World Ventures Called A Scam by Blogger and Others

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worldventuresAttempts to silence critics of multi-level marketing companies (often referred to as legalized pyramid schemes) are nothing new. I have been on the receiving end of numerous threats  and one very large legal action for my criticism of MLMs. Medifast and Take Shape For Life had a huge loss in their $270 million lawsuit against me. I was also threatened by MLM Lawyer Gerry Nehra for my criticism of Shop to Earn. (Too bad Gerry Nehra is now on the receiving end of legal action for his MLM involvement!) Multi-level marketing company Mona Vie levied these threats. Then there was this whole situation.

The latest crybaby is World Ventures, a multi-level marketing company which says it is “…the world’s largest direct seller of curated group travel, with more than 120,000 Independent Representatives in over 24 countries and we are still growing…..”

Like any good MLM, WorldVentures simply cannot allow people to criticize the company. Negative opinions must be met with swift legal action!

Stephanie Yoder of Twenty Something Travel wrote an article ALMOST A YEAR AGO, entitled WorldVentures: This is NOT the way to Travel the World. In the blog post, Stephanie recounted her experience with a guy trying to recruit her into the company.  She wrote:

He kept going telling us about this online travel club called WorldVentures, where users can buy discounted travel packages for super cheap if they just pay a $199 fee + $54.95 a month (what a deal!). Then he told us the real money was in becoming an associate and recruiting others to join the program.

It wasn’t until he showed us the pay structure, which looked exactly like a pyramid, that I realized what was going on. It looked like this guy was actually trying to recruit us into a pyramid scheme!

Stephanie said she did some research on WorldVentures, finding that it was a fast growing multi-million dollar company. Her friends on Facebook all seemed to know one or two people involved. She noted the promises of riches earned with only part time work done independently. Stephanie went further and said that World Ventures is NOT a pyramid scheme… the company stays on the right side of the law by selling an actual product (vacations).  She noted the complicated payment structure (note: that’s common to all MLMs) and the fact that no commission is paid until someone recruits 30 customers or representatives below them.

She wasn’t the only one criticizing the company… there is plenty of criticism of World Ventures to be found on the internet:

Naurally, the MLM can’t have anyone criticizing its “business,” so…. World Ventures waited nearly a year after Stephanie published her criticism of the company, and then sent a threatening letter via “attorney” Shawn Tuma. Of course, the letter has to be laughable. The letter accuses Stephanie of publishing false statements about WorldVentures, but doesn’t identify even ONE of those allegedly false statements. The letter says that Stephanie has misappropriated the company’s intellectual property. Not true…. stating the company’s name is perfectly permissible, as she is allowed to identify the company about which she is complaining. And the letter says she engaged in unfair competition. No… Stephanie was not competing with World Ventures, she was simply criticizing it.

The most laughable part of the letter is that which demands that Stephanie never again publish ANY statement or information about World Ventures.  Of course, the company demands that she remove the article in question and “ensure those statements are no longer publicly accessible.”  Well…. sorry Shawn…. those statements are still publicly accessible here!

This letter has all the hallmarks of a bogus legal threat aimed at silencing a person with limited legal resources. It identifies no false statements. It misstates the law and its applicability to the blogger.. All of this is done with some very serious sounding threats. Fortunately, Stephanie will soon have capable pro bono legal counsel to fight this nonsense.

Ken White at  Popehat notes:

Tuma’s and WorldVenture’s claims are transparently bogus. First, Stephanie’s post is an excellent example of a protected opinion based on disclosed facts. Guess what: you’re allowed to say that you think WorldVentures is a scam and a shitty deal based on 72% of their associates not making money. Tuma’s letter does not specify any specific false statements of fact — as any competent lawyer with a genuine claim would — because there aren’t any. Second, WorldVenture’s ambiguous IP claims are bogus. To the extent that Stephanie uses WorldVenture’s name, it’s classic nominative fair use. To the extent Stephanie uses a few pictures from WorldVenture’s site to illustrate her point, it’s classic fair use, just like it was when someone used a video to question the veracity of Ergun Caner or when a business made shirts critical of DHS and NSA.

Is World Ventures a scam?I happen to think that all multi-level marketing companies are scams. They are simply endless chain recruitment schemes that use deception to recruit new marks into the schemes. Promises of financial freedom and independence are made all the time, despite the fact that more than 99% of people lose mony in MLM.

As for WorldVentures specifically… I think it is important to check out one big similarity to Your Travel Biz (YTB), which was deemed a pyramid scheme by the California Attorney General. (That case ended with a judgment prohibiting YTB from using deceptive advertising and endless chain recruitment.) One simple comparison of World Ventures and YTB goes like this: In 2009, 59% of all YTB representatives received NO INCOME. In 2009, 72% of World Ventures representatives received NO INCOME. That speaks volumes about this “business opportunity.”

7 thoughts on “World Ventures Called A Scam by Blogger and Others

  1. Karin

    You did a fantastic job on this write-up about WorldVentures! The Better Business Bureau has an alert posted when you to to the BBB site for WorldVentures. Also, I happened to find that the U.S. News and World Report has an article warning people to stay away from WorldVentures and that it is a “thinly disguised Pyramid Scheme”. See bullet point #4 on the article:
    http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2014/10/23/beware-of-these-10-scary-investments

  2. Cardell Purdie

    You should have done an independent investigation vice restating incorrect information. For example, a rep receives residual income after obtaining the Director rank. A person who has 4 or more active customer does not pay a monthly member ship fee, as long as those customers are active. A person who has six active reps receives a check. It’s easy to find out how much. The compensation plan is easily available. Do a search and you will see how easy it is to find. The compensation plan is easy to follow. You have to get it and read it. There is also an income disclosure form that can be found with a few key strokes. But, trying to get facts is too hard. It’s much easier to repeat inaccurate information. Get the facts.

  3. Steve Kistensamy

    looks like Cardell Purdie is one of the recruiters from WV trying to secure his earnings from this scam.
    No matter which way you look at this, it is a pyramid scheme and will one day collapse. The trick is to get in early and get out early if you can live with your conscience of robbing gullible people.

  4. ChristopherH

    A friend sucked me into Melaleuca 15 years ago. I lost both money and a friendship. So when a new friend started to pitch this to me, I was immediately skeptical. Out of courtesy I let them finish their pitch. Already have my opinions about MLM… they take a LOT of work and you have to be willing to pester people you know–putting at risk personal relationships–in order to build a big enough network to generate residual income. Aside from the practical challenges I value my personal relationships too much to do that.

    Regarding the dream trips, based on what I saw in the presentation, for the really awesome trips you would have to pay in for several years to accumulate needed points for really memorable trips to Europe or Asia, but the points expire after a year, so you’ll likely be paying full price anyway. AND many of their overseas trips DON’T INCLUDE AIRFARE. At first glance I am not seeing the value of this “opportunity. I claim zero on my income tax withholding, so could easily take that annual return and finance a two-week jaunt in Europe once a year.

    This doesn’t appear worth it in my opinion.

  5. Eduard

    I personally had a very bad experience with this fraudulent company! Their deceiving tactics used to collect money by all means don’t make them eligible for the logo they use, which says “Make a living living!”. The realistic message of the brand should be “Stay away from the fake living! Brought to you by the fake people we are!”. The deceptive politics and practices of those being part of World Ventures Marketing LLC are documented here:

    https://forums.digitalpoint.com/threads/world-ventures-unfair-deceptive-and-abusive-practices-in-romania.2792990/

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