I am a former Market America Distributor. I was drawn to this business for its promise that if you work hard and follow the plan you can make a six figure residual income in two to three years. I worked as a distributor for this company for a year and throughout that year I saw the sad reality of how this business is typically run. Although this business is technically legal and not considered a pyramid scheme many distributors within the organization run it like one.
Here is a summary of my experience and why I believe Market America to be run like a pyramid scheme.
When you first register your business you are encouraged to go on transfer buy which means that you will be shipped a certain amount of product monthly so that you can meet your quarterly requirements. If you are not on transfer buy and don't fulfill the requirements on your own, you will not be able to sponsor new distributors and grow your business. The requirements that you are expected to meet are there so that the company can remain legit and legal in its practices. However, since most distributors are encouraged to go on transfer by and many required to do so by their up-lines they automatically receive about $100 of product each month which they are expected to sell. You are allowed to sell a small portion of the product to yourself (I believe it's 30%). Unfortunately the majority of distributors out there are selling the majority of the product to themselves. In fact it is encouraged that you use your transfer buy to try out products and become a product of the product.
The result of this is that many distributors create false receipts when filling out their forms for their quarterly requirements. There was one quarter when I did not sell enough to meet my requirement and my up-line encouraged me to fill out receipts saying that I sold my products to my boyfriend so that I could meet the requirement. She told me that there are other ways of working around it and that she would buy product from me so that I could meet my requirement. It was in her best interest for me to meet the requirement because she was earning points for all of the products that I was purchasing every month through my transfer buy. These points accumulate and when you earn a certain amount you receive commission checks from Market America. By not meeting this requirement I would lose all of my points and she would lose any points that she earned from me.
It was at this point that I started to see the business for what it really is a legal pyramid scheme and I decided to leave the business. On paper everything for the business looks great but if you actually go out into the field and talk to distributors you realize that many of them are not selling their transfer buy and most of them are fabricating receipts to meet their quarterly requirements. The unfortunate truth is that it is very hard to sell products that have no name brand recognition. This business is not "Built on Product, Powered by People" as Market America Claims it is powered by many distributors that are purchasing their own product and sponsoring people who are doing the same.
I do believe that there are many people out there who are legitimately running their Market America businesses. However the requirements needed to do so are very hard to meet which causes a lot of distributors to run their businesses unethically.
Edison, New Jersey