Update: Here’s the FTC Chairperson’s DSA speech, it isn’t looking good for H.R. 5230, or any MLM scam like Amway and Herbalife, either. Too bad the FTC still doesn’t “get” the tool scam: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements/993473/ramirez_-_dsa_speech_10-25-16.pdf
I would love to be a fly on this wall, especially the sidebar discussions: The DSA (Direct Selling Association) in the USA is having a meeting next week, and here’s the official agenda: 2016-dsa-business-policy-conference_-agenda Each of the agenda items is designed to promote HR5230, obviously written by the DSA, which would legalize illegal pyramids in the USA by not requiring any external customers, which is consistent with European law. In recent years, at least 3 MLMs have quit over the DSA, which is a sock-puppet for the large MLM scams such as Amway and Herbalife, ignoring the lack of retail sales and tool scams: Avon, Tupperware, and LegalShield. In fact, Herbalife was found guilty a few years ago in Europe, then got the decision overturned and won the appeal, and the higher court said the reason for this is because there are no customer requirements defined by European law. So let’s take each agenda item to help understand what I believe is the purpose of each. But before I do that, let’s discuss what is NOT on the agenda:
- There is no direct mention of HR5230, although it is obvious this is what the entire meeting is about; and
- There are no speakers from the two largest North American based MLM scams (http://directsellingnews.com/index.php/view/2016_dsn_north_america_50_list1#.WA1XgOArI1K or 2016-dsn-north-america-50-list-direct-selling-news), Amway and Herbalife. In fact, if the large MLMs that either aren’t speaking or are known to have quit the DSA within the past few years are added up, the revenue dollar volume exceeds that of all of the remainder on the above list through #34. It’s like having your younger brother or sister egg the neighbors’ homes, while you stand behind a tree and watch!
Now tackling the agenda:
- Opening Remarks, Joseph N. Mariano: Joe is the head of the DSA, in other words, the head MLM scam sock-puppet. There’s no doubt he will shove sunshine up their butts and get everyone frothed up with how great the crumbling MLM scam industry is, and wishes it could be just like Europe, with no retail sales requirements. Dream on, Joe;
- The European Direct Selling Agenda: A Conversation with SELDIA’s Katarina Molin: SELDIA (sell, did ya?) is the name of the DSA in Europe. There is absolutely no reason why the European DSA is talking in Washington, D.C., except to try to push HR5230 through Congress;
- Winning in a World Defined by eCommerce: This is old news, online/ecommerce has been around for a long time, and it appears this is an attempt to make it look to appear as if there are significant retail sales to non-distributors in the MLMworld. Such a crock, people don’t want to buy overpriced products online or offline;
- Doing Business in the UK, France, & Germany: Observations on
Business Climate and Market Entry: What is this, a USA or European meeting? The UK is fundamentally different than the rest of Europe, and not just because of Brexit. Back in 2008, the UK nearly kicked Amway out of their country, and allowed them to remain, but only because Amway agreed to get rid of ALL LCK tool scams and require a certain amount of retail sales before a distributor could sponsor another distributor. I believe this has gutted Amway UK, and they haven’t even reported their court-ordered statistics for the past couple of years. However, once Herbalife folds up shop in the USA next year, owing to the recent FTC settlement making their business impossible, they may as well learn the lay of the land overseas, and other MLM scams should take good notes as well;
- Income and Lifestyle Claims and Advertising Roundtable: Trends
and Guidance: Prohibiting lifestyle claims was a major victory in the Herbalife/FTC settlement, as this is the bread-and-butter to attract new people and is the shiny bright object MLM scams use to distract people from their tool scams and lack of retail sales. The advertising part is probably related to the FTC policy that you have to disclose compensation paid when advertising a product or service. The “self-regulating” part of this session is an absolute joke, as FHTM, Vemma, and Herbalife were/are DSA members in various stages of being shut down;
- Luncheon Speaker: I have no idea what the people from the D.C. or Maryland AG offices will say, but they better have Tums served with lunch.
- Safeguarding Customer Data in an Unsafe World: This is another session that is old news, but does have a devious history behind it. Amway was forced to stop requiring their distributors from having to charge full retail price as part of the 1979 decision, and ever since have tried to “disown” obtaining retail sales information, lest they hold it against the distributor for the above price-fixing violation. Herbalife tried the same stunt over the past couple of years during the FTC investigation (even though they are subject to a 1980s California permanent injunction to be able to deliver such information upon demand), which got them nowhere;
- Trends and Challenges: Salesforce Ethics Compliance: This is probably the most amusing and hilarious topic. Honor among thieves, what a joke. No further comment needed, but here’s an interview from a few years ago with one of the panelists, you can see how little progress has been made, exactly NONE: https://www.businessforhome.org/2011/01/jonathan-gilliam-interview-momentum-factor/;
- Combatting Third Party & Counterfeit Selling: Third party selling is perfectly legal, and I can’t imagine why anybody would want to counterfeit sell an MLM product. A few years ago, Amway sued three folks who were reselling Amway products. The cases were settled out of court, so we’ll never know all of the facts, but the Supreme Court has clearly ruled against Amway – the people simply didn’t have enough cash to fight the Amway scam artists for what it was worth to resell Amway products online. Obviously, the reason MLM scams don’t want this practice is because it reveals the actual value of the products, which is half or less than the distributor price, let alone the retail price;
- The BREXIT Effect: Small Businesses in the UK and Europe: This is yet another European-centric session to get MLMs scams prepared to make the “escape” to Europe. I’m not sure why the rest of the world is being ignored, perhaps a future meeting will include Asia, Africa, etc.;
- Insights from the Federal Trade Commission: Hopefully this is where Edith Ramirez, the FTC Chairwoman, will read the riot act to these MLM scams and stop all of this European nonsense. The issues are simple – MLMs need significant volume coming from external customers to keep from being an illegal pyramid, 50% is considered the absolute minimum, and is an amount no non-MLM business could survive on, and hidden and massive tool scams must stop;
- General Counsel/Outside Counsel Forum: All of these lawyers, so little common sense. Talk about making the simple complex, I’m sure this discussion will center around everything except the two simple concepts mentioned immediately above that would make this entire conference unnecessary;
- The Herbalife Settlement: Industry Implications: Finally, the real reason this conference is being held, the Herbalife debacle. Of course, the preamble was FHTM, BurnLounge, and Vemma, but Herbalife is the second largest MLM scam, second only to Amway. The industry implications is we’re coming after you, scam artists!
If there is any doubt, the answer is YES. I live in MLM scam artists’ heads rent free.