the local churches and stuff asking where we attend. And because of the way they approached us and the topics they chose to talk about my husband and I opened up to these people. Under normal condidtions we would NEVER do that. We are very safety aware and just don't give out personal info that easly, but htese two made us feel comfortable and we let down our defenses. Anyway several days after our initial meeting we got a call from the husband of this couple letting us know that he would like to drop by and give us some information about his business. We took the call but by this time our senses had returned somewhat and we were conviently not at home when they stopped by. They left a letter describing the business which actually mentioned Amway init. Anyway they contacted us again by phone to set up some time to come by and chat about the business. Feeling hospitable my husband agreed and sat through their pitch tonight. They used almost everything you mentioned on your page in the pitch. When we questioned such things as why we were targeted they proceeded to tell us "Well when we first met we had no intention of pitching it to you but you told us about your situation (both college students, little time for regular work) and we just felt that as Christians we couldn't let another Christian couple struggle through life" HAHAHA, that is the funniest thing I have ever heard. How can one even consider this Corporation to be the epitomy of Christianity and the business world. One thing I think you might want to include on your site is some debunking of the idea that this is A CHRISTIAN company. Jesus told his disciple "abandon all and follow me" and "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. If the principles of the Christian church as I have been taugh are that money is not to be prused at all costs how can a company whos goal is to make LOTS of money be a christian company. We must alwasy be diligent in fighting evil and remember that Satan is the Prince of LIES.