Donald Trump is coming under fire this week for supporting ACN Inc., a multilevel marketing firm that has been under investigation in three separate countries. Trump has not only supported ACN Inc. he also featured the company on “The Celebrity Apprentice” twice. The presidential candidate was paid over $450,000 a piece for the last 3 speeches he did for ACN. Robert FitzPatrick is a critic of multilevel marketing companies. He and others that have analyzed the company state that only participants at the top of the pyramid of the multilevel structure actually make money. Most participants end up losing money. However, the President of ACN refutes those statements as baseless and careless. Still these recent business dealings have many wondering if Donald Trump has integrity and if multilevel marketing firms are legitimate.
ACN charges all representatives $499 initial fee, plus they are charged a $149 annual renewal fee. Sometimes representatives also pay $39.99 a month for a package of technology and marketing materials. And there are even more fees to attend company meetings and conferences. Some former and current ACN reps state that they signed up for the company based on Trump’s endorsement. Jamie Gardner of San Diego was an ACN representative for 3 years and said Trump’s endorsement was “a major selling point” he used to entice new recruits into ACN. But eventually the ACN model was not sustainable for Gardner, and he wound up spending around $150 a month for only a $10 return.
Gardner’s story is only one of many that claim that ACN’s misrepresentation should be investigated. In August 2010, the securities commissioner in Montana filed for a cease-and-desist order against ACN, calling it an “illegal pyramid scheme. In the end, ACN resolved the matter by agreeing to retrain the state’s representatives.
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