I’m just not sure I buy the advice in this column, much as I want to

We have an old debt that continues to haunt us. Or I should say, that my husband has an old debt from his previous marriage. However, it’s something that he truly feels that is not his debit. He was out of the country for two years, his wife opened an account without his signature, charged an item, and according to the divorce document was responsible for after the divorce.

However, it has continued to be sold, and rereported as new, to various collection agencies. They come around about every 6 months and send us a letter or two (we just got a new one this week offering 50% payment). But it keeps getting renewed on his credit report and despite having disputed it, it remains. We just get a notification from the credit bureaus that it is a valid debt. (It may be valid, but it’s not HIS.)

We’re at a loss as to how to handle it – it’s over 12 years old. On one hand, I’d just like it to go away. On the other hand, we really feel like it’s legally not his debt. I haven’t yet requested validation from any of the collection agencies because I am sure they will just give us the same runaround “it’s valid” that we’ve gotten from the credit bureau.

Anyway, no point to this rambling other than to say that in my experience, I just haven’t found that disputing a debt with a credit bureau does much of anything.

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I am a former ACN Distributor

It has been about 10 years since I last went to a meeting, so I am not sure what has changed since that time. I do know that the company has gone international.
My perception of the company, based on my own experience is that it’s mostly a recruiting scheme. The customer acquisition bonus that’s paid out to up-line when a new recruit gets the minimum number of customers far outweighs the actual residual income checks. The percentage is so small that even after I hit the third level, my monthly checks never even broke $100.
Every week there were weekly meetings that we were expected to attend and pay for. Then the monthly regional’s and the quarterly nationals. All paid for out my pocket. At every regional or national there was a new training tool that would revolutionize your business. A must have. It would be unveiled just before lunch break so every one would rush to the exhibition hall and buy up dozens of the things.
I worked the business for about 3 and a half years and earned maybe $5000 to $6000 in that time. I spent about three times that much on all the training events and tools.
The worst part of this and opportunities like them is that they are presented in a very deceptive way. You’re told that it’s an easy, almost effortless way to make money and that you’ll be living a life of ease and comfort in no time.
The reality is that only those handful of people who have the stamina to work 24/7 year in and year out ever make it to the promised land. And they do it on the backs of a lot of people with no talent for selling which is the other requirement. At one of the trainings I heard a top money maker brag that he knew ACN would work for him because years earlier he had made a killing selling ineffective, over priced water filters to people. You have to be able to sell the dream even when you know that the person your taking $500 from doesn’t have the fortitude to work the business.
There also is a cult like aspect to most MLMs. In ACN we were told to avoid anyone who might be negative to the sales pitch. They were classified at the time as “rotten apples.”
Having said all this, there are people who make money at this game. The shark-like amoral people who will sell anything, regardless of it’s value, to any one. Also the companies whose products ACN markets make out fairly well.
I know this for a fact because some of the people I signed up for long distance service all those years ago are still using the service.
I would suggest that you try and set some ground rules for you and your mom.
No business discussion at all. You don’t have to buy into ACN to be supportive. If she has paid for your distributorship out of her own pocket(not uncommon) offer to reimburse her if you’re not interested in working the business.
We were also told to get out prospects lists as soon as possible so that we could mine them before the person got cold feet and decided to drop out. You can say no to this. It might be awkward at first but in the long run it will be okay. If ACN is the can’t fail opportunity that they promote it as, your mom will do just as well without pestering your friends.

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