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TVI Express (Travel Ventures International): 16 questions you should ask, like hotel list and Warren Buffett's relation
Is this your alleged MLM?
TVI Express, aka Travel Ventures International, is supposed to be a network marketing direct selling company suspected by many to be an international scam. Here are sixteen questions you need to ask your upline if you are being recruited, or even AFTER you have been recruited. They will NOT make you very popular, as you are bringing doubt to the minds of the hopeful and the desperate. However, you are just looking out for yourself.
If you are told these questions do NOT matter, that you should stop analyzing, stop doubting, stop worrying, and stop looking at criticisms, you should RUN AWAY IMMEDIATELY. Why? It's a cult thought control tactic, where you are told you must NOT question those in authority or the principles being taught. If you are told not to question TVI Express, that means your upline is treating it as a cult, and you should get out immediately! (And yes, some TVI Express distributors are telling people NOT to question TVI Express.)
Does TVI Express even HAVE a product?
If there is a product, why doesn't TVI Express website have a product page?
Why are TVI Express distributors confused as to what is the product?
Some say the membership is the product.
Some say the travel portal (i.e. Travelocity booking website) is the product.
Some say the 7-day 6-night vacation is the product.
Some say something else is the product.
How can you make a proper evaluation of the opportunity if you don't even know what the product is you're supposed to push?
Is it a travel club, or a business opportunity?
QUESTION: Is TVI Express a travel club or a business opportunity? The website says business opportunity, but a lot of TVI Express distributors are claiming “travel club”. If you say both, please explain.
FOLLOW-UP 1: If it is a business opportunity, why does the FAQ say "You are not required to sell any product"? Why are other distributors describing it as a travel club?
UPDATE: In May 2011, "you are not required to sell" phrasing was removed from the website. However, TVI Express still does NOT explain what is it you need to sell.
FOLLOW-UP 2: If it is a travel club, why does the FAQ say "You need to recruit two people, and teach them each to recruit two more people"? Why does website says it's an income opportunity?
UPDATE: In May 2011, TVI Express removed this section from their FAQ, but their explanation in the "compensation plan" remains unchanged... you do need to recruit at least two people and have each of them recruit people to "fill" the board / matrix.
FOLLOW-UP 3: If it is both, please explain exactly just how saving other people money will make me money, when nothing is sold according to company FAQ?
WARNING: Watch out for "weasel answers". Basically, it is an answer that doesn't answer anything. It usually is a combination of buzzwords, like "it's a new type of entrepreneurship involving Internet and travel and network marketing". If it doesn't make sense, it probably is bull****. After all, in a business, you "buy low, sell high". If there's no selling, there is no business.
What is "affiliate program"?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates
for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's marketing
efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with
cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of
others to the site.
-- excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_program
TVI Express itself operates no travel site. It merely refers visitors to Travelocity.
Keep in mind the following facts:
- TVI Express paid NOTHING to establish this relationship. (source: WCTravel.com)
- Travelocity is FREE to use (source: Travelocity.com)
Thus, being associated with Travelocity / World Choice Travel conveys ZERO legitimacy to TVI Express. Any sort of implication that TVI Express had gone through some sort of rigorous screening process or paid some sort of bond to establish a travel business would be false.
Furthermore, any claim of strategic alliance with any other company, unless established separately, would be lies.
If they are using the "travel club" argument, and claim this travel portal will save you money, and thus is a real benefit, please keep in mind... Since Travelocity is FREE to use, this benefit is worth exactly ZERO.
About those "strategic alliances"
QUESTION: TVI Express claims to have “strategic alliances with some of the biggest names in the Travel world”. Can you name some of them?
WARNING: They will likely name "World Choice Travel" or
Travelocity. Go to wctravel.com, and see just what exactly do they
offer, and whether that actually add any legitimacy to a place. Also see sidebar.
FOLLOW-UP: Please describe the exact nature of this "strategic alliance" between TVI Express and World Choice Travel / Travelocity?
Express is an AFFILIATE in the "Travelocity Partner Network". They are
just reselling Travelocity stuff, using the Travelocity booking engine.
If the upline claim the relationship is MORE than that, they are lying.
FOLLOW-UP: Can you also explain why a Spanish newspaper is reporting that Lufthansa, Avis, and Marriott have initiated legal action against TVI Express for falsely representing them as “partners”?
If they want to see the article, print this out:
Google Translation excerpt follows:
Lufthansa, Avis and Marriott, however, have taken legal steps for TVI falsely advertises with them as partners. Your logo will appear on company presentations, together with other reputable companies in the travel and tourism.
FOLLOW-UP:The same article also said that Lufthansa have repeatedly sent letters to TVI Express, but the letters came back as undeliverable. Does that mean that the address given on the TVI Express website is fake?
Google Translation excerpt follows:
Lufthansa has with its sister company, Swiss, according to a spokeswoman, previously tried to warn TVI. "Unfortunately it was not possible to get hold of the company, since letters are returned as undeliverable."
WARNING: The only "good" answer is "I don't know". If they dismiss the question as irrelevant, or NOT important, you should beware of anything they say.
What is a virtual office?
According to wikipedia, a virtual office is "a combination of off-site live communication and address services that allow users to reduce traditional office costs while maintaining business professionalism"
In other words, it is an address, where mail is received, and forwarded, and phone calls automatically forwarded elsewhere. No real person is at that location. It is done so the company can look a lot more professional than it really is.
About the company official address...
The address that TVI Express gave, right on their front page of their website, at the bottom, is in Cyprus (which is a little Island off coast of Turkey, very close to Lebanon).
The question: "Can you explain WHY when I plug in the Cyprus address into Google, I get at least three other businesses at that EXACT SAME address, no suite number difference, no room number difference, but the EXACT same address? To me, the simplest explanation is that it is a virtual office, but I want to hear YOUR explanation."
WARNING: If they dismiss the question, with excuses like "does it matter where they are as long as you get paid?" Their motives are suspect. If TVI Express is NOT really in Cyprus, then where is it? Where are its employees? Corporate officers? Where is their REAL OFFICE? Why is that not important?
EXPLANATION: A virtual office is an address, but with no real people in the office.
The real people are elsewhere. A company can look much bigger than it is
by having a virtual office in a famous building, and unless you check
closely, you'd think they're more prestigious than they are. It is also a
good way to make the company highly secretive, and hard to investigate.
About that address in the UK...
TVI Express claim to be "headquartered in London, UK", yet the only address they gave in the UK is in Heathrow, UK.
QUESTION: "When I plug in the supposed Heathrow address of TVI Express into Google Maps, it comes back as being INVALID. Google Maps says the address is in Uxbridge, NOT Heathrow. And that’s 15.6 miles from London. Why does TVI Express still claim to be based in London?"
WARNING: There is no logical explanation for this, so your question will likely be dismissed. They may bring up some irrelevant info like "TVI Express only moved recently, and they haven't updated their website yet." The fact is TVI Express moved out of London probably back in July or August 2009, but they NEVER changed their website.
WARNING 2: Some weasels have attempted to explain the discrepancy by claiming the definition of "London" is flexible, and London actually refers to all the nearby cities as well.
UPDATE 1: In March of 2011, the only company with a similar name, called "TVI SERVICES", was dissolved in UK.
UPDATE 2: In May of 2011, TVI Express removed references from its website that claimed it was "headquartered in London UK". It now only claimed to be "international conglomerate". However, it is STILL using London UK phone number and UK address, even though they have NO proven legal presence in UK!
More about that address in UK...
QUESTION: "Why does Google Maps UK also shows at least FOURTEEN other businsses at that exact same Uxbridge location, again, no room number difference, no suite number difference, but the exact same address? Again, the simplest answer to me is that it is also a virtual office. However, again, I want to hear your explanation."
FOLLOW-UP: If I search for TVI Express in Google.co.uk, I find the old 55 Bryanston St. address. The listing says "owner-verified". Why has TVI Express not updated the listing to its Uxbridge address, if it was able to verify the old address?
WARNING: There is no reasonable explanation for this. If they mumble some answer like "rapid expansion", "temporary space" or something of that sort, they are bull****ing you.
QUESTION: If TVI Express is headquartered in the UK, under what business name is it registered in the UK?
If they answer "TVI Services", have them check on CompaniesHouse.gov.uk (the official UK business registry), you will find that TVI Services (based in Surrey, not London), was dissolved on 08-MAR-2011. And there are NO other companies named close to "TVI" or "Travel Venture". Clearly, TVI Express is NOT headquartered in London UK, or in UK at all.
In fact, if you check the WHOIS domain records for tviexpress.com, you will find that the registrant is none other than Tarun Trikha, and the address listed is in Bangalore, India.
"Expert Watch", or fake endorsements?
QUESTION: What are the relationships between TVI Express and the people named in “Expert Watch”, namely Warren Buffet, Bill Clinton, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and so on? At first glance, it appears that they are endorsing TVI Express, but upon closer reading, they seem to be endorsing the network marketing concept in general.
WARNING: Many claim that Warren Buffet has invested in TVI Express. Is it because TVI Express has misquoted Mr. Buffet, therefore creating the impression that Mr. Buffet invested in TVI Express, with the quote "best investment I've ever made"? Mr. Buffet was obviously referring to companies such as Pampered Chef, which IS owned by Berkshire Hathaway. So is the misquote intentional? If the uplines claim that there was no misquote, perhaps you should make up your own mind.
In fact, most of the "expert watch" citings were plagiarized from the a book published in 2005-2006 by Randy Gage. A page is reproduced to the right. You'll recognize the quote attributed to Warren Buffett, among with quotes from Fortune Magazine, and Robert "Rich Dad" Kiyosaki right on this page. The next page have even more. You can find this book on Google.
About that 7-day 6-night accommodation thing...
QUESTION: "When was the offer of 5-star 7-day 6-night accommodation downgraded to “3-5 star”? Why is there no mention of this downgrade on the TVI Express website?"
FOLLOW-UP: Can you also explain why is TVI Express now charging $150 USD to redeem this package?
"Cost per booking is $150 USD globally"
WARNING: If they claim it's "taxes and processing fees", ask them to explain why that would amount of 40% of the original cost ($150 fee out of $250 joining fee). Furthermore, ask them to show you WHERE exactly did TVI Express say they *could* charge such thing.
TVI Express Announcement 15-JUL-2010
All 100+ hotels are in or near India. TVI Express never announced any hotels available for booking outside of India and nearby countries.
More about the 7-day 6-night accommodation thing...
QUESTION: Where can one find a list of properties available for the certificate redemption?
So far the only list that’s available for reading lists about 100 or so properties in or near India only. Did they not promise 'around the world'?
NOTE: They recently started promising "95000 hotels". Ask them to provide an actual list instead of a nebulous number. Also, ask them is this all the hotels you can book, or is that the list of hotels you can redeem that 7-day 6-night thing. (They are NOT necessarily the same list!)
72% commission payout, really?
QUESTION: What is the annual sales revenue of TVI Express? TVI Express claims to pay out 72% of sales revenue as commission, as quoted from the “Compensation” page. If TVI Express doesn’t publish the figure, how would any one know if their claim is true? It has been more than one year, so they do have an annual sales figure, yes?
FOLLOW-UP: Their own FAQ says that there is no sales required. Therefore, shouldn't the sales figure be zero?
About that $10000 compensation...
QUESTION: Do you get $10000 + $5000 eVoucher upon cycling out the express board? Why does TVI Express website no longer list the $5000 eVoucher as a benefit of cycling out? Why was it changed? Were the members informed of this change? Why is there no announcement for this?
EXPLANATION: Apparently Tarun Trikha claimed in a conference call that the $5000 is for some yet-to-be-held group event. In other words, if there are no group events in your area, that $5000 e-voucher is worthless.
That "board" looks so familiar...
QUESTION: Why does the board, the “2×3 matrix”, exactly matches the 8-ball scheme, as given in Wikipedia?
No matter what you call it: matrix, board, or pyramid, it is the same structure.
Legal Definitions of Pyramid Scheme
European Union Unfair Consumer Practices Directive (PDF, see pg 20)
• Pyramid schemes
Establishing, operating or promoting a pyramid promotional scheme where a consumer gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation that is derived primarily from the introduction of other consumers into the scheme rather than from the sale or consumption of products.
American Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
Pyramid schemes, also referred to as franchise fraud, or chain referral schemes, are marketing and investment frauds in which an individual is offered a distributorship or franchise to market a particular product. The real profit is earned, not by the sale of the product, but by the sale of new distributorships. Emphasis on selling franchises rather than the product eventually leads to a point where the supply of potential investors is exhausted and the pyramid collapses. At the heart of each pyramid scheme there is typically a representation that new participants can recoup their original investments by inducing two or more prospects to make the same investment. Promoters fail to tell prospective participants that this is mathematically impossible for everyone to do, since some participants drop out, while others recoup their original investments and then drop out.
Why is the board NOT a pyramid scheme?
QUESTION: Why does the “board payout” explanation, directly pulled from the TVI Express FAQ, fits the definition of a pyramid scheme as given by E.U. Unfair Consumer Practices Directive: Black List (which, BTW, became Cyprus law in 2007)? Why does it also fit California Penal Code regarding “Endless Chain”, and American FBI definition of Pyramid Scheme?
Do not let them offer some some explanation that do NOT involve quoting the actual laws and such given. What some uplines did was to quote some "other" definition of pyramid scheme, and try to prove that TVI Express does not fit that other definition, which does not prove anything.
About an Indian law...
QUESTION: TVI Express claims to be subject to Cyprus and Indian law. Can TVI Express explain how they are complying with "Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978?
If they are, why did they gave refund to thousands of members in Sikkim, India after investigation by police?
TVI Express promises to refund deposits
Why is TVI Express under investigation in many countries?
QUESTION: Why is TVI Express under investigation in various European countries, including Hungary, Tajikstan, and Georgia (the country)?
Hungary: report from Realdeal.hu , TVI Express believed to be pyramid scheme, will ask EU for assistance in prosecution
Tajikstan: report from Avesta.tj Local prosecutors are investigating TVI Express distributor who may have swindled over 2000 people locally
Georgia: report from Megapolis.kz local ex-General used influence to recruit enlisted members of armed forces into TVI Express pyramid scheme
Then there's China, Australia, South Africa, Namibia, and more...
To see more bad news about TVI Express, go here
Hassle-free and legitimate across the globe, huh?
TVI Express claims to offer "a life-changing opportunity to build a hassle-free, legitimate business all across the globe" (cited from http://www.tviexpress.com/overview.php )
QUESTION: "You claim that TVI Express is a “hassle-free, legitimate business all across the globe” on your "overview" webpage. Can you explain why Chinese newspapers are reporting that TVI Express is NOT a registered Network Marketer in China and at least five cities in China are reporting arrests of TVI Express members as engaging in pyramid scheme fraud, with three CONVICTED AND SENTENCED to prison for consumer fraud: running a pyramid scheme?"
If he asks to see the newspaper reports, show him these (bilingual, with link to original):
TVI Express and other Pyramid Schemes caught in Chinese sweep
TVI Express distributor convicted in China, sentenced to 1 year in prison
TVI Express busted in Fujian, China
TVI Express busted in Yunnan, China
TVI Express busted in Wuxi, China
WHY ASK: China is either the 3rd or 4th largest nation in the world by area (Russia, Canada, then either US or China, in that order). If it's illegal in China, it's hardly "across the globe", is it?
Why no official explanations?
QUESTION: I can't be the first person to ask these questions. The company has been around for over a year. Does any one speak for TVI Express? Where are some OFFICIAL announcements on all these concerns? Legitimate Network Marketers like ACN, Amway, etc. have a website to explain how it is NOT a pyramid scheme. I’d have thought that TVI Express should have one, given its resemblance to one? Does TVI Express compliance officer have anything to say? Does TVI Express even HAVE a compliance officer?
These questions will NOT make you popular at a TVI Express meeting, but they must be answered, as this deals with the legitimacy of a company you are investing in.
MANY shills out there are advocating "just take a chance! It is only $250!" However, even $250 is not an amount to be thrown away, esp. in this economy that is barely showing signs of recovery. These questions are your basic "due diligence". If nobody can answer these questions to your satisfaction, then this company is NOT worthy of your investment.
Further TVI Express Information
- TVI Express Timeline: Claims to be Network Marketing...
TVI Express, a well known international scam under investigation in Australia, Europe, and Asia, has been running since January 2009. Here is the history of TVI Express, and latest developments.
- TVI Express and 10 Secrets of Highly Effective Liars...
Learn how TVI Express, an international scam, used 10 Secrets of Highly Effective Liars, to defraud a million people around the world, and how you can spot the lies and avoid them.
- 13 Ways TVI Express / tviexpress.com (and other Scam...
Learn how a scam such as TVI Express could have swindled a million people around the world by using 13 common scam techniques to take advantage of people's weaknesses.
- Real TVI Express FAQ: TVIExpress.com is registered w...
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- TVI Express and 10 secrets of effective liars
Learn how TVI Express used 10 Secrets of Effective Liars to further their scam, and how you can avoid being taken by liars.
- TVI Express: an international scam
TVI Express is an international scam that relied on lies and vagueness to mislead its own members about its legitimacy, and it has not behaved reputabl, and continued to allow its members to lie. Learn what their members will never tell you.
- TVI Express Myths Busted
Myths about TVI Express, an international scam, are plentiful, and five of them will be busted here. Some are lies from TVI Express itself, some are intentionally caused misunderstandings, and some are invented by members desparate to recruit you.