If you are worried about someone in an MLM and want to know what is going on with them and how you can help them, have a look at these links-
How to help someone. Explains how to research MLMs and how to speak to people in an MLM.
Having second thoughts. Aimed at people who have joined an MLM, might help them see the truth.
Someone who cares about you is worried. Explains to people why you are worried about them being in an MLM.
Expectation versus reality. Aimed at people considering joining an MLM. Information from ex MLMers about the truth of what really goes on.
Watch this You Tube film by Ethan Vanderbuilt that has some advice.
This Skeptoid article gives you three options on what to do if someone you care about has a worrying belief in ‘woo’, whether that be a ‘cure’ or a financial trap. Well worth a read.
MLMs in General
Elle Beau’s story about her real life experiences whilst in Younique, or Poonique as she calls it. Many people have said they can relate to her story. It shows you how people can get sucked in and what really happens once you join an MLM.
Are All MLMs Scams? By MLM Alert.
Is it a pryamid scheme? by TINA
MLM bingo, what they all say. By BotWatchBlog
Lazy Man and Money explains why MLM health products don’t work.
10 big lies of MLMs by MLM Watch.
How to identify a product based pyramid scheme by MLM Watch
Albania had a near civil war with thousands of deaths in 1997 due to the collapse of pyramid schemes. New York Times article about it.
Assess an MLM to see if it will make you money or if it is a scam. A simple 5 step assessment with explanations for each point. Written by an expert.
The Anti MLM Coalition is a group of people fighting MLMs and supporting ex reps and reps who find themselves in difficulty. Bot Watch is a member. We aim to provide a lot of information and collect people’s personal stories to share.
Timeless Vie- Facebook page and Blog. They are an MLM parody site that aims to educate and support people on all things MLM, with the aim of stamping out MLMs. Contact them with your questions or experiences.
Bot Watch- We have a Facebook page too if you want to contact us in confidence with questions or just ‘like’ us and keep up with information. Follow us on Twitter (@MLMBotwatch) for developments. There’s always something kicking off in the MLM world.
Information on specific MLMs
If you know of any more MLMs or have any links or information, please contact us at Bot Watch and tell us about them.
Their website. They operate in the US.
They sell sports clothes and supplements aimed at sporty people. Their sports leggings cost $60.00. They have a ‘110% guarantee’ where they will refund 110 of the retail price if people are not happy with their purchase. This only applies to proper customers though, not the reps.
Their reps are called ‘Legionnaires’ and ‘sponsored athletes’.
Short discussion about them on this bodybuilding forum.
In 2013 the company were sued by someone who used one of their diet pills and suffered a stroke. News story here.
There are many contraindications for using the products- being under 21 or over 55, having depression, seizures, psychiatric disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes, enlarged prostate, glaucoma, difficulty urinating, kidney disease and recurrent headaches. They shouldn’t be taken with antidepressants, NSAIDS, MAO inhibitors, aspirin or drugs containing stimulants.
Possible side effects include chest pain, dizziness, irritability, nervousness, tremors, severe headaches, irregular heartbeat, nausea, and shortness of breath
2xtreme Performance International
Shut down in 2000 by FTC. They found that their earnings claims were not realistic and people would not make what was promised. This caused the FTC to label it a pyramid scheme.
For further links on this MLM, have a look at this website.
Their income disclosure statement shows that approximately 80% earned nothing. 20.9% earned less than $59 a month on average, before expenses. A very very tiny amount of people earned anything decent. Their figures add up to over 100%.
They are members of the DSA.
Their website. They sell loads of different types of products (security, business products, coffee, health products)
Pissed Consumer have numerous bad reports about this company.
Details about lawsuit and fraud allegations against 5linx’s ex President.
7 Minute Workout
31 Gifts (see Thirty One Gifts)
A Bit Rude
Australian MLM. They sell adult products.
I’d tell you more about this MLM if I could remember the password to get the child lock off the internet rude filter.
They sell clothes and accessories. In USA only. Their website.
They operate in Puerto Rico, USA and Guam. They hope to expand to Canada in 2018.
Abundant Health Ltd
Their Canadian website has some earnings figures from 2010. Why 2010? Are their figures worse now? ‘Not all IBO’s make a profit’. How many don’t make a profit? They don’t tell us. Their figure of $500 a year earnings only include active members that earned money. What about all those that didn’t earn any? I think they are relevant! IBOs have to make a yearly payment to remain members of US$149 and purchase training materials and attend events at their own expense. Source.
Ethan Vanderbuilt says ACN is a legal scam. This website has a very comprehensive breakdown of ACN and the facts behind it. Well worth a read if you want to know more about ACN.
Some researchers have found that participants lost on average $605. Fewer than 1 in 200 people will recover their initial investment.
ACN have been linked with Donald Trump. The National Review discuss how Donald Trump associated himself with ACN for years and made millions of dollars from it. He then denied knowing anything about the company when he started his presidential campaign.
IBOs in ACN are not allowed to solicit customers from cold markets. They have to persuade friends, families and other people known to them to buy the non-competatively priced products.
ACN Policies and Procedures. From the policies-
“B. Eligibility for Compensation. In order to receive compensation, IBOs must maintain a minimum number of phone points per ACN’s Compensation Plan.” This means that you may make an investment, put time and effort in, gain customers and make sales but still get paid nothing.
The policies also state that, should a disagreement occur between the IBO and ACN, the IBO/exIBO is not allowed to sue ACN in a class action suit. Also, IBOs have to agree that, should a disagreement come to court, they have to waive their right to a trial by jury!
Undercover investigation into the ACN product.
“Surgery like or medically inspired treatments for use in the home.”
Used to be called Actiderm. They just changed the name in 2016 to take into account that they are introducing non-skin products. In America they are called Acti-labs Paris. Some of their products still have Actiderm on them.
Here’s someone who has used their wraps on their arms. Do we think the results are down to the wraps or from turning her arms round?
This is a British company registered first as Aesthetimeds Ltd. and then Acti-Laboratories UK Ltd. Aesthetimeds was set up in 2006, buying beauty products made in France and selling them using traditional methods. In France the manufacturing company seems to be called Cosmetic Research Group, with the brands Soskin Paris, Tom Robbin and Hellionature. In the UK Aesthetimeds started using a multi level marketing scheme to sell their Actiderm products in 2011. Aesthetimeds Ltd changed its name in Dec 2015 to Acti Laboratories Uk Ltd. It is owned and run by Christopher Hillyard-Miller and James Hillyard-Miller, chemists.
This Actilab blog seems to imply that the French company Cosmetic Research Group and Actilabs are the same company but I can’t find out who owns the Cosmetic Research Group. It looks like a French company make lots of different types of cosmetics, including a line called Actilabs that is sold in the UK and now USA through MLM.
Related companies that have been set up and dissolved by these people are-
Aesthetimeds research group Ltd– opened and closed in 2010.
Institut Soskin Ltd opened and closed in 2007.
There is no income disclosure statement available which should be a red flag. They say they will be opening up in Canada soon so maybe there will be one then, as it is required by law there.
Advance Finance Inc
This pyramid scheme was shut down and the owner sent to prison for 5 years. Gary A. Eisenberg was the owner who conned a lot of his family and friends. Los Angeles Times news report here. His scheme involved getting an ‘investment’ from people and he used the money to loan to companies. He used the new investment money to pay interest to the older members.
The Advert Platform
Their website. Founded December 2016.
Set up by Simon Stepsys who earned loads of money in 2012 under Banners Broker, a Ponzi scheme that was shut down by the authorities. The Advert platform claimed to be selling advertising, just like Banners Broker had claimed to do. More recently, it moved into crypto currency.
As of 11th April 2018, there seem to be problems with payments being made to reps. They claim that funds will not be available for 6 months.
Tara Talks labels The Advert Platform as a scam.
Website against Advocare called Advocarefacts
Advocare is mentioned in this New York Times article on the Olympics and supplements.
FB group against Advocare- Advo-Truth
Lazyman and Money’s assessment.
Another article criticising Advocare. You just need to ignore the pop ups and promotion of the author’s own scheme.
TINA’s investigations into illegal health claims made for the products.
Bottlesoup do a financial analysis on the earning potential.
Income Disclosure for 2015. These figures are annual payments. Let’s hope your team managed to buy $500 of stock every month to make you eligible for payments.
Reps arranged auctions for their own and party hosts’ things. They also seemed to have a catalogue and stock? It’s all a bit confusing. They called their reps ‘Independent consultants’. Review here.
It won the DSA’s 2015 ‘Rising Star Award’.
Their twitter account was last updated August 2016. Clicking on the links doesn’t work. Their website domain is available to purchase. It seems to have gone without trace or explanation.
Alliance In Motion Global/ AIM Global
Their website. They sell Natura-Ceuticals supplements.
They predominantly operate in Asia and the middle East. One of the products they sell is a skin lightening cream.
They hold a world record
Like many Asian MLMs they have a hand signal.
Aloe Vera of America
Bought out by Forever Living Products.
They sell anti ageing beauty products.
They seem to have problems with their website or they have shut down. When I clicked on the link to see the products, there were none to be seen. When I clicked on ‘opportunity’, I was redirected to a page telling me I could buy that domain name. The date on the website is 2016, is this when it closed? Why no message saying it is closed? Why no explanation. These schemes just seem to go bust and abrubtly disappear.
Member of the DSA. They sell gas and electricity. They operate in the USA and Japan. Started in 2006 by Jere Thompson Jr and Chris Chambless.
Lots of complaints from disgruntled customers on this website. Along with glowing reviews from reps. Complaints include cheques bouncing, bills being put up after a year, poor customer service. A few people are saying that if you don’t renew your package after a year ( as a customer), you are put on the highest tariff and end up paying $50 a month extra. If you try to leave the company they charge you $199.
Pissed consumer website has a lot of unhappy customers.
American Income Life
Ameriplan Dental Plan
Won a DSA award in 2018 for being number 35 highest ranking ‘direct selling’ company.
Merchants of Deception– a free book about one man’s experience in Amway. Most MLMs these days seem to be based on this MLM.
A Polish subtitled video from 1997 that exposes Amway for what it is. Actual footage from meetings. Former members share their experiences.
An investigative undercover program looking into Quixtar/ AKA Amway.
FTC proceedings against Amway in 1979.
The Finance Guy analyses the financial figures for Amway and finds the average person lost $1176 in 2010.
TINA’s investigation into illegal health claims made for Amway products.
If you look up Amway on Companycheck, you will find AMWAY (EUROPE) Ltd is worth £223.8 million. There are many other Amway entries in Companycheck where sellers have registered themselves when they joined Amway. You can see how well they have done. There are 45 companies with AMWAY in the title. One of them has earned money in addition to Amway (Europe) and that was a freight company, nothing to do with AMWAY. All of the others say N/A for the figures or show a loss, here’s some examples-
Unusual for an MLM, in that they have shops and sell products to the general public.
Go Compare investigate the earning potential and interview a party host. She points out that people only want parties at the weekend and it is only really possible to arrange 2-3 parties a fortnight, not the promised 3 a week. The poor woman blames herself for not trying hard enough.
The Guardian Explore Anne Summers as a career. They find that most people are supposedly (no evidence given) able to earn £80-£120 gross a week, but out of this comes their expenses and rental of the equipment.
An ex-Ann Summers party planner asks for advice at The Consumer Action Group after finding herself not earning money and ending up in debt.
Nutritional and skin care products sold in UK, Greece, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Owned by homeopaths David Howell and Robert Davidson.
Member of the UK DSA.
The earnings here are particularly poor. The independent consultants line at the bottom is only including 20% of the ones that bought/ sold enough stock to get a payment. AVERAGE EARNINGS OF ARBONNE PARTICIPATNTS IS $60-$500! A year.
Here is the USA income disclosure–
The above chart only contains the payment details of the top 13% that actually earned a payment by selling/buying the qualifying amount. I have worked out from this what the real average earnings are.
Total amount of people in the chart are 23000. Total payments made= $146,293,340. Total payments divided by the full 175,500 consultants= $833.58 a year. This figure still doesn’t take into account the people that joined and left during the year. The churn rate would need to be known to calculate more accurately the actual earnings. It is likely much less than the $833.58.
Compensation Plan. It is very complicated as product costs are converted into points and these points are accumulated to qualify for earning percentages of purchases and downline purchases. There is a minimum spend to qualify for payments but I haven’t got the time or sanity to calculate what it is. If you know and can explain in a few simple sentences, comment and I can update my information. Thanks.
An undercover Mirror reporter investigates Arbonne. He finds it costs about £1500 to get started. One quote from this piece- “I’m a traditionalist and prefer jobs that don’t involve buying stuff from the company I work for – and ones that come with a salary.”
Ethan Vanderbuilt classes Arbonne as a scam.
TINA’s investigation into illegal health claims made for Arbonne products.
Arbonne’s financial statements at Companies House in the UK.
Also cryptically known as ‘The Opportunity company’. The symbol of Ariix is two infinity symbols, because
The ‘width and depth’ they are talking about here is the dimensions of the pyramid of people underneath you. There are not infinite numbers of people. Their statement is non-sensical.
A critique of some Ariix research.
Some background on Ariix’s doctor.
A person associated with Ariix giving a ‘nutritional talk‘ about a medical condition at a hotel for people with cancer.
Average earnings statement for Ariix sellers. A clip from that document-
In the UK, this equates to £814.06 Gross. For an entire year. Of course, some people at the top of the pyramid will earn more so people joining at the bottom will be earning a lot less than that. According to Ariix’s website, there are costs involved in order to be eligible for bonuses-
1PV seems to be $1. so it costs $150 to start with the company and $75 every 4 weeks to be eligible for bonuses. Over a year, this adds up to $1125. Take off the average earnings and the average person earns $69 in a year.
Timeless Vie interview an Ariix escapee.
Dr Fred Cooper, one of the founders of Ariix was still president of USANA when he started up Ariix, directly breaking the rules of USANA.
They think their products can stop aging at a genetic level?!?
They operate in UK, Denmark, USA, Spain, France, Hong Kong, and many other countries.
The ingredients for their main product are listed as water and salt!
Their income disclosure shows the earnings of ‘executive ranks’ in 2014. It doesn’t say how many there are of these or how many there are in the company that are below that rank. I suspect there will be a lot of people they are not including in this chart.
If you search online for false health claims, there are LOADS! Here is someone claiming that ESEA products saved him from cancer.
Lots of information about ESEA from Lazy Man and Money can be found here.
(See entry under ‘Digital Altitude/Aspire)
Their website. They sell skincare products. Established in 2004 in South Korea by Han-Kil Park and then spread to America and the rest of South East Asia.
The countries where they operate-
This review of Atomy has an interesting discussion at the end where contributors are either defending the company or accusing it of being a pyramid scheme.
Ava Anderson (see Pure Haven)
Ava Rose Designs
MLMs will use the fact that Avon is an MLM to legitimize the whole system. Everyone has heard of Avon and assume it is a good company. It used to be a direct selling company but has more recently become an MLM. Becoming an MLM has complicated things for them and tarnished their reputation. Have a read of Pyramid Scheme Alert’s analysis in this article – Has MLM corrupted AVON?
Costs involved in being an Avon rep- Can you make money selling Avon?
The Pink Truth’s article on AVON. It is worth reading the comments at the end.
There are loads of people complaining about AVON on Complaints Board. Here is a detailed one that highlights some bad business practices.
AVON have announced they will no longer have a presence in Australia.
A personal experience of an AVON rep is described on the Anti-MLM Coalition’s website.
They sell jewellery. Started in 2008. Members of the DSA.
Shut down for being a Ponzi scheme. They were pretending to sell advertising.
Before they were exposed as being a Ponzi, they were accepted by the MLM community as being a normal MLM. One of their members was listed on a ‘top 100 earners list’, alongside other MLMs.
Simon has gone on to form his own company ( The Advert Platform) that is pretty similar to the Ponzi where he made loads of money. It sold advertising. More recently, it moved into cryptocurrency. As of April 2018, there seem to be problems paying the members.
Ethan Vanderbuilt looks at the scam.
Open letter sent to affiliates-
They sold jewellery.
Founded in 2011 by Frances Gadbois, Jude Steele and Debbie Millar.
Their website. They sell books. In America and Canada they are MLM, in Europe they just sell to bookshops and libraries.
The reps are called ‘ambassadors’. People in Canada can join by buying starter kits for $99.99 or $179.99 and pay a yearly fee of $49.99. There are no minimum amounts to spend to be ‘active’.
The founders are Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland.
Truth in Advertising investigated their false income claims and found quite a few. You can view them and the letter TINA wrote to them asking them to stop.
Their website. They call their reps ‘bathologists’.
People make their own bath products at parties (Blending Bars). The guests then make their own label.
Stacey Madsen founded Bath.ologie in 2011. It only operates in the US.
They had started applying for a trademark but this application was abandoned when the company stopped responding or were late with their paperwork.
May 24th 2018 it was announced that Bathologie were shutting down. They gave their reps one day’s notice to shut down their ‘businesses’. MLM News Report give the details here. Here is a screenshot from the email the company sent to their reps. As of 25th May 2018, their website is still up as normal and there is no public sign of the company closing.
Analysis by Lazy man and money.
Ethan Vanderbuilt says it is a scam.
17 Beach Body coaches describe why they left the MLM in this reaction to an anti-Beachbody blog post.
They belonged to Tupperware but were sold to Youngevity in 2017.
Their website. Founded 2017.
They sell make up (unsurprisingly!) They claim to be cruelty free but they do not have Leaping Bunny certification.
They sell adult products
They sell hair care products. Launched in 2008 by Steve Beever, hairdresser, they initially sold products through traditional methods to hair salons. Since 2016 they have been following the MLM model.
Registered at Companies House as Beever Haircare Ltd in 2014. Paul Hammond and Steven Beever are the secretary and director.
Bell Lifestyle Network
They sell fuel additives.
Established in 2006. They offered ‘Christian and inspirational products’ in the home décor market.
This is what their Twitter account says “Blessings Unlimited is a party plan business founded in 2006 by DaySpring Cards. Mission: To pursue the heart of God and bring blessings to others.”
Dayspring cards have a website.
The Twitter account hasn’t been used since 2011. When you click on their website link for blessingsdirect.com, you are directed to Mary and Martha, another MLM.
This rep has posted a link to the website where it is saying it was a member of the DSA.
There isn’t much information out there about them. They seem to have just fizzled quietly out.
Body By VI/ Visalus
This MLM sell meal replacement shakes. There has been much criticism of these shakes, namely that they do not encourage healthy eating, their healthy diets are flawed, and there are some bad ingredients in the shakes. These two websites look at the MLM and analyse them.
Health Living, Heavy Lifting. This site looks at the shake and the marketing.
Graham Thomas Online. This blog post looks at the supposed science behind the products. There isn’t any.
Their compensation plan is mind-boggingly confusing.
Their arguments supporting the facts that Visalus is not a scam are
- They give to charity.
- Big companies have a hierarchical structure.
There is no income disclosure statement, even on the Canadian website. They don’t want you to know how much their sellers earn. Multilevel Marketing Madness is a website that has analysed the claimed earnings.
Body FX Direct
Body Shop at Home
Their website. They sell cosmetics, soaps, lotions etc. They have high street shops.
It was established in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick and bought by L’Oréal in 2006. The Body Shop had prided itself on its high ethics and non cruelty to animals. The takeover by L’Oréal was seen as controversial by many customers. 1994 The Body Shop branched out into MLM and The Body Shop at Home started.
BBC video on The Body Shop story.
In 2017 The Body Shop was bought by Natura with high hopes for returning to its ethical roots.
An ethical website looks at the ethical issues of the takeover. http://www.ethicalcorp.com/how-brazils-natura-can-enrich-not-exploit-body-shop
Timeless Vie tell the story of one woman’s experience in this MLM.
An informant tells us at Bot Watch about what happened to her when she was a consultant for TBS at home.
Daily Mail story about a Body Shop at Home consultant and a questionable tactic of using children to get money out of.
This MLM had people selling the opportunity to buy electricity. Except they didn’t have any electricity to sell.
The California Public Utilities Commission shut them down. San Fransisco Chronicle details the case here. They report how reps were claiming it wasn’t a scam because they were getting paid.
Bounce Life/ Bounce Network
Their website. They sell insurance. They call their reps ‘bouncers’. They go on a ‘bouncing journey’ as they join up and try to earn money and recruit. They only operate in the UK.
They name their levels in the pyramid after jewels.
They don’t have an income statement.
Canada only. They sell marijunana products
Founded in 2004 and supposedly sold music online. In 2007 the FTC sued them for being a pyramid scheme. Here is the FTC’s website with details of all the legal stuff.
Press release from FTC about the money they have retrieved from the pyramid scheme to give back to the fraud victims.
Analysis of the case by False Profits website.
Their website. CAbi stands for Carol Anderson By Invitation. Started in 2001.
They sell clothes. They call their reps ‘stylists’. They operate in the US, UK and Canada.
Known as CABI Experience Ltd in the UK. Companies House has this entry. This is interesting-
This is on Companies House in March 2018.
It looks like they were going to be subject to a compulsory strike off but the company managed to avoid it. They were only set up in 2016.
It will be interesting to see if they do publish their figures, and if they do, how well they are doing. Watch this space!
Stylists refer to each other as cabi sisters.
It’s difficult to work out how much people earn as they don’t have an income disclosure. I found this though-
How much do shipping and postage cost? Let’s say $300. The rep then pays for nibbles, invitations, drinks, leaflets etc for the show ($50?). Outlay is $3100.
After the season, if reps do well, they might sell $3000 of stock. They are then $100 out of pocket.
Then the next season begins and it happens again.
If a stylist fails to sell a certain amount, they are not allowed to sell the next season. They have to attend two conference trainings a year which will add to their costs.
There are no details anywhere about how much UK reps spend. It is illegal for them to spend more than £200 in the first two weeks. Information is very sparse for the UK and Canada.
2015 Fortune article about CAbi.
Cambridge Weight Plan, formerly Cambridge Diet
Members of the UK DSA.
This is a diet company based on a keto diet. A bit like Weight Watchers but on an MLM model.
They sell French clothing for women and girls. Members of the UK DSA.
Their website. They sell 3 different types of sprays that come in credit card sized containers.
They are based in Estonia and started by Anders Karlsson. He was a big earner in Vemma.
Chalky and Co
The Chefs Toolbox
Australian company selling cooking stuff. Founded by David Mills in 2003.
This Product Review website documents complaints about the products. As is usual for MLM companies, there are 5 star and 1 star reviews, with not much in between. A common complaint is that when the products fall apart, the customer is told they weren’t using the product properly.
Chloe and Isabel
They sell jewellery.
Faith inspired jewellery.
Jewellery and bags.
Member of the DSA. Stephanie Merrick Blaser is the president.
Close To My Heart
Cloud 9 Parties
Color Street Nails
Color by Amber
Their website. They sell jewellery and are environmentally friendly.
There is not much information about this company.
There is no income disclosure.
Color Me Beautiful/ Colour Me Beautiful
They call their reps ‘consultants’ and their parties are called ‘Beauty Hours’.
Their website. They sell clothes, jewellery, cosmetics and bags. It was founded in 1988 by Mary Spillane. They do not have ‘Leaping Bunny’ status to show they are cruelty free. This does not stop the reps from claiming they are ‘cruelty free and no animal testing’. Have a look on EBay to see what their reps are claiming. There’s plenty of unused stock being offloaded there.
I cannot find an income disclosure for this company.
The book ‘Colour Me Beautiful‘ came from this MLM that explains their theory on how to work out what colours suit you.
They sell jewellery
Cookie Lee founded the company in 1985 and it became MLM in 1992. It operated in the USA only and was a DSA member.
2013 the company was sold to a real estate company.
Member of the DSA. They sell jewellery with faith inspired messages.
The Coral Connection
Country Gourmet Home
Country Scents Candles
Based in Malaysia. Member of the DSA. They sell ‘health and beauty’ products.
Credit Repair USA
Their website. The sell knives and kitchen equipment. They started in 1949
They call their reps ‘specialists.’ People can have home parties and recruit people under the company name ‘CUTCO at home’.
Vector Marketing are part of CUTCO. They have Direct Selling reps that just sell the products and are paid a fee for seeing customers. See this Wikipedia article about it.
The company targets college aged people to sell for them and they have been accused of employing very deceptive tactics. There have been a number of law suits against them.
A group called SAVE (Students Against Vector Exploitation) was set up by someone who successfully sued Vector for breaking labour laws.
In 1990 they were sued by the Attorney General in Arizona.
In 2008 they were sued in a class action for failing to pay wages and tricking people into joining up. (Harris v Vector Marketing Corp) The case was last in court in 2010 when the court said the case could go ahead. It is about the company not paying their employees for the two days of training they have to do.
I’ve not found out much about this one. Komodo is a cryptocurrency.
Damsel in Defence/ Defense
Launched in 2015.
DasCoin is the cryptocurrency associated with MLM called Coin Leaders/ Net Leaders. Reps have to purchase a ‘licence’ from Netleaders to participate. It is this licence and membership into the group that is sold.
John Pretto is the owner of Net Leaders. He was high up in the One Coin scam.
Discussion about them in a forum here. They discuss how ‘education’ packages have to be purchased and that people are rewarded for recruiting.
Behind MLM wrote about Dascoin in a less than positive light. It claims that it is a Ponzi scheme.
Twitter account @DasCoinScam are ‘outing the DasCoin scammers one at a time’.
Ethan Vanderbuilt reviewed the company. He says it is a scam.
Dazzle and Daze
Demarle at Home
Digital Altitude/ Aspire
Founded by Michael Force.
From their website-
It’s not strictly an MLM, more like a scam aimed at people who want to do better in MLMs.
They have been found to be making false income claims by TINA. They found more than 100 of these claims!
Direct Cellars, sometimes referred to as DC Nation
An MLM wine membership club. They operate in US, UK and Australia.
Companies House information.
Their Facebook page.
Their website is Directcellars.com.
Owned by Peter Sperling and opened in America in March 2017. UK company details held at Companies House. Incorporated in the UK on 25th March 2016.
There is no retail commission. Participants are paid purely for signing up reps. They have to pay a monthly fee. 40QV has to be spent by the rep each month to remain eligible for payments. This seems to be £88.95 ($125.16). Over 12 months is $1501.92. Add in expenses, and the rep doesn’t earn much. They will probably make a loss.
Launched in 2016.
In 2018 they rebranded as Nui. They have a very confusing history, changing names and what they sell. Review at Behind MLM.
Analysis by Lazyman and Money.
Bottle Soup website looks into the financial details to work out how much money can be made in Do TERRA.
DoTERRA have claimed their essential oils have CPTG certification or that their oils are FDA certified. They are not FDA certified. CPTG is a mark made up by DoTERRA, it means nothing. These points are covered in this article.
DoTERRA recommend adding their products to food or drink. (12-24 drops a day). That link has changed since I initially put it here. Here is another link to look at. Here is an image from their website.
Don’t add essential oils to food or drink. It will make you ill or kill you, according to this well researched and informed article by an aromatherapist. They explain how it can be used safely. Here is a statement by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists on using essential oils internally.
CNN news article about the FDA issuing warnings to DoTERRA regarding their claims that their essential oils can cure Ebola.
The FDA warning letter in full to DoTERRA regarding numerous false health claims being made.
This article in the New Yorker is about Young Living, but if you read it, you will find some information about how DoTERRA came into existence and some dramas they have experienced.
Do You Bake
Dot Dot Smile
They sell clothes for girls. Their reps are called merchandisers.
Founder is Nicole Thompson in California. Started in 2013.
Dove Chocolate Discoveries
DS Max USA Inc
Du North Designs Ltd
They sell clothes, with an emphasis on leggings.
Their website. This can only be accessed in countries where they operate. I have been unable to look at it. They operate in USA, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada and Zimbabwe.
Their Facebook page. The company seems to be aimed at black women/ African Americans.
Started by Joe Dudley in 1957 in America.
Member of the DSA. They sell make up and beauty products. They have salons, a beaty school and a ‘cosmetology university.’
TINA found that Dudley reps were making false income claims.
DXN Holdings Berhad/ DXN Global
This MLM shut down in 2003 after a class action law suit brought about by the FDA. This was related to illegal and misleading claims for their seaweed product called Royal Tongan Limu. Court papers here. Discussion about it on Casewatch here.
NBTY were the parent company of Dynamic Essentials. NBTY was formerly known as Nature’s Bounty.
They sell shares in the company to distributors or they can ‘earn’ them. The plan is to recruit 2-3 people and get them to recruit 2-3 people etc etc. They say recruitment is easy, you just need to show a video to your prospect, you won’t need to sell, the opportunity will sell itself.
They sell energy, insurance, water, phones, financial products. Most of the sections have ‘coming soon’ written over them. The things they do sell come from a company called Utilico.
“The company was established by two experienced entrepreneurs Andreas Papaiacovou and Ababil Sher“- according to their website. The website claims they had seen many network marketing companies fail to deliver on their promises, but this one is different.
The company was registered in September 2016. The two company officers named on official documents are Andreas Papaiacovou and Matthew Postlethwaite. Andreas is the director of Utilico, a series of businesses that provide the services being sold by e-conomize.
Elk River Soaps
They sell leggings for women and girls.
Their website. Their website is full of health claims, and the usual disclaimer that they don’t make health claims.
They sell Elevate coffee. They also sell vitamin patches, skin tightener, skin mud and anti-aging serum. This diet website looks at the coffee and discusses some concerns they have.
Joining initially costs $49.97, then there is a $25 fee every month.
Official name is ENERGETIX GmbH & Co. KG. Registered in Germany.
Their website. They sell magnetic jewellery. Apparently millions of people buy the jewellery because they like it and they want to be near magnets????!!!!!
Roland Forster is the sole shareholder and owner. Founded in 2002 as ENERGETIX.
They operate in Peurto Rico, Australia, Eastern Europe, UK, Turkey and Mongolia.
Members of the UK DSA.
Behind MLM did a review on them. Launched in 2016 and sells nutrition products.
Currently in pre-launch (As of May 2018).
Their website is full of scenic pictures and bland statements that don’t mean much or identify what they are actually selling. This is from their website-
“A movement with a mission can hold extraordinary appeal, especially for the younger generations who are reshaping the world’s social landscape. Enhanzz is a Swiss-based company, and proudly so. Switzerland is the global icon of quality, precision and reliability. And by identifying as Swiss, we are making our own commitment to exceptional standards in every aspect of our company’s products, operations and appeal. Our outstanding opportunity is designed to add to the increasing amount of worldwide conversations about happiness. There’s an open invitation to everyone, of every age and every background, to join our mission of empowering people and enhancing happiness“.
Their website. They sell ‘chemical free cleaning products’!
Members of the UK DSA.
Sold water filters and vitamins. Founded in 1991.
2000 the FTC declared them an illegal pyramid scheme and shut them down.
In 1996 it was listed as one of the top 500 fastest growing companies in the US by Inc Magazine.
Bill Gouldd was the president. He was barred from having anything to do with any MLM for the rest of his life.
Sells jewellery by Sarah Blaine.
Launched in 2009.
Their website. They sell supposedly toxic free products, including essential oils ( known to be toxic), cleaning products, bath stuff and the pseudoscientific pH alkaline nutrition.
European Grouping of Marketing Professionals/ GEPM
Set up by Jean Godzich, a former member of Amway in 1988.
Also known as ‘The Business’ by the followers. The headquarters were in France.
It shut down in 1995 after its members increasingly complained that it was a cult. Wikepedia covers the controversial MLM. The French authorities investigated it.
The former members of GEPM formed a new MLM called AKEO, to be taken over by a company called NOAO.
European Home Retail
This is the company that owned Farepak, the Christmas savings club that went into administration in 2006.
Other subsidiaries were Kleeneze; eeZee TV; I want one of those.com; kitbag.com.
Evergreen Life Products
They are an online travel agents. They charge a very low fee to do a course and then issue certificates so that members can sell holidays. 80% of the commission earned is kept by the ‘agent’ and the rest goes up the pyramid.
The company very much emphasise the importance of recruiting. Their compensation plan is very very heavily reliant on recruiting. Their compensation plan talks of selling ‘PTAs- Professional Travel Agent’ packages. This is the package new recruits buy. Thus, members are paid for the number of people they recruit. Agents have to pay a monthly fee to be active and ‘earn’ money.
Evolution Travel are not covered by ATOL or ABTA. Agents claim they will be covered soon (claims made in March 2018) because Archer Travel who provide the holidays have bought out Barrhead Travel in the UK. Barrhead were actually bought by North American Travel Leaders Group. News story here. In fact, Archer Travel are members of the Travel Leaders Group. How this relationship will affect the ability of UK agents to claim ABTA and ATOL remains to be seen.
Express 2 System
The jury is out on this one. There is a joining fee, starter kits, parties at home and offers for hosts. There are recruitment posters. There is a promise of flexible working and a career opportunity. What is not so obvious is the compensation plan, success days and ‘build a team’ focus. If anyone has any thoughts, please comment.
Family First Life
Family Heritage Life
Fibi & Clo
Fifth Avenue Collection
Financial Prosperity Alliance
First Fitness Nutrition
They sell supplements aimed at people trying to get fit. They call their reps FITTEAM brand partners.
Their income disclosure can be found by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
Here is an extract
They were founded in 2015 so they should really have data to make a proper income statement now. Please let me know if you see it updated so I can update the above statement. $500-$2000 a year isn’t much of an income. I wonder how much people have to spend in order to be eligible for these payments?
Reps have to sell/spend $46.99 a month to be eligible for their commissions and bonuses. If they don’t spend/sell this much two months in a row, they will lose their downline. The payment structure can be accessed by clicking on ‘compensation plan’ at the bottom of this page.
You see where I put sell/spend in red? That is important because it means you don’t need to have any customers. You could just buy products and recruit. Your recruits could just do the same. If there is no need for genuine outside customers, this is a huge red flag. It could mean the company is a pyramid scheme under US rules.
Here is a picture on their website illustrating the ‘opportunity’. This type of picture has been banned by the FTC in their ruling on Herbalife where they were telling them how not to be a pyramid scheme.
A review of the products by a supplement website. They discuss the ingredients and dosing.
Five Star Autoclub
People paid into this to try and get their dream car on lease. Here in one rep’s website explaining how it all works, describing the earning potential, ranks, commission etc.
Legal case here. The FTC said they were a pyramid scheme and that the members were misrepresenting the amount of money people could earn. They were shut down in 2000. The people who set it up were banned from participating in future MLM companies. They had already been involved in quite a few. Mr Sullivan, the main owner, was found to be legally responsible for all the false advertising that was put out by the reps. This was despite him saying he couldn’t be.
FTC timeline of the case.
A perfume website called Basenotes has a forum discussing the products. They describe the perfumes as not-so-cheap knockoffs. They essentially copy well known brands. Then some FM advocates wade in and exclaim it is not at all pyramidy (yawn).
Food Service Professional
For Days Co. Ltd
For Every Home
For Your Pleasure
Force Fuel and Engine Conditioner
Scandal of Forever Living using Great Ormond Street and a children’s illness to sell their products.
Why Forever Living cannot make health claims.
TINA’s investigation into illegal health claims made for FL products.
Newspaper story in Sunday Times about Forever Living targeting health care staff.
Newspaper story in Daily Mail about Forever Living misusing Barclays Bank facility aimed at helping local businesses.
Another Daily Mail article, this one showing what the realities are for people in FL. A follow up piece by Timeless vie about the abuse the whistle blower was subjected to, as well as support from others in the same situation.
A whistle-blower’s story exposing Forever Living and their dodgy practices.
ASA ruling on a Forever Living rep’s advert.
Reality versus expectation in Forever Living- stories from a few ex FL whistleblowers.
Avoiding tax. How some companies funnel money around to avoid tax.
Newspaper article on FL’s owner paying a huge amount of money to an anti gay-marriage campaign.
A whistleblower’s testimony of what happened when they stood up to conflicting advice from Forever Living.
A mother’s story of how she and her team faked success.
For Tails Only
Sells dog treats/ supplies.
Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing
This MLM was declared by the FTC in the USA to be a pyramid scheme and was told to shut down a lot of its operations and pay compensation.
TINA have an article on it.
The FTC’s statement about it.
Four Corners Alliance Group
Fred L. Hansen Corporation
Freedom Equity Group
Freeway To Success
Friendly Home Parties
Friends United Network
Fuel Freedom International
Full Life Products
Formerly known as Arctic Island. Went bankrupt in 1990 after accusations of it being a pyramid scheme. A lot of the company’s money was allegedly sent to two companies by Robert T. Edwards, the president of Fund America, plunging the company into debt. The Los Angeles Times said
“FundAmerica’s two largest creditors are the same overseas entities that its current management has said received $11.3 million in electronic-fund transfers from company founder Robert T. Edwards, who resigned shortly after his July 19 arrest by Florida authorities on pyramid-scheme charges.
No one in FundAmerica management claims to know what the company’s relationship is with Theta Ltd. of the British West Indies or Acheteur International in Amsterdam. Edwards wired millions of dollars to the two entities in the months before his arrest.”
FuXion Biotech USA Corp
G and S Total Rejuvenation
Genesis Global Network
Genesis Pure LivePure
Gigi Custom Jewellery
Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle
Global Health Trax
Global Information Network
Global Legacy International
Global Online Systems
Global Prosperity Group
Global Wealth Trade
GNLD International/ NEOLIFE
Members of DSA UK.
Based in Sweden. They sell supplements, skin care, home care, personal care and weight loss products.
Review at Best Company. The review says that there is no money back guarantee, there are poor Glassdoor ratings and you cannot find out any prices unless you enquire with a rep. A person says in the comments that there is a money back guarantee. The Glassdoor ratings are much better now.
Gold Canyon Candles
Good Life USA
Grace and Heart
Great Lakes Jump
Green Mountain Energy
Green Valley Plant Rentals
Greeting Cake Company
Analysis by Timeless Vie here.
H2O At Home
Hanky Panky Parties
Harmony Green America
Harris Global Marketing
Harrison F. Luke, For Profit Motive
Hayward’s Gourmet Popcorn
Health Mor (HMI Industries)
The Health Network
Healthy Coffee Business
Healthy Habits Global
Based in California, USA. They sell hot drink powders with three herbs in that are alleged to have lots of health benefits. They also sell a substance you can put in your car’s fuel. Founded by Ted FitzGerald (formerly from Gano Excel).
There are 4 levels of joining packages, ranging from $99- $999. People get different access to payment levels depending on how much they pay in.
Science Based Medicine looked at the long list of health claims made for the products in this MLM in 2015.
Here is an example of one of the health claims on their website as of August 2018.
Here is another claim that is ridiculous.
Their income disclaimer says that there is not enough information to be able to give an accurate income disclosure and that one will be produced after a year of operating. This is on their website in 2018. HHG have been around since 2013. Their ‘estimate’ of earnings is between $500 and $2000 gross a year.
A lot of the videos are not working on their website. It is not clear on their website what countries they operate in. Some of their spelling and overall presentation is a little odd and amateur looking.
Behind MLM have reviewed this company. As usual, the comments are worth reading.
Healthy Peach (The HealthStyle Emporium)
Helo LX/ Helo Globe
This is the ‘wellness band’ of wor(l)d. Their website.
It is like a fitbit. Except the product claims to test blood sugar, blood pressure, respiratory rate, alcohol levels, ECG (electrical cardiac activity) and mood. This video shows how it is worn. You cannot test these parameters with a wrist device. You would need a cuff to compress an artery, blood samples and sensors attached on the chest.
They sell CBD oil. This is a cannabis product.
In 2018 Canada decreed that Hempworx had to stop selling their products in Canada as they were illegal. News article at CBC describes the situation. From the article-
The article reports that the company have not been truthful with the reps. From the article- “The company told affiliates the shut-down to the Canadian market was “due to the increasing demand to bring HempWorx products to Canada and our commitment to compliance.”
The FTC’s rulings on how Herbalife have to change the way they operate in the US. Made in July 2016. Briefly, they have to pay $200 million in compensation for all the people that lost the most money, they have to ensure that there are real customers (not just Herbalife workers buying stock), there will be an independent compliance auditor ensuring the new rules are followed.
Well acclaimed documentary called ‘Betting on Zero’ about Herbalife, the people it has harmed and the financial battle being fought that is a big threat to the company. It has a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It is available here, along with a trailer.
Free short video showing experience of Herbalife victims.
A Herbalife victim speaks out.
A selection of articles by TINA about Herbalife.
Brenda’s story. Brenda left Herbalife. Here is her story.
UK income disclosure. 2014. Initially, it looks like the average person earns $5,456 a year, but that is disregarding the 87.1% of people who earned nothing (80%) or the 7.1% that earned on average $48. I think all members should be included in this calculation, after all, it is unfair to include just those that are doing well.
Total people in chart- 554,353
Total money paid out- $392,210,128.
True average yearly payments= $707.51.
Herbalife were going to be sponsoring The Great North Run in the UK but there was a Twitter campaign and a petition and Herbalife were dropped. For more, see here.
Started in 1964 by William Penn Patrick and shut down in 1974.
Cosmetics company that was accused of using dirty tactics.
AVON sued them because they claimed that AVON were using fraudulent tactics.
They were investigated and taken to court for being a pyramid scheme. SEC vs Holiday Magic in 1974.
There were numerous schemes operated that charged Holiday Magic members fees to improve their ‘business’. These included Mind Dynamics; Sales Dynamics and Leadership Dynamics.
Hollywood Eye Magic
Their sign up form and terms and conditions.
They sell one product- a serum that claims to remove bags under eyes, whether that is due to tiredness, old age, jet lag, allergies, stress, sodium, medication. Reps pay an autoship to get regular products.
USA division bought by Celebrating Home and still operating in mexico.
Home Land Mortgage Corp
Home Travel Agent
Home Travel Discount Cards
A French MLM.
I Love Healthy Chocolate
I T P Travel
Based in Canada. Sells adult products.
In a Pikle
Independent Executive Recruiters
Based in UK. Sells Jewellery and accessories.
Number 5 highest revenues on the DSA’s top 100 list for 2018.
Information Research Center
Inkd Up Nails
Innovative Technologies Corporation of America
Their website. They sell supplements, shakes, energy drinks.
CEO is Heidi Whitehair. They call their reps ambassadors. Launched October 2016.
Interior Design Nutritionals
International Silver Network
Their income disclosure states that because the company has not been trading for long, they do not have accurate figures for earnings. They state that after their first year they will do a more detailed survey on pay. As it stands, they estimate that earnings will be $500-$2000 a year.
ISN was founded in 2010. I would have thought they have had enough time to put together an income disclosure by now. Could it be that they don’t want to? Or have they done it and decided not to share that information?
There is a review of ISN by Behind MLM. They look at the compensation plan and the cost of the silver. Essentially they conclude that the compensation plan is unclear and over complicated (33 pages) and their products are cheaper elsewhere. There is a monthly fee and an obligatory purchase to make. They conclude that the commission is biased towards the number of people you recruit and the amount of autoship payments paid by these recruited people.
Internet Lifestyle Network
Internet Opportunity Group
Based in Australia/ New Zealand.
They sell adult products.
Isagenix- cutting through the crap This is a blog post I did on Isagenix, including financial and product analysis.
TINA’s investigation into illegal health claims for Isagenix products.
This is their Income Disclosure. For analysis of this, see the above link. 0.36% of members earned above the poverty line. And that isn’t taking into account all the stock, expenses and tax, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars.
This Australian article looks at the business model, a member’s account, and an analysis of the products.
An article by a well qualified nutritionist explains why the ingredients in the products aren’t what they seem. The article is called “How Isagenix Lies To Its Distributors And Consumers About GMOs, Preservatives, And Artificial Ingredients”
A doctor who fights against health frauds has written about the absurd health and science claims that Isagenix claim. Some of them are bizarre. Here is one quote
“The claims on the Isagenix website are a mishmash of pseudoscience, myth, misrepresentation, and outright lies. For example:” She goes through quite a few of these silly assertions that Isagenix make.
Ethan Vanderbuilt analyses Isagenix here.
Dr Bill Sukala (an exercise physiologist) reviews the products.
Truth in Advertising (TINA’s) evaluation.
Lazy Man and Money’s assessment of It Works.
Income disclosure statement. This shows the average earnings of its members is $189 / £128 and that this does not include expenses which run into hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.
This Fitness columnist has written a really informative article on It Works entitled “The Secret Of Weight Loss Wrap “It Works!” Is That It Fucking Doesn’t”.
They sell women and children’s clothing.
They sell custom suits.
J P Mailing Profit
See Watkins Incorporated
JAFRA Beauty/ Beauty
See Vorwerk Worldwide
A Jamberry escapee’s tale.
Another story of a Jamberry escapee.
Bottlesoup have analysed the earning potential for reps.
A follow up post about the above article and the fallout from it.
UK company information at Companies House.
Income disclosure statement on page 2 of their compensation plan. They only include people that have been in the company for a year. That is excluding an awful lot of people from the statistics. In MLMs, it has been shown that 80-90% of people leave within the first year. The earnings shown below are from the people that have persevered against the odds.
Terms and conditions. These state-
Here are the points for individual items.
An application kit costs £12.50 Sellers buy at wholesale price of 60% which means they need to spend £75 a month or sell £125 of stuff. This adds up to £900 a year of personal product costs. In CAD$, this is $1061. For someone earning $36- $998 a year, this is not great. (disclaimer- the pound is undergoing a massive flux in value due to the Brexit drama so these comparisons may be different in a few week’s time.)
PEOPLE HAVE TO SPND MORE THAN THEY EARN IN JAMBERRY. The only money to be made is by selling the products bought. Good luck with that. Or of course, attempt to recruit loads of other people and getting them to recruit loads of people.
Timeless Vie interview a Jamberry escapee. The £600 sales targets they talk about there are to remain a consultant. The £900 I mention is to qualify for bonuses.
Jamie At Home
They sold kitchenware
This is a brand under Gemstra. They sell wax burners.
They sell coffee
Closed and reopened under new management with new products and structure — Beef Jerky Products.
Income disclosure. 86% earn less than $213 a year.
Lazyman and Money’s assessment.
Class action being taken against Jeunesse for being a pyramid scheme, as reported by TINA.
TINA’s list of illegal health claims for their products. It’s a long list.
Purchased by 31 gifts. They sell jewellery and handbags.
Jewelry in Candles
Sold scented waxes and body products with jewellery. Shut down. Reps directed to Gemstra.
Brand under Gemstra. Scented candles with jewellery.
Jewelry In Candles
Jewels By Park Lane
Based in Canada. Sell women’s clothes.
The Job Marker
Jockey Person To Person
John Amico Haircare products
Make up, skincare and home products. Founded 2000.
This company is actually called NSA which stands for National Safety Associates. NSA is on all their paperwork. It seems NSA is the company, Juiceplus is the product. In the past they have sold fire safety equipment, water filters, air filters and children’s books. NSA was founded in 1970 by Jay Martin, who is still the CEO now. In Europe, the company is registered in Switzerland.
Oncology journal article warning against using Juice Plus during chemotherapy.
Review of their so called research. Juice plus people bring out this research to back up any and all claims they make about their products.
A critical look at Juice Plus by MLM Watch.
You can be promoted or demoted by your upline, which is quite unusual in MLM circles apparently. This pro-MLM website explains it at the bottom of the post.
An article in the Independent about Juiceplus and other MLMs. It is from 1995 but it is still relevant today.
The Juiceplus starter guide. How to prospect people, how many you have to recruit and how much to sell/buy to earn any payments.
Juiceplus do not provide an income disclosure statement so we cannot accurately see what expected earnings can be. The Canadian Juiceplus website has this image. It isn’t very detailed but it is the best I could find. Which should be concerning in itself.
Juiceplus run a child health study that provides free Juiceplus capsules to children aged 4-18 if they take part in a survey. As long as an adult commits to buy Juiceplus for themselves for a year. At a cost of £246- £693. And they fill in 6 questionnaires. This is not very free.
Juiceplus’ doctor, Dr Mitra Ray recommends pregnant women take Juiceplus tablets-
Pregnant women should not take any supplement that have vitamin A in, as well as avoiding too many foods with naturally high levels of vitamin A. Doing this could damage your baby. This information is from the NHS website.
There is vitamin A in Juiceplus products-
K and REnterprises of Ol jump
K and K Designs
K Par K
A French MLM.
Kaeser & Blair
They sell promotional products. Established in 1894.
Their website. They call their reps ‘Business Owners’. At first this looks like just a direct selling model but upon scrutiny, you can recruit people and earn off their sales. They describe their recruits as having a ‘sub business.’
They don’t have an income disclosure statement.
Kalo & Co
The assumption made with Kangen water is that your body works better if it is alkaline. A very basic understanding of human physiology will show you that everybody has to have a blood pH of 7.35-7.45 for you to stay alive. Changing it outside of these small parameters will kill you. Luckily, drinking alkaline fluids will not change your body pH. It may affect the pH in your stomach though, which is supposed to be about pH2. If it is made less acid, you can’t digest nutrients properly. But, as ever, the danger with MLM isn’t with the pseudoscience, it is with the financial aspect and the effects being in an MLM will have on you and your relationships.
Lazy man and money’s assessment.
Kangen water is made by a Japanese company called Enagic.
Enagic in hot water in Japan. Story on false claims made for Kangen water and their ‘opportunity’.
They sell gold. Head office in Germany, gold products made in Turkey. Founded in 2011.
Their website. They sell jewellery. Their reps are called designers.
Jessica Herrin formed this company, the same Jessica that started Stella and Dot.
Keep Me Safe Organics
They sell make up.
Kele N Co
The Kirby Company
Kleeneze, also referred to as Klife
BBC report on the company going into administration in April 2018. The article says 5000 reps and 114 employees will lose their positions.
They have a catalogue that distributors deliver to people’s door and then collect payments for orders. There are no territories though so sellers could end up competing with each other.
Distributors have to pay for catalogues.
This blog lists all the problems with Kleeneze and compares it to a cult.
A newsletter for Kleeneze. (https://dsa.kleeneze.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/dsa-Team-talk-sept-2015_TT-sept-15-new.pdf) Spot all the persuasive messages to entice people in and keep them trying to make money.
Koritnik and Associates/ Shaklee
Kyani in trouble about lies they told about their products. They made numerous false health claims.
Lots of illegal health claims for Kyani made in the USA, compiled by TINA.
37.8% of active distributors earned more than $10 or more in a year. Here are their earnings.
L’Bri Pure N Natural
They sell cosmetics and skincare.
L Paige Lipstick
La Bella Baskets
They sell gift baskets, charms, candles.
Lady Godiva Beauty
Iron Beaver analyses Thrive from a fitness perspective.
Truth in Advertising’s analysis of Le-Vel.
There is no income disclosure. They do not want you to know how much their people earn.
Information from TINA on adverse health effects from Le-Vel’s products.
Advertising Standard Authority‘s ruling against Le-Vel. It is interesting to read in the ruling how Le-Vel treated their rep.
Lazy Man and money‘s article about Le-Vel. For which they are suing him. He won his court battle.
Lean Java Bean coffee (product sold by Vitae Global)
See this analysis in a Botwatchblog post about this MLM.
Their coffee is billed as ‘clinically proven’ to help weight loss. It is nothing of the kind. The post above analyses this research and looks at the ingredients.
I am currently investigating this company. More to follow in due course.
Brand under Gemstra
Legacy For Life
This company sell legal cover. There are a network of lawyers that customers can contact if they need legal help. Their reps are called ‘associates’.
They operate in the US and Canada.
Their income disclosure. This is for 2015. Their figures show that only 2.5% of their associates managed to make a sale in that year. It cost $249 to join, plus the cost of becoming licenced. The information provided about earnings only relate to the 2.5% that made a sale.
Ethan Vanderbuilt believes it is a scam.
A complaint about the product and customer service.
The website does not use https so transactions are not as secure as they can be.
Founded 2012. Sell make up,essential oils and skin care.
Member of UK DSA.
They sell products to ‘help’ the entrepreneur. They also sell gold. Their reps are called trainers.
Let Us Close
LG Household and Healthcare
Based in South Korea.
Bought out AVON Japan for $96 million in April 2018.
Lia Sophia (Outlet by Lia Sophia)
Do you remember Victor Kiam? He is the man that was in the Remington adverts and said that he liked the products so much, he bought the company. In 1986 he bought a company called Act II and called it ‘Lady Remington’.
Victor passed on Lady Remington to his son, Tory and Tory’s wife Elena Kiam. They renamed it Lia Sophia. They sold costume jewellery in America and Canada. Reps were called ‘advisers’.
In 2014 the company shut down. Read a newspaper story about it at the time.
When you go to their website now, you get this message.
This is the website where you can put in a claim if you ever bought a starter kit from this company. The deadline for applying was April 9th 2018. On June 6th 2018, there will be Final Approval hearing. See the previous link to follow any developments.
Here are the legal details of the case, obtained from the above link. The document says that a settlement was reached after extensive legal battling where the company was accused of
The reps were upset because the lifetime guarantee on the jewellery was revoked, and because the owners knew they were going to shut down but continued to encourage recruitment and purchases for 6 months.
Lia Sophia were members of the DSA (Direct Selling Association).
There were concerns about the business when it was running. This Consumer Affairs article addresses the problems of lead being an ingredient in the jewellery (including the children’s lines), overly expensive prices and poor quality of the items.
Members of DSA UK. They sell nutritional supplements. This seems to be a ‘referral business’ instead of an MLM. People get a fee when someone buys a product and mentions the referrer.
Life Shotz/ Oxyfresh.com
Life Tree World
Update- 10th March 2017.
Lifetree World has now been liquidated, leaving many creditors. A lot of members had purchased goods and never received them, and many had bought into programs that promised more profit for them. They have all lost their money now. The only assets the company had when it was closed down was a car that still had finance on and some pretend money in a ‘Gateway’ account. This amounted to -£885 in assets and a total of £454,319 owing to everyone. Companies House have all the documents if you want to look at the details.
We won’t have heard the last of them though. Previous players in this company have gone on to form another MLM and another MLM team which moves people from MLM to MLM, ensuring a few of them will always be at the top of a pyramid somewhere. More on this in future blog posts.
Life Tree World have not been accepted by the DSA as members. They have disappeared from the prospective list.
There was a dispute between LTW and a supplier, culminating in court action. A petition is due to be heard on 11/07/2016 for insolvency, brought about by a company called Per-Scent Ltd. I am told they agreed to pay the company in instalments and they were not shut down at that time.
Netmums discussion– This discussion has now been deleted by Netmums.
They are a ‘wellness and personal care company’. They claim “we’ve done studies”.
Their studies can be found here. A lot of the studies were written by Joe M McCord, who was a well paid employee (Director of Science) of LifeVantage. Wikipedia report that McCord earned a fee for each time Protandim was sold. Wikipedia has a very thorough account of Protandim and the controversial issues that surround it.
In 2017 LifeVantage got a warning letter from the FDA for making many, many health claims that they had no business making.
Science Based Medicine have written numerous posts about Protandim and the pseudo health claims. They take a close look at the research and also write about reps’ reactions to the analysis they performed.
For financial analysis of the company on the stock market, read this. Here are their profits over the last years in this order 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
Their income statement.
Here is a quote from that document-
“There were approximately 63,000 total U.S. Distributors during the period, with approximately 48,500 U.S. Distributors paid in the same period.
Note: These figures do not represent a Distributor’s profit as they do not consider expenses incurred”.
This means 14,500 earned nothing at all, before expenses.
This chart shows that 23 % earned nothing and 58% earned less than $79 a month. That’s 81% earning less than $79 a month before expenses.
Limelight by Alcone
This MLM sells makeup and is based in New York. Their reps are called Beauty Guides.
Here is their website. They only operate in the USA. You can read their terms and conditions if you get to the application stage. You don’t have to give any information to get to this stage, you do need to choose which starter kit you want.
There is a monthly charge to maintain the third party site the guides get paid through, and a charge for withdrawing money from it. There are yearly renewal fees. There are monthly fees for having a company website to sell products from, this is not optional.
Pissedconsumer website lists some complaints about this company. Some issues- problems with orders, reps lying, cosmetics not as free from nasty chemicals as claimed by the company.
Excellent blog piece here that asks the ten questions you should ask yourself if you are thinking of joining Limelight by Alcone. It could apply to a lot of MLMs.
Limu/ The Limu Company
Lindt chocolate RSVP
Yes, this is Lindt, as in the nice chocolate that you can buy in shops.
This blogger had a Lindt party after the company sent her the products.
They shut down in 2013 due to ‘low sales and the high cost of business’. Story here on the closure.
This is the product sold by the MLM known as SeneGence International.
Live Body Coach
Livingston Avenue Community Empowerment
The Longaberger Company
Owned by JRJR Networks.
Lorraine Lee Linen
Love What We Do
LR Beauty and Health/ LR Health and Beauty
Based in Germany.
This is an MLM that, thankfully, is not in the UK. It seems to just be in the US. They sell leggings. Some issues with this company are-
Their leggings have been criticised as very poor quality, with them ‘ripping like wet tissue paper’. Many people are unhappy about them and trying to get refunds. Reps are refusing to refund because it will cost them.
They are in trouble for charging people tax in some states where tax should not be charged. This is the subject of legal action.
The reps don’t get to choose the patterns on the leggings. They just buy a batch and hope they are good ones that will sell well.
This is the consultants’ contract. Some information for consultants who want to leave-
Income disclosure statement. Here is a snippet “The average annual bonus payments made by LuLaRoe to ALL U.S. Consultants at all ranks (which includes Eligible and Ineligible Consultants) in 2015 was $91.65, and the median annual bonus payments made to ALL U.S. Consultants at all ranks in 2015 was $85.80. ” YEARLY bonuses of $85.80! And that’s not taking into account of the losses they most probably made buying the products. 87.04% of reps did not earn a cent. The document states that costs can be hundreds to thousands of dollars.
There is now a 2016 income disclosure that, on the surface, looks better as “The average annual bonus payments made by LuLaRoe to ALL U.S. Independent Retailers at all ranks (which includes Eligible and Ineligible Independent Retailers) in 2016 was $2,064.77. ” Look closer though, and you find that most people don’t get paid any bonus, and of those that do, they don’t get much. As usual, it is the very few at the top that earn anything decent, pushing the average figures up.
The above table shows that only about a quarter of people in Lularoe earn anything, and of those that do, 99.84% earn $5103 a year before expenses. They have a lot of expenses.
For stories, have a read here-
news article with links.
Lulaoe say no Twitter account highlighting latest news.
Scary Mommy Blog post about the refund problem.
Bottlesoup have doe an analysis on the earning potential for reps.
Truth In Advertising’s summary of Lularoe’s problems.
Mommygyver on twitter is campaigning for LuLaRoe’s reps trying to get refunds when they leave the company. Many people are left thousands of dollars out of pocket. LuLaRoe are taking legal action against her to get her to reveal her sources for her stories.
3rd December 2017 another lawsuit commenced against them. This one accused the whole company of being set up to con people and is responsible for making many women losing everything while he owners made hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is a really well researched Businessweek article on what goes on in LuLaRoe, from the lowly people struggling at the bottom, to the top ‘mentors’ who experienced troubling things.
Lyoness (also known as Lyconet in places)
Article by Behind MLM.
Dragons’ Den Canada where someone tries to pitch Lyoness to the Dragons. They don’t get the funding. Watch it from 25 minutes in.
The figures in this chart are abysmal. ‘The median income of all members was $0.04’. The median is the middle number if all the numbers are lined up in order. It is what most people earn. 4 cents a year is horrendous!
January 2018 Lyoness have been told to stop operating in Norway due to them being a pyramid scheme. The government found out that income was mainly made up from recruiting people, and not sales. This article is in Norwegan but you can use Google translate to get the gist of what is being said.
An analysis of lioness and the link to cults is discussed in detail at MLM The American Dream turned nightmare.
Their website. Mr Kerry Brown is the founder of this MLM, his title is ‘headmaster’! Launched January 2017.
They sell ‘hydration and weight loss products’.
Their compensation plan.
Their Facebook page.
The Supplement Police looked at the supplements and find the ingredients are the same as energy drinks but without the calories. They express concern that there are no clinical studies available even though the company claim their products are ‘scientifically proven’.
Maddy Moo Creations
Launched in the US and UK in October or November 2016.
Maële’s facebook page causes controversy, as reported by Timeless Vie.
It costs £59 to join but you won’t get sent your starter package until ‘Fall 2016’. No date. And the starter kit products are subject to change.
Rumours are abound that Maelle will be launching again in the UK (Dec 2017).
Magnolia and Vine
Main Street Auto Repair
Now closed. Sold things to do with cooking meat. Featured in a Penn and Teller documentary about pyramid schemes in a series called Bullshit! The episode was called easy Money and you can watch it if you have Amazon Prime.
Their home parties were called MEATings.
They operated in America only. Their compensation plan and other information is on the MLM Legal website.
Video here on the ‘opportunity’.
Man Cave seem to have somehow evolved into a different entity altogether, no longer selling through the MLM method. They now seem to be called ‘Mighty Spark Food’. They sell food products in shops and donate a meal to the poor for each item they sell.
Manna From Heaven
Something to do with online shopping-
“Market America’s UnFranchise Business is a proven plan for your financial success. Market America Worldwide provides systemization, standardization, state-of-the-art management systems, merchandising and marketing tools, growing visibility & the opportunity to own multiple business locations”. I hope that’s clear.
It seems to be a scheme where you shop through their website and earn commission.
Started in 1992 by J R Ridinger. Operating in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
According to one MLM reviewer– “There is an initial set-up fee of $130, a monthly fee of $20 and a $99.95 yearly fee. In addition, you are expected to purchase hundreds of dollars of product from Market America at the start, and ongoingly to keep up your personal business volume.”
This scathing review on Pissed Customer tells how a woman joined up and became so involved in it, the marriage crumbled and finances were destroyed. Here is an extract
“If your spouse is getting involved with this, do everything you can to get them out of it before it’s too late. If your friends are getting into it, tell them you aren’t interested. If some random stranger approaches you in a coffee shop about it throw hot coffee in their face and walk away.
Seriously, this company is a scam and a cult. It’ll empty your bank account before it puts anything inside of it.”
Bot Watch does not advocate throwing hot coffee in people’s faces.
Marketing True Residualome
Marvelous Mouse Travels
Mary and Martha
Pink Truth, a website dedicated to exposing Mary Kay and also touches upon other MLMs.
Ten reasons not to join Mary kay. Number 5 is that you have to wear a skirt to all company events!
Pink Truth Discussion board. See what people are saying.
Earnings disclosure from their Canadian website.
The above statement is only counting people who have been involved for a year or more. Most people leave MLMs within a year so the vast majority of people in this scheme (29,614) have been totally disregarded. These figures apply to people who have spent $2700 on products over the year. 47% of them earned over $100. Not great.
A website called Families Against Cult-Like Expoitation in Sales has a bit about Mary Kay.
Stories from victims of Mary Kay.
Their website. Founded by someone called Cara. Hence Maskcara.
Founded 2017. Their reps are called Beauty Artists.
Matsumoto Noella Hauoli
Products contained ephedrine and was used for weight loss.
2006 they shut down as it was made illegal by the FDA to sell ephedrine for that purpose in 2004.
Max and Madeleine
Their website. They sell meal replacement shakes aimed at weight loss. Founded in 1980 by William Vitale.
Take Shape for Life are what the MLM arm are called.
Medifast have been accused of being a pyramid scheme. Medifast sued the accuser for defamation but the courts did not uphold the claim. Read about it here on Fraud Files. Further details of the case here.
The reps are called coaches.
Mona Ameli was appointed to the DSA board in 2015. She is the president of DSA member Take Shape for Life.
This company sold supplements but when there was a ban on ephedra, the company went out of business.
In 2002 the Justice Department investigated the company for lying about adverse effect reports made by users of their products. The document says that there were 2000 adverse reports but that Metabolife had told the FDA there were none. The report in the link is quite scathing of the company and accuses them of acting with indifference, with little regard for people’s lives. This USA Today story details the FDA concerns about the company and the product and an individual person in Metabolife.
2005- This little sentence appears in a newspaper article about Metabolife and the tax evasion they were being accused of-“Metabolife co-founder Michael Ellis still faces weapons charges and charges that he lied to federal regulators about the safety of Metabolife 356.” This newspaper article describes how Ellis was a convicted felon (drug charges) and was being prosecuted for owning weapons and ammunition that he shouldn’t have had.
The San Diego Source describes how “Michael Blevins, 54, a high school friend whom Ellis made a Metabolife board member was indicted in 2003 for federal gun charges. Like Ellis, Blevins was barred from possessing weapons for his role in the same 1988 meth lab bust. Blevins served time in prison; Ellis, who worked as an undercover FBI informant, received probation.” The article gives details about Ellis’s gun charges.
2006- William Bradly, a co-owner of Metabolife was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 6 months in prison. This San Diego Union Tribune story covers the issue. An extract from the article- ‘According to assistant U.S. attorneys Phillip L.B. Halpern and Kyle W. Hoffman, Bradley used various schemes to avoid paying taxes, including diverting corporate profits, improperly classifying corporate income, failing to report personal income from his towing company and using a charitable foundation to conceal income.’
This website lists links to Metabolite news stories with a summary for each one.
This is an Indian company that sells supplements.
MiA Bath and Body
They sold customised bath products. Set up By Steph Appleton in 2012, after she left Bathologie. Bathologie accuse Steph of stealing their concept and set up a FaceBook page to publically show everyone their evidence.
Mia Bella Scent Sations
Michael S. Brown
This company sells handbags with changeable covers.
Their website. They were founded by Michelle Romero and Annette Cavanness in 2005.
They sued Thirty One Gifts (another MLM) for copyright infringement in 2011. The courts decided there hadn’t been a breach. See entry under ‘Thirty One Gifts’ for links to the case details’ and links.
They went into liquidation in 2016.
MICHE are still active in Canada and Europe. They host parties and have reps that earn commission but I am unsure if they are still an MLM company.
Mid American Opportunity Research Enterprises
Mile High Management Systems
Miller Marketing South
Their website. A Utah company that believes in ‘living clean’ and avoiding ‘bad chemicals’.
Some of their reps have been selling their products under the pretence of helping people with cancer.
Mommy 2 Work
Mon Ami Gourmet
Their income disclosure statement
At first, this income disclosure doesn’t look too bad. $1,536 yearly income is quite a look for MLM. Then, look at the small print underneath.
The above chart only includes people who have managed to recruit someone, spent money within the last 8 weeks, and worked enough to receive a bonus. 87% of people have not achieved that, and presumably their earnings are going to be close to $0.
Lazy Man and money has a lot to say about MonaVie.
“What I’ve found is tons of irrefutable evidence supported by reputable third parties that MonaVie is a grossly overpriced product, with little nutritional value, wrapped in a poor business opportunity that appears to be illegal pyramid scheme, supported by nonsensical “scientific” studies and illegal medical claims.”
In 2009 Oprah Winfrey’s company sued MonaVie over claims that her and Dr Oz’s names were used to promote the products.
This juice website compares Monavie products to an apple. Guess which one is better for you?
Their website says that Mona Vie is a Jeunesse product.
They sell hair products.
Their policies and procedures.
I have been unable to find an income disclosure for them.
There have been lots of reports of Monat producs damaging people’s hair and reps telling them they are using the products incorrectly. This stylist blogger explains about why the products are harmful.
This article looks into the claim that Monat products were tested at Princeton University. They weren’t.
Class actions are being made against Monat for the damage they claim has been done to their hair. Some reps have been saying they are FDA approved. They aren’t. News story here.
TINA found that MONAT have been making lots of false income claims.
Motives Cosmetics/ Motives by Loren Ridinger
Unsurprisingly, they sell cosmetics. They operate in America, UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Motorclub of America (MCA)
Multi-Level Marketing Inc
My Amelia James
My Club 8
My Daily Choice/ MDC
Their products list health claims and then say at the bottom that their products aren’t intended to treat anything.
Some of the ingredients they use- deer antler fur, emu oil, coral, apple stem cells. Some of the health claims- ‘balances pH levels, reduces risk of chronic illness, combats anxiety’.
One of their products has melatonin as an ingredient. This cannot be sold in the UK unless there is a prescription and it is sold in a proper chemist. There are only a few circumstances where this drug is appropriate. It is illegal for people in the UK to sell it, even via a website. Anyone seen selling it this way can be reported to the MHRA/ Trading Standards.
They have a line of products called Hempworx which contain CBD oil derived from cannabis. The psychoactive substance THC is removed. CBD oil is readily available in high street shops like Holland & Barrett.
There is no income disclosure statement.
My Freedom Grocer
My Fun Life
My LaLa Leggings
This is an MLM that sells Nyloxin, a homeopathic ‘pain reliever’ made from snake venom. It is made by the company Nutra Pharma Corp.
This is their ‘research’ supporting their assertion that their product helps with pain. The papers are from Chinese papers that look at venom. There is no evidence offered at all for the homeopathic remedy at all. Homeopathy is where an ingredient is diluted until there is no ingredient left, it is just water. So the research means nothing.
Review on Behind MLM.
My Secret Kitchen/ Your Inspirations at Home
Owned by JRJR Networks.
Boyd Wathen cites in his LinkedIn profile that he was a co-founder of this company. He was the man who invented Plexus’ pink drink.
Nancy A Laplante
Nancy serba CPTG Essential Oils
National Alliance For Insurance Education and Research
National Safety Assocates
National Wealth Center
Natural Health and Nutrition
Natural Health Secrets II
Australian company selling essential oils.
See Dynamic Essentials.
Nature’s Sunshine Products
NatureRich Distribution Center
Neal’s Yard Remedies
Neal’s yard exposed as selling an illegal remedy for Malaria on Quackometer.
Their compensation plan is not available to view until you join up. Likewise, there is no information on how much their people actually earn. Why hide this?
Nefful International/ USA
TINA list many, many problems with this MLM. There are false health and income claims listed on TINA’s website.
TINA found that the DSA gave Nerium an award in 2016, despite it breaking the DSA’s own ethics code.
New Era Health Industry Group (AKA Zhong Jian International Company)
New Spirit Naturals
New Success Network Group
New Wave Financial Marketing and Investment
This is a French MLM that sells products with the name ‘Laboratoires Beautysane’.
North American Power
This MLM sell cleaning products for the house. They are against ‘chemicals’.
Ecofriendlymama reviewed their products and found that they aren’t as eco friendly as they claim.
That link to the product manual doesn’t work. Try this link.
There is no income disclosure from this company, which is always a concern. When you get companies openly disclosing that their sellers make £100 a year, how little must they be making for a company to keep it a secret?
This was an MLM that worked by providing training in a ‘university’ about real estate investment. The students were encouraged to invest in property which turned out to be a higher risk than was promised.
In 2011 The Arizona Corporation Commission fined Nouveau Riche for operating a fraudulent investment scam.
Psudoscientific products with ridiculous claims like ‘chemical free’. Their website.
Their Twitter feed.
An actual advert they use.
Incoporated April 2017 in the UK. Details at Companies House. It is listed as a non-trading company.
Nu Skin fined for breaking FTC’s rules. Again.
A Nu Skin whistleblower’s story.
Interesting link between NuSkin and Olympic drug cheats in this New York Times article.
Analysis of earning potential of Nu Skin by Dr Taylor, Pyramid Scheme Alert.
MLM The Truth’s analysis of NuSkin.
Cultish behaviour at a NuSkin convention from MLM The Truth.
An ingredients analysis of NuSkin’s toothpaste.
TINA’s investigation into illegal health claims made for NuSkin products.
NuSkin released an income disclosure in 2011-
These figures use the numbers of current members, discounting all the people (probably a large number) of people who left during the year. The figures show the amount earned by active distributors only, which make up just 41.61% of the total. And of these, only 12.68% actually got a cheque. This means that only 5.28% of people in NuSkin in 2011 actually earned any commissions. Half of these lucky few got paid $492 a year.
A document that shows how NuSkin has attempted to discredit its main whistle blower. Dr Jon Taylor. He provides arguments against their statements.
Bought by World Ventures
Based in New Zealand/Australia.
This was an MLM that supposedly sold self improvement courses. It turned out to be a cult that was involved in people trafficking, slavery and sex abuse. Smallville actor Allison Mack was involved and her court case is pending.
News article here.
Ocean City Network
Ohana Health Wellness
Ethan Vanderbuilt article on Onecoin organisers arrested in India for running a scam. His website has many other stories on this scheme.
A blockcoin expert describes how Onecoin is a fraud
on Ethan Vanderbuilt’s website.
OPN The Opportunity Company
Sells prepackaged food, meal plans and uses ‘personal health coaches’.
Originally was Medifast weight loss food sold through ‘Shape for Life’.
Dr Wayne Scott Andersen was the founder of Shape for Life and was the medical director for Medifast. He is listed as being an anaesthetist and critical care doctor who has written books about dieting. His facebook page gives lots of information about him.
They sell coffee and other hot drink powders, many containing Ganoderma Lucidum. This is a mushroom that has no allowable health claims in the UK and can be very harmful to a few different groups of people.
Reps selling this coffee often tout it as a weight loss product. Which it really isn’t. They also claim some ridiculous things as here-
In 2014 Organo were in trouble with the DSA for pretending to be members. The FTC weren’t happy with them for making inflated income claims and health claims of their products.
They sell beauty products. They originated from Sweden.
They recommend buying ten catalogues every three weeks.
Information from their website.
There is no information on actual average earnings.
This comment is a little concerning- “The compensation plan awards recruiting more independent consultants higher than that of selling the company’s products“. This is from a Best Company review page where people rate the company they work for.
Oriflame were shut down in Tehran in 2010 for operating an illegal marketing scheme and evading tax. Story from the BBC. Oriflame said it was because they employed women and was no different from any other business. This news report about the Tehran incident makes the case for Oriflame being a pyramid scheme. There is an Iran Oriflame Facebook page now so maybe it is up and active again? Although the last post was in February 2016.
This is one bit of a Glassdoor review. It is a theme that crops up a few times.
Top Management: Most of the mangement have been having same or similar positions on the top for 10-15 years. The men have normally never worked at any other company except for Oriflame and just rotate each others’ chairs despite the company performing poorly for several years.
Sexist: there is definitely a glass ceiling at Oriflame. If you are an ambitious, young woman, there are much more equal opportunities at other FMCG companies. Do not waste your best years here, no mater what they promise. All but a couple of the MDs are men and in top mangement there is only one woman.
Micro management: it is an extremely top down company.
Wavering priorities: the company never stick to their decisions and will change their mind on decisions including company strategy .”
Our Heart’s Desire
This MLM has an odd mix of products. At first it was bedding, now they have added dried fruit powder!?
Amandeep Rajput is the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). You may have spotted him before. He was one of the people that ran Lifetree World but left before it was liquidated. Link to his current status at Companies House.
Other people involved that are listed at Companies House are
Myrja Oketch, who owns Akom Ltd, a non-specified wholesale company. I can’t find anything about this company.
Harrison Oketch is listed as the Director.
They have both been involved in a dissolved company called Stirling Academy Ltd, and are both now involved in Citizen 2000 ltd which seems to be an educational institution. Myrja is Head of Academics and Registrar and Harrison is the principal. Their website gives information on how international students can apply for Tier 4 visas so they can come and study. Unfortunately though, they were investigated for visa fraud and this status has been revoked, according to The PIE News, an international education website. Here is an article about the investigation and fraud. This page gives a business analysis of Citizen 2000. It seems they may have shut down.
Pacific International Credit
Paid 2 Save
Their website. The founder and CEO is David Hart. He was previously involved in an MLM called Waiora as a Diamond club member.
This company sell memberships to have access to discounts. Reps have to be members of this discount club themselves. There isn’t an actual product. It is ‘pay to play’. There is no mention anywhere what discounts people can get or who the discounts are through. It is all a bit vague.
Review by Behind MLM.
The Pampered Chef
Their website. They sell costume jewellery and all their items cost $5.
Information about the 4 founders here. They are Misty and Trent Kirby and Chani and Ryan Reeves.
Their compensation plan explains that to be eligible for bonuses, a ‘consultant’ must buy 25 items a month (50 PV).
That is a lot of jewellery to collect.
This would explain why reps end up with massive piles of stock like this
This stock and presentation equipment must have cost quite a bit.
There is no income disclosure statement.
Owned by JRJR Networks
Park Lane Jewlery
An MLM company selling candles and accessories. They are owned by Blythe Industries that are in turn owned by The Carlyle Group.
Business guide with all the rules and earnings structure.
Sellers only get bonus cheques once they have sold more than $2,300 worth of candles. The bonus is only 7% of the sales each month. That’s a lot of candles to sell. $14.95 a month is payable to be able to use Partylite’s IT systems. Starter kit $250.
There are monthly sales amounts to achieve.
I cannot find an income disclosure statement anywhere which s always a red flag as it means the company are not willing to disclose what your realistic earnings are likely to be.
Party Time Mixes
Bought by Pure Romance.
One person’s real life experience of being in PP, as told to my partner page The Anti MLM Coalition.
Bottlesoup have analysed the company and found people need to sell at least $550 of product a month to break even. And that doesn’t even take into account expenses.
There is no income disclosure. Here is their excuse-
FDA sent a warning letter to Perfectly Posh for false health claims made for their soaps!
2017 Andrew McBride was terminated from the board. He was a co-founder. Video here. Andrew’s facebook post about the issue. Loads of Facebook posts of infighting between Andrew McBride and Ann Dalton, with a lot of comments from reps. Andrew went on to found BeCause Cosmetics.
Phillips Health International
Founded by LuLaRoe’s founder’s twin. See this Businessweek article for a mention. The origin story for this MLM is exactly the same as LuLaroe’s, according to the article.
Their website. They sell dietary supplements in the USA. They sell the ‘Pink Drink’.
82.41% of reps earnt $301! The median annual commission earnt by all reps was $172.
Lazy Man and Money review the company.
Ethan Vanderbuilt looks at the company.
See the anti-MLM Coalition’s Plexus info page for information.
Pinkdrink is a person who was once in Plexus and is sharing her experiences on her website.
Truth IN Advertising investigated Plexus for their false, rule breaking health claims.
This blogger examines the drink and the ingredients.
They operate in America and were founded by Kristina Gagliardi-Wilson (CEO) and Nella Gagliardi in 2006.
They sell organic beauty products, essential oils, home cleaning products.
They use testimonials and health claims to sell their products. Check out this eczema cream.
Not all their products are certified organic. Make sure to check each individual product’s details.
Their reps are called guides. There is a monthly fee of $9.95 for the website reps need an a sign up fee of $39.95. Guides are encouraged to spend $200 on products when they join. Hopefuls have to complete training before they can join. Reps have to buy/sell $200 a month to be eligible for commissions and bonuses.
Their terms and conditions.
They do not publish an income disclosure statement. The only information I have been able to find is info put out by people selling the products.
Pre Paid Legal Services
Premier Business Systems
Prepare Then Share
One rep’s website promoting the opportunity. They seemed to sell licences for websites and sold things through the websites.
There was a class action by reps accusing this MLM of being a pyramid scheme. Case papers here. Shut down in 2001.
They sell insurance and investment products to the North American market. Some reviews by customers and reps here.
Ethan Vanderbuilt declares it is a scam (in his opinion). He alleges that a common ploy these reps engage in is setting up fake job interviews to reel in new prospects. More on that issue on this Consumer Fraud website.
This blogger describes how he was contacted by a Primerica rep to attend a fake job interview. There are over 1000 comments on this post that are worth a read.
This information about earnings is provided on their website section entitled “Important Disclosures. “From January 1 through December 31, 2015, Primerica paid cash flow to its North American sales force at an average of $6,119 per life licensed representative. Average cash flow includes commissions paid on all lines of business, and reflects combined U. S. and Canadian dollars remaining in the local currency earned by the representative. Exchange rates fluctuate daily and could impact the average.”
They only give payment details for the ‘life licensed representatives’. There seem to be other types of products they sell that do not need any licensing. I wonder how much they make? Or what the real average of their whole salesforce is?
Costs incurred by the reps- “The IBA fee is $103.95 (including applicable sales taxes) and the monthly Primerica Online fee is $28.00.” IBA stands for Independent Business Application. This is a total of $439.95 in the first year. Also, take into account other expenses such as stationery, travel, phonecalls etc.
This is mentioned on the Canadian site– “Any cash flows stated represent gross income only. All commissions are subject to Deferred Commission Account withholding and applicable taxes, and Representatives are responsible for their own business expenses.”
This Seeking Alpha article explains some of the issues. They explain how Primerica have 28% of the licensed reps in the country and only 1.83% of the market share. Also, they say that Primerica were vocal in objecting to rules that made companies sell products that are in the best interests of the customers.
This page gives financial information about the company. On it is this chart-
Look carefully at the figures. in Q4 2015, there were 106,710 life licensed reps. In Q4 2016, there were 116,827 reps. This is a net increase over a year of 10,117 of life licenced sales people.
We can see that each quarter there are about 11,000 new life-licensed recruits. (11,144 if we take the average of the quarters provided).
This means that in the 4 quarters of Q4 2015 and Q4 2016, there were 44,576 new life licensed reps (LLR) joining the company.
So in Q4 2015- 106,710 LLR
Between Q4 2015 and Q4 2016 44,576 LLR join up.
This makes 151,286 LLRs in total.
Q4 2016 there are 116,827 reps remaining.
This means 34,459 LLR left the company.
44,576 joined and 34,459 left. For every person that joins, 0.77 leave. That is quite a high churn rate. And this is only counting the reps that made it as far as qualifying for their license.
I wonder if they left because it was too difficult to sell the products? The stats show that life licensed members made on average 0.22 sales per month, equating to less than 3 policies sold in a year.
On Twitter, follow @whatsprimerica or @PriParodyRep for some light relief on the subject of Primerica.
Princess House Inc
They operate in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada and Australia. They sell homewares. Their reps are called ‘lifestyle consultants’. The company started in 1963.
Owned by Ray Chambers. CEO is Connie Tang.
In 2017 TINA found that Princess Inc were making false income claims.
Privilege Car Club
Registered in the UK at Companies House.
This scheme started in August 2017 in the UK and ended in May 2018. The idea was that people would join up for £199 and pay £50 a month (plus £199 yearly). Then they start recruiting. Once there are 81 people in the downline who have been paying £50 for a number of months, the person is eligible for a car, as long as the people below keep paying in.
Here is a slide from one of their presentations.
As of 3rd May 2018, all evidence of this MLM/ Ponzi/ pyramid is rapidly disappearing. This message has been widely circulated by members of the club.
Although the ‘club’ were saying they were a ‘crowd funding group’, they were operating in just the same way as a Ponzi scheme does. I will keep an eye on any ‘regulatory issues’ as they arise.
For reviews of this scheme, see Behind MLM. The author says in the comments that members of this scheme are saying the website is down temporarily and it has not collapsed. They are still presumably hoping they weren’t involved in a scam.
They seem to be operating in the USA and Panama.
Pro Travel Network
Shut down in March 2013.
Prosper With Integrity
Protégé Marketing Team
They operate in the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.
Income disclaimer. They say they expect their ‘pruvers’ to earn between $500- $2000.
Their policies and procedures.
Here is their selection of research and articles that support a keto diet. This is a diet that omits carbs so that the body has to break down fats and proteins, releasing ketones as a byproduct. It is quite a leap to assume you can get the same benefits by eating a normal diet and just take ketone supplements. Some research is now showing that taking ketone supplements can worsen athletic performance.
Truth In Advertising show how Pruvit are making illegal health claims, including one of the co-founders, Rob DeBoer. Rob had been ordered to pay compensation for his part in the pyramid scheme ‘Burn Lounge’. The website shows how Rob has been saying his products can help with autism.
Formerly known as Ava Anderson
Pure NRG fx
Formerly known as Simply Aroma. They sell essential oils, beauty products, nutrition and household products. They claim their products are ‘pure’ and ‘natural’.
Formerly known as Questnet, Goldquest and QI Ltd.
Real Time Pain Relief
Launched April 2018 in California. CEOs are Jason and Eunjung Cardiff. They own Redwood Scientific Technologies as well. RengaLife sell Redwood Scientific Technology products.
They sell medicines that are contained in strips that dissolve in the mouth.
Reps have to spend $200 a month to be eligible for commissions. There is a mandatory autoship.
Members of UK DSA. They sell nutritional products.
Rena Ware International
Another weightloss coffee MLM. Their website.
Their coffee ingredients
They call their reps ‘Brand Influencers’. Reps get paid bonuses for recruiting people. Here is their compensation plan.
Active in Canada, UK and USA.
Amy and Richard McWilliams are Americans that are listed as the directors in the UK business at Companies House. The company was incorporated in May 2017. Amy is the registered owner in Texas, USA. Launched in Texan in September 2017.
There is no income disclosure statement.
This MLM sells capsules containing deer placenta for improving your health!
They operate in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philipines, Taiwan and Singapore.
Their Twitter account hasn’t been updated since 2015.
A website analysis shows very poor social interaction and almost all of the site visits are from Russia.
People interested in cults might like to look at the opening video on their website.
Rodan and Fields
Is Rodan and Fields a scam? By Lazyman and money.
There are lots of entries on the consumer site ‘pissed consumer‘ for R&F products and the behaviour of the reps.
Picture from law firm’s website.
Bottlesoup have analysed the earning potential for reps.
Royal Tongan Limu
This was a seaweed extract product sold by Dynamic Essentials. Misleading and illegal claims were made about this product which ended with the FDA and other authorities shutting down Dynamic Essentials.
Their website. They call their reps ‘consultants’.
Founded by Karin Mayr.
Their Twitter account is @safety4girls. It is an odd mix of crime statistics, Labour party support and information about and from charities that support victims of crimes.
Their product catalogue. You can only purchase these items through contacting a rep or joining yourself. They sell an odd range of products- rape alarms, car crash escape kits, child locators, red dye spays for spraying at attackers, carbon monoxide detectors, to name but a few. They charge £18 for a 125 decibel gaudy pink attack alarm. This is double the price of alarms found on Amazon that are a lot nicer looking.
Companies House information about this company (Safegirl Ltd) shows the officers to be Andrea Clark, Christopher Shipman and Samantha Shipman. They are also involved in Safegirl Holdings Ltd which is a management consultancy business. Both businesses were registered in November 2016. The Safegirl website mentions Andrea and Samantha but there is strangely no mention of Christopher.
They are a prospective member of the DSA which does not really mean much as it is just a trade organisation.
Safegirl terms and conditions. It describes how Safegirl Sisters (the title reps are given) have to purchase the products and sell them on. It says that profits are only made on sales and there are no monthly obligated purchases.
There are two ways safegirl sisters can join the business-
Sister level- you buy products at 25% discount and sell on. You buy £100 of products and sell for £125, making £25. If you purchase £300 or more in a month, you get a 5% bonus. So if you bought £300 of product, you would get £15 in bonuses and would then have to try and sell it all for £375 to get a further £75 profit. That’s 20 personal attack alarms to sell in a month for £90 profit. Attack alarms that can be obtained much cheaper or free of charge elsewhere. It is worth noting here that if you sold an item to someone online, presumably, you would have to purchase the item and pay the P&P to send it to your customer. This would nibble into your profits a bit. Then there’s taxes and expenses too, of course.
Sponsor level- You will earn a small percentage of your downline’s sales as long as you purchase £300 of products in a month.
I do wonder if this company is being discriminatory by naming their sales reps ‘safegirl sisters.’ There seems to be no provision for men who want to join. This Telegraph article discusses research and expert opinion that found feminized job descriptions actually encouraged discrimination against women. It says the job holders were perceived as less professional and devalues women. This is at odds with a company that claims to ’empower women’.
This MLM has been popular with people leaving Lifetree World.
It is supposedly a cashback scheme where you register your top 10 retail sites and a pay method. You then have to send copies of receipts to Saivian to get 20% cashback. You have to pay $128 every 28 days to be a member in this scheme. This means you have to spend $625 every 28 days to break even. Never fear though, just recruit people to earn money off them. You can just recruit people and pay your fee, you never need to use the cashback scheme at all. Hmmmm. It is only available in the USA. Everyone else can just join the global option where you get cashback for travelling.
A review by avertscams.
Behind MLM review looks into a bit more detail about the compensation plan and the organisers. They conclude it is a pyramid scheme. It is worth reading the comments at the end of that article for what happened to the company. It looks like Saivian are no longer operating in the US. There are some serious problems discussed in the comments.
They shut down in October 2017, blaming ‘rampant fraud perpetrated against our company’. Their website comment explains.
They have been found making false income claims. Check out this TINA page where they show them.
They sell candles and car air fresheners. Their website. They sell Mia Bella products.
There are some serious accusations levelled at the company on this Ripoff Report website.
Their website. They sell fragrant waxes that you burn, soft toys and cleaning products.
Operates in US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg, Australia and New Zealand.
‘Tiff” tells her story on the realities of being in Scentsy in this blog post on the Anti-MLM Coalition website.
They call their annual conference a ‘family reunion’.
Income disclosure for 2014 for the US. They have quite a high churn rate. About a third of their members left in 2014 and were no doubt replaced continuously.
This chart shows that 102,973 out of 105,192 active reps earned less than $1870 a year.
How much does it cost to remain ‘active’? You need to pay £85 to join and pay a fee for the website of £10 a month (free the first month). This costs £196 (plus local tax and shipping- about £17 tax and £10 shipping), so the first year costs £223 just to be in the company.
How much do they need to sell/buy to be eligible for any commission/ bonuses? Their website says this “Scentsy Consultants must generate sales resulting in 200 points or more in PRV in at least one month within any contiguous three-month period. The 200 points in PRV can come from individual customer orders, party orders or online orders made through your Personal Website (PWS).” This kind of makes it hard to work out exactly what it costs to earn anything, a tactic used by all MLMs. It was 150 PRV but was increased to 200 in March 2017.
This rep has a page on her website on how to achieve 200PRV a month and she says 1PRV is about $1. A lot of her tips are to buy it yourself. This would add £570 minimum a year if you were to spend equivalent $800 a year ($200 every 3 months) to your costs.
Total spend- £793 in first year, plus marketing materials, P&P etc.
Average amount earned- £602
Loss of at least £191
(2,379,465 earned by group 1, 1,518,692 earned by group 2, total amount earned 3,898,157 by 6,466 people.)
Truth in Advertising looked at their false income claims and found quite a few. Click on this link to see them.
Schnider’s Gourmet World
Scout and Cellar
Opened in 2005 in Scottsdale Arizona. It was set up by two brothers- Izhak Ben Shabat and Mordechai Ben Shabat. Their products are Dead Sea products. They operate in USA, Korea and Australia.
There are some pretty damning reviews on Glassdoor, with some interesting observations of the owners.
Their reps are called Seacret Agents.
Lots of complaints from people who were approached by sellers when they were selling products in mall kiosks.
Send out cards
They have been found to be making false income claims. Check out TINA’s web page where you can view them.
This is the MLM that sells Lipsense.
Their reps’ titles are Princess, Duchess, Royal etc!! Their downlines are called Dominions.
Joni Rogers-Kante is credited by the company as starting SeneGence and travelling round the world with scientists developing amazing makeup with anti-aging properties. Her husband and son help run the company.
This snippet is how Joni describes one of their products in The Direct Selling News. “As the product line grew, the company also added an anti-aging benefit to the products. “SenePlex Complex is the proprietary anti-aging formulation exclusive to SeneGence,” she says. “All SeneDerm and creamy SenseCosmetics contain this one-of-a-kind kinetic enzyme that fights the signs of aging by renewing your skin from the inside out an average of 23.3 percent more rapidly, which in turn reduces fine lines and wrinkles by an average of 55 percent for 100 percent of our consumers.”
I’ve heard of skin renewing faster than normal, it’s what happens in dandruff and psoriasis.
I have tried to find the clinically proven research paper to analyse. I love a good bit of analysis. SeneGence give this information. Lots of charts and numbers and assumptions. No reference, no author or paper title. I’d like to look at the actual research. I have tweeted Senegence for the details (15th May 2017). I will keep you updated.
There is no income disclosure statement anywhere, not even on the Canadian website.
There are problems with products at the moment. The distributor packs that people purchase to start their business are currently out of stock. But that’s ok, you can still pay to join up and recruit others. The reviews at Glassdoor indicate there have been stock issues for a number of months now. There is an allegation of bullying by uplines, frontloading being encouraged, cult-like behaviour and lying.
The Complaints Board Website is full of Senegence complaints. People complaining they can’t get stock, customer services unhelpful, still recruiting when no stock available, ‘senecash’ not working, refunds not being given, many, many problems.
This blog post is by someone who left SeneGence and she spills the beans. She explains that distributors have to spend $200 every 6 months on products, the website costs $300 a year, you are encouraged to get a credit card to pay for products and to build up an inventory. The $55 join up fee has to be paid every year, you have to buy hundreds of dollars of stock each month to be eligible to earn from your dominion. This is one of the gems in the comments by someone in this MLM ‘nothing comes easy when its you being independently earning money next time you try something like this out give it some time and keep your optimism you could have reached those goals had it been something you really wanted to do. its really that simple if you dont want to put the work and time in then obviously you wont get the return you expected’.
A blog post where someone describes how they were terminated by Senegence. She was a Crown Princess and tells what it was like. She has started a Facebook Group for disullusioned Senegence people- “Anyone wanting to join Verbal Release Therapy, message me on my facebook; Robyn Elizabeth Berry (I’m the one from Canada).”
A blog post on Crownless Princess that lists blogs to do with Senegence members and their experiences.
Bottlesoup analyse the earning potential for reps.
Shrimp and Grits
Simply Success Elite
This very detailed blog post evaluates SkinnyBodyCare. The blog looks at the ingredients in the products, the people behind the company and financial information.
Details on this blog of a court case against SkinnyBodyCare.
BBB rating of F. They have not responded to 10/12 complaints.
They have no income disclosure statement. They do not want people to know what small amounts their people earn.
Sky High Party and Pizza
Small Business Marketing
Smile Enhance Network
Their website. Started by Rebecca Moorfield.
They sell toothpate and tooth whitening products, including a ‘detox’ kit for teeth. They also sell CBD oil.
I tried to look up the ingredients in the products. There is no listing on their website. I looked at the products in their products section and clicked on ‘purchase’, hoping it would open up a box with more product information. The website then prompts you to register with them. There isn’t even a price on the website.
The smile enhance products are made in the UK, according to sellers.
On EBay there are lots of Smile Enhance products. They list the ingredients there.
Founded in 2012 by Ryan Wuerch in America. They ran a mobile service using T-Mobile. They shut down in 2014 after filing for bankruptcy.
On 18th November 2015 the company was still promoting its activities on Facebook.
This is the last message they posted-
They didn’t post more announcements.
This mobile phone website announced that Solavei were ceasing operations on Dec 4th 2015. They said it was due to the company being unable to recover after bankruptcy.
This Geekwire Report article describes what happened when it shut down. The announcement mentioned on Solavei’s Facebook page is accessible on that article.
South Hill Designs
South Pacific Islands Inc
Southern California Star Systems
Southern Living at Home
South Hill Designs
Southern Living at Home
Spa Girl Parties Inc
Spring Rainbow Enterprises of Oklahoma City
Stanley Home Products
Stella and Dot
A 2013 article on the CEO and creative director of S&D, Jessica Herrin and Blythe Harris.
Income disclosure statement for 2014
In 2016 their income statement was a bit worse
A review on Glass door website. “You have to buy all your won products and displays. Which never ends because they are constantly discontinuing certain lines so you have to buy more each season. They run promotions to earn credit for free jewelry or qualify for 50% off but it’s a scam. As a stylist if your jewelry breaks to bad that “we want the customer to always be happy” doesn’t apply to stylists. You have to buy it again and at full price. The company makes money off the stylists not customers. If you want to make money you will be working more hours than any sales job I’ve ever had. And if you have stylists under you and you don’t make your required dollar amount those stylist get out under the person above you and they make the money not you. There is little support for stylists each team is very different. Very little training. They sell stay at home moms on oh you just have to throw trunk shows with your friends and for and for a few hours a week of work you can make great money. It’s a total lie. They want you to use an iPad with their app but you have to buy it. Most will spend more than they ever make. They keep expanding the line so you have to buy more and more and more products. Jewelry, purses, bags, makeup, scarves, glasses…..“
An example of emotional manipulation used to entice mums to join Stella and dot-
The Financial Times looked into the earning potential of Stella and Dot in this thorough article. The article points out that the company are willing to boast about profits from a few years ago but won’t talk about recent earnings. And that the company think it is different to others and more ethical because they offer buy back of unused stock. They fail to mention that this is actually a legal requirement in British law.
They were sued in a class action and by TINA for being a pyramid scheme. For links to documents and a timeline of the case, have a look at TINA. March 2018 an agreement was reached between the parties.
Stream Gas and Electric
Success Is Not An Accident
Success Through Advertising
Member of UK DSA. Started in Utah by Dr Tei-Fu Chen in 1982. They sell supplements. They also own shops.
Forbes list Dr Tai-Fu Chen as a billionaire. He was the 43rd richest person in Taiwan in 2017. He dropped out of Bingham Young University. He has a degree in ‘pharmacy‘, but I can find no mention of a PhD or medical training.
Shut down in 2009 for being a pyramid scheme. It was based in Singapore.
Sunstar AAA Product and Profit
The Super Affiliate Network
Take Shape For Life
A member of the DSA in America. At least, they are as of May 2017.
Their website. They say they provide video communication products.
Their compensation plan. You have to sign up 3 recruits in a month to be eligible for a bonus. Within this compensation plan is the income disclosure-
69.54% earn nothing! 11.93% earn less than $50 in a year. A further 12.31% earn less than $250 a year. This means 93.78 earn less than $250 a year. That’s pretty poor. Note that 0.015% at the top earn over $200,000 a year. They have been in the scheme for 55 months. The lower earners who pay into the scheme and leave fairly quickly don’t earn anything. This demonstrates a continuous recruiting chain of people entering, paying money, not getting anything and leaving, while people at the top profit from this.
This pyramid scheme alert post explains how Talk Fusion are being sued for being a pyramid scheme in America.
Ethan Vanderbuilt discusses the case here. He outlines the points being complained about and has the actual court documents that you can scroll through for yourself.
Taqueria Santa Maria
Based in Utah, USA. Founder is Boyd Wathen. He is the creator of Plexus’ pink drink.
Behind MLM review.
They sell weight loss products.
Team In Focus
Went bankrupt in 2014.
2016 The US Attorney’s Office reported that TelexFREE were found to be running a billion dollar pyramid scheme.
Reps thought that it was an MLM at the time. The company seemed to be operating as an MLM to the untrained eye. Much as many MLMs are today.
Merrill was sentenced to prison for his part in the scam.
Behind MLM looked at the case of TelexFREE shutting down.
Behind MLM describe how the SEC said that TelexFREE looked like a cult. There is a long discussion in the comments on this article.
TelexFREE sponsored a Brazilian football team called Botafogo.
Ten Fu Tenmax
Their website. Owned by Chairman Lee Rie Ho and started in Taiwan. The products are supplements, with an emphasis on tea extracts.
Thirty One Gifts
Their website. They sell bags, jewellery, scarves and some home décor items. They are only in America and Canada.
The company was started by Cindy Monroe in 2003.
This shows that 14% earned nothing at all. Of those that did earn something, 92.1% earned an average of $548 in a year. Their disclosure shows that expenses ‘can be several thousand dollars annually’.
In 2010 another MLM Miche Bags sued Thirty One Gifts for patent infringement. They alleged that Thirty One Gifts copied their bags with changeable covers. The court found that there hadn’t been an infringement. The court denied Thirty One’s request for compensation because they hadn’t bothered to respond to the suit or even to turn up at the original hearing.
Tianshi Health Products
Tickle Your Fancy
A Chinese company with a UK branch.
They sell supplements, cosmetics, vegetable washers and ‘complementary health products’.
This investigative documentary exposes the company and how they operate in Uganda, specifically with false health claims.
Member of UK DSA.
TLS Weight Loss Solution
This product is sold through the MLM Market America (see above under M)
Owned by JRJR Network.
They sell three different types of products-
- Longaberger products. These are baskets that cost upto $6,000!
- They sell tools for women. Really!
- Paperly- not sure what this is. It is just one photo of a desk and no info.
The tools include pink items, including hammers, wrenches, power tools, gloves and tape measures.
Tom Gibbons Exec. Buying Service
Top Notch Distribution
Top Rank Business Associates Group
Total Health and Wellness
Total Life Changes
Ethan Vanderbuilt says it is a scam. He concludes it is a product based pyramid scam.
There is no income disclosure from TLC. They do not want you to know how much their people earn.
Their products offer dubious claims and have dangerous ingredients in them. (according to Ethan’s assessment in his blog).
They sell jewellery. The business is part of the Swarovski company.
Founded in 2009. DSA member.
Joining costs $139 or $299. There is a $9.95 a month fee for the website.
See my article on traditional companies that turn MLM for more details.
Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelery
Trades of Hope
Andrew Pennman exposes this scheme as a scam.
Facebook group for people who have been scammed by Traffic Monsoon.
Tara Talks, a website that highlights Ponzi schemes.
A Digital Marketing website explains how this sort of scheme works and how bad Traffic Monsoon is.
Traffic Monsoon is in trouble with the authorities. Tara Talks and the Salt Lake Tribune report. The Salt Lake Tribune report how most of the victims came from poor countries, including Morocco and Bangladesh. Some people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The money earned by some was 99% from joining fees of new people. Classic Ponzi.
CEO Lorne Berry formed the company in 2014. Tranont offers services in financial, legal and health provided by third party merchants.
Behind MLM website reviewed it and found it to be very confusing.
Reps have to pay $125 monthly subscription fees.
TraVerus Global/ Travel
Triad Search Marketing
They sell make up. They call their reps ambassadors. Susie Ma won The Apprentice in 2011 and set up her Tropic business with Lord Alan Sugar, with him sharing the business 50/50 with Susie.
Lord Alan Sugar and Susie Ma.
They don’t have an income statement but they do have this-
Let’s see if we can work out the average income. We can assume that a few people started in 2011 and the numbers grew year on year. We can also assume that a lot of people joined and then left. Let’s try and cancel these facts out and assume there were, on average, 8000 people from the beginning and no one left the scheme. In reality, the number of total reps, past and present, would be more so we are being generous.
If there were 8000 reps and they earned £13 million between them, each one will have earned £1,625 in total. If you break this down to a yearly amount, it is £232.
Roughly then, each rep will have earned on average £232 a year, less expenses. Even if these figures are wrong by a factor of 4, this would still be a very poor earning potential.
Registered at Companies House.
There is no information on their website about how much it costs to join. A rep in a webchat stated in 2011 that it costs £120 to join.
The Trump Network
They sell bath products. They claim to be cruelty free but do not hold Leaping Bunny status.
TS Life/ Team Strong Life
Set up by Caius Hale after he got dropped from Vida Divina.
This is an image from Caius’ Facebook page. There is a ‘TM’ there which indicates the name of the company is Trademarked. I searched the American and British databases of Trade Marks and there is no evidence of a Trade Mark being granted. I have hyperlinked the search facilities for these databases so you can check yourself.
In this video, Caius explains the company with Jade Coyle. In the background, there is a copyright symbol instead of a TM mark?!
September 1st 2018 will be the launch date in UK and Ireland. USA, prelaunch Nov 1st.
They are planning on having 5 products but are only showing three of them.
Caius says in his live above that there are leaders setting up for prelaunch. Some of these leaders apparently have ‘incomes’ and are working providing training and support to get people’s mindsets right before launch.
See this article I wrote on why companies turn MLM. Tupperware features in it.
TWH Network of Companies
Their website. Unsuprisingly, they sell cosmetics.
U Design Jewelry
Ultimate Profits Network
They sell food supplements.
They allow people to order more than £1000 worth of products when signing up. The legal limit in the UK is £200. See the law on this matter.
Reps have to spend $125 on products each month, or $1500 a year. The above figures show
21% earned some money/ 79% earned NOTHING.
10.5% earned less than $125 a year/ 89.5% earned less than $125 a year.
2.1% earned more than $2300. Take into account the $1500 a year they spent on products, this means they earned $800 A YEAR.
How many people signing up will be concentrating on the last little statistic of ‘1% earned more than $46,000’? This is 1% of 21%, remember. That is 0.21% of participants.
Truth In Advertising (TINA) found that Unicity reps were making many false health claims for the products. There are links to the health claims on the website.
United Freedom Team
United Sciences of America
MLM Watch‘s year long investigation into this MLM.
They sold meal substitutes and supplements. FDA regulatory letter warning about false health claims.
1987 they filed for bankruptcy after being sued by Attorney Generals in three states for being pyramid schemes.
Unlimited Network of Opportunities
Owned by JRJR Networks
USANA Health Sciences
Their compensation plan.
They sell nutritional supplements, body care and related products.
Income disclosure for 2015. The average income is US$859.
USANA is on the stock market. See here for how it is performing.
TINA’s list of illegal health claims made for USANA products made by the sellers.
Usborne/ Usborne Books and More
Usborne are an unusual MLM, in that their products are mainstream and sold in high street bookshops and Amazon etc.
There is a Twitter campaign against them, have a look at @uzzieuncensored. They have a website here. They accuse Randall (the owner) of falsifying figures. They allege that any negativity or criticism from reps and they get fired. They offer evidence of these accusations.
This patronising blog post was written by an Usborne rep. However, she has since left them. The comments at the end are worth a read.
Information from Usborne about the ‘opportunity’. There doesn’t seem to be an income disclosure statement on this MLM. What are they hiding?
This blog post details why MLM is not a suitable platform for books to be sold through. Their reps are untrained and should not be offering the advice they do.
Their Twitter account hasn’t been updated since Jan 1st 2018. (@USITechBitcoin)
It is registered in Dubai and no one seems to know who the owner is.
A company that supposedly trades bitcoin using revolutionary technology. It has shut down suddenly in USA and Canada, following multiple investigations by financial authorities there. Investors have been unable to get their investments back and many have lost a lot of money. As of Jan 2018, they continue to trade in other countries, including UK and Australia.
Here are details of British Columbia Security Commision’s findings.
Here are details about the Texas cease and desist order against USI Iech.
I wrote an article on USI Tech after people contacted me who were worried about family members who were involved.
In the official letter to investors in the US, they were told that the company was having to shut down due to the actions of a few members, not because of a problem with how the company was operating. Direct Selling Report discuss the letter that was sent.
Ethan Vanderbuilt looks into the issues. He concludes it is a scam.
Behind MLM looked into USI Tech.
Blogger Bare Naked Scams has invested some money in USI Tech and is documenting what is happening to his investment. His computer screen is showing a huge rate of profit but there are problems. Many of the videos he has linked to have been deleted. He thinks he has made money but he hasn’t tried to withdraw any of it yet. I will be watching.
David Brear explains Utility Warehouse here.
Sellers have to sign up 6 customers before they get paid any commission.
Financial statement from Utility warehouse contains this-
According to their figures, 11,100 distributors joined in a year. By the end of the year, there was only a net increase of 1,737 people. That’s quite a high churn rate.
The Guardian published an article on Utility Warehouse and how their numbers don’t add up.
The Mirror Newspaper revealed in 2016 that UW were charging 94% of its customers too much money.
They got in trouble with OFGEM and ordered to improve the way they dealt with complaints handling. The report is from January 2017.
The Advertising Standards Association upheld a complaint about UW’s online advert for their phone deal in April 2018. The advert claimed they had the ‘UK’s best value mobile’. The ASA disagreed and ordered UW to remove the misleading advert.
V Stream TV
This MLM sell coffee that is billed as ‘the healthiest coffee in the world’.
Ethan Vanderbuilt says Valentus is a scam in his opinion.
5 of the 7 levels require members to arrange an ‘autoship’- setting up a monthly order of products.
There is no income disclosure document anywhere, despite the terms and conditions saying that it must be provided anytime any sort of income claim is made.
Their terms and conditions include the following points- You have to recruit, you’ll probably lose money, you have to purchase products each month to get bonuses, Valentus can use you image, words, story as they like and you can’t refuse or approve it, most members spend more on products than they earn.)
Valentus are being sued by Vitae Global- who supplied their coffee beans and are now their rival, selling Lean Java Bean Coffee. A counter claim has been put in by Valentus which contains many damning allegations. It got very ugly very quickly.
Review by Behind MLM, an MLM positive site aimed at people who are involved in MLMs. The review of Valentus is not overly positive.
This is one of their products
One of the ingredients (phenylamine) is a type of amphetamine and should only be used occasionally. There are some conditions and medications that make this drug very dangerous. It can be addictive, increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels. For more information, have a read here. The maximum recommended dose is 500mg. How much is in Prevail? The dose is not on the packaging or website.
Their website. They sell jewellery made with a pearl from a pearl party. This is where people open up an oyster and find a pearl inside. There is some controversy about this type of activity.
Joan Cabral is the founder and CEO.
As of 26th April 2018 they are closed to new people joining. They give the reason that they are trying to improve shipping and customer service.
Their policies and procedures.
Members of the DSA.
Raided by the FTC n America in August 2015 for being an illegal pyramid scheme. Vemma fought back and have been allowed to trade but they have to follow strict rules to keep them legitimate. As a result, they have not done so well. Read TINA’s (Truth In Advertising) article on recent developments.
Lazy Man’s article on Vemma.
Watch out for false health claims from this company.
Botwatchblog article on this MLM is called ‘Vida Divina breaks the law‘.
Vie at Home
(closed — formerly The Virgin Cosmetics Company and Virgin Vie At Home) — Sold cosmetics, jewellery and homeware.
Virtual Financial Group
See Body by vi.
Vision For Life
Vision International People Group
Vita Craft Corporation
The listing for this company is under Lean Java Bean Coffee (the product they sell.)
Vitamin Power Inc
Their website. They sell vitamins.
Vorwerk Worldwide/ USA
Votre Belle Maison
Started in 2009 in Utah by Troy Muhlestein. Picked up momentum in 2013 and dissolved in 2015. They sold loads of different things, mostly with the prefix ‘WUN’.
This 2014 Business For Home article describes how the company was losing drastic amounts of money and seemed to be failing. Their annual statement to investors was showing the losses they were making. Truth in Advertising dissect the case of WUN closing down. They discuss the way that the company sued a CEO named Kirby Cochrane and his family from making financial mistakes and being fraudulent. He has a history of being involved in companies that end up financially ruined.
Truth In Advertising gained a list of complaints made to the FTC by disgruntled reps.
When they shut down, the reps weren’t told the truth and believed their MLM shut down due to another company conning them. Look at this excuse given by a rep on a website that was supposedly reviewing WakeUpNow (the ‘review’ is really a cover for the author to sell their own brand of making money).
Ethan Vanderbuilt labelled them as a scam. He states that the discounts provided by the MLM are just that= discounts, not an investment. It is not money earned. Also, he shows how you can find all the products cheaper elsewhere and no money is even being saved.
Ethan discusses the Income Disclosure Statements. Here is their 2013 income statement.
82% of reps earned nothing in a year. NOTHING!
Let’s see how much it cost to earn $0 a year by looking at this very informative slide show from a rep who was with WUN at the time.
If you wanted to earn some money with WUN, you would have to spend a minimum of $779.40 a year. Considering 82% earned nothing and 14% earned $1213 a year, that would have been a very bad investment. That’s 96% earning $433.60. Take off other business expenses and you can see that hardly anyone was earning anything.
The new face of Flexkom, a Turkish MLM company.
Write up by Lazyman and Money. There are some very detailed posts in the comments section about Flexkom. It looks like Flexkom took a lot of people’s money for franchise licences and technology, only to never deliver. Then they disappeared.
Wellness Advantage Marketing
Wellness International Network WIN
Wild About Beyond Organic
Wineshop at Home
Work At Home United
Wor(l)d Global Network
Their income disclosure statement. During 3 months, the average participant was paid US$393.35 for Jan-March 2017.
This means that 58.79% earned nothing. Of the remaining 41.21% , 86.45% earned less than $1988 in 3 months. 86.45% of 41.21% is 35.63%. These figures add up to 94.42% not making much at all.
World Class Travel Network
Operated during the 1990s as a travel agent MLM.
1997 they were in trouble with the FTC. There was controversy about the training they offered. A settlement was made with the FTC and compensation was paid.
Article here on a travel industry website.
World leadership group
Dissolved in 2008.
World Link Discount Telecom
World Marketing Alliance of Hawaii
World Financial Group
Their website. They are online Travel agents.
Their income disclosure statement for 2016.
The small print explains how only 20.05% of reps earned anything. About 19% earned less than $1,125.
World Wide Equality
Medical advisor was Dr Templeman. There was some controversy about him. Check out the comment at the bottom of this article.
Xango were compared to Vemma by the FTC. Vemma was shut down for being a pyramid scheme.
Xango review from 2013.
They sold coffee with herbal extracts in them. The UK part of this MLM did not do very well. The company was being run from someone’s living room, products weren’t being received by buyers and many promises were made and not kept.
There is no trace of Xerveo now. it was rumoured that they were bought up by another MLM but there is nothing official or any statements out there. Xerveo just fizzled out.
See TraVerus Global.
Not to be confused with the Yofoto that prints your photos.
This Yofoto is a Chinese company that sells food, personal care and cleaning products. Established in 2004, they now operate in Russia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cameroon, as well as in China.
Chairperson of the company is Huang Jin Bao.
Ranked number 34 in biggest earning MLM in 2018, as rated by Direct Selling News.
Yofoto seem to be linked to a company called Replicel that are a science company. Financial analysis here.
Some facts about the company here. One of the facts is that the company says they are vegetarian but they sell fur seal oil?!
Young Living Essential Oils
This company sells essential oils.
TINA (Truth In Advertising) have compiled a list of dishonest and illegal health claims made by sellers of Young Living.
Bottlesoup have done a financial analysis of the financial opportunity for reps.
The New Yorker wrote a good piece on Young Living. They examine the culture, money earned and the man behind the scheme (Gary Young). Here are some excerpts from the article about Mr Young
The article continues with many revelations which are worth a read. Here is another one-
I’d like to draw your attention to the top line there…
94% of distributers earn on average $1 a month. This doesn’t take into account the associated costs like ‘advertising or promotional expenses, product samples, training, rent, travel, telephone and internet costs, and miscellaneous expenses.’
They bought Beauticontrol from Tuuperware in 2017.
Talented Ladies Club investigate the earning potential of Younique. They find the average rep earns between $9-$14 a month.
Bottlesoup do some analysis on earning potential.
An ex-Younique victim’s story from Timeless Vie.
Elle Beau The Antiblogger was in Younique and she writes about her experiences on FaceBook and on her blog. She is @ElleBeauBlog on Twitter. Elle is one of the Anti-MLM coalition’s members and we at Bot Watch work closely with her.
Chammy In Real Life is a blogger and she had an experience with Younique as well. Here is her story.
Younique’s website claims there are 734,924 presenters worldwide as of 9th May 2017, let’s see how that number changes over a year.
This excellent Timeless Vie blog post on the horrors of MLMs includes an analysis of Younique’s infiltration into an economically deprived British town. Really worth a read.
Younique do not provide an Income disclosure statement. Why?
Use the hashtag #Poonique on Twitter for Younique critics.
Your Inspiration at Home
Owned by JRJR Networks
Your RX Help
YTB, formerly Your Travel Business.
Discussed in this Travel agents website.
Formed in 2001 under Scott Tomer, Lloyd Tomer and Kim Sorensen.
2012-2014 CEO was Andy Cauthen, who is now CEO of PlanNet Marketing.
“In 2007, the annual median income for those selling travel was $39.00, less than one month’s cost to operate the website. The majority of consumers who purchased YTB websites made no money through the sale of travel, and many lost money through continued website operations. “- from the Attorney General of California’s website.
YTB blamed their reps for their bad and unprofessional behaviour for their the company’s bad reputation in the travel industry.
Their website says that they are no longer recruiting new reps but old ones can still operate.
2013 YTB filed for bankruptcy with assets of $1.3 million and $7.1 million of liabilities. They were bought by Jamravel Inc who said they would call the new company YTB Global Travel. Story here.
Their website hasn’t been updated since 2015.
A penny auction website scheme that was deemed to be a Ponzi scheme. Zeek themselves claimed to be an MLM.
Zeek’s MLM lawyer, who has also represented Herbalife and USA, among others, convinced members that the company was legitimate. More here about that on the False Profits website. The article discusses how Zeek Rewards is just like any other MLM.
Official announcements from the receiver about Zeek.
US Department of Justice updates given here about Zeek.
Zenith Petroleum Corporation
They sell supplements.
They sell CBD oil.
Action against MLM. Things you can do.
Report a dishonest or illegal advert to the ASA on this complaint form.
Complain to event organisers about an MLM stall using this template from Timeless Vie.
Report to Trading Standards if any of the following apply
The DSA are the Direct Selling Association. MLMs are members of this group and they value this membership because it makes them look legitimate. The DSA have a code of conduct that the MLM companies and sellers have to adhere to. You can complain to them if these rules are broken and the DSA can step in.
Here is a basic overview of the codes of ethics-
The whole code can be accessed on the DSA site for consumers and business conduct. If you are concerned that these codes have been breached and you are not getting a satisfactory response from the MLM company, contact the DSA to complain and they will step in to help.