Payday Loans

August 2008 Monthly Archive

FNBO Direct BillPay Bonus

FNBO Direct is running a $25 opening bonus for their Online BillPay account.

Promotion details:

  • Open a new FNBO Direct Online BillPay account (FNBO Direct Savings required).
  • $25 bonus credit to account within 30 days after opening.
  • BillPay account will need to be opened for 90 days and you’ll have to make at least one BillPay payment during that period.
  • Promotion ends on 9/30/08.

Seems straight forward enough, especially if you already have a FNBO Direct Online Savings account. Open the account, transfer in $50 bucks, make a payment for your monthly subscription to Cereal Digest Monthly and claim the $25.

Thanks to this promotion, I just remembered the FNBO savings account that I’ve opened over a year ago (with $102 in the account). It’s like finding five bucks under the sofa cushion. Sweet!

From [Blueprint for Financial Prosperity]

Pyramid schemes - an unsustainable business model

While in the outhouse reading the latest issue of Forbes (free subscription from now defunct airline miles), I spotted an article highlighting the fast rising “multi-level marketing” company, MonaVie.

As a former moron who got suckered into a pyramid scheme back at the naive age of 18 (more on this in future post), my first impulse was to rip the pages apart and ignore the article, but the fear of paper cuts and lack of entertainment in the outhouse kept me reading.

I quickly realized that the authors of the Forbes article shared a similar view with me on MonaVie — if it smells like a pyramid scheme, looks like a pyramid scheme, sells like pyramid scheme — it’s a freaking pyramid scheme.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah (the capital of multi-level marketing companies, where laws are more favorable to MLMs), MonaVie pitches $39 juices that “blends unequaled nutritional power with unparalleled business opportunity.” As a MonaVie indepdent distributor, you are required to purchase or sell at least four of these bottle per month ($130 before shipping and taxes) before to being able to earn commissions.

Sounds freaking wonderful.

If you or anyone you know are ever in a situation where you are presented with a business opportunity to sell some mystical product, consider the following tips below.

Eight tips from the FTC on evaluating a multi-level marketing program:

  1. Avoid any plan that includes commissions for recruiting additional distributors. It may be an illegal pyramid.
  2. Beware of plans that ask new distributors to purchase expensive products and marketing materials. These plans may be pyramids in disguise.
  3. Be cautious of plans that claim you will make money through continued growth of your downline, that is, the number of distributors you recruit.
  4. Beware of plans that claim to sell miracle products or promise enormous earnings. Ask the promoter to substantiate claims.
  5. Beware of shills – “decoy” references paid by a plan’s promoter to lie about their earnings through the plan.
  6. Don’t pay or sign any contracts in an “opportunity meeting” or any other pressure-filled situation. Insist on taking your time to think over your decision. Talk it over with a family member, friend, accountant or lawyer.
  7. Do your homework! Check with your local Better Business Bureau and state Attorney General about any plan you’re considering – especially when the claims about the product or your potential earnings seem too good to be true.
  8. Remember that no matter how good a product and how solid a multilevel marketing plan may be, you’ll need to invest sweat equity as well as dollars for your investment to pay off.

Four additional tips from yours truly on spotting pyramid schemes:

  1. If a “business program” recruiters dismisses your questions because they were “negative” or “unhelpful,” wave the red flag and prepare to run. Fast.
  2. If the program and compensation plan is so confusing that the recruiter/promoter has trouble explain it clearly, you may be looking at a plan that’s trying very hard to skirt pyramid scheme laws.
  3. If the product has fanatic distributors who embrace the program’s product and marketing material as if it was the second coming of Christ, be wary.
  4. Ask yourself this: if whatever products they’re pitching is so wonderful that it justified the higher price tag, why are they being distributed through a multi-level marketing method? If it can “change lives;” “empower your health; and “raise your energy level;” why aren’t they sold through regular retail channel? Why “share” the profit and “dreams” for other independent distributors? Because these people have an underlying good heart to share wealth? Or is it because without a potential distributor and thousands of others, the products can’t be competitive in a real market? If the only ones buying and using the product are the distributors and “downlines,” you’re looking at a pyramid scheme.

Not all multi-level marketing programs are outright pyramid schemes where the business model is unsustainable. There are a few out there with competitive and reasonably priced products. But as the FTC tip said, even if the program is solid and the products are good — as with all worthwhile things in life — you’ll need to invest hard work and time.

Related Links and Resources:

I didn’t know this, but a close cousin’s fiance’s younger brother (early twenties) has been overstaying his welcome at my cousin and her fiance’s house.

It has been going on for the past year or so, with the in-law’s brother showing up in a predictable pattern — staying for a month or so, leaves, and eventually shows up a month or two later for yet another extended “visit.”

Initially, my cousin wasn’t too happy about it. She’ll get into arguments with her fiance, and at times was so upset that she avoids coming home as it felt less like her home.

In recent days however, it seems my cousin and her fiance are more nonchalant about the freeloading. Whether it’s because they’ve given up on the situation or have grown accustom to the mooching, I’m not sure, but deep down, I suspect neither of them are happy about the problem.

There are many things they can probably do, one of which is of course put their foot down and kick the fiance’s brother out. Various other suggestions are abound on the Internet, some bordering on the extreme (sell beds, sofa, and couches in the home, get rid of food in fridge, have loud sex, etc.).

I thought about stepping in and talking to the offender in question, but on further thought, regardless of how close I am to these people, that may be overreaching a bit.

It’s a tough situation really, as I can tell the problem is putting an emotional and financial strain on the couples.

Have you dealt with a freeloading family member before? What did you do about it? Suggestions for the couple in question?