Author Topic: Multi-Level Marketing (Feeling Taken Advantaged Of)  (Read 2326 times)

ethereality

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Multi-Level Marketing (Feeling Taken Advantaged Of)
« on: March 13, 2015, 09:07:14 PM »
So I have a complex situation that I would really appreciate advice on.

I run a business that used to belong to my family. I sub-rent the space outduring non-peak hours. One 750 sq. ft space is rented out full time to a 3rd party (let's call her Tina) for $1260, which my mom helped me negotiate (she works for me doing administrative tasks). I asked for roughly $1000; she negotiated up to $1200 ($60 for utilities).

Twice a week, the multi-level marketing company (MLM) uses Tina's space for their "meetings." My mom asked Tina for a personal favor, so Tina does not charge the MLM any rent. Furthermore, MLM is using an additional space for free because my mom asked me a favor. At the time, I was just starting up, insanely busy, and the business really didn't need that much space, so I agreed.

Now fast forward one year, the business is growing, I have 6 full-time employees, and I'm fed up with MLM. I hate everything about their slimy business practice, but my mom is 100% entrenched with no hope of getting her to quit. I'm starting to lock all doors except Tina's space because I notice them occasionally using rooms without my permission. Today, my mom confronts me, because they store a couple of items elsewhere in my business, plus they need chairs, tables, etc. She's really pissed at me because she thinks me locking the rooms is a sign I don't trust them and she thinks it's petty (arguably true). She tells me that the extra $200 she helped me negotiate was to cover the MLM's usage of my space. According to her, they do pay, but she's keeping that check, since Tina doesn't know they're paying.

Their MLM members walk into my business at least once a day to make payments, talk, etc with my mom. My business relates to children.

Obvious solution? Throw them out and be done with it.

My caveats:
- My mom works for me, and needs that money to live. Some of what she does is not immediately replaceable.
- Before she fell into this cult, we were really close. This is the first issue that's strained the relationship. I otherwise still enjoy time with her. I'm young, and don't think I'll be close to home forever, so I moved home in part to develop a good relationship with my mom.
- I live with her. I do pay her rent, do chores, etc. I lived independently for awhile but moved home because my mom was so involved with the cult, she wasn't taking care of the dog (which I bought for her, but is now essentially mine). I can afford to move out, but I do save money living at home.
- Throwing down a hard ultimatum would seriously damage the relationship I have with my mom. She's not leaving this cult. We've had every type of conversation under the sun about this.

What should I do?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 09:31:04 PM by ethereality »

ryanthequark

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Re: Multi-Level Marketing (Feeling Taken Advantaged Of)
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 09:55:38 PM »
First, let me say up front that my sympathies are not with the MLM crowd. It's a financial cult and it must be heartwrenching to see it harm someone you care deeply about.

But putting my bias aside for a moment, it seems you have a few problems:
1) You don't like that your mom is in this MLM cult.
2) You don't like that the MLM'ers use the space without rent (?)
3) You don't like that they use space outside of the area you're renting to Tina, which is why you've started locking those doors.
4) You don't like that they wander into the space during the day to deal with your mom.

You've stated pretty clearly that (1) isn't likely to change, regardless of how much you'd like it to. So let's set that issue aside.

You didn't state issue (2) directly; I inferred it from your comments. Presumably, you'd be happier if the MLM'ers were forced to pay rent. If so, the logical thing to do is to bring this up whenever Tina's lease is renewed. At that time, you can dictate/renegotiate the terms under which she either subleases or lets out her premises. You can tell her there's a subleasing fee (which she can either pay herself or pass on). You could tell her that other uses aren't permitted. But the time to have that discussion is, I think, when her lease is up.

Locking the doors keeps the MLM'ers out of places you don't want them to go - and it also sends a signal that they aren't welcome. Presumably that's a signal you want sent, and from what you've described, it's been received. So yes: I think continuing to lock the doors is petty, if another way to limit the MLM'ers can be found.

I'd have that conversation this way: I'd sit down with your mother and/or with Tina and tell them: look, this is an issue for me. You can be self-deprecating and describe yourself as anal, or you can be apologetic and say that you went about things the wrong way. Either way, the alternative to locking the doors is to ask your mother/Tina to respect your boundaries - to say, "I'll trust you. I won't lock the doors if you can set my mind at ease and assure me that the MLM'ers won't wander outside of Tina's area." If they say Tables and chairs are necessary, you can give your mother/Tina permission to get those things, but ask them to respect your wishes by keeping the other MLM'ers out of that space.

I don't think you're in the right with issue (4). MLM'ers are not going to prey on the children, and if you kick them out of Tina's space they'll still come to visit your mom. And why shouldn't they? You shouldn't have the power to dictate who she sees, even if you want to. When they come in you should be gracious and treat them like you would any non-MLM friend of your mom's. Maybe you can't, but you should. If they're distracting your mother for hours on end while she should be doing other work - that is, while she's on your clock, and getting paid - that's another issue, and you can bring it up with her in that way.

Someday your mother may free herself from their clutches. Or maybe she never will. Either way, you'll probably be happier if you can stop yourself from trying to control her - as much as I sympathize with your desire.

I hope all this helps. And best of luck to you.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Multi-Level Marketing (Feeling Taken Advantaged Of)
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 09:19:02 AM »
As for the MLM...do you have any way of finding out how much money your mom is losing? MLMs are nothing but pyramid schemes and only those at the top of the pyramid make any money.