Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Complaints and Testimonials about the ACN MLM scam

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.

Read more about the ACN opportunity here.

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