Not So Special Reports

Janet answers a question about multi-level marketing as a start-up business in Canada.

Dear Janet,

I recently received an email about a multi-level marketing program that allows you to make money by selling reports via e-mail. I’m wondering if this is legal in Canada, and if it is, how do I go about setting up a business and registering it with the government.

–Hopeful in Canada

Dear Hopeful,

Without having more details, it’s hard to know for sure, but this does not sound like a legitimate multilevel marketing business. Instead, it sounds like a new twist on an old ploy – one that has been used for years to get opportunity seekers to part with their hard-earned cash.

What is usually sold in such scams is the right to resell a bunch of mostly special reports that have little or no true value. The reports are typically a page or so long and provide little information of value. For your money, you get the right to find some other poor suckers to buy the same worthless reports and rights you’ve purchased.

Whether this could pass muster legally as a legitimate business is likely to depend on how it is set up. But even if it is legal, consider your own sense of ethics. If you pursue this opportunity you will be paying for worthless reports and encouraging other people to do likewise (pay for worthless reports and then find even more suckers to do the same thing.)

When you do find a legitimate and worthwhile business to start, here are two Canadian web sites that can help you get the startup information you seek:

http://www.cbsc.org/osbw/

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