Wednesday 4 July 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 2nd July 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. How can I help my friend?
“I was recently contacted by a lady named Katarina based in Manila. She works with Alliance In Motion Global, a colleague of mine referred me to her as a possible 'investor'. From reading the messages she sent me I just felt it was a pyramid scheme. I’ve decided I’m not going to put my money on this scam obviously, but how do I tell my friend that he has “invested” in a pyramid scheme? Because he has already paid them and is awaiting the products to arrive in Gabz.”
Alliance In Motion Global is a pyramid scheme. Their own promotional material makes that abundantly clear.

Exponential recruitment and promises of millions in income? That's a pyramid scheme. However, they're smart enough to suggest that the business is actually about a range of products, the most striking of which is their "C247" product that they claim can be used to treat 100 different medical conditions, including asthma, beri-beri, cirrhosis, bone fracture, deafness, endometriosis, epilepsy, hypertension, hepatitis, “toxins in the body”, stroke, migraine and even cancer and “immunodeficiency”.

Any product that could do just a fraction of this would have led to someone being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and probably the prize for Peace as well.

But that's not all. Their distributors make some surprising claims.

Lies. Simple as that. Illegal lies. As simple as that as well.

The question was how can she help her friend who seems to have fallen victim to the scheme. My experience is simple. If you want to persuade someone of something, attack never works. Instead ask the friend this. "What single thing would persuade you that you are mistaken?" When they answer, you know where to begin.

2. Best before vs Expiry dates. What do they mean?

The Labelling Of Pre-packaged Foods Regulations say that:
“The expiry date shall be treated as the date after which food shall not be regarded as marketable or fit for human consumption”
and that the "best before date" is:
"the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the product will remain fully marketable and will retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made"
It goes on to say that:
“No person shall import, distribute, sell or offer for sale, any food … whose expiry date has lapsed, whose expiry date, best before date, or sell by date has been obliterated or forged, whose label has been altered, obliterated or removed”
It doesn't mention Best Before dates in the same way. The facts are these. "Expiry" dates matter but "Best Before" dates are just advisory.

Meanwhile millions of years of evolution have left us with senses that should be trusted. Trust your sense of smell when it comes to food. Trust your experience. Be very careful with meat, dairy products and seafood. Be very careful how you store cooked food. Be very careful how you transport the food you've bought before it gets home. Remember that perhaps the commonest source of food poisoning isn't the producer of the food, the trucks that transported it or the store that sold it, it's you and me. Most often we poison ourselves. So be careful!

3. Pyramid schemes vs MLMs

What’s the difference between a pyramid scheme and a Multi-Level Marketing scheme?

It's all about products.

Section 9 of our new Consumer Protection Act defines a pyramid scheme as a scheme:
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”
The key word is "primarily". Even if the scheme claims to have products, and even if it does have products, if most of the promised income comes from recruitment then it's a pyramid scheme.

The Act goes on to say that:
“A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… (a) A pyramid scheme, (b) A multiplication scheme, (c) A chain letter scheme”
and that:
“A person who participates in an arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme under subsection 2 commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.”
Recently, recruiters for AIM Global, Nexus Global and Jamalife have all told me that it's about recruitment. They've said things like:
“We make money by recruiting other people to join Jamalife with P100 joining fee. We don’t buy and sell. We earn by recruiting.”
They're all pyramid schemes and it's them telling us this.

However, none of this means that Multi-Level Marketing schemes are much better. I have my suspicions about whether they are "primarily" about recruitment or the sale fo products but let's assume they're about products.

The news is almost as bad. Hardly anyone makes any money from joining them. Amway's income statements are sad. Herbalife's are the same.

4. Be careful what you post!

A statement from our friends at the Botswana Police Service.


The Botswana Police Service (BPS) is concerned about the growing trend in which some individuals or groups publish, exchange, distribute pornographic or obscene materials on social media.

Of great concern is the exchange or distribution of realistic images of scenes of crime, fatal road accidents and other immoral activities.

The BPS has also identified some culprits that are involved in these activities. Amazingly, the suspects that were arrested claimed that they did not know that the exchange or distribution of obscene material through the internet constitutes an offence punishable by law.
The BPS would therefore like to warn the public that it is a serious offence under the Cybercrime and Computer Related Act.

The public is therefore urged to desist from such practices and to report anyone they suspect to be engaged in such immoral acts. Such irresponsible behaviour has more often caused unbearable trauma to the parents and relatives of the victims or the victims themselves.
We further urge, particularly those who are obsessed with publishing and distributing such images on social media that they should exercise humility, courtesy and respect for others regardless of their status in life.

We have also observed that such acts has the potential of tarnishing the good image of the country.”
Before anyone panics, this isn't a curtailment of freedom of expression, it's just a plea, that we fully support, for people to exercise a little restraint when posting things on Facebook and other social media. It's no different to expressing yourself in a bar, your workplace or the mall. Think for a moment before you shout something out load. Just think.

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