How to tell long time customer i'm not interested in her MLM
March 13, 2019 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I've had this one customer for a long time and we've gotten kind of friendly over the years. Not hang out together friendly, but Christmas card friendly. Anyway, she's always coming up with these Multi Level Marketing get rich quick schemes. I've already dodged a couple, but the marketeers are getting trickier and more complicated to debunk.

The latest scheme is a phone app that purports to be a free way to accept payment for services, while at the same time earn "points". I'm not entirely sure how it works, but I recognize the names of some of the people involved, and they are the same people from other MLM scams. Hard to say "no" to a free app that will supposedly help her pay me, and help me accept payments. She's a nice lady with a great family, and I'd hate to see her get ripped off by one of these scams, but really she's just a customer of mine, and that's the way I'd like to keep it. I know she's only telling me about these "opportunities" because she thinks both of us could make money on it, but a minimum of Googling shows the scammy-ness of it. I obviously don't want any part of these schemes, but how do I tell her that gently, without losing her as a customer?
posted by ambulocetus to Human Relations (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"I'm sorry, I'm afraid that won't be possible."
posted by Slinga at 12:15 PM on March 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

“I am sorry, but I am happy with my current payment options. “
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:16 PM on March 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

"I'm sorry but I'd like to focus all my time and energy on -insert core business-."
posted by noloveforned at 12:21 PM on March 13, 2019

Don’t overthink it. Also, don’t bother trying to tell her. It’s pretty shocking how some people seem wired to go from scam to scam. So even if they lost money on the last one they don’t seem able to give up on the dream of scam success. My MIL is on her 4th internet scam “boyfriend” and she won’t be deterred. Just keep saying “No, I won’t be changing my setup. How are other things in your world?” Demur and move on. Make sure she pays for your services up front.
posted by amanda at 12:22 PM on March 13, 2019 [13 favorites]

"thanks for thinking of me, but I'm set as far as [X] goes! How are things with you?"
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:47 PM on March 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

Decline, and re-iterate the accountant-approved payment options you do accept in your business. Treat it as a longstanding customer looking for a different way to pay you, ignoring the MLM aspect: "That service isn't right for Amulocetus Unlimited, Sadie, but if your usual check payment isn't convenient for you right now, we do take Visa, Mastercard..." etc.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:31 PM on March 13, 2019 [13 favorites]

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. The repetitiveness of the experiences can be frustrating. I have a sibling that goes in for these things and unfortunately can't seem to see the trail of unrecognized unrealistic expectations in his wake. I agree wholeheartedly with the advice that there's no point in trying to tell her. All she sees is dollar signs.

If it helps you at all, I try to soothe myself with the karmic expectation that the greasy shysters who run these things have an especially extra-crispy-hot cell waiting for them in hell.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:13 PM on March 13, 2019

Only posting to say hey, please don't use the word shyster. Its anti-semitic connotations are hard to escape, even if that's not what you intend. (To contribute more directly to the conversation, I'll say Iris Gambol is right on the money!)
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:20 PM on March 13, 2019 [13 favorites]

Hard to say "no" to a free app that will supposedly help her pay me, and help me accept payments.

Would you accept Bitcoin in payment? If not, maybe you could marshal similar reasoning.

For me, just the computer security risk of installing a random no-name free app, which even if it were legit to start off could easily be sold and used for nefarious purposes by new owners, would be enough of a basis to refuse. (And as you may know there's stuff like Facebook's Onavo, repeatedly banned from the Apple App Store, where a company you'd think would need to maintain a reputation is quite willing to make sketchy spyware apps. More sketchy than usual, that is.)
posted by XMLicious at 2:33 PM on March 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ha! Funny you should mention Bitcoin. One of the "features" of this app is the ability to accept Bitcoin and other cryptos. Apparently she either misinterpreted or didn't notice my raised eyebrow.
posted by ambulocetus at 2:42 PM on March 13, 2019

You've got some good sample wording from others here, so I'd just add to keep your phrasing the same each time it comes up. The more often you state your reason differently, you'll inadvertently be inviting her to take a different angle to convince you.
posted by Twicketface at 2:52 PM on March 13, 2019 [8 favorites]

Thank you for thinking of me but I’m very happy with my current payment options.
posted by Jubey at 7:02 PM on March 13, 2019

I know she's only telling me about these "opportunities" because she thinks both of us could make money on it

She's hounding you about multiple MLMs because she needs to recruit more suckers in hopes of earning money off of them.

She's not doing this to be nice. One of the most unethical aspects of MLMs is the how the participants take advantage of social situations and presume on personal relationships in order to recruit for their downlines and/or to find buyers for their MLM products. They treat their relationships with people as opportunities for personal gain. That is not what nice people do, and that is not an ethical business model.

You may have to be tactful in putting off this woman every time she tries to sell you on another one of her money-making schemes, but you certainly don't have to feel guilty or even uncomfortable for doing so. She's the transgressor here, putting you into an awkward position where it's hard for you to say no. She's aware of that and she doesn't care, because for her it's all about money.

You get to know who your friends really are when some of them get into an MLM. If they're willing to use deceptive tactics to recruit, or won't take No for an answer, they're not friends.
posted by Lunaloon at 5:31 AM on March 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

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