Vestige Marketing Review: Forced ecommerce purchases
Vestige Marketing operates in the ecommerce MLM niche. The company was founded back in 2004 and is based out of New Delhi, India.
Heading up Vestige Marketing are co-founders Gautam Bali (Managing Director), Kanwar Bir Singh (Director) and Deepak Sood (Director).
As per Bali’s corporate bio, he
laid the foundation stone of Vestige, which he is successfully leading as a helmsman with his unmatched domain expertise and business acumen.
Bali is credited with “playing key roles in various direct selling companies as CEO and advisor for decades”, although no specifics are provided.
Bali’s LinkedIn profile cites him as a National Sales Manager for Modicare from 1996 to 2001, and then Chief Marketing Officer for Elken from 2003 to 2004.
Modicare is an Amway style MLM company that markets a range of grocery items, personal care products and nutritional supplements.
Elken is a Malaysian Amway style MLM company, offering products across healthcare, personal care and home appliances.
At the time of publication Vestige Marketing is active in India, the UAE, Nepal, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Read on for a full review of Vestige Marketing’s MLM opportunity.
Vestige Marketing divides its product catalog into the following categories:
- health care – “a range of innovative health care products”
- personal care – “personal care portfolio offer products across a wide variety of categories including hair care, skin care, body care and self care”
- oral care – “oral care products offer you the complete solutions for oral care needs”
- health food – “health food range helps in having a balanced diet, thus a healthy body”
- agri – “agri products are designed to maximize the efficiency of the soil”
- self health series – “self health series contains a set of educational CDs covering various health and wellness topics”
There are too many products to list here individually, but Vestige Marketing do provide a full catalog on their website.
Who manufacturers Vestige Marketing’s products isn’t disclosed. I did note on Gautam Bali’s LinkedIn that he’s also the Managing Director of Cosmic Nutracos Solutions.
On Cosmic Nutracos Solutions’ website, the company divulges it has “a fully dedicated facility for Vestige Marketing Pvt. Ltd.”
Cosmic Nutracos Solutions manufactures “nutrition supplements, health foods, healthcare and personal care products”.
It seems there’s some double dipping of profits going on with Vestige Marketing management. Both in supplying the company and with the sale of products through Vestige Marketing.
This in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I feel is something that should be disclosed.
Vestige Marketing’s Compensation Plan
Vestige Marketing’s compensation plan starts off shallow, but extends commissions via a unilevel shares system.
This shares system is carried over to calculate the remaining bonuses on offer.
Note that the following breakdown is of Vestige Marketing’s Indian compensation plan. The company advises some commissions and bonus rates might differ slightly in other markets.
Vestige Marketing Affiliate Ranks
There are fourteen affiliate ranks within Vestige Marketing’s compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Distributor I – generate 1 to 500 accumulated PV
- Distributor II – generate 501 to 2000 accumulated PV
- Distributor III – generate 2001 to 4500 accumulated PV
- Senior Distributor – generate 4501 to 7500 accumulated PV
- Assistant Director – generate 7501 to 10,000 accumulated PV
- Bronze Director – purchase at least 40 PV a month in products, generate and maintain 2001 PV or more a month and have generated 10,001 or more accumulated PV
- Silver Director – maintain a 40 PV monthly order, personally recruit and maintain one Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliate and generate 1801 PV a month
- Gold Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order, personally recruit and maintain two Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 1501 PV a month
- Star Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order, personally recruit and maintain three Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 1001 PV a month
- Diamond Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order, personally recruit and maintain four Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 501 PV a month
- Crown Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order and personally recruit and maintain six Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates
- Universal Crown Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order and personally recruit and maintain eight Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates
- Double Crown Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order and personally recruit and maintain twelve Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates
- Double Universal Crown Director – maintain a monthly 40 PV order and personally recruit and maintain sixteen Assistant Director or higher ranked affiliates
Note that Bronze Director qualification can be achieved alternatively by generating 7501 PV in a single month.
After the first month regular Bronze Director qualification as detailed above applies.
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by retail sales and an affiliate’s own orders.
MLM Commission Qualification
Vestige Marketing affiliates are forced to purchase products to qualify for MLM commissions.
- Distributor through to Assistant Director affiliates must purchase at least 20 PV a month
- Bronze Director and higher ranked affiliates must purchase at least 40 PV a month
The Performance Bonus rewards affiliates for generating PV month on month:
- Distributor Is receive a 5% Performance Bonus
- Distributor IIs receive an 8% Performance Bonus
- Distributor IIIs receive an 11% Performance Bonus
- Senior Distributors receive a 14% Performance Bonus
- Assistant Directors receive a 17% Performance Bonus
- Bronze Directors receive a 20% Performance Bonus
Fast Start Bonus
To qualify for the Fast Start Bonus, a Vestige Marketing affiliate must generate 282 GV a month.
Note that PV generated by personally recruited affiliates who are themselves generating 282 PV or more a month are not counted.
The Fast Start Bonus is paid out on an affiliate’s own PV and that of their personally recruited affiliates.
Fast Start Bonus rates appear to be the same as the Performance Bonus above.
The Fast Start Bonus is first calculated by tallying up an affiliate’s and their personally recruited downline’s PV.
Of that sum total, personally recruited affiliates are paid as per their Performance Bonus rate (5-20%).
What’s left is paid to the Fast Start Bonus qualifying affiliate.
Vestige Marketing takes 14% of company-wide revenue and places it into the Director Bonus Pool.
The Director Bonus Pool is paid out monthly based on shares.
An affiliate’s shares are calculated by PV production by the affiliate and their personally recruited affiliates (excludes PV generated by Bronze Directors and higher).
Director Bonus share calculation spans up to nine unilevel team levels.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
As previously stated, Vestige Marketing caps counted unilevel team levels at nine.
In addition to 6% of an affiliate’s own PV production (Bronze Directors), Director Bonus Pool shares are counted across nine unilevel team levels as follows:
- Silver Directors – 5% on level 1 (personally recruited affiliates) and 4% on level 2
- Gold Directors – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2 and 3% on level 3
- Star Director – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2, 3% on level 3 and 2% on level 4
- Diamond Director – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2, 3% on level 3, 2% on level 4 and 1% on level 5
- Crown Director – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2, 3% on level 3, 2% on level 4, 1% on level 5 and 0.5% on level 6
- Universal Crown Director – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2, 3% on level 3, 2% on level 4, 1% on level 5 and 0.5% on levels 6 and 7
- Double Crown Director – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2, 3% on level 3, 2% on level 4, 1% on level 5 and 0.5% on levels 6 to 8
- Double Universal Crown Director – 5% on level 1, 4% on level 2, 3% on level 3, 2% on level 4, 1% on level 5 and 0.5% on levels 6 to 9
Again, PV generated by personally recruited Bronze Director and higher ranked affiliates does not count towards the above point calculations.
Once the total shares of all Bronze Director and higher ranked affiliates is calculated, the 14% set aside sales volume is divided by the share tally.
This provides a dollar (rupee) amount per generated share, which is then paid out based on how many shares individual affiliates generated for the month.
Vestige Marketing takes 3% of monthly company-wide sales volume places it into the Travel Fund.
Silver Director and higher ranked affiliates qualify for Travel Fund shares.
Travel Fund shares are calculated in the same manner Director Bonus shares are, as detailed above.
Note that earned Travel Fund bonuses can only put towards “travel trips announced” by Vestige Marketing.
Vestige Marketing takes 5% of monthly company-wide sales volume and places it into the Car Fund.
Star Director and higher ranked affiliates qualify for Car Fund shares.
Car Fund shares are calculated in the same manner Director Bonus shares are, as detailed above.
Note that Car Fund bonuses are capped at Rs. 80,000 a month and must be put towards a car purchased pre-approved by Vestige Marketing.
Vestige Marketing takes 3% of monthly company-wide sales volume and places it into the House Fund.
Crown Director and higher ranked affiliates who have held rank for at least four months qualify for House Fund shares.
House Fund shares are calculated in the same manner Director Bonus shares are, as detailed above.
Note that the maximum House Fund a Vestige Marketing affiliate can receive each month is Rs. 100,000.
Joining Vestige Marketing
Vestige Marketing does not provide affiliate membership costs on their website.
In fact online signup is not available at all, with Vestige Marketing instead directing people to register at branch offices.
It’s the year 2020, and Vestige Marketing doesn’t offer an online affiliate signup option?
I can’t help but feel this is intentionally by design, although to what end I’m not sure.
The other thing I want to address, before we get into compensation, is the whole corporate setup.
In researching Gautam Bali’s corporate background I came across this Zoom Info profile, which cites him as Managing Director at Alchemist Brand Consulting.
That’s not disclosed on Alchemist Brand Consulting’s website, on which Bali only appears as a testimonial provider;
Over the years my confidence in Samit is unshakeable, and I value his ideas so much due to the past history that I may doubt my own thought process but not his, and that has always turned out to be the winning shot for us. His approach to the brand is thoroughly professional.
To say what is right, calling a spade a spade and thinking where I as an entrepreneur don’t, broadens my own vision and increases possibilities for the tremendous growth that we have seen all these years, and I am sure we will continue to grow more than 100% year on year, which we have had since these last 5 years of our association.
Gautam Bali, Managing Director, Cosmic Nutracos, Vestige Marketing
Cosmic Nutracos is listed as a client on Alchemist Brand Consulting’s website.
As for what Alchemist Brand Consulting does, they’re a brand management company.
Things come full circle through Vestige Heart to Heart, a charity company associated with Vestige Marketing, which lists Vestige Marketing, Alchemist Brand Consulting and Cosmic Nutracos Solutions executives as Trustees.
To be clear there’s nothing inherently nefarious about these associations, it’s just that nothing is disclosed anywhere.
If Vestige Marketing’s products are mostly made in house, provide that information on the company’s website.
Otherwise it looks like management are trying to hide earning on both the manufacturing process and Vestige Marketing supply-chain.
With that out of the way, it’s pretty obvious that Gautam Bali’s time at Modicare and Elkin influenced the formation of Vestige Marketing.
Both Modicare and Elkin appear to be localized Amway clones, and so is Vestige Marketing.
This raises the question of why Bali left his management stint at Elken to launch Vestige Marketing.
The cynic in me reasons it might be because Bali realized the real money is in running Amway clones, as opposed to participating in them.
But that can’t be proven either way, so let’s move on to Vestige Marketing’s compensation plan.
In order to operate legitimately, the majority of Vestige Marketing’s company-wide revenue has to be sourced from retail sales.
Vestige Marketing has no retail volume qualifiers in its compensation plan.
What the company does do, is force affiliates to purchase products to qualify for commissions.
This is the foundation of a pyramid scheme, but alone isn’t confirmation of one.
Vestige Marketing affiliate rank qualification requires either 20 or 40 PV a month in mandatory purchase volume.
The rest can be from retail sales, and as a prospect Vestige Marketing affiliate that’s what you want to find out.
What you need to know is your prospective upline’s rank. Then correspond that with how much PV they need to purchase each month.
Ask what their total PV generated over the past few months was. Comparing these figures will let you see if they’re relying on retail sales of self-purchases to qualify for commissions.
If it’s their own purchases making up the majority of their monthly generated PV, there’s a good chance they’re running their Vestige Marketing business as a product-based pyramid scheme.
For their part Vestige Marketing don’t seem to care either way, so long as volume is created.
A quick remedy would be mandating retail volume quotas (40-60% of required PV at a minimum), but after sixteen years nothing like that has been implemented.
That’s not to say Vestige Marketing is retail unfriendly.
The company requires affiliates to refund their retail customers. Returned product can then be sent to Vestige Marketing in exchange for an exchange or cash voucher at no cost.
If an affiliate wants out, Vestige Marketing’s buy-back policy is pretty good too:
The Company provides a Buy Back Policy to the distributor who wishes to resign from his/her distributorship and return any Vestige products that are in good condition, useable, resaleable, restock-able, unopened, unaltered and must have a shelf life of at least four months.
If the distributor resigns within 30 days from the purchase of the products,Vestige shall provide a full refund for the products to the distributor.
If the distributor resigns from his/her distributorship after the expiry of 30 days from the date of purchase of products from Vestige, the amount refunded will be equal to distributor cost of the products being returned, less total bonus paid out by the Company on the original purchase, less 10% service charge.
The Buy Back policy is designed to impose upon the sponsor and the Company- the obligation to ensure that the distributor is buying products wisely
Mind you this assumes there’s no hassles in actually applying for either refund credit or the buy-back policy.
Vestige Marketing’s product return policy states customers can return products “in case of any dissatisfaction”.
I punched “vestige marketing refunds” into Google and the first affiliate site I came across was that of “VonlineTeam”.
Their Vestige Online refund policy is more restrictive:
Your item must be in its original unused condition to be returned, unless there is a manufacturer defect.
This suggests that if, as a retail customer, you’re not happy with ordered products, wrangling a dissatisfaction refund out of a Vestige Marketing affiliate might be problematic.
Ultimately the danger with ecommerce Amway style MLM companies is they wind up primarily generating sales revenue via affiliates on autoship.
Given the broad product range offered, recruits are encouraged to replace what they’d otherwise be spending elsewhere with company products.
The argument for this model is that there’s nothing wrong with affiliates purchasing products they actually need.
And there isn’t, provided there’s equal or greater retail sales also taking place.
One cannot make the argument that Vestige Marketing affiliates are purchasing products based on value, when one also cannot demonstrate significant purchase activity by non-affiliates.
How to establish that we’ve already covered above (upline PV spread), so hopefully that’s enough information to assist you in making an informed decision.