ACN Inc.

ACN, Inc. is a North-American based multi-level marketing (MLM) company[6] which provides telecommunications, energy, merchant services and other services, depending on the country, through a network of independent sellers who also can recruit other sellers. Based in Concord, North Carolina, United States, ACN began operations in the United States in 1993[2] as American Communications Network; it is now made up of ACN Opportunity, LLC and ACN Communications Services, Inc.[7] As of 2019, the company reports that it operates in 24 countries.[8] In 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed against Donald Trump and three of his children alleging fraud, false advertising, unfair competition, and a now-dismissed allegation of racketeering for their involvement with ACN.[9][10]

ACN, Inc. [ACN]
IndustryMulti-level marketing / Telecommunications
FoundedIncorporated 1993
Key people
Robert Stevanovski, Co-founder
Gregory Provenzano, Co-founder
Anthony Cupisz, Co-founder
Michael Cupisz, Co-founder [1][2]
RevenueUS$ 750 million (2016) [3][4]
Number of employees
180[5] (1998)

Business model

The company is based in Concord, North Carolina, United States. ACN has international offices located in Montreal, Canada; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Sydney, Australia; Wrocław, Poland; Umeå, Sweden; Seoul, South Korea and Mexico.

ACN's Income Disclosure Statement bears the warning that "not all ACN Independent Representatives make a profit and no one can be guaranteed success as an ACN Independent Representative."[11]


In 1993, Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano, and twin brothers Tony and Mike Cupisz, founded the American Communications Network, Inc. ACN opened for business in January, 1993 with twenty initial "independent representatives". ACN's initial business was as a marketing arm for a long-distance reseller called LCI Communications. This relationship lasted for five years until LCI was acquired by Qwest Communications.[2] By 1998, ACN was listed in Inc. Magazine's "Inc. 500" list as No. 22 in this annual list of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America.[12]

Formerly ACN, through the subsidiaries ACN Energy and ACN Utility Services, operated as a gas and electricity retailer. ACN's energy assets were acquired by Commerce Energy Group in 2006.[13] In 2008, ACN moved its headquarters from Farmington Hills, Michigan to Concord, North Carolina.[14][15] In 2011, ACN expanded operation to the Czech Republic and Hungary, bringing the company's reach to 23 countries on four continents. In 2014, ACN expanded operations to Latin America, beginning first with Mexico. In 2016, ACN expanded operations in Japan. By 2019, ACN was operating in 26 countries and five continents.

From 2006 until he announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, ACN had a business relationship with former The Apprentice executive producer Donald Trump. Trump appeared in promotional videos touting the company's “revolutionary products”, devoted an episode of The Apprentice to ACN's “revolutionary” videophone, and earned millions of dollars giving speeches at ACN International Training Events, up to early 2015, where he has praised the company's founders and business model.[16][17][18][19] Following the official beginning of his 2016 presidential candidacy, all references to Donald Trump were removed from the ACN website and Trump distanced himself from the company in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "I know nothing about the company other than the people who run the company," Trump told them. "I’m not familiar with what they do or how they go about doing it, and I make that clear in my speeches."[20]


ACN offers landline telephone service (local and long distance), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), high-speed Internet, satellite television, cellular phone through the company's own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Flash Wireless, and home security services, primarily to consumers, and secondarily to small businesses. Beginning in 2011, ACN also began offering an ACN-branded international calling smartphone app available for iPhone, Android and Symbian, reselling WiMAX wireless Internet, and technical support service for personal and business computers, as well as getting back into the energy reselling market through partner XOOM Energy.[21]

With variations depending upon the country of operation, provision of ACN's services follows three models:

  1. The reselling of ACN-branded services ultimately originating in an incumbent provider. This is exemplified by local and long-distance telephone, where ACN buys local telephone service from an incumbent provider such as Qwest or AT&T, and bills customers in its own name. This model was made possible by telephone industry deregulation beginning in 1996; prior to this, ACN was involved solely in reselling long-distance telephone service. It was the expansion of deregulation internationally that made it possible for ACN to begin to operate outside the United States.
  2. Acting as a sales agent for the service provider, where an ACN representative sells the service, but order fulfillment, billing, and servicing is performed by the branded provider. In the US, ACN resells Internet service through AT&T. ACN offers wireless services through its own MVNO called Flash Wireless on Sprint and Verizon's networks. Television services are provided through DIRECTV and Dish Network. Home security and automation is offered through Vivint.[22] ACN now also resells energy (electricity and natural gas) through Planet Energy and Xoom Energy.
  3. The selling of ACN-branded and provided services. These are Voice over Internet Protocol[23] in which ACN owns and maintains its own network of servers. Starting in January 2011, ACN has also added an ACN-branded computer technical support service to its service offerings.[24]

On June 13, 2002, ACN settled a case with the Bureau of Consumer Services in Pennsylvania wherein it was alleged that IBOs were "slamming", or switching consumer services without authorization. ACN disputed the allegations and the exact details of the settlement are under court seal. However, the suit alleged that approximately 135 informal complaints were filed with the Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) between June 2000 and November 2001, consisting of 22 consumers alleging that their generation service was switched without authorization ("slamming"), 81 alleged instances of overcharging ("cramming"), and 32 complaints with allegations of various violations of the Commission's regulations contained in Chapter 54, 56, and 57 of Title 52 of the Pennsylvania Code.[25]

In August 2010, the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen announced the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order and Notice of Proposed Agency Action against ACN, Inc. and several of its founders for allegedly operating a pyramid scheme. In September 2010, the Commissioner moved to vacate the Cease and Desist Order in full settlement of the case.[26] In the course of the Commissioner's investigation, the Commissioner determined that the actions giving rise to the initial concerns were not part of the ACN business model, but instead were isolated instances taking place by certain ACN's independent representatives in Montana. The Commissioner and ACN agreed that ACN would implement additional training with its independent representatives to assist them in better understanding their responsibilities as ACN independent representatives and that ACN would contact its Montana video phone customers to assist them with the installation of their service.[27]

In July 2019, a SDNY District Judge dismissed racketeering (RICO) allegations against Trump and three of his adult children for their involvement in the company. The judge stated that the Trumps would still be required to face the lawsuit's allegations of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition.[9][10][28]


  1. "ACN COMMUNICATION SERVICES, INC. Company Information from Hoover's". Hoover's. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  2. Seale, Barbara. "Company Spotlight: ACN". Direct Selling News. Archived from the original on May 2, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2007.
  3. "Top 100 Direct selling companies by revenue". Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  4. "ACN: Business Is Booming". Direct Selling News. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010.
  6. Campbell, David; Edgar, David; Stonehouse, George (April 1, 2011). Business Strategy: An Introduction. Macmillan International Higher Education. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-230-21858-1. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  7. "Privacy Policy". 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  8. "ACN Korea: Company: About ACN". Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  9. "Docket for Doe v. The Trump Corporation, 1:18-cv-09936". May 9, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  10. "Complaint (final for filing) 4818-9714-0089 v.1 - gov.uscourts.nysd.503637.1.0 - Case 1:18-cv-09936 - Document 1" (PDF). October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  11. ACN Inc. (2010). "ACN Income Potential - Compensation Plan". Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  12. Inc. Magazine. "The Inc 500". Retrieved September 20, 2007.
  13. "Commerce Energy Group Inc, Form 8-K, Current Report, Item 2.01. Completion of Acquisition or Disposition of Assets, Filing Date Feb 10, 2005". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  14. "Telecom company ACN moves to Concord". Charlotte Business Journal. February 26, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  15. "ACN Contact Information". ACN. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  16. Tuttle, Ian (March 14, 2016). "Trump's Multi-Level Marketing Telecom Endorsement Is Another Example of His Terrible Judgement". National Review. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  17. Celarier, Michelle (February 21, 2018). "Trump's Great Pyramid". Slate Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  18. "ACN & Donald J. Trump". ACN Inc. Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  19. "Donald J. Trump on ACN's Home Based Business". Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  20. "Report: Donald Trump made millions from Concord company ACN". Charlotte Observer. August 13, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  21. "ACN Products". ACN. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
  22. "ACN High Speed Internet". Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  23. "ACN Digital Phone". ACN. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  24. "ACN Premium Technical Support". ACN. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  25. "Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. ACN Energy, Inc". Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. June 12, 2002. Retrieved December 24, 2008.
  26. Motion to Vacate Temporary Cease and Desist Order
  27. "MT regulators, ACN settle Pyramid Scheme Investigation". KXLH. October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  28. Stempel, Jonathan (July 24, 2019). "Trump must face marketing scam lawsuit, escapes racketeering claims: NY judge". Reuters. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
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