Tag Archives: Cheryl Rhodes (Anna Banana)

What Howard Megdal didn’t want his readers to know

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I had tried to reply to Howard Megdal on the three articles he wrote disparaging Amway and the Mets over the new Amway Business Center at Citi Field in New York. Despite initial denials from Megdal, one of his co-editors, Emma Span, admitted she was deleting my comments and had banned me for posting “spam”. Well I just discovered I’d stored a copy of one of the comments I was trying to post that was rejected. This is apparently what some “journalists” apparently consider “spam” these days -

Howard,I’ve been researching and writing about multilevel marketing companies like Amway for over a decade, and unfortunately your article is full of inaccuracies. This isn’t surprising considering you quote Robert FitzPatrick, who has spent a better part of his life spreading myths about multilevel marketing.(1) You say “the most basic requirement is that participants sell a reasonable percentage of the products to outsiders”. This is false, and the FTC has explicitly stated as much in response to allegations by the likes of FitzPatrick. What’s important is that people are purchasing products out of legitimate demand and not out of some belief doing so will some how make them rich. It makes no difference if they are registered as distributors or are full retail paying customers. It’s this same falsehood that Bill Ackman is promoting in his failing attempt to short Herbalife. Having said all of that, Amway requires all it’s active distributors in the United States to have a minimum level of sales to retail customers.

(2) You’ve mixed up two different lawsuits. One involved a large group of distributors that Amway terminated from the company because of alleged unethical practices. Amway fought and won that lawsuit, including a version in California that alleged it was an illegal pyramid. The other involved a separate couple of California distributors. Amway elected to settle that lawsuit, and an analysis of the settlement shows why – the settlement is costing them significantly less money than going to court would have. Interestingly, despite having contacted 97% of all Amway distributors and former distributors in the US over the past decade, the class settlement administrators have been unable to get rid of the money! There’s apparently simply not enough people who feel “scammed”. Indeed only 0.7% of distributors submitted a claim for reimbursement of losses. An independent consultant for that case found that at most only 18% of all distributors had even $100 of expenses over the entire lifespan of their time as a distributor. On the other hand, government mandated statistics published by Amway show that “active” distributors (46% of those registered) earn on average nearly $2500/yr in monthly commissions alone, not counting retail profit margin and not counting yearly bonuses which can be as high as several million dollars. Despite this hard data critics claims 99% lose money, which is virtually a mathematical impossibility.

(3) You quote FitzPatrick as saying regarding MLM companies – “Not one would have passed the [Federal Trade Commission legal] test. Obviously not Amway. It did not pass that test.” This contradicts the fact that the FTC investigated Amway more than 30 years ago and cleared the company of allegations it was an illegal pyramid.

(4) You cite the decision of a Belgian court regarding allegations Herbalife is an illegal pyramid, and state it is “a company operating using Amway’s business model”. How can you make that claim when the Belgian court explicitly stated one of the reasons behind their decision was that Herbalife *did not* follow the Amway model? (As an aside, the Belgian court decision seems contrary to EU law on this type of model, so I’d be surprised if it’s not overturned on appeal).

Amway has an excellent reputation in much of the world, even winning “most admired company” awards in several countries. Unfortunately in the US it’s reputation was tarnished by a number of distributor groups operating in less than ethical ways. Those kind of issues were cleaned up by Amway some years ago, and it’s been primarily the likes of anti-MLM zealots such as Robert FitzPatrick who have actively been misleading people that has maintained the myths about the company and industry.

Please don’t support their efforts by repeating these myths uncritically.

Unfortunately this kind of censorship isn’t uncommon among Amway critics. Here’s a list of anti-MLM bloggers who I know won’t post comments from me -

  • Shyam Sundar, Corporate Fraud Watch
  • David Brear, MLM The American Dream Made Nightmare
  • Cheryl Rhodes (Anna Banana), Married to an Ambot
  • Jon Taylor, Consumer Awareness Institute
  • Robert FitzPatrick, Pyramid Scheme Alert
  • Tracy Coenen, The Fraud Files

It seems some people just can’t handle The Truth!

In contrast, guys like multiple NFL MVP Kurt Warner, who has won awards for his outstanding personal character, make great videos like this to promote the company. Not to mention the ridiculous number of awards Amway, it’s people, and it’s products have won around the world

Amway critics lie. Again.

I’ve multiple times pointed out the lies of Amway critic “joecool”, who has been exposed creating false blogs and false identities simply to rubbish Amway. A reliable source contacted me a while back and told me that Anna Banana, aka Cheryl Rhodes, was doing much the same on her “Married to an Ambot” blog, and that many of the stories were plain made up, and many of the commentators were in fact Cheryl pretending to be a legitimate commentator.

Now she’s made it easy to show her dishonest activity. Earlier in the month she posted a blog “Worst Amway Distributor” and claimed -

Not too long ago I get an Amway employee working in the Alticor office in Grand Rapids Michigan end up at my blog after doing a Google search for “worst Amway distributor”.

I thought that was pretty bizarre, so I did that google search. There were ZERO results that referred to her blog except for that current post. (Virtually all the rest are her anti-amway zealot friends linking to that post.)

I tried searching with quotes, I tried searching without quotes. I tried it with all sorts of different search settings. I even tried Bing.

Until she wrote that blog post, google simply did not return her website as a result for that search. Clearly this search by this supposed “Amway employee” simply never could have happened as she states.

What’s the only conclusion? She made it up.

What else is she making up? My sources tell me an awful lot.

Anna Banana Unveiled

Normally I think people who post anonymously online have a right to their privacy and their identities should generally not be revealed. I make exceptions under certain circumstances. Joecool for example, I originally uncovered when he was (falsely) accusing IBOs of threatening his family and later was shown to be posting under different names, pretending to be IBOs or former IBOs in different Amway groups. As far as I’m concerned, once you cross from sharing your opinion to fraud and libel, you’ve relinquished your right to privacy.

While Joecool remains the most prolific anti-Amway obsessive on the internet, back in 2010 another reared their ugly head – “Anna Banana” and her blog “Married to an Ambot“. On her blog, Anna Banana doesn’t hold back, with regular foul-mouthed tirades against Amway, Amway products, and her former upline. The comments she allows are often even worse, with crude anonymous abuse of the worse sort. I sometimes wonder how much of it is hers rather than legitimate commentary.

When the blog first launched, there were suspicions that Anna Banana was yet another Joecool alias. These were raised even further when I discovered “Anna Banana” was the name of a bar just down the road from Joecool’s then place of work. I did some checking with others and concluded that, unlike a number of other blogs, this one was actually a legitimate newcomer, located in the Pacific North-West of North America. Since then I haven’t particularly followed her blog. Any attempts to engage in adult dialogue on her website have been returned with childish abuse.

In April this year though, Anna Banana highlighted some comments on her blog that she says were directed towards me. Comments like this -

“You took my friend and soon you’ll regret this scambot.”

“Typical Scambot unit! I sure hope your upline programmed a few more lines to defend your mission for Scamway/Quickscam. Those like you took my friend and I’ll make sure to make you regret it Ambot!”

“The countdown has begun Ambot! The day when I shall have your head and theirs overlooking my nightstand will not come too soon shitway. I swear, they should upgrade your programming, that old recording in your memory-bank is starting to piss me off scamshit!”

People were posting death threats against me on her blog, and she apparently found it amusing and worth highlighting.  Given that Amway critics had already posted my name and address and photos of myself and my children online, and that Anna Banana was regularly allowing her commentators to link to this information, this was more than a little concerning. The entire tone of her blog and her comments does not engender confidence that these are in jest. Needless to say, such activity is also illegal for both the poster and the publisher (Anna Banana).

As far as I’m concerned, if you publish (and encourage) death threats against me you have well and truly relinquished your right to privacy.

So who is Anna Banana?

The internet isn’t as anonymous as you might think. People often leave traces they forget about, like Joecool leaving his email address published on links on forum posts, which allowed me to identify him. Has Anna Banana done similar? I’ll admit, she’s been careful. She gave no email address on her blog to contact her that I could find, and she never comments on my blog, make it difficult to trace her internet address or other information. When she has commented elsewhere she’s always been careful not to give away too much. Trying to work out her story was difficult, as many of her rants seemed to be about issues that must have been more than a decade ago (talking about tapes) yet she also spoke about other things as if they were recent, even current. Much of the stuff she talked about seemed like little more than caricatures of Amway criticism rather than actual experience. About all we knew was that she was married, she and her husband had been IBOs more than once, and they’d been associated with WWDB.

To see if I could find anything about her, I looked again at her website, and in particular the “source code”. I’d done the same thing with Joecool and several other blogs and discovered that they were using the same google adsense code – identifying them as being by the same person. There was one clue on Anna Banana’s website. She had some code called “IP Blocker” that is used to redirect people from certain internet addresses to other websites so they can’t read (or comment) on her website. This is the code -

<script src="http://www.toolator.com/ban/banned/?member=mermaidude" type="text/javascript"></script>

The code had a member ID – “mermaidude”. Could that tell us anything? I went to google.

“mermaidude” isn’t a common internet nickname, indeed it appears to be unique. A review of the (many) links google revealed showed that “mermaidude” has been active a long time on the internet, with interests ranging from geocaching, to recipes, to horses and dogs. There were also three email addresses and a name that kept coming up – Continue reading

Class action against Amway Canada thrown out

Well, “thrown out” is probably not a technically correct legal term, but the result is the same. Back in 2009 a pair of disgruntled IBOs, husband and wife Kerry Murphy and Cheryl Rhodes, of Cloverdale, British Columbia, filed a class action lawsuit against Amway Canada. This  of course made news with the anti-Amway brigade, but funnily enough some other news didn’t – way back in November of last year, the Court sided with Amway and said their complaint should go through Amway’s arbitration system.

I should clarify – not their complaint. In what has to be one of the least successful attempts at a class action ever, Murphy and Rhodes launched this lawsuit and promoted their class action through press releases and websites. The result? Well, in a class action, one of the tasks of the Judge is to determine if there is a sufficiently large group of people with the same grievance. In May 2011, his wife Cheryl Rhodes curiously withdrew from the class action. So we’re down to one, and in the judgement, the Judge had this to say -

the plaintiff has only provided evidence of one claim – his own for the amount of $15,000. …. Absent any convincing evidence of multiple claims or multiple defendants, the issue of the reasonableness of a partial stay is simply not triggered.

So it became his complaint. Just Kerry Murphy. No Cheryl Rhodes, and nobody else stood up to offer further claims. It gets even worse for Mr Murphy-

THIS COURT ORDERS that the defendant’s Motion to Stay and to Compel Arbitration is allowed. Costs shall be awarded to the defendant.

It seems to me highly likely that the defendants (Amway) costs for a case like this are going to far, far exceed the $15000 Murphy claimed he lost doing Amway during his four times as an IBO. I notice looking through the court records that Robert FitzPatrick provided an affidavit in support of Murphy and Rhodes. I have little doubt that anti-MLM zealots like FitzPatrick encouraged this action.

FitzPatrick and his ilk are causing real financial damage to people by leading them astray with their falsehoods and anti-mlm zealotry.

Murphy has appealed the case. I feel sorry for him.