Equinox International: A Complete Review

Today, I’m going to do a quick review of Equinox International (now defunct).  Please keep in mind I have never been affiliated with this company.

A Brief History of Equinox International

Equinox International was founded in 1991 by Bill Gouldd.  Its headquarters was located in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The company took off like a rocket ship, right from the start. In 1996, it was listed on the INC 500 list as the # 1 fastest growing privately held company in the United States. The company specialized in air and water filtration items and also had some other products as well.

Source: Wikipedia

The Legal Trouble

equinox internationalOn August 3, 1999 a lawsuit claimed that Equinox International:

  • Was an illegal pyramid scheme
  • Made deceptive earnings claims
  • Violated state securities laws
  • Violated Deceptive trade practice laws
  • Made False advertising laws
  • Violated pyramid laws
  • Violated licensing requirement laws

Eight states to include Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia, along with the FTC, filed charges against Equinox International.

In 2000, the company was forced to shut down its operations and pay $40 million in restitution to its distributors.  The settlement banned Mr. Gouldd from ever participating in network marketing again, for the rest of his life, and it forced the company to dissolve and liquidate its assets.  In addition, he also had to dissolve Advanced Marketing Seminars Inc. and BG Management Inc, and some personal assets.   The company was officially closed in 2001.

Source: FTC website

Lessons We Can Learn from Equinox International

# 1 Companies must police their distributors

Whether we like it or not, companies in our industry are responsible for the actions of their distributors.  From what I have read online, lots of high earning Equinox International reps did some shady things, such as encouraging frontloading, making income claims, and advertising the business as a job.  If corporate knew about this (I’m not sure if they did), they should have addressed the issues immediately and “policed” their distributors to prevent it from continuing to happen.

Some reps were encouraged to buy four or five of the $1,000 systems in order to rank advance.  This is known as front-loading, and it’s never a good business practice.

Other reps were advertising their business opportunity as a JOB.  This is one of my hot buttons.  MLM is not a job.  It’s a business opportunity.  It should only be advertised that way.

Even worse, many reps made income claims and promised fast and easy money.  As a result, it was often promoted as a “get rich quick thing” or investment.  Furthermore, many reps did not share an average earnings disclosure with their prospects.

My takeaway from this is that ALL reps in a company should read the company’s terms and conditions and follow them AND the company should enforce its rules to ALL reps, so things don’t get out of hand.

# 2 Training should be free or low cost

One of the biggest claims against Equinox International was the expensive training.  Some people say that Equinox International only existed to sell the expensive training that Mr. Gouldd sold through his other businesses.

I have been told there was some free training available, but most of the training sessions were $300 to $2500 to attend.  I cannot validate that, but it comes up over and over again online.

I don’t think charging for company training is unethical in our industry, but I do think it is stupid.  I believe all companies in our industry should offer training, but should not profit from it.  If they do their training right, it will lead to more product sales, which should always be the end goal.

The same thing holds true with distributors.  They shouldn’t profit from training their team via courses, tools or admission fees.  They should train their team, so their team can go out and make more sales and recruit more reps.

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks.  This is all I know about Equinox International.  If you spent any time in the company, I would love to hear your story.  I would love if you can answer any of the following things:

  • What were your favorite products?
  • What type of training seminars did you attend and how much did they cost?
  • What was your overall experience like with the company?

Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Have a great day.

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Chuck Holmes
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13 thoughts on “Equinox International: A Complete Review”

  1. I think Equinox provided great personal growth training Gouldd is a great snake oil salesmen but still I saw people grow and do great things I think if he wasn’t so crooked he could have really continued to grow people personally and financially but o well he is one smooth talking shyster

  2. I had the unfortunate experience for working for Equinox as an Inventory Control Manager at their Las Vegas Distribution Center in 1998. I knew very little about the company having just moved to Las Vegas from Indiana. When we set up conveyor lines in the warehouse to literally erase the expiration dates on the bottoms of the bottles the product was packaged in, so later expiration dates could be stamped on them, thus increasing their shelf life, I knew to run away as fast as I could.
    Not to mention that their Equinox branded nutritional bars were being returned from the Boys and Girls clubs of America, because the product had turned green and was truly inedible.
    Suffice to say, I had never experienced this level of deception by a public company before, and never have since.

  3. I was “recruited” as an 20-year-old by these people at my college. I was told to go to a “corporate overview” after which I would be “hired” if found suitable.” It was a sales pitch meeting. You had to attend these over and over again like it was some sort of religious obligation. I was young enough, dumb enough and gullible enough to get sucked in. It cost $1000 bucks to join unless you could buy your way to being a manager at $5000. There were free trainigns every weekend that didn’t amount to a bucket of spit. And, all through these “trainings”, you were sold the $300 paid training and any number of training tapes and videos which I remember being pretty expensive. They tried to get me to do all sorts of shady things that involved lying to people I knew in order to finagle them into joining the pyramid. A mentality of unabashed greed was strongly encouraged in these trainings. You were told to shamelessly bad-mouth competitors products including lying about their effectiveness, ly about how much you made to the point of buying expensive-looking attire and trappings to give off the impression of success (“fake it til you make it”) and to use all sorts of underhanded persuasion tactics to get people to join the business. I didn’t have the stomach for lots of that stuff and so, I didn’t make a cent. I’m OK with that. Some of the products were good like the personal care stuff and the supplements. The prices were a bit on the high side though. The filtration systems were always breaking down, did not work for long and overpriced to boot. As for did “Mr. Bill Gouldd” know? It would not surprise me at all if he did and encouraged the shadiness. I’m quite certain that if he did know, he would’ve gone to great lengths to protect his plausible deniability. That’s just conjecture on my part though but it would take a lot to convince me that I wasn’t on to something with my conclusions.

  4. I joined Equinox in 1991, lied to my grandma and asked for 5k to get started…payed desk rent for 6 months, paid $300-$1500 for various training seminars, met Anthony Robbins and lost all my money and credibility with friends and family.
    Great products. Horrible lying cheating up line people.
    Took years to recover.
    Wish I knew about lawsuit, I would have joined.

  5. I got with the company when it was 5 yrs old I worked in a direct line to Mr Gouldd at the time I don’t think he new what going on now of us did. Comment that they don’t ask for you to invest 5 grand they did a friend of mine did just that I invest a grand the difference between me and him was I got five other friends to invest a grand. In turn they got there friend envoled. Then I met this one lady on a ad I ran in the paper. She brought her whole in and was a instant ex director making me one just as fast and the money was coming in. Then I got into a augrment with one of the head people in the office on how things where ran. He said if I didn’t like how things where ran I could leave. After about 6 months of making good money and bringing people in I walked out the front door and never looked back. They were robbing people. Making us pay for desk space to run adds in the newspaper. Always spending money on trips for training. I will say me and my team shared room and board. And help whomever didn’t have the funds to get trained. I always said if you don’t get paid I don’t. It was a business to me and if I was eating my team was eating. But to be disrespected in front everyone and to be treated like I wasn’t responsible for the success of that office I was good. I was young only 22 yrs old at the time.

  6. I was a rep with Equinox in 96 & 97! I sold a little, but mostly bought products for myself. I loved the Equinox products for weight loss! I lost 75lbs! The water filters were pretty amazing too. I wish I knew where to find the weight loss products again! I went to a training in Vegas and it was very informative. I never experienced anything negative.

    1. I was recruited in early 1995 into Equinox International. I was told to buy product to sell when I started that I put on my credit card, $1500.00. I didn’t stay long. I was encouraged to quit my job at a chemical company and do equinox full time. My favorite product was the Herbal Chi elixir and and electrolytes for water. They also had a weight loss pill called fast start. A man named Ron Teagarden was the man that hooked up with Bill Gould to come up with the products. Bill Gould was incredibly greedy and got caught. It was all about Bill and the top executives.

  7. Brenda Hampton

    I was involved with Equinox in mid 1990’s. I went to one training in Vegas that cost $750, plus travel exenses. Big rah rah session. You felt great, but didn’t learn much.
    I also was encouraged to buy in at manager level, which was 5k worth of product.
    The products were fantastic, but priced quite high. My favorite was a breath spray. But it was 10 bucks each.
    I learned an expensive lesson not to get involved in an MLM again at a business level. I am involved in one now, but only so I can buy their products at wholesale.

  8. First, a Basic Building Blocks training was never $2500, not sure where you got that info but for a weekend seminar you could expect to pay $300. Free trainings were always offered in the office every weekend. Second, you weren’t even allowed to purchase $5,000 worth of product. You were only allowed to purchase $1,000 though there were people who placed five $1000 orders to buy their way to manager instead of selling $5,000 worth of product. Third, most of the leadership in the company were greedy idiots and pushed people to do all kinds of things that went against Equinox’s policies and procedures. Unfortunately, I don’t think Bill Gouldd was paying much attention and the money was rolling in so he never stepped in. It’s sad because the products were top rate and really helped a lot of people.

  9. I was with Equinox a couple years. I am finding quite a few errors in your article. But the bottom line of your article makes a lot of sense and readers will learn alot from it. Nice job. Cheers

  10. Wow, that is terrible! I will never understand how people use deception to market their company. Thank you for sharing this information. I think it’s important to educate people about the difference of a reputable company and what to look for when someone is looking to make a change.

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