REWE & PENNY deny partnership or collaboration with myWorld/Lyoness/Lyconet

The REWE Group is an internationally active company group based in Cologne dating back to the year 1927. The group’s sales lines include Billa, Penny, REWE and TOOM as well as DER Touristik Germany and ITS Reisen travel agents. Turnover from the entire REWE Group amounted to €54.14 billion in the 2016 fiscal year.

Seeing these illustrious and famous names listed as so-called business and collaboration partners with Lyoness (Cashback World) doesn’t ring true for any actual business partnership.

This harks back to the MasterCard ruse exposed in July 2016, where an ominous MASTERCARD credit card provider was sent a cease and desist order while Lyoness assumed the role of a hapless victim. In reality, Lyoness had previously established this credit card provider in Gibraltar through former employees.

There may well be small businesses and microenterprises that actually do have partnerships full of hopes and expectations with Lyoness. However, the REWE Group neither maintains nor aspires to any such connection with Lyoness or Cashback World, let alone a listing on their website.

Even so, REWE was proudly announced as a NEW eVoucher partner at the elite seminar in Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, in early June 2019 with eulogies posted on Facebook. Complete rubbish!!!

I enquired at the REWE Group headquarters in Cologne. The Communications and Press Relations Department of both REWE and PENNY informed me in writing as follows (e-mail on file):

“Dear Mr. Ecker.

Many thanks for your inquiry, which we would like to respond to as follows: REWE does not maintain any commercial relationship let alone any partnership with the above company. In this respect, we expressly reserve the option to take further steps against the company in question.   

Yours sincerely,

REWE Markt GmbH, National Administration Department

Head of Corporate Communications”

A PENNY press officer summed it up very succinctly:

“Dear Mr. Ecker,

I’ll keep this brief: PENNY has terminated the sales partner-based business model with Lyoness.

Yours sincerely,

PENNY Press Officer”

PENNY has already been removed from the Cashback World site; how long REWE will be listed there remains to be seen.

One may well speculate as to how various affiliate partners are earning their keep in top management at Lyoness. These continuous denials from reputable companies are a clear indication of how low and insignificant the shopping turnover at Lyoness (Cashback World) must be. If this shopping turnover were in fact as massive as they claim at Cashback World, large high-turnover companies and corporations would definitely be willing to let Lyoness (Cashback World) list them. Entrie

„Lyconet-Elite Seminar“ 2020 will again take place in Veltins Arena!

Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The seminar that had attracted people from all over Europe to Gelsenkirchen will also in 2020 take place in the arena. The event organiser rejects any allegations.

The dubious “Elite-Seminar” organised by the company “Lyconet” that took place last weekend in the Veltins Arena and had made people from all over Europe to come to Gelsenkirchen is again going to take place in the same location next year. This was confirmed on wednesday by Maria Samos from Fullstop PR in Berlin who organised the major event.

There were even more than 40,000 people

“The arena is big enough for our requirements and is outstandingly suitable for a multi-day event”, Samos explains the choice of the Schalke stadium. Different to the original reports, clearly more than 30,000 people had participated last weekend. “There ware 42,000 visitors”, Samos said.

Residents were quite surprised to hear party sounds and loud bass tones coming from an “elite seminar”. Samos: “Of course, we are trying to create a suitable supporting programme. This includes music now and then.” In principle, there had primarily been presentations and lectures by networking and marketing specialists.

Company construct is already prohibited in Norway

“Lyconet” is part of the Austrian “Lyoness International AG” that was founded in 2003 and has its headquarters in Switzerland. In 2018 they changed the name to “myWorld”. The elusive company construct with its cashback model is highly controversial and has already been prohibited in Norway due to being an “illegal Ponzi scheme”, in Italy, “a penalty of 3.2 million Euro therefore was imposed on the company. Lyconet cannot understand why there is a prohibition in Norway.”

Recruitment of so-called “Marketers”

Owners of the so-called “Cashback Card” that promises discounts on certain products, do not have to pay anything for the use. Initially, this was wrongly claimed by the editors. On the other hand, the so-called “Marketers” have to pay amounts of more than EUR 2.000 to be able to move up to being a “Premium Marketer” of the network marketing of “Lyoness”, “myWorld” or “Lyconet” – how ever they may call the company. In turn, this will only work out by recruiting further marketers. This is exactly what events like the one at Veltins Arena are about. Ticket prices of the event were at least at EUR 199, -. In Switzerland and Austria, the company construct therefore has already been classified as a snowball system.

City has little say in the leasing of the arena

The leasing of Veltins Arena for concerts or private events is all up to the arena’s management. “There is little we can do, as long as everything is legal”, said city’s spokesman Martin Schulmann. The event had been announced correctly because building and safety regulations had to be observed.

“Lyconet a sect!”. Affected woman complains about Lyconet experience

On June, 18, the newspaper “WAZ” has relased a third article concerning the dubious Lyconet event at Veltins Arena.

Gelsenkirchen, Germany. More than 40,000 people joined the Lyconet seminar at Veltins Arena. A Woman speaks about her experiences with the company.

The dubious “elite seminar” of Lyconet which had lured over 40,000 people from all over Europe into Veltins Arena, caused a lot of fuss.

The company closely linked to “Lyoness International AG”, which was founded in 2003 with its headquarters in Switzerland, is highly controversial. Maike Wiemann* has had very bad experiences with Lyconet. At the end of 2016, she attended an introductory seminar in a small Bavarian town.

Lyconet appeared like a cult to her

“I thought I had gotten into a cult”, the 24-year-old describes her impressions. She had gone there for the sake of a friend who had been enthusing over the system of Lyconet. About 50 interested people had joined the event directed by Andreas Matuska. In social networks, Matuska presents himself as a very successful entrepreneur and uploads pictures of expensive cars and stylish watches on a regular base. Two weeks ago, Matuska also spoke to the audience of the event at Veltins Arena.

Young people are recruited intentionally

“On a friendly basis they recruit young people quite intentionally and promise them that they will make a lot of money without really working for it”, Maike Wiemann says. Interested people should become so called “marketers”, independent distribution partners of Lyconet. As “marketers”, they should build up a network and recruit new prospective members – who will then yield commissions for the “marketer”.

“In order to earn money by it, you first have to buy share packages. They cost around EUR 2,400”, Wiemann says. She had met people who had raised a credit of EUR 10,000 in order to buy a number of packages.

Prohibited in Norway

In Norway, the elusive company construct of Lyconet and Co. has already been prohibited due to being an “illegal Ponzi scheme”, in Italy, a fine of 3.2 million Euro was imposed to the company for the same reason. In Switzerland and Austria, several courts have classified the company construct as a snowball system. Critical questions were simply declined at the introductory seminar. “They made a joke out of them or depicted them as fake news.”, Wiemann says.

The student soon had realised that Lyconet was a “put-up job”. At the seminar, the company had advertised that FC Bayern Munich was one of their partners. “When I called them, nobody knew anything about that”, Wiemann continues.

No longer contact with her friend

Many other young people were falling for the system. Just like Wiemann’s friend. “She was hooked and sent me invitations to events over and over again. I often discussed about it, but she didn’t want to hear anything.” Meanwhile, the contact to her friend has stopped completely. “Someday, I simply had to make a cut.”

*the name was changed by the editors

Lyconet! My Insta profile, my yacht, my debts!

The “WirtschaftsWoche” from Germany is probably one of the most traditional economics journals far and wide. It is characterized by a very high professional competence and great influence on the formation of opinion. The following article was published on June 14, 2019:

My Insta profile, my yacht, my debts! Ironically in social networks the oldest trick works especially well: the “snowball system”. How criminals are abusing digital biotopes of vanity and self-staging.

I am meeting the man who promises the deal of my life to me on Instagram. He is in his mid-thirties, has got a little chin beard and a slight double chin. With his help I could become rich without working. That’s what he says. 30,000 per month can easily be made.

In four years, at the age of forty, he would be wealthy enough to retire. For now, the man, who shall be called Hannes Krause here, is working as a truck driver. It all started with a comment below one of my pictures on Instagram: “Hey, nice picture. Let’s connect!” Via a link in his Instagram bio I can start a chat on WhatsApp with Krause. He has already prepared my message. All I have to do is to send it. The next morning, Krause sends a message: “Hey, we are offering a program for customer loyalty and are making money with daily worldwide purchases.” Large enterprises were taking part: Walmart, Red Bull, the soccer club AS Roma, the Moto GP motorcycle Championship. And many, many more.

This is the story of a large-scale rip-off. The deal, Krause proposes to me while I am scrolling through my Instagram feed quite bored waiting for the train, is a deal that only brings money to a few. First, it is about paying money – and about recruiting further people who pay further money. Whoever is at the foot of the hierarchy is paying in. Whoever is at the top, collects the money. The company Kraus is working for has reloaded the very old snowball system for Instagram. The youngest and hippest of all social networks. With 15 million members only in Germany. The most of them: young people.

Target group: young and naïve

Krause and his colleagues are currently addressing unexperienced and gullible seeming people. The promise a deal to them through which they could quickly become rich and could be able to fulfil all their wishes. They are referring to desires that have been nourished by all the shiny pictures in social networks. In truth, this is about taking money out of their pockets. An illusory business for the illusory wold of Instagram.

I, too, am fitting perfectly into their scheme: On Instagram I am acting successful. My trademarks: white shirt, Rolex and gluey hair. I decide to accept Krause’s offer. We arrange a phone conversation. “Hello? Hello? Wait a second…” Krause is sitting in his truck and has problems with the hands-free kit. As soon as the connection is established he comes to the point quickly: The “super business” is his side job. Krause is an independent distributor of Lyconet. The company, that is present with various names, had built the biggest purchasing community in the world, Krause wants to make me believe. With eleven million registered customers, 130,000 partner companies in 47 countries.

For Lyconet, Krause distributes bonus cards through which one shall save money on purchases. So-called Cashback cards. The difference to the payback card known in Germany which one can use at every large chain: You get your money back, immediately when purchasing. One to two percent of the sum, Krause tells me. Only by saving, nobody becomes rich overnight, I say. This is, when Krause places his lure: I should become his new colleague. An independent distributor of the company Lyconet, just like him. Or “marketer”, as they call it internally. Only marketers are the ones who are making some real profit.

I would make money with passing my card on to other people who are using it for their purchases. With recruiting new companies. And with new distribution partners that I am recruiting. How much money I am making is measured in “Shopping Points” that are emerging every time somebody uses my card at a shop. Just like playing a video game: The more points I collect, the faster I will reach a new level of career.

Hannes tells me that he would be on level 3. Earnings: 200 EUR per month. At level 8, one would earn up to 150,000 EUR per month. Simply by other people that go shopping.

The snag: To make money, I first have to invest money. 299 EUR for the software with which I can register customers, companies and new marketers. And 2000 EUR for the Starter Package. On a reference day, I will get the money back and will additionally get a monthly participation in sales.

Krause takes great care to dispel my concerns. One had to put the start fee in a context: As a marketer of Lyconet, one is more or less a franchisee. “Normally, a franchise costs one million Euro. The license of McDonald’s for instance.” Actually, the costs are at 844,000 Euro. If collecting points may take too long for me, I could also buy shares in an account recording all revenues from all cashback partner shops for 1,000 EUR each. Obi, Douglas, MediaMarkt, Fressnapf, McDonald’s, even Formula 1. In this way, I will earn up to 2,500 EUR per month. Krause says. After the phone call, he sends me a personal link for the registration so that the system knows that he was the one who recruited me. And he further sends me a video. I should send it to my friends.

Blinded by stylish clothes. In the video, the discount card is advertised as a groundbreaking idea: Its inventors, Hubert Freidl, is said to be smarter than Mark Zuckerberg. The founder of Facebook is only networking people. But Freidl had concluded: Not all people want to communicate, but all of them have to consume. “If you don’t eat and drink for two weeks”, the video says, “you are in trouble. Because you are dead.” That’s why Freidl’s source of revenue is quasi inexhaustible.

The reality looks somewhat different: In Germany, hardly any retailers are taking part. Certainly, no large chains. But: barbershops, nail spas, pubs. “Everyone who is in a bad economical position and considers the possibility for acquiring new customers via the discount card the last chance”, says a person who opted out of the Lyconet management and wants to remain anonymous.

The Cashback card on the other hand, was only a camouflage, he says, just like the mafia clan Corleone’s trade of olive oil in the gangster movie “The Godfather”. The company was making money with high starting fees, the independent distributors are paying – or are rather putting into an alleged investment opportunity.

Just like Anna, who does not want to give her real name. She too, was recruited on Instagram. The 24-year-old looked online for a bank that would give her a credit of 11,000 EUR and bought shares with this money. Before this, she had not even searched for Lyconet on Google. Currently she is going through an education with the German army.

In the beginning of February, she met her marketer for the first time, in a café in her hometown Bayreuth. He was only 19. But with his stylish clothes, she got the impression that he already had achieved a lot in his life. Anna joined immediately. That something was wrong, she suspected only after a dropout had warned her.

She confronted her recruiter. His answer: Only members, who are one hundred percent behind their work were to get anywhere. “Every weekend, I drove 400 kilometres from Hannover to Bayreuth, just to attending the business trainings of our groups”, she says. “The seminars and videos have been making me feel inwardly strengthened to this day.” Despite the high debts.

Anna asked the Viennese lawyer Josef Fromhold for help. For more than 1000 injured parties, he had claimed back money. Most of them were young people under 25. Some of them had invested up to 25,000 EUR.

“I even had clients who had stolen from their parents. Just for being able to pay into the system of Lyconet,” the lawyer says.

Almost everyone joins Lyconet without reading the terms and conditions. A fatal mistake. Because there, they say, that everything that was promised in collateral agreements, is invalid. So as well the promises in chats with marketers. “If the company itself contacted people, it would be inadmissible advertising. But a private person who recommends something is not forbidden”, Fromhold says. Social networks are making things a lot easier. “Back in the days, they held gatherings in conference rooms of hotels”, the lawyer recalls, “and people were told to bring their friends.”

The number of people who fell for Lyconet in Germany can only be estimated. For example, by considering the number of requests Ben Ecker has received so far: 4,000 since he started his website for Lyconet victims four years ago. For many of them, he is the first point of contact.

Krause calls me back. He wants to know whether I am in. I am hesitating. He tries to build trust: He tells me, that is married and has two young daughters. He was unhappy. Wanted to leave his old life behind. Become rich. “I sold my car”, he tells me. He had spent the money for further shares in Lyconet immediately. Worth 12,000 EUR. Krause quit his job as head of a vehicle fleet. Complete focus on Lyconet. Now he is a truck driver. A Job, that should help him make ends meet until he has not become rich.

Obscure network of companies

How much money did he already make with Lyconet? “Well, not that much.” Krause has signed a contract that says he will only see any money after 4 years after signing the contract. And he had only joined 20 months ago.

In 2003, the company was founded as Lyoness International AG with its headquarters in Graz, Austria. After the first lawsuits, it outsourced its distribution channel in 2014 – and called it Lyconet. Last year, the parent company renamed itself to my-World. The headquarters moved to London. But the business model remained. Meanwhile, the company has grown to an obscure network of subsidiary companies. All Lyconet marketers from EU countries are not concluding their contract with the Viennese Lyconet International AG, but with Lyoness Europe AG located in Switzerland. The terms and conditions state that the swiss Lyoness Europe AG is only operating a marketing program under the name “Lyconet”. This makes it harder for European courts to take actions against Lyconet.

Nevertheless, in May 2017 the Austrian High Court judged, that the terms and conditions are obscure and deliberately misleading. Lyconet was classified as an illegal snowball system. This also happened in Norway and Switzerland. And in Italy, the competition authority gave the company a sentence of 3.2 million euros.

Upon request, Lyconet rejects any dishonest intent: The marketers, a written comment says, are “self-employed entrepreneurs” who are free to choose “the channels for bringing forward the development of their network.” A “Code of Ethics, set up by Lyconet” obligated them to not make unrealistic profit predictions. Lyconet did not have “any knowledge” about marketers making false promises in social networks.

The company also rejects the accusation of advertising with fake partners. Nevertheless, they are advertising with the McDonald’s logo on their website. A speaker of the fast food chain comments: “McDonald’s Germany is not a cooperation partner of Lyconet.” Similar comments are made by the perfumery chain Douglas or the pet food chain Fressnapf, with whose logos also had advertised in the past.

A private jet in reward

A Saturday, beginning of May in Brose Arena, Bamberg. Where normally the basketball team sinks baskets, this afternoon, an event of Lyconet is going to take place. Also founder Hubert Freidl is said to be there. I don’t want to miss this opportunity. A ticket costs 70 EUR.

2000 young people are streaming into the arena. Monitors are hanging from the ceiling and finally Freidl’s face appears in close-up while he strides through the audience rows. As he stands on the stage in his dark suit, his bald head and the pointed patent-leather shoes are reflecting the spotlights. Freidl is not sparing on superlatives: Lyconet would become the new Amazon. He roars into the crowd: “Over are the times in which the revenue for our purchases went to the USA or to China!” Soon there would be a common online shop for all Lyconet partner companies.

“And then the marketers are making the money!”

People next to me can’t stay on their seats anymore. They are cheering. To my right: Hannes Krause. He murmurs to me: All over Europe, huge warehouses are already being built for the new online shop.

But Freidl has brought even more with him: He announces an “Elite-Club” – as a reward for the marketers. From now on there would be private clubs “in every big town”. Luxury cars would be available there. Also, the marketer would be able to use the company’s helicopters, private jets and yachts. Krause is cheering.

Initially, I thought that Krause selects his victims specifically. But he is a victim himself. Back from Bamberg, I decide to tell him the truth. He was faster: There is no use for people like me in his team, he writes me via Facebook. I would not be a doer. “You did not even manage to get registered for the free Cashback card.” It is his last message.

More than 40,000 visitors at dubious seminar in Veltins Arena!

Gelsenkirchen, Germany. 40,000 people from all over Europe visited Schalke Arena at the weekend. The seminar’s organiser is controversial and partly prohibited.

Lyconet “Elite-Seminar”

Whoever walked along the Veltins Arena last weekend could not overlook them: thousands of cars from all over Europe were not just standing in the regular car parks but also in side streets. Since neither the football club Schalke 04 had a game nor a famous band played a concert, everybody was wondering what was going on.

On the arena you could read “Elite Seminar”. It was a three-day event of the company “Lyconet” that took place from Thursday to Saturday. More than 40,000 people had come there – among them many people from the Baltic states, Poland, Spain and Italy. They all were dressed very elegantly. “It had the taste of a cult”, Reinhard Jäger, who lives near the arena, described his impression of the event. Party sounds and loud basses coming from the arena at least made him doubt the name “Elite Seminar”. “They were really going down there”, so the 73-year-old.

Accusation of a snowball system

“Lyconet” is anything but undisputed. The company belongs to the “Lyoness AG” that was founded by the Austrian Hubert Freidl and has its registered office in Switzerland. The company describes itself as “one of the biggest purchasing groups worldwide”. With a so-called “Cashback Card”, Lyconet promises discounts on many products. But the large companies, they are regularly claiming to be their partners, actually often do not accept this card. The acquisition of the card though, already costs 2,000 EUR.

In Norway, on the contrary, the company has been completely prohibited by the Norwegian Lotteries and Gaming Authority. In Austria and Switzerland, several courts have classified “Lyoness” as a snowball system. This means, it is a business model in which the participants shall recruit new members themselves, but in the end, only high-level members can make money from it.

The numerous visitors of the Veltins Arena also had problems with finding a parking space. Many of them had parked their cars regularly on Eschfeld Street and “nevertheless became a ticket”, as the local resident Wolfgang Krug reported surprised.

We are leasing Veltins Arena for a wide range of events – sport events, congresses, fairs and corporate events. Of course, we are informed about the fundamental contents of externally leased events and we discuss them if necessary”, the speaker of Schalke, Anja Kleine-Wilde, answered upon request. The guideline here was the mission statement of Schalke: “No discrimination and no violence”.

World star Pitbull was a guest

An entrance ticket to the “Elite Seminar” is said to have cost at least 199 EUR. Over the three days, especially motivating gurus like bestseller author Tony Robbins performed on the stage. Also, the American rapper Pitbull was a guest speaker. On Tuesday, nobody working at Lyconet was accessible for a statement.