SCAM ALERT! - WorldVentures maintains it is not operating in Jamaica
The United States-based WorldVentures Holdings has reiterated that it is not operating in Jamaica, even as persons continue to entice Jamaicans to invest in the direct-selling travel club with the promise that they will rake in thousands of US dollars.
"If you have a name or contact details of anyone promoting and/or selling our products in Jamaica, please be so kind as to forward that information to me so our compliance team can follow up with that rep (or reps)," Laura Wards, director of global marketing and communication for WorldVentures Holdings, told The Sunday Gleaner in response to queries from our news team.
"We'll need to review their marketing material and remind them that Jamaica is not an open market for our product or business opportunity at this time," added Wards.
Since early this year, several persons locally have been claiming that they are raking in thousands of US dollars each month, discounted hotel visits and even high-end motor cars by investing in WorldVentures and getting other persons to sign up to the scheme by paying up to US$500.
And despite being burnt in failed Ponzi schemes, it appears Jamaicans are still falling for the charms of those who are claiming to be agents of WorldVentures.
But Wards is adamant that any WorldVentures activity in the country may be due to the actions of persons she described as "over-exuberant".
"WorldVentures has a set of strict criteria and a firm strategy in place for launching the business in any new country, one of which is an extensive legal process with in-country attorneys to ensure we're in line with the prospective country's direct-selling rules and regulations," said Wards.
"Per our policies and procedures, independent representatives are not permitted to be active in countries in which WorldVentures is not open. So there should not be any activity in Jamaica at this time," added Wards.
She said when WorldVentures - whose website says it now operates in 28 countries - opens in any new market, "We want to make sure we're doing it right so we can protect our brand, our products, our independent representatives and our company."
NO SUCH DIVIDENDS
Wards also dismissed the claims by persons operating in Jamaica that it pays out millions of dollars in returns to persons who sign up. According to Wards, these high 'dividends' are not tools WorldVentures approves for the marketing of its products.
"We provide our sales representatives with tools to market, promote and sell our Dream Trips memberships and strive to enforce exclusive use of these tools (although), on occasion, we do have reps who create their own materials.
"When we are informed of such cases, we contact that rep directly and go over the corporate-approved content and the reasons why it's essential to use corporate marketing material. The 'monthly dividends' you mention are not in any of our corporate material."
In June, a Jamaican, who claimed to be a representative of WorldVentures, told The Sunday Gleaner that signing up with the company was a sure-fire way of earning millions of dollars.
He said the money persons earned by recruiting new members to the scheme was the tool by which many of his friends had been able to escape poverty.
"When you refer six people [to WorldVentures], you get US$450. Each person that you refer who refers somebody else, you get paid, and this goes infinitely down. So there is no cap on your earnings. My personal brethren and some other guys [are] pulling in US$4.5 million a month right now," claimed the man, who gave his name as 'Raymond'.
But Wards said persons such as Raymond are operating in breach of WorldVentures policy and should be reported to its compliance office.
The Financial Services Commission is probing the operation of the scheme locally and has already warned Jamaicans to be wary of those offering easy cash through WorldVentures.
"The FSC has received information that individuals purporting to solicit business on behalf of WorldVentures are operating in Jamaica, and our investigations into the activities of these individuals in Jamaica is ongoing," the regulatory body said in response to questions from The Sunday Gleaner.
"WorldVentures is not licensed by the Financial Services Commission to conduct securities business in Jamaica," added the regulatory body.