WorldVentures Review — What You Need to Know Before Joining

By | 2018-06-21T16:01:22+00:00 May 31st, 2018|Categories: MLM Reviews, WorldVentures|

Are you being recruited to join WorldVentures as an affiliate or member? Have you heard it called a scam or pyramid scheme? Read our WorldVentures review to learn everything you need to know about the company, its leaders, its products, and your income potential.

worldventures logoBackground

Founded: 2005

Website: www.worldventures.com

Revenue: $926 million (2016)

Industry: Travel, Multi-Level Marketing

Employees: +500,000 members (unconfirmed)

Leaders:

  • Wayne Nugent – Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer
  • Mike Azcue – Co-Founder and Former CEO
  • Dan Stammen – Co-Owner and Chief of Business Development (Former CEO)
  • Josh Paine – Chief Executive Officer
  • Eddie Head – President and Chief Strategy Officer
  • Paul Jenkins – Chief Technology Officer
  • Sophia Stoller – Vice President of Communications
  • Kathy McBrayer – Chief People Officer
  • Gregg Stephenson – Compliance Director

History of WorldVentures

In 2005, WorldVentures was founded by Mike Azcue and Wayne Nugent, two multi-level marketing industry veterans who believed they could build the “Mary Kay of travel.” Their dream was made much more attainable when MLM behemoth and WorldVentures competitor YTB International went through a series of investigations and lawsuits from 2006-2009, ultimately bankrupting the company after they were found to be operating a pyramid scheme and engaging in deceptive marketing. This opened the door for WorldVentures as the company grew from $15 million in revenue in 2006 to $90 million in 2009. This success prompted Ernst & Young to nominate Wayne Nugent as entreprenuer of the year in 2010.

But, as we’ve seem with the vast majority of MLMs, success is usually short-lived due to the excessively high turnover rates that the industry experiences with distributors. In 2014, WorldVentures was sued by the Norwegian government, was designated a pyramid scheme, and was forced to close operations in the country. In 2016, former top-earning members of the company filed multiple lawsuits against the company, alleging that the company terminated their contracts in order to funnel their commissions to the executive team. In 2017, founder Wayne Nugent was rumored to have settled a tax evasion charge and a formal class-action lawsuit being formally brought against the company (details at the bottom of the article).

Amidst the multiple legal disputes, Mike Azcue stepped down from his role as CEO and Josh Paine was introduced as the new chief executive of the company. It’s unclear what role Azcue still has in the company. The company has also failed to disclose its 2017 revenue, an indication that revenue has declined significantly since 2016.

WorldVentures Products

dreamtrips website

WorldVentures sells a membership that supposedly gives affiliates access to great deals on hotels, activities and day trips, cruises, and car rentals through its website DreamTrips.com in exchange for a “low” monthly fee. In addition, by signing up other members, you can accrue points with which to use on vacation packages. Unfortunately, as former members can attest, it doesn’t quite work with this way.

First, members can only book vacations and locations that are available at specific times, which the company has full control over. This means that your vacation plans have to coincide exactly with when a particular package and location is available or you are out of luck. Second, the points you accrue can not be used before your 1 year anniversary, which means that members have to pay a monthly fee for 12 months before they can even use their rewards points.

In addition, the company has full control over how many points you use at one time, so you aren’t able to stockpile points and spend on one large vacation package. Finally, many WorldVentures customers have complained that their commissions, which are stored in the company’s “e-wallet” system, are inaccessible and nontransferable, meaning that many members are not getting paid what they are owed. None of these facts are readily disclosed by the company and has led to many complaints and demands for refunds by affiliates.

Another revelation brought to light by the class-action lawsuit filed in 2017 is that the company does not own any travel deals but rather aggregates them from other places and then adds their own fees on top. This means that members can easily find equivalent packages for much cheaper from aggregator sites like Groupon and Expedia. The company also misrepresents packages to include airfare when the vast majority due not, which significantly underestimates the actual cost of packages for members.

WorldVentures Compensation Plan

To understand the potential business opportunity, you have to examine the WorldVentures Compensation Plan. The first thing you should notice is that the document does not include any real dollar amounts for commissions and bonuses. This should be a red flag for anyone looking to sign up with the company. What we can glean from the compensation plan is that there is a combination of commissions that can be generated by direct product sales as well as recruiting others into your down-line (the classic sign of a multi-level marketing company). If you don’t know what kind of money you will be making when signing up for a business venture, it should be a red flag.

What we do know about the membership structure is that affiliates must pay an initial $99.99 signup fee and an additional $24.99 monthly fee for the base package. Gold memberships cost $199.99 to start and $49.99 each month, and Platinum memberships cost $299.99 to start and $99 each month.

WorldVentures Income Disclosure Statement

WorldVentures’ Income Disclosure Statement reveals that 80% of affiliates do not make any annual commission, and that the top 99% of affiliates make less than $2,000 (before expenses) for the entire year. Given this information, which has been provided by the company itself, do you see any reasonable chance for you to make money if you join?

worldventures income disclosure statement

 

Customer Reviews

Another important aspect to consider when joining an MLM is customer satisfaction. A quick glance at the Better Business Bureau page for WorldVentures shows an alarming amount of customer complaints which stem from misleading advertising about the product; the company back-tracking on promises of refunds; and an ability to get any help with issues regarding booking packages. Overall, the complaints show a clear pattern of the company, and its affiliates, lying about the benefits of becoming a member.

worldventures customer complaints

Legal Issues

  1. In 2014, WorldVentures was banned in Norway after the government successfully sued the company for being a pyramid scheme.
  2. In 2016, Myron Wick and Virginia Walker, former high-ranking members of WorldVentures, sued the company for breech of contract after alleging that the company failed to pay commissions that they had earned.
  3. In 2016, former member Randy Ostrom sued WorldVentures for breech of contract but was denied any settlement during arbitration. After arbitration, it was discovered that the arbitrator has significant ties to WorldVentures and its law firm.
  4. In 2017, a RICO class-action lawsuit was brought against the company alleging that the company is simply a pyramid scheme where members average annual losses of $1,000.

WorldVentures

WorldVentures
1.5

Product

1.0 /10

Stability

2.0 /10

Profit Opportunity

1.0 /10

Management

2.0 /10

6 Comments

  1. Bill Garner July 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I am no longer with the company for a variety of reasons. While I do agree with many of the points mentioned in this article, I would like to state that the portion regarding the air travel is NOT accurate. World Ventures clearly talked about how and why air travel is NOT Included in most trips and for individuals with a lick of common sense, it should be obvious. In an international membership, it would be impossible to calculate price when one person leaves from Singapore, another leaves from Sydney, and another leaves from Atlanta.

    Another correction to the article is about how World Ventures doesn’t own any travel deals. Well in a sense, that’s true, but the same can be said for Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Sam’s Wholesale, Costco, etc…The concept behind the Dream Trips membership was simple and when the company was more liquid, the value was real. The membership would allow people to save money on multiple trips because the company could leverage the membership to buy down the cost of the trip. Another benefit was that people could accumulate points in a travel piggy bank, thus allowing them to save money for future travel. In a world where people generally charge their trip and spend a year or two paying off a credit card, this concept was brilliant because a system was in place for people to regularly save money specifically designated for vacations. The travel membership provided great value because not only did people get to travel more, but they also were part of a global community that allowed them to connect with others and create lifelong friendships and memories.

    Where the company fell apart is they took their eye off the ball of what they did well and took off into directions incongruent with their mission. And then when the financial “you know what” hit the fan, they didn’t come clean with their members and reps about some of the poor financial decisions. It’s sad because I was apart of this company for over 8 years. I never made a full-time income, but I traveled to places that I would have never seen on my own, and I met people I would have never met. The personal development made me a better teacher, coach, minister, counselor, and business person. I truly believe the owner Wayne Nugent is a good man. I think this company grew faster than his skill set, and perhaps his pride (and we all have pride) kept him from reaching out earlier to people he trusted to let them know that he was over his head. What’s ugly about all of this is that all people have left the company to pursue other ventures, the company culture has eroded. It’s now become a place that is toxic with all the lawsuits, social media bullying, current members trashing those who left, etc…

    If you had told me one year ago that I would no longer be a WV member a year later, I would have said you were crazy. It’s disappointing and heartbreaking. My prayer is that Wayne will come clean to his people that his company has drifted off course. Some honest revelation could make a lot of this go away. The people who love Wayne will not only forgive him but they will link arms with him to right the ship. Most who left to pursue other ventures will also forgive Wayne and the company, and just to hear Wayne say, “I’m sorry, we let you down” would go a long way towards making a lot of this social media ugliness go away. Those that are lashing out against World Ventures are more hurt than angry, and just a simple apology could open the doors for a lot a healing and perhaps some restoration of old friendships. Just my two cents worth! I will always be grateful for WV and I pray they will right the ship.

  2. Rob August 3, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Are you kidding?
    Months of non payment for work already performed. Constant lies about paying the debt. Every month a new excuse.
    People losing their cars, homes and quality of life, while Nugent and the rest of the grifters live large and drive 911s.
    No, there is real anger here, not hurt.
    I also am not sure how WVs M.O. of preying on the poor and having 99% of it’s members losing money (and you guys KNOWING that while recruiting your marks), just so you in the up line can recoup your loses, can make you a better minister.

    • Bill Garner August 8, 2018 at 11:35 am - Reply

      And if you read my ENTIRE comment, you will see that I am no longer a member. Once I found out about what was happening behind the scenes, I resigned. I could not, in good conscience, ask people to be a part of something that was hurting people.

      • Rob August 11, 2018 at 12:23 pm - Reply

        I did read your entire comment.. You were in WV for 8 years. You KNEW that 99% of the people in WV and the PEOPLE YOU RECRUITED were going to lose money from the scam you guys were running. You knew you were lying when you told those travel parties that it would sell itself.
        If you are a minister, you should have been out of there the minute they started using God’s name in their talks. You knew they were hurting people, but loved gold more than God.

        • Bill Garner August 11, 2018 at 1:12 pm - Reply

          Rob,

          Well thankfully, I answer to God, not Rob. It’s obvious that someone in this industry has deeply wounded you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be filled with so much hostility and bitterness. I would suggest you look in the mirror and evaluate your own life instead of passing judgment on others and prejudging people you have never met.

          • Rob August 16, 2018 at 12:01 pm

            Yes. Your scummy leaders like Nugent and Azcue using God’s name to steal from others makes me bitter. So called Christians who back them, know what they do makes me even more upset.
            Don’t try your WV trained passive-aggressiveness on me. I will not take your suggestion, as you have already proven that you are not a leader with any compassion or care for your fellow human beings. You have failed to treat others as you would like to be treated.
            Wolves in Sheep’s clothing should always be identified and pointed out, so that innocents might not be harmed.

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