An insider’s look at the worldwide, multi-billion dollar conspiracy of lies that is Amway and its motivational organizations

What do Amway and Scientology have in common? Actually quite a lot, both are well known, both are very secretive, and both are fiercely defensive to any negative press.  Another commonality is that both have had allegations made against them concerning their business practices, and both have come up against stiff government scrutiny in a number of countries, yet both continue to operate with impunity in the US.

Merchants Of Deception takes us inside the world of Amway and the various other companies under the Amway umbrella. I am sure that most people have seen those alluring ads on TV advertising a company named Quixtar, well that is an Amway byproduct.

Author Eric Scheibeler is no mere investigative journalist out for an expose though, he and his family suffered at the hands of Amway for over a decade. Merchants Of Deception pierces the corporate viel and lays Amway bare.

I have always had a queasy feeling about the organization, that resulted from an escapade in the mid 1980’s. My toddler daughter used to play with the little girl who lived next door. I knew little about the parents, but seemed a pleasant enough couple, exactly what they did for a living was unknown other than they owned their own business. One afternoon the mother came over and cordially invited us all to dinner. What a nice gesture I thought to myself.

It did not take long to figure out that we had been set up! Rather than being invited into the dining or living area we were taken into the kitchen. The first thing that caught my eye was the large office style filip chart easel. It seemed an odd addition to a suburban kitchen.

This was no invite to dinner, it was a demonstration of some grossly overpriced ‘waterless’ cookware by two not very good Amway representatives. After 10 minutes, I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to feed the goldfish and left!

Eric Sheibeler’s experiences were much more insidious. In a short 10 years he and his wife Patty went from owning their own home and rental properties to bankrupt, penniless, and with severe health problems, this was entirely as a result of Amway.

I found Merchants Of Deception to be a very heartbreaking and revealing book. No punches are pulled, and names are named. I have little doubt that right now there are a number of Amway executives reaching for the Tums, and an equal number of over paid BMW driving lawyers running to their favorite tame judge to get an injunction over the release of this book.

Eric reveals some very interesting information. Amway is not just one, but two pyramid scheme, and the company itself operates with a cult like mentality and methodology. The first pyramid concerns the products that are sold. Distributors are brow beaten, maybe even brainwashed into buying Amway products for use in their own home. To buy another brand is disloyalty of the highest order. These products are considerably more expensive than your local supermarket, but, how can you possibly sell these products if you are not using them yourself?

The second pyramid is even worse. To increase your earnings, you have to recruit more people in your ‘down link’. While they also recruit people into their own ‘down link’. The larger your network, the more ‘residual’ you obtain. As you move through the levels, these are referred to by the names of precious stones, your financial freedom is assured. People who make it to the magic Diamond level, live a life of pampered luxury, Yachts, Planes, multi-million dollar homes, even a private island. All this and more is promised with a mere commitment of 10-15 hours a week! You can retire, and remember, the larger your ‘down link’ the less you will need to work, those residuals will be carrying you and your lifestyle, while those further down the chain recruit even more people.

The key to success is to learn how to recruit, and Amway has the answer. The key is in motivational tapes, videos, and meetings. All of which cost money, all of which are mandatory if you want to succeed. It is this revenue stream that makes all of the lovely loot at the higher levels in the organization. And it is this that most clearly shows that an illegal pyramid scheme is in operation.

There are also a huge discrepancy about earning levels, as Eric and his wife discovered. Although little was put on paper as hard fact, it was ‘common knowledge’ that to make it to the  emerald level put your earnings at over $100,000 per year. Eric and Patty made it to that level, only to discover that they were working 100 hours a week and actually earning about $30,000, even worse, a good portion of what little income they made was going back into the Amway coffers for not just products, but the devious ‘tools’. Tools is the in-term for the promotional meetings and tapes that every good Amway soldier needs to improve their performance.

There is much more to Merchants Of Deception than I can cram into a mere book review. But suffice it to say, I found the book chilling. The word CULT screams at you on every page.

After the release of this book I am not sure that I would want to be Zack Walters or his wife Molly, I am sure that he will be answering some very difficult questions. Zack Walters though is merely a stepping stone to the real culprits.

The real question is, what will it take to get Amway put in the same category as Enron, Bernie Madoff and the other classic fraudsters of recent years?

I entered into this project with my eyes wide open, Eric not only shipped a pre-release copy of Merchants Of Deception but also some other documentation. I am horrified and speechless by what I read, this can not be happening in the US today!

You can order your copy of this explosive expose of an 8 billion a year company here.

Also at 10am this morning I will be interviewing Eric Scheibeler on Blog Talk Radio, the link to the program is here.

Do not wait long to order a copy of this book, I have a feeling that Amway are going to move heaven and earth to try and prevent distribution.

Eric also has a web site where you can publish the book. There is little doubt in my mind that Amway, and their team of corporate lawyers will not enjoy reading this book.

Simon Barrett

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