Is Amway suffering from “big company syndrome”?

I first joined Amway when I was 19, more than 25 years ago. I was only an IBO for a couple of years, but I made a little cash, liked the products, and was impressed by the company. 18 years ago I joined again and built a reasonable size network. Again, I loved the products and the company – whenever I had to deal with Amway staff the experience was exemplary, they were always trying to help.

Sadly, I’m not finding that’s always the case today and sometimes I get a sense of “arrogance” from them. In one case I was trying to learn about why a particular Nutrilite product – Omega-3 – cost so much more than the competition. As best as I could tell from my research, the product was high quality and of a form that arguably made it perhaps 25% more effective than most competitors, but I simply could not justify it being 3-5 times the price of competitors. This was the case even with competitors where the actual fish oil in the capsules was essentially indistinguishable from Nutrilite’s. Indeed there were some signs it may have come from the same supplier. So I contacted Amway for help to understand the value proposition. The answer I got was essentially “it’s Nutrilite, that’s why” and that they don’t even look at competitor’s pricing and weren’t interested. In another case they launched a new Beauty Cycle product (nail stickers) to take advantage of a trend. I couldn’t find a single example of a competitor that was more expensive than Amway’s offering, and only one that came even close. The competitors also had more range. It was clearly not a competitive product. I contacted Amway about this and was told simply “we’ll pass your comments on to marketing”. The product didn’t last a year before it was pulled, and pricing slashed to get rid of stock.

It wasn’t the pricing that concerned me – many Amway products legitimately command a premium price. What concerned me was the apparent complete lack of caring about what the marketplace was doing. It reeked of a certain corporate arrogance. I felt this arrogance even more as an IBO – that they simply didn’t care about it, and were bothered by me asking. Contrast that to one of my early experiences, where I reported a concern with competitor pricing to Amway, and within a couple of months, Amway had dropped their price!

Then there was what happened a few weeks ago. On May 1 I received an email from Amway Australia saying my IBOship had expired and they were transitioning me to being a “VIP client”. It seems I’d forgotten to renew. I checked through my records and discovered I’d received an email back in November (nearly 6 months earlier) reminding me about renewal, but apparently I’d missed it.

So, this was my fault, I’d not renewed. I’d previously renewed for a 3 year period, so it had been a long time since I’d worried about it. Again, my fault.

Now, I wasn’t too concerned – past experience is that Amway has typically given up to a year to resurrect a lapsed business, so the next day I emailed Amway back and explained I’d been an IBO for 18 years and had downline around the world and that I needed to renew. They emailed me back and said I had to submit a late renewal request directly to a local area business manager, so respond putting her name in the subject. I did so.

The response was that they weren’t forwarding the email as the business managers had decided they weren’t doing any more late renewals. I’d missed the official renewal period (October 1 to December 31) and the “amnesty period” (January 1 to March 31). If I wanted to re-register I should contact my sponsor.

When I checked my records again I couldn’t find anything  from Amway about renewing since November. There’d been various marketing emails, but nothing warning I could lose my business during the 6 month period until I got the letter – too late.

Again, this was my fault. But I can’t help but feel that this “sorry, bad luck” response, and the “don’t care about the competitors” responses isn’t the way Amway was when I first joined. In my first years I felt like Amway would do anything to help out – including once helping me renew even later than this! – but not any more.

It’s also worth noting that these experiences I’ve given are from 3 different Amway markets, so it’s not just one country. I’ve also seen reviews of Amway as an employer on various corporate “review” websites where some staff have expressed similar experiences – Amway internally isn’t the same company.

It isn’t unusual in the history of business that when companies grow and expand rapidly they lose their “heart” and the personal touch – many consider Google an example of this – I wonder if the same has happened to Amway?

Now, “losing” my Australian IBOship isn’t as big an issue for me as it could be. The way my business is structured internationally I’ve actually lost very little in the way of my downline, as it’s nearly all through-line of my IBOship in my new home country. In some ways it actually may work out better for me to re-register back in Australia. Nevertheless it’s not the way I’d like my downline IBOs to be handled – at the very least there should have been a lot more warning!

So – long time IBOs in particular – what’s your thoughts on this? Has Amway’s extraordinary growth led to a change of corporate culture? Did I just have rose-coloured glasses at the beginning? Or just some “bad luck” now?

17 thoughts on “Is Amway suffering from “big company syndrome”?”

  1. Good to see you have encountered first hand, their arrogance. Arrogance I have pointed to over the past 7 years

    1. Amway’s been a “big company” ever since Rich DeVos ignored his own directly speaking message and allowed the BSM companies to rape and pillage the rank and file IBO’s. Now it’s like a wart that won’t go away no matter what.

      1. You are aware that Amway put in strick rules regarding BSM many years ago? Or are you still stuck in the early 80’s? (not to mention any major problems seem to have been limited to a handful of groups, not all of Amway)

  2. I’ve never heard or encounter anything like that with Amway before. I have a few questions tho, why would you doubt about our product? It’s the best then of course it gets pricie, and with this high quality of our product, I believe that “high price” you’re talking about is already the lowest we can go to with such high quality. Imagine what would it cost you if our products are selling on the rack. And from what I was told, our fish oil was extracted from this natural lake under a snow mountain in Washington state, it is a super purify with absolutely no pollution environment, that you’ll need a special license to farm there, which there’s only one other company allow to be there with us, and I don’t know what that other company is.

    1. Hi Calvin,
      If that’s true about the fish oil (and I’m skeptical), it’s a completely different source than before, which was a Canadian company. If it is true, then why won’t the company tell me about it? When I asked them to explain why the product was priced so much higher, they essentially fobbed me off – which means I can’t explain it to customers who ask. Blind loyalty is not a long-term viable business model.

  3. Have you resolved your renewal situation to your satisfaction?

    Sponsors have a responsibility to communicate with those they sponsor. You and yours should be aware when downline do not renew and contact them about it. Apparently yours didn’t. Do they and you contact downline on a monthly basis? The effort would be well worth it.

    On another note, you are not responding to your friends’ e-mails. What is going on with your prolonged “maintenance” of Amway Wiki? Does your silence have anything to do with Amway wanting you to shut it down?

    1. My sponsor moved countries 16 years ago and has been inactive for more than a decade. The next active upline is an Emerald with thousands to worry about. As I said in the post, it’s not that major an issue for me.

      Regarding AmwayWiki, I’m about 12 months behind on my “to do” list at the moment. I need to upgrade the site to be responsive and support access through cell phones and tablets better. Finally got to the first stage of that today, hopefully done by the end of the week. Nothing to do with Amway. As for emails, I’ve just realised I haven’t been monitoring my ibofightback@mlmfacts.net account, so I’ve probably missed quite a few! I’ll try to sort that out tomorrow.

      Any tips for successful human cloning would be appreciated ….

  4. well a lot of emphasis is put on the Line Of Sponsorship, you would think that this is more important than a late renewal. even the JaRi corp. put all there sponsors from Nutrilite into the right LOS. when someone registers they are asked if they were ever registered prior, I imagine that is to preserve that line.

  5. Sometimes when companies get really big (in any industry) they forget all the little things they did as they were a growing company that made them big (and successful) in the first place. In my experience, it seems like customer service is almost always one of the first things to go (in most companies). It’s a downright shame too. Distributors deserve great customer service since they are the ones responsible for growing the company in the first place. Hopefully, the company can tighten their shot group and fix this before it becomes more of a problem in the future.

  6. Perhaps the business managers should listen to some of the talks of Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel as a part of their selection interview? BTW: How about your upline Diamond or Crown Ambassador? Have they tried to help you?

    1. Haven’t asked them. As I said it’s not that major a deal and may actually work out a little simpler as I can now sponsor myself back in Oz as a leg of my european business rather than the other way around. That’s now more reflective of my life. It would be better as it was if I ever decided to return to Australia to live permanently, but that now looks very unlikely.

    2. Bureaucrats! Rich has spoken about when you don’t own the tools (or business in this case), you don’t take care of them. Employees often don’t understand the importance of what they are responsible for. All they are usually interested in is receiving a pay check. Entrepreneurs have to find a need and fill it to be successful, while employees don’t. David’s experience is not uncommon. Even at least one Crown has forgotten to renew and paid the consequence by loosing their business. I’m sure there is much more behind that story. Rules are rules, after all.

        1. Correct. They and their sponsor had moved from Canada to Arizona. The sponsors both died and their son took over the business. He started a competing business and tried to recruit me. I believe the Crown was supporting that son to get Amway to absorb that business. The same kind of thing happened in Germany when an Executive Diamond wanted Amway to take on a line of clothing they were marketing along with their Amway business. I later became part of that reconstituted business.

          Kenny, a little research will reveal who the Crown we are referring to is. Both stories happened a long time ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *