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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Pyramid scheme or not a pyramid scheme: A closer look at PHP Agency

“We do believe that this company is operating a lawful MLM, a multi-level marketing company,” said Moncia Horton, Better Business Bureau.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Our Local 24 News team is here for you answering the questions that you have even when it comes to business.

One viewer asked us to look into an insurance agency operating in Shelby County. 

Pyramid scheme or not a pyramid scheme? That is the question.

A viewer asked us to check into People Helping People or PCP Agency for short. It is an insurance agency based in Texas with agents all across the country including Shelby County.  

“We can allow people to become part time agents. They have a decision that is all up to them. They can stay part time. They can transition to full time. We elect people the opportunity to be an agency owner themselves,” said Chris Richardson, PHP Agency Senior Marketing Director. 

Richardson said their agents become licensed to sell insurance. 

Then, they have the option to recruit and train new agents while receiving a profit.

“The rest of the insurance industry is growing to about a 4-percent prior to us doing what we’re doing. We’re shattering that number, shattering that number almost by 20 times,” said Richardson. 

So, we posed two questions. First, is this legit. We asked the Better Business Bureau. 

“The PCP Agency Incorporated is BBB accredited business. They have been accredited with us since September of 2020,” said Monica Horton, Better Business Bureau North Texas Spokesperson. “PHP Agency currently has an A-minus rating with the Better Business Bureau...The reason for the minus, the A-minus is because they currently have 174 complaints on file with us.”  

That threshold is based off the size of the company which now has more than 20,000 agents. 

“If you’re a company and you have one customer and one complaint, that’s a big deal. If you’re a company and you have a thousand customers and one complaint, maybe not so much,” said Horton. 

Secondly, is this a pyramid scheme?  

“We do believe that this company is operating a lawful MLM, a multi-level marketing company,” said Horton.

It is not a pyramid scheme. 

 “When there are pyramid schemes and things like that, the difference is there is not usually a product. There is money changing hands and there’s not necessarily a product being sold,” said Horton. 

“In our business, you have to have a license. You have to be fingerprinted, background check has to be clean. All of those things are under high regulation,” said Richardson. 

The Better Business Bureau said multi-level marketing companies are not for everyone. 

Guidelines for these companies also vary from state to state. 

That is why it is important do your research before signing on.