Tupperware India: When selling pressure starts burning network
Several consultants, managers or sales people of Tupperware are using online sites and retail shops for selling more products instead of direct selling or networking. The company, however, is alleged to have taken action only against few of them
Tupperware, a multinational company which sells storage, containment, and serving products for the kitchen and home through direct sales via an independent sales force is seeing an increase in complaints from its sales force. One major complaint against the company is that Tupperware India, its distributors and managers are encouraging sales through online (e-commerce) stores and discriminate against consultants.
Some of the online stores that are selling Tupperware products are ebay.co.in, ShopClues.com, shopping.rediff.com, Junglee.com, Pepperfry.com,SnapDeal.com,Tradus.com,
HomeShop18.com, Shopping.Indiatimes.com and
According to guidelines from the Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) all its members like Tupperware and Amway are required to utilise a direct selling distribution (DSD) system to market their products. This also means, members of IDSA may not use online stores or e-commerce as it is not the DSD system.
"In online they (sellers) are selling the (Tupperware) items for a discount of more than 24%, the same discount given to consultants. It is completely against the IDSA Guidelines. Is this not the complete discrimination towards the consultants?" said one of the consultants.
Many of the consultants are running their own blogs to post fact sheets (about Tupperware products) and promote sales. "However, the company has not taken action against all of them. Baby Manager (immediate manager, who is directly reporting to distributor-DB not to manager or executive manager-EM ) asked me to become a manager. I refused to become a manager and then she and the DB started harassing me for not to promote the blog. After one week, DB sent an SMS terminating my code," alleged the consultant, who worked with Tupperware for over two years.
She also filed complaints of violation of code of conduct and code of ethics by Tupperware to IDSA. In an email reply, Chavi Hemanth, secretary general of IDSA, said, "We have already received this concern and our code administrator is seeing into this and I have already informed to the complainant. We will go as per our procedure of handling grievances of distributor."
According to the consultant, several managers and EMs are selling Tupperware products through retails shops by offering discounts of 30% to 40%. She even alleged that some of the managers are indulged in ‘stealing’ gifts applicable for consultants. She said, “If one of the consultants places an order for 2500, the manager will put the remaining 1000 for stealing the gift without the consultant’s knowledge. (The) Consultant will come to know only when she goes to collect the products against the order after one week. It happened with us two times. We fought for this and got it (the gifts) finally.”
Our mails sent to officials of Tupperware in India and at its headquarter remain unanswered till writing this story. We would incorporate their response as and when we receive it.
What is Tupperware?
Tupperware is still sold mostly through a party plan, with rewards for hosts. A Tupperware party is run by a Tupperware consultant for a host who invites friends and neighbours into his or her home to see the product line. Tupperware hosts are rewarded with free products based on the level of sales made at their party. Parties also take place in workplaces, schools, and other community groups.
Shyam Sundar, a journalist and lawyer, who runs a blog http://corporatefraudswatch.blogspot.in , says, "Like the products of all these direct selling association members, the products of Tupperware are also exorbitantly priced and one has to become a member by paying certain amount. The Tupperware targets women, that too, upper middle class women, all over world. Generally, they are all housewives with 'disposable' income. They are induced with the pep talk of easy and quick money and good business opportunity sitting at home."
The company is best known for its plastic bowls and storage containers, however in recent years has branched out into stainless steel cookware, fine cutlery, chef's knives and other kitchen gadgets. After experiencing a slump in sales and public image in the mid-1990s, the company created several new product lines to attract a younger market.
In many countries, Tupperware products come with a lifetime guarantee. In India, there are some restrictions on the lifetime guarantee clause. In the UK and Ireland the guarantee is for 10 years.
Tupperware pioneered the direct marketing strategy made famous by the Tupperware party developed by Brownie Wise, a former sales representative of Stanley Home Products. A technique called 'carrot calling' helped promote the parties: representatives would travel door to door in a neighbourhood and ask housewives to 'run an experiment' in which carrots would be placed in a Tupperware container and compared with 'anything that you would ordinarily leave it in'; it would often result in the scheduling of a Tupperware party.
Issues in UK and Ireland
During 2003, Tupperware closed down its operations in the UK and Ireland, citing customer dissatisfaction with their direct sales model. There has been limited importer-distribution since then. The company announced a formal re-launch in the UK in mid-2011 and recruited UK staff, but in December the re-launch was cancelled
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