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Merchants of Deception Closing Up Shop

February 8, 2010

Saw that the Merchants of Deception web site is closing up shop later this month. That’s a shame, because I found Scheibeler’s story to be very informative; I read his e-book back when it was freely available and could relate to a number of his experiences “building the business.”

That said, I can understand why he wants to close this chapter in his life and move onto other ventures. For me, it’s been over a decade since I attended my last Amway meeting, bought my last product, or listened to my last tape. Not much appears to have changed, however, given my first-hand observations of ex-Amway groups now in MonaVie. For Systems in North America, business has not changed all that much.

Where will that change come from, if ever? Will Amway and MonaVie become more strict in System governance? Perhaps, but they can’t go too far or they will be biting the hand that feeds them. Will change come from the Systems themselves? Doubtful, as they too don’t want to rock their gravy train. Will change come from the critics? I think our purpose is more to help those leaving the Systems understand that their story was not unique and that healing begins with accepting what has happened.

Change ultimately comes down to the individual distributors. They have to start taking ownership of their businesses, which often means listening to but not always following the pronouncements from their upline. Distributors need to become educated about their products, the compensation plan, and how their Systems operate. They’ve got to determine on their own if what they have been doing for one month, one year, or ten years, is leading them to financial success (which is the reason why most people joined in the first place) or whether it’s simply a wild goose chase.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Joecool permalink
    February 8, 2010 11:21 am

    I find it humorous that one particular Amway apologist keeps saying that critics are outdated, even though there are countless testimony that nothing has changed in over ten years. That said, I wish Eric well in his future endeavors.

  2. Burned Out with Mona Vie permalink
    February 8, 2010 3:58 pm

    I like Eric’s site too, sad to see it go, I wish him well in the future.

    The sad part is with companies like Amway, Mona Vie and a few others out there the products they sell are really great, grossly over priced but really great anyway. I know that can be argued about, lol, however it’s the lame systems pushed downline to ‘build the business” the heavy hitters profit from really taint things and genuinely hurt the industry. I hope one day the parent companies really will “bite the hand that feeds them” and enforce the rules they put in their boilerplate P&P’s and not just give it a “wink and a nod” and look the other way.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    February 8, 2010 8:50 pm

    Great to see that blasphemous site going away! I hope that Mister Scheibeler has learned a valuable lesson. Will you? Hopefully!

  4. Candace permalink
    February 9, 2010 12:11 pm

    I, too, am sad to see Eric closing up his site. It has been helpful to so many in countless ways. I found myself relating over and over again to his experiences.
    I wish him all the best in his future endeavors, and thank him for the risks he took getting his info out there and for his many, many hours of dedicated writing, research, and support to those who read his site.

  5. Sezhian permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:54 am

    If you ask me ah, i can surely 100% say that book reading is so sad. I also finish reading that book and cried bcoz Eric the writer of the book gone bankruptcy. but later i heard the said in the court that he said lie in the book. I trusted him but now he say what he say in the book all lie. How ah like this ?

  6. Burned Out With MV permalink
    February 25, 2010 6:18 am

    I think spell and grammer check may help.

  7. Candace permalink
    February 26, 2010 6:20 am

    Careful, BOWMV, you might be considered an elitist with your absurd ideas that one should check their spelling and grammar. 😉 LOL

  8. Burned Out With MV permalink
    March 2, 2010 9:54 am

    LOL, Candace, I typo myself from time to time on this, however I have a hard time deciphering some of the really bad ones. 🙂

  9. April 5, 2010 4:17 pm

    Amthrax…I actually found myself refreshed with your comments on this thread, after spending hours perusing the crap tossed about by so many other “critics”. So thank you. After all this reading, here’s all I have to say:

    Very sad to me how many shallow-ly informed people sit at their computers and nod at the negative about a great company that has had some selfish and mis-driven people try to apply it for success, which ended and ends up tainting a great opportunity. Are you not similarly-duped by the words of others? OF COURSE there are TONS of idiots out there, many of whom have trudged through the ranks of this business opportunity, your name lists, and even had YOU on their list of contacts! There have been many TRAINERS of like-lack-of-character…DON’T FOLLOW or imitate them! The ones who imitate Christ? Yeah, imitate their Source too! Quite simple, really.

    People scam people. In all walks of life, it happens.

    I am foremost a Christian under the influence of the Holy Spirit. I understand and daily strive to fulfill the Great Commission. (Talk about “failures”??? 80% of all claimed-Christians go to the physical grave having never shared the Gospel with another, and yet STILL have a chance to enter into His Presence, under STARK disobedience!)

    Secondly, I am a husband to a beautiful wife. We have been on our honeymoon for over a year now (married Jan. 8, ’09), in full-time ministry together, almost every hour of every day.

    For income, We ARE IBO’s, Personally sponsored by one of the improperly-titled & aforementioned “king pins” (who wasn’t personally mentioned: Severn), who themselves are personally sponsored by the founder of WWDB Ron & G.L. Puryear. We have no need of jobs, personally retiring from a $60,000/yr income in property management; my wife of similar income level as a previous occupational therapist, ‘retired’ from it over 2 years ago as a result of honest business income, ethic, and progress. We have no debt, except our home’s mortgage payment. Everything else we have is not owned by the bank. Ultimately, it’s ALL God’s including even our own selves, but we “manage” it, free and clear.

    Contrary to MOST, we actually made profit from week-one. I had profited over $800 after my first two weeks, walked away from my well-paying (and relative to most jobs: GREAT job environment) about a year and a half thereafter. I’ve not returned to a job since, nor do I intend to. My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife (Thank GOD!) worked her job until just before we got engaged, and by the grace and provision of our Source will never need work for another person (other than those we serve in ministry) again.
    We’ve benefitted others (upline, downline, crossline, non-business people, and the economy in numerous ways—including (!) the 5+ jobs we gave to others when our employers have tried to since replace our productivity we had once-provided while chained to them.

    A life of freedom…We have all the time in a day, so long as allowed to live it, and in a night also, to invest in other people…of all statures in life, without bias or pre-judgement, at THEIR convenience, business or not business, always as friends…to help glorify (make recognizable) the One True God.
    Who is not subject to your perspectives. He TOO, of all things, is maligned by others. Perspective is key.

    Do you consider yourself a good person?
    Romans 3:23. Read it. Romans 6:23 Read it too.
    John 14:6. Hmmm
    GOOD NEWS though, if you ever feel scammed by Jesus, you can also cast Him aside too, since so many hypocrites claim identity in Him also….and return to your fruitless belief that YOU TOO are god! (there are consequences, though so ya may relinquish your understanding to His definitions; otherwise perish in more ways than eternal.)

    P.S. for whatever it may be worth to the seeker:
    Amway will refund your signup fee if you change your mind, will refund your purchase price of products they sell up to 180 days after purchase! WWDB also will refund for tool purchases 180 days after purchase as well. If a scam, WHY is this fact straight-up available and supported in truth, as well as published in their own documentations?
    If allowed, my personal contact email is
    Since I do not intend on wasting time on this Rant-site, and instead serving others (as I hope I have here somewhat for the Truth-seeking reader), please contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have. For those in Christ, remember the Comission, have compassion for the Lost, and always place yourselves in roles of True discipleship, servanthood, and always continue pressing onward to fulfilling the Purpose for which you are here, under the Power and Guidance of the Holy Spirit.
    May you hear “Well Done” daily, and on that Day! Luke 19:12-27

    Since I don’t have an account here to identify myself, I unabashedly share
    My name: James A. Carlson
    My location: Liberty Lake, WA
    My IBO #: 3871088
    My site:

    I would be more than willing to meet anyone face to face, anytime. By the way, I tell people about Amway Global while first talking about the opportunity~~not in some shady con, or after 2 hours of smoke & mirrors, and also not in meetings for church/seeking Christ. I talk about Him in both environments; money and business only in PROPER environments. Amway is pretty cool, but HE….He is everything amazing and everything Good. My ultimate Purpose is to help others truly know Him more, while seeking the same in Him for me and my home. Maybe these things existant in my character, identity, and life are why we ARE successful in about every aspect of our lives (which includes our business conduct and its reward).

  10. April 5, 2010 4:22 pm

    I failed to mention in my above post that references to “you” and “your” are not directed specifically/only to Amthrax. OOPS! I was using those contextually, with a mind-set of every reader of this forum. 🙂 Sorry for a potential mis-communication and understanding!

  11. Joecool permalink
    April 6, 2010 11:09 am

    Hi James, I am glad to see that you are a follower of Jesus. It’s alos refreshing to hear that you are honest in your business dealings. What do you think of the non denominational services that WWDB provides at functions? What do you think about the excessivle lifestyles displayed by WWDB leaders at the function called “dream night” that was held a few months ago?

  12. April 7, 2010 3:49 pm

    Joe. THANKS for asking! 🙂
    firstly, let me clarify to anyone that I’m a bit more than a follower…many of such “followers” denied Him when they didn’t like His teaching; they depart when they disagree or the Change commanded of their lifestyle is ‘too much to swallow’. That’s happened for thousands of years, even while with Him in that distant land 2000 years ago. I BELONG to Him, and use my life for the service to others with and for Him to be known and sought. 😉

    The non-denomenational services…they vary, for sure. Some have been great, some seem like normal church in a larger building, many…just like when I’m in various church services nationwide, I wanna stand up and shout when some points may be missed or a bit off…nothing new though in various forums—and it has yet not been ‘my time’ nor platform to stand up therein. 🙂 However, the glaring fact that I’ve seen legitimate people come to Christ (and have since been discipling some personally) in such a meeting…..*ahem* how can you be anything but thankful that for some, that such a meeting may be THE VENUE that wakes them from Death? Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will orchestrate them in being properly plugged in to full Truth, and growing to become an ambassador themselves, right?

    About the excess? Honestly Joe…excessive lifestyles are on display all over my neighborhood, as well as yours (likely) and most-any area of “progressive” America. You and I know (while being honest) that almost everyone with a job, as well, demonstrates excess: too many clothes, too many toys, too many gadgets, home and cars beyond the means to own it…too much food, much of which distracts people from TRUE purpose in life and focus on what we should be pursuing. Additionally, most who live like this FINANCED it and are stressed out in how to keep up with the suffocating pace, while themselves working at multiple jobs/projects to stay relatively-afloat. For some, they add even “this” business atop, with imbalance…and sadly in desparation, do not treat people as they should be treated in-process…adding failure to failure. Not the job’s fault. Not the stuff’s fault. Not the neighborhoods fault. Not the given-opportunity’s fault. Not the money’s fault. It rests solely upon the lack of character, identity, and nature of the FAILEE/FAILER, until willing to change and actually partaking IN the change. Nothing makes people “winners” but the yeildedness one has to growth and change to become what we were born to carry out, IMHO.

    Dream Night is my least-favorite function due to the stronger focus on “stuff”; but for most (surely not all) of the speakers I’ve heard at them, they keep it balanced with the rest of their testimony AND benevolence. The ones you may have heard, could be ones that make me whince too, if it’s all about the goodies for SELF. However, people that are finding out about business opportunity need to know there IS credible fruit, in order to put in worthwhile effort. Jobs do the same thing & the school system, etc. The reason DreamNight is MY least favorite, is that my personal aim is serving people so that they can KNOW Life, not so that I (or anyone, actually) can attain more stuff (already have plenty! but will have more, of course, within moderation relative to my service to mankind). John 10:10
    Luke 4:18&19

    In our business profit, we are all about living beneath our means and supporting numerous ministries, causes, and friends fulfilling them alongside. I cannot judge you, or anyone, business or not. It is NOT my place, nor anyone blogging, living, or whatever, save for God Himself. However if the fruit is bad in anyone I’m having a relationship with, I’ll do my part in helping them get rid of it, and bearing fruit worthy to offer a King with their lives. As well as hopefully benefitting ‘mankind’ while we are taking up our respective spaces in this place.

    When I have larger platform, I hope you’ll take note of the change in how this business is largely run, if it doesn’t purify itself due to the malpractice of some idiots involved…they tend to bail-away, quit, be found-out…all by themselves, in time. (as we know the anti-amway folk, anti-network marketing people, the burned and lied to masses thru the years…that some have touted and proclaimed when the failing happens, via blogs & forums and in the general marketplace of life.) I feel honest desire to help everyone, including these…and would revel in the opportunity if found or granted, to CORRECT the improper people who cause the trauma to others. 😉 Sometimes with a bit more, sometimes with a bit less, of forcefulness and love!!! 😉

    Thanks again for respecting my thoughts by asking for my views/stance on the above. My offer yet stands to anyday meet face to face. 🙂

  13. Joecool permalink
    April 8, 2010 9:23 am

    I see the church services run by WWDB as a self promoting facade. They use Christianity to justify themselves. Because most IBOs are losing their shirts thanks to the tools, they make claims like Amway saves marriages or that Amway saves souls or makes people “nicer”. Jesus didn’t come to earth to gain wealth or to run businesses. He came to spread God’s message and love and to redeem man, which God created for his pleasure. Contrary to what some WWDB leaders may claim, Amway is not a God pleasing business. A business wrought with lies, deceit, failure and false hopes cannot come from God. What does Proverbs say about chasing foolish dreams? What does Timothy say about the pursuit of wealth? What did Jesus teach about money? How come each time some diamond’s financials become public record, there is no line item on their tax return for “tithing” or charity?

    What does the Bible say about the excessive lifestyles shown by the diamonds? The diamonds are like the Pharisees, except that the Pharisees tithed to the church.

  14. April 8, 2010 11:41 pm

    Hey Joe,
    Your first sentence started well: “I see…”
    Thereafter you make judgement of people that as I said before, and you seem to think it matters not>>> but YOU are of no stature to judge the heart of a man; why don’t you suggest that it could be possible, or maybe from your perspective, may even be LIKELY. Who would I be to say anything with certainty of your heart, motive and the like, even if I “know” you by being around you rather often? That’s ‘tween you and God. So stop acting like a god, as the rest of fallen humanity does…lest you be guilty of the same judgement and consequence…unless of course the beam AND the speck are long-gone from your own eyes “you see” through.
    Jesus is STILL, and WAS prior to His short jaunt in the flesh on Earth, my friend…He also didn’t come to have a fleshly family, yet commanded His Creation to populate and take charge over this place. He surely didn’t partake of sex. Have you? Perhaps you should stop that too. He did not leave physical riches behind for those in His “family”, yet promises to “add all these things to those who seek Him and His Righteousness FIRST” (paraphrase of Matthew 6:33). Promises abundant Life (John 10:10), promises that “men shall give unto your bosom beyond your capacity to contain the proceeds” (paraphrase), Promises that if His Commands are followed that there will be bounty and abundance (Deut. 28), Promises the desires of your heart, Promises to complete the Work He has begun in you (sometimes that takes money too; surely food, sustenance, strength, etc.), Promises to supply all your need according to (WHAT?!) His riches in Glory. Heck man, what we cherish here on this earth as fine riches…are PAVEMENT where He wants us to dwell!
    Proverbs also warns about many things the Critic is in constant pursuit of, as well as many things the “fruit” of a critic leads others to depart.
    Would you call a dream foolish if it is to be Free from bondage, debt to others, to have time with family and friends, and to spend your spare in fulfilling the Great Commission?
    What does God SAY about the resultant perishing of someone without a Vision?
    If it be foolish, or foolishness, depart from it. If you set your heart on mind on earthly things, INCLUDING recognition, power and all the common temptations of man..depart from them for they lead to Death…but if it be according to what Jesus read (as notated above) in Luke 4:18&19…that surely is a vision and purpose Comissioned of the One True God. Business or not….if a ‘vehicle’ is used to accomplish such a task (which WE happen to use Amway in part for, successfully) then shuddup, drop your freakin pebbles you want to throw at someone no more guilty than yourself, and move on with Life and the all-out support of it.

    Seriously man, I wish you could hang out with me for ONE week, and see that the way “you see” things is different for sure than how I do…and perhaps you would yet begin to fulfill your purpose in life.

    I would like to know if you call-out all the OTHER things wrought with lies, deceit, failure & false hopes. I.E. typical careers & jobs, school systems, political systems, religious systems, media propaganda, probably some of your own past (or even present)……How many hours have you balanced to accuse them also of all the blatant wrongs they are right-now barraging the souls of our Race with? You may have some truth in your accusations, but dang it Joe, not everyone fits your mold. I surely do not, and I AM a Christian, and I AM an IBO in the realms of hundreds of companies, including Amway, affiliated IN PART with WWDB/WWG.
    MANY people involved don’t pursue “wealth” as you state warning from Timothy?
    Do YOU have a JOB? How much do you spend to make the M O N E Y??? How much do you make? If you make over $2000.00/yr you ARE pursuing wealth (compared to some!). What is YOUR righteous amount my friend? Is it okay to pursue the wealth you attain? So long as it’s not “too much”? How much would that be, since you be so prone to judgement of others?

    THE problem is NOT the money. Contextually throughout Scripture that is God-breathed, it is the LOVE of money…the stuff and the money owning YOU (whoever that may be) that is the issue, that is the “root of all evil”. Your character or lack thereof is exposed when you have “too much” or “too little”.

    Jesus taught & teaches many things about money that your, nor my, finite mind(s) could have the capacity to claim to fully grasp. If you claim otherwise; well, I think it’d be unwise to think ya have such a sturdy stance to boast about.

    Why is it you act like you care so much, when your care is only to degrade others and point out THEIR failure? How would I be justified to be so INTO knowing what-the-heck ANYONE’S financial statements are? That is so perverted of you to be such a busy-body to take the time to be a financial peeping tom of other people’s private choosings. Think about it dude…seriously!? Would you dig through the drawers of their wife’s panties to see if they used SA8 or Tide to clean them? Why did you take it upon yourself to waste your time to see whether or not someone TITHED?! Borderline wickedness, man…..such a dis-illusioned pursuit you’ve taken.

    As to the Pharisees……they were UNDER THE LAW!!! They also sacrificed lambs, goats, etc. and did funky things with blood. Do you do that too? Must I be circumsized to be in right-standing with God? Perhaps you should find out if there are public records of whether or not the leaders of Amway/WWDB have been circumsized properly, since the LAW matters so much to you.
    If you do tithe, do you send it to Jerusalem for the non-existent Temple? Where do you put it? Do you pass the plate when you meet in a room with another brother or sister in Christ? Because HE is there too….you’re having CHURCH! Did/does He not teach that your body is the temple? Should I/we tithe to you?

    OR……dang-it!!! should we not be giving ALL?! I PERSONALLY know some diamonds in Amway who DO give it all. Not a measely 10%…..but they LIVE THEIR LIFE for the progression of Truth. They lay down their selfishness for the servanthood of others. Note that I said “some”. I do not know all, nor would I be honest to claim they all do…I also know many “leaders” who yet remain building their own kingdoms, passing and fickle though they be. I would not, could not, do not,(eat their green eggs & ham) follow them with my life, nor do I suggest others do.

    You mentioned God has created us for His pleasure. AGREED! This should be an easy imagination for you Joe, since you already attempt to play His role in the judgement of others>>> Imagine you were Him for a moment…IF you created us for your pleasure, and gave us a free will to choose our own way of Yours…and then we chose Yours…would you not find “pleasure” in having us be free, pursuing happiness with You, having us live bountifully so long as it did not infringe upon our relationship with You?

    Well, that’s how “I see” things, and because I accept His Truth during my pursuit of Him through Life, I find Him faithful to fulfill the aforementioned promises and more that He has declared unto us, His created.

  15. April 9, 2010 4:09 am

    Alright everyone. I think this religion thread has gone on a bit too long. Please keep things on topic, or I’ll start moderating comments.

  16. April 9, 2010 10:09 am

    Agreed…your site, your rules. 😉
    I digress.
    You can still email me or call me anytime Joe! 🙂

  17. Joecool permalink
    April 9, 2010 11:13 am

    Hi James, when I said “I see”, I was refering to my opinion or viewpoint. It was nto judgement on anyone. Your long answer didn’t quite answer my questions, but in fairness to Amthrax, please take the discussion over to my blog. You know where to find me.

    I know I can call you anytime. But you may not like what I call you. 🙂

  18. April 9, 2010 1:19 pm

    hahaha…….no doubt! 😉
    I’m sure my dad called me worse, while growing up!
    I’ve since convinced him otherwise…maybe you and I could be friends afterall, as well? 🙂

  19. Joecool permalink
    April 9, 2010 1:28 pm

    We can agree to disagree on points. I allow opposing views on my blog. Feel free to opppose whatever you want. 🙂

  20. Burned Out with Mona Vie permalink
    April 11, 2010 5:01 pm

    I spent quite some time reading and digesting all of this, still don’t have a clue as to what it has to do with Eric’s site closing down Amtrax, but WTF it was still a good read. Religion and MLM have about as much common ground as the Pope or Dali Lama giving me technical advise as to the proper repair procedures of a 1932 Ford Roadster, 🙂

  21. Edward permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:23 pm

    I, too, was disappointed to find that the Merchants of Deception site had been taken down. I downloaded Eric’s book several years ago and have since then given copies to several former Amway distributors. Whether Eric did or didn’t lie or exaggerate about threats he might have received, his basic story is accurate. Amway people might love to say “this isn’t the Amway of the 80’s or 90’s” but some aspects haven’t changed much. When I was first introduced to it (“prospected”) a long time ago, the guys who “showed me the plan” were, at least, pretty honest about being told never to disclose that they were in Amway until the new recruit was pretty much ready to sign up. Since then, any time I’ve been approached by an MLM type the first question I ask is, “Is this Amway?” It’s funny that there are still distributors who know that Amway has a negative connotation and they will avoid at all costs even admitting their affiliation until the only choice left is to tell the truth.
    Eric’s book was an excellent case study of how Amway will say that the 99% failure rate is the result of the willingness of recruits to accept defeat, all the while lauding those who’ve “made it”, even if they made it on the backs of those in their downline. Eric’s book was aptly named.

  22. Joecool permalink
    October 5, 2010 9:05 am

    Amway defenders love to use that as a defense. That a critic’s experience is outdated, but not surprising, I see current IBOs talk about the same stuff that upline taught 12 years ago. And many of the same leaders that taught the garbage are still around teaching now. For example, IBOs still think they will buy homes in cash, retire early and that Amway is how they achieve it. They think that despite the fact that nobody seems to be able to name a handful of people who have actually done it.

  23. Burned Out With MV permalink
    October 7, 2010 8:35 am

    I was listening to some of my old (Early 1980’s)Amway tapes a few months back and compared them to some of the “Fresh” new MV CD’s, and guess what? Other than a few new pitch lines and a new name, not a major amount of the information changed very much.

  24. Prlindy permalink
    February 25, 2011 5:23 pm

    Fortunately for you you were personally sponsored by a kingpin. They take good care of their own. Unfortunately for most they are not. They have a greater motivation to help you succeed because it helps them more.
    I sat under the Amway BS for years and when I read Merchants of Deception I found it to be bone chilling. Bone chilling because it was true. All of the positive spinning websites out there can spin all they want. I know it to be true because as a Platinum I lived it. I got behind the curtain and I couldn’t believe what I saw. A bunch of spineless upline.

    Amway, once a great company and a great opportunity is ultimately at fault. They are at fault because the new family leadership did not have the spine to stand up to the corrupt Kingpins. All done in the name of Easter Seals and other great organizations.

    Shame on Dexter Yeager, Hal Gooch, Don Storms, and others for their corruption. Shame on other Diamonds Like Parker Grabill and Dave Lewis who have looked the other way for years while hiding behind a mask of Christianity. These people used to be my hero’s. But they new what was going on was wrong and did nothing to stop it. Shame on Doug Devos for not standing up for the little guys. Until Amway seriously cleans house and stands up to these false prophets, it will forever be a failed opportunity. I am also a believer for what it is worth and had several people in our downline that came to know the Lord. That doesn’t change anything when it relates to the wrongdoing.

    Spin it all you want Mr Amway superstar. I lived it and I know the truth. I would advise anyone to walk if not run the other way when presented w “The business”

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