Friday 24 October 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

I was given a leaflet at some traffic lights in Gaborone last week that offered a way to make money in US Dollars. It said “Want to earn more money part time or earn a fortune full-time? Earn in US Dollars”. On the other side it gave an email address and cellphone contact numbers.

Is this for real?

No, it’s not, it’s a scam.

We’ve seen one of these leaflets and they are quite well-produced. It resembles a US bank note and says "Want to earn more money part time or earn a FORTUNE full time? Earn in US Dollars." The reverse of the note says "The best money opportunity awaits you". It then gives two Botswana-based cellphone numbers, one South African and a Hotmail email address.

One of the Consumer Watchdog team called the numbers on the note.

This turned out to be for the ridiculous Success University, a classic pyramid-structure Multi-Level Marketing scheme. This scheme encourages you to sign up for motivational course work but, and this is the critical clue that it's not legitimate, it offers you the opportunity to sell Success University yourself. Their web site even has a link that says "Learn and Earn".

This explains how you can make money. It’s the usual pyramid-selling approach. To make money you have to recruit other people who, in turn, recruit others who themselves recruit others. And so on, and so on. Of course, like all pyramid schemes there are the promises of huge amounts of money. Success University promises “up to $10,000 each week”.

At least Multi-Level Marketing companies like Amway have real products to sell. Success University has no product other than some meaningless so-called motivational speeches that they are mass producing.

Ask yourself why a total stranger would offer you an opportunity to make a fortune rather than doing so himself? Why on earth would a total stranger try and recruit people at traffic lights? Why would a legitimate business operate from a Hotmail address?

Consumers should just throw these leaflets away and not waste their time and risk their money by responding to them.

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