WorldVentures an “illegal business” in Malaysia
Prior to a regulatory investigation into the company in late 2014, WorldVentures in Malaysia boasted a purported 20,000 strong affiliate-base.
Things began to unravel in September though, when local Malaysian media began to investigate the scheme.
A reporter from The Rakya Post attended a World Ventures recruitment meeting, with around fifty other people in attendance.
WorldVentures is “a money game”.
Following The Rakya Post expose, it was then confirmed that the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC) were investigating the company.
In September of 2013 WorldVentures had registered with the Ministry of Trade in Industry, with the registration valid until March 2015.
Seeing as WorldVentures were supposed to be selling travel packages, questions were now being asked as to why weren’t registered with the MoTC.
In an interview with The Rakyat Post, the President of the Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association claimed that
Although WorldVentures has a direct sales license, the absence of an application to the Ministry of Tourism for a tourist license makes it an illegal business.
A few days later the MoTC confirmed that World Ventures did not have a license to make tourism-related sales.
Tourism officials in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture said they did not issue a license to WorldVentures, making it an already illegal business.
Already illegal in the sense that, if WorldVentures was also operating as a pyramid scheme, the company would be illegal twice-over.
According to our current understanding, WorldVentures is an illegal tourism business operator.
A direct selling license does not cover tourism related businesses.
Furthermore, travel agencies are prohibited from selling membership or membership cards.
The Rakya Post asked Nuola Zi Ling, from the MoTC, point-blank if World Ventures was operating illegally in Malaysia.
She answered “yes”.
According to preliminary investigation of the company, WorldVentures has violated the “1992 Tourism Act”.
If convicted the company is liable to pay a fine not exceeding RM50,000 ($13,989 USD) or face imprisonment of up to five years, or both.
Violators of the Tourism Act can also be fined an additional RM5,000 ($1398 USD) a day for failure to cooperate with the MoTC.
A day later, World Ventures responded to the MoTC’s comments by claiming they “only sell tshirts and other tourism related products”.
When the Rakyata Post visited WorldVenture’s Malaysian officer, they were told ‘the company does not sell any travel packages, we really are not a travel company’.
We are a direct sales company, selling tourism related products like sunscreen, lip-balm and tshirts.
That much is true, with WorldVentures themselves not selling travel. Rather WorldVentures themselves only sell affiliate membership to the company, bundled with which is access to third-party travel discounts.
Whether WorldVentures also sells tshirts, sunscreen and lip-balm though, I have no idea.
As per our analysis of WorldVenture’s business model, it’s entirely possible for a World Ventures affiliate to ignore travel altogether and ear commissions solely on affiliate recruitment.
A WorldVentures “senior sales staff” member told The Rakyat Post that following the MoTC declaration that WorldVentures was illegal,
he had reported the issue to the US company and their relevant departments would deal with the problem.
What followed was a predictable exodus, as affiliates quit the “illegal” business and began demanding refunds.
WorldVentures had up till then claimed that if ‘a member decides to quit, the company will offer them a full refund‘.
Readers of the Rakyat Post however claimed this was bogus:
Numerous attempts had been made to contact the company were made to no avail.
WorldVentures affiliates then claimed that refunds were only issued during a “cooling off period”.
Some affiliates had purportedly reported their credit cards stolen in an effort to get World Venures to stop billing them.
This, the affiliates claimed, didn’t work because ‘the company will send a letter to recover the owed monthly fees‘.
On October 12th, WorldVentures themselves finally issued a corporate statement addressing the issue.
The statement noted that they are examining their business model in order ensure that the company’s business in Malaysia can operate legally.
And that’s where we’re currently at.
Obviously World Ventures haven’t changed their recruitment-driven compensation plan and, as far as I know, they’re still an illegal operation in Malaysia.
Earlier in 2014 Taiwan’s Apple Daily also reported that WorldVentures had a questionable business model.
Other than clarifying fines WorldVentures faced for operating illegally in the country though, no further regulatory action appears to have been taken.
Oh and if you’re wondering why we’re only just finding out about this, it’s because WorldVentures kept this news to themselves. The only news reports that currently exist about it are in Chinese.
Contrast this to the fanfare that accompanied WorldVentures official entry into Malaysia, back in October of 2013:
WorldVentures Now Offers Its Unique Vacation Experiences to Malaysians
WorldVentures, the leading direct seller of vacation club memberships, announced its expansion into Malaysia today.
“We launched in Malaysia for very specific reasons,” WorldVentures Co-Founder and CEO Mike Azcue said.
“Asia is one of our fastest-growing regions, and Malaysia’s latest economic growth is greatly benefitting consumers.
Those reasons combined with Malaysians’ passion for unique travel experiences make this country a natural match for both our vacation club memberships and business opportunity.”
WorldVentures’ launch in Malaysia is just another milestone for the company founded by two direct-selling veterans and visionaries, Wayne Nugent and Mike Azcue.
“I’m looking forward to introducing our company’s message of helping people live a life of fun, freedom and fulfillment in Malaysia,” Azcue said.
So much for that hey…
Update 13th July 2016 – After over a year of ongoing negotiations, WorldVentures has convinced the Malaysian government they do not need a tourism license.
Acknowledging that all they sell is affiliate memberships, WorldVentures has skirted the license requirement by partnering with a local Malaysian travel company who do have a license.
You need to read the rest of that series, Oz.
You’ll find that WV was also apparently declared illegal or suspected to be illegal in China AND Taiwan, in addition to Malaysia. 🙂
I know someone who is an affiliate, they tell me that WV are planning on breaking into the Thai market.
After the way they kicked UFUN out only to be so well received in Malaysia, it’s hard to see them reaching the higher standards of ponzi required there!
Most of Asia countries reject MLM business, but somehow some Asia countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan & Korea accept MLM or Network Marketing as legal business…
Not shutting down a pyramid scheme != acceptance.
The reason why many people get scammed by MLMs and other shady business is (Ozedit because they join scams and shady businesses. Excuses for pyramid schemes removed.)
First of all, WV is doing phenomenally well in Asia, with growth in Hong Kong close on 500% this last year.
They have just opened up Taiwan, with Thailand close to being ready. They have also opened up new Headquarters in Singapore (a few hundred metres away from the Marina Bay Sands hotel).
Secondly: the product is called “Dreamtrips”, and it is a TRAVEL CLUB MEMBERSHIP! Are you then saying that all memberships are scams because there’s no physical “product”? When you get a gym membership, do you accuse the person who helped you of being part of some illegal pyramid scheme?
Thirdly: you make absolutely 0 money from recruiting other people into the business side. You ONLY make money when you successfully refer people to join the club. Plain and simple.
You don’t have to become a rep if you get the membership, and you don’t have to become a member if you only want to work the business.
Why is it SO hard for people to grasp the concept of Network Marketing?! It is simply marketing a product by word of mouth as opposed to spending millions on traditional advertising, and sending that money back to the distributors.
We do it every single day: we just don’t get paid for it. When was the last time you referred someone to a doctor and he gave you a 10% discount on your next treatment?
Network Marketing is NOT a pyramid scheme.
And PS: if WV is this illegal entity, why oh why do they work with THEE top resorts and travel service suppliers in the world? Why have they won numerous “World Travel Awards”, including the “World’s Leading Travel Club”?
Milked out the west, now it’s over to the east…
Access to discounts is not a viable product in MLM. You need to actually be selling something.
You pay to use actual equipment at the gym. And gym’s aren’t MLM, so stop wasting our time.
But everyone does. The Norwegian investigation revealed retail doesn’t exist in WorldVentures.
And if everyone joining “the club” is an affiliate, then you’re getting paid to recruit people.
Having a retail option nobody signs up for is pseudo-compliance if you’re otherwise operating as a chain-recruitment scheme.
It’s not. Pyramid schemes on the other hand…
Seeing as you’re so keen on defending them, perhaps you could fill us in.
1. They don’t “work with” anybody. They offer access to a third-party travel club membership.
2. Legitimacy by association is a strawman defense. Who WorldVentures do or don’t work with has nothing to do with their business model.
Celebrities around Asia had enough of the deceptive WV “You should be here” signs appearing in “fan photos”, according to Chinese news.
I’m getting an error on that link, just me or broken?
You can probably find it on JLA’s FB page. Scroll down a bit.
It’s a news segment where at least four celebrities hired lawyers and issued press release claiming WV associates violated their right of publicity by posing with them with the darn banner and gave false impression that they approve / endorse the business.
Then the news segment had two analysts that basically explained that WV resembles both a ponzi scheme AND illegal pyramid sales in China, CLEARLY in violation of Chinese law as it has no biz reg in China at all.
There’s even a hilarious police raid where the two, caught with WV promo material, even business card with their name, claimed it was left by other people to frame them.
Seems affiliates are issuing bogus news left and right, this celebrity joined, that travel channel entered a partnership, so on and so forth. The name “fraud”, “ponzi”, “pyramid sales” was mentioned many times, even “destroyed friendship”.
Replaced the link with embed code, seems to be working now.
I think it is a totally scam, some of my China friend highly recommended to join, but I doubt it.
There is nothing free in the world, who ever be the last one to join will be suffer, bear in mind……
All it is about politics ! All it is about money !
1. it is about war between grand travel company and WV
2. in WV everybody it is equal
3. In any others travel company (or any business) the chance is lowered depending on the position he has in the company – One BIG BOSS eat all!! and the rest work for him! – Don’t you think it looks like a pyramid ?
Actually, with respect to WorldVentures, it’s about a lack of retail sales and payment on the recruitment of new affiliates.
Sure, but an organization’s structure and operating as a pyramid scheme are two very different things.
You have to have a lack of retail sales and be paying commissions on the recruitment of new affiliates to be a pyramid scheme. What your organizational structure looks like is irrelevant.
Worldventures does work in way, but you’re committed for life until you quit or die.
I’ve studied it quite a bit now. It’s a zero sum game and the banker (i.e. Worldventures) wins all in the long run. No one can travel for life.
The members who are pawns spread the word and recruit more members. The fortunate members who are good enough, earn money and/or travel free with rewards points. Those who fail or quit foot the members’ bill.
It’s a tough game, the winners are happy and losers sulk. However, there’s a choice, opt to recruit only, travel only or both.
There are members content on paying the monthly which turns into points to buy cheap deam trip packages.
It’s a personal choice, if you like travelling with 200 dream trippers on a private island (does sound ironic), then you’ll have a wicked time partying with members. Beer pong, yeah!
Worldventures (WV) borrows the pyramid structure on its business side. I see two reasons for this, firstly to lure more members and secondly take advantage of a statutory loophole. The forma is clear, introduce members and get paid.
The latter allows Worldventures to operate tour packages worldwide without obtaining local tour guide licences. This means, consumers right’s protected under local travel operating licences are not enforceable and you’re pretty much on your own if disputes arise.
Payment is done online and the services are provided outside your home countries’ jurisdiction (in most cases). When WV comes under scrutiny by law enforcement, they act innocent and say “I’m just offering memberships, I’m not selling travel packages”.
WV does operate in a hazy area, but so does Uber in some countries. It’s illegal because necessary documents haven’t been filed or can never be officially filed.
Is it bad? It’s up to you to say.
WV’s revenue stream include dreamtrip packages; members quitting (foregone points or residual income); self improvement courses paid by members; expired points; accruing interest from members’ monthly fees sitting idle in WV’s bank account; and of course Rovia.
The nasty cruel side is that WV recruiters often prey on peoples’ desires that are often just a dream and stay a dream. Recruiters will surely take advantage members who are weak and those who are uncertain of their life’s objectives.
The actual target market of WV recruiters are 18-25 year old (souls who are eager to try something new; love the idea of international travel; not well financially equipped to weather financial fluctuations; plans change constantly; travel may become less important over time; other agendas will have priority over financing a future holiday).
For those members who haven’t even earned a dime and the fact that their bank account is dripping dry, they will become depressed and feel WV “it’s not worth it”. They quit because the reality of dream trips are drifting away.
Some may feel the monthly fee of USD100 too burdensome and simply quit. Even for those content paying members, they will lose out on some unused points.
Let’s do the math, you might take five or six decent holidays a year but maybe only travel two with WV. Is it likely you’ll use all the points before they expire?
For those who need the residual income from WV to pay for trips (those bound to end up paying for someone’s trip), please don’t even bother joining because you’re statically engineered to fail.
The blame is more on the greedy recruiters who don’t bother screening applicants as the initial outlay isn’t much and promises are so big (sounds so much like the housing crisis).
Members who slowly fall behind on monthly payments fall into a bottomless pit, they’ll start to borrow money just to pay for their future trips and see every friend as money.
Failing members that had so much hope in WV offering income and cheap travel will become the WV zombie sales force. Their objectives will get side tracked and will get brainwashed into recruiting every human being possible.
They turn into selfish individuals who are desperate for money and end up not even participating in one dream trip holiday.
There’s a huge conflict of interest. These members will think WV is a scam or trap, hence the myth.
Non travel activities include seminars (paid or free) and gatherings, they are often held to introduce cutting edge sales tactics or are used to invite new prospective members (but that’s nothing special, just like the personal insurance/finance industry).
The underlying motive for these gatherings lean on social psychology, group behaviour empowers members to unite and fulfil the goal of recruiting new members. Not that it’s bad, sometimes we do need some encouragement from others. It’s only bad if you lose both focus and perspective.
A friend gave me this opinion: For those who start a “business” partnership with WV, if the core business and job function (for you, up-line and down-line team members) is to recruit and nothing but recruit new members, is it really a business?
Lastly, to me a “true friend” would say, “I’ve joined WV and they offer damn cheap packages. Let’s travel together mate”.
Members can invite up to 7 friends and family, but hey that’s not the WV slogan.
I really thought hard about joining WV as it does offer some cheap interesting packages and ROVIA sometimes has cheaper hotel rates than booking.com etc.
If I was single and heart broken, I would probably give it a try since travelling with strangers would be fun… haha. However, my gf strongly opposes group travel so WV is not for me.
The lifelong commitment, so many rules, meetings blah blah… I’ll pay the price premium and keep my options fully open it.
I am a member for the past 1 year and i manage to get 5 of my friends to become member. But unfortunately they have been paying US$116.00 for the past 12 months which they manage to accumulate 1200 points.
The problem that the points are only to deduct for a certain tour which is average about 250 points. So we have a balance of 950 points.
We can’t be going travelling all the time and if we don’t pay, they confiscate all our points.
If we keep paying then we can’t use all the points. Please advise. All we asking whether the company can freeze our points for further use.
One more thing. 2 of my members are single and they want to share room but WV only allow 1 deducdtion. So we have so many points which is actually our money but we cannot use up.
Finally, some clarification on the matter.
Thanks for the heads up.
An MLM travel company skirting license requirements by convincing the Malaysian government they have nothing to do with travel.
The education systems throughout the world never really teaches us anything about businesses.
I have been to many business seminars and read many things on businesses. I’ve compared traditional businesses with MLM or Network Marketing, and found out they’re the same, only MLM is better in many ways.
The only reason people think this is a scam is because people don’t understand businesses at all. So why make fun of things you don’t understand?
I challenge anyone here to convince me this is not a real business.
It’s not only the Malaysian government giving WorldVentures a license, 29 other countries too. So are you smarter than them, or are you a special kind of stupid?
You can suck on my nuts.
Pay a fee, get paid to recruit others who do the same, get nothing of tangible value in return for your fee and sell nothing to retail customers.
World Ventures is a pyramid scheme. What’s there not to understand?
I challenge you to prove it’s not a pyramid scheme.
Nice talk. Go back to school, and learn how to be a human being.
In network marketing, there is a product, and there is a license to sell. we get paid when people buy the membership. nobody gets paid to recruit. even if i were to recruit a million people, i get nothing. when someone buys a membership, then i get paid.
(Ozedit: Offtopic derail attempts and abuse removed)
Access to discounts is not a product.
Getting paid to sell affiliate memberships in MLM = getting paid to recruit.
it depends on why u think it’s a pyramid. coz in my definition, a pyramid is when the people at the top will always get paid more than the people at the bottom. sounds like a job. your boss will always earn more than u although he works less.
so booking.com, hotels.com, expedia.com is not a product?
seems to me you dont understand how MLM works. we dont sell affiliate memberships for profits. the money people pay to become a representative goes to the company, not to the representatives.
similarly, when u open up (Ozedit: Offtopic derail attempt removed)
in an MLM company gives money to people selling affiliate memberships, then yes that company is a scam, but not in worldventures.
The actual definition in MLM is getting paid to recruit new affiliates.
…says the guy who can’t correctly identify a pyramid scheme.
Nope. They’re websites. And also they’re non-MLM examples, which are entirely irrelevant.
Yet you get paid a profit (commission) as per the WorldVentures compensation plan. Cut the crap.
WorldVentures isn’t a precious snowflake. You are not unique or exempt from compliance.
i’ve dealt with too many people. they all hv weird definitions of what a pyramid is. but like i said, we don’t get paid to recruit people.
similarly dreamtrips.com is a website. if someone registers as a dreamtrips member, they hv access to dreamtrips. just so u know, dreamtrips is the product, worldventures is the MLM company. i went to a (Ozedit: Offtopic derail attempt removed)
u dont understand the compensation plan. we dont get paid to recruit.
typo, i meant to say IF an MLM company… *sigh* how many times do i hv to mention this. let’s just say, WorldVentures is like (Ozedit: Offtopic derail attempt removed)
Right, well let’s stick to the actual definition shall we.
Join WorldVentures as an affiliate, pay a fee and get paid to recruit others who do the same. That’s 100% a recruitment commission.
Access to discounts is not a valid product in MLM.
haaamaigaad this guy.. which part of “we dont get paid to recruit” dnt u understand? u dnt understand the compensation plan, so i’ll break it down to u in a few hours coz i gotta go to Bali.
The part where paying an affiliate fee and getting paid to recruit new affiliates who also pay a fee isn’t a recruitment commission.
If you can’t explain that in your next comment I’m just going to mark it as spam.
Ok i’m back. Dreamtrips platinum membership is $300 initially, monthly fee $100. U get 300 points from the initial, and 1200 points after a year ($100x12mth).
if a trip costs $1000, and u can use 200 points, then u only pay $800 for that trip. So the membership is virtually free. if u are a dreamtrips member, and u enroll another member as platinum member, u earn 200 points. No cash is earned.
Similarly to that gym membership giving a free bag for enrolling another member. So how is that MLM? No one is earning anything at this point.
To become an affiliate, it costs $100 and $15 per month. If i am a dreamtrips member and also an affiliate, and i enroll someone as affiliate only, i get ZERO dollars.
If i enroll a person as a dreamtrips member only, and not an affiliate, then i get $50. If i enrol someone as an affiliate and as a dreamtrips member, i only get $50 too.
Like i said, we dont get paid to enrol people as affiliates. We get paid when someone buys our product, which is the dreamtrips membership.
Access to discounts isnt a valid product?
Try check out (Ozedit: Offtopic derail atemmpt removed). Dreamtrips give us that wholesale price, hence we hv the best rates. How is that not valid?
(Ozedit: Childish abuse removed)
The problem is, as revealed by Norwegian authorities, that only Worldventures affiliates are purchasing DreamTrips.
When 95% of DreamTrips memberships are purchased by affiliates when they are recruuited, you’re effectively paying out a recruitment commission. Same principle as Vemma in the recent FTC litigation (mostly affiliates were purchasing products).
Not in MLM. Has to be an actual tangible product or service.
I’m not entirely sure what happened in Norway, but as far as I know, you don’t have to be an affiliate to buy dreamtrips.
And if it is like u said, 95% dreamtrips memberships are purchased after being an affiliate, that means the 5% bought the dreamtrips memberships without being an affiliate.
This means you dont hv to be an affiliate to be a member of dreamtrips in Norway.
I think they banned it because of the way the affiliates do their business. They probably told everyone to be an affiliate first before they buy dreamtrips.
The affiliates did it wrongly, doesnt mean WorldVentures is a pyramid. And what’s Norway againts 29 other countries?
Just because of one country and u think it’s a pyramid? So if a Norwegian say that u are an idiot, everyone should believe him?
(Ozedit: Offtopic waffle and abuse removed)
Yet here you are, in all of your ignorant brilliance, carrying on like a pork chop.
Correct. A product-based pyramid scheme in MLM is when the majority of your customers are affiliates participating in the income opportunity.
This is exactly what World Ventures is.
Having retail isn’t good enough, it needs to generate a significant percentage of revenue entering the company. 5% of travel packages is not a significant revenue source.
What you think is irrelevant. After analyzing their business model (including revenue generation), the Norwegian Gaming Board banned World Ventures for being a pyramid scheme.
At the time, one of the major sources of recruitment for the company. Why do you think they’re now trying to focus on Asia? MLM regulation there is about a decade behind the US and EU.
No. World Ventures is a pyramid scheme because the majority of revenue generated by the company is sourced via affiliate recruitment.
Retail is non-existent, meaning any attached products or services exist solely to push the income opportunity.
I don’t have to pay my boss before he pays me.
Here’s your problem Oz, you can’t see the similarities between MLM and franchising. WorldVentures is like (Ozedit: Offtopic derail attempts removed. Anything non-MLM related from here on out will be spam-binned. Ditto abuse.)
Did that Aslam idiot actually go on a one day trip to Bali? What a maroon.
Everything he said is a direct quote from WV training.
That “the reps are wrong and WV shouldn’t be faulted” is going to bite them in the butt when more countries become like South Africa and start holding individual reps responsible for the monetary losses of their downlines.
The reps are going to find WV leaving them high and dry and saying the exact same thing…”The rep did not follow our training”.