Better Business Bureaus of Metropolitan Dallas, Inc.
Press Release, August 1998.
Contact: Jay Newman/Jeannette Kopko
Extreme Complaints on
2Xtreme Performance International
The words “home-based business” may sound appealing, but some home-based business opportunities haven’t lived up to their billing, including one that’s been named in complaints to the Better Business Bureau serving Dallas and Northeast Texas.
Since 1996, distributors and customers have been complaining to the BBB about 2Xtreme Performance International, Inc., 15105 Surveyor Blvd., Dallas. The company sells a line of nutritional supplements through a multi-level marketing plan. To recruit distributors, the company runs infomercials and mails invitations to “seminars” at local hotel meeting rooms to “learn a guaranteed method to put $5,000 to $10,000 in your pocket in tax savings each and every year for the rest of your life.” There, prospects are pitched to buy business start-up kits. Initial costs are about $600 to about $1,300.
Most of the 118 complaints filed with the Bureau are from distributors alleging misrepresentation of the total cost of launching the business; failure to disclose all conditions of the multi-level distributorship; and difficulties in getting promised refunds. Complaints from customers are about the products and refund problems.
2Xtreme Performance has an unsatisfactory record with the BBB, due to failure to eliminate the cause of customer complaints as described above. Although the company answers individual complaints, the same problems keep coming up. Here’s an overview:
- Downline promises not kept: A man and wife complained, “The presenter stated that the organization does not require people to recruit, sell, or to stockpile merchandise … the unwritten rules essentially require members to recruit, sell, and to stockpile merchandise … Only after paying $1,665, and subsequent meetings and phone calls later, do we discover that you must purchase over $100 of product a month to receive commissions, and furthermore, we must recruit 2 other people who are receiving auto-shipped merchandise equal to or greater than $100 a month.”
- Misrepresentation of training: Training is promised to new distributors. One couple said, “We were very disgusted after the training because it was nothing like what we were told … it was total misrepresentation in that we were told that people would call us, then in the training all Dave tried to do was sell BIBs [‘Business in a Box’].”
- Pressure to buy more: Distributors say that instead of getting the support they’re promised, they’re pressured to buy thousands of dollars worth of marketing materials. One man said, “When I do get to talk to a ‘real person,’ their only objective is to ask for more upgrades and money. Then they try to get me off the phone as soon as possible.” Another distributor said he was pitched infomercial advertising for $2,000 to $3,500.
- Problems with Auto-Ship: Both customers and distributors complained of difficulties in using or canceling the plan. A distributor said, “I told them I could not sell a product that I could not use so don’t send any more. I received a package. I have returned it twice. They have called three times as to why it was returned …”
- Non-delivery: Distributors complain they haven’t received marketing materials or products. Customers also complain about non-delivery of products.
- Dissatisfaction with products – The products don’t work, customers say, or make them feel sick. “I am using your weight loss aid, Neurotein. Not only have I not lost any weight, I have actually gained five pounds,” says one. Another states, “Not only have I noticed no positive results or benefit, I now experience short waves of nausea and dizziness throughout the day … ”
- Inaccurate mailing lists: Distributors complain that the “Business in a Box” marketing package includes mailing lists with incorrect names and addresses.
In addition, 2Xtreme offers distributors direct mail pieces that may be misleading. The flyers, on newsprint paper, look like full-page ads torn from a newspaper. The “ads” are for 2Xtreme’s “Neurotein” weight loss product, to be mailed to potential customers with a hand-written sticky note saying, “(Name), This really works! J.” This gives the impression of a personal note from an acquaintance. But the “ad” isn’t from any newspaper – there’s no newspaper name or date on it, only an anonymous “NEWS”. Not long ago, the Federal Trade Commission halted similar flyers used by another company, charging that the flyers and notes were misleading.
The BBB has referred information about 2Xtreme Performance International to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for such attention as may be appropriate. Recently, the FTC and 11 states cooperated in “Operation Show Time,” bringing 18 cases targeting seminars selling fraudulent business opportunities.
Tips on Business Opportunity Seminars
The following suggestions are based on tips from the FTC:
- Take your time. Avoid high-pressure sales pitches that require you to buy now. Solid opportunities are not sold through nerve-wracking tactics.
- Check out the business. Contact the BBB, talk with experienced business people, and consult experts.
- Be wary of “success stories” or testimonials. The seminar company may have paid “shills” to give glowing stories.
- Get answers to your questions. Be cautious of seminar representatives who are reluctant to answer questions, or give evasive answers.
- Get in writing the total amount of investment, and the refund policy. Despite the stated refund policy, if the seminar company is unscrupulous, you may still lose.
The Federal Trade Commission has a free brochure, “The Seminar Pitch: A Real Curve Ball,” available on the Web or from the FTC Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. Telephone: (202) 382-4357.
Note: In February 1999, 2Xtreme was purchased by USAsurance Group of Englewood, Colorado, which also does business as Akani.com.
This page was revised on December 26, 1999.