Speak Asia implodes whilst loyal members rejoice?!
One of the long-standing criticisms of Speak Asia since the Indian regulators clamped down on the pyramid scheme back in May has been the lack of an ‘exit option’ for panelists.
Once signed up the company, members thus far have been unable to leave the company, much the less request a refund seeing as how Speak Asia have stopped sending out surveys or paying recruitment bonuses meaning people are unable to generate any income.
Last week Speak Asia Global CEO Harendar Kaur put out a press release assuring panelists that they ‘should expect some respite by the 10th September 2011’. Announced on the 10th September deadline itself, the Speak Asia exit policy seeks to remedy this ongoing thorn in the company’s side.
Unfortunately for Speak Asia’s members, the policy, which allows members to effectively sever all ties with the company (well, those who fall within a specific set criteria we’ll discuss later), at this stage is paper-thin and nothing more than superficial posturing.
With no authorisation to actually carry out the promised ‘exit option’, panelists can sign up for it… but in the interim they’re no better off for doing so.
Strangely enough, there’s also seemingly a large number of Speak Asia members who are heralding the exit option as proof undeniable that Speak Asia has ‘put to rest all doubts about its genuineness’.
First and foremost, let’s have a look at the exit option itself. Due to the differing financial status of its panelists, Speak Asia have split the exit option in order to place its panelists into three main groups.
Here’s a rundown of the three groups and what exit options have been made available to them by Speak Asia;
Group 1 – Panelists who have earnt no reward points
Panelists who have earnt no reward points since joining Speak Asia (most likely recruited after the authorities got involved or prior to this but didn’t manage to recruit anyone and/or do any surveys), can opt to have their subscription amount refunded minus an administration fee.
This administration fee is apparently $20 USD so this means that out of your $240 (Premium Panelist) or $220 (Standard Panelist) membership fee, you’re looking at Speak Asia keeping 9% or 8.3% respectively.
Group 2 – Panelists who have earnt reward points equal to less than that of their initial subscription cost ($220 or $240)
Group 2 panelists are entitled to a refund of their subscription cost minus any reward points (1 reward point = 1 USD) they have cashed out or spent.
For example if you’re a Standard Panelists and you’ve cashed out 50 reward points since joining Speak Asia, your refund will be $170 USD (220 – 50).
Panelists who fall within the group 2 category and opt in for the exit option will forfeit any redeemed Reward Points owing to them and are no longer be associated with the company.
Group 3 – Panelists who have earnt more reward points than the cost of their initial subscription
Group 3 Panelists are ineligible to claim a refund on their initial subscription cost and are instead encouraged to spend and redeem their reward points once Speak Asia resume business operations (and if they don’t, effectively lose any and all surplus reward points earned).
Apart from option 3, which must be an irritation to any panelists who were using Speak Asia as an income replacement (Speak Asia are effectively gambling the outcome of their legal battles), the other two options for now promise a refund and seem fair.
So what’s the problem?
Well the problem is that all of this is merely just a registering of interest on the panelists behalf.
Speak Asia can’t actually guarantee anyone a pay out unless they ‘(re)gain access to the company’s servers from EOW Mumbai‘. And even then, that itself is subject to Speak Asia getting ‘an assurance from the RBI in India that these transactions will be allowed to be credited‘.
Obviously neither of those two conditions are going to happen unless Speak Asia win their legal battles with the Indian authorities.
So how’s that looking for them?
Well, apart from Global CEO Harendar Kaur and Indian CEO Manoj Kumar still remaining in hiding overseas, India’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested four Speak Asia officials just last Friday.
The CID which arrested four persons in Mumbai on Friday for their alleged involvement in the Speak Asia online fraud, produced them before RV Sharma, second metropolitan magistrate of railway court, here on Sunday.
The arrested included Ravi Khanna, director of Seamless Outsourcing, Sheikh Rayees, a technical officer who was dealing with Speak Asia website, Dipankar, distributor-cumfranchisee of the firm Kritanj Management and Allied Services, Raipur, and Rahul Shah, vice-president of Tulsiyat Technologies Limited.
The magistrate remanded the quartet till September 23 and later, they were sent to the district jail.
Despite the release of an exit option that permits Speak Asia’s members to leave in droves and Indian regulators arresting anyone connected to the scheme who operated in an official capacity and the company’s two CEO’s in remaining in hiding, AISPA President Melwyn Castro has declared recent events to be an overall success
First of all, let me on behalf of the entire committee CONGRATULATE the entire Speakasian family on the “EXIT POLICY” announced by the company.
Congratulations?!… is Castro and everybody else over at AISPA on crack?
How can a policy which allows members to leave what is obviously a struggling company be celebrated as a victory? Even more baffling Castro goes on to ask
Is this the action or response we expect from a company on the run?
No, this is the response from a company who is very clearly here to stay and grow along with its panelists.
The intention and resolve of the company is crystal clear for all to see. With this EXIT OPTION the company has put to rest all doubts of
How on Earth can you associate an intention to stick around and grow (of all things) with an ‘exit option’ policy that effectively severs all ties with members who are eligible to make use of it?
Looking at the bigger picture here, one can’t help but ask why Speak Asia would even announce an exit policy in the first place, if they can’t currently initiate it.
The answer of course is that this is yet another ploy by Kaur and friends to gauge the member base’s current feelings about the company.
Think about it, this legal fight is slowly bleeding into Harendar Kaur’s finances and she’s not stupid. There’s absolutely no point in fighting this all the way if members are only going to abandon ship pending a victory for Speak Asia in court (or the far more likely scenario of the company not being able to continue operating using its current compensation plan).
By accepting (non legally binding) registers of interest from its panel base without actually having to pay anyone out, Kaur and the rest of Speak Asia management can ascertain whether or not this is a case worth continuing to fight in court.
If they’re inundated with exit option requests, we can most likely expect a disappearance altogether of Kaur and Kumar along with any official legal defense of Speak Asia itself.
If the reception is somewhat lukewarm or cold, Kaur will no doubt continue to fund Speak Asia’s legal defense and gamble on the company winning against India’s regulators (as unlikely as this is increasingly looking).
Should the company lose this fight however, again expect a sudden disappearance of Kaur and extremely fast liquidation of any assets Speak Asia have in India.
Speak Asia have released an exit option sure, but it’s got not for its panelists. All we’re looking at here is Kaur and friends trying to decide whether or not it’s time to initiate their own ‘exit option’, that primarily being to finally cut and run with everyone’s money and let this play out the way it was always going to….
…with the complete implosion of Speak Asia itself.
Punch in any old rubbish into the ‘exit option’ form (which is directly linkable thus being accessible without having agreed to any terms and conditions Speak Asia impose on its panelists), and you will still get the confirmation message ‘Your exit application request processed successfully’.
Nothing on the form is verified or checked against any database.
Speak Asia’s supporters will refute this and tell you it’s merely a matter of having faith in the company but again, look at the bigger picture here.
Company members are celebrating an option that lets them leave the company under the guise of promising them an effective refund, yet it can’t be implemented, executives are being arrested and charged by the authorities whilst investigations are ongoing and the company’s two top CEO’s have remained in hiding overseas (despite assurances they would return to India) since this all started back in May.
Honestly, where do you think this is all heading…?