In Feb 98, Amway revamped their web-site and one of the features they added was an Information Center that gave answers to specific questions. One of the questions (question 21) dealt with the question "Why is there so much criticism of Amway on the Internet?" Amway's response, in part, was to say that "if their complaints were legitimate and deserving of action, they would have called or written the corporation for resolution." I encourage you to visit Amway's website and read the entire response. I certainly don't want you forming an opinion based on reading one sentence out of several paragraphs.
As you review the information on my site, and others like mine, I hope one thing becomes clear -- only a small percentage of the criticism is targeted against the corporation. The vast majority of information you will find on web-sites like mine are mainly criticizing the tactics and techniques of the independent Amway distributors....a big difference. I must also point out that most of the information on this site was discovered after I had come to the conclusion that for me the Amway business, or more specifically the AMO business, was more of an income "black-hole" than an income producer.
As far as the information on our web-sites are concerned, Amway has never identified any false or inaccurate information to any of the web-site authors. I for one, would welcome any attempt by Amway to post true and accurate Corporate information that will help counter the false facts and statistics used by many, but not all, distributors.
Up until recently, you couldn't even find the number of distributors in the U.S. I appreciate Amway finally posting these facts on their Information Center and hope they reveal more detailed information. I realize they are a private corporation and are not required to reveal this kind of information. But in many ways they are different from other private corporations -- their entire sales staff are independent contractors who are free to say just about anything they want (and frequently do) to entice people to get involved with the Amway business. The reason they can do that is because Amway reveals very little information about their activities in any particular market. If Amway released more detailed information about it's activities in all markets, just like they do with their public sister companies, it would go a long way in dispelling much of the "positive" but false information that some distributors spread.
Amway's comments can very easily be turned against them. There's little doubt that Amway's corporate employees has read the information at all our web-sites and it would really surprise me if they hadn't also read through the reader's comments section at all the web-sites. In one sense, we have given the Amway Corporation a unique means of learning what is going on within it's distributor force. Common sense will tell you that not all of the thousands of people who visit our collective web-sites will share their experience for others to read and many people who may have had a negative experience with an Amway distributor or the corporation are not searching the internet for anything related to something they probably want to forget about. So the stories you will read are only a tiny percentage of what's happening all over the world.
Let's just take one example of a complaint - The Retail Sales Rule. In the Fall of 97, I snuck into an "open" while on a business trip and heard an emerald state "All I do is buy from myself and find others who do the same." He did not even mention customer sales in his presentation. This is not a lower-level distributor who said this but an emerald, someone you would think would be cognizant of the Retail Sales Requirement needed to earn a performance bonus and the fact that Amway's Rules and Regulations specify that retailing must be properly emphasized when the plan is shown.
Now if this was one isolated incident, then I will concede that if I wrote Amway providing them the details of this meeting then maybe Amway could do something. But over five years I heard many distributors say the exact same thing. The reason I snuck into that open was to see if anything had changed in the two years that I've been out of "the business." Nothing has changed. And, if you read through the stories and comments that I and others have, you will find example after example in organization after organization where people have been told the exact same thing.
One thing that I have noticed in the lawsuits against Amway that you can read at the AUS Mirror sites is that the corporation was generally aware of the plaintiffs complaints, yet did nothing about them. People did try to resolve their differences with Amway or the upline informally and when nothing was resolved, filed a lawsuit. Knowing that, does it make any sense to write the corporation and say "Joe Blow violated Business Regulation 9 and Rules 104 and 105 when he showed the plan on such and such a date"? Do you really think the corporation would do anything?
So instead of writing the corporation about this problem, I point out to people what the rules say and encourage them to actually read the information (most distributors call this "detailitis") and to contact the corporation to inquire about these rules. Then if someone says "oh that rule doesn't apply to us" you should wonder why and question how "honest & ethical" this person is being with you. Amway distributors sign a contract agreeing to abide by Amway's Rules and Regulations. To the best of my knowledge, this agreement does not allow selection of which rules and regulations a distributor can choose to abide by.
Amway can't claim ignorance of these issues. Most of the Amway-info sites post readers stories and have done so for a few years now. Before web-sites like ours, their was no way to communicate peoples experiences with different distributor organizations to a vast audience of people. AMO Leaders make sure success stories are recorded and distributed to tens of thousands of distributors. You will never hear the "negative" horror stories that have occurred to people on any of these tapes...but you can at our web-sites. You will find thousands of examples where people were lied to, where Amways Rules of Conduct were violated, where Amway's rules and regulations were clearly ignored, and see all kinds of questionable tactics that have been used. This is not me saying these things, but thousands of people from around the world.
To the best of my knowledge, Amway has done nothing to correct these issues. I'm not even sure that Amway has even acknowledged that they exist. They have the means to communicate with all AMO Leaders via Amvox. They showed little hesitation in using it to communicate to AMO leaders what they were planning on doing to move their sites up in the search engines. They also have the means to communicate with all distributors through magazines such as the Amagram, the Newsgram, and ABN on the web. If Amway has not done anything to communicate solutions to these issues to their distributor force by now....what good would it do to complain directly to Amway?
In December 97 and early January 98, Amway did contact the people who put up AUS Mirror sites wanting a face-to-face meeting to discuss Amway's concerns about the contents of Sidney Schwartz's Amway Untold Stories site. But when these people asked Amway to place these concerns in writing, they never heard from Amway again. Only Amway knows the reason why. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time that Amway has attempted to contact any of the web-site authors (with the exception of Sidney Schwartz).
Finally, I would encourage you to visit any of the AUS Mirror sites and look at the lawsuits that have been filed. You will find more examples where lawsuits were filed as a last resort, after they had tried to resolve the issue through Amway.