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He was listening to a recent CD he got from Quixtar. It was all about the negitives of their business on the internet and how the speaker turned everything around to make the MLM look good. Exactly!!! — Steering you to the information They provide and want you to believe.
They have an answer for EVERYTHING! They don’t want anyone to think for themselves, yet we are the closed minded ones???
The Keg steakhouse does not tell their franchisees that if their family does not eat at their restaurant, they are negative and not to be trusted. I absolutely HATE Dairy Queen hamburgers, and if any of my family opened a DQ I would not eat there. I don’t believe DQ would tell my family I was an outsider trying to steal their dream or crap like that. That argument is not relevant. I do know some cults that encourage people to avoid non-cult members of their family like the plague has infected them, so there is some similarity there.
As for the whole open-minded argument, I believe a good many of us joined an mlm because we were open minded. My open mind saw mlm’s for the scam and waste of time and money and relationships that they are. I do not believe I have to keep an open mind to something that clearly doesn’t work. I won’t keep trying different kinds of cigarettes hoping to find the right brand that won’t kill me, just to say I am keeping an open mind. I won’t keep an open mind to the possible benefits of a fascist government, there are not any. I will not keep an open mind to a mlm that works, THERE ARE NOT ANY. The Titanic had a viable model, except for too few lifeboats, undersized rudder, going too fast and let’s not forget about that pesky iceberg……do I need to keep going
I am really getting a lot of information, although it IS discouraging to know that I can’t really help my sister with anything or get her to “see the light.”
Her friends have always been a strong influence, as are most peoples’ friends, and I think that the only way she’s going to break away from this is if she ends up losing enough money that her husband notices she’s at a loss. The friends are only going to push her further into it, and I’m sure that they are all in denial as well!
Mark, as for your comments… I feel like you are missing the point entirely. “I think it is a perfect way for your sister to involve you in something she is passionate about without putting on the pressure to buy. If you like it…you will get more I guess.”
Did you read my post? Maybe you missed the entire section that I stated she’s been pressuring me from day 1 about the business and becoming a part of it. I told her that I do NOT want to buy products, but that I would try to help her by asking my friends, who also said they would not like to buy or become distributors.
I also feel like you aren’t backing up arguments on this company being “viable.” Where are the facts that support this argument? I am eager to read them.
but I doubt that she would expect you to buy your own steakhouse. And I doubt if she would eat every drop of food that she consumed in that steakhouse, and she certainly would not be in business for very long if the success percentages in that “steakhouse” franchise were as ridiculously low as they are in the vast majority MLM’s. I also don’t think that if your sister owned a steakhouse and you were a vegetarian, she would claim you were negative and did not support her dreams if you refused to eat her steak.
Your hypothetical about “if her sister owned a steakhouse and suggested she eat there” is a good opportunity to demonstrate the difference between a real business and an MLM.
If I owned a steakhouse, I could encourage you to come and eat there. I could offer you gift certificates and even money if you brought along 20 of your friends. I would not suggest that you then open up your own steakhouse in my steakhouse and we would share (along with the people above me) in your income.
Arbonne, like most MLMs, promotes signing people up as “distributors” or “IBOs” not on selling product. Roxy’s sister is not selling beauty products she is selling “opportunity”.
If she stuck to the steakhouse t would be harder work but she would not be worrying her family.
Sounds to me that this woman would be far better off using some of her hubby’s moolah to go back to college and acquire some skills and set herself up in a real business. She obviously has the drive – pity she has been blinded by the “light”.
Not all of them but enough to make you go….hmmmmm. And you are right, distributors are taught that they will run up against opposition AND they are told exactly how to deal with them. The most common thing told to them (over and over and over and over again) is that anyone ANYONE who doesn’t support your business is against you. Is a negative influence on your life and not someone you need in your life. They are taught to put the business ahead of family for now (because it will pay off later). Baby showers, anniversaries and birthdays have been missed. Marriages and relationships have ended.
Like others have said, at this point, she’s in hook/line/sinker and there’s not a whole lot you can do or say without getting blamed for something. I don’t know if I’d fan the flames any by sending the gift back…that won’t accomplish anything positive.
I’m with the person who said to keep your distance for abit. She’s got to work this out (though it could take years).
PW often says that the only thing you can really do is ask questions and be truly interested in the answers. Questions that if she allowed herself to think for a moment and find the actual answers, it might put a chink in the solid hold MLM has on her. I believe there is a list somewhere of the questions to ask….stuff like, how much money does one actually make after subtracting expenses?
Though I’ve discovered from personal experience that some of these questions are greeted with the same reactions that you got when asking about pyramid schemes. I had a SIL in PPL and after I told her NO in no uncertain terms she advised me that I need to be more open minded in order to see something of value…lol. When I asked her to quantify what her sponsor was making (rather than the typical…he’s doing so well) – and if she had proof, she sort of freaked and refused to talk to me for months.
Know that many of us can very much relate to what you are experiencing. Always know you can find support here.
Your sister is being brainwashed, and while I believe she is responsible for what she says and does, the people who are “training” her are very good at this. My mother elected to go to a “training” weekend with her upline as opposed to supporting her son who was in the hospital, trying to get over a crippling illness. Her justification was there was nothing they could do to help anyway and missing this weekend retreat could set their business and our future as a family back. I’m thinking her son did not want to hear that.
I would say do not allow your sister the luxury of getting away with treating you that way. Do not support any form of her business. Draw some very straight and deep lines in the sand and do not let her cross them. I believe eventually she will come around, then you can be there and hopefully get back to where you were. Love does find a way in families. Good Luck
that made me think of a melaleuca party I attended at my niece’s home. Once they ran through a few products, the phones came out of the woodwork and there were 3 gals cruising through the living room and dining room announcing that they had 3 open phone line with which to call in to get people signed up. I sat there thinking, what the heck is going on here.
Because there’s now a wealth of information on the internet, telling of the scams revolving around so many MLM’s – they want to steer you towards information THEY provide – not people who’ve been in the business and left. Another good anti-MLM website is ebay: go there and see what the price of Arbonne products are selling for from people who want to get out.. LOL!!! Even if you signed up under your sis, THAT is what you’d have to compete against. Amway’s statistics show that for every 3 people who sign up, 2 will NOT renew the following year. I can’t imagine Arbonne has any better statistics??
My “motherly” advice is to keep your distance from your sister while she’s not thinking clearly. She will be told that “those who are not supporting her are holding her back” – there’s no sense in getting blamed for something that’s certainly not your fault. Sooner or later, she’ll see that her dreams are not being realized – or if they are, that they’re not worth the loss of family and friends – and the person you know should return.
There are similar stories in the “files” sections of this forum – of families that were torn apart by the influence of MLMs (don’t be put off if it’s not specifically Arbonne – the story you’ve described sounds a lot like MANY MLMs).
going on when she kept saying that I’m negative and that I just have a bad attitude about things and just because she didn’t go to college as long as I have doesn’t mean that she isn’t capable of doing this business. I took that as a sign that someone had told her that this situation would arise, and there are specific ways to deal with it.
As for the comment about people lending her money.. her husband is very wealthy. She is doing this basically because everyone in her circle of friends is doing it and I also suspect because she has been regretting her decision to be a stay-at-home mom. She needed to do something that would get her out of the house, I could tell she had been feeling trapped for the past few years. So I feel that because money is basically no object, her husband has tons to just give to her.. that’s exactly what is going to happen. Maybe until there’s a point that he realizes she’s spending too much and making too little.
All the other women in her circle of friends are in this to “become rich on their own” to “get that white Mercedes” and a number of other “perks” their greedy little eyes light up over when talking about this company.
My sister has only ever gotten into a fight like this with me once before, and she was having a rough patch with her husband, I was living there at the time and I think the combo of other things going on in her life then contributed to that particular fight. But she has never acted the way she did when she was “defending” Arbonne.
I really want to know if at some point these people sit you down and tell you that anyone in your life that isn’t on board with this is your enemy and that everyone who disagrees with the company is closed-minded?
Being “closed-minded” and “ignorant” were the LAST things I would expect to be called, especially from her! She knows I’m not closed-minded… I have always been open to the ideas she has come up with in the past to help herself… she was doing interior design for awhile and she was great at it! She gave that up to become a consultant. And ignorant?? I think not. I am extremely informed… I read the news all day long, I have one degree and I’m working on another! Far from ignorant by most peoples’ standards!
I just wish there was something I could do to help her see that this is going to alienate her from our family… my dad doesn’t even want to be in the same room as her any more! She’s a totally different person and it’s scary. I feel that I should at the very least send back the “get well” gift. Maybe I should hold back on sending her a note that I am here to support her? I really DON’T support this!! I see it as a scam, point blank.
I found this blog\forum while doing a simple search about MLMs and what they are all about because my sister has recently become a consultant for Arbonne International. I wanted to get some information on how companies like hers can impact families and relationships.
Judging on the rules of the site I assume the first thing I should do is introduce myself and the reason I am here, so here goes…
I am in my early 20’s, I have a BA and am currently working towards an MA. I work full-time in the Environmental field and love it so far, although as I’ve heard many times over, this is bound to change after I’ve been working full-time for a few more years! =P Favorite things: I love to travel, especially to urban areas, I snowboard, read anything and everything I can get my hands on, and love to be outside doing anything (or nothing) at all. I also value and love my family very much, which brings me to why I joined this blog.
My sister and I have not always been close because we are about 10 years apart in age, but we have become very close in the last 6 or 7 years. I usually speak to her a few times a week and we live near each other, so I visit when my schedule allows… not as often as I would like, sadly. I used to live with her and her family on breaks from college. She is a stay at home mom and has a husband and two children.
She has always been a positive force in my life, sometimes more of a mother figure than a sister really… but has always been a great sister!
Months ago, she told me that she was going to become a consultant for a company called Arbonne International, which I had also heard of through a college friend. I honestly told her to be careful and to make sure she did background research on the company before she got in over her head. She probably didn’t like getting advice from her little sister, but what’s done is done. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but I was worried that she was getting caught up in something that could turn out to be a scam. At first, she seemed to be doing so well, she always sounded excited and happy… she was making a lot of new friends, and other women she is friends with were also signing on. She invited me and my coworker to her “Launch Party” and gave me a catalog to look at before the event. I arrived early to give her a hand with food/drink preparations, and was excited to see her friends, who are always a lot of fun.
The “Launch Party” turned out to be something completely different than I had expected… the women were very concerned with selling the business, not the actual products. The business was pushed for over an hour, and it just confirmed my suspicions that the company might not be so shiny and wonderful. I was trying not to be negative though… I thought the women getting carried away with the Mercedes Benz and the chance to get together to have wine & cheese once or twice a week and the chance to do something different was maybe causing all this buzz.
So I tried to keep out of it and just let her do her thing.
I came over one day and saw all the inventory she had purchased.
She asked me if I would want to become a consultant for the $29, and that I would get a discount, etc. I said No. I reminded her that I am but a lowly Graduate Student making an entry-level salary while paying an outrageous rent. She didn’t mention it again for the rest of the day. I helped her format her e-mail and listened for what seemed like hours about the company and the products, she was excited… I was happy for her, but still wary of what might happen.
Each time I visited or talked to her on the phone after that, she tried to get me to become a consultant or to get my friends to become consultants. I told her to forward me the e-mail she was planning on sending out to her friends and that I would pass it on to the women in my address book. She did, and I did. Still the pushing continued.
Every conversation was ruled by Arbonne… she had gotten a Blackberry to manage all the e-mails, everyone in her neighborhood and all their friends and relatives were becoming consultants, she was printing business cards and pamphlets and getting a briefcase and more inventory and a travel case for all of it and attending what seemed like a dozen parties a month.
I felt like I was losing my sister entirely!
Then I was diagnosed with a heart problem. I was told that I would be undergoing an exploratory surgery to determine the cause of my heart’s irregular beating. I called my sister. I cried a lot. I told her I was scared and that I was skipping work for the rest of the day to come over. I was there for about 15 minutes before the conversation turned to Arbonne. I knew my sister must be “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Why else would she be so preoccupied??? I couldn’t explain it.
The surgery was on a Wednesday, my dad had flown in the night before and we were to be at the hospital at 6 AM. My sister had called earlier in the week to tell me that although she felt bad, she wouldn’t be able to make it over to my place much during the week after the surgery. She hoped to at least come to the hospital for a little while, but she was so busy with Arbonne that she wasn’t sure. My dad was staying in town for the week to help me out and I was happy, I hadn’t seen him in awhile. The surgery went fine, and the night I returned home, my sister brought dinner to my apartment (she hadn’t ended up coming to the hospital).
My sister had also brought a get-well present. Three of the five pieces of a face wash kit. She also brought her breifcase with her binders of information and I could tell she couldn’t wait to start talking about the company whenever the moment arose. She had already talked about it 5 times by the time we were cleaning up after dinner…
and at one point I said to her that I was happy she had given me the products, that now I could try them out and tell my friends, that mybe they would buy something. She again started pushing them becoming consultants. I told her what I had always been telling her about it.
My friends are young and just starting out. A lot of them are in Graduate School, the others are in entry-level jobs. They do not have money to spend on expensive skin care or on buying an inventory. They do not have time to spend on building up a customer base or a “Downline ” They see Arbonne as a Pyramid scheme.
I had said the WRONG two words. The rampage that ensued at this point cannot be adequately described in words. She screamed in my face for the next 30 minutes. In front of my dad, on the night I returned from the HOSPITAL. “Just as my job had trained me to do what I do”, her job had trained her that people with my attitude are negative and closed-minded. She stated this with an anger and force that I had rarely seen in her before. I was ignorant. I was closed-minded. I didn’t support her. I wasn’t proud of her. I was an immature brat. I couldn’t be happy for someone else. If I didn’t support her, then I wasn’t someone she wanted to be around. (!?!) I could barely get a word in… and when I did, I used the chance to state this fact. She said that I always had to be right. At one point she told me that my friends would have to buy thousands of products to make a difference and to even begin to help her out at this point, me and my “two friends.”
That one really hurt. She knew it had been hard for me recently… that I had only a few close friends in our area… I had graduated, my college friends and I all moved to different cities!
I am shocked that my sister could be so rude and act so horribly toward anyone, let alone me! I feel as if I don’t know her any more and we haven’t spoken since the blowout. I felt terrible for calling what she was doing a Pyramid scheme… I felt that I shouldn’t have put down something she was so excited about and maybe I should just call her and take the blame for what had happened.
Then I spoke to the college friend I had first heard about Arbonne from. She said that a close friend of her parents’ had become a consultant and that she had done a complete 180. She was no longer the unique, informed, well-spoken and well-liked person she had been only months before. She was now pushing my friend so much that the friend had to be rude back to her. She was forced to be completely rude to a long-time friend of her family, which made her feel extremely uncomfortable. I realized then that maybe I hadn’t been entirely at fault for the argument…. and then I found an entire message board on AOL! called a “survivors” club! This has backed up my initial reaction to Arbonne.
So this is why I decided to join this message board. Phew! If anyone is still reading this by now… I just wanted to get my story off my chest, and to see if anyone had any advice on how to deal with the situation. Should I try to repair the damage by apologizing?
Should I give her time to realize that she’s lost a sister and a friend and maybe she will come around?
I really have no experience with MLMs or anything similar. I’ve read conflicting stories about Arbonne… I don’t know WHAT to think about the company itself. From what she said they “taught” her… it sounded like brainwashing and I was shocked she’s be taken in by it! Please let me know if there are any articles in particular I should read about it or if anyone out there has some advice! Thank you so much!
but if you take it to a meeting, once you start handing it out, you’ll be asked to leave and they’re pretty much ready for that.
In most recruiting meetings they make a point of saying, “When you talk about this, people will tell you it won’t work. Do you want to know why? Because they’re jealous and want to steal your success.”
That one statement “inoculates” many people against any statements of reason that could go against the lies told in the recruitment meeting.
You aren’t sure my motive is really information gathering because I have friends and family involved in multiple different mlm companies? That’s not really something I can convince you of obviously, you’ll believe what you want apparently. I am an information seeker. If I am searching for Premiere Jewelry, find out it’s an MLM, then search for MLM scams and find this blog…it piques my interest, I join up to see what I can find out further.
The only post about them I have found here is seven years old and not very detailed.
I can only speak to what I have seen about the companies my close loved ones are into…they have never high pressured me to join, buy or have parties. So I guess not all mlm’s are teaching these negative, anti family practices that you keep saying they do. Of course, I am not telling them they are brain washed because they have ambitions to make themselves a business out of these companies.
I also am not their prime market because I personally don’t wear jewelry or use cosmetics.
Is a steak house the same as an MLM? No. But I doubt all MLM’s have the same EXACT structure either.
My uncle sells cars and guess what, his boss makes money off of his sales too. Managers make commissions off of employees. Exactly the same? Nope. But the same basic principle. Every higher level makes a bit more off of the ones below them. My uncle also wins incentive trips for having the most sales, etc.
My SIL who sells jewelry makes money, loves having the parties and enjoys the company of the women she meets. I am sure not everyone makes tons of money. Neither do car salesmen, waitresses, managers…there are successful and unsuccessful people in all businesses and professions.
I can grasp that some companies are only pushing recruiting and not product sales. If they don’t make sales, then I can see they might not be viable as an avenue for money making…but if you are selling product, to those who want it, not forcing your friends and family to buy it, then surely these folks are making some money. Is it going to make you rich quick? I don’t foresee anything doing that without work short of winning the lottery…
Alcoholics analogy wasn’t really hitting home for me…
If I know someone who is a diabetic, I won’t start telling EVERYONE not to eat sugar…or that fruit is sweet, so it must be bad too.
Ok, so if we are going to be open minded, can we not admit that not ALL mlm’s are created equal? Or that at least the possibility exists that one is not bad? Mary Kay, Tupperware, Avon, Premiere Jewelry…I know someone involved in them all and I don’t see that they are being brainwashed like I keep hearing here about some of these things like Arbonne and Quixtar, Amway. So how long does it take for the supposed brainwashing to happen? Are they all just doing it wrong because they haven’t pressured me to be a rep yet?
MLMs cost a lot. While they can build up self esteem, they also tear it down in other ways. People here who were in them have taken years, in some cases, to recover emotionally. There are many other ways to build up self esteem. One thing I did a while back was to take on one of the scariest challenges I figured I’d ever face. I’m a serious klutz so I started taking ballroom dancing lessons. I’m actually getting compliments that I’m learning how to lead quite well. It wasn’t a quick change, but it makes me feel quite good about myself.
There’s also other self help groups just tackling things you want to learn and aren’t sure you can, or groups like Toastmasters.
When I saw this first post come through, I waited, not knowing just what to say because it’s not clear just what’s going on.
I will make a point I learned years ago: whatever the truth is, you’re going to have to face it sooner or later, so it might as well be sooner. It may be painful, but it’s less pain than what you’ll hit later. For example, my ex-girlfriend was sure she was going to be running her own business and be a millionaire in QS in a few years. I
haven’t heard a single bit of news about her success yet and that was back in 2004. Meanwhile, in the time since then, my business has done well and my net worth at this point is definitely more than she’s ever made in her life from any job, by an order of several factors. I’m saying this not to brag but because it plays a part in this and as a reminder that we can all “make it” on our own, no matter what the MLMs tell us.
Dawn (what we’ll call my ex-gf) loved to design dresses for things like SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) and to make jewelry. She majored in Interior Design because she figured she could make a living at it. She is, literally, a genius, but she was so unsure of herself that she didn’t think she could ever make a living doing what she loved. She had a low paying job (I’m guessing she was making $15,000 to $16,500 a year) doing the cable routing plans for a construction company and she hated it. She was scared to death of spending the next 40 years of her life working 9-5.
One time she said she believed it because it had to work since nothing else would. Parse that carefully. She basically believed it because if it wasn’t true, in her mind, she had to face 40 years of 9-5. Her belief had nothing to do with whether it was a good business model, but with her fear of having to live the life they painted as so terrible.
Sooner or later she’s going to have to face the truth: She can keep going and spinning her wheels, making the prospects for her life worse by spending more and more money. If so, at some point she’ll be deep in debt, no more credit cards, and not able to continue in QS. When that happens, she’ll have no choice but to drop out and she’ll not only have a job she hates, but a mountain of debt to pay off.
Or she could have, at any point, accepted that “if it is to be, it is up to me,” and developed a plan to decide what she wanted to do with her life and started working toward it. If she had started focusing on trying to turn the jewelry and dress work into a business, she might be making enough now to live off it.
Sooner or later you’ve got to face the truth. While sooner can be painful, it’s a LOT less painful than later.
I have been reading this blog for a bit and whilst all your comments make me smile or even laugh, this is the first one that has prompted me to reply. Thanks for the wisdom, I shall try to print them and stick them to my refrigerator
As an “authority on family” (I’m 55 and have 7 adult kids and 7grandkids) – I want to assure all of you that family will NOT wait. Your “time” to influence your kids/set a parenting example/be involvedin their lives/teach them to love and show compassion for othershappens in the blink of an eye.Even in a “perfect” family where the father works 8-to-5, and themother may or may not work…there’s still scant time to spend withyour kids. For every night a parent is prospecting; for every weekendthe parents spend at a “function”….there’s one less opportunity foryour kids to learn something. If they haven’t learned important lifeskills by the time they’re 18 or so….they will be at a disadvantagewhen they leave the nest – and what loving parent wants to do that totheir child????
They abuse the trust we have in our friends and family and build up the new trust we create (or is created for us) in the new “friends” we make in our business. And if we manage to bring friends and family into the business, they use that existing trust to turn us against those who said “no.”
Some of our friends (my wife’s and mine) simply had to wait it out until we quit. Some of them had even said, “We’ll see you in five years or so.” They could not have been more right.
Sadly, some people stay involved far longer than five years.
But I think the only way to get someone to reconsider the wisdom of what they’re doing, critically, is to ask them the questions they should be asking themselves. Once they realize what has been happening, it’s truly like “seeing the light,” like “watching the fog lift.”
There are steps and stages involved in leaving an MLM, too, so the best thing you can do, even if you’re unable to get through to your sister, is to be there when she quits. *This* is how you can help!
Be loving and accepting. Don’t offer anything resembling “I told you so.” She is going to be going through feelings of guilt and inadequacy. We hear it here all the time: “How could I have been so stupid as to have fallen for this scam, even as my friends (or in this case, sister) were telling me to beware of it?”
You may not be able to help her get out sooner, but you can help her through the post-MLM process. As long as you can understand what she’s going through, she will value your support. We are here, primarily, to facilitate and support that.
It does sound as if you have a bit of a fantasy going here. You don’t know if you will make it, you understand the things we are saying, you agree with what we are saying, even up to a point, but you are still holding out hope that you will “Make it” in your mlm. I am not really sure what you are looking for. You ask what we think, you must know that we will not respond positively to the idea of any mlm. I like that you are questioning your own motives but I think you need to just break away. There are other environmentally sound ways to shop outside mlm, and there are same as if not better products for personal health. Personal growth can be done through other organisations and won’t cost you what mlm will. My mom used to justify here mlm fixes as a time to socialize with like minded people, etc. The only problem was that it cost her many thousands of dollars and a few real relationships. Please also remember this, if you do make it “BIG” in mlm, it will also come at a personal cost to you, as well as your family, as well as the thousands who have to lose money in order for you to make it. Good Luck and I hope you don’t sell your soul.