Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing loses Verizon Wireless from product offering
So many questions and not enough answers. In a world fighting for customers and companies watching over their reputations like a hawk, what do these companies all have in common? I am referring to major Fortune 100 icons like General Electric, DuPont, Time, Verizon Wireless and AT&T as well as some smaller ones like Travelocity, Peter Lamas and BSP Rewards Mall.
The answer is simple, somehow over the past 10 years and probably unbeknownst to them, they became aligned with a Multi-Level Marketing company known as Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM). This was mainly accomplished because Fortune Hi-Tech does business with some of their authorized dealers and 3rd party affiliates. Fortune’s attempt to prove it’s legal by association has backfired, as it normally does. It is very difficult to build your reputation at the expense of someone bigger, when they have no idea who you are.
Should these companies have a say in who gets to use their brand in the pursuit of the almighty dollar? For the first time in FHTM’s history the number of companies represented by it on the menu board at fhtm.net is shrinking. How can that be good?
According to court documents and a major USA Today expose, last September, none of these companies had direct relationships with FHTM.
In March 2010, Monica Lindeen, the Securities Commissioner for the State of Montana, issued a cease and desist against Fortune HI-Tech Marketing for operating an illegal endless recruiting pyramid scheme. Since then Texas has demanded documents in an investigation, South Carolina AG Roy Cooper, has opened an investigation into Fortune’s business practices, as part of the FTC’s “Operation Empty Promises”, and its own home state of Kentucky has done the same.
Two blistering heart pounding class-action lawsuits have pummeled FHTM in 2010 as well. The first was filed in Federal Court in Kentucky in September 2010 and the other in Federal Court in Southern California two days before Christmas last year too. Neither of these lawsuits have been certified as a class yet, and mainly due to some extensive manipulation of the legal system by the Fortune legal team.
What is the cost of that battle? Some estimate legal costs upwards of $500K monthly. That certainly will take a huge chunk out of any business’ cash flow. Fortune is not the first MLM or pyramid scheme to be involved in major lawsuits. Amway just agreed to pay a record settlement of close to $150 Million. Most top law firms and executives know they can’t win these types of suits, and mainstream media leaves a negative impact on their business. Attorneys have very little defense to RICO and pyramid scheme allegations, and after spending millions trying to defend the allegations, usually make arrangements for settlement conferences. They may win some of the small battles but not the war. What is the depth of the scars these lawsuits leave to deter others to join?
So the important question now remains, why did these huge conglomerates allow their names and reputations to potentially be smeared by a company like FHTM? The answer is simple - they didn’t know what was happening.
According to ex-representative, Joseph Isaacs from Tampa, Florida, “When these companies find out that their trademarks, names, logos and reputations are being used by FHTM in order to aide FHTM in proving its’ legitimacy they will issue a cease or desist, insist on the actions to stop or not allow FHTM to market their products”. Which others will walk when they find out the real business model and litigation history of Fortune Hi-Tech?
As of March 2011 every one of the companies listed above has either issued a cease and desist or no longer allows itself to be aligned with Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. How has this affected their aura of legitimacy? How do they explain all of this to new and even existing independent representatives?
In reviewing some FHTM business presentations on YouTube, it was apparent that the logos of GE, DuPont, Verizon and AT&T were there for one reason. What are the repercussions of only being legal by association? According to Joseph Isaacs, “Top leaders would tell prospects during the business presentation that they must be legal because no iconic Fortune 100 company would affiliate with a scam”. “All of these major companies sent their CEO’s and legal teams to meet with founder Paul Orberson to evaluate FHTM and check out their books. This cannot be so and was nothing more than a lie used to recruit”, he added. What rhetoric do these leaders use today to explain the loss of such major brands? Only time will tell.
Will FHTM leaders and owners blame the latest Verizon fiasco on the reps like they did in their announcement pertaining to DuPont only a few weeks ago? How long will this saga continue? Which other company will research the true business model of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing and un-align themselves next? It is too early to tell but this story is far from over.
If the massacre continues then Fortune will be nothing more than a vitamin and dog food MLM. That is not very hi-tech and not too many fortunes will be made by affiliation. How much representative revenue has been lost as a result of these major companies walking away? How many current representatives are scrambling to replace so many customer points? How many Regional and Executive managers won’t get bonuses because their team points are greatly depleted because of the latest loss? We searched high and low for the answers but didn’t find any.