Is Your Business Opportunity Program Legal?

Introduction To Business Opportunity Programs

Business Opportunity Programs have always been very popular with many people. They offer the ordinary person the chance to make money from home without the usual costs of setting up in business

There is usually very little if any stock to buy, no overheads much to speak of, no investment in publicity materials etc – all these services are provided free by the program owners. Typically an online opportunity program will provide participants with banners, text ads, email ads, ezine ads etc – even a full website, all completely free

The only cost involved is a small monthly membership fee – although even this can be avoided until you get used to the program, as many programs will allow you to join for free

Do These Programs Really Work?

The honest answer in brief is – some do: many don’t!!

The first question to consider is whether the program is in fact legal

Many people down through the years, that business opportunity programs have been around, have lost money – sometimes all their life savings. For this reason most governments in western countries have passed laws to outlaw most of the worst kind of these schemes, often referred to as “Ponzi” schemes

However the law is often openly ignored by many of the people running these business opportunity programs. Perhaps they did not take appropriate legal advise before starting the program, perhaps they were unaware that what they were doing was illegal – or maybe they just didn’t care. For some people as long as they are making money, they don’t care that other people are losing money!!

However the critical point to grasp is that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”, and any one that promotes a trading scheme, as an affiliate, is just as guilty as the people that run the scheme. In general you should always do your homework on the business in question as most of these type of businesses will not survive very long

A Pyramid Matrix

A pyramid matrix simply means an arrangement where the number of people in each level of the pyramid gets bigger the further you go down. Generally the number of members will increase by a set multiplier e.g. you start with 5 people, each of these people refers 5 people, so on the second level or tier there are 25 people, being 5 X 5. As you go down each level of the matrix you multiply the members by 5 each time. So the next level will be 25 X 5 members which is 125

The problem with this arrangement – and the typical one with business opportunities – is that this rate of growth is unsustainable. You would very quickly need one million people and more to sustain this matrix. In fact by the time you got down to the 9th level of this matrix you would need nearly two million people in the scheme – and each of these two million people would each have to find 5 members, which would then push the membership to 10 million!!

The General Legal Rule

For these reasons laws have been introduced to protect the public from such un-viable schemes

The general rule is that it is illegal to encourage someone to pay money in joining or participating in a trading scheme, if the only or main purpose of the scheme is to encourage other people to pay money by way of joining or participating in a trading scheme e.g. you join a scheme and pay a membership fee of $9.99 – you earn this money back when you find 5 other people to pay their membership fee of $9.99

Anything that breaks this rule is almost certainly illegal – you would be well advised – however enticing the scheme sounds – to stay well clear of such arrangements

Many business opportunity programs break this rule because people join as free members and then must “upgrade” their membership in order to participate in the compensation plan. However they receive nothing of substantial or equivalent value to the membership fee being paid. In other words if you pay $9.99 per month and receive free “training”, a “free” website, free “support” via a forum etc – none of these things can be regarded as being of “substantial or equivalent” value

The law regards these schemes as an illegal unregistered lottery, and anyone who promotes such schemes is engaged in an illegal activity – certainly not a legitimate business!

Product Based Opportunities That Have A Network Aspect

The way to make such money type schemes legal, is to always ensure that people are receiving something of value for their membership fee e.g. some real product or service which could be bought by the general public

Product based opportunities are fully legal because people join for free as “distributors” and can sell a range of products and earn a commission, based on the sales they generate. There may be an additional “add-on” network aspect, which may require the payment of a monthly fee. This payment is fine, so long as there is something of value provided for the payment, and so long as making the payment is not compulsory

Because product based opportunities are nearly always legal – providing there is a “join for free” option, then you can always have confidence that such businesses, based on selling a product or range of products, is a viable opportunity and will almost certainly last into the future

What Qualifies As A Product?

You need to be clear what is meant by a product

In general we are talking about a real physical product such as slimming pills, ski jacket, health drink, bedside clock, perfume etc. If the main purpose of the business is to sell the product – even if there is some additional network aspect, then you are generally on firm ground

The Network

We have mentioned the phrase “the network aspect” we need to be clear what is meant by this. We do not mean a standard pyramid matrix. The idea of network marketing is to allow for a system of network distribution – so that each member in the organization sells a small amount of product per month, but altogether this amounts to a much larger total value. However there is no requirement for people to participate in building a network if they do not wish to – they can just sell the products for their standard commission. Such a system will produce far greater group sales than the same number of people just paying a monthly membership fee.

Imagine if I have 100 people in my network all selling just $50 of product a month. That amounts to total sales for the group of $5,000 per month. But if those 100 people just paid a membership fee of $9.99 per month, the total revenue would be only $999. In addition, as each of those 100 people would be receiving a commission cheque for their $50 worth of sales, they would be much more likely to continue with the business, as compared to simply “losing” a membership fee of $9.99 with no commissions for their trouble

Conclusion

Be very careful about business opportunity programs. Product based opportunities work very well via a system of network distribution. However if there is no product of any significance, and you only make money by getting other people to pay a membership fee, then this scheme is very unlikely to pay you any money ever. With a product based opportunity you can sell real products and collect a trade commission even as a free member. As a result the business is viable and a network can be built up into a significant monthly income

There Are Moral, Ethical and Legal Reasons You Should Never Pay Credit Card Debt Again

There are legal, moral and ethical reasons for never paying credit card debt again. Most people struggle to pay card accounts without ever considering reasons why they should never pay the account again. Even federal law provides a legal exit strategy so you can stop paying, restore your credit score and even receive a reward from telemarketers for trying to take your money illegally.

If you check your preference of religious literature whether you are Christian, Islam, Hindu, Buddhist or other you will find it is not considered a good thing to be a lender or to charge interest making the debtor a slave to the master having the money. All religions say it is better to give than to receive and debt should be forgiven in time.

When card companies issue a card account to you it is often backed by an insurance policy and after six months of nonpayment the account is written off and the bank collects on the policy. The bank also takes a tax loss that exists solely on paper because no actual monetary loss occurred. Not one penny was lost by the bank because no money was loaned to you.

If you have trouble understanding this difficult concept please use the search term “the gig is up – money, the Federal Reserve and you” for an eye opening video history lesson presented at the University Of Colorado School Of Law. This 90 min. seminar will change your life forever.

Having had this ah-ha moment watching the gig, let’s move quickly ahead to see how plastic cards are the biggest deception of modern times. Use the search term “the Chicago debacle” to see how banks spread cards by mailing them to millions of people creating a monumental fraud (similar to the recent bailouts) that caused Congress of the mid-1960s to consider making plastic totally illegal.

If you think you’re beginning to smell a rat, there’s more! Banks write off your account and it is cased closed but to get real money from real people they sell your account information to a collection agency and it is those collectors that are needlessly feared by the American public.

Here is another very important concept to understand. Our legal system does not provide any rights to a collector who knowingly buys an uncollectible debt and then tries to take your money. It’s like buying a burning house from a homeowner as he stands on the street in front of the fire and then trying to sue him for fire damages. This is the reason collectors are considered telemarketers trying to convince you to pay them for the resulting damages.

There is a technical issue here and that is the reason you never ever admit you owe the collector in any way. If you do make some admission, it establishes a contract. Never give them any information on the phone and should they write you a collection notice you simply demand proof of any debt. It’s very simple but they use scare tactics to make you talk. He voluntarily paid a few cents on the dollar for your burning house then wants to collect the entire value so do not tell him you will pay anything!

Now let’s get back to those angry congressmen in the mid-60s who wrote the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act so that these telemarketers end up paying you if they violate a very strict set of rules. You can see just a few of the rules using the search term “FTC debt video” which was bought and paid for by the card lobbyists but it does not lessen the intent of the law.

Get a digital recorder and record those collection calls. Acknowledge your name and absolutely nothing more! Let the telemarketer (collector) violate your rights repeatedly since even the most minor violation is worth at least $1000. If there is colorful language you can collect a lot of money! Use search terms such as “man wins $1.5 million from collector” or “woman sues collector wins $8.1 million” to see actual results.

Fear of your credit score is easily overcome because every credit reporting agency is operating outside federal law. Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act says they must have verifiable proof that what they are reporting is true. It’s just like the money scam, they don’t have one single shred of legal proof and therefore must remove whatever information you wish to have removed or be fined by the US government.

No matter how you look at it, now that the veil of deception has been lifted, there are moral, ethical, legal and even religious reasons you should never pay another penny on any credit card debt. In this whirlwind education you may not have realized that when you stop paying some trivial amount our national debt is decreased by the small amount of your plastic account. Be a good citizen and help the government pay off what “we the people” supposedly owe.

Legalization of Drugs – The Addiction Treatment and Education Alternatives

Prohibition may not work, but making drugs legal is no guarantee either. A better strategy might be to fully utilize addiction treatment services.

More and more groups are forming to push the legalization of drugs. There is even a prominent group of law enforcement officials who think that taking drugs should not be against the law. It’s understandable that people, like the police, who fight the never-ending battle against drugs would want to see an end to it. But it’s possible that the real problem is not the drugs, but how we treat, or, more to the point, don’t treat drugs addicts.

According to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the war on drugs has cost taxpayers more than a trillion dollars since it began nearly forty years ago. There have also been 37 million arrests of non-violent drug offenders, and our prison population has quadrupled. We arrest almost 2 million more offenders every year and, according to LEAP, $69 million will be spent every year this war continues.

Despite our efforts, and all the money being spent, drugs are an even bigger problem than they were when the war began.

Consequently, LEAP members, and many others, believe we should legalize drugs. While not having to track down, arrest and incarcerate drug dealers and drug users would arguably save billions, LEAP also claims that fewer people would take drugs if they were legal. This is clearly an assumption: no one really knows what would happen if drugs were freely available.

It is possible that those who take drugs only because they’re not supposed to – like a child or teenager who will do something merely because their parents said they couldn’t – won’t take them. But it is also possible that those people are few and far between.

However, there are alternatives. The RAND corporation released reports as far back as 1994 showing that drug treatment and education were seven times more cost effective as going through the criminal justice system.

Despite this fact, and even with drug courts being implemented in many states, few non-violent drug offenders arrested ever get drug treatment so they can kick the habit. Some statistics say fewer than 5%.

Getting someone through a drug rehab program, especially at a good addiction treatment center, not only increases their chances of staying off drugs and turns them into productive citizens, it also saves a lot of money – just like the RAND corporation said. It costs about $6,000 to get an offender through drug rehab, and about $26,000 to incarcerate them.

Aside from these direct cost savings, we also save money on repeat offenses. According to recent statistics, incarcerating offenders for the second or third time eats up the lion’s share of the budget. If drug offenders were no longer on drugs, and no longer committing drug-related crimes, the chances of them going back to jail would be greatly reduced.

But there’s something wrong with how the drug court system is being used. Reading about the various courts and their graduates, you often see numbers like ‘eight’, or ‘forty-five.’ How can so few people be enrolled in these programs when they have proven to be so successful and when we have a problem of gargantuan proportions?

With two million people a year being arrested, it seems unlikely that only single or double digits would wind up in drug court rehab programs. And what about the millions already incarcerated – why aren’t those non-violent drug offenders being diverted to drug rehab programs?

Concerned parents and other citizens should demand changes in this system. Getting drug offenders off the street temporarily isn’t enough. As long as there’s a market for drugs, there will be suppliers. Only when we rehabilitate drug offenders and users will we truly turn the corner in the war on drugs.