One world, one vision
|Headquarters||Concord, North Carolina, USA|
|Robert Stevanovski, Chairman
Gregory Provenzano, President
Anthony Cupisz, VP
Michael Cupisz, VP
Chip Barker, CEO
|Revenue||US$ 800 million (2014) |
ACN, Inc. is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that provides telecommunications, television, energy and other services, depending on the country, through a network of independent sales agents known as "Independent Business Owners" (IBOs), who themselves recruit new IBOs who must pay sign up fees which go as bonuses to the IBO recruiting plus other IBOs higher in the level/pyramid. Bonuses are paid to recruiting IBOs only when a certain amount of services are sold or bought within the first month of joining. Based in Concord, North Carolina, USA, ACN began operations in the United States in 1993 as American Communications Network. It extended operations to Europe in 1999, to the Pacific in 2006, to Asia in 2011, and now operates in 24 countries, on four continents. As a reflection of its international operations, it changed its name to just the initial letters ACN. The company is a member of the Direct Selling Associations in North America  and Europe.
The company is based in Concord, North Carolina, United States, ACN has international expansion offices located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Sydney, Australia; Wrocław, Poland; Umeå, Sweden and Seoul, South Korea and Mexico
In 1993, Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano, and twin brothers Tony and Mike Cupisz, founded the American Communications Network, Inc. ACN opened for business in January, 1993 with twenty initial "independent representatives". ACN's initial business was as a marketing arm for a long-distance reseller called LCI Communications. This relationship lasted for five years until LCI was acquired by Qwest Communications. By 1998, ACN was listed in Inc. Magazine's Inc. 500 list as No. 22 in this annual list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America.
Formerly ACN, through the subsidiaries ACN Energy and ACN Utility Services, operated as a gas and electricity retailer. ACN's energy assets were acquired by Commerce Energy Group in 2006.
Since 2006, ACN has been endorsed by multi-billionaire and The Apprentice executive producer, Donald Trump. He has spoken at ACN International Training Events at which he has praised the company's founders, business model and video phone.
ACN built its own digital phone service network in 2008. On June 21, 2012, ACN launched its newest generation video phone, the IRIS X.
In 2011, ACN expanded operation to the Czech Republic and Hungary, bringing the company's reach to 23 countries on four continents.
ACN offers landline telephone service (local and long distance), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), including video phone service, high-speed internet, satellite television, cellular phone, and home security services, primarily to consumers, and secondarily to small businesses. Beginning in 2011, ACN also began offering an ACN-branded international calling smartphone app available for iPhone, Android and Symbian, reselling WiMAX wireless Internet, and technical support service for personal and business computers, as well as getting back into the energy reselling market.
With variations depending upon the country of operation, provision of ACN's services follows three models:
- The reselling of ACN-branded services ultimately originating in an incumbent provider. This is exemplified by local and long-distance telephone, where ACN buys local telephone service from an incumbent provider such as Qwest or AT&T, and bills customers in its own name. This model was made possible by telephone industry deregulation beginning in 1996; prior to this, ACN was involved solely in reselling long-distance telephone service. It was the expansion of deregulation internationally that made it possible for ACN to begin to operate outside the United States.
- Acting as a sales agent for the service provider, where an ACN representative sells the service, but order fulfillment, billing, and servicing is performed by the branded provider. In the US, ACN resells internet service through AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Cox. ACN offers wireless services through Flash Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Television services are provided through DIRECTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS. Home security is offered through Lifeshield for renters and ADT Home Security for homeowners. ACN home automation is offered through Vivint. ACN now also resells energy (electricity and natural gas) through Planet Energy and XOOM.
- The selling of ACN-branded and provided services. These are Voice over Internet Protocol and the Iris X Videophone, in which ACN owns and maintains its own network of servers. Starting in January 2011, ACN has also added an ACN-branded computer technical support service to its service offerings.
In following the laws applicable to the direct-selling industry, ACN's Income Disclosure Statement bears the warning that "not all ACN Independent Representatives make a profit and no one can be guaranteed success as an ACN Independent Representative."
ACN has been criticised for not providing a large enough financial return from direct sales while recruitment bonuses pay dividends. ACN claims it is a Customer Acquisition Company.
The Federal Trade Commission warns, "It’s best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products."
Like many Legalised pyramid schemes, ACN is claimed to disguise itself from being an obvious pyramid scheme by providing legitimate products which are of competitive value.
The word Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that they are an enthusiastic independent seller (or marketer of ideas) for whom they are (maybe secretly) working. The person or group with the shill is using crowd psychology to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods and services or accept the ideas being marketed. ACN has been criticised for doing this as they hold many meetings containing hundreds of people and thousands when national or international training events occur. It is claimed ACN makes a substantial profit from its representatives who pay for the tickets at unnecessary prices.
In response to criticism posted on the Internet, ACN's Global General Counsel, Colleen Jones, very blindly states that "ACN is aware of the bad press that's out there on the internet, and we pretty much ignore it." 
In August, 2010 the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen announced the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order and Notice of Proposed Agency Action against ACN, Inc. and several of its founders for allegedly operating a "pyramid scheme."  In September, 2010 the Commissioner moved to vacate the Cease and Desist Order in full settlement of the case. In the course of the Commissioner's investigation, the Commissioner determined that the actions giving rise to the initial concerns were not part of the ACN business model, but instead were isolated instances taking place by certain ACN's independent representatives in Montana. The Commissioner and ACN agreed that ACN would implement additional training with its independent representatives to assist them in better understanding their responsibilities as ACN independent representatives, and that ACN would contact its Montana video phone customers to assist them with installation of their service.
On June 13, 2002, ACN settled a case with the Bureau of Consumer Services in Pennsylvania wherein it was alleged that a small number of IBOs were "slamming", or switching consumer services without authorization. ACN disputed the allegations and the exact details of the settlement are under court seal. However, the suit alleged that approximately 135 informal complaints were filed with the Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) between June 2000 and November 2001, consisting of 22 consumers alleging that their generation service was switched without authorization ("slamming"), 81 alleged instances of overcharging ("cramming"), and 32 complaints with allegations of various violations of the Commission's regulations contained in Chapter 54, 56, and 57 of Title 52 of the Pennsylvania Code.
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