ED Magedson – Founder
5LinxRochester, New York USA
5Linx Key insights from a former Customer Service employee Rochester New York
Dear 5Linx Reps and Potential Reps,
This posting is especially addressed to you. You may have encountered this posting because you speculate 5Linx's strategy of business. Or, a current representative approached you about joining 5Linx. I am glad you are here. Please note that the following testimony is the truth, the whole truth, and lacks any bias about 5Linx's structure or workforce.
5Linx is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, highly comparable to Amway and Avon. Its products and services are majorily based in internet-driven markets such as security software, apps for Smartphones, medical advice from experts delivered in 24/7 time, text services for reaching sales leads, personal websites, and online business cards for personal marketing.
If you were approached by a 5Linx member to join the company, then please heed this warning about becoming a 5Linx rep: 5Linx is not in business to help the majority of sales reps make profits; rather, the stakeholder who reaps the most profit by large margins is 5Linx because only the top 20% of sales reps receive earnings large enough to overcome the operating expenses of owning a 5Linx business. If the words "pyramid scheme" entered your mind, then this reaction resulted from the close association with Amway regarding Amway's fraudulent practices toward its members, and your instincts are correct. 5Linx, unfortunately, is still evading the radar, but its leaders know that certain agencies are monitoring complaints and government submittals about 5Linx's compensation model.
I assume that a 5Linx rep asked you to join 5Linx. That person's title is called an Independent Marketing Representative (IMR). This title is parallel to Amway's title of an Independent Business Owner (IBO). What these titles actually mean is that a person bought a membership into Amway or 5Linx in order to sell these companies' products and/or services. Here are the criteria required for obtaining a 5Linx IMR membership that will generate monetary earnings: 1) a $249.99 startup fee with a kit, 2) a $14.99 or highly emphasized $49.99 recurring charge in which the first payment is also required upfront with the startup fee, 3) several personal purchases of your own products/services within your first 30-60 days of membership ($30+$25+$50+$20 hypothetically), and 4) ten or twenty acquired IMRs which you personally brought into 5Linx during your first 30-60 days as an IMR.
The fourth criterion states that you, as a potentially new IMR, are being asked to become a qualified recruit in order for an existent IMR to qualify for his/her 30-60 day bonus= $750.00 (ET position in 30 days). Or, you are being used to maintain an IMR's existent position. The ET acronym stands for "Executive Trainer", a position obtained for acquiring new members into an IMR's existent "organization". This organization is merely an online diagram tree of sales reps (IMRs) who work under other reps who are striving to maintain a status quo for higher payouts. The higher up you ascend in an IMR organization, the more earnings you reap from residual commissions, CAB payments, and sales promos. These positions are maintained by consistently acquiring 10-20 new IMRS every month; otherwise, the rep is demoted thereby receiving less payout.
All ten or twenty IMRs must each pay the same fees you paid and meet the same qualifications within the same periods of time from activation. Otherwise, they are not compensated for any bonuses regardless of any sales orders they processed. However, 5Linx reaps the benefits of orders processed. This bonus rule applies to you too. All orders must satisfy the point amounts for the bonuses as well. A descriptive list shows how many points are applied to each particular order. If 4 points including a Globalinx product or 8 points of any 5Linx orders are not obtained within your first 30-60 days, then you will receive no bonuses. Residuals are paid after 90 days of activation. These residuals are small and split between you and your "downline" of reps, and I do mean all other ten or twenty reps. Amway also operates with the term "downline" for its IBO acquisitions of other IBOs into an Amway business. For example, if you sell a product with residual value of $4 per month, then your $4 is split among ten or so reps (IMRs) plus you. If these details describe a "pyramid-like" structure to you, then your interpretation is correct.
The 5Linx center for Rep Services primarily teaches call agents to refer you to your online tools for marketing, sales, reports, payouts, and other useful materials: Virtual Office, 5Linx University, and your personal website. In other words, the agents are taught to discourage you from calling the call center and to encourage you to use the online tools given in your membership. Lately, the management reduced hours of operation due to declining call volumes. So, the opportunity to speak to an agent has been diminished. Also, the upper management tightened policies regarding membership cancellations and other policies in response to increased losses of membership revenues and account closings. So, you are now required to submit a letter of intent with document 101 from your Virtual Office through a fax or email in order to close your membership.
Any call center reps who challenge the ethics of the management or show genuine concerns for the reps' complaints meet harsh criticism and potential termination. Meanwhile, the corporate culture parades a credo of a "family workplace". In other words, a major reason why a call center agent, who received your call, seems disenfranchised is because that rep survives 5Linx's dysfunctional climate by alienating his/her conscience.
Please do not compare 5Linx's National Event culture to the Rochester call center. National Events are mere conventions utilized to stimulate current IMR ambition and attract new IMRs. These conventions are parallel to Amway's "Incentive Events". Therefore, 5Linx's "Nationals" do not genuinely reflect the corporate culture which surrounds the call center agents, and they hold no particular value beyond opportunities for acquiring new IMRs who may be guests of current IMRs.
5Linx's call center operates similarly to Sutherland Global Services, a BPO company with a reputed negative background in violating labor laws and compensation. Sutherland lost several lawsuits from former employees for forced overtime without pay, violations of lunch hours, and withheld commissions. In the 5Linx climate, agents are punished for clocking in beyond the last second of their 30-minute lunches; therefore, most agents feel pushed to clock in earlier than 30 minutes which is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Furthermore, these agents are pushed to study the materials you can see in your Virtual Office about 3-4 hours per week, outside of their standard work hours. Otherwise, they cannot assist you due to lack of adequate time for training, and the management micromanage the agents' calls. All agents only receive about 1-2 weeks of training before being thrown into a cubicle.
Now, I listed the poor services you receive from 5Linx's corporate culture. I will display the compensation model, and you can derive your moral judgments from the objective data:
IMR Startup (1st 30 days)= $249.99 5Linx Earnings (1st30)=$249.99
$ 49.99 x 21 $5,249.79 + $125.00
Expenses -$424.98 5Linx Earnings from Service fees
Bonus (20 reps) + $750.00 $49.99
$325.02 x 21
IMR Startup (1st 30 days with 10 IMRs)= $249.99
Remember that you must acquire 10 new IMRs into your business before you can earn a $350 bonus. After your 60 days, these bonuses disappear unless a promo occurs for existing reps. These numbers illustrate the startup model.
Now, the commissions payout after 90 days of consistent activation. Meanwhile, you are paying these monthly charges which 5Linx receives with tightened refund policies that ensure almost total profit for 5Linx and net losses to you, if you are part of the 80% of reps who lose money. Meanwhile, the top 20% reap marginal profits as NVPs, NDs, SVPs, and EDs.
Now, the question is: why do I care about sharing this data with you? What moral imperative or benefit do I derive? My answer is that I have been a victim of this company's culture firsthand. I am a PhD candidate with expert power in organizational diagnosis regarding human development. I am concerned with these employers and businesses who are saturating my marketplace, demoralizing my generation's current morale, and exploiting aspirations of others who try to succeed in today's chaotic environment. I want my marketplace to revive with healthy companies who provide great services with win-win solutions for all stakeholders, all stakeholders. The above formulas prove that 5Linx's leadership does not intend to fulfill this function of an organization.
Please refrain from buying memberships with 5Linx or its IMRs. I care about my fellow neighbor in today's demoralized society. God Bless you and cherish righteous opportunities with morally conscious organizations. An organization that designs win-lose formulas is not your ideal partner.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/07/2014 05:47 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/5linx/rochester-new-york-14623/5linx-key-insights-from-a-former-customer-service-employee-rochester-new-york-1113741. 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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