In the real world there is very little we choose to give up especially when it comes to our basic human rights. As frustrated network marketers, when we signed up, what did we give up? We fight to the very end and invite as many as we can to join our cause. We usually find others join our cause because deep down our cause is theirs. There is power in numbers and the larger the number the more power we exert on behalf of our cause. It is because of the increased power that we can sometimes have victory for our cause.
When we have a contract for employment we are careful to read the contract, and the fine print, I must add, to make sure that it contains the expected clauses and any changes that we have requested. We usually do not sign the final contract until we know that we are protected and the job will be there for the duration of the contract at the very least.
I wonder why it is that when we look at an online Multilevel Marketing business opportunity we do not take the time to read the compensation plan or the all important Policies and Procedures, sometimes known as terms of service. What is more interesting is that we are so anxious to get started that when we sign up we just put a check in the box saying we have read and agree to the terms and conditions, without ever reading them.
In the following article we see how these policies and procedures can work against you, leaving you with fewer rights than you are willing to give up. Please read what a Circuit of Appeals Court has ruled on and ask yourself, “What rights did I give up when I signed up to my opportunity?”
Article from: MLM WATCHDOG – Rod Cook
NEWSFLASH: Amway Corporation’s Independent Business Owner agreements are declared “unconscionable” under California law
In Pokorny v. Quixtar, Inc. — F.3d —- (9th Cir.2010), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial court order denying a motion to dismiss by Amway Corporation, which is being sued by two of its former Independent Business Owners (“IBOs”) for allegedly operating an illegal pyramid scheme.
In response to the lawsuit, Amway filed an unsuccessful motion to dismiss, trying to force the IBOs to private arbitration as agreed to when the IBOs signed up with Amway. The court ruled against Amway because it found Amway’s agreements with the IBOs to be both procedurally and substantively “unconscionable” under California law.
First, in finding that Amway’s agreements are procedurally unconscionable, the court noted that Amway is a large corporation doing business throughout the United States, it occupies a “superior bargaining position” to that of its IBOs, the IBOs do not “individually participate” in the negotiation of the terms of the agreements, and the agreements are presented to the IBOs on a “take-it-or-leave-it basis.”
Second, in finding that Amway’s agreements are substantively unconscionable, the appellate court focused on the lack of mutuality in the terms of the agreement as well as a confidentiality provision in the agreement.
On the lack of mutuality issue, the court noted that Amway unilaterally requires its IBOs to submit any claims against Amway to an informal dispute resolution process before proceeding to arbitration, which unfairly hampers its IBOs by subjecting them to “an employer-controlled dispute resolution mechanism” that provides Amway with a “free peek” at the IBOs case against it.
Furthermore, on the confidentiality issue, according to Amway’s agreements, IBOs are forever barred from disclosing to anyone the basis for their claims against Amway, the evidence supporting such claims, or the outcome of any arbitration. This prevents other IBOs from building cases and places Amway in a “far superior legal posture.”
As a result of this case, Amway now has to defend itself in court rather than before a private arbitrator. It also will likely have to revise its IBO agreements so that this case cannot be used against it as precedent in future cases.
It appears that in this case the California laws are different than other States regarding contract law and there may be remedy for the distributors in this case. The laws of other States may not favour you as a distributor and the contract will take precedence leaving you with no recourse.
Reading various policies and procedures has led me to see statements that take away the ability for the distributors to participate in a class action suit. Will you as a lone distributor have the resources to fight a multi million dollar company?
Other statements taking away rights:
*Right to join another opportunity until a period of six months has elapsed after leaving the present opportunity.
*Right to promote your opportunity or product by the method of your choice.
*Right of free speech for a distributor’s family who may not agree with all of the companies guidelines.
*Right to retire without ongoing responsibilities.
*Right to succession upon the death of a distributor without the ongoing responsibilities being required of the successor.
*Right to recovery time for an illness or surgery without the fear of losing ones hard earned income.
These are a few of the rights I have seen taken away from distributors by companies. If you do not think that it is important to read your Policies and Procedures of the opportunity you are part of, or thinking about joining, then do not expect to be protected from these types of clauses in the agreement you did not take the time to scrutinize.
The statement that, “They will never use this clause against me, its just a standard clause in all contracts”, is not a statement I would live by, after all, it will depend on the integrity and honesty of the business owners if the clause will be used against you. What you don’t read can come back in the future and bite you!
Commit to Success Today
Darlene and Dave Mills
Leadership with a vision
Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. ~ Joel A. Barker