Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

ACN - American Communications Network Inc - International business opportunity or MLM sales scam?

There is an mlm business called ACN - American Communications Network Inc - that offers an income opportunity from working at home offering local phone service, voip telephone (online phone service / ip phone services) and long distance phone service to mlm leads which you generate using their network marketing tips.

But is it a work at home business opportunity showing you how to get rich or a multilevel marketing business scam?

FOX News investigation of ACN recruitment practices

You are supposed to earn extra income in this network marketing business offering telephone services in competition with the major telecommunication carriers.

With lots of phone service providers out there as competition, just how good are your odds that you will you be creating wealth and instant income from this purported residual income opportunity?

Is it a marketing network scam or a legitimate work at home job from a viable network marketing company that is successfully competing with the major telephone service providers?

Like many network marketing companies you will be asked by ACN to make a list of network marketing leads including your friends and family for your homebased business opportunity mlm lead generation efforts.

I've heard of a products scam and even a companies scam but I can't begin to tell you whether this is an example of successful network marketing or a selling scam?

Local phone providers and cable phone service companies don't offer a network marketing system for earning extra income so could this be a success scam or a real direct sales opportunity?

American Communication Network could be the best network marketing company out there with an MLM compensation plan that makes it a high income business opportunity or an MLM fraud.

To know for sure you have to do research on topics like communications scam, telecommunication provider, business opportunity scam and the company name on ACN mlm watchdog blogs and mlm forums discussing ACN.

Do they offer MLM training material? Do they provide you with network marketing strategies to ensure your success? Or will you be an MLM survivor of a networking scam?

Multi level marketing scams often pretend to be residual income businesses. The distinction is whether they offer a viable product that can be effectively marketed for a profit. The key is to become educated on the company and the process. Keep reading and do your research.

You Won't Believe This Opportunity!
Passive Residual Income from deregulation and long distance phone service

BEWARE - The money dries up when the recruiting stops.

This site isn't about telephone service, Internet or utility deregulation. It's about one person's assessment of a specific MLM opportunity along with countering views.

The information is for illustration, and it

1.) applies population, statistics and math to one MLM,
2.) exposes a recruiting game and its odds of success,
3.) shows that Customers are merely tokens for the MLM to access recruiting money.

scam: fraudulent or deceptive business scheme. To swindle.
fraudulent: deceitful
swindle: to cheat or defraud of money or property

You've been introduced to a recruiter minion1 and this character will tell you anything. The minion's duty is to bring you into a recruiting session to meet the boss with all the knowledge, the Closer.
(Most of the characters in that meeting are working from a script.)

They promise great wealth in Residual Income from a huge customer base.
They say it's a retirement program.
It will cost you dollars to make mere pennies per customer.

Click here and read first.

Powerpoint Users, click below to select their silly brainwashing material:

ACN_Mindset Team Etiquette

US_24Hour Recruiting - Edification


Residual income - income from efforts which continue to generate revenue over time without requiring additional effort (for example, a stream of future royalties from a book).

Usually secured by copyright, patent or proprietary license. ACN doesn't inform you they have absolutely nothing proprietary and they are only a reseller. They don't inform you that deregulated utilities require constant marketing efforts because of competition by those that actually own or produce the product.

Employee Rebuttal:

On fixed line phone, ACN is a federally licensed utility. They are a phone company just like QWEST or MCI. They have customer service in-house. On cellular, we operate just like the local cellular store in your neighborhood. Reselling for all major carriers. On VideoPhone, we do have a proprietary network and phone that no one else has today.

If ACN has enjoyed such huge success for so many years, why then are they unheard of, except in those closed backroom meetings and MLM circles?
- "A serious question to answer, and may save you from the scam."

05/08 - Since I naturally want to provide a balanced and fair discussion on this wonderful opportunity I'd like for you to visit their website which explains why the opinions and facts posted here are apparently wrong.

The Difference between ACN MLM and a Pyramid Scheme

A Regional Vice-President from California emailed and says he was partially responsible for the eventual shutdown of a website called ratbags which contained similar allegedly erroneous information.

He says he attempted to provide logic and truth, but once that failed, the legal system stepped in and the website was forced to print full retractions for a period and eventually then shutdown.

He would like to provide me with the truth since he is an MBA and can prove all the numbers. That would be great. He is with and RVP International which I assume is a marketing arm or his downline structure of ACN.

Some other company sites include acneuro

He has provided me with the following current compensation chart.

The person who originally compiled and evaluated his assessment of the opportunity stands by his conviction that even errors of 5:1 in the presentation can't make up for the lacking population to provide all the millionaires they claim.

He feels that their numbers don't support all those riches, new plan or old, and that it doesn't matter if they are selling lawn cutting or long distance service plans, they rely on selling the opportunity, NOT the service.

It seems that ACN has changed the Personal Commissions and Level Breakdown. They have spread the personal commissions out to 10 steps now (it used to be 7), with the most predominant reduced from what was 2% payout down to 1% payout. This makes the site examples require twice the population to reach the stated goal.

The examples posted here were apparently already using the most liberal payouts and the most conservative estimates, for the stated plan. He says that there could be some tables changed to make things right for the perfectionist, but it doesn't change the outcome.

He also figures that until ACN pays respectable commissions, meaning double digits, they can't overcome the fundamental marketing issues of population, closing rate and market share. He provides the following example.

First he suggests that verify the chart below. Go to the original site link.
Scroll near the end of the page to see "Share of Communications Wallet"

Share of Communications Wallet
(Percentage of total consumer dollars spent with each provider on Communications services)
Company Share of
Communications Wallet
Change from Previous Quarter
  Verizon Wireless 9 0
  Cingular Wireless** 9 0
  Comcast 9 1
  Verizon 8 0
  SBC 7 0
  Sprint* 5 1
  DirecTV 5 0
  Time Warner 5 1
  BellSouth 4 0
  Dish Network 3 0
  T-Mobile 3 0
  Cox 3 0
  AT&T 2 0
  Charter 2 0
  Qwest 2 0
  ALLTEL Wireless 2 0
AOL 1 0
MCI 1 0
  Other 21 -1

*Includes both Sprint and SprintBCS
*Includes both Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless

Regardless of who is selling services to ACN, (it may be Qwest, Charter or the "other") ACN posted their market share as 2% on one of their mailings in 2006. This really sets the stage.

Here is a quick lesson in the ACN overview. We'll take the best of all figures and even inflate or boost some just to make a point.

We'll use 5% for market share rather than 2%
We'll use 10% MAX payout and skip all the silly charts and tables.

City of San Diego, for example, has a population of 1.1 million. Here we'll use 5% market share, so the available people in the San Diego pool for the ACN recruits is actually only 55,000. Do you see this, 55,000. (Other phone service suppliers are actual competition with a fair amount of clout.)

Now assume all of those 55,000 people are spending $75 per month average on their current service plan. That comes to $4.125 million.

ACN sales commission payout at the very best with the latest and greatest plan is 10% regardless of your title or position.

So now all of a sudden we have a tenth of those millions or $412,500 dollars in the pot to share among all the ACN people in that area. That's amounts to a maximum total of forty-eight $100K annual salaries from service residual income.

You must also consider the closing rate. Here I am giving the benefit of the doubt, and saying that is 100%.

Given the market share, when you start calculating quantities you must divide the ideal numbers by 0.02 to get the actual numbers. This is shown below.

When asked why the figures only go to 5 levels I point out that each level of the pyramid is the top of another pyramid, meaning that guy must do the same thing, and all the guys in his down line must do the same thing. I went only to 5 levels because the population ran out long before.

So is ACN a scam? Absolutely not. They and their lawyers and their advisory boards of retired judges insist it's not even if others disagree.

Even Donald Trump gives it a ringing endorsement.

But is it possible to make the money they promise, let alone recoup the money it costs just to join the opportunity to sell a highly commoditized service in a highly competative market? Read all the material provided here and on their sites and make that decision yourself.

The California VP MBA sees it as more of an investment, one where you determine your rate of return based on income generated against your entry fee.

An annual return of 6% is a very common benchmark used to gauge an investments' success.

In other words, if you simply returned 6% on a $500 investment annually you would earn $30 and it would be considered an adequate return for investment purposes.

In ACN, you need to return a minimum of $149 plus $30 to have a 6% return on your investment.

Lets lay out a basic example of personal residual income.

Average home would have 2 cell phones, one satellite account, internet and a home or videophone. Let's assume this scenario as a simple example. Billing for the "average" home would be let's say $200 commissionable on those items. Meaning if the average person simply sold 8 people those household services, their annual return would be 6% on investment.

If they instead sold 50 households in their career, their monthly income would be $1,000 per month in residual income. Say a person did nothing more than acquire 1 customer a week for a year, with two weeks vacation. Return on investment annualized would now be 2,400%. Now there is some math for you!!!

The average door to door salesperson is expected to sell 8 to 10 accounts a day. And they are not paid residual income but instead hourly or 1 off commission for said effort. Which one is the scam? 1 customer a week for 1 year or 8 sales a day for 200 days a year for the same income?

These are not income claims or guarantees of success as I would never be presumptuous enough to assume some else's success or failure. It is a simple mathematical example of a way to earn a $1,000 income through sponsoring no one.

Sounds good, but I got lost at the beginning. If $30 is a 6% return on $500, what sort of investment in this opportunity requires $179 (149 + 30) to get the same return? $2983?

I'd have to invest that much just to get started? Help me understand.

The difference between the two examples is personal residual income versus team residual income. Much like the difference between a real estate agent income versus a real estate broker income.

Personal residual income is paid up to 10% on customers you personally acquire. So a person desiring to get nothing but customers can make a substantial income and never needs to introduce a single person into their downline. That person can make a six figure income with less than 500 personal customers.

Overriding residual income is paid up to 8% on the sales of your team. Like a broker gets paid on an agents sales. These sales need to be more numerous to produce the same income and require only a few sales. Most people make most of their income in this arrangement.

Everyone makes personal residual income at some level even with just one customer. Not everyone makes downline income, it just depends on what they choose to work.

The VP says that the best source of information he has found in one accumulated place for accurate statistical information on MLM is

Here is where he debunks the population arguments.

Here is what he considers a great comparison between legitimate mlm and scams.

The age-old technique of "conmen" is to create "confidence" in some otherwise dumb idea by diversion of thought, bait, or force of personality. The victim gets confidence in a bogus plan, the con man gets your money.
(1) min·ion
Pronunciation: (min'yun)
1. an obsequious follower or dependent; a sycophant
2. a servile follower or subordinate of a person in power
3. a subordinate or petty official

"The overwhelming majority of people who come into the network fall by the wayside. What's more, the company knows in advance that they're going to fail. It's a matter of statistics. It's part of the plan."

— By Norm Brodsky
Multilevel Mischief, Inc. Magazine, June 1998

"98% will drop out immediately"Scams & Frauds Exposed

Will YOU be the 1 in 50 that hangs in there?
Or the 1 in 1,000 that makes some money in MLM?

Read "What's wrong with MLM"

The ACN recruiter wll take $499 from ANYONE. There is no aptitude test or qualification criteria. They never turn away a prospect and they tell everyone they can be successful.

Summary Shortcut

Does ACN work?

Rick's ACN story in 2006

Cap'n Arbyte
Into the
ACN Scam

False Profits

10 Lies of MLM
(2 Mb PDF)

Black Book of Scams

ACN Energy
Not for California


MLM Survivor

Must Visit
Scams Exposed

Australian Communications Network
Goes to Court

Case Won Against ACN

MultiLevel Mischief

Residual income builder or ACN pyramid scheme graph?

THE MONEY - proposed revenue

Customer Commissions

The table (Pyramid) to the right illustrates customer billing and bonuses paid from 7 levels in your downline. A customer bill of $30 returns 60-cents, but after a 30-day bill followed by a 30-day payment cycle.

This is the Residual Income.


The "Reps at $499" column shows the Rep enrollment fee totalling $254,000 which is more than commissions for the entire year.
This is Bonus money, and is distributed when that new Rep is qualified.
This is NOT Residual Income. When you sign your quota of customers, the Customer Acquisition Bonus is paid before any new customer ever uses the phone.

The IDEAL Pyramid
Number of
Monthly Bill
Based on
$30 ea.
- -
= $254K

MLM Secrets or MLM Scams?

Totally wrong says the company. Here's the current ACN compensation numbers they stand by.


Reps Number of Monthly Bill


Your Individual
at Customers

Based on

Monthly Accumulated

$30 ea.






- -





























































Annual turnover

THE ENROLLMENT FEE - Paid by New Recruits

This money is the life blood of the system. This comes from new Reps, NOT from commissions.

The enrollment fee of $499 is divided among the up-line as bonuses. This money is cleverly disguised as a Customer Acquisition Bonus when that new Rep becomes qualified.

Qualifying releases bonus money to the up-line with no money collected from the new Customer.
Customers are acquired to permit distribution of recruiting bonuses.

A "Generational Customer Acquisition Bonus" increases with fewer Reps between you and the recruit.

Rebuttal stance:

The bonuses are only ever paid AFTER customers are acquired. Though they are not paid on commission, they ARE paid soley for the acquisition of good and viable customers. This a reward paid by the COMPANY for the effort put forth by the team. Just like a sales commission in the store. NEVER, is an enrollment fee “distributed” amongst an upline. A bonus is only ever achieved when customers are acquired, just like any sales agent in any sales job.

The website is attempting to take legitimate customer bonuses paid to hard working people who acquire customers and reclassify them as bonuses paid from a fee paid by the new rep. We never see any portion of any fee paid to do business.

Downline Commissions
Few recruits understand the variable commission rate at the direct level.

Minions lead you to believe that 8% is easily achieved.

¼ %
COMMISSIONS - From customer billing

This they call Residual Income - you believed this to
join the program. But it isn't quite like they promised.

Here's the math to calculate a $100K annual income:

Assume each customer has a $30/month long distance bill,
$30 x 12 months = $360 annual billing per customer

Direct Customer Commissions:
Direct Total
Monthly Billing
Your %
$0 - $1,999
$2,000 - $3,999
$4,000 - $5,999
$6,000 - $7,999
$8,000 - $9,999
$10,000 - $12,499
$12,500 - up
HYPE ALERT - shaded figures are not likely attainable.
Insist on documentation.

Take an example of 20 direct customers. Your Reps sell the dream.
You will have one Rep for every 20 customers.
With your direct billing at $600 your commission is 2%
Commissions are 1/4 of 1 percent (0.0025) on your downline's customers 5-levels down.
(That's 7½ cents per customer!)

Calculate the balance of customers required in the downline.
$100,000 - (20 x $360 x 0.02 = $144) = $99,856 income required from downline.
$99,856 ÷ 0.0025 (1/4 percent) = $39,942,400 annual billing.
$39,942,400 ÷ $360 = 110,951 downline customers

Rebuttal stance: Totally wrong numbers based on incorrect percentages.

$0 to $1,999 1 %
$2,000 to $2,999 2 %
$3,000 to $3,999 3 %
$4,000 to $4,999 4 %
$5,000 to $5,999 5 %
$6,000 to $6,999 6 %
$7,000 to $7,999 7 %
$8,000 to $8,999 8 %
$9,000 to $9,999 9 %
$10,000 + 10 %

Between Satellite, Cellular, VideoPhone and Internet, the average home would spend about $200. Meaning a person could make just 500 career sales at $200 per home and produce an income of $100,000 and never recruit a single person. You claim that 4,630 customers are necessary. BTW, don’t forget the $100,000 is a residual income, meaning you can spend your work week earning money other ways while you continue to collect your $100,000 residual check.

Long distance packages from SBC, Sprint, MCI, etc.
are 500 minutes for $10
(2 ¢ per minute).
How many customers will you sign up for a nickel a minute?
Test #1 Can you "make money" without signing up Dealers?
Essential reading material: "How to Evaluate"

Your $100K annual goal requires 4,630 direct customers, or,
110,951 indirect customers through level-5 EVERY YEAR

Answer #1 NO.
Test #2
Did the recruiting presentation emphasize the importance of signing up dealers?
Did the presenter show charts of exponential growth and geometric progression?
Did they show vast wealth in short time?
They talked more about wealth than product?

Did you answer YES to any of these?

Tests #1 and #2 describe a legally questionable Pyramid

Is this a futile effort?

Who's making the money, who's being made a fool? You buy a Distributorship for $499 and begin making 2% on customer sales. By the time you earn back the investment (net), The Company has gross sales of $25,000. How much has that cost you?

To match a minimum wage job at Walmart, an ACN Rep needs about $13,000 per month in direct billings, or about $350,000 in billings from the downline.

At least Walmart has benefits!

Rebuttal stance: $13,000 in direct billing acquired once would yield a monthly personal income of $1,300 or $15,600 per year in income. This money will never be worked for again and continues for as long as the customer pays a bill.

Working at Walmart will continue until you die and never provide residual income. It’s beyond logic to link active working income to passive residual income. The website has a logic error in that to earn income in traditional employment requires continuing effort while residual income is income in perpetuity.

Put this in perspective.
You've seen the math, try it out.
The RVP that's showing off the new car, the new house & the vacations....
If those expenses are paid from service billings, then
Calculate the actual customers that he/she requires monthly.
Use a realistic closing rate and calculate how many individuals were approached to obtain those customers.
Are there enough prospects left to provide wealth for all those being entertained?

Hint: Long distance billing didn't pay for that car, that house or those vacations.

Those that make big money will make it from others that lost theirs while trying.

Not true, they say: Just a small team generates millions in bills a month. Far and away above any enrollment received by the company. An analysis of the bonuses shows that people acquiring customers are paid handsomely upfront for that work with a residual to follow behind for their effort. Money is NEVER made off some else….it’s impossible.

How did ACN get so large?
Most service product companies spend lots on marketing, plus, they pay sales commissions.

ACN pays only a sales commission to the MLM.
They don't pay for Marketing,
YOU do !

Today's customers select long-distance providers to save money, not to do someone a favor. In the US there are many providers charging less than a nickel per minute.

Free calling within ACN
Ironically they promote this business as one with residual income, then to be competitive, they entice what should be your largest customer base with free in-company long-distance.
How can that make any sense?

Once you are in the door you will learn there is no money in billables so it matters not what they give away. The enticement is merely to sign a customer.

Your MLM income will be stifled by the success of ACN.
stacked pyramids
Minions foolishly compare MLM to a corporate structure.
Perhaps the "infinite downline" escapes them.

Every MLM is a pyramid, that's a fundamental reality. Every pyramid is not necessarily a scam or illegal. The Minions wish to convince the prospect that regular businesses and corporations are also pyramids. The regular business model, or non-MLM may appear as a single pyramid, and that's as far as it goes. MLM is a vertically growing stack of pyramids, and in theory may grow until population runs out. The reality is, however, that most will drop out of the deal, and another batch of prey will come along to keep the upper wealth flourishing. Not to be confused with vertical integration, each MLM pyramid is above or beneath another pyramid.

Admire all that theoretical money, but there's no climbing upward.
You can only build your downline and everyone in that room is your competition.

Don't overlook "market share" and "closing rate." These factors seriously reduce the pool of available prospects and customers. You aren't the only game in town, and not everyone will be your customer or Rep.

True or False?
  • You want all your Reps to work and maintain this business? True
  • You expect they want to earn a similar income (that's what you said to get them to join). True
  • Their success requires that each has their own 5,000 customer network? True
Pyramid Scheme Alert Logo

Given these truths, a 5,000 customer network must be replicated 250 times.

That's 1.25 Million customers so that every Rep (member) in
your network can make $100K

With 2% market share......

Your personal $100K annual commission requires a population of 63 million.

Sales Commission Income

To make $50K per year on 8% commission, you require 86,800 population

That's if the BEST you can make is 8% on a customer's phone bill.
$50K ÷ 0.08 = $625,000 required in LD Billing.... divide by $360 = 1,736 customers
If you have 2% market share 1,736 ÷ 0.02 = 86,800 population for that one income
United States population can support only 2,000 of these type salaries of $50K
What if you are only making 2% ? Answer: Don't even consider it

BEWARE If there really are millionaires, and they're selling this dream in hundreds of cities,
the money is coming from somewhere other than services rendered.

Answer below

How many people do you know that can or would promote your business?

One out of fifty? ...One out of a hundred? Let's use a figure of one in fifty (2%).

You've seen that $100K requires 1.25 Million customers... there's a Rep for every 20 or, 62,500 Reps.
62,500 ÷ 0.02 = 3.125 Million applicants must be screened to build your sales staff.

Not true at all they say: It takes just over 10,000 customers for the first person to be making $200k per year and a total of 15,000 customers for 2 people to be making $200k.

The average US household has 2.6 cell phones and at least 1 internet, satellite and fixed line account. So lets assume the average US home accounts for 5 customers each.

Lets assume 3 people per home and so there are 100 million homes or about 500 million potential customers. The total US market then would be $1.5 billion per month if the average bill is just $30.

With an overall payout of 24% that is a potential commission payout of $240 million of commission that could be paid in the US alone every month.

That means the annual payout could be $2.880 billion per year meaning the US phone market could support 288,000 people making $100k per year. A sum greater than all active reps in the entire company in the entire world.

ACN Recruiting Income

Where might all that money come from? Simple. You ask everyone to enroll with $499

Let's say that 2% (more or less) may put their $499 in to join this business. Didn't you?

3 million X 0.02 X $499 = $30 Million... Fact: < 20% of those will work toward bonuses.

$30M X 0.80 = $24,000,000 to go around the club WOW! Let's recruit even more!

IF you qualify early enough, your enrollment is refunded, i.e. enroll $2,000 from Reps in 2-weeks, you're refunded that $499 enrollment. But here's a catch: IF everyone complies, the total of promised up-line bonuses exceeds the $499 enrollment fee. What makes up the shortage? Simple.

Most that join as a Rep are doing so merely for the promised residual income opportunity, and will not work toward their full bonuses. When they learn the magnitude of the challenge, most will walk away from their $499 and chalk it up to experience or foolishness.

The significant money going up-line in the MLM comes from new recruits that fail. The MLM is gambling. You are gambling.

The plan inherently requires that more Reps fail than succeed.... A zero-sum game.

They said: "Make your money by recruiting, and if you get a Customer, that's good too."

Not true they say: The company turnover in 2007 exceeded $600 million. If that turnover was solely recruiting, then 1.2 million people would have to have paid $499 last year alone. In 15 years, the company has less than 200k active reps around the world. Another logic and math error that is easily disproved.

Compare your effort to TV advertising by the "big" phone companies.
IF a single 30-second prime-time TV ad will reach 7.5-million viewers on an average airing, and
IF that ad costs 3-million dollars to produce and air 5-times: the cost for your competition to reach a potential customer or to reassure their existing customer is less than 10-cents each.

Your competition is speaking to each one of your customers every evening.

Long distance packages from SBC, Sprint, MCI, etc. are 500 minutes for $10 (2 ¢ per minute).
Many offer unlimited minutes for about $25/month.

ACN doesn't advertise. MLM sales staff charges Reps $499 for the privilege of promoting ACN. Reps actually pay to promote, they may then fall out while their customer may remain.

Today's typical long-distance consumer will switch providers every two years.

The customer commissions in this program are merely a cover for the MLM structure.

Beware those bogus claims.

MLM Watch
Mind Control
International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)

Selling dreams. That's almost the oldest profession. They play with your emotions and your hopes.

If it sounds too good to be true, guess what?

Lottery tickets have better odds.

Email AKA Minion Mail

We post email only from those requesting such. Some say the site has mistakes, and we gladly update when specific corrections are provided. Claims of income or of success have NOT been validated; believe at your own risk.

NOTE:We stopped trying to keep up with posting email. Be aware, many that wrote of the glory have since felt the pain of failure, and they just "chalk it up to experience," or they "gave it a shot." Those high in the pyramid thrive on the temporary enthusiasm they instill in the minions.

Those that failed want to forget, but it would be a great service to all if more would report their actual experience.

Recent discussions of the ACN program can be found at "The ACN Scam" blog. More historical discussions on the ACN opportunity can be found at:

ACN Australian Communication Network versus Peter Bowditch.

ACN discussions 2005

ACN discussions 2006

ACN discussions 2007-a

ACN discussions 2007-b

ACN discussions 2008

ACN discussions 2008-b

ACN discussions 2009

ACN discussions 2009-b

ACN discussions 2009-c

2006 Screen Name: Rick A. from Florida

I will add my voice to this mess. I do not know if it will make a difference but if I can help even one person avoid what I went through with ACN it would be worth it!

First let me start off by saying there are several ethical and worth while home based business out there not all are scams. I make my living working from home with an ethical and honorable company. Unfortunately I had to spend 6 years with ACN before I found a real home based business.

I was first introduced to ACN in March of 1995 by a very good friend. At that time in my life I was looking for something. I had been running a successful business in retail and manufacturing for 15 years and had accumulated a good sum of money had no debits but was ready for a change.

6 years later I had alienated some of my closes friends almost got divorced and went into debt to the tune of 200,000.00.

Now before you jump to any conclusions let me explain how ACN lead me down this disasterous path.

1) I did achieve success with ACN. I earned the 2nd highest level with the company in less the 18 months time and I had a few months where I made thousands of dollars.

But that was almost all bonuses. This article (web site) is 100% accurate about the residual income. For 98% of those who join even those who work really, really hard even to the point of achieving a higher status then 99% of the people that join THERE IS NO MONEY on the residual side.

Unless you have 10 of thousands of customers. You have got to be honest with yourself. How may people can build a business of 100,000 or 200,000 customers??

I had at my peak 15,000 long distance customers. Many of them where even using internet and energy services When I was getting paid my average residual check was 400.00.

My friend who introduced me had almost 40,000 customers and his residual check was never more then 1000.00. and both checks drop like a rock becuase so many customers would switch off the service.. Here is the point to why ACN is a scam and how someone like myself could end up losing hundred of thousands of dollars.

Here are the facts over 50% of the people who achieve the positions of RVP which takes a huge human sacrifice and is promoted as a life changes position with the company because of the income have left the company..

Think about that. If RVP is such a gold mine why over the last 12 years have more the 1/2 of the RVP'S left the company. Many of them recognized as top money earners in the company.

I will tell you the dirty little secret here it is that even with tens of thousands of customers there is NO MONEY there!

Over 90% of the income even at that level for most of the reps comes from the bonuses and that means no matter what level you are at you need to recruit, recruit and recruit and if you ever stop recruiting bye-bye income!!

Here is another ugly truth when you go to the ACN conventions (and there are 4 a year I will share more about these in a few!) the "co founders" claim ACN is a level playing field that anyone who has the desire can be successful.


Most of the top money earns in the company today where PAID to come on board or given sweet heart deals which unless you are bringing a huge group from another failed MLM company then good luck to you!

Since leaving the company (in 2002) I have been made aware of dozen of these deals which all they did was enrich the owners of the company (ACN) and the one person getting all the perks the rest of the folks get to be out 500.00!!!

What a lie when they tell a single Mom of 3 that she can become financially free at ACN and it is simply up to her desire to change her life.. I feel terrible about that one because I told thousands of people I spoke to across the USA and Canada as I built my ACN buinsses.

If I had only known that it was not a level playing field!

I could go on and on about the hype, the lies, the lawsuits, but who has the time.

You may ask how did a successful businessman lose so much money in ACN. I guess many of you could say it was my own stupidity and I could not argue that part of that may be true but my real mistake was trusting people.

I work directly with several of the so called "top money earners" I worked with and was coached by some of the Co- founders of ACN and they told me over and over again that I just need to work hard, talk to more people, and I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams.

SO when they said you need to quit your job and focus on your ACN business. I did! (my bad!)

When they told me that the only way to make it to the top was to be at all the conventions because that is what all the top money earns did ( I of coarse did not know at that time about all the sweet heart deals they give those people)

So i did I went 4 times a year.. Atlanta, Columbus, OH, Long Beach ,CA and the list goes on and on and on each trip costing 900.00 or 1000.00 or more! Yes I did make tons of good friends and boy did those pep rally really fire me up and make me feel good.

Only problem was while I was feeling so good and buying into all the hype I was going broke because the harder I worked the less I earned.

I guess many of you can ask why did I keep doing it if it was not working. Call it pride, I believe what they told me , ego. Who knows? all I know is I am not alone.

I left in 2002 as I have come in contact with dozens of former ACN followers including my friend who introduced me I found out all of us where in debit. Most had not lost anywhere near the kind of money I did but many only now in 2006 have been able to pay off the debts incurred during their ACN experience.

I could go on but what is the point. I have moved on and am slowing building back my savings and getting out of debt. At this point all I can do is hope to save others from this nightmare!!!!

If you are in ACN or thinking about it ASK tons of questions. You have a right to see peoples checks (do not buy into that garbage that reps can not show their checks. That was another lie!)

Ask what happened to all the old RVP and Circle of Champions why did so many work so hard to get to that positions just to leave the company.
Ask about the sweet heart deals.
Ask who really owns ACN?
Ask what the average income is for all ETT ( they will never tell you that one!)
Ask what the average income is for all the TC ( good luck!)
Ask what the average income is for all the RVP ( Not just the top 10 money earners!)
Ask why are so many RVP fall out of qualification and why have so many been deactivated and last but not least when the company deactivates someone one and they have done that to hundreds of people over the years what happens to the income that the position that person spent years of their life building.. I will give you a hint it goes to ACN (or the 2 people who own 90% of the company...)

I made my biggest mistake in life with ACN .. I hope I helped save at least one person! Some ACN people will say this is sour grapes or I did not do the right activities long enough or hard enough.

If that where true why have so many of the "Big Money earned left???" Try to see ACN for what it really is It is all about the owners becoming richer and richer and richer..

Good Luck..
Rick in Florida

Screen Name: Anonymous
Recently, two friends have gotten into ACN. If the numbers on this page don't convince you that it sucks, here's another aspect. We HATE having either of them around anymore.

They try to sell their stuff at parties, they call you and pretend to be your best friend when you only know them through other people. They are annoying. They are like little monsters trying to push you off a cliff.

One time, this girl was calling my roommates and I about Energy. She was throwing out some schpiel about Energy Monopolies.

I was sceptical, but I told her I would think about it. Then she calls me one night when were are having a party and we are all drunk.

She comes to my apartment and shows me the papers and says, "Don't worry, you don't have to fill out anything, just give me your birthdate, your SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER(!!!), and your signature. I'll fill in the rest."

IF ANYBODY DOESN'T KNOW, THAT IS NOT INFORMATION YOU JUST THROW AROUND TO YOUR FRIENDS. Maybe I could have given her my drivers liscence and some credits cards too?

If you're foolish enough to believe that "you'll make a boat load of cash, with hardly any work," then you are probably dumb enough to think that this is normal info to ask for.

Like I said, they are annoying, and we only want them around if they promise not to try to sell. You will lose all your friends when you become a Zombie.

Screen Name: Roni

I wish I could have found this site about 6 months ago. Damn!!! Anywhere, here is an email I just sent to a consumer complaint site. I want this information to permeate the internet so that no one else will lose $500 to ACN.

And hey Valerie and A.O.K. Let's see a copy of your commission checks.

Our Story: My boyfriend got sucked into the (in my opinion) sham that is ACN. I told him that I've heard of MLM's like ACN in the past and that it usually doesn't work out, but he was defiant.

Eventually I went to a meeting with him and was sucked in as well, I admit.

To make a long story short, I have since discovered that:

1) When you become an ACN independent rep, you DON'T get paid on your customer's phone bills unless you are promoted to an ETT position within a month.

To become an ETT you have to have 20 customers and 3 reps in a matter of a month - an impossible feat for most first time sales reps.

2) Their electric service is not cheaper. They try to fool you by saying they only charge a $2 or so customer charge, and you think that will replace the customer charge your regular provider charges.

No. ACN charges you that customer charge, and other charges ON TOP of all the other charges from your original electric provider.

3) When you sign up for any ACN service, they tell you "If you don't like it, we'll switch you back for free!" In actuality, all they mean by this statement is that THEY won't charge you anything to switch back. But Verizon, or whoever else you're switching back to may charge you a reconnection fee, that ACN does not cover.

4) When you become an ACN independent sales rep, you have to make an initial payment of about $500. Then EVERY YEAR you have to keep paying $99 in order to keep your status. They don't tell you that in their "sales meetings."

5) ACN has bad customer service and bad service period. I put in an order with ACN for my phone service for a distinctive ring #.

A month later I call back and they still hadn't processed the order and had no idea why. I put an order in again, and guess what? They still never processed the order, and still didn't know why. I cancelled their service shortly thereafter.

Wondering about whether ACN is the kind of company you want to be associated with? I was too. Don't do it!!! I just wish someone would have told me about their bad business practices before me and my now ex-boyfriend would have invested and lost $500.

Screen Name : F.B.
Wow! I have only just viewed your site and I commend you for your detailed analysis. I don't know how accurate the figures are but you have certainly conveyed an accurate overview.

I can only talk about the UK and the false promises we have had here. Like many converts my wife and I "bought the dream" and were sucked in.

For over 4 years we worked hard, spent lots of money on overseas conventions and were enticed into the Greg Provenzano "most people quit just before they are successful" scenario.

The mind manipulation is incredible. They actually have a saying "ACN is in your heart" and you buy into that totally.

Until my blinkers were removed I would have been angry at your analysis. Now I see the company for what it is. Funding their expansion going from country to country with people excited about being "one of the first".

They pay their money and then drop out. Not only don't they get their money back, in many cases they they don't earn a single penny!

ACN (and some top earners) are the only winners. I am not a dream stealer; I believe in MLM when it is done honestly and with integrity. I think it is a good way of moving product and can provide some great personal development and supplemental income.

However, ACN builds their business on false information and futurism "when we get mobile"; "when we get energy"; "when the next country launches".

They are careful what they tell you. Ask to see some commission cheques. "Oh we don't do that in ACN - it is a bit tacky". From my experience most people are not in net profit even after 3 or 4 years.

I estimate the drop out rate in the UK to be about 97%. The ones who are left aren't necessarily making money - they are though addicted to the "feel good" hype. I know - I WAS one of them.

To anyone who reads this: ask probing questions; ask to see actual commission cheques; find out about all the hidden charges. Ask why they have pulled out of certain energy markets. Many people were left high and dry because of that. Then make a decision.

Screen Name : Mikey
I just had to comment on your site, so I hope you show my note. Youre site has jokes and seriousnes mixed. Seems to me anyone seeing themself as a minion would be offended, but thats what it boils down to.

These guys that wrote to you don't get it. even there notes are confused, they talk both sides and don't see it. they think their selling acn but thats what happens after their bitten they say anything. maybe they will see what they said someday when they get broke and look back.

on the serious side though how does anybody think they can make money from 2% where do they think the money is? they look into peoples eyes and lie and steal from them they sign up. thats what Im talkn bout.

Screen Name : Homer
Found your website to be a very interesting story but it seems you tend to build your side as well as some network marketers build their side!! Why don't you just compare what ACN has done over the years to some of the other real scams out there.

We all know working for a company for 10 - 40 years will never provide you with the type of time and lifestyle that we all want and because someone other than you is in control you are just along for the ride. Just ask the 20,000 or so people who use to work at Sprint.

ACN has been around 12 years-if they were doing something so terribly wrong how could they operate that long without some entity shutting them down? You are the dream stealer!!

Sure people get involved on emotion, sure some quit, some people decide to quit living, but that is a personal decision. Network Marketing is about the only thing out there for the little guy.

Most people can't afford $10,000 plus for some franchise in hopes of making it on their own. At least at ACN everyone has a chance.

Not everyone will succeed but at least they have the opportunity. I will tell people looking at our business, get educated so at least you can make an educated decision.

You might want to update your material since now ACN offers free long distance calling to anyone who has ACN long distance or local service to anyone else who has ACN. FREE MEMBER TO MEMBER. Try to find that at your local SBC, ATT, SPRINT, QWEST, VERIZON OR BELL SOUTH.

Don't try to save the world. I would hate to think where I would be today if I let someone like you talk me out of taking advantage of this opportunity.

It has changed my life as well as countless others because of my decision. HOMER PS I will be surprised if this response comes up on your website.......

Screen Name : Valerie
I no longer know which webpage I was looking at but I will go from memory...forgive me if I make a mistake

Your opening the top of the page about the money stopping when your team stops getting customers....OF COURSE!!! This is what makes us NOT a pyramid scam.

And if you mean when they stop building a team, that's insane. Residual is paid for the life of the customer and then the comment that we have to do all the work over every year....well, that's not true, but more importantly, can you work one year on your job and retire forever? Hello!

At least in ACN you can build something towards your future. ACN does not claim to be a get rich scheme. It is get rich slow. Very slow. Put if you are will happen.

Let's talk about the closing ratios which is what's the most inaccurate. 10%?!!?? Where on earth do you get that from? Study the industry if you are going to make claims.

The average for recruiting is 1 in 3 and the average for acquiring a customer is 3 out of 4. And talk about the average of customers changing their service every 2 years.

THIS IS NOT THE AVERAGE IN ACN. ACN has a retention rate which is FOUR TIMES the industry average because people aren't trying our service for rates...they are trying our service to HELP us. WE JUST HAPPEN TO HAVE GREAT RATES AS WELL.

Now, to address your claim about who is actually going to pay 4.9 cents when they can pay 2. Check out 10 random phone bills and tell me what these people are paying.

We don't claim to beat EVERYBODY, just the plans the majority of people are on. Look in a garbage can beside the mailboxes in an apartment building. You know what you'll see? STACKS of flyers for long distance companys (useless advertising) now gone to waste. PEOPLE IN GENERAL DO NOT CARE ABOUT RATES.

We do not split the $500 with the company. Where did that come from? We do NOT want people to fail. That would be insane! They better other people do, the better WE do.

If I help you make $3000 extra next month, do you have a problem if I get paid $1000 for helping you? come on now. and, yes, we do get paid bonuses for helping people get started AND acquiring their first customers.

If none are acquired, no one gets paid.....pyramid scams pay anyway. And can you actually make money without building a team? well, sure, some. But no one ever said you'd get rich like that.

We have the J Paul Ghetty philosophy (not sure if I spelled his name correctly). We'd rather get paid on 1% of 100 people's efforts then 100% of our own. Build a team. That is the point.

I also believe you mentioned how horrible that it is we get paid by having people on our team and anything like that is a scam. Are you crazy? Look at the average persons job. CEO, board of directors, upper management, middle management, lower management and then all the little worker bees.

That is a pyramid scam if you want to call anything one. How quick can you get to the top of that pyramid? ACN gives everyday people a CHANCE.

For some, it's the first real chance in their life. How dare you try to steal that from someone just because you don't like MLM. ACN has completely changed my life. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE COMPANY :O) I LOVE ACN!!!!!!!!

If you truly want to have an objective site, put this on. I know there are things I have forgotten to address, but this is the majority. And as well, pick up FORTUNE magazine, August 9th 2004 edition and read the article on MLM.....and ACN.

Now tell me. Would a highly respected business publication speak so positively about ACN if it were a scam? C'mon now. You obviously have a big heart if you put all this energy into trying to save people from a scam, but please put that greatness in you to better whales or something.

This is a chance for everyday people to change the quality of their lives....stop trying to rob them of that.

Screen Name : A.O.K.
I have to agree with ET. I'm glad to see that you DID post thier email, and hopefully, you post mine too, because you are leaving out Tons of vital information, in order to get people to see things the way You see them.

I've been in ACN for 5 years now, and No, I'm not a millionaire. It does matter Who you know.

Fact is, Not everybody is going to do all that they can to win. People quit stuff, just like people quit college, jobs, marriages, diet and excersize plans.

ACN is no different. It is an Opportunity. All of the percentages, and information is Upfront. We let people know that You're not gonna make lots of money on Personal Services, Unless you know people with Big Companies. We encourage people to Recruit. Because of "leverage" .. a very vital Wealth Principle, that, as ET explained.. allows people to get more done. Just like that job with a CEO, and all their Vice Presidents, Regional VP's, Managers, and ect..

It's obvious that you dislike MLM's, and that's cool. I just hope you know of a better way to get Wealthy. Because if you don't, Then what's the point of trying to bring down opportunities that "at least" teach people HOW to become wealthy.

I now have my own business, that I own outside of ACN. I'll never quit On ACN, but here's the thing. The business that I started, gives me a chance to talk to more people about ACN, and who knows what that'll lead to.

Either way, I've learned tons of stuff from being apart of this company, that I would not have learned anywhere else. I've made friends in this company, that I would not have made anywhere else. I've met great people & learned valuable information... and that's worth the $499.

Oh, and I get paid just about every single month, on Services I got 5 years ago. Is your job still paying you for work you did 5 years ago? Good luck in life man

CEO and SVP of Sales

Screen Name : ET
Comments : I found your 'rage' on ACN interesting. I also found many mistakes inlcuding their compensation plan dealing with residual income. By the way, where is the average long distance phone plan for .02 per minute?

Yes, this type of MLM takes work, like anything else. Of course, people can choose to pursue other ventures like, working for a company that has a CEO, a couple of SR. V.P.'s under that. Then a few Regional or Divsion V.P.'s, etc. Kind of shaped like a pyramid. Right?

At the very least, you could have told the 'whole' story behind ACN and what this company has accomplished for people over the past ten plus years. Perhaps you had a bad experience with an MLM business such as ACN.

I wonder if you will post my e-mail on your site. We'll see won't we. Feel free to respond.
Thanks - ET

A few comments from a previous (discontinued) guest book:

Screen Name : Guybrush
Comments : Thanks! This was exactly the kind of information i needed. Though I actually have witnessed that it's a possible way to success, (I have a friend earning $6000 / month), I knew that this was like any other pyramidthingo. Glad I realized it before I signed

Screen Name : Martin
Comments : Excellent ACN information. I used it to get one of my friends out of the ACN pyramid scheme.

Screen Name : anonymous
Comments : Thanks for the informative site. Very useful in making educated decisions.

Screen Name : godysdiane
Comments : Thank you, thank you, thank you! A friend is currently embroiled in the ACN scam, and I have been invited to a recruiting meeting. I knew it was fishy from the start, but I wanted concrete information about this particular company and its mlm scheme.

Screen Name : wishfulthinkin
Comments : I attended an ACN "Super Saturday" and we all were made to believe this could work very well. Learned later that half the participants were ringers.

Screen Name : Nomore_shame
Comments : The greatest damage was to my personal reputation. Regaining my friends after MLM is a struggle, and they are glad to have me back.

Editor's note: April 2008

The information posted here related to ACN was taken with permission from another site in order to preserve its historical perspective. Comments from its original owner below.

I welcome new input from participants and rebuttals from company management. I personally admire the entrepreneurial spirit that is generated from Network Marketing operations. My own view is that recruits should not need to pay for the privilege of acquiring customers.

This Truth about ACN site is at least 6 years old, and the info has not been kept current. I am sure ACN makes little adjustments to their "compensation" program that I haven't shown on the site. The fundamental issues remain true and accurate, all the people they recruit cannot make what ACN recruiters promise.

I have received some pretty far out email from the hard-core ACNers, swearing they make boat loads of money. But it never goes beyond that.

So-called high ups in the chain have promised me they will turn it (me and my site I presume) over to their legal department, but it never happens.

There are scams and cons in every industry. There's no shortage of people that will take money for a lie or intentional misconception, and they just move on.

A few of us learn and are then able to spot the scammers. It is very entertaining, but sad, to see the passion these youngsters can show about the scam they are running, and they can't stand to be asked questions that topple their house of deceit.

Team Customer Acquisition Bonuses - TCABs are paid out to you ONLY if your new recruit becomes Qualified Team Trainer (QTT) within his/her first 30 days. A new TT can become a QTT by acquiring 2 or 3 new customers and earning 5 points or they can also become qualified by buying a few products for themselves.

ACN Reps HAVE to acquire new customers in order to make this a legit business structure and not a pyramid scheme. The fact that you have to qualify before 30 days is done so that your upline is compelled to help you qualify as it is in his/her best interest.