In the 1979 ruling In re. Amway Corp., the Federal Trade Commission determined that Quixtar predecessor Amway was not an illegal pyramid scheme because no payments were made for recruitment. In addition, Amway (and later Quixtar) rules required distributors to sell to at least 10 retail customers per month, or have $100 in product sales, or a total of 50 PV from customer purchases in order to qualify for bonuses on downline volume. Quixtar IBOs are required to report this customer volume on Quixtar.com or they do not receive bonuses on downline volume. Furthermore, an IBO must also personally sell or use at least 70% of the products personally purchased each month.[10] The FTC established that these rules help prevent inventory loading and other potential abuses of the marketing model.
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 a column published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper in August 1997,[77] reporter Molly Ivins wrote that Amway had "its own caucus in Congress...Five Republican House members are also Amway distributors: Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Jon Christensen of Nebraska, Dick Chrysler of Michigan, Richard Pombo of California, and John Ensign of Nevada. Their informal caucus meets several times a year with Amway bigwigs to discuss policy matters affecting the company, including China's trade status."[78]
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.
A 1998 analysis of campaign contributions conducted by Businessweek found that Amway, along with the founding families and some top distributors, had donated at least $7 million to GOP causes in the preceding decade.[76] Political candidates who received campaign funding from Amway in 1998 included Representatives Bill Redmond (R–N.M.), Heather Wilson (R–N.M.), and Jon Christensen (R–Neb).[74]
Occasionally, though, it can be useful to mention poverty in a certain context. Inspired by the personal and business philosophies of DeVos and Van Andel, Cross spent the ten years after writing Commitment to Excellence researching the two men, culminating in his 1995 self-help book Choices with Clout: How to Make Things Happen – by Making the Right Decisions Every Day of Your Life. Much of the book is compiled from interviews with the Amway founders and top-level distributors. In a passage about excellence, Van Andel outlines the proper way for an Amway distributor to rationalize the issue of poverty:
The reason some people received $84 was because they didn’t work hard enough to earn more. This business isnt for everyone. Just try the products and of you dont like them then return them you have 6 months to return them. Just dont start stating facts that aren’t true just because you lost a friend. They probably left because they trying to be with people who were trying to succeed. Take it from me im 16 years old and this business has not failed me yet.
“These are volatile demand products,” Dr. Calvert stated. “If something like the Asian flu breaks out, there are huge spikes in demand – 100 to 200 percent spikes.”  Further, if made in the U.S., these become long lead time supply chains. To source the circuit boards from Asia, ship them to the U.S. and make them here, and then ship the products back to Asia requires 130 days in lead time. By making the products in Asia, the lead time shrinks to 25 days. This makes Amway more responsive to demand surges and means there are fewer lost sales. There are also tariff savings from making products, and sourcing components, from nations where the products will be purchased.
The DeVoses supported an amendment to the US House of Representatives' omnibus Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 by US Representative John Moolenaar that would have limited the ability of the FTC to investigate whether MLMs are pyramid schemes.[136] The amendment would have disbarred the Treasury Department, the Judiciary Department, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FTC, or any other agencies from using any monies to take enforcement actions against pyramid operations for the fiscal year.[137] It also adopted provisions from H.R. 3409, the so-called “Anti-Pyramid Scheme Promotion Act of 2016,”[138] which would blur the lines between legitimate MLM activity and pyramid schemes established under the original 1979 FTC case by deeming sales made to people inside the company as sales to an “ultimate user,” thus erasing the key distinction made in the ruling between sales to actual consumers of a product and sales made to members of the MLM network as part of recruitment of members or to qualify for commissions.[137][138][139] The amendment was opposed by a coalition of consumer interest groups including Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine), Consumer Watchdog, the National Consumers League, and the United States Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG),[138] as well as Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) in its original incarnation.[139]
More than 20 million people in the U.S. were involved in direct selling in 2015 – one in six households. Retail sales were estimated at $36.12 billion – a nearly 5 percent increase over 2014[3]. The field has particularly enthusiastic involvement from women and minority groups: More than 77 percent of direct sellers in 2015 were women, and nearly 20 percent Latino[4].  Direct sellers describe work-life balance, networking opportunities and income potential as their chief motivations for staying in the industry.
Amway is based out of Ada, MI, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with only 11 closed complaints over the past three years. It appears that Amway has a generally negative reputation among IBOs, and the most common complaints we encountered during our research cited difficulty making money, high prices, and dishonest recruiting tactics.
The recently published book, No One Would Listen, by whistle blower, Harry Markopolos, dramatically describes how SEC regulators ignored his alerts and allowed the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme to grow to enormous proportions. Their failure to act caused harm to thousands more people, despite his written and detailed warnings, which he brought to the agency five separate times over an eight-year period of investigating the scam. Additionally, the news media such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine also failed to respond to his evidence which he offered them. Madoff was apparetnly treated as “too big to expose.”
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