Report: #204546

Complaint Review: Primerica

  • Submitted: Fri, August 04, 2006
  • Updated: Fri, May 18, 2012
  • Reported By: New York New York
  • Primerica
    New Jersey
    Burlington, New Jersey

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Let me be up front: I have never been a Primerica agent. I've never even got snookered into attending one of their presentations (although it certainly wasn't for lack of trying on the part of a few determined agents.) I discovered this site a few days ago when my sister, a social worker, was roped into attending one an interview. I remembered Primerica from when they were A.L. Williams, and they'd seemed laughable even then. So I decided to do some research onlinekeep in mind my sister was told NOT to do any online research because it would show she didn't have a positive attitude. We both thought that was strangeafter all, my sister had often been ADVISED by potential employers to do her own research. Rather, my sister was told to read a book called Think and Grow Rich. Naturally, my sister decided she wanted nothing to do with the company. To be polite, she called the recruiter to tell him she wasn't interested. She did not mention the words pyramid or scammore on this later. The conversation went something like this:

RECRUITER: Don't you want to help people?
SISTER: I do help people as a social worker.
RECRUITER: Well, that's not the kind of help they need. We teach families how to--
SISTER: Look, I am just really not interested in sales.
RECRUITER: I guess you don't want a six-figure income?
SISTER: I'm happy with my current salary, thank you.
RECRUITER: Obviously, you're content to be a slave to your job. [More insults] We wouldn't want someone like you anyway.
SISTER: Usually, that's why organizations conduct real job interviews, so they can weed out people who aren't suitable. Goodbye.

My sister lost nothing but an hour or so of her time. I lost nothing.
So why am I writing? Well...

My Primerica story started in 1989 when I married a young man from NJ. His father (we'll call him Dave) was a high school dropout whose only career was suing peoplehe made a few bucks now and then by claiming to fall down stairs when no one was looking. He had never supported his family of eight and they were dependant on handouts from relatives (including at times his own children, who worked menial jobs to support the family) and the government. A couple years before I married his son (Jack) he'd gotten involved with A.L. Williams. Had he made any money? Well, no, but it was about to bust wide open (a line I heard from other salespeople) and then he'd be a millionaire. I'll be the one laughing at you then! he'd sneer. You think you're going to get somewhere in life because you're getting a fancy college education. Education never did nobody no good. [Count the grammatical errors.] I don't read books because they clutter up my mind. I swear these are direct quotes. Anyway, his brain was blissfully uncluttered.

My father was a law school professor who also had a lucrative private practice, good investments, etc. At the rehearsal dinner, Dave walked over to my father and said, Are you making all the money you could be making? Considering that the two of them hadn't yet been introduced, my dad thought that was a trifle peculiar. My father listened politely for a minute, then explained who he was and what he did. Did this deter Dave? No. But you could be making a six-figure income in only a few hours a week My dad told him he was just not interested and added that he didn't think it was the time or place. Dave stalked off, huffing.

At the wedding the next day (BEFORE the ceremony started) Dave started on my father again, saying, Wouldn't you like to help people instead of just being a lawyer? My poor dad was flabbergastednot just at the Dave would say such a thing, but that he'd say it minutes before the ceremony was due to start. Not wanting to make a fuss, Dad said that he REALLY wasn't interested. He thought that was the end of it, but almost as soon as the reception started, Dave sidled up to him and said, Now that you're in the family, I'd feel bad if I didn't really tell you about this great My dad was starting to get angry and told him, This is the kids' day, let's not discuss this ANY further. Dave went off to sulk in the corner, but not before telling Jack (my husband) how upset he was. On our WEDDING DAY, I had to go talk to Dave about my father's rudeness. (Bear in mind my father was not the least bit rude.) I told Dave nicely that my father already had a very successful career. Dave blasted into my dad, saying that he wasn't willing to work hard and that my father was angry at being told he'd have to start at the bottom and work up. By now, I was starting to get angryhis temper tantrum was keeping me away from my guests!and I told him that my father worked harder than I'd ever seen Dave work, my father HAD started at the bottom with his law practice and HAD worked his way up to making more money in a year than most Primerica agents ever saw in their careers. I mentioned that my father was paying for the wedding (including Dave's tuxedo rental!)

Dave never spoke to my father after that, but out of 200+ people at the wedding, at least 50 told my father that Dave had tried to either recruit them or do an FNA for them. We sure felt sorry for your daughter, marrying into that family!

Dave continued to sell A.L. Williams for the next EIGHT years. He died broke, in debt (my ex-mother-in-law lost her house), and had NEVER supported his family. Jack's new wife told me that before he died, he'd decided to become a motivational speaker and jump around getting businessmen all excited. (Wonder where he learned those valuable skills.) According to her, he had exactly two speaking engagements: his Masonic Lodge and his son's DeMolay chapter. Apparently after his lodge speech, the leadership asked him not to recruit anymore.

My ex, who had held one of those pathetic JOBS where people actually make a salary, benefits, vacation, etc., also got sucked into the promise of a six-figure income after we split up. He has made no money nor supported his family despite, as he insists, working 90 hours a week. (????) We spoke two years ago. Reading through these posts, it's amazing how much he sounded like one of the folks posting a rebuttal: I'm not content to be cattle! I want to be a business OWNER! I can sell my business! My own hours! Financial freedom! Retire early! (He's 42 now.) I guess you and your husband like working your Just-Over-Broke jobs and... Oh, Lord. My husband and I are both university professors. We have tenure and cannot be fired without administrative due process. We have excellent retirement and benefits packages. Yeah, well you kiss lots of butt! Amazing how often Primerica reps use the word butt, as in get off your At that point, I asked my ex (who now has five children) Wouldn't it be better if you'd stuck with your career and bought term and invested the difference? He started to cry.

Perhaps there are Primerica reps making big bucks. I suppose there must be a few. And perhaps their products are good for some people. (I'm unimpressed by what I've seen on unbiased quote sites, though). But it does seem as if there are also a lot of sad, deluded people who think they'll be retiring young with mansions and millions in the bank. When my father passed on, he left a large estate with nest eggs for his children and grandchildren. He supported his family throughout his life. Seems like those just-over-brokes work for some people :) I'm not posting this to debate the merits of MLM...just tell the sad story of these Primericans.

New York, New York

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/04/2006 12:13 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I am sorry that happened to you.

AUTHOR: john - (United States of America)

I hear a lot of people who have had bad agent experiences. I always tell people the best thing about the Primerica Opportunity is "we take anyone" and the worse thing is "we take anyone". The company is about making something out of nothing, most people you run into dont have the will to actually learn the business correctlyand do the studying and the research. Many people want to make the big money but dont want to do the work. The business is as hard as becoming a doctor,  lawyer or professional basketball player. It take determination and many people QUIT, tail between their legs, because they it was harder than they thought. I have been successful in attaining the professional licenses and applying the financial concepts to my life and helping others. I have gone head to head with many so called big financial planners/advisors but in the end the decision is with the person and the client. All I can do is thoroughly expalin/educate them, present them with a alternative program(unless everything they have is solid) and they decide. I dont want to force anyone to join the business, but many successes have been because a persistant agent. Its NORMAL to work for someone else, but true independence can only be attianed by having your own business where you dont have to be there to make money. Thats the ultimate goal, you can achieve that anyway you like. I chose to do it this way. When I recruit I offer an opportunity to make something happen, but in no shape form or fashion can I do it for you. The company is fantastic but not all the time do agents represent it in the correct manner(they ultimately quit) and thats evident in every company on earth.......Enron, Mcdonalds, JP Morgan Chase. Right? Doesnt that make sense? Wish it was better for your family and friends.  By the way who makes an educated decision by oppinions off the Internet? Would love to hear your oppinions.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Kelly in NY

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

I knew someone like Dave too. The difference was he left a good job to go do the A.L. Williams thing. He also died broke.

You said something about primerica's products. Let me be the first to tell you they are really overpriced. You said you had looked at some unbiased quoting sites and weren't impressed. I can build on that for you. I have quoting software that tracks the term rates of almost 600 companies including primerica. The rates are updated over the internet every 2 weeks. Primerica consistently ranks in the worst 1/3rd for rates on men, and in the worst 2-3 companies overall on rates for women.

The loans are even worse., They start by telling you "interest rates don't matter". Need I go further?

Its one thing to overcharge by $30 a month for term insurance however even then its not a death knell for the family finances. However, on their loans they can be as much as $400 a month higher in interest on a $250,000 loan. That means the overcharge approaches 6-figures over 20 years of a loan. That is unconscionable. Its a deliberate exploitation of unsophisticated consumers by the most cynical marketing organization I've ever seen.
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