Is “Work at Home” Too Good
to Be True?
Have you noticed signs posted that offer “Work
at Home” business opportunities where you could earn a
substantial amount of money? Prompted by appealing phrases such
as “financial freedom” or “financial success,”
have you considered calling the toll-free number on the sign
or thought about looking at the posted website? Have you been
invited to a “free seminar” at a local hotel to
discuss a new business opportunity?
In this time of increased unemployment and downsized companies
demanding more of existing employees, working at home can sound
very attractive. However, “work at home” opportunities
often are too good to be true and you should proceed cautiously
before literally buying into what could be false promises.
Business-opportunity fraud is one of the top 10 Wisconsin consumer
protection complaints. Wisconsin consumers from every corner
of the state complain they paid significant amounts to invest
in a business that had little or no value, they received none
of the promised assistance from the promoters of the business
venture, they found out the hard way there was no market for
the business venture being marketed, or they were required to
purchase expensive equipment that produced little or nothing
For example, a consumer in Columbia County complained of paying
more than $18,000 for what was promised to be a great market
for vending machines, plus the offer of significant marketing
assistance. The consumer said the promoter offered little marketing
help and that the market was virtually nonexistent because of
saturation by existing companies.
What should you look for in a work-at-home opportunity? First,
ask for the names of other investors and call them. Ask what
the time commitment was and what support the promoter provides.
Ask what the total cost was for the training, products, and
Second, ask the promoter to prove the income claim. Ask what
percentage of people actually achieved the level of income and
the time in took to achieve the level of income.
Third, ask for market surveys so you can judge the business
Fourth, ask whether other competing distributorships will operate
in your area.
Fifth, ask questions about the owners’ and officers’
level of experience. Do they really know what they are saying?
How long have they been in the business?
Sixth, find out if the promoter has a refund policy and if any
complaints have been filed with the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer
Finally, read the contract carefully and get all promises in
writing. The written contract will probably limit the promises
made to you and say that it represents your total agreement
with the promoter. This means the oral promises will have no