As faith would have it, I was contacted by someone with regards to a “great new travel platform”. I do get such emails and most of the times the new platforms are awesome and totally legitimate. This time though it wasn’t as clear with information beforehand and I have to say that should ring a bell. I got the point in the first 30 seconds as to what it was about since everything is sooo vague, but as I didn’t want to be rude I decided to sit through the whole presentation. They never let you know any information beforehand, unless you sit in the presentation. Totally secretive. The reason for this post is to inform people. If you want to sign up to this it’s up to you, but in my opinion it’s not going to take you anywhere and most likely you will lose money and/or friends.
The company that approached me was DreamTrips or WorldVentures and the reason I knew this company is because about a year and a half ago my baby cousin signed up for them. She was so excited about all the travel she would do and all the cool stuff she would achieve and the money she would make. I spent an hour or so back then listening to these guys promising money and ‘thin air’ and even though this time it wasn’t as bad, it was the same conclusion. What is even more interesting is that they were Muslims who approached me. So the MLM trend is very strong even in the Muslim world.
Now, when I say I know about Multi Level Marketing (MLM) I actually do. Some 10 years ago I was part of Herbalife way before they were even sponsoring LAX football team and where so well known. I did earn some cash and for 18 year old me it was a great entrepreneurial thing and it taught me great things. Did it make me money? No, I got into debt. Was it a scam? Yes and No. Did it teach me a lot? Definitely. I spent about 1,5 years trying to make up the money I had spent and it wasn’t very easy. Like with many things in my life I take this as an experience and I don’t regret it but I would like to say few words about these companies.
WorldVentures is another MLM company, even though they claim they are not. MLM work with signing up other people in a pyramid style , direct marketing or referral marketing. They sign up other people to make money selling a product or in this case a service. The aim is not to sell as much of the product but rather to sign up as many other people as possible, who will of course pay a subscription fee. They basically offer people the option to travel more for less. Which for someone who knows a thing or two about travel is really not as rosy as they make it sound.
Here are my thoughts:
Such companies never start with the real intention. They always present something nicer to you, like the travelling option, or the option to lose weight, or whatever they are selling. They know many people want to travel or have a better lifestyle. With Worldventrues they presented Rovia the -booking.com (like engine) that can price-match and find lower rates of flights and hotels. In reality it only works in certain ways, if you are a member, if you travel yourself, if they ever refund you (as per an online review). Then they tell you that in order to make money or travel cheaper you have to sign up x amount of people. They hook you this way making it easy and interesting and then tell you all the other things that are harder to achieve. Like asking your friends to sign up; but when they lose their money, you also lose face in front of them. Hence you lose your friends. It is one of the reasons why I didn’t like Herbalife. The training makes you see all your friends as $$ and if they don’t want your service you slowly but surely distance yourself because they “don’t get you”.
Companies like this work and train their people on psychology and consumer behaviour, every event or presentation is well made to give you the feeling of a dream lifestyle. They know how to make you part with your cash and sign up for a package costing hundreds. My cousin paid about $200 enrolment fee for her account opening, which she didn’t have, in the hopes of achieving the dream.
You can never make money or travel unless you sign up other people to the scheme. This is where it gets tricky even from an Islamic perspective. MLM are not allowed in Islam because in simple terms you can’t take money for work you didn’t do. When I questioned this in the presentation they changed it to ” of course you can’t- but you have to be active”. Even though the presentation and the presenter implied something else. I would urge Muslims to think twice about getting involved even if they do make it and earn the thousands. Because we know that every non permissible penny that you feed your family with will only be a burden for you on the day of Judgement. So ask yourself if this is worth it. There are many other ways you can earn and leverage your potentials. There are many posts and videos from prominent Islamic scholars talking about this. A quick Google search will help you make up your mind.
What if you want to travel?
If you want to travel the company has a membership system for $50 or $99 a month! Then you earn points $1=1 point that you can use to travel. When I asked how many points you need for a trip- the answer was ” it depends”. In simple maths, since I am not a math lover, $50×12=$600 a year and $99×12=$1,188 a year.
Why don’t you put this money in your piggy bank and save it in real cash than a promised point. The discount is only for hotels, so if you are travel savvy you can find great hotels for your saved cash . Few great offers have been posted on this site.
I asked for them to show me properties in Europe, since I am very much familiar with the market. They showed me some “amazing” five star deals with small print for off season dates. With a quick google search, cashback and a hotel sale I can get for the same price or less. So where is the deal really?
For people who don’t know it is very easy to be impressed and be caught up in all this. Which is what bothers me so much. I hate companies taking people for a ride believing we are not intelligent enough. It is a form of deception which I am not very happy with. Sorry if my words are too harsh but it is my own views and experiences. Especially as Muslims we should know better than this. Islam is a religion of peace, social justice and morals, getting caught up in the “modern way” is not progress. It makes me really sad to see people doing this and people getting into debt for a false dream that they can’t pay off.
Another thing that is a problem for me with WorldVentures, DreamsTrip, Rovia or what ever you want to call the company is the fact that they sell a promise. At least with Herbalife, Amway or whatever company, you have a product at the end you can use. Which is what we did in my case. With the others you have nothing other than some points in someone else’s account. Why not keep the cash and use it for your family travel.
Of course there are people who can make money out of this. I know a few of them and they are great at what they do. It needs a great sale pitch, a business mind and a lot of persistence. Is it not easy as they show. The only people that get rich the most are the ones in the top. Because after you are in, they lure you with all the educational programs, training events and get togethers. Guess who pays for those? You do, out of your own pocket even if you don’t earn money, you want to go to be part of the group. They use people’s need of acceptance and belonging to make even more money. Is this right?
So if you come across them, please think twice before signing up for something. Do a google search and find out what others are saying. Never agree to anything while you are there. It is easy to spend when excited and hyped up. I have been there. Go home and think by yourself if this is good for you and your family. If you wake up the next day thinking that you really want to do this, then sure. I am a firm believer that you best learn from your own mistakes.