Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Jul 6, 2022
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The $10,800,000 Pyramid

By Jeff Posey |

’”Now I’m gonna tell you a secret that will change your whole outlook,” Kenny Stewart tells a roomful of eager listeners at the Quality Inn Convention Center in Irving. “If we were given the opportunity for going to work for a penny-now I know that’s not much, but stay with me-just one penny, and we could double that penny every day, compound that penny every day 100 percent, then at the end of just thirty days, you’d have $10,800,000. Now, is there anyone out there who would like to have $10,800,000?” People mutter, “1 would.” like an “amen” at a country church.

That is our introduction to International Marketing Systems which, it turns out, is Amway but with a different slant. “Our philosophy is different than Amway’s,” Stewart says. “Airway people spend about 90 percent of their time selling and 10 percent of their time recruiting others. We’ve reversed that.”

Stewart, of course, has just described a classic pyramid scheme, or a multi-level sales organization as the legal folks call it. If the recruitees must pay dues to join, and there’s no product being sold, then the scheme violates the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The way this networking arm of Amway works is that it”you sell some things out of the Amway catalog, you get “point values” for it. and point values for what your recruitees sell, and what their recruitees sell, and so on.

Stephen Gardner, an assistant attorney general in consumer protection, says that Amway has been investigated by the Federal Trade Commission and was not declared illegal. Though Gardner has never heard of the Amway networkers, he says. “When they recruit people to recruit people, to recruit more people-even if it’s legal, it’s squirrely.”

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