DURBAN - TRAVEL and earn company WorldVentures (South Africa) is on the brink of collapse as thousands of representatives have not been paid commission since October.
The representatives, mainly professionals who gave up their jobs in pursuit of lucrative dollar payouts, have now taken legal action to get what they are owed.
It’s estimated WorldVentures signed up more than 20000 members in South Africa, many of them based in Durban.
The company is a home-based direct sales travel club which thrives on a recruitment model.
Joburg resident Devraj Soojay, the first South African to have joined, is suing WorldVentures for more than R2.6million in commission owed to him and his wife, Cassandra.
WorldVentures spokesperson Sophia Stoller said fraud in some of their markets abroad caused them to fall behind in commission payouts, but they were making good on outstanding payments.
In US-filed court papers, seen by the Sunday Tribune, Devraj and Cassandra are suing WorldVentures for their unpaid commissions, collectively worth more than $106000 (about R1.5m).
The couple lodged their lawsuit with the Texas District Court in July.
They joined the company in 2009 and climbed the ranks to become its top earners in South Africa.
In court documents, they claimed that 70% of the company’s membership in South Africa was due to their work.
They said that since October WorldVentures had paid them only $65000, instead of the $156000 due to them for commission earned.
They are also claiming interest on the outstanding commission payments and $75000 in legal fees.
Devraj recently shared on his social media pages that he had left WorldVentures due to ongoing non-payment issues.
Contacted for comment, he said he could not say anything as the company had obtained an interdict from the Gauteng High Court to prevent him from making any statements.
Several representatives who contacted this newspaper claimed their lives had been endangered as a result of the non-payment debacle.
Representatives also alleged they were recently “scammed” into paying $160 for a product called the Flye Smart Card from WorldVentures, which was meant to have several benefits for members.
However, they did not receive the card and later found out it did not work in South Africa.
WorldVentures describes itself on its website as “a lifestyle company that markets travel-related products”.
Representatives are easily identifiable on social media for posting pictures of the blue WorldVentures logo which includes the company’s tagline “You should be here”.
The company was investigated by the Hawks in 2016 for operating a pyramid-style scheme.
Enraged members started a campaign this week, posting placards around cities with the words “You should pay me. Share all over social media. Don’t join this movement. People are losing all the way”.
Stoller said the company faced short-term challenges last year because of fraud in its member base in certain markets.
“We have been able to identify the cause and have taken steps to halt the activity that targeted programmes created specifically to benefit WorldVentures DreamTrips members.
“This caused a brief delay in some commission payments. Payments to representatives are now taking place as they fall due,” said Stoller.
She said WorldVentures was working directly with its independent representatives to resolve payment issues as quickly as possible.
Regarding the Flye Card, Stoller said it was a US beta product still being refined for in-market use. “All sales of the Flye Card clearly identify it as a beta product and as such it may not be consistently reliable in test markets. It is not yet available for sale in South Africa,” she said.