• Report: #145602

Complaint Review: Primerica Financial Services

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  • Submitted: Thu, June 09, 2005
  • Updated: Sat, June 25, 2005

  • Reported By:Newark Delaware
Primerica Financial Services
, Delaware U.S.A.

Primerica Financial Services From someone who's been there, BEWARE. Primerica leading many down a treachorous path ripoff Delaware
*UPDATE: Primerica offers a good business opportunity & stands behind its products & services- - Company Executives have told Rip-Off Report that Primerica pledges to resolve complaints & address any inquires from the past, present & in the future.

*UPDATE Employee: The Primerica Cult & Its Adherents: Business or Controversy?

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TO ALL READING, especially thise who have succumb to the Primerica Scam.

This passage also came from a rebuttal to another Primerica REP, Kevin from Oklahoma, but in order for all to view, I've created a new posting. Some of what you read may be directed directly to Kevin. If you are a Primerica Rep, you might want to replace Kevin's name with yours as you have fallen into the same trap. If you haven't read Kevin's posting please do so. He is speaking from inexperience, just as many of us have before.

I did not read the passage comparing Primerica to the holocaust, and even though I loathe Primerica, there's obviously no real comparison. Perhaps one can find an occasional similarity, for instance, many Jews were not aware they were being led to the gas chambers, but in fact thought they were going to a shower house. The comparison is that many new Primerica reps perceive Primerica as the shower house, when in fact it's the gas chamber. You are led to believe that Primerica is the answer to you and your family's prayers. That you will find happiness through your association with Primerica. The Jews were taken from there families, raped and murdered. Their road was tragic, unconceivable to most, and in the end, after months of false hope they were executed. They had no chance. The difference with Primeca though is that for a while you do in fact find happiness. You feel an overwhelming sense of importance. In fact Sigmund Freud said it best: that we as humans seek one thing more than any other. We seek a 'feeling of importance.' Can any one reading this deny that you do not seek this? Kevin's lengthy passage led me to believe he does and now he thinks he's found found it. Let me make this very clear for you, IT WILL BE SHORT LIVED. You my friend unfortunately cannot see this clearly, YET, and it's not your fault. In no way is it your fault. I speak from personal experience, Kevin. From one educated man to another, please heed my warning and take steps to exit Primerica now, before you learn for yourself, what I learned the hard way.

Let me explain further. Yes there are many people in Primerica who truly want to do good for others. BUT, let's be realistic, everyone who joins Primerica does so for a reason. The majority of those who join do so for financial gain. AND everyone who has ever been recruited into Primerica has been led to believe that they can be wealthy working for Primerica. That is far from the truth. A very large percentage of people who join never make enough money to be wealthy. You can definitely make some money, no doubt, but it's the way the money is made that drives the ethical people away. A pretty good friend recruited me into the business a couple of years ago. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I was in a similar situation as you, and I was looking for a greater sense of importance. Not to mention I thought owning a Primerica business would be the way to go.

I, like all the rest before me and after, was recruited the same way. Led to believe that I was 'THE CHOSEN ONE.' Someone who could be a great PFS leader and make an impact on the middle class family. DING DING DING DING. The alarm should have gone off right then and there, but it didn't. Here I was, as financially uneducated as a slug, no real business sense and I was being told I was the one. Plus the opportunity meeting I had attended was in a hallway next to an elevator. We actually had to get up when people used the elevator. DO YOU GET MY POINT?

Everyone they recruit is told the same thing. But those who have been in then business for any amount of time know without a doubt, they are telling the potential recruit a BOLD FACED LIE. I WAS THERE. I AM AN ETHICAL PERSON WHO FOUND THIS OUT AND MADE THE DECISION NOT TO STAY. You PFS REPS are brainwashed, as a PFS'r I know you hate that word, but it's true, they are brainwashed into thinking that what they are doing is actually right. They are taught to justify their techniques of recruiting everyone and anyone. They say and I quote, "How can we discriminate or differentiate between those that are capable of being successful and those that are not?" "We just have to recruit everyone we can and let the chips fall as they may." What an incredible line of Horse ----.

I was at a seminar once and heard Cheryl Bartlett, NSD from CA speak. She for word said, you need to recruit everyone and follow up with them until they BUY, JOIN or DIE. Yes that's exactly what she said. Does that familiar Kevin? Didn't you tell the Rep on the phone that you weren't interested and that were joining the Air Force. Weren't you surprised to get ANOTHER call from him the very next day?

In reality, once you tell them not to call, they're not supposed to and can be fined for doing so. The point here is, you were surprised by the phone call, the REP that called you planned to call you again even though you had told him not to. He basically disrespectfully disregarded your request and called you ANYWAY. How does that make you feel? That's what Primerica Reps do, remember I was one and I did it.

I have lost the respect of friends and family members because I believed I was doing what was right. I thought Primerica was so good that I was willing to harass others to push the business. YES that's right, harass. And I really didn't realize what was occurring, right in front of me. I have since regained the respect I had once lost, but only after apologizing and explaining what I had learned and how Primerica was in deed leading thousands down a path of no return. I believe that I am a very ethical person with morals and good values.

Primerica literally forced me to be someone I was not and before I knew it I was in the same boat as the rest, traveling down swollen rapids, any minute about to be capsized by an unforeseen wave.

Kevin, and all reading this, I'm not putting anyone down. I'm writing this to make you aware of what you are not aware. I know you have heard this before; People don't know what they don't know. This works two ways.

New Primerica recruits don't know what they don't know. Are you aware of what a chargeback is? Are you aware that if you ever leave Primerica that the RVP will hunt you down to claim any money you had charged back to you when clients cancel their accounts. Are you aware that you will be required to spend Saturday mornings or some other chosen morning to give up each week? Not to mention you'll be made to attend the Opportunity meeting every week. Are you aware that if you miss a meeting you will be chastised and if you continue to miss the meeting you will be viewed as a non-conformist and an outcast. Are you aware that the same thing will happen to you if you miss a 'Star School' or Fast Start School'. Are you aware that the RVP can change the schedule around his time or schedule meetings on a whim and you had better make them if you are a team player? Are you aware that you'll be forced to pass off high interest loans to your clients as if they were good, all the while knowing they could search elsewhere for a better deal? Are you aware that the FNA is really nothing else but a colorful packet purposefully geared to do two things; recruit you and sell insurance to you? Are you aware Primerica recruits in order to get to your warm market and to recruit them and sell insurance to them? If you fall off, so what, at least they've tapped into the people you know and haven't really lost anything.

HAVE YOU THOUROUGHLY READ THE IBA (CONTRACT)? AGAIN, HAVE YOU THOUROUGHLY READ THE IBA? IF YOU HAVEN'T YOU NEED TO, TRUST ME. Only after I had left Primerica and was faced with a chargeback balance did I realize just how helpless and defenseless I was. The IBA is a well-protected document and often times RVP's won't let anyone take them from the office to review it before making their decision. The IBA was written, edited, rewritten and reedited by Primerica's lawyers to ensure Primerica is protected. Let me repeat, to ensure PRIMERICA is protected.

The company does not care about the individual reps, but of course it's own interests are of great concern. I left Primerica over a year ago and I still get mail from them asking me to repay a chargeback.

Here's another tad bit of information. There is a book out there called the ABC's of Financial Planning. It came out, coincidently, this time two years ago during our annual convention in Georgia. We were introduced to the book because on page 212, if my memory serves me, there was a blip about Primerica. The authors praised Primerica for being the only company to meet all 15 of their standards of a viable business. The first thing we all thought was, WOW, did I make the right decision or what. Here were two guys basically telling me that I was in the right place at the right time and that my decision to join Primerica was the best decision I had ever made. How fortunate was I.

Right after we learned of the book, thousands of PFS reps lined up to buy the book and sales sky rocketed. Let me let you and everyone else in on a little secret. Believe me or don't, I have the inside truth. I learned later on that one of the two authors was a personal friend with some of the higher ups in Primerica and the inclusion of Primerica in this book was done solely to boost sales of the book.

What a marketing ploy or should I call it a scam? What better way to make a Million and a half bucks +, quickly and painlessly. Let's market our book to 100,000 plus Primerica reps that will buy anything that they think will boost their business. They're sitting on some beach somewhere, sipping margaritas and laughing it up. How ingenious you say, I say they couldn't have acted anymore selfishly if they tried. Guess what. I bought one of the books. How was anyone to know though?

Kevin, I could go on and on and on. I personally delved deep into the Primerica products and learned things that many are not aware of. Things that would scare clients away if divulged. I'm not asking you to take my word, you and I do not know each other so what real right do I have to tell you what to do. You will soon find out for yourself what I'm talking about and you too will realize that you were promised a Pipe Dream that for many will never come true.

I wish all you the very best. Those with ambition are rare. Do not think for a second that you made a wrong decision by joining Primerica, just an uninformed decision. Primerica Financial Services are the ones to blame for the practices they continue to promote.

Rip Doff
Wilmington, Delaware
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/09/2005 02:12 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Primerica-Financial-Services/Delaware-19800/Primerica-Financial-Services-From-someone-whos-been-there-BEWARE-Primerica-leading-man-145602. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE Employee

The Primerica Cult & Its Adherents: Business or Controversy?

AUTHOR: Primerica - (U.S.A.)

I am reminiscing the views of Alan Watts, a eastern philosopher who was quite popular in the 1960s & 70s. Actually, several of his books are still easily available on Amazon.com.

Alan Watts expressed this:
A person is said to experience eternal bliss when a person goes to heaven. But, that does not make sense. If a person is maintained in a heightened sense of ecstasy, that heightened state would eventually become one's normal sensation. Normality eventually becomes the mundane. And, monotony becomes tedious. Eventually, a soul would become so bored with bliss that it would begin to desire pain and agony. [Alan Watts' views heavily influence the movie industry. Hellraiser was premised on this current concept.]

I would agree with the assessment of my former colleague in Wilmington, Delaware that people seek a sense of importance. An easy read that explores this concept is: Status Anxiety, by Alan de Botton [Pantheon Books, 2004]. And, I would tend to agree with the assessment of another commentator that Primerica oftentimes takes on cultic appearances [Danielle - in San Diego, CA].

We know that religion evolved out of primitive magic, which was used to give a sense of control over a person's destiny. It is also a well acknowledged fact that religious resurgence occurs in times of crisis when people lose their sense of control. Another well established fact is that people feel a loss of autonomy when they are compelled, by financial necessity, to accept low paying jobs that do not offer any real hope for advancement. Thus, it is natural for the hardworking, low paid segment of society to do two things: This segment is overwhelmingly religious because religion promises the heightened social esteem that is effectively denied to them in reality; and this segment searches for jobs that offer access to the social esteem that their current positions effectively deny. So, those who want the Primerica opportunity the most tend to be American-brand religious zealots, commonly known as Fundamentalist Christians.

So, yes! A person will often hear Amen and Halleluiah at Primerica meetings by new associates. Eventually, however, these new associates do learn how to control their emotional impulses and to moderate their actions in a professional manner. This seems similar to the play: My Fair Lady, in which professor Higgins must teach Eliza to act within the new environment that she now finds herself in. Primerica, too, spends lots of time teaching recruits proper social graces that the public expects from financial representatives.

Often time the new sense of importance is so overwhelming to the recruit that the recruit will do just as our former colleague in Wilmington, Delaware did; some Primerica associates harass friends and neighbors to convert to Primerica similar to how zealots try to convert what they perceive as souls lost from God.

Zealous new recruits tend to be confused, which is the importance of working with a qualified rep that can temper the recruit's ambition. Simply because the Primerica opportunity is open and available to everyone, it does not follow that Primerica is right for everyone.

Similar to the way that public universities offer open enrollment to everyone who meets the minimum qualifications, Primerica has open enrollment too. Many people who start college never finish their education. But, we do not close the doors to those who are statistically likely to fail. Simply because one person in my category fails at something does not mean that I will too. So, Primerica accepts everyone that meets a state's defined minimum standard.

Many people are lured to Primerica for a sense of importance; but many of these people do not have the ambition to put in the necessary work to succeed. If a person started a lawn service, that person would be out all day mowing yards. This young up-start would be soliciting new customers whenever possible. Owners of start-up businesses often put in many more hours per week then the 40 hours one can put in working for someone else. Yet, those who fail at Primerica do not put in the many hours that other entrepreneurs work.

There tends to be a perception among the complainants at this site that when they came to work through Primerica that they could makes lots of money simply sitting at a phone, waiting for people to call. Those company that do work that way hire low-paid telemarketers to answer the phones. The reality of insurance and finance is sociability.

Affluent sales reps join the American Legion, the Jaycees, the Lions, their local country club, and so forth. Professional sales is interaction with people in social settings; not to push product - but to be available for when someone needs a product. People will call your office and request your products after they know who you are and they realize a need.

Successful reps act professionally in social situations. Harassing people in malls is equivalent to using the lawn service's marketing techniques. There are publicly held social expectation that the financial professional must conform to. Offending a potential customer's sense of etiquette will not develop a customer base.

No one can build a successful financial service business in just 3-6 months. Nor does Primerica promise that. Primerica promises promotions in the short term in title and recognition; but one has to be persistent over several years to build a successfully stable business.

People move from job to job looking for a sense of importance, as well as better income. In an exclusive society like ours, however, very few can move to the top of any business hierarchy. Out of a group of 10-20 employees, only one can be promoted to supervisor; they all cannot be in charge. Of the supervisors, only one can move up to manager.

One can settle for the position that one finds oneself in, or you can move on in search of an opportunity for promotion. Unlike other companies where the promotion is an exclusive decision by a superior, Primerica's promotions are based wholly on individual efforts. You, in effect, promote yourself by your own effots.

Yes, anyone who wants a chance to succeed in the financial industry is given their chance at Primerica. These recruits are excited. They are happy. They have finally experienced that true sense of liberty that is often exclusively reserved for only the upper segments of society. And, they want to share that freedom with their friends and family.

But, the excitement does wear off. This new heightened state of well-being becomes the norm. And, one is left with similar feelings of monotony that one experienced before joining Primerica. This is the time when the rubber hit's the road. The person can wander away in search of his next euphoric fix; or the person can build the business, the dream that gave him so much euphoria originally.

Sadly, most people want the euphoria without responsibility. They are unwilling to put in the many hours of hard work that is required to achieve their dreams. All they really want is a drug of sorts, a short escape from their reality. Marx said: Religion is the opiate of the masses. So, yes! In a world where religion is no longer valid, people will use opportunities like Primerica as a pseudo-religion.

Primerica is not a structured master/servant relationship that most businesses are based upon. Furthermore, the most lucrative sales positions with the highest earning potential are positions that are 100% commissionable. Primerica successfully blends earning potential with self-autonomy. It, therefore, takes great self-discipline to remain focused on building one's own business.

It is true that statistically a person will not succeed at Primerica. Less than 6% of Primerica's reps earn over $50,000. Most reps consider Primerica a part-time income, like selling Avon. A few thousand dollars a year for a few hours a week is a nice suppliment to their regular careers.

Consider: Some 85% of all new businesses fail within their first two years. And, most businesses are heavily invested, which inspires the owner to work hard. Primerica's only investment is $199. Primerica recruits are not destined to the financial ruin that most entrepreneurs face if they do not succeed; so, it is true, most recruits do not work too hard. Many of them are in search of a get-rich-quick scheme. Most people do use Primerica as their source of euphoria for a few months before they move on. For those people, Primerica is still a better deal than what the expected weekly donation to a church would be.

Every financial service business has some form of financial assessment. The Primerica FNA is not unique. And, all business contracts protect the company that rights them. Rental agreements are written to protect the landlord, not the tenant. College applications and the subsequent student handbooks are contracts written by the college to protect the college, not the student. Most people have only worked in free-will shops; they have never signed an employment contract. They do not really know what a contract contains. Of course Primerica's IBA will protect Primerica; this is not unusual. What is unusual is the expectation that the contract would not protect Primerica.

I was unable to find the book: ABCs of Financial Planning. I only found: The ABCs of Personal Financial Planning, which was written by M. Aboobaker [not by two authors]. And, this book only has 183 pages, which makes the reference to p.212 an error. Publisher: Creative Services; 1st ed edition [July 1, 1994].

It is true that entrepreneurial ambition is rare. Nor should anyone feel humiliated when they find that Primerica was not right for them. Perseverance is key. There is a business out there for everyone. It is simply a matter of searching for it.

People leave jobs all of the time simply because the job was something other than what they had hoped for. Too often these people have a need to assign blame for their lack of success. This need is created by the emotional defenses set up by being entrapped within the master/servant relationship. Often, however, there is no need for blame. Leaving Primerica does not mean that one was wronged by Primerica. It simply means the two were not as compatible as either had hoped for.
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