Cagey Consumer

International Heritage Post Mortem

IHI article links
United States v. Stanley Van Etten, as told by Stanley Van Etten alternate link

From the getgo, International Heritage ran its business as a pyramid scheme. Like many pyramid schemes cum multi-level marketing programs, early growth, measured on both a percentage basis and an absolute dollar basis, was phenomenal. With a frothy stock market, enormous earnings growth, and possibly even an erroneously presumed relationship of "network marketing" to the internet, the operators of IHI saw a public stock offering as a further way to boost their assets.

But when investors and the SEC realized that the source of these increased earnings was a pyramid scheme, the boom went bust, and all parties involved were burned.

This isn't a fable, but it does have a moral, both for stock market investors and those looking to increase their income through MLM. Figuring out the moral is left as an exercise for the reader.

International Heritage Inc. sells jewelry and various collectibles through a multi-level marketing program that uses a binary compensation plan. A hearing was held on a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding a complaint charging that IHI is a pyramid scheme.

Cagey Consumer's own view explains why people should avoid becoming involved with IHI, and check out the IHI Exploitation Alert for details about one person's experience with IHI.

The Cagey Consumer has received both reports of positive experiences, as well as the unahppy experiences reported below:

My Pastor at the Assembly of God church signed me up and another church lady and he's the only one making money....... both of the other women are widows on fixed incomes and can't afford to be taken to the cleaners.

It's unethical for a minister to use his position to con people. When "IHI" went was shut down and both of these women lost $ 4,000.00 and $ 3,000.00, as they were told by the preacher that they could sign up their kids and did....why? Financial Security!!! Big JOKE!!!

As soon as the going got rough, the preacher and the church "shunned" one of the women because now "She's a PEST!!" No one wants to help her, (both, their Sales Kits became OBSOLETE two weeks after they got them!) Now, the one who is disabled is being told to "GET A LIFE"!! Church was my life and I need my money to live on....NOT to feather their BED!! You can't serve two Gods, Christ and Money!!! We all need money to live on but it's not right for a man of God to avoid talking about anything to do with "IHI" for eight weeks now. "Pretty Shabby!!!"

There are other people in the Assembly of God out doing what is supposed to be God's work.....instead they are lining their pockets with other people's money for their own gain!!! SAD huh!! Now they are lying about it!! Worse Yet!!

I love the lord...but greedy people, stink!!! The lord didn't say to hurt other's.... he said to help others...not use them. Would you believe these very people have no clue to what damage they have done to this writer's belief's. I still "Love the Lord", but watch out for the Jimmy Swaggarts out there....they are still around!!

I would like to bring your attention to International Heritage, Inc. This was my first foray into MLM and I certainly did not know about the danger signs. It is a binary plan that allows you to come in for 1, 3 or 7 business centers. You pay 100.00 for a kit, 250.00 for 1 center, 750.00 for 3 centers and 1750 for 7 centers. They say you are not paying for a center because they "let" you reserve a product on that center. If you perform, that is hit 1200 volume on each side of your legs then you receive your product. 1200 hundred on each side of your leg equals 500.00.

The long and short of it is that I worked this hard for 8 months and I have put many people in that either have one good leg going and just cannot get the other leg going or they just cannot convince anyone to join. Success to me is having good relationships not making a lot of money. I bought into the dream, worked diligently and now I am trying to rebuild and salvage relationships.

After reading The Wave3 Way to Build Your Downline I realize why binary plans lure people, but also realize now why they are so difficult. The company, by the way is making a killing on all of the volume that is flushing. I have had more volume flush (dollars) than I have made in actual dollars. It has really discouraged me that this company has a lot of people's money and they never received anything for it.

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Updated November 2, 2003