Saturday, August 16, 2008

Continued Exploitation of Traveling Sales Crews Supported by the Direct Selling Association!

Exploitation of young people working in traveling sales crews in the direct selling industry is a despicable situation! Recently while I was doing research on Quixtar I came across this traveling horror caravan of greed and youth exploitation which has raised the hairs on the back of my neck in ire!

On March 25, 1999 seven youths were killed and five others badly hurt in a van roll over crash near Janesville, Wisconsin. This accident occurred when the driver who did not have a drivers license attempted to change seats with another occupant while traveling at high speed. The van was occupied by members of a traveling magazine sales crew which included Malinda Turvey, daughter of Phil Elenbecker who has been working tirelessly to see legislation passed in Wisconsin which bears his daughter's name: Malinda's Law.

Malinda's law seeks to make widespread changes to the way traveling sales crew companies in Wisconsin operate. Among other measures, the proposed law would:

• Require employers of traveling sales crews to register with the state before conducting business and carry permits showing they are licensed to sell.

• Mandate that members of sales crews be considered employees and prohibit the use of independent contractors or minors.

• Require traveling sales crews to post a $10,000 bond or equivalent when registering with the state, and to pay employees at least twice a month.

• Limit the times of day when sales crews may be in the field.

If passed, Wisconsin's bill would be the most restrictive in the country says Phil Elenbecker. Under the bill, traveling sales crews would be defined as two or more people who travel together and live away from their permanent residences while selling.

The Direct Selling Association opposes passage of Malinda's Law. One member company of the DSA, The Southwestern Company has lobbied the Wisconsin legislature to defeat and/or make changes to the bill which would render it nearly meaningless and allow the exploitation of their youthful recruits to continue; these independent contractors, mostly college students, carry out door to door selling of books and publications in the state. Another door to door selling company has also been actively involved in shooting down Malinda's Law: Kirby vacuums, another member of the Direct Selling Association coven. Amy Robinson, how do you defend the DSA in this situation?

A close examination of Southwestern Company quickly reveals a pattern of exploitation of its representatives that is nearly similar to the “methods of operation” of other traveling sales crews operating in Wisconsin. Southwestern claims that it operates more ethically than the other rogue traveling crews in Wisconsin and points to the DSA code of ethics exactly the same way other disreputable companies under the DSA umbrella do for some degree of respectability they believe the DSA represents.

Southwestern Company deserves to be singled out for exploitation of its recruits whom it terms to be independent contractors much the same way that Amway/Quixtar distributors are "Independent Business Owners." This turns out to be a very advantageous situation for any company (Southwestern, Amway, Kirby, along with almost all MLM companies) because they can sidestep labor laws designed to protect employees in a employer/employee relationship. Youths working for Southwestern Company report that they many times work 80 hour work weeks and must attend Sunday sales meetings as well as travel long distances to attend meetings in Nashville. They also claim that earnings are withheld to the end of the summer selling season making them basically enslaved to the situation they find themselves in almost the same way as the other despicable traveling sales crews operating under the National Field Selling Association, another disreputable trade association.

When direct selling companies (to include the likes of Quixtar/Amway) incorporate independent contractors, they basically insulate themselves from responsibility for any bad situation that is part and parcel of the the industry and completely avoid labor laws which might protect an hourly worker from such deceit and abuse. Just as Amway "independents" are exploited out of countless hours of work and even brainwashed into basically "paying" the company instead of the company "paying" them, these traveling sales independents become responsible for their own actions although they are actively generating profits for the companies they represent. At the worst the exploited go out and exploit the public by many times misrepresenting themselves and making untrue claims. This sound exactly similar to situations I've described where Quixtar reps misrepresent themselves and the business opportunity?

Victims of these direct selling companies go out and make victims of others through recruitment, misrepresentations, and deceit. Sadly this is the way most of the DSA companies operate. At the worst end of the spectrum, there have been murders, rapes, and robberies. At the other end of the spectrum, people have been victimized by cons, and schemes perpetrated on them and for which they in turn perpetrate on others. My last post compared and correctly condemned modern direct selling companies. The DSA should hang its head in shame for supporting companies with their toothless code of ethics which attempts to provide a veil of accountability and respectability to the likes of Southwestern, Quixtar, Kirby, YourTravelBiz, Crazy Fox Herbalife, Mannatech, Usana, as well as others operating thinly veiled product pyramid schemes.

People recruited into direct selling businesses (all of which have the potential for making door to door sales) are many times not given background checks, and regardless of past criminal behavior are free to go out and knock on doors or show the plan to success to anyone. Just ask the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgeway, who claimed he didn't kill as many people when he was working his Amway business. I am looking into whether any of his murder victims were also recruited into the Amway business by Ridgeway?

Kirby salesmen have a long history of problems and some have been convicted of heinous crimes: murders, rapes, cons, and thefts. For more information on Kirby crimes click here. Kirby, a DSA member has also actively opposed Malinda's Law. The despicable DSA has opposed Malinda's Law and therefore furthers the exploitation of youths in the state of Wisconsin as well as all the harm done to them and people receiving a knock on their door from a questionable gypsy seller. The DSA fears that implementation of this protective legislation will open the flood gates and cause other states to consider enacting similar legislation to protect their citizens.

One of the end results of the Federal Do Not Call list is to bring door to door selling back into prominence; think about that the next time you get ready to set down to diner--your phone may not wring, but your door may!

Amway Global Cult Intervention advocates passage of state and federal legislation to curb the continued exploitation of our Nation's youth, protect its citizens, and take away the "independent contractor" loophole which allows direct sellers to continue the exploitation of the distributors, crew, and citizens. I have placed a list of links in the right hand panel of this blog that I ask every reader to follow. There is wealth of information too numerous to describe as part of today's post. Please support the Parent Watch Organization, sign a petition. As informed consumer you can hopefully correctly handle a situation where it is your door that receives the knock knock joke, only thing is, it is no joke!

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