Once upon a time you could market Zeek Rewards to prospective new affiliates on the trust that here was a company owned and operated in the US, with US banking services and backed by a company that had 14 years of history of conducting business out of Lexington in the US state of North Carolina.
If you had a problem, sorting it out was as simple as calling support up and getting your problem fixed at the latest, within a few hours. Oh, and let’s not forget “neither Zeek Rewards nor Rex Ventures have ever missed a payment”.
Sure Zeek Rewards business model didn’t really stand up to scrutiny (how could it when it was launched guaranteeing a 125% ROI) and the whole thing reads like a dodgy investment scheme, but at least members could proclaim with confidence that should something go wrong – the money was easily recoverable because it hadn’t been fluttered away to some distant undisclosed location.
Well, not anymore.
Ever since Zeek Reward’s local North Carolina based bank booted the company from its client base sometime in May, what we’ve since witnessed is an increase in secrecy, blaming of company affiliates for all the company’s ongoing problems and overall decreasing transparency regarding the opportunity.
Touted as initially being ‘for Zeek Rewards affiliates only‘, Zeek’s publicly viewable support forums (outsourced to third-party community provider ‘Get Satisfaction’) quickly became a revealing insight and invaluable tool for prospective Zeek Rewards affiliates to conduct due diligence into the company.
Behind the “we are not an investment scheme” and “you get paid to advertise” sunshine and smiles was a raw look at what was really going on behind the scenes for company affiliates. An insight for prospective members of what they themselves were likely to experience if they decided to sign up and
invest put money into Zeek Rewards at any given time.
Since the abrupt announcement in late May that Zeek were immediately suspending the issuing of checks while they scrambled to find alternative banking channels, the Zeek Rewards support forums have seen an outpouring of requests for help and support from the company’s affiliates.
Having observed the support forums for a few weeks now, these issues are constantly at the forefront and for the most part remain unresolved:
- Zeekler auction winnings not being paid, dating back as far as April
- checks sent to Zeek Rewards gone missing, dating again back to April
- VIP bids not being credited correctly
- complaints about regular wait times of over 2 hours to speak to someone in support only to then either be disconnected or told the matter had to be escalated (and never hearing back from support again)
- support emails not being answered
- frequent problems with payment processors ranging from availability, not being able to login to created accounts, ongoing delays and in the worst cases the missing of funds
- complaints regarding Zeek Rewards affiliates using other affiliate’s emails to create fake Zeekler customers to dump VIP bids onto
Perhaps not so good for the company and its affiliate’s recruiting efforts, but a real-time snapshot of insight into company operations and what being an affiliate of Zeek Rewards is really like.
Without a doubt, for prospective Zeek Rewards members the support forums has been an invaluable source of the much touted requirement of due diligence that is universally prescribed within the MLM industry today.
Rather then acknowledge the ongoing problems and concerns with the opportunity and allow non-members to observe what affiliates are going through, today, on the eve of of Zeek Rewards’ Red Carpet event for June no less (which the company charges $1000 for affiliates to attend and more if they wish to talk to company management – something you wouldn’t know if you didn’t have access to the Zeek Rewards support forum), customer support rep ‘Alex’ announced that the company was going to close off the forums from public view.
On Wednesday June 13, 2012 this community will be going through transition.
With this migration from a public community to a private community we have some caveats that will take place, all the content in this current community will migrate over.
We are striving to build a more reliable customer service experience for everyone in ZeekRewards.
Citing the building of a ‘more reliable customer service experience‘, one can only wonder what Alex is talking about given that non-affiliates have never been able to participate in the support forums (as it should be).
How does closing off this avenue of due diligence from the public in any way provide a more reliable customer service for Zeek Rewards affiliates?
The answer is it doesn’t.
What it does do however is conveniently sweep under the carpet ongoing concerns and shift them out of the public eye. One particular concern that remains unanswered is the current state of Zeek Rewards banking arrangements.
Following an initial announcement claiming that Zeek Rewards was ‘awaiting Hong Kong’s approval of our provided (credit card) solution‘ back on May 21st, the company then put out a bizarre warning to affiliates to not worry about ‘zonalibre1′ appearing on some credit card statements for Zeek Rewards purchases on June 2nd.
With ‘Zona Libre’ the name commonly used to refer to the offshore tax-haven Zona Libre de Colon in Panama, this not surprisingly raised some eyebrows.
Then, with no further explanation as to the status of their Hong Kong application, a few days ago Zeek Rewards started asking affiliates to inform their credit card companies that charges originating out of Korea were legitimate. With things seemingly not working out in Panama and Hong Kong (China), it seems for now that Zeek’s credit card processing has been relocated to Korea.
Again, something else you wouldn’t know as a prospective member if you didn’t have access to Zeek Rewards’ support forum.
On the traditional banking front, after halfheartedly conceding that their existing bank in North Carolina showed them the door, Zeek Rewards then attempted to shift focus on their new banking arrangements by announcing they were going paperless with affiliate commissions.
All very well but when you consider that bank accounts are still needed to fund online e-wallet solutions (which are all based offshore), the fact of the matter is that Zeek Rewards still need a bank account somewhere to draw money out of and deposit into.
In a half-arsed attempt to quell suspicions that Zeek Rewards had indeed moved their banking services offshore (a worrying sign indicative of a lack of US-based banks willing to do business with the company), Zeek Rewards first attempted to legitimise their secrecy by blaming affiliates.
Citing NxPay as an example, COO Dawn Wright-Olivares stated on a recent radio show interview that the offshore payment processor had recorded up to 2,000 calls from angry Zeek Rewards affiliates wondering where their money was.
Going on to explain that this was unacceptable and that affiliates contacting their banks was going to get them shut down, this is the current reason cited for the secrecy surrounding Zeek Reward’s current banking arrangements.
On the Zeek Rewards support forums however, a customer support representative took it one step further and suggested that members stop asking questions and just continue to deposit money with the company or get out:
jmw: Who is Zeek banking with now? What is the name of the new bank and where are they located?
EMPLOYEE Brett Gurney (Official Rep): this is a huge problem with zeek and it literally puts the company in danger…too many affilaites running around calling the banks and lawyers to find out this and that…
in my opinion…this needs to stop and if it doesn’t those people who have to know this information maybe should just not be in zeek.
To date the question of who Zeek Rewards are banking with and whether their bank accounts remain in the US or offshore remains unanswered. Seemingly by the amount of censored replies in quoted support thread above, a closely guarded secret and something Zeek Rewards does not want its current or prospective members to know or even ask about.
Another recent half-hearted attempt to answer the banking issue questions without really answering them was published on the Zeek Rewards News blog on June 8th:
We have resolved our banking issues. Sample Bid purchases have been being processed, and posted to accounts all along and are running on a 7-10 business day processing time.
Again we are truly sorry for this frustration. Thank you for your continued faith and trust in us.
For an opportunity members are able to readily pump $10,000 USD a pop into, this is naturally a wholly inadequate response. Out of the fifty-eight recorded comments left in response to their vague announcement, Zeek Rewards chose to publish just four of them (6.8%) – all four showing unwavering support for the company.
Of course this bank account issue is just one topic I’ve chosen to highlight the ‘read between the lines’ benefits of Zeek Rewards closing off their affiliate’s problems and concerns from the public and prospective members, there are many more relating to Zeekler’s auction winnings, payment processors, missing bids, credit card payments etc.
As a prospective member conducting my due diligence into Zeek Rewards, currently unresolved issues like this,
I have 4 affiliates with over 30 000 usd who have been waiting for 14 days, or 9 business days now for their money getting in to NxPay.
No answer at support or tickets yet.
which was published just 6 hours ago. Along with where Zeek are sending my money off to if I join Zeek Rewards, current affiliate concerns and issues like the above are certainly not going to be covered in the sales pitch of my potential upline.
Along with the thousands of comments that don’t get published on the Zeek Rewards News website, this increased reliance on secrecy and a lack of communication and transparency isn’t inspiring any increased confidence in the opportunity or Zeek Rewards as a company.
If anyone can point to an example in the history of MLM where moving funds offshore, closing themselves off to public scrutiny and operating in ever-increasing secrecy has benefited members and was done so to strengthen the legitimacy of a company itself, I’m all ears.
Footnote: Some of the quotes cited in this article are taken directly from the currently publicly viewable Zeek Rewards support forum (zeeksupport.zeekrewards.com).
Under normal circumstances I’d link to these sources as individual support threads but given Zeek Rewards are flipping the switch and cutting public access to the forum sometime in the next 24 hours I didn’t think there was any point.
The quotes provided however are legitimate and were made by Zeek Rewards affiliates at the time of publication of this article.
Update 15th June 2012 – Sometime in the last few hours the switch has been flipped and the Zeek Rewards support forums have now been set to private.
Users visiting the old support forums are now greeted with the following message:
This community is no longer active.
The Zeek community has moved to a private location. Please visit zeeksupport.zeekrewards.com/login for support or view the archived content.
As I understand it only Get Satisfaction accounts who use Fastpass (tied into their Zeek Rewards account) can now browse Zeek’s new secret forums.