In whatever name, It is a pyramid scheme

Dear Consumer’s Voice


A few weeks ago me and my workmate were approached by a lady claiming to be a representative of TVI (Travel Ventures International) which claims to be selling travel packages to people.  Apparently you become a consultant with them and sell travel packages.  You join by paying a fee of P2, 100, and then you get 8 nights free to a 5 star hotel and discount in car rentals and flight tickets.  From there you look for 3 people to join under you for which you will then receive $500 in reward and climb the ladder until you get $10,000.

Well I have been thinking of joining for a while. The company has meetings in the evenings on Sundays.  Well before I get ripped off I want to know the real truth.  Is this is a multilevel company like Amway?

You are very wise to be cautious.  Very wise indeed.

We first reported about TVI in February this year when another consumer asked us a very similar question.  I think it’s worth repeating the advice we gave again as a warning to all readers of The Voice.

TVI describe themselves as a Direct Selling company which is just another way of describing Multi-Level or Network Marketing schemes. Others would just describe them as a pyramid-structured selling scheme.

As with all MLM schemes they have a very glossy looking web site that is full of pictures of happy smiling people, rainbows, private jets, sunshine and empty promises. Their main page includes an invitation to find out “how a few extra hours can build a Multi Million Dollar Business for you and your family”.

Elsewhere on their web site, in the Frequently Asked Questions page, is a very interesting item. It poses the question “Do I need to sell any products?”. The answer is worth quoting in full:

“No. You don’t need to sell any products. TVI Express is a unique e-commerce opportunity allowing you to build the Business around the globe sitting at your home. However, we do support leaders who take initiatives to promote the opportunity offline conducting seminars and workshops about the Opportunity.”

So all you do is join, pay them the joining fee of $250, then recruit two other people and money miraculously appears from nowhere?

TVI is a classic pyramid scheme. What you do is recruit two other people, encourage them each to recruit another two and so on down the pyramid. Every recruit must pay the $250 entry fee and those amounts soon mount up. Once you’ve recruited 3 levels beneath you (15 victims, 6 who have recruited others) you get $250 cash and a $250 holiday voucher. But that’s after TVI have earned a total of $3,750. Your $250 isn’t much of a reward is it?

Your network must grow even more if you want to get to the next reward level. They claim that when you have 7 levels beneath you (255 people, 127 recruiting others beneath them) they’ll give you a massive $10,000. But that’s after TVI has earned a massive $63,750. Again that’s not so impressive is it? But anyway, let’s get real. Do you really think that your team will be able to find 255 people stupid enough to fall for this hogwash?

TVI promise to give you all sorts of vouchers for holidays as you build your network of fools. They promise “incentives ranging from Luxury cars to Private Jets and Splendid Villas in exotic locations around the world” but that’s just another part of the scam. What use is a holiday voucher if you can’t afford to go on holiday?

Like all pyramid schemes TVI WILL fail. Even the “legitimate” MLM schemes like Amway, who at least have products to sell, have been forced to concede that only a tiny minority of people who join make any profit.

TVI is simply unbelievable and should NOT be trusted. It’s a pyramid scheme and I guarantee that if you give them your money you’ll just be throwing it away.

An update

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  • Mpho
    August 6, 2010, 3:48 pm

    What a cynical Jurnalist! you write before you research! The reality of a cynical mind has no room for new ideas, so the wise said! This is not a well researched article and it does not live up to the standards of good jurnalism and i will equateyour utterances to great people who made very stupid comments and missed out on great opportunities with their followers!
    “Radio has no future! Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible! X-rays will prove to be a hoax!” — Lord Kelvin, British scientist and President of the British Royal Society, 1890. Guglielmo Marconi and the wright brothers never listened to such cynical minds and invented the radio and heavier than air machine respectively.
    “I think there is a world market for maybe five personal computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. With such thinking, Bill Gates was handed the Market on a silver plate and IBM lost out…now guess who is the richest man on earth.
    “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” — Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
    “The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.” — Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project.
    “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876.
    So Mr Jurnalist, you are instilling your cynical mind in to those who dont know or have not researched about it themselves. The possibility is most of the ppl will listen to you and believe you, without having to apply their mind to what you are talking about.
    As a matter of fact, Amway and TVI are not scams, im a member of neither of these but i took my time to find out about them, they are straight forward business opportunities. They are not “Get rich quick” schemes, neither are they Pyramid Schemes. Amway needs you to work hard and they will never cheat on you, Amway thrives on your success and for you to be succesfull you work hard in the business, you make it your lifestyle and encouradge those who join to also do the same. Instead of buying your basic needs from PicknPay, Choppies etc, you buy them from Amway, and if everyone in your group does the same thing, you have a share in the Profits. Currently, buying from a retail store, you don’t get any profits from that. The profit is shared between the Manufacturer and the retail store. Amway has excluded retail stores and they share their profits with the consumer! Intelligent ppl will attend the seminars and understand, not get information from a cynical mind! I attended Amway seminar last week and im going to join, I saw all the models and how it works, I don’t expect to be rich the following day! Robert Kiosaki of “Rich Dad fame”, who is a multi millionaire himself, cannot endorse a scam.

  • Name (required)
    August 6, 2010, 6:13 pm

    @Mpho, Pyramid ke pyramid mma kana rra

  • mmualebe II
    August 6, 2010, 7:59 pm

    Omang wena o kwalan abe o lebala leina lagago , Pyramid or circle tlogela , O tlhokile dikgang tseo ka di kwalang ,The next thing u call TVI hogwash, shame on you , This is an honest business that is legal and some people are jobless out there and ba leka go dira matshelo for their kids , wena o tsamaa o kwala matlakala a ka tvi .

    if you feel tvi wont work for you ,You are not batswana se aketse babangwe ore it wont work o ise o leke ,Kante legone omang ??We dont need people like you writing lies on this column , ah ah ,.Stick to what you know o lese maaka,, o ntenne , nxa

  • Kaygee
    August 6, 2010, 9:06 pm

    For those serious about their need to gain financial freedom..Reading this article will mislead you people.I have joined TVI and before i joined i had lot of thoughts about dis business..As of now i m glad and thankful to my Batswana friends who introduced me to dis business.

    My Asian friends have long told me that, they success lies in their desire to take peoples if you want 2 join TVI..determination,hard-work and team-work is the way to go in this business..You recruit people and you work with them to even recruit more people, while you keep advancing to the top and getting ur rewards yah thats the deal..very very easy….!

    I m currently heading for $10,000 hopeful i will reach there in 2 months if not less..Lets the voice spread propaganda and discourage Batswana from being invester…!

    By the way how can some people trust network marketing if they know nothing about it..?Hehehehe ke Batswana ga dumele gore motho o ka itirela madi a ntse fa dumela mo go fufuleng..!

    In this time of technological revolution and information age..hard-work and sweating are no longer ways of making zaka Batswana betsho…!

    Nna ke a dira madi ka di tsela tsothe tse di molemo..lo tla sala foo le ntse le kwala maaaka mo bo the-voice…Even spreading of web-Links to customer is business nowaday..!

    Waitse bo the-voice le bone….I m expecting an apology from the regard to this misleading infor.

  • Name (required)
    August 6, 2010, 11:29 pm

    @Mmualebe 11. Of course the first people will benefit. It is the last people who will not benefit. population of Botswana is 2million. So 1!3!9!27!81!243! > 14 Million. Ke gore motho ale 1 batla 3people. Then 3 ppl gets 27ppl. 27 gets 81. 81 gets 243. numbers do not lie. Fa otsaya batswana bothe, le dikgomo tsa rona, dintsa, ditonki, ditlou gare tshware 14million. Formulara ke inverted permutation(!). Year 1 statistics. lesang go omana le sa dira dipalo. Ke sone se o bonang batswana re tsiediwa mothofo. o akanya gore o ka ya go robala ko grand palm kana mowana safari mothofo kana 5 star ke P1000 per night wake up.


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