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becoming a sales rep is a big mistake

Complaint Rating:  91 % with 211 votes
91% 211
Contact information:
Medford, Oregon
United States
I signed on to become a representative for avon. It was only $10.00 and seemed like a great deal because you order product first and pay on a billing system. (Other companies you pay lots of money upfront). You attend meetings with other reps and learn about sales. I found out where avon makes money. Selling to reps. They offer this really great deal, so much money off if you obligate yourself to a certain number of a product. For example I thought I could sell 50 perfumes. They tell you, " hey it's no big deal, if you don't sell them, just send them back before you get billed!" if I were to sell these perfumes, I would also win a christian lacroix designer purse. Long story short, I didn't sell the perfume but the purse cam in the mail. I boxed it all up and sent it back. Not only did they claim not to recieve the purse and perfume back, they charged me $400 for a cheap nylon purse. So I ask my district leader for help. Apparently I was supposed to send the purse to a different department (However no one bothered to tell me that ever). And she recommended I call the help line. The help line has been outsourced to india and nobody understood what I was talking about. Since the purse was a prize and not something I ordered, they couldn't help me. I went back to my district leader for help (When I was placing orders she was my best friend) now she brushes me off. She can't help me and doesn't know the name of the new person in charge of prizes. So here I sit with a huge bill for perfume and a purse that I don't have. I can't get an itemized bill or invoice to save my life. And i'm being made to look like a loser by my district leader who is telling the other reps that I was removed for non-payment. $10 bucks my butt, the district leaders con you into obligating yourself to these programs. I watched out esteemed leader con a woman who had been selling for a week to buy 80 face creams. She will never sell those. Plus they tell you if you don't sellsomething, just return it. If you do too many returns, they freeze your account and you can't make the returns for a month and meanwhile you've gotten the bill for those items. If you read this and still decide to sell, be very careful. Some women can do it, but for every rep that makes it, at least 10 don't. I was recruiting so I know this for a fact. Thanks for listening.
Complaint comments Comments (61) Complaint country United States Complaint category Bad Business Partners


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A  16th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
My mom and I became Avon reps. It seemed like an easy way to make money, but like Kendra I do agree that they really don't care about helping you if you have a problem. I had a website which I cancelled and they keep billing me over and over again for a website that doesn't exist. I've cancelled orders and they still send it and charge me for it. I love Avon, but I'm very dissapointed with the way the company handles themselves. They charge you for too many things and by the time you add things up you make no money at all. Perhaps those people that have 50 or more customers can make a little money, but that's not the norm, unfortunately.
N  18th of Aug, 2008 by    -3 Votes
I work at avon cs, and rep are always complainig about little stuff...why i havent received my order??? DAH BECAUSE U DIDNT PAID ITS ON HOLD! why do i have to return items and pay for the return fee??? because no ONE FROM THE AVON BUSINESS CAN GO PERSONALLY AND PAY IT FOR U, AND BESIDES AVON STATES THAT U CAN RETURN THE ITEM BUT THERES NO SAYING THAT THE COMPANY WILL PAY FOR THAT, so ladies be smart and tell customers that avon policy is that yes u can return items but avon is not paying for the return unless the item was damaged... so they either pay the return or buy the item 'cuz is not fair for u reps.
when we cancel order we give u the greeting "We send the information in order to get your order cancel, but there might still be a chance it doesnt"... Yes maybe avon DOES charged u for a lot of stuff, but they have a reazon..they charged u 7dll fee for late order 'cuz the transportation line they are associated with, charged them MORE THAN THAT for delivering an order outside time rules...also if u received a order in "x" time u have 14 days to pay the amount outherwhise u can get a 5 dlls fee for late payment, 'cuz avon has people working there and they dont work for nothing u know! If avon did something wrong it can always be fixed, and if it didnt its because u maybe let so many time pass or u just didnt care that much...about dsm well i think that dsm u had/have has something personal against u...
D  20th of Aug, 2008 by    0 Votes
yes, I believe avon is to hard on thier reps we do all the work and get little in return. Sorry, thats just simply the way I feel.We should always have arep discount of 50% off .we work hard for it. The people they have working for them ohh thats another story . If you take offense to any of these storys then you never had to put up with a bunch of bull%$# from avon. so dont hate . these are our personal stories you were not there so you cant say anybody was wrong or anything about anotherthat you dont know.Ive had my f$##%d -up experiances with avon and far as i knownone of you haters were in on the conversations.So, buzzz off
"You dont understand"
N  4th of Sep, 2008 by    0 Votes
I am a sales rep and i havent had the above problems. I accepted the terms of buying brochures etc. I do have a huge problem with sales tax. It seems as if Avon charges sales tax on clothes. I am in new York and I cannot legally charge sales tax on clothes I didnt think Avon could either. I have called Avon and asked why I get sales tax charged they said someone woudld call me at their accouting department but no one has. I ahve been paying ovber 8 perent sales tax on clothes for 2 years now and i sell a lot of clothes. Anyone know why or what i should do?
D  22nd of Sep, 2008 by    0 Votes
I've been an Avon Rep for 11 years, I agree with some of the issues... such as customer service being answered in India, having to pay for the returns, and the list goes on. My point is that even of all this issues I'm a happy successful Avon Representative I've been able to meet great people and helped many of them achive their dreams with Avon. I've accomplish some of my dreams as well such as paying cash for a brand new car, family vacations (at least 3 a yr), I'm buying a comercial property (10, 000 sq. ft.) and in 2010 we are taking a family vacation to Spain for an entire month. All of this thindgs have been done out of my Avon Income. Life is what you want... You can complain about all the negative things, but there is good and bad. I don't let little things get my attetion of the good ones... I'm my own boss I decide my hours and rewards, I've been able to raise my family which was the reason I joined Avon. Avon has chaged my life and like I said I've been able to change others peoples life as well.
A  8th of Oct, 2008 by    +2 Votes
My mother has been selling Avon for a little under a year for supplemental income and I manage her books. I agree with the complaints that there are a lot of fees that I do not recall being presented by the rep that recruited her. Then again, I do fault her and myself for not reading the recruiting documents. I am sure they are in there. But they are minimal and to me (I have a MBA) are usual costs to running a business. The order Processing Charges and taxes (in most states) are transferred to the customer so I don't understand the purpose of the Order Processing Fee - sounds the same to me. It's minimal, so I will simply write that off on the taxes as an expense. Shipping is free and the internet usage is waived if you receive an order on line, which these days you should have at least one online order. At the same time, if you do not build your customer base, it seems as if you are loosing money. Finding and keeping customers are the key. Like I said, it has only been a year, and like any other business, time is needed for it to grow. The IRS allows a loss on a business for two years before they see it as hobby and assess a hobby tax on the income, so if she does not start to make a profit after the second year, we will find another way to supplement income.
A  8th of Oct, 2008 by    +1 Votes
Also, just like any other business, you need cash flow. We are learning this the hard way. You should have funds (i.e. a line of credit or a credit card) set to the side to pay for your merchandise so your customers will not be waiting and they work with Avon later on returns, credits, etc. Any retailer will tell you that they have "credit limits" with their merchandisers when they make orders. Avon reps are no different. You have to pay for the merchandise before they will continue to send you more. I do not like the fact that Avon bascially "penalize" reps for returning merchandise. If the customer changes their mind or returns something, they have a right to. I think Avon's idea is that you sell it to someone else in lieu of sending it back. They are in the direct sell business, so if they wanted to run a catalog operations then they would not need reps - get it? I don't like it too much, but it is what is it. It was only $10 to start and I don't think we have lost too much. Every "business" is a risk. You count your loses (right it off on your taxes) and move on to something else.
A  14th of Oct, 2008 by    +1 Votes
I wanted to make some extra cash too, so I became a sales rep. I didn't realize how often I would be receiving phone calls in the middle of the day & during class when I specifically told the the District people not to call... I couldn't make meetings because of my school schedule AND the meetings were too far for me to drive on a school night. Whatever... I just wish at my "$10.00 meeting" that my manager had told me all of these things. It's unfortunate but I just started ignoring calls because they were starting to annoy me. Luckily I haven't been bamboozled with the whole returning products and accounting freezing issues. I just need to figure out how to cancel my rep status because this DEFINITELY isn't for me.
A  25th of Oct, 2008 by    +3 Votes
I'm having the same problem . I have just signed on with them, in sept. I have gone through a divorce and have been diagnosed with a rare nurological disorder which left me with permant damage . I have just been released from the hosp. from a 10 day stay . I have had only one order which was for 39. dollars and have had several returns. my 39 dollar order, I have had difficulty getting the girl to pay. Unfortunately, I'm on a disability and have had exactly 12 dollars, after my rent, lights, and phone with no frills were paid and I have no car, I have no other income and no help, no credit cards nothing so could not pay it for her, she has put me off and put me off, now she has put me off until next Friday. I'm too ill to fight it at this time and Avon has my bill up to 180 dollar, though my manage did get it down to 80 but another lady put an order in, though hers did not all come in and she has said she could not pay yet either so, I will not even mess with it and am sending it back. I have noticed that I can not get in to send back. I am really sick of the games AVON plays and do not like them. Also the products are cheaply made and fall apart . Once this mess is cleared, I will be finished with AVON.
N  25th of Oct, 2008 by    +3 Votes
N  31st of Oct, 2008 by    +2 Votes
You got to be careful. Why are you so gullible? If u know you cant sell so many perfume why the hell did u buy them? If you wanted to return it, you should have caled the help-line and leader to ask for details. If you read all the flyers and other info. you received when you signed up, you woudn't face this problem. Tell your customers that you WONT take the stuff back, if they have a problem then they can find another rep. It works for me and i never face such problems.

P.S: i am a smart rep.
N  21st of Dec, 2016 by    +1 Votes
@whatever now days you get the money up front before you place your order. if they cant pay for it, i just tell them to Waite and order it on an norther campaign there no reason you should pay for some one else stuff, i don.t do that . it money 1 st and if not Waite till next campaign or order on line. later.
N  16th of Nov, 2008 by    0 Votes
I have read all the entries and the one thing I can agree with is the customer service dept. The people in India don't understand American slang, so they can't understand most of what you are telling them. I have found out that the fees are crazy and out of hand. As for the e-rep fee ($7.50), I was advised to have my husband place a order and then I don't have to pay the fee, not a bad ideal, and you make 40% on INTERNET sales. I have also made a payment and then place a order a few minutes later. They recorded the payment asap, but the order on the next day. That meant they were able to charge me a late fee. This has happened to me several times. I talked to my DSM about the problem and she told me she would get the fees returned. I have been in sales for over 35 years and only selling Avon for 3 months, so I agree with Sara about ordering all the perfume. It may look like you can make a lot of money but if you don't have at least 2x the customers then don't order the perfume. (ie 25 bottle w/5 free and you only have 5 to 6 people who place orders, who's going to buy the rest?). I think my biggest problem is support. I expected to get a lot of ideas and maybe even a phone call when I was suppose to place my 1st order, but I got nil. I guess I am lucky I know how to be a independent sales agent, I also sell Real Estate. I joined Avon because I needed to make money, I soon realized it will take a few years and lots of hard work to pay for a car. I have met my DSM and know I can get all the help I want from her but, will I keep selling for 3 or more years? I don't agree with Sara about the returns. When you become a rep. you are responsible to follow company rules, and Avon says you can return anything. Good luck in keeping your customers.
N  5th of May, 2009 by    +1 Votes
I have been selling for about a year now and I don't have these problems. I agree, it is hard to understand CS because of them being out of India. That much I don't like. Other than that, I have had a very good experience. I have had to do 1 return all year. As far as ordering the large quantities, you are not conned into it. It's your choice. All you have to do is say no. They are not forcing you to take them. I mean, really, why would you want to buy 50 bottles of one kind of perfume? Do you think every woman is going to want JUST THAT KIND? That's just silly. I've never bought that much of any product and I'm turning a profit. I don't keep any inventory at all. Sorry you had so much trouble with AVON, but really, do you have to try to destroy the reputation so bad that the rest of us won't succeed along with you? That's just really childish.
N  7th of May, 2009 by    0 Votes
N  19th of May, 2009 by    +2 Votes
I think all you women are in the wrong business, but then again like me im a rep for Beauticontrol and love the products so I see where your from with beauticontrol you and your clients get 100% customer and rep satisfaction and help and no the calls do not go to India lol..Thats the kinda business you get with an avon consumer. Beauticontrol is based in texas!!! I can return the product if damaged and my company will and has returned it at no cost. Also if the client does not like it or finds something wrong with it they will refund them and the client does not have to return the product they can KEEP IT!!! So explore your opportunities ladies This type of work doesnt always have to be work! In my business I can spa everyday and get paid for IT!
A  22nd of May, 2009 by    +1 Votes
I have been a rep for almost 5 mos now and I like the selling and I like the discount stuff i get however, I don't go over board. I don't go for those big deals because that's not part of why I wanted to be a rep. I just wanted a part time job that I could parlay into something if I lost my job, especially in this economy. However, I did want to share that there is a lot of BS that goes on and some bad business practices. As I said I have been a rep for almost 5 mos and I signed up for Quick pay almost immediately, when you can pay directly from your checking account. I opened a new checking account just for my Avon business and I sent them a voided check from the account however, it was a starter check. Nothing in the application for Quick pay says you can't send starter checks and why does imprint information matter when yo should be verifying the account and account holder's name and information anyway. In any event, for 3 maybe 4 months Avon has accepted my Quick pay payment but this past campaign when I went to make my payment, I couldn't use my quick pay, they said that I was not enrolled. When I inquired further they told me that I sent a starter check and they didn't accept starter checks. They told me that I would have to re enroll and sent a check with my information printed on it. I informed them that it was not an account that I would be writing checks from so it would be stupid for me to order checks it would be cheaper for me to get a visa debit card and use that checks would cost me about $25 and the check card is free. Oh don't let me forget to tell you that they held my order, which was really just samples and demos for myself, until I made a payment. So I used a credit card, but that means now my accounting is going to get more complicated at the end of the year. I now have to pay that part of my bill before the next billing cycle and then write a check to pay me back for what I charged. Oh and when I called the help line and told them I wanted to complain because I had received no notification about the status of my Quickpay account they insisted that a letter had been mailed to me. Yes it had, I got it at 4pm that same day. So I called back and informed them of this and let them know that I wanted to file a complaint. I think Jay ( the specialist I spoke with) pretended to put the information in the computer and told me that he forwarded a complaint to the proper individual, but I will be following up.
A  18th of Jun, 2009 by    +1 Votes
I became an Avon rep in February. Paid all my accounts for campaign 5, 6 and 7. I got a letter from Avon the other day saying they've tried to contact me several times ("despite our efforts to contact you...etc). for money I owned for campaign 8 (47.00) which I never ordered from, and this is the first time I've heard about this issue. I called the "customer service" line and got someone from India who I could barely understand. After 20 minutes on the phone with them all they could tell me was that I ordered something from campaign 8 but they couldn't say what, they didn't have that information. I've tried to get on the representative website, which is always difficult, doesn't recognize my account number, and the district number only allows me to enter in 3 digits, and my district number is 4 digits. I've tried to contact my district manager and my phone calls have not been returned. Despite their efforts to contact me? Give me a break. Contacting the President would be easier than contacting them. Now this morning I get a call from a COLLECTION AGENCY! Thanks Avon for screwing my credit and giving me nothing in return. Don't fall for this scam. I'll have to bite the bullet and pay them $47.00 for something I (and my former customers) never received. Oh, but I bet they'll get the CHECK HUH???? Avon sucks.
N  17th of Jul, 2009 by    +1 Votes
I have tried to become an Avon Rep but after doing an application online and receiving an e-mail no one contacted me.I called the phone # that was sent to my e-mail several times and left messages to no avail.After reading these complaints I guess it"s a blessing in disguise that no one returned my phone calls .
N  22nd of Jul, 2009 by    -2 Votes
I don't understand what is wrong with their "EZ Returns" department, but it's a nightmare. I was asked to return 2 pairs of shoes for which only ever got one pair. So I put the return on one line and an explanation for the other line at the bottom. (But I suspect the people handling returns don't speak/read English as a first language.)

So I sent an email via my YourAvon.com account. They sent an email back saying the issues was cleared up. But I got another letter, both by mail, and a threat in my invoice (well after I was assured it was taken care of) to please return the shoes or I'll get charged.

I emailed CS again and they again said not to worry about it, but I suspect I'll get billed for them anyway. And you cannot imagine how many sales it will take for me to replace that $20 bucks. (after expenses, I'm lucky to walk away with $3 profit on an order.)
N  31st of Jul, 2009 by    -2 Votes
"I don't understand what is wrong with their "EZ Returns" department, but it's a nightmare. I was asked to return 2 pairs of shoes for which only ever got one pair. So I put the return on one line and an explanation for the other line at the bottom. (But I suspect the people handling returns don't speak/read English as a first language.)"

First Avon doesn't have an EZ Returns department, it is just returns -- and it is in SPRINGDALE OHIO USA -- they can and do speak english as a first language.
second if you use EZ returns PROPERLY you would know a billed and missing item is a CODE 30 and Avon doesn't expect it back. The returns are done one at a time.

You can check your own EZ returns to see if it is cleared. There is training and help link for EZ returns, which if you have half a brain is easy.

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