Our friend’s pre-school daughter cracks me up. Her favorite phrase is “because I said so!” Ask her how she became so cute and she’ll say “because I said so!” It doesn’t matter the question – that is her response.
Even though I find it cute when she says this, I am sure her parents are over the cuteness and just want a different answer.
It’s not unlike many MLM businesses that operate today. Many lack credible testimonials or independent test results to back up their claims about their product or services. If you press them on these they’ll react like my friend’s daughter and expect you to just accept it because they said so.
Do Your Homework
With so many tools at your disposal to research MLM businesses there is no excuse for being duped by a bad business or a pyramid scheme. Spend an hour or two on the internet doing research if you have found a MLM business in which you are interested.
You Googled Me? Yahoo!
I suggest starting with a simple search on Yahoo! or Google. Use the name of the MLM business along with keywords like “scam,” “complaints,” or “false claims.”
Believe me (because I said so); if there is anything bad about an MLM business, its product, or its owners you will find it on the internet. Just weight the source appropriately.
Also, search the names of the owners and the product names with those same keywords.
Who Let the Dogs Out?
There are several watch dog organizations that serve to protect the public from fraudulent or bad businesses.
Check with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as, the local BBB where the MLM business is based. Check with the Online BBB if your MLM business has a web presence.
There are other watch groups such as MLM Watch, but remember that they report from a perspective that is anti-MLM so take their reports with the proverbial grain of salt.
Big Brother is Watching
The government is always watching for scams and fraudulent businesses. The most proactive agency is your state attorney general’s office so check with the office in both your state and the MLM business’s state.
The federal agency that watches for scams in the MLM industry is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.
Independent Studies & Reports
You would love to find multiple studies and reports verifying the claims of your MLM business, but it is rare that there will be any. For those that love to hate the MLM industry, this charge is levied against all MLM businesses as a smoking gun. But is it?
If we had these reports would we understand how to read them? Or would they be like so many studies, and be open to the differing interpretations of the experts?
With the exception of very big ticket items, I have never looked for independent reports or studies before I made a purchase. The fact is that most products on the market do not have independent confirmation of their claims, yet we purchase them every day without a second thought.
As Seen On TV
Who is endorsing the product or service? Celebrity endorsements are huge in advertising campaigns.
Ask yourself some questions about the celebrity endorsing the product.
Are they actually endorsing the product?
Oprah Winfrey recently announced several lawsuits against people who falsely claimed that she had endorsed their product.
How famous is the celebrity?
Former child stars and D list celebrities are apt to be more likely to make an endorsement, but why? They may need the income that these endorsements bring. Also, there is not as much of a downside to them if the product or service is poor as there would be for an A list celebrity.
Does the celebrity have any expertise in the area they are endorsing?
If so, especially if this is why they are famous, they have more to lose by endorsing a bad product or service.
John from North Carolina says …
Personally, if I do not know the person giving the testimony, or someone who is very close to them, I ignore it. It is too easy to counterfeit personal testimonies on a website or in marketing literature.
Even if I know the person, I will ask for a sample or trial period with no obligation.
Ultimately, my opinion is the only one that matters to me. I will not sell something to others that I do not personally use or do not have first-hand knowledge that it works.
Just Call Me Dr. Mudd
In days gone by, a man’s word was his bond. In today’s world, that seems to be less and less the case. Your name; however, is still something that matters to most people.
If you fail to properly research an MLM business before getting involved you run the risk of selling poor quality goods or services to your network of friends, family, and co-workers. You could quickly lose your reputation and that of your family name – ask the Mudd family how easy that is to get back.
And if nothing I have written has convinced you, then just do it “Because I said so!”