At the heart of Amway is the love of ‘free enterprise’ – an equal-opportunity system in which determination alone is the path to achievement. If you have a dream, Amway says, and you try hard enough to achieve that dream and let nothing stand in your way, then success is guaranteed. That is the promise of what Rich DeVos calls ‘Compassionate Capitalism’ – helping people help themselves.
Top: Gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos shakes hands while campaigning with wife Betsy and Arizona Senator John McCain. Bottom left: Betsy DeVos and President George H.W. Bush at a 2000 campaign fundraiser for George W. Bush. Bottom right: In 2004, Betsy DeVos campaigns with Representatives Mike Rogers and Candice Miller. | Regina H. Boone/TNS/ZUMAPRESS.com; AP Photos
Outside the Capitol, state police donned riot gear while officers on horseback pushed protesters away from the building. Loudspeakers blared Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” and as the wind picked up, four 20-foot-tall inflatable rat balloons skittered from side to side. Each rat represented one of the key players protesters blamed for right-to-work’s hasty adoption: the governor, the House speaker, the Senate majority leader, and—the only unelected member of the rat pack—Dick DeVos.
On April 3, 2010 it was reported that Fitch Rating Agency had downgraded the bonds used to finance the new arena to "junk" status and further warned the arena's debt holders that in as soon as 30 months the new Amway Center could be faced with a default unless finances are corrected. The city and county were quick to assure local media that in no way would Fitch's downgrade delay construction and that all necessary funds were on hand to complete the center. However, because of the Fitch downgrade, the interest rate on the debt payments would increase the "payoff" cost of the Amway Center over time and the Orlando Sentinel pointed out that it would be harder to seek lending for the other phases of the project such as the "$425 million Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the $175 million renovation of the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium." [17]
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), as part of its anti-piracy efforts, sued Amway and several distributors in 1996, alleging that copyrighted music was used on "highly profitable" training videotapes.[145] Amway denied wrongdoing, blaming the case on a misunderstanding by distributors, and settled the case out of court for $9 million.[146] In a related lawsuit initiated by the distributors involved, the Court established that Mahaleel Lee Luster, who had been contracted to make the videotapes, had violated copyright without the knowledge of three of the five of those distributors.[147]
MLMs, which thrive in rural communities like Owosso, on military bases, and in countless Facebook groups, aren’t often targeted in mainstream reporting; when they are, Marie says, “It’s from the viewpoint of an old white guy activist investor on Wall Street. That doesn’t tell me anything.” Though she hopes The Dream might shine a light for some people on what a raw deal MLMs can be, Marie also sees endless juicy stories. “It’s entertaining and weird, this weird world that you see in your Facebook feed, and on anti-MLM Reddit channels where everyone’s gossiping about their cousins. I wanted to like, go inside and be in that industry. . . . I want to know why my cousin Stephanie is doing this every day on Instagram, and is she making any money or not? Or what are her friends saying?”

In October 1994, Amway gave the biggest corporate contribution recorded to that date to a political party for a single election, $2.5 million to the Republican National Committee, and was the number one corporate political donor in the United States.[73] In the 2004 election cycle, the organization contributed a total of $4 million to a conservative 527 group, Progress for America.[75]
Amway is not a scam. The reason why people fail to be successful is because it is hard work just like any other business and not because it is a scam. Good people skills is a must for this kind of business and definitely, you need to be intelligent and clever in marketing your products just like in any other business. A lot of people fail in this business because they have little idea about money making skills or business skills. I have worked in corporate and I know the common thing among all the companies in the world is that they exaggerate about products, the lifestyle you will get and the money you will make. ALL companies do that. The only difference is that in Amway you are not sitting in a company building for your work. Rest depends on your selling skills. 
Scott confidently reprised decades’ worth of conservative alarmism, invoking inflation and national debt and other flat-earth bugbears in a doomsday routine as charmingly archaic as it was fatuous. An accurate narrative of the last few decades—growing productivity, GDP, and per-capita income, accompanied by a massive upward redistribution of wealth—would hardly have packed the millennial portent Scott was looking for. The Second Wave, like Communism, like all the works of man, was destined to decay and collapse, making way for the coming entrepreneurial kingdom—which, for those who lacked faith or zeal, would bring a day of reckoning. Were we ready? To prove he “wasn’t making this crazy stuff up,” he littered the floor with copies of Fortune, Money, and Forbes, citing the relevant disaster stories. I felt like I was back at ENTERPRISE 2020.
To test these claims I took my new Amway wholesale price list down to the local supermarket for a price comparison. As it turned out, Amway wholesale prices were only slightly better than supermarket retail prices, although a few Amway products, like freezer bags, were significantly cheaper. And this was giving The Business the benefit of many doubts: I factored in its claim that its detergents are more “concentrated” than other brands; I compared Amway with high-quality brand-name products, not store brands or generics; and I compared only regular prices, ignoring the fact that the supermarket, unlike Amway, always has items on sale (not to mention coupons).[8] The same results obtained at the local drugstore in comparisons of vitamins and cosmetics. All in all, the 30 percent Basic Discount was nowhere to be found.[9]
‘It’s very dark,’ I observe. We’ve begun in the middle: a room with wood paneling, shellacked stone floors and walls, and a recessed circular area for entertaining, carpeted in emerald. Behind me, a pool table occupies most of a Turkish rug annexing the area beneath the open-style second-floor balcony. The Realtor stands near a grand piano and a stone planter housing ferns.
MLMs, which thrive in rural communities like Owosso, on military bases, and in countless Facebook groups, aren’t often targeted in mainstream reporting; when they are, Marie says, “It’s from the viewpoint of an old white guy activist investor on Wall Street. That doesn’t tell me anything.” Though she hopes The Dream might shine a light for some people on what a raw deal MLMs can be, Marie also sees endless juicy stories. “It’s entertaining and weird, this weird world that you see in your Facebook feed, and on anti-MLM Reddit channels where everyone’s gossiping about their cousins. I wanted to like, go inside and be in that industry. . . . I want to know why my cousin Stephanie is doing this every day on Instagram, and is she making any money or not? Or what are her friends saying?”
And these inconveniences pale beside the emotional shock of entering Josh and Jean’s apartment. Not big to begin with, its thorough occupation by Amway Corporation made it positively claustrophobic. The living room was dominated by huge metal cabinets displaying Amway cleaning and food products; shelves along the wall were devoted to toiletries; boxes of cereal lined the top of the couch. Next to the window was an eraser board listing upcoming World Wide Dreambuilders meetings; free wall space and the outside of cabinets were decorated with motivational slogans (“I AM A WINNER!”) drawn in crayon.
And then of course one question always comes up: ‘Should I even have this much wealth in the first place?’ I feel the Lord allocated some money for us to use for our pleasure, some for our ability to experience His world, some for investing to help create economic expansion and job opportunities for others – and of course, some for sharing with those who have a real need.

Totaling 875,000 square feet, the Amway Center replaces the previously existing Amway Arena, updating the venue in favor of a sustainable and environmentally conscious design. The new building comes with updated technology, more amenities, and bigger seats. There's even a hypnotizing graphics wall along one side of the building that brings the arena's modern elements together in a magical display.


Some people can still see through all this that Amway is a pyramid scheme but the FTC needs income statements to close the company down. This is how the company has been able to operate for the past 50 years. The FTC does not help either. Because they do not have an explicit definition of a pyramid scheme, they are leaving the model of a lot of MLMs up for debate.
One day, Sherri asked me to attend a meeting at which a “millionaire from the West Coast” was to talk about “business trends of the nineties.” I was not entirely caught by surprise—Sherri had dropped hints about starting her own “distribution business” at about the time that Amway Dish Drops appeared in the E2020 kitchen—and although she didn’t tell me the millionaire was from Amway, it wasn’t difficult to guess which version of the gospel of wealth he’d be preaching. I jumped at the chance to meet this mysterious man of money, although from totally insincere motives—the old anthro major in me was hankering for a bona fide subculture to gawk at.
It was hard enough to get people to sign up for Amway. My parents, in describing their experience, said that most people had heard of the company and believed it was a pyramid scheme. In fact, part of my parents’ strategy for ‘showing The Plan’ was that they didn’t even tell people it was Amway until the very end of their presentation – then they signed them up on the spot. If they couldn’t sign them up right then, they invited them to a meeting. Most of the time, even though they told them not to talk to anybody about Amway before the meeting, the prospect would go to their brother-in-law, who would tell them it was crap. ‘And if they make it to the meeting, this guy’ – the creepy guy in the upline – ‘stands up there and is a complete ass,’ says my dad. ‘And the people that you encouraged and cajoled, they take a look at you and say, ‘What?’ And then they don’t return your phone call.’

They encourage new participants to start eating healthy and work-out — big surprise, taking care of yourself feels good — however, those who have been in a funk for a long time might attribute their new health and self-esteem boost to Amway rather than positive diet and lifestyle changes. Then they have recruits set goals, make vision boards, and sell them on the dream that they’ll “be retired in 2 to 5 years”. Amway is a pyramid scheme, but it’s masked under the real positive live changes subscribers make.


In the beginning, my parents put between ten and fifteen hours a week into their business – per the company’s recommendation. But over time, my dad’s enthusiasm began to wear off. ‘You say to yourself, ‘What the hell for?’’ he says now. ‘So that somebody can come in and then not return your calls? You take them to a meeting and there’s a jerk up there who’s embarrassing? I had no way, no avenue to get people in there and get them excited.’
At first I thought the products were useful and worth it, but after more purchases and comparison shopping I was very disappointed in the value and quality of the products they sell. Products are overpriced and of questionable quality. I was roped into buying these from "friends" that are now former friends and was involved in several arguments with them over the value of the products that are easier and cheaper to get at Walmart’s. Very frustrating. Not only did we pay too much for products we had to wait for to get delivery, we lost two of our closest friends who valued their profits more than our friendship.
I am lucky to attend many concerts and events at different venues, at this show I felt ashamed on how Orlando is represented through service and offerings at the Amway Center. Your guests deserve better! We were given subpar products and service at more than premium pricing. Your staff was overwhelmed. Your locations understaffed and not properly stocked. Was the concert a surprise to your purchasing team and beverage managers?
Under terms of the settlement, Amway will be restating its “income disclosure” to reflect that the figure offered to consumers is a “gross income” not net, meaning that it is not profit and does not reflect costs that consumers incur when they pursue the scheme.  (It should be noted that Amway’s advertised “average income” is also a “mean”, not a median, average, so it factors the high incomes of the few at the peak of the pyramid, skewing the “average” upward. Such a skewed “average” can also mislead consumers to think that the “average” participant actually earns a profit, masking the reality that the vast majority earn no commissions at all or no net profit.)

The new Amway Center was unveiled in 2010 after a long recovery project for the old Amway Arena was abandoned. It was funded in large part by the Amway Center's home team, the Orlando Magic. The Magic have played at Amway (then the Amway Arena) since 1989 when they defeated the then-champion Detroit Pistons in an exhibition game. Since then, the Amway Center has hosted NCAA tournament games, hockey championships, the NBA All-Star game, and countless other major sports events.
To understand the DeVos family, it helps to understand West Michigan. A sweeping landscape of flat, rolling farmland freckled with small towns, it sits on the opposite side of the state—in more than one way—from the big, diverse, reliably Democratic Detroit metropolitan area. Broadly speaking, it’s a region where people are deeply religious, politically conservative, entrepreneurial and unfailingly polite—think Utah, if it were settled not by Mormons but by Dutch Calvinists. “There’s an old expression here,” chuckles Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. “‘If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.’”
Even so, among the DeVoses’ skeptics, there are those who strike a hopeful, if cautious, tone. “I think Mrs. DeVos could potentially be a really good secretary of education if she allowed parents and school districts to make policy at the local level,” says Daniel Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, a nonprofit that receives a portion of its funding from the National Education Association. “But at the same time, I’m concerned.”
×