QNET cheats scores in Kerala with tiered marketing fraud – The New Indian Express
Express news service
MALAPPURAM: Hundreds of people in Kerala have filed complaints that QNET, a direct selling company headquartered in Hong Kong (according to its website qnet.net), defrauded them of several hundred thousand rupees. The people who lost money in this multi-level marketing fraud have formed WhatsApp groups to fight together to get their money back and one of those groups alone has over 250 members. Members of this particular group say they have invested in total over Rs 12 crore, believing in the company’s franchise offering on their behalf to sell its products and earn big commissions.
However, most of the investors received proceeds from a Bangalore-based company called Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd in return for their investments, instead of franchise deals. Ashraf Mannarkkad, who had invested Rs 6.9 lakh for a franchise, said he received products worth much less than his actual investment.
“Vihaan sent me an invoice worth Rs 6.9 lakh. They overstated the price of each product. I received two watches, among other products. They charged Rs 1.18 lakh for one watch. and Rs 1.22 lakh for the other. But I found out that the real market value of each watch is less than 4,000 rupees, “Ashraf said. He said that QNET traps investors promising high income. The company then asks investors to deceive their friends and relatives in the same way. The company has deceived thousands of people in the state by exploiting their helplessness or greed, he added.
Business experts say QNET is a multi-level marketing company and its business model is illegal in India.
âI was working for a logistics company in Saudi Arabia and lost my job in the first wave of Covid and had to go home. I am the sole breadwinner in my family, so I had to look for a new job. I have informed my friends and family of my situation. A friend of mine from Kalpakanchery in Malappuram named Mujeeb Rahman inspired me to invest in QNET by offering high commissions for the sale of its products. In addition, Mujeeb told me that the company would give training to sell the products. I first transferred Rs 3.7 lakh to the company’s bank account and gave another Rs 3.3 lakh directly to Mujeeb, âAshraf said.
Later to invest, Ashraf twice received packages from Vihaan – including coffee powder, watches, coconut oil, etc. âLater I learned that the company was sending these products for every Rs 6.9 lakh investment. They also prompted me to sign an agreement that I had knowingly purchased these products. I did not read the agreement, which was in English. In addition, I only have a limited knowledge of English since I only studied up to grade 10, âAshraf added.
However, after losing money, Ashraf decided not to cheat on his friends and family for the business. Instead, he started looking for the other victims to press charges against the company. A native of Malappuram who does not want to reveal his name says he has lost Rs 9 lakh. âA friend of mine, Fayis Muhammed, from Chattiparamba in Malappuram, who made me invest in the QNET business, cheated on me. I transferred Rs 6.5 lakh to the account number of a senior in Fayis and gave him Rs 2.5 lakh by hand. I even had to pawn my sister’s gold ornaments. After losing the investment, I had to postpone my sister’s wedding. No one in the company told me that I should recruit more people for QNET to recoup my investment and earn more, âhe said.
Ashraf says 14 of them sent complaints to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and DGP Anil Kant a few weeks ago. We learn that several people who had invested in QNET in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Thrissur and Ernakulam have also filed complaints with senior police officials in their region. However, the complainants say no harsh action has been taken so far. The Malappuram SP office has confirmed it has received complaints against QNET. âWe have already started an investigation into the complaints received from Tirur and Kuttipuram,â SP Sujith Das said.