Companies Utilizing Deceptive Marketing and Unethical Practices

Krystal Smith

From deceptive marketing tactics and hidden fees to unethical labor practices and predatory lending, some businesses are so dishonest that they should be illegal. We explore 15 companies that say they are a business but are organized crimes in disguise:

Multi-Level Marketing

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Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) itself is not inherently illegal. However, it often gets a negative reputation due to practices that can resemble unlawful pyramid schemes. MLM businesses operate within a legal framework, allowing them to sell products through a network of distributors who earn commissions on their sales and their recruits’ sales. The core structure often makes it difficult for most distributors to earn substantial profits solely from product sales, relying heavily on building an extensive network. This resembles pyramid schemes, where the primary focus is recruitment for financial gain.

Payday Loans

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While not technically illegal, payday loans raise many ethical issues, with some calling for a ban. These loans typically have exorbitant interest rates and fees, often exceeding 300% Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This can trap borrowers in a cycle of debt as they struggle to repay the loan with the additional charges. Lenders will downplay the actual cost of the loan and focus solely on the ease of acquiring quick cash, which is why some believe the practice borders on illegal.

Politicians Trading Stocks

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Politicians can access confidential information influencing stock prices, such as upcoming legislation or government contracts. Trading stocks based on this non-public information gives them an unfair advantage over the general public and could be considered illegal insider trading.

Gambling Businesses

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The main complaint against the gambling industry is that it might target individuals who are struggling financially or are susceptible to addiction. Individuals might lose significant amounts of money, impacting their financial stability and potentially causing debt. Businesses are solely focused on making large profits, which allows people to fall into such addictions. 

Pharmacy Benefit Management

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PBMs often need more transparency regarding their pricing structures and the rebates they negotiate with drug manufacturers. Some argue that PBMs might receive hidden fees or undisclosed profits from drug manufacturers in exchange for favorable positioning on their formularies (lists of covered medications). This can be seen as a form of kickback, which is illegal.

Online Review Sites

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While there are many genuine reviews on websites, some individuals or businesses might post fake positive reviews to inflate their online reputation or negative reviews to harm a competitor. Online review sites implement various measures to detect and remove fake reviews, but this is an ongoing challenge, which means customers do not know what is genuine and what isn’t.

Printer Ink Companies

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Printer ink cartridges are significantly more expensive per milliliter than other liquids like gold or champagne. This vast discrepancy between production costs and retail prices is a significant point of contention as people wonder if the high prices are genuinely justified. In addition, some printer models use proprietary cartridges with chips that prevent refilling with compatible ink, forcing consumers to purchase expensive original cartridges that could be better for the pocket or the environment. 

U.S Health Insurance

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Health insurance companies operate within a legal system with regulations and oversight from government agencies. However, insurance premiums can be prohibitively expensive for many individuals, limiting access to adequate healthcare and leaving some people wondering how the government can get away with leaving people in such awful predicaments. 

Utility Companies

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Utility companies must exist as they provide vital services like electricity, water, and gas, which are essential for everyday living. However, a single company might monopolize providing specific utilities in many regions, leading to limited options and high costs. 

Shell Corporation 

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While shell corporation aren’t illegal, their potential to be used for unlawful purposes fuels the perception that they are. Shell corporation are often established in jurisdictions with relaxed regulations and secrecy laws, making it challenging to identify the owners and the source of their funds. The main concerns around shell companies are tax evasion, money laundering, and fraud.

Penny Stock Trading

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Penny stock trading is legal in the United States. However, due to the inherent risks involved, strict regulations and safeguards exist to prevent fraud and protect investors. Fraudulent attempts to artificially inflate the price of a stock through false information are common, as people aim to deceive investors into buying before the price plummets.

Prayers for Cures

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Thousands of people flock to healing ceremonies in various churches that claim they can cure people of disease. Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports that prayer alone does not cure medical conditions. Promoting prayer cures can lead individuals to forgo essential medical treatment, potentially causing harm to their health, and there are claims that this practice should be made illegal.

Reverse Auction Websites

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People believe reverse auction websites might warrant stricter regulations. The bidding process on these platforms can reduce prices (wages or service fees) to an extreme, potentially leading to unfair compensation for workers or service providers. With a focus on getting things as cheap as possible, there is a risk that low-quality items are being sold to well-intended customers. 

Ghost Detection Equipment

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Many keen ghost enthusiasts are on the lookout for signs of the supernatural. However, the existence of ghosts or paranormal phenomena lacks conclusive scientific backing, and some say that selling expensive equipment to search for ghosts is unethical. Ghost detection equipment often relies on pseudoscience or unproven methods, making its claims unreliable.

Rent to Own

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RTO contracts often involve inflated purchase prices for the underlying good (furniture, appliances, etc.), leading to significant overpayment compared to a standard retail purchase. While making payments, the renter doesn’t own the goods, meaning the seller can repossess the item if payments are missed, even if a significant portion of the cost has already been paid.

Unnoticed Expenses That Might Be Draining Your Wallet

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Here are some of the most commonly overlooked expenses that significantly take a chunk of your hard-earned money.

High-Potential Careers Where Experience is Not Needed

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If you have little experience in working different jobs but you are looking for a well-paid career, take a look at these low-skill, high-paid jobs.

Legit Ways to Make $200 in One Day

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Are you in need of some extra cash and want to make $200 a day quickly? Whether you have an unexpected expense, want to supplement your income, or just want to work from home, there are numerous legitimate ways to achieve this goal.

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