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Amway – Merchants of Deception

June 28th, 2005 . by Matt

merchants of deception

Recently a friend tried to recuit me for Amway, a company that I dislike for their way of recruiting and business methods. After an exasperating chat with my friend, I found this excellent free book online by a former Amway ‘distributor’ named Eric Scheibeler. The book carefully examines the scam from the point of view of someone that reached a high level in the ‘Amway System’, and was financially and socially ruined by his association with Amway. The book is an interesting read and is freely downloadable from his site (registration required).

After downloading his book, I recieved this email from Mr. Scheibeler.

Hi Matthew,

Thanks so much for visiting my web site and getting the free book, Merchants of Deception. Since launching the web site I have been contacted by countless former and current distributors from many countries who were recruited with false promises and lost money. Some went bankrupt and others actually lost their homes over time. The documentation seems to support that 99% recruited into the motivational scheme all lose money. Some lost a little and many lost tens of thousands of dollars. Four distributor suicides have been reported to date, two in the US and two in Australia.

If you are or were a distributor I would like to hear from you – What is YOUR story? Please send a short paragraph e-mail telling your story. This motivational fraud may soon be stopped dead in its tracks and it has a lot to do with the growing database of (global) victims. Could you please take a moment and share your experience?

Were these common representations made to you?

You can earn a fortune in 12-15 hours a week.
The income is residual and keeps coming in after you stop working.
This business has created thousands of millionaires.
There is a 100% success rate in ‘the system’ of books, tapes etc…
Little or no selling. just buy from yourself.
The upline does not make anything on the books and tapes.
You need to get away from ‘negative’ people.
You need to use 100% of the product in your own business regardless of cost.
You can save at least 30% off your own shopping bill.

Did anyone in the group you sponsored make a net income of one dollar after expenses? Did you make a profit? If not, how much do you think it cost you (approximately)? Did you find the products to be cheaper or more expensive than anything at the store? How has this impacted you personally?

Thanks so much for considering sharing your story, as it is an important one. This will NEVER be made public or posted on the internet and will only be provided to investigators, regulators and legal counsel.

I hope all is well for you.

Best regards,

Eric Scheibeler

To which I replied with my own experiences with Amway.

Dear Eric

I am not a distributor, but people from Amway or their pernicious puppet companies (‘we are Amway, but the system is different!’, they exclaim) have often approached me. Recently a friend of mine called me up and said he wanted some business advice (as I have my own business) and wanted to meet me to discuss it. On the day we were supposed to me I called him and canceled because I had been hit by a flu that been going around. It turns out that I dodged a bullet because I found out later that it was a deceitful attempt to take me to an Amway meeting. The next day we were chatting on the internet and he gave me the exact same sell that every other member of Amway does. He kept on badgering me (is that a friend???) so I sent him your book, ‘Merchants of Deception’.

Once my sister tried to get my mother involved in Amway, back when I was a teenager, but my BS dectector was going off the charts. I wondered how they could be so bold as to describe their products as ‘wholesale prices’ when it was immediately apparent that the local supermarket was cheaper.

Another time a friend of a friend said he wanted to take my friend and I somewhere. Foolishly we went along and ended up in an Amway meeting. As you write in your book, people were screaming with their fists in the air – and I was weirded out by it. They piled on a lot of pressure and I felt the burden of having to remain polite. Since then, there was another time when someone tried the same strategy (not telling me where we are going) but I was once bitten twice shy. I said ‘If you are going to take me to an Amway meeting, I swear, I will never forgive you’. She was surprised to say the least. I also told her to tell the person above her that he is an asshole for trying to bring me into this in such a deceitful manner.

I nearly feel sorry for the next Amway person that approaches me, because all they will be greeted with is condescension and mockery.

Next time you are approached by someone from Amway, do them a favor and treat them with the contempt and derision they deserve. It may just be they impetus they need to get out.

UPDATE: Watch the Dateline expose of Amway!

5 Responses to “Amway – Merchants of Deception”

  1. comment number 1 by: miyuki


  2. comment number 2 by: Matt


  3. comment number 3 by: YoshoMasaki

    The world is certainly full of gullible people. I was once tempted to look into a commodoties-trading “program” when I was a kid, but things like this are obvious pyramid schemes.

  4. comment number 4 by: CaptPorridge

    Nice Amway story for you Matt:
    Fugitive Couple Arrested After Cabbie Gets Suspicious:

    Wagers did become suspicious, though, when they told him they were headed to an Amway convention. Their sales pitch didn’t seem nearly aggressive enough, he said.

    “Amway people are all about Amway, and when they didn’t try any conversation further about it, that’s when I pretty much thought, ‘Well, they’re not with Amway; they’re doing something else,'” he said.


  5. comment number 5 by: nottan

    I recently moved to Australia and had never really come across Amway in the Uk. I met somone through an internet dating site and after a few coffees over many months, by which time I was now involved with my current partner, he persuaded me very well to ‘join’ Amway. I bought the starter pack but then becamse really concerned when he started pushing brainwashing tapes and making very derogatory comments about my partner. My alarm bells really went off when he started saying ‘don’t mention any of this to your partner’ and come to our meetings. Then he wanted me to set up something with him in the UK and could he just have my credit card detail in an e-mail
    I’m staying 100% clear and would warn any out there to do the same. They are bad news!