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Multi Level Marketing (MLM) firms have been fooling job seekers to apply to work for them since the 1980’s. Back then it took the form of door-to-door sales to con customers into investing money into their client’s business. It all started with DS-Max and diffused into smaller firms like Credico, Cydcor and the Smart Circle etc. These sort of bogus schemes have now gone global and advanced into Multi-Level Marketing firms, where the salesman promote and sell their clients’ products and services through face-to-face marketing. The salesman would take a very small percentage of the customer’s donation. Even though it is the salesman that is working under sweatshop conditions, where they would work on commission, for long hours and under poor conditions, like savage dogs on the street; it is the people above them that benefit more from their sales.
MLM’s make themselves more attractive and legitimate by advertising glamorous and appealing job posts like “event and marketing assistant” (Check it out here), when they really make you stand in a shopping centre or even a street corner from 9 am -7 pm, Monday to Friday (and the optional Saturday) to con the public to invest in their clients’ petty products and services. Their building doesn’t even have a placard to state the name of their business…suspicious or not? When recruited, the MLM “boss boys” make their employees think that they will automatically become business owners, only if they complete the 9-10 months management programme with the correct attitude. They base their business concept on “progression” to lure candidates in, thinking they can become business owners in less than a year.
The supposedly fast track business programme consists of 5 stages. We start off at entry level and have to go out onto the street and shopping centres to generate as many sales as possible from the public, by promoting their clients’ services and products to them through direct marketing. We get £20 per commission and our goal is to achieve at least 3 targets a day, so we can make £300 per week if we work super-duper hard. After 4 weeks we become Accounts Managers (or Team Leaders), these are the people in charge of recruiting as many people as possible to join their programme. Let me tell you something: if you stick a cake label onto a piece of canned shit, doesn’t that still make it a canned piece of shit? Well that’s the empty meaning behind the ranking of MLM firms. As an Accounts Manager, you have to recruit and train as many people as possible in order to move up to the next stage of the pyramid, which is Campaign Manager, then you become an Assistant Manager, lastly; Managing Director. The MDs think when they get to this stage they can open their own business, but really they are sent to a different location and have to open up another MLM firm and follow the same unethical structure and rules. Hence why, it is unfortunate to say that the MLM cycle can never be broken.
The day starts and ends with briefings. The morning meeting is reminiscent of a Satan-worshipping cult. It consists of blaring music, motivational speeches and chants, like “JUICE”- Join Us in Creating Excitement, also a slogan used by DS-Max. It felt a lot like being in the Illuminati or those American frat houses. It made me feel so motivated and happy in this lively environment that I didn’t want to leave. They use basic psychology to make us talk about our one true goal in life every single day as a self-motivating tactic. They brainwash us, play on our dreams and make us feel like we have a second family at the firm in order for us to work hard and generate as many sales as possible each day, that will mainly benefit the people above us. The days are very tiring, we do not get paid holidays, overtime or gain any benefits because we work on a 100% performance based sales service. It is commission based which is something they don’t tell us until later on. The people employed there are so sucked into it that they live and breathe it. They are convinced and conned into thinking they will become big entrepreneurs. It’s quite sad to see, and someone must do something about it to stop the cycle once and for all. These firms should be acknowledged so naive people do not fall for their tricks. They are targeting graduates a lot because so many of us are still unemployed. The best thing to do is to raise awareness of these scams, which young people, especially those fresh out of university aren’t aware of.
So today the remaining MLM firms that we see are DS-Max in disguise. I suppose that you could say they’re a bit like the devil, always in disguise, right? MLMs have to change their names every so often when too many people have clocked on to their ploy, but then they start over under another pseudonym so people don’t know their true motive. That’s one of the functions of the firm- they establish a Managing Director who gets to the top of the pyramid, unknowingly he is reincarnating an MLM in another city. That way they never break any laws. They even wipe out their existence on the internet so that all the bad reviews are deleted, since they feed on recruitment, they do everything in their power to seem like they are a professional and legitimate company. You can never find reliable information about an MLM on the internet because they are new- each one has a two-year shelf life so there’s no archive or any reliable sources reviewing their company’s performance.
There’s at least 4 firms in Birmingham alone. I have done some thorough research and found at least 16 firms that could possibly be linked to each other, some of them whose Managing Directors I have met during the interviews and observation day. What’s worse is that they make us sign an agreement/ disclaimer, stating that we are “self-employed” or Independent Sales Advisors (ISA) so that we do not have any ties to the business- that way we don’t get the MLM firm into trouble and it is also a good way for them to avoid tax, while we are taxed normally on our commission pay. Oh, did I mention that the disclaimer has Credico’s (UK) diabolical logo at the bottom right hand side (Refer to Image 1). After we sign the agreement we are required to complete a PFS PS Charity Induction Assessment also created by Credico (UK, refer to Image 2)! The assessment is meant to test our knowledge on the rules and regulations regarding charity fundraising, however, they read out the answers to you before you fill the form out. Even more suspicious is the fact that they scribbled over the ISA Preferred Code of Conduct page (refer to Image 3). How legitimate indeed (!)
MLM firms sound a bit like ‘shell companies’, they exist only on paper. Think about it- if we are all self-employed that means they do not have any employees and what sort of business has no employees?! It is not an active business corporation; it has no asset and it could possibly be serving as a tax avoidance vehicle. Could these sorts of small MLM firms be acting as a shell company for big companies like Credico?
What we can do to stop MLM firms? Warn potential victims, raise awareness and report them to the authorities! The more reports and complaints, the more MLM firms we can take down! #EndTheMLMCycle
Here is a list of some MLM firms that I have found out about through word-of-mouth and internet research, I think most of them are run by Matt Wassall (CEO)…
Let’s give it up for the Sweatshop “boss” boys:
- MJ Experia Marketing– Matt Wassall (MD), Birmingham
- Gold Icon Enterprise– Dwayne Foster (CEO), Birmingham
- Vas Promotions– Vasile Topciu (MD), Birmingham
- Smarktivity– James Dearing (Assistant Manager), Birmingham, Matt Wassall (CEO)
- Fortitude Plethora– Toni Stewart (MD), Manchester
- Acquiro 22– Manchester
- Atlas Corp– Matt Stewart (MD), Liverpool
- Swan Global Direct– Newcastle
- Strategic Five Marketing– Dan Webster (Account Manager), Ben Lambert (MD), Newcastle upon Tyne
- Mojico– Roel Mojco (MD), Sheffield
- Privilege Promotions– Will Ross (MD), Birmingham
- Blue Custard Limited– James Dearing (CEO), Birmingham
- K2K Marketing– Khuram Khan (MD), Birmingham,
- Pro-Gen– Birmingham
- Visual Insights– Daniel James Lake (MD), Bimringham
- Havoc Marketing– James Adam Sweetland (MD), Manchester
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