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Thread: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

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    Lightbulb The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    I just joined this forum because I couldn't find another ACN discussion and I consider it's still a big MLM / pyramid scheme active for quite a while now, so I'd like to get a discussion started.

    Does anyone here have any experience with ACN? I was never a rep but researched it a lot and MANY people I once considered friends joined and I saw first-hand how it can ruin friendships / relationships.

    ACN is basically a company that sells/resells communication, energy and electricity services (among others). It was started in 1993 but was not an MLM at first. It had it's electricity and natural gas divisions but those were sold and I believe they became solely an MLM from there on.

    Other than being a customer at ACN (being subscribed with them for your phone / cellphone / TV / etc. services with them), you can become an IBO/rep, which is where the MLM aspect comes in play. Once you sign up with them, you can then sell all the services they offer and earn a residual income from those sales. Since people do not often change plans for those services, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a steady flow of income if it's done right. To maximize your earnings and climb up the ladder in the compensation plan, you quickly realize recruiting people is a must, even if ACN claims no money is made from recruiting.

    Until here, everything seems legit about ACN and I wouldn't have a problem with it. Where the problem lies is in the $500 that is required upon sign-up. Yeah, $500, and they don't tell you what that $500 is even for, other than 'Starting your own business would cost you a lot more than that' and the famous 'A gym membership would probably cost your around that, why not join ACN instead and earn money?'. Other than a shitty website with a subdomain and no features whatsoever, you pay $500 for nothing. My assumption is that it goes straight up the pyramid, but of course they deny this.

    Then you have $150 yearly renewal fee that recruiters often forget the mention. Then $39,99 a month for the YBA "Your Business Assistant" which is a website with analytics tools and a bunch of other crap. (Don't get me wrong, it's probably useful, but for $40 a month, it's a rip-off). Then you have the $5-$10 weekly meeting and all the travel expenses to go to regional events and national events (acn tickets, travel, food, hotel, etc). So in your first year your start off with $1,000+ of expenses and are bound to make on average $500 for the whole year.

    On top of the expenses, the brainwashing going on in ACN is mind boggling. The friends I mentionned earlier were convinced ANYONE not encouraging them or doubting ACN were negative people and were told to cut contact with them. This happened with 3 close friends, which were not even on the same team. This just showed me it's not just one 'rogue' IBO doing it, they're all up to shady stuff. Reading stories online, it's always the same thing. So yes there is a pyramid scheme aspect to this company that make it not legit, but on top of that, there is all the false promises, lies and overall bullshit said by ACN in order to keep you believing in their program and that to me is another big issue. While you're an IBO, they profit from you by getting a large cut on the profit from each recruit you bring (money you will never see), but you also spend countless hours during your weeks that are not remunerated. That's work done for free that you're not compensated for because you're blind to the situation and put 100% of your trust into ACN / your upline, so you don't realize it. That's why they all stick together and tell you to stop hanging out with their other friends, so they can all hype themselves together and believe in this fake 'opportunity'.

    If you want to read more, check out ACN Pyramid Scheme - Is ACN a pyramid scheme scam? Find out now!

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Welcome, Caner.

    ACN got quite a bit of attention on another forum years ago. It is hard to believe that scam is still limping along all these years later. Glad you are bringing this in!

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Thank you for accepting the thread. I realize my post count is low but I wanted to share my facts / experience. Hopefully if it can help some people avoid this company, I'll be glad.

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    ACN used to have numerous threads over yonder that have since disappeared. All those posts I labored over gone. But, our dear fellow scambuster Robert FitzPatrick has some lovely things about ACN up:

    http://pyramidschemealert.org/like-d...appears-to-be/

    http://pyramidschemealert.org/mlm-sc...yramid-scheme/

    The following is quite entertaining as well:

    ACN Income Study « BinDone

    No doubt the total number of reps is continuing to drop. It will be fun to research more!

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Soapboxmom View Post
    ACN used to have numerous threads over yonder that have since disappeared. All those posts I labored over gone. But, our dear fellow scambuster Robert FitzPatrick has some lovely things about ACN up:

    http://pyramidschemealert.org/like-d...appears-to-be/

    http://pyramidschemealert.org/mlm-sc...yramid-scheme/

    The following is quite entertaining as well:

    ACN Income Study « BinDone

    No doubt the total number of reps is continuing to drop. It will be fun to research more!
    All those links are already in my bookmarks ;) And funny how you say those threads were removed, I've seen the same thing happen on yet another forum too.

    The Donald Trump argument was the next topic I wanted to address.

    When I've been pitched this program, each time the rep would refer to Donald Trump in order to strengthen his pitch. For the people around me it kinda worked, but I just never bought into the whole idolization of someone (even as a kid I didn't have a sports player I'd look up to or a favorite band I'd worship). Donald Trump might be a successful businessman, but in ACN it's just icing we're putting on the cake to make it look pretty damn good. Trump endorses ACN because he was paid to do so, and probably because he has a share of the company too, so if ACN succeeds, Trump makes money.

    So bottom line is, by getting someone recognized in this world for their success in business, ACN makes sure they appear more legitimate and can then use this argument as a good sale argument. So if you're truly considering joining ACN, keep that in mind.

    Don't be fooled into believing Trump really gives a damn about ACN other than the fact he makes money out of it.

    Let's create an ACN clone for a minute called CCN (Crap Communication Network). Let's say you're a CCN rep and meet Mr. Trump (since it's not ACN he owes this company nothing, remember that). This is what your conversation will look like :

    You: Hey Mr Trump, do you have a minute to give me some "business" advice/tips? I am a business owner!
    Trump: I only have a minute, what the **** do you want?
    You: Thank you, well I'm looking to expand my business to foreign countries and blahblahbla....
    Trump: What type of business are we talking about? What's the product?
    You: I'm a CCN independent business owner. I sell communication services for a commission
    Trump: Get the **** outta here kid
    donald-trump.jpg

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post

    Starting your own business would cost you a lot more than that' and the famous 'A gym membership would probably cost your around that, why not join ACN instead and earn money?
    This is one of those MLM chestnuts that never seems to die. I was looking for the link, a study was done and the person estimated the true cost of starting and properly marketing an MLM business would be closer to $30,000. A failure rate higher than any other available business model leads one to the conclusion this may be low.

    It may be in here, but some good general links:

    Case Law, MLM, Recruiting Scams.

    A statistical sample of distributors revealed that 99.4% of the IBOs [independent business owners] earned on average just $13.41 per week—before product purchases, all business expenses, and taxes. The Mirage of Multilevel Marketing

    The 10 Big Lies of Multi-Level Marketing



    MLM you are the customer.JPG


    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    Then you have $150 yearly renewal fee that recruiters often forget the mention. Then $39,99 a month for the YBA "Your Business Assistant" which is a website with analytics tools and a bunch of other crap. (Don't get me wrong, it's probably useful, but for $40 a month, it's a rip-off). Then you have the $5-$10 weekly meeting and all the travel expenses to go to regional events and national events (acn tickets, travel, food, hotel, etc). So in your first year your start off with $1,000+ of expenses and are bound to make on average $500 for the whole year.
    As with any other MLM if these tools and trainings were so important in driving bottom line sales the uplines would cover the cost. Instead, these expenses are a big component of the product.

    AUS: The Tools Scam

    Ethan who posts here from time to time has done an excellent video on ACN




    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    On top of the expenses, the brainwashing going on in ACN is mind boggling. The friends I mentionned earlier were convinced ANYONE not encouraging them or doubting ACN were negative people and were told to cut contact with them. This happened with 3 close friends, which were not even on the same team.
    MLM, cults, and scams all share some form of Love bombing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The corollary being everyone on the outside must be negative or worse a loser or the worst of all, working a J.O.B. The useful thing about this herd mentality is regardless of the "opportunity" evidence of group think will surface early and a researcher can view comments as rote scamspeak rather than well thought out business reasoning.
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scam-...98399986981403

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    The Donald Trump argument was the next topic I wanted to address.

    When I've been pitched this program, each time the rep would refer to Donald Trump in order to strengthen his pitch. For the people around me it kinda worked, but I just never bought into the whole idolization of someone (even as a kid I didn't have a sports player I'd look up to or a favorite band I'd worship). Donald Trump might be a successful businessman
    You may have seen these pages.


    The Salty Droid – Donald Trump’s Rich Dad University

    The Salty Droid – Network Marketing for Dummies

    John T. Reed's analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki's book Rich Dad, Poor Dad


    Trump and his BFF Kiyosaki did not achieve success in MLM which is probably the only thing germane to a discussion of ACN being appropriate for would be IBOs. Trump was born rich, and Kiyosaki got rich lying about how he got rich, neither IMO provides much that is actionable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    Trump endorses ACN because he was paid to do so, and probably because he has a share of the company too, so if ACN succeeds, Trump makes money.
    Well Played.jpg
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scam-...98399986981403

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    This is one of those MLM chestnuts that never seems to die. I was looking for the link, a study was done and the person estimated the true cost of starting and properly marketing an MLM business would be closer to $30,000. A failure rate higher than any other available business model leads one to the conclusion this may be low.

    It may be in here, but some good general links:

    Case Law, MLM, Recruiting Scams.

    A statistical sample of distributors revealed that 99.4% of the IBOs [independent business owners] earned on average just $13.41 per week—before product purchases, all business expenses, and taxes. The Mirage of Multilevel Marketing

    The 10 Big Lies of Multi-Level Marketing
    That is an insane number. But I guess that it's like any legitimate business. If you start with an initial investment, in this case $30k, and take this seriously for a couple of years (selling comm plans that is, not recruiting people), maybe you will have a good business after a couple of years.

    Seems like ACN and all the other MLMs have found a way to make you forget about this initial investment and they sell you a dream instead, while making money off you.


    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    As with any other MLM if these tools and trainings were so important in driving bottom line sales the uplines would cover the cost. Instead, these expenses are a big component of the product.

    AUS: The Tools Scam
    Yes exactly, this is the same this as the ATS / Amway Tools Scam. When I first learned about the $40 "optional" monthly cost for the YBA I just thought "this is the same thing as Amway".


    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    Ethan who posts here from time to time has done an excellent video on ACN

    Yes I've asked Ethan about using some of his content on my website. Very interesting video.


    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    MLM, cults, and scams all share some form of Love bombing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The corollary being everyone on the outside must be negative or worse a loser or the worst of all, working a J.O.B. The useful thing about this herd mentality is regardless of the "opportunity" evidence of group think will surface early and a researcher can view comments as rote scamspeak rather than well thought out business reasoning.
    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    You may have seen these pages.


    The Salty Droid – Donald Trump’s Rich Dad University

    The Salty Droid – Network Marketing for Dummies

    John T. Reed's analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki's book Rich Dad, Poor Dad


    Trump and his BFF Kiyosaki did not achieve success in MLM which is probably the only thing germane to a discussion of ACN being appropriate for would be IBOs. Trump was born rich, and Kiyosaki got rich lying about how he got rich, neither IMO provides much that is actionable.




    Well Played.jpg
    Yeah I knew that Trump was born rich and didn't necessarily have it hard. But he still became pretty successful so you can't take away the fact most people look up to him, or at least see him as being successful, which is what ACN exploits.

    Interesting links and read though, I will dig into this later on. Thank you

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    Interesting links and read though, I will dig into this later on. Thank you
    Here are two more if you have not seen them. 320 postings on Pissed Consumer. The first as of today is this little gem...

    "The only way to fail at ACN is not to follow the Comp Plan.'
    320 ACN complaints and reviews @ Pissed Consumer


    Of course we hear something similar in every MLM. I would submit it has a little more to do with consumers finding the price points too high and/or the quality to low relative to available alternatives. Which there are many, no matter the scheme.

    ================================================== ====

    Other useful site on lots of things scammy, including ACN:

    ACN scam? - pyramid scheme or multilevel marketing opportunity MLM review.

    ================================================== ====

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post

    Yeah I knew that Trump was born rich and didn't necessarily have it hard. But he still became pretty successful so you can't take away the fact most people look up to him, or at least see him as being successful, which is what ACN exploits.
    What bothers me most about Trump is that monstrosity on his head, next would be his mouth. He was lucky enough to have picked the right parents, but talks like he started from nothing. More than that, even with his money he is still willing to screw people over that have very little worth screwing. We saw this with his Trump University, a failed MLM of his own, and his pimping of ACN.

    Trump certainly has a cult like following, other than the feel good stuff I have a hard time seeing how anyone could turn his spiel into success in ACN.


    ================================================== ====

    Donald Trump: MLM's Bankrupt Hero
    http://www.falseprofits.com/files/00...13b009-19.html
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scam-...98399986981403

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Yeah you're right about him and the cult thing is just mind boggling. I'll check out the links you posted too.


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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    speaking of trump...just how many times has he filed for bankruptcy again---2? 3? that makes him a sucessful businessman how? He has been sucessful in branding however....has his name slapped up on stuff all over the place, and THATS where he gets his money! oh yeah and that stupid tv show of his!

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by kath View Post
    speaking of trump...just how many times has he filed for bankruptcy again---2? 3? that makes him a sucessful businessman how? He has been sucessful in branding however....has his name slapped up on stuff all over the place, and THATS where he gets his money! oh yeah and that stupid tv show of his!
    Yeah when I say successful I'm talking about the image most of the world has of him. Prior to looking into ACN I didn't know about his bankruptcies, so he hides it pretty well.

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by kath View Post
    speaking of trump...just how many times has he filed for bankruptcy again---2? 3? that makes him a sucessful businessman how? He has been sucessful in branding however....has his name slapped up on stuff all over the place, and THATS where he gets his money! oh yeah and that stupid tv show of his!
    Trump sets up countless LLCs and doesn't blink when he bankrupts them. Not illegal, but it does seem to get a bit shady in certain deals. He has an alarming habit of landing on his feet!

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Soapboxmom View Post
    Trump sets up countless LLCs and doesn't blink when he bankrupts them. Not illegal, but it does seem to get a bit shady in certain deals. He has an alarming habit of landing on his feet!
    I love how it's never Trump's fault that all these failures happen under his marque.


    Kiysoaki is another shining example of how to screw people with strategic bankruptcy.

    =================================================

    His company was ordered to pay the Learning Annex and its founder $23,687,957.21.

    The company that was sued has already been inactive, and doesn’t have the assets to pay the $23 million. It appears Kiyosaki did a masterful job of protecting his assets; although the guru is presumably wealthy on his own, his other businesses and his personal wealth is protected. He won’t have to pay the $23 million. He has declared bankruptcy on behalf of his company that was sued, and the Learning Annex will be set to receive only a small portion of the judgment, most likely whatever assets are left in Kiyosaki’s old business.
    - See more at: Robert Kiyosaki, Financial Guru, Declares Bankruptcy


    Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Bankrupt Dad? - Forbes
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scam-...98399986981403

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Q: Why should I try your service? I don’t think the price difference is big enough...
    A: It won’t cost you anything and won’t cause you any inconvenience at all. But by you trying out this service, you are helping me get to my next promotion, which is very important to me. Can You Do Me a Huge Personal Favor, Help Me Out and Give The Service a Try
    Can You Do Me a Huge Personal Favor, Help Me Out and Give The Service a Try

    Every. Single. Time.

    What kind of business model is this? Relying on favors. Because their prices are not competitive and they know it, yet they still claim they are...

    http://mgglobal.com/public/upload/im...C%20&%20AB.pdf

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    I personally dig the ones where they tell you to shut the door and not let anyone see what you're about to watch....as if it's porn or something!
    I tell you emphatically that this is the END of those evil doers, we must Apprehend and prosecute them accordingly.

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Like Donald Trump, celebrities are being used a lot at ACN. This is what I just stumbled upon (pic below).

    "Hey Steven, we know you have nothing to do with ACN and you don't give two shits, but would you mind taking a pic with us so we can then post it on Facebook bragging you support ACN?"

    If so many celebrities get involved and ACN is such a great business, why don't we ever see them talking about it like we see IBOs and reps doing? Why don't we see them recruiting people and selling services? Oh right because they're just paid endorsements, giving their name to a brand in order to make $$$$$.


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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    After they mentionned Redman, I went to check what they referred to. (Notice how they can't even spell his name correctly? It's well known, at the very least if you know him, that it's Redman and not Red man)

    He probably just wanted to bang that cute chick in the middle.


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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    After they mentionned Redman, I went to check what they referred to. (Notice how they can't even spell his name correctly? It's well known, at the very least if you know him, that it's Redman and not Red man)

    He probably just wanted to bang that cute chick in the middle.

    while streaming it over their exclusive video phone that everyone will allegedly want in 2006
    Haven't lost any money to online scams.......results are typical.

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    It's well known, at the very least if you know him, that it's Redman and not Red man)
    I am glad you cleared it up, I thought these MLM parasites had taken over my favorite brand of chaw, ribby can't be paying MLM prices.

    Red Man.JPG



    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    If so many celebrities get involved and ACN is such a great business, why don't we ever see them talking about it like we see IBOs and reps doing? Why don't we see them recruiting people and selling services? Oh right because they're just paid endorsements, giving their name to a brand in order to make $$$$$.
    This "social proof" is continually trotted out to promote MLM as an opportunity for the masses. Of course as you say celebs get paid to endorse and probably know little about the industry. Add in certain authors and seminar snakes that put out frauducts claiming MLM is wonderful, and the money flows bottom to top as intended. In an industry where "IBOs" are really "customers", who can blame the rainmakers for the same sleight of hand any other advertiser would use?

    Celebs aside MLMers love references to private equity and big investors like Buffet, Ichan, and Trump getting in on MLM. This platitude touting the legitimacy of MLM never seems to consider owning an MLM is nothing like being a distributor. Then again, Ichan and Trump's massive losses are a perfect corollary of big MLM dreams.
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scam-...98399986981403

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    On top of posting typical ACN/MLM motivational crap many times a day, this guy is admitting his sales-pitch is a bunch of bs. Of course tweets can be misinterpreted and whatnot, but this is exactly what it means to me. "The art of story telling" lol.

    Story telling as in "fake it till you make it", as in "being a lying piece of shit but i'll get away with it because 'it's not a pyramid scheme, those are illegal'"


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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    This makes me laugh. The ultimate answer to the dreaded "but is it a pyramid scheme?"

    And recruiting via twitter, what a business opportunity this must be! heh


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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    This makes me laugh. The ultimate answer to the dreaded "but is it a pyramid scheme?"

    And recruiting via twitter, what a business opportunity this must be! heh
    Looks like a Pyramid to me...

    Looks Like a Pyramid to me.jpg

    https://myacn.acninc.com/media/APAC/...nzCompPlan.pdf

    I kid a little, if 99% of people are losing money in both legal and illegal pyramids when does the "opportunity" we are always hearing about in MLM rear its head?

    This is an telling excerpt from the link SBM posted above, where Montana sued ACN for being, wait for it, an illegal pyramid.

    In 2009, 312 people in Montana were listed as ACN salespeople.
    They paid to ACN in “fees, renewals, supplies and conventions” (not products) a total of $234,813.02
    This is an average payment, before products and other normal business expenses, of $752 per person.
    In the same time period, this group was paid a total of $16,615.08 in commissions by ACN.
    That is an average income of $53 each, a net loss of about $700 a person, just from fees and and other direct costs to participate.
    However, from actual sales to end-users, they earned only $896 in total
    That is an average of $2.82 per person in revenue from sales.

    http://pyramidschemealert.org/mlm-sc...yramid-scheme/

    I wonder as with all scams if some of the participants really know what they are dealing with, or are just repeating what their uplies have brainwashed them with.



    Of course its not a scam.JPG
    "It's virtually impossible to violate rules ... but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time." Bernie Madoff
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scam-...98399986981403

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    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by ribshaw View Post
    In 2009, 312 people in Montana were listed as ACN salespeople.
    They paid to ACN in “fees, renewals, supplies and conventions” (not products) a total of $234,813.02
    This is an average payment, before products and other normal business expenses, of $752 per person.
    In the same time period, this group was paid a total of $16,615.08 in commissions by ACN.
    That is an average income of $53 each, a net loss of about $700 a person, just from fees and and other direct costs to participate.
    However, from actual sales to end-users, they earned only $896 in total
    That is an average of $2.82 per person in revenue from sales.

    http://pyramidschemealert.org/mlm-sc...yramid-scheme/

    I wonder as with all scams if some of the participants really know what they are dealing with, or are just repeating what their uplies have brainwashed them with.
    Of course its not a scam.JPG

    And the sad part here is that the answer from reps / IBOs when confronted with these stats / facts is going to be : "but ACN is not for everyone" or "you see people failing at businesses everyday, it's a risk you're taking"

    Funny how that's not what they tell you before they recruit you and make you pay $500

  25. #25
    Whip's Avatar
    Whip is offline Anonymous. As are you all
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    5,860

    Re: The ACN scam / pyramid scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Caner View Post
    "you see people failing at businesses everyday, it's a risk you're taking"
    and they fail to mention that they are referring to 'mlm' business. It's the only 'business' they know.
    It certainly isn't real businesses in the real world at the rates they claim and can't back up with real data. If real businesses failed at the rates they claimed, there wouldn't be any businesses. lol
    Haven't lost any money to online scams.......results are typical.

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