Do you remember Lifetree World?
They were the Multi Level Marketing scheme that I tried to warn people about in 2016 and 2017. They were based in Manchester and people who joined had to buy their shopping through them. They ended up buying stuff they didn’t want or need, and it was produce that had been discontinued.
There were delivery problems, scandals with the ‘prize cars’ and a lot of unhappy people who joined the scheme. Even while the scheme was falling apart, people were promising it was all fine and soon they would be selling fresh produce and delivering the next day. For a while they tried to sell cable packages, until it turned out they shouldn’t be.
I showed how the prize cars were actually hire purchase and couldn’t be given away. Defenders of Lifetree world explained I was wrong, despite the evidence. See the blog post I wrote in July 2016 with all the problems exposed.
People couldn’t get their bonuses from the company and I warned people not to put more money in. Lifetree world responded by trying to get people to put even greater amounts of money in so they could climb the pyramid more quickly. Some of the reps’ experiences are documented in this blog post.
People started leaving in droves, realising the company was doomed.
In March 2017 Lifetree World went into liquidation. You can see the documents at Companies House.
On 28th December 2018 Lifetree World was finally dissolved. You can access the documents at Companies House if you want to read all the details for yourself.
What sort of damage did Lifetree World leave when they disappeared?
The Dacia Duster car that they had was returned to the finance company with more money owed on it than it was worth. This left the finance company out of pocket.
Lifetree World had a rocky history with their suppliers, one even sued them for non payment of bills. At least they managed to settle that before the whole company collapsed. When the company was liquidated £13,996 was owed to suppliers who will never see that money again.
The building that LTW operated from was a small building on an industrial estate in Manchester. Here is a picture of it.
There are many suites in that building and LTW rented Suite 2. They were unable to pay their rent and owed their landlord £3,000.
LTW owed £30,600 in VAT and other tax. This is money that will not be able to be collected.
As with all MLMs, money is paid to reps through a complicated system. Instead of the company paying people direct into their bank account, they pay it via a convoluted system which usually ends up with the reps having to pay to get their money out. LTW used a company called Gateway. Towards the end, reps found they couldn’t get their money out. They were told it would be ok, it was just a glitch. Some worried reps speculated that the owners had cleared out the money and disappeared with it.
The liquidators tried to find out how much money was in this account. They didn’t have much luck.
Previously, the LTW bosses had told the liquidators there was £11,000 in the account.
A director loan is an amount of money that the owners of a company can pay themselves. They should pay it back into the company later. It is something to do with delaying a tax bill. Unsurprisingly, the directors of LTW had taken out some money when there was some. They had taken £281,746. There was no sign of this being paid back to the liquidators.
The people that signed up under LTW with the promise of earning huge amounts of money were owed £74,992. This amount consists of unpaid bonuses and unfulfilled orders. I don’t know how many people that would affect. Even if there were a few thousand reps, the average payment due to each one would have been significant.
The reps are the real tragedy here. They invested their money in products they didn’t need, waited days or weeks for them to arrive and many instantly regretted their decision to join. They had trouble leaving and getting any sort of refund. Often they recruited friends and family with lies of the success they could make in the scheme. A lot of them felt stupid and naive for getting involved in the scheme.
The only ones I don’t feel sorry for are the high earning professional MLMers who made a lot of money quickly by recruiting a lot of people, knowing most of them would fail. Once they left the sinking ship, they took their ‘teams’ with them to the next big promising scheme where they will continue recruiting and draining money from fresh victims.
The death of LTW should serve as a warning to anyone in an MLM or anyone who is thinking of joining one. They are run by people who are out to make money for themselves and often it all ends abruptly with no warning for the poor reps at the bottom of the pyramid. Time and time again we see these companies closing and people left out of pocket that still keep trying their luck with other similar companies. This is not how a responsible company should behave. They show no respect to the reps and no regard for how they are affected. The reps are the customers and they are paying money into the scheme to keep it afloat. I just wish they could see it.