Before we get into a detailed discussion on whether Amway is a Ponzi scheme or not, it is important to understand how Amway and other multi-level marketing(MLM) companies go about their business. An MLM company like Amway appoints independent distributors to sell its products. Amway sells products like diet supplements, toothpastes, shampoos, multi-purpose liquid cleaners, soaps, grooming products etc. These distributors are not employees of the company. They make money by selling Amway products.
It is rare to see poverty mentioned in Amway’s literature. When it is, it’s usually in the context of an Amway distributor having escaped it. Success is equated with wealth. With wealth is promised an enhanced way of life, one crafted of your own dreams – and Amway gives you The Plan to achieve that life. To let your attention stray from The Plan is to invite doubt and negative thinking, which can only result in failure. ‘As successful distributors tell people they are recruiting, the pursuit of excellence can be achieved only when they discipline themselves to tune in the positive dialogues and tune out the negative ones,’ says Cross. Poverty makes us feel bad. Feeling bad is negative. Negativity causes failure. It makes poverty feel contagious. So don’t think about it.
Studies of independent consumer watchdog agencies have shown that between 990 and 999 of 1000 participants in MLMs that use Amway-type pay plans in fact lose money.[115][116][citation needed] According to The Skeptic's Dictionary, "In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission requires Amway to label its products with the message that 54% of Amway recruits make nothing and the rest earn on average $65 a month."[117]
In September 2006, following a public complaint, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state police (CID) initiated raids and seizures against Amway distributors in the state, and submitted a petition against them, claiming the company violated the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (banning) Act.[118] They shut down all corporate offices associated with the Amway organization including the offices of some Amway distributors. The enforcement said that the business model of the company is illegal.[11][119] The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had notified the police that Amway in India may be violating certain laws regarding a "money circulation scheme" and the IB Times article writes that "some say ... Amway is really more about making money from recruiting people to become distributors, as opposed to selling products".[11] In 2008, the state government of Andhra Pradesh enacted a ban on Amway media advertisements.[118] 

But The Dream’s real concern is far from the key-party-and-polyester image conjured by the airplane game. Marie and her producer had, like many people, noticed her Facebook feed filling up with friends from high school selling leggings, or makeup, or handbags, asking their friends to buy them and sign up as salesmen themselves. They’re all participating in multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes, which anyone involved will tell you are not a pyramid scheme, because pyramid schemes are illegal.
Amway North America (formerly known as Quixtar North America) is an American worldwide multi-level marketing (MLM) company, founded 1959 in Ada, Michigan, United States. It is privately owned by the families of Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel through Alticor which is the holding company for businesses including Amway, Amway Global, Fulton Innovation, Amway Hotel Corporation, Hatteras Yachts, and manufacturing and logistics company Access Business Group.[1] After the launch of Amway Global (originally operating under the name Quixtar), it replaced the Amway business in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, with the Amway business continuing to operate in other countries around the world. On May 1, 2009, Quixtar made the name change to Amway Global and fused the various different entities of the parent company.[2][needs update]
When I got started with Amway Global back in 2006, like you, I too though at first it was a scam or pyramid scheme. But than I decided just to take the dive because it was working for others. I was told by my upline to build or make a list of all my friends, family members, etc and contact them to sell products and present to them the business opportunity. And if possible, schedule a home event or get them to a local hotel meeting, on a 3 way call, or attend a live webinar presentation.

Amway was forced by the FTC to admit publicly that the average profit for their members was roughly $1400 a year. Also Amway makes more profit charging their “independent business owners” fees for “training” than they do for their actual products. You’ll notice Ambots spewing the same recycled script over and over whenever you challenge them. They also lie about their success rates . It’s called “fake it til you make it”. Every person I’ve ever know in Amway comes off as incredibly sleazy. Oh, and by the way? “Looser” means “less tight”. A “loser” is someone who loses. Like most Amway members.

While noting that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability, Amway acknowledged that it had made changes to its business operations as a result of the lawsuit. The settlement is subject to approval by the court, which was expected in early 2011.[10] The economic value of the settlement, including the changes Amway made to its business model, totals $100 million.[131]


Individuals may buy products through Quixtar's web site with a referral number from an IBO. Quixtar also gives IBOs the option to create free personal websites that can be personalized to focus on health, beauty, health and beauty,[13] and/or gift and incentive products. The referring IBO then receives the retail/wholesale profit (usually 30%), and a percentage ("bonus") of the cost of the sold goods (from 3% up to 31% depending on total PV generated), with Quixtar-exclusive products yielding a higher bonus per dollar in Point Value and Business Value (PV/BV). Quixtar offers a wide range of products for its IBOs to purchase for personal use and/or to sell to customers through Quixtar.com and IBO personal e-commerce sites.
Studies of independent consumer watchdog agencies have shown that between 990 and 999 of 1000 participants in MLMs that use Amway-type pay plans in fact lose money.[115][116][citation needed] According to The Skeptic's Dictionary, "In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission requires Amway to label its products with the message that 54% of Amway recruits make nothing and the rest earn on average $65 a month."[117]
"The first part of the brainwashing," says Kyritsis, "was that 'there would be no success without the system.'" What's the system? The system is a series of seminars, recordings, and books that claim to be a guaranteed path to master salesmanship. Following Amway's guidelines successfully is seen as the only path to success, so if you aren't making money, it's because you're not "working the program" properly. Any success is due purely to their teachings, any failure is due to you not following them hard enough. Sound familiar?
But there is one thing that we need to understand here. Like in an MLM scheme which is a Ponzi scheme, the business that an Amway distributor does, depends on finding new distributors and then hoping that these new distributors sell Amway products and at the same time are able to appoint newer distributors. If a distributor is successful at this he makes more and more money. The trouble is that we go along it becomes more difficult to appoint new distributors. Lets try and understand this through an example. Lets say the first distributor that a genuine MLM company appoints, in turn appoints five distributors.
Sometimes we brought along a camera and took pictures of one another walking around the houses. We saw two or three in a day and then took the film to be developed. Back in our three-bedroom, we looked at the photos together, then stored them in fresh albums. In the photos, we wore the same outfits while the houses around us changed. We were the proud owners of three beautiful homes, the photos said – or this was one big home. One monstrous behemoth of a home comprised of three mansions smashed together.
What I can say about Amway is this. It has been around since 1959, is the only debt-free private company who helps people to have the freedom they want in their lives. YES, ofcourse you have to work for it. If you don't, you don't deserve the benefits it has. God has put us on this earth for a purpose. I haven't found any better option for helping people get their dreams in life and help others to do the same. It's the uneducated and unsuccessful people who have tried to give Amway a bad reputation, but anybody with a brain and common sense know that it's is truly the best, bar none, opportunity to secure your future and others. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be around after all these years and growing in leaps and bounds. Also, this business is not just about the income and lifestyle you can reach. It's about he integrity and the family we have made and have the pleasure of being around.

Next, talking with other IBOs or Amway representatives may make it seem like a great opportunity to earn a lot of money, to make your own schedule, to build your own business, and more. However, the reality is that any type of direct sales opportunity takes a huge amount of time and money in order to become successful, not to mention a natural ability to sell. And frankly, MLM companies like Amway are often very misleading in how simple they make their business opportunities appear, because the reality is nothing could be further from the truth (see the following section for additional details). As a testament to this, be sure to watch Dateline NBC’s year-long undercover investigation of Amway right below.
My parents more or less broke even in Amway. They didn’t lose any money; they also didn’t make any. I learned recently that my mom was against it from the start. ‘She never wanted to do it, never warmed up to it,’ says my dad. She believed it was a cult, and wasn’t happy about giving their time and money to it. She hated Amway’s rightwing political propaganda and evangelical bullying. She hated that it kept the two of them from spending time with me. ‘She wasn’t going to leave me,’ my dad says. ‘But there was tension because she didn’t want to go do these things.’ Even as he admits he agreed with her on some level, he wanted to believe that The Business was viable.
A lot of people join (Amway.com) and other MLM business opportunities believing it will be easy and it’s their ticket to “get rich quick”, but the truth is it’s totally the opposite.  Like any real business, you will have to work your butt off for a long period of time before you get results.  Keep this in mind that Amway is a 2 to 3 year plan and you will have to follow that plan by prospecting, going to major functions (Home parties and larger events that take place) and by attending your team’s weekly meeting.
Amway breaks down its commission by PV and BV. The PV is your total point value for monthly sales, while your BV is percentage cash value based on the PV. There are possible bonuses at certain PV levels. The actual cash value of your downline is predictably complicated and, like credit card points, cleverly encourage more spending on Amway’s products.
The Dream is “sort of about pyramid schemes,” as host Jane Marie says at the beginning of the new podcast series, but it takes a moment to figure out just what that means. In the beginning of the first episode, which you can listen to exclusively here, Marie dives into a classic pyramid scheme of the 70s and 80s, the “airplane game,” a trend that became so prevalent among a certain subset in New York and South Florida that The New York Times caught on, calling it “a high-stakes chain letter.”
At the landing of the stairs, she turns to face us. ‘The one thing you need to know about this house is that the whole area as you go up on this side is a safe area. So, you can see that this will roll down.’ She points to a metal compartment above us, which neither my husband nor I had noticed. ‘I’m going to show you that all the hurricane shutters will also come down,’ she says. 

The meeting was hosted by Sherri’s friend Josh and his wife Jean[3], he a commodities broker, she a high school math teacher. Sherri and Josh had attended the same small Christian college. Before that, he had been an Indiana farm boy, and he still had the look: a beefy, boyish face with a grin that verged on gaping, mussed hair with perpetually sweaty bangs, a brown suit that flared in all the wrong places, and a general air of guilelessness. This cast in high relief his constant, ill-advised attempts to put on city airs: the firm handshake, the breezy small talk, the man-of-the-world asides.
Maria you must be committed to the business and do what the business tells you to do. Many people leave Amway simply because their upline wasn’t a great leader for them and eventually they lose confidence in themselves. The business requires you to buy their products monthly and recruit people into the business for PV. The amount of PV determines your level in the business. There is too much to explain. Speak to an IBO about the plan. All I can tell you is that the business is great, they offer you bonuses once you begin succeeding your way through, but it is up to you how far you go in the business. Just like any business, you must invest. One man made it to the Emerald level (around $10,000/per month +bonuses) in ONE YEAR. It all depends on how much you want to succeed. I am in Team Vision and I am glad I found this gem of a company. Good Luck to you if you apply!
Amway is an $8.6 billion direct selling business based in Ada, Michigan, USA. Top-selling brands for Amway are Nutrilite™ vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, Artistry™ skincare and color cosmetics, eSpring™ water treatment systems and XS™ energy drinks – all sold exclusively by Amway Business Owners. Global sales in 2016 made Amway the No. 1 direct selling business in the world, according to the 2017 Direct Selling News Global 100. The company’s annual sales figure includes revenue from direct selling operations and other business holdings. 
But as I came to know Josh better, I realized he was acting not so much out of a calculated strategy as out of a deep faith in duplication. Josh believed that whatever he did, his downlines would imitate: If he set the example of filling his house with only “positive” (i.e. Amway) products, so would they. Rich DeVos, more philosophically, calls this the Law of Compensation: “In the long haul, every gift of time, money, or energy that you give will return to benefit you.”
Qualifying for compensations needs more quantity compared to the majority of various other companies, this keeps new suppliers at a loss for a longer period of time. In order to qualify for a paycheck a rep have to do 100PV per month. This would not be such a large deal if the average factor wasn't somewhere around $3.00. This implies new distributors have to move $300.00 a month in quantity to get paid. Typically, most other business can be found in someplace around $1.10 to $1.50 per factor, meaning the brand-new rep would only need to move $110.00 to $150.00 or so per month to qualify.
All of the products are healthy and contain natural ingredients. Amway offers way to start your own business and earn money. Some people may find the prices of the products a little high but they are worth this money. People who have tried their products say that they have quite reasonable prices for the quality. The representatives of the company are well-mannered and pleasant. If you want to try natural and effective products, create a business of your own and enjoy excellent customer service, Amway will be a great option for you.
After the speech I told the guy that this isn't for me, I'm sure it works for you, but it wouldn't for me, and he tried to slow me down from walking out and managed to get one of his buddies to talk to me as to why I should reconsider. I asked him some questions, but he really didn't have a script and he got shot down and walked away. I said, "it was great meeting you, thanks for the opportunity, I hope I didn't waste your time and have a good life."
Last year, my friend’s roommate was caught up in the snares of Amway. It started innocently enough, but rapidly declined into a spiral of crazy we could not rescue her from, despite our efforts. In addition to purchasing binders of Amway sales strategies and tactics, this girl also had CDs she’d listen to while she slept, selling her on positive thoughts and Amway success. She even attended international Amway conferences, which cost thousands of dollars out of her own pocket and have yet to return anything.
The more product sales they generate, the more income they can earn. Many also choose to build businesses by sharing the Amway opportunity with others and teaching them how to sell. This can mean greater reach for the product and ultimately higher income because of team sales volume.  In short, IBOs make money from the sale of our products – sales that they and the team they support generate.
The next week, I decided. I would never learn the truth about Amway until I joined. I left a message on Josh’s Amvox voicemail telling him I had the $160 check ready. A week later, I left another message. By my third attempt, I got Josh himself (who had been intending to return my calls) and was finally able to arrange a time to separate me from my money. It wasn’t the last time I felt he and Jean weren’t exactly cut out for the rigors of The Business.
Directly across the state from my family, on Florida’s Atlantic coast, is the Windsor country club. Home architecture here is strictly regulated. Residents drive around on golf carts, on and off the eighteen-hole course. There’s an equestrian center, tennis courts, a concierge, and a gun club. Occasionally Prince Charles pays a visit. This is where you go when you bypass Palm Beach on your way to vacation – there’s no kitsch in Windsor, only the highly refined. Among its residents are retail billionaire W. Galen Weston, the Swarovski clan – and the DeVoses, who own three houses here and spend eight weeks a year or more on the waterfront.

I think of my family’s time in Amway as achievement tourism. We left reality for a moment and believed the impossible was possible. My dad still wonders if there’s more he could have done, if there’s a way for him to have succeeded in Amway – admitting in the next breath that there isn’t. My parents tried everything. At each turn, the people they thought were supposed to be helping them – their upline, yes, but really the overall structure of the Amway Corporation itself – actually stood in their way. They built dreams and worked to achieve them, but the only people who benefited from their work were the people already on top.


Rallies begin with a ritual called “crossing the stage,” in which distributors who have attained a new bonus level go up to receive their commemorative pin and shake hands with a Diamond. From the crowd of about five hundred, two couples “crossed” at the 1,000 PV level (the lowest warranting a pin) and received a standing ovation from the audience. From the stage, the host then called out all the levels from 1,500 PV to 7,500 PV. Nobody emerged from the audience—which, nonetheless, remained on its feet applauding. The host kept cajoling, “C’mon, there’s plenty of room up here,” as if it were shyness that was keeping people away. It was the archetypal Amway moment: a crowd giving a standing ovation to nobody.
As a guest speaker at the Quixtar LIVE! conference in 2003, Phil McGraw ("Dr. Phil") reportedly described Quixtar as "one of the greatest success stories in American business history."[citation needed] In a 2006 settlement involving a class-action lawsuit brought against McGraw and his Shape-Up diet products, plaintiffs received a share of $6.0 million in Quixtar-brand Nutrilite vitamins and $4.5 million in cash.[28][29]

At the end of the day, they deliberately do not keep records to show if they earn more money from recruiting or from sale of products. People that are recruited are mandated to buy products and how do we tell the difference between people who joined Amway for the discounted prices and those who joined for the income opportunity but were unable to recruit? Everyone is bundled together so we will never know.
The IBO Association International (IBOAI) was founded in 1959 as the American Way Association with the goal of "serving the common interests of Independent Business Owners throughout North America." Members are served by an 18-member Board of Directors who are supported by seven full-time staff.[18] The Association's board members are "elected by its voting members",[19] who must be "Qualified Platinums and above."[20]
Edit: Thanks for the answers everyone! Unfortunately, we had a long debate today about it and he is definitely set. Even after I talked about the pyramid scheme esque facts and everything else you guys said. I'm still going to be his friend but I'm definitely not bought. He is very stubborn and wants me to read a book by KIYOSAKI... he also mentioned that they sell products at a price lower than retail price, contrary to what other posters said. Can anyone confirm?
“Here we are three years into [the Herbalife battle] and it’s no clearer than it was at the beginning,” Keep told me when we spoke. If the government had rules about where the line was between an illegal pyramid scheme and a legal multilevel marketing company, there wouldn’t be any such dispute. It’s ridiculous that we have to guess what’s illegal.

Cybergirl Friday LLC - Georgia - This female is a disgrace!!! As an agent who dealt with a couple of IBO's - she is completely childish, disrespectful, and RUDE! She will threaten to discontinue your SOW - she can care less if you have bills to pay! She is a thief! Oh don't let it fool you "Quick to answer questions" "encourage you to join" blah, blah, blah. Even when you decide to leave - she acts like it is all love and then comes that last paycheck folks!!! She keeps it - yep - you heard me!!! She will give excuse after excuse on why they haven't released that last paycheck to you.... Yeah - they are checking their accounting department - she is the accounting department stealing from you! Trash - she is complete Trash!
@yoonyoung People don't know facts, people are unaccountable, people need leadership period. As a IBO with prior military service and had spent 5 years in the service building soldiers into leaders this business is dynamic. If the plan is not followed it will fail, but only fails if the IBO does not follow the blue print laid out by the upline who has fruit on the tree. Thank you for your post!
It may come as a surprise to Jessica and Richard, but 50% of all people are below average. IBOs are successful only if they exploit those that are feeble minded enough to buy Amway's crappy products: i.e cleaning products loaded up with salt. No ethical person would consider doing this. If the average IBO income is only about $200 and the median a lot less ~$30, then the scam is obvious! Perhaps Richard and Jessica always load up on Lotto tickets because the potential return is huge. Richard loves to focus on the good stuff and gets blinded by the false hope. Don't be a sucker, MLM is a scam.
As secretary, it’s likely DeVos will pursue a national expansion of school choice and charters. In this, DeVos has an ally in President-elect Trump. “There's no failed policy more in need of urgent change than our government-run education monopoly,” Trump said in a September 8 speech. “It is time to break up that monopoly.” In that speech, Trump proposed a $20-billion block grant program to fund national vouchers administered at the state level. “Parents will be able to send their kids to the desired public, private or religious school of their choice,” Trump said.
What made Amway different at the time was their combination of direct selling and multi-level marketing. Distributors could make money in both arenas. Distributors can buy Amway products at “wholesale” prices for themselves or to independently sell. This can generate a modest income, but the larger payouts come from recruiting new distributors. Any recruits result in residual pay to the recruiter, hypothetically leading to a lucrative “downline” (income that comes from recruits’ sales). This allows Amway to market to future distributors by offering an easy way to start your own successful business or store. With an average yearly income for active distributors at less than $3,000, Amway has redefined what constitutes a successful business.
We follow the right edge of the course, past houses hiding behind rows of palms: pool screens and burnt-orange rooftops flash by, one after another. Dale tells us that the country club owner’s philosophy is not to overseed the fairways and greens but to preserve their natural beauty through proper maintenance. The tee boxes are overseeded with rye grass because people are taking strokes off them every day.
The other way that you can quickly judge Amway is by the profile of their members. Many come from lower middle class religious backgrounds and have recently undergone personal issues (e.g. marital struggles) or boredom that cause them to look for some job that offers an easy way in and a holistic form of management. Many are unwilling to either put in the time that accompanies developing an actual profession (and will thus scoff at higher education) or put in the risk that accompanies creating one’s own business (and will thus scoff at how much the average person works per day.) They’ll often use trigger terms such as “early retirement,” “success,” and “freedom” without ever actually offering anything of substance of what Amway consists of. If anyone questions them – instead of taking time to explain how exactly Amway operates, they will point to a small group of people they know that got rich using Amway or point to all of the businesses that “partner” with Amway . Finally, some are often very protective and defensive of Amway online. You’ll see throughout the comments here (and countless others on blogs criticizing Amway) persons of such stature. You’ll also see that these persons, more often than not, use extremely poor grammar and punctuation, use profanity, and will almost never give an actual counter-argument of substance (but will rather point towards the businesses that partner with Amway, attack other businesses, or direct you to some site ran by Amway members.) Go ahead and see how many of the pro-Amway comments in this blog fit these traits – all of them.
The move unified the various Amway companies worldwide. "We're now reintroducing our brands in North America, moving away from Quixtar and going back to the Amway name", said Steve Lieberman, managing director of Amway Global. "We decided there were a number of roads we had to go down in order to recreate awareness for a brand that, quite frankly, a lot of people felt had gone away."[5]
Kyritsis got off easy. You can find stories online of people spending $192,000 to "make" $30,000 (shit, we think there are actual cults with a higher rate of return). It's impossible to know the exact "success" rate for Amway independent business owners (IBOs), but one case from 2008 showed that out of 33,000 IBOs, only 90 made enough money to cover the costs of their business. That's a failure rate of damn near 100%. But of course, to Amway, those aren't failures. Amway doesn't make its money selling the random household goods the distributors are handing out -- they make money selling a dream. Then once you've committed yourself and forked over serious cash -- and convinced friends and family to do the same -- how can you leave? At this point, you've got too much invested not to see it through.

‘We’ve got a little bit of surge here,’ he says. ‘Water levels are high. This is the Bayou Crossing Waterway. That way would take you out to Boca Ciega Bay, and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. When there’s a huge tidal surge, these live bodies of water, the Bayou Crossing Waterway, feeds into, and overflows into, all these lakes and bayous around the course. And then when the water recedes, any fish and the water that gets in there gets trapped in there and can’t get out.’
When I got started with Amway Global back in 2006, like you, I too though at first it was a scam or pyramid scheme. But than I decided just to take the dive because it was working for others. I was told by my upline to build or make a list of all my friends, family members, etc and contact them to sell products and present to them the business opportunity. And if possible, schedule a home event or get them to a local hotel meeting, on a 3 way call, or attend a live webinar presentation.
The more product sales they generate, the more income they can earn. Many also choose to build businesses by sharing the Amway opportunity with others and teaching them how to sell. This can mean greater reach for the product and ultimately higher income because of team sales volume.  In short, IBOs make money from the sale of our products – sales that they and the team they support generate.
This Lady is terribly misinformed… As a Amway IBO we give you plenty of chance to say no and ways out of this. People will always bad mouth things that they don’t understand you know why because its easier tosay something negative than to take the time out of your day to find out what your really talking about and here is just some food for thought. I started this business a few years back and just listened and did what they asked me too. Because of it i was Able to bring my wife home. Successful people will away do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do.

In April 1997 Richard DeVos and his wife, Helen, gave $1 million to the Republican National Committee (RNC),[74][76] which at the time was the second-largest soft-money donation ever, behind Amway's 1994 gift of $2.5 million to the RNC.[74] In July 1997, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Newt Gingrich slipped a last-minute provision into a hotly contested compromise tax bill that granted Amway and four other companies a tax break on their Asian branches that totaled $19 million.[74]
When I was ten, my parents bought a house for $200,000. My dad had been running his advertising agency out of the spare bedroom of our house on Twelfth Avenue, and when he hired his third employee, he set up a desk in my bedroom for the graphic artist to work at while I was at school. Then a neighbor called the city about all the cars parked on the street, and my parents cracked a plan to move into a bigger house and bring the agency into the new house with us. By that time, though, business had gone gangbusters, so it turned out that moving the company into the new house wasn’t necessary, after all – my dad rented an office, instead. The new house was entirely ours.
From an early age, Betsy was pushed to compete. In 1965, she was one of two second-graders to make entries in Holland’s annual tulip festival (a citywide valentine to the area’s Dutch heritage). In middle school, she entered a poster and essay contest about crime prevention. In her teenage years, she was a member of the Holland City Recreation Swim Team. Betsy excelled at the breaststroke. In August 1972, she won the Mid-Michigan Conference Championship, a contest in which younger siblings Emilie and Eileen Prince placed third and fifth, respectively).
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