Thursday 8 October 2009

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I would like to know if you are aware of an international business organization called World Ventures that operates more like a pyramid. It is said to be mostly targeting people who travel a lot.

One has to join with an amount of about P2,600, and recruit other people to join under him/her in order to start receiving financial returns from the organisation. This money is deducted directly from one's account as a person joining has to write down the numbers from his/her VISA bank card.

May I know if it is safe to surrender such information; and if World Ventures is indeed not a con business operation? The internet presents differing opinions from people overseas, some saying it is a fraud business operation and others saying it has helped them a lot.

Is it really safe for Batswana to join it? It is fasting spreading country wide around schools, churches and other places.

I think you are very wise to be cautious about World Ventures. They are a network marketing scheme based on selling holiday opportunities. Some of us believe they are more of a pyramid scheme but that’s just our opinion.

Ironically it was World Ventures that recently took over Success University, which really WAS a pyramid scheme. That’s not just my opinion. It was also the opinion of the Bank of Namibia who declared them an illegal pyramid scheme. SU was based on pyramid selling educational and motivational materials so it’s weird that SU can suddenly convert to being part of a holiday scheme, don’t you think? In fact it’s not. As soon as one pyramid scheme saturates a market a new one comes along to collect more victims.

Anyway, like all such schemes, very few people make any money from pyramid-structured schemes. Even Worldventures’ own figures show this to be true. They confess that in 2008 70.2% of their recruits made no money from the scheme (you can see the details on our web site). Of those that did make money, the median earnings were a pathetic $114.60. Then, hidden away in the small print it says:

“These figures do not represent Representatives’ profits; they do not consider expenses incurred by Representatives in the promotion of their business.”

So that $114.60 is before you have paid your expenses, like your phone bill, internet charges, A4 paper and postage?

Steer clear of World Ventures if you want to keep hold of your money. In fact steer clear of any scheme that promise you riches, makes any reference to “lifestyle” or encourages you to recruit other people into the scheme.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I received an email saying I had won a Nokia competition. Do you think this could be true?

No, absolutely not. This is what the email says:

“We are please to Notify you that your email has made you proud as you have be nominated for our on going Nokia promo.We Notify you about the winning because your email came out among other emails from our online balloting.This is one of our numerous way to show appreciation to the general public for their support and acceptance of our product all this years.We came out with this promo as a form of gratitude and we decided to use online ballotting from all internet users so your email has made you proud today. You are therefore entitle to a huge sum of GBP £500,000.00.


Clearly this is unbelievable. Firstly I can’t imagine anyone at Nokia types that badly or speaks English that badly. It’s also just unbelievable. Companies like Nokia don’t go around giving away huge amounts of money to total strangers. Even if they did don’t you think they would know your name and use it?

And why do they give a Gmail address and not a Nokia email address?

I suggest that you delete this email and any others like it as soon as you see them.

“University” update

We had a very funny email from the so-called “University of SouthCentral Los Angeles”. You may remember that we recently suggested to a reader that they shouldn’t think of buying one of their fake $850 degrees from them. This is a “university” that says you can get a degree by filling in multiple choice questions, is not accredited and which says that it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, not in Los Angeles. It’s a “university” that suggests that someone with no evidence of qualifications, skills or experience can get a doctorate in 12 months just by giving them a wad of cash.

Anyway they think we’ve defamed them and threatened to sue us! You can see their email on our web site if you fancy a giggle. We replied very politely (OK, I confess it wasn’t actually very polite) saying how funny we thought they were. I’ll let you know if they contact us again.

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