Xerveo bites the dust in the UK.

For a while now, there have been troubles and uncertainty within Xerveo. See previous posts on them here and here. More recently there has been widespread panic and rumour spreading from the reps. A lot of infighting has been going on and many reps are jumping ship to other MLMs.

It has been hard to find anything official on the matter though so I have not said anything up until now.

On the 5th of November 2017, Paul Holtham put this document on his Facebook page without comment or explanation.

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Paul Holtham is registered at Companies house as the director of Xerveo in the U.K.

 

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The Trading Standards letter says that Paul is no longer the representative of Xerveo in the UK and all the reps are essentially out on their own now. This letter was dated 31st October and he must have been fired a while before that for it to be mentioned in a letter from the authorities.

Paul explains what happened here in a Facebook post without actually explaining anything.

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It looks like he was fired. What for or why remains a mystery.  If you were a rep with him when it collapsed, please let me know what you were told about the reason behind all this.

If anyone has any  information on the rumours about Xerveo being merged with another MLM, I would love to see some evidence please.

Advice to Xerveo reps

If you intend to remain with the company, please read the Trading Standards letter and consider if you are willing to take on that level of responsibility.

If you are owed money for products you paid for and never got, consider talking to your bank/credit card company. A few reps have had their money refunded to them when they havenmt had their goods within 14 days.

If you are a rep who has decided to join another MLM, please be very careful in your choice. I have written an article aimed at helping you avoid the worst MLMs. Please have a look for some tips. Do not blindly follow your team. Consider your options carefully and independently of others.

 

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Oh Xerveo, what next?

I’ve written twice about Xerveo-

Xerveo– In this post I looked at the company’s registration at Companies House and tried to find the distribution centre. I looked at the illegal health claims being made for the coffee by the reps.

Xerveo updated– In this post, I was still searching for the distribution centre and discovered it was the registered owner of Xerveo’s house. The missing coffee orders was looked at and people are still puzzled over where their coffee is.

The people unlucky enough to have been involved in Xerveo are becoming increasingly upset at the difficulty they are having obtaining the truth. Let’s have a look at some of the issues.

1. Is the product licenced for resale in the UK?

I have been told by reps that it is and they have evidence. They’ll get me the evidence. They’ll find it in a minute. Oh, it was on my other phone and I can’t get it now. I’m sure it’s ok, my upline told me it was ok.

Has anyone actually got any real evidence? Someone asked the bosses about the licence in a Xerveo group discussion. (My spies are everywhere)

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“Yeah….you don’t worry about certification….focus on building”. I don’t know about you but I’m not convinced. The rep was worried enough and suspicious enough to question certification and they were brushed off. Told to bring more people into the company, spending more of their money and making Xerveo more profits.

2. How safe is the coffee?

The coffee apparently is only supposed to be consumed once a day. It says so on the packet I am told. Then Jun Lee, one of the two bosses in the UK puts this information on Facebook-

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This information concerns a few of the reps as they have previously been told people can only have one sachet a day safely. It says on the box.

 

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So it doesn’t matter. After all, maybe they can sell twice as much coffee this way?

3. The new CEO of Xerveo in America.

Recently, there has been a handover of power in America from someone called Argo to James Wiggins. Is it the same James Wiggins that got in trouble with the law a few years ago? If it is the same man, I hope he has changed his ways.

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4. Why is no one getting paid?

Since the company ‘went binary’ a few months ago, no one has been paid from it. People have been promised they will get paid on 5th October. That’s tomorrow. I’ll be watching. Please let me know if you get paid, reps.

Someone told me that bonuses weren’t being paid even before this. Where has all the money gone from reps’ purchases? There is no coffee even to show for it.

 

5. Ask questions and you get fired. Even though you are an independent business person.

Fiona asked some questions of the UK boss, Paul Holtham and a US boss Jan Lee. Have a look at the live she did, explaining what happened to her. Start watching at 7 minutes if you want to get straight to the details.

 

Here is the text she was sent, firing her.

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She still has not been told what rules she broke.

6. Evidence Xerveo is an illegal pyramid scheme.

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People in this scheme have to have an automatic shipment of products sent to them every month to be eligible for payments. They are the customers. It is questionable whether the coffee can be sold to real customers. This makes it an illegal pyramid scheme.

Alarm bells should be ringing in all reps’ ears if they are obliged to buy the product themselves. Surely they should be able to buy what they want for themselves, or even not buy anything at all for themselves?

tl:dr

People have to buy coffee for themselves, no coffee is arriving. Coffee might not be for resale. Questioning will get you fired, no one gets paid. Illegal pyramid scheme.

 

Are there any Xerveo reps reading this that want to add their experiences in the comments below? Have any of you experienced any of this? You can comment anonymously. Does anyone want to warn people about joining this scheme?

Update (5th October)

Marty Glover, a rep for Xerveo has been saying he has proof that Xerveo have the correct licensing for retail in the UK. Here it is-

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I will endeavour to check this out. Watch this space. I have contacted both Xerveo and the Food Standards Agency to try and clear this matter up properly.

I haven’t heard directly from anyone who has had a coffee delivery or been paid today (5th October). I would have thought people would want to prove me wrong if they had either of these things and tell me about it. But…..

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I’ve been given excuses though.

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This explanation from the rep is quite sad. He’s not been paid as he should have been. He’s been given ‘points’ instead and he’s happy because most companies like this are much worse. It sounds like he is used to being treated quite badly and is resigned to being happy with any payment or excuse he is given. He’s happy with the integrity of a company that isn’t paying its workforce and has no products available to sell. All they have are excuses.

Xerveo updated

There have been a few developments in the Xerveo story so I have added them here, to avoid messing up the original article.

The company address

There were some issues with the company address in the last post. The address given for Xerveo was 31 Albert Road, Broadstairs which was a normal house. There was another address as well, for Parcel Distribution Ltd, 2 Harold Road, Cliftonville, Margate.

Someone commented on the last post that the 2 Harold Road address was the accountant’s address. This may well be true, and maybe there is an office in the care home that is rented out? What I wanted to know was, where is the warehouse or parcel distribution centre where all the stock is being sent so it can be distributed? There is no address for it anywhere. Where is the warehouse? Where are the vans? The admin staff?  Where is the actual business?

Then I came across this label that has been shown to reps by Paul Holtham, the owner of Xerveo and the Parcel Distribution centre.

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The address is given as 31 Albert Road. A normal house on a residential street. It’s not a proper distribution centre at all.

This picture brings us to another story.

Where is the coffee?

Months ago reps ordered coffee that still has not arrived. There is general concern in the ranks as to what has happened to the coffee they ordered. If you to to the Xerveo website now, you will see it is all out of stock.

This is what you see when you click on any of the products

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Apparently, it has been like this since the website was shut down for the change to the ‘binary’ system at the end of August 2017.

People have started asking question and Paul (the registered owner of Xerveo in the UK) has given an explanation on Facebook. On 27th September 2017, an insider has sent me Paul’s explanation-

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Does this sound reasonable to you? Would HMRC destroy stock because of a mistake counting the it? Would a reputable company headquarters in America respond by waiting for the return of it and then send it back? None of this sits right with me.

Has a delivery really been stopped at the airport? If so, why? Is it Not For Resale? No one has been able to provide proof that it is legitimate and allowed to be sold in this country.

Has the coffee been sent to this country at all? Have Xerveo realised it can’t be sold here and stopped providing it?

Paul has provided the above label at the top of this post as evidence the delivery is imminent. This shows nothing though.

The Health claims

I have spoken to one of the leaders and explained about how they cannot make health or weight loss claims in the UK for their coffee. He has taken note and the message seems to have spread to all the leaders. I have since been asked by someone from within Xerveo to amend my article about health claims. It is true, the health claims have dramatically reduced, well done. The one featured in my last article has been removed. Thanks for listening guys.

Reps now seem to be not mentioning the products or company at all. They’ve completely hidden everything, going all mysterious.

Other concerns

I have looked into Xerveo a little further and a few other niggles have cropped up.

Name Change

Xerveo used to be called Ferveo and then it changed, apparently without any explanation. December 2012 they announced on Facebook they were changing the name and website, via a call to some of the reps. They gave a Ferveo website address that I was going to look at so I could see what happened, but I got this message.

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I didn’t feel brave enough to continue.

 

Better Business Bureau

I had read that they had an F rating due to the many complaints from reps and customers so I looked it up. This is what I found

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I wonder what it is being updated to? Look at the section it is filed under.

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The Ingredients

Here are the ingredients in one of the coffees

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Ganoderma Lucidem is a mushroom. As stated in the last post about this mushroom, there are no health benefits to consuming this mushroom. But are there any bad side effects?

Organo Gold had this ingredient in their coffee and they were sued because of the dangerous side effect of blood thinning.

This is what WebMD has to say about it.

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Conclusion

Is this a pyramid scheme with no products to sell? If it is, this is an illegal pyramid scheme. Well done to the reps who have taken heed of my advertising warnings. Please be vigilant of anything that might be dodgy. Let me know if you see anything that concerns you. Alternatively, let me know if I have anything wrong. Keep an eye out for updates. Thank you to my sources who have provided me with information.

What’s going on with Valentus?

If you have an interest in MLM, you will probably have heard of Valentus.  They have had a lot of publicity recently. Timeless Vie have written about them before. I will present here a timeline of events and hopefully add to it as developments happen. Let me know if you see anything happening in Valentus so I can update the timeline.

 

10th November 2015 Valentus incorporated in UK, Dave Jordan and Valentus Inc are the company officers.

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25th April 2017 Valentus dissolved in the UK.

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They were dissolved by way of a compulsory strike-off. Here is the official document telling Valentus their business has been dissolved.

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Companies are struck off in the UK by the Registrar of Companies if they believe there is no business going on. The company is warned about it beforehand and can apply for it to remain active. If company accounts aren’t produced and the company is sitting dormant, it is struck off. An explanation is given here by a company formation agent.

 

1st May 2017

Valentus are being sued for not paying for coffee beans from their supplier (see below)

 

2nd May 2017

It emerges that Valentus are countersuing their coffee supplier for not delivering their coffee, and instead, selling it to a rival Vitae Global. There’s all sorts of bickering and strange accusations going on. Have a look at the link for more details. A court date is set for Dec 3rd 2018.

 

4th May 2017

I was alerted to this official video from the Valentus website that explains how you can join the company. The woman giving the presentation is Beth Robinson, now Brannan. All the prices are given in dollars, presumably because the company doesn’t exist in the UK now.

 

 

There are  a few problems with what Beth is saying in this video. She and the company (because this is an official company video) are saying people in the UK can join by paying $499 for their first order. This is the same as about £369. In the UK, it is illegal to spend more than £200 in the first month. If this amount is exceeded, the scheme becomes an illegal pyramid scheme.

Another problem is the assertion that people can just autoship coffee to themselves and recruit, as there are bonuses paid for recruiting. There is no need for there to be any customers or sales. The whole scheme can be run just by recruiting and buying stock for yourself. This again makes the scheme tip over into ‘illegal pyramid’ territory.

 

Sometime in May 2017

Many people report Valentus to Trading Standards and Action Fraud for being an illegal pyramid scheme.

 

13th May 2017

Valentus Facebook post this message to their reps explaining how to get around the law. The message should be that the product cannot be sold in the UK, not how to get around it, as in this message!

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4th August 2017

Charlotte Thomson posts this video on Facebook to explain how Trading Standards have visited her and warned her about trading illegally.

 

 

7th- 10th August 2017

The press took an interest and wrote about Charlotte’s experiences.

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Valentus reps criticise her and accuse her of lying about Trading Standards, saying she got busted for spamming people in a group, and that she should have known not to sell the products.

 

 

9th August 2017

Charlotte releases a statement on Facebook outlining what happened.

“Due to the amount of attention this ‘story’ seems to have attracted I would like to make one final statement before moving on with my life and my new business venture.
Please note I would not have put myself in this position if I did not have every bit of evidence I need to prove the fact that everything I have said is 100% true and I am not the one at fault here. I have screen prints, recorded calls, and emails, from Trading Standards, reps and ‘leaders’ all of which will be used if required. Remember that when reading below .
I was introduced to the business in January and told by Carly Steel and her uplines to order 16 boxes to make the most profit as the cost per box decreases the more you buy. Again I have all the messages between myself and her. So for the Leaders to now say they have never sold is nonsense. If we couldn’t sell, why did we need to order ‘stock?
When I joined the company in January there was no advice or rules on ‘compliance’. It was only in April that strict rules came in that we couldn’t post company or product names. We were advised this was because we were at the final stages of registration, but that the products had been approved and we were just waiting on the UK labels. So yes, I sent a message out about a ‘weightloss coffee’ in Spring time, to Network Cornwall, a networking site that other women use to sell products or advertise their businesses. This was not a paid database and is optional whether you receive emails from other members, so at no point is this spamming. THIS despite what fingers are being pointed, is NOT the reason myself, or the company is being investigated. It is the products and the company failing to adhere to UK laws.
For the company to now be still trading without selling a product is a Pyramid Scheme – Illegal. So whether they are selling or just ‘recruiting’ they are acting illegally.
All Beth Robinson’s videos that showed how to boost sales and make profit from selling boxes have been removed from YouTube – Make of this what you will. I have screen prints from their Team Pages telling reps to keep selling but only to close family or friends, and not on social media, to avoid being caught – What sort of company is this!?
I have been advised by Trading Standards that I cannot sell or be associated with the brand, and that other leaders and reps are under investigation for also selling illegally, whether they were doing so knowingly or not. All I have done is try to speak out and protect everyone else in the firing line.
The amount of lies and deceit from the top leaders and coaches in this company has shocked me – Which led me to my decision not to continue. Yes I was offered legal assistance but I was also told I would be ‘suspended’ to pacify Trading Standards’ while a separate account was set up in another name. Ask yourself why would they do this if I was at fault? I do not want, or need to be defended by a company with such unscrupulous morals and little consideration for their representatives.
Re me planning this whole thing, I contacted Ariix on Thursday 3rd August, when it was clear the firm in question couldn’t provide Trading Standards with any of the information they requested to give them assurance that the company was trading legally in the UK
To clarify:
The company is not registered in the UK (Dublin, for your information, is in the EU )
As food and drink importers we have to register as Food Business Operators in the UK – We were never advised of this
I have been advised that the products do not comply comply with all relevant EU and UK laws including The Food Safety Act 1990, The Food Information Regulations 2014, The Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007 , The Coffee Extracts and Chicory Extracts Regulations 2000 and The Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes and Extraction Solvents Regulations 2013.
There is no evidence of the company being registered in the UK – And that ‘magic’ registration date keeps getting pushed further back as you are aware
There is no proven scientific evidence for the effectiveness or the ingredients or products
The UK labels which will illustrate that the products meet UK regulations have not been provided
Therefore it is not legal to trade in the UK even sending people to our website.
For anyone that has any concerns or doubts to my comments, rather than shooting the messenger and abusing me, use your brain and take 5 minutes out to call your local Trading Standards office who will confirm what I am saying.
I am angry, upset and disappointed at the abuse I have received for standing up for myself and the thousands of other reps in the UK. I will not stand for any more threats and abuse – And any evidence of such will be forwarded to the relevant authorities.
Apologies from the bottom of my heart to all of my customers, and team, that I have let down, I genuinely had no idea of the situation, and it has taught me 2 huge lessons to a) Do my research and b) To trust no one.
Unfortunately for many people, greed is far more important than integrity.”

Charlotte releases a picture of the email from Trading Standards proving her claims.

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The laws mentioned above that are being breached-

The Food Safety Act 1990

The Food Information Regulations 2014

The Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007

The coffee Extracts and Chicory Extracts Regulations 2000

The Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes and Extraction Solvents Regulations 2013

 

Charlotte is now working for Ariix, another MLM company, selling products and recruiting people again. They also have products that cannot be sold legally.

 

20th August 2017

A video emerges on You Tube of the head of Valentus registration explaining that ‘technically’ their products are illegal. She tries to downplay the significance of this and says it’s not as bad as a drug deal! She blames the whole scandal on Charlotte spamming people and someone telling tales. She does the age old thing of blaming another MLM competitor.

 

25th September 2017

Some reps are claiming a launch date of a few weeks, others are saying November, some are saying they aren’t allowed to say. I guess it will down to how long it takes to sort out all their issues.

 

Should I add anything else to the timeline? Let me know of any developments or send me any documents/ screengrabs you have that would fit in. I will be keeping this post up to date.

 

Xerveo

People who have found their last MLM Valentus has gone badly wrong, are leaving and looking for a new opportunity. A lot of them have stumbled across Xerveo.

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Xerveo are based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

People who have been in Valentus should be being extra careful that the company they work for now is fully above board and registered. They all go on about ‘being registered’ and criticise people for being in companies that are not properly registered, i.e. the products should be registered for resale and the company registered at Companies House.

Let’s see how well Xerveo are ‘registered’ and if they comply with UK laws.

Is the company registered with Companies House to legitimately trade in the UK and pay relevant taxes etc? I looked it up on Companies House.

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The Registered address is a residential address. That’s ok though, that’s allowed. Maybe the business address is somewhere else? Let’s find out where their distribution centre is. That’s got to be a nice big warehouse somewhere, or a building on an industrial estate?

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There’s the distribution centre. Parcel Distribution Centre, 2 Harold Road, Margate. It looks like Xerveo and Parcel Distribution Centre have the same director.

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Let’s have a look at the distribution centre.

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There it is! Nice settee.

(Edited 19th Sept 2017). Actually, the house with the settee is probably not the right address. The garage to the left of it is listed as number 8-12. Moving further to the left is a building with ‘Darwin Court’ written on it. This is a care home for the elderly and is the first property on the street. It looks like number 2 would refer to that building. Which is more unlikely than the house with the settee outside it. Paul Holtham was only born in 1971. I don’t think he is operating a business from his care home room.

I’ve done a little more digging and found there are 30 businesses with this address. There’s quite a lot of entrepreneurs in that care home! The postcode for Harold Road, Margate, Kent is CT9 2HT. I had another look at the website for Xerveo that had the Distribution centre address on. It gave the post code as CT10 2DT. Ah ha, I thought, I had the address wrong! But I didn’t. CT10 2DT is Salisbury Avenue, Kent.

Is 2 Harold Road Margate a made up address that businesses use? I have no idea. If anyone has any thoughts on the issue I would love to hear them.

 

Let’s look at the products and the claims that go with them.

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The Physician’s Desk Reference book does not mean anything. Companies pay to have their products put in it. It is useful for doctors to know what is in a product when their patients tell them what they have been ingesting. It is not an endorsement of a product.

Here are the ingredients

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Let’s have a look at the 2 ingredients there that are being touted as healthy.

Can Ganoderma Lucidem mushroom stand up to all the claims above? The claims that are allowed to be made in the European Union are listen on a database.

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This shows us that there has been one claim for the mushroom that has been examined and it was found to not be true. There are no allowable health claims for these mushrooms. The advert with the mushroom picture on it is not allowed under EU law. it looks like the official advert was made in the US where these claims might be allowed. It is a UK seller that is copying the advert and spreading it.

Hopefully Xerveo will be watching the adverts produced by their reps and put an end to it. They should be telling their EU reps not to make any health claims at all for this mushroom.

Maqui berry did not appear on the register at all. Therefore, no health claims are allowed in the EU for this ingredient either.

 

For some reason, the reps think that their coffee can help with losing weight. Look at this advert that has been spread over Facebook.

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There are a lot of rules about what weight loss claims can be made. These rules are in the CAP. There is a good article by the Advertising Standards Authority that explains the rules in an easily understood format. The rules being broken by the above advert are-

  • Weight loss cannot be claimed for a food/supplement if it is not on the register of allowable claims.
  • Signed and dated proof should be held by an advertiser when before and after photos are used, as well as robust evidence that the weight loss was as a result of using the product. Passing photos around on the internet is not acceptable.
  • “health claims that refer to a rate or amount of weight loss are not permitted in relation to food or food supplements, Rule 13.10.1 and 15.6.6). It is unacceptable to advertise that those who are overweight (but not obese) have lost more than 2lbs a week”.

So, Xerveo sellers, are you happy with your products? Are you breaking any rules do you think? Are you breaking the law?

If anyone wants to make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about any adverts they have seen in the UK that breach the rules, please visit the ASA complaints page.

Just to clarify, I am not saying that it is illegal to sell Xerveo coffee if it is just sold as a coffee. What IS illegal, is selling it with any health or weight loss claims. No one is selling Xerveo as coffee, everyone is touting it as a product that will do all sorts to your health. It is essentially just a coffee with some additives that do nothing for you. The company will be doing nothing wrong by supplying it to you, but you will be breaking the law for selling it as a supplement or medicine, or claiming it can do anything to your health.

 

More information has been uncovered about this company. To avoid confusion I have created a new post. Click on this link to view it.

 

Vida Divina breaks the law

Vida Divina launched  on 23rd September 2017 in the UK.

Here is their website.

Here is a list of their products. (note the products for ‘diabetes and prostrate health’!)

This is one of their products

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Here is the supplement information

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Do you see the word ‘melatonin’ there?  Melatonin is found in the body and it helps to regulate sleep. Research has shown it has some slight benefits in helping people temporarily with their sleep problems due to jet lag or irregular shift patterns. It helps only a very small amount and is not recommended for long term use or for standard insomnia.

In America Melatonin is classed as a supplement, and as such, sellers are allowed to make claims about it. In the UK, however, it is a drug. The listing for it is in the British National Formulary.

This means that Melatonin cannot be sold as a supplement in the UK. It has to be prescribed by an authorised prescriber and come from a pharmacy. Vida Divina cannot sell it in their Sleep-N-Lose capsules. This would be breaking the law.

Which makes me wonder why it is for sale on Ebay in the UK.

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Ebay have been alerted to this breach of the law and they say that they will respond to each report of this item being sold as they get to it.

Come on EBay, it isn’t the public’s responsibility to report these incidences to you. You need to stop allowing these sales! And stop them now!

Vida Divina, you need to stop sending this product to the UK. You are being very irresponsible and need to ban this product immediately.

I will ask for Ebay and Vida Davina’s comments on this issue and report back their answers here. Don’t hold your breath for a swift resolution though.

 

Trading Standards

Someone has contacted Trading Standards about Vida Divina and their reply was very interesting.

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So to sell Vida Divina products in the UK, sellers need to –

+Register with local environmental health authority as a food business operator.

+Get special labels made up for putting on the products that comply with the law.

+Ensure that there is no mention of any health benefits to the products unless they are on the correct register.

+Ensure there are no new novel foods in the range.

Please note the bit that says ‘you could be prosecuted’.

I contacted the MHRA for clarification on melatonin sales in the U.K. This is what they said

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A bit more information to help you decide if you want anything to do with this company.

A bit on the background of the CEO, from Behind MLM. There are details on how he claimed the products in his last MLM cured him of his terminal cancer. And the problems previous MLM companies had that h was involved in.

This extract is from the above link.

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This video has come to light from Facebook. The man is working for Vida and is in America now at their conference. Look what he is advising his followers.

 

Is this how a company imports their products? He is advising they all stuff their suitcases with coffee and ‘blag customs’. How are 70 people going to explain suitcases full of improperly labelled coffee being brought into the UK to be sold illegally as weight loss products?

 

Other products they sell

Vida Divina sell tea as well. “Is that ordinary tea” I hear you ask, “or is it special tea?”

Have a look at this advert that has been brought to my attention

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There’s so much wrong with that advert, it’s difficult to know where to start! Needless to say, there is no such thing as ‘detoxing’ your body, tea won’t cure IBS, 95% of viruses aren’t from the bowel and this tea will not ‘have your insides back to healthy in no time’. It is certainly breaking advertising rules.

I have been shown this email where Vida Divina seem to be saying that the tea is not for resale in the UK, which would make the above advert even more dodgy.

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I have emailed Vida Divina today (26th Sep 2017) for a statement on whether their products are for resale in the UK and what their plans are for the products. I will keep you updated.

Let’s hope the reps aren’t buying too much of the stuff because then they’ll either have to sell it illegally, drink it all themselves or have it building up in their house.

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Oh.

Do you know what the authorities call this type of business? The type where there are no customers and you can only earn money through recruiting?

 

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Lean Java Bean coffee

Lean Java Bean coffee is starting to be promoted by poor, deluded bots who have found their last MLM did not work. They are hoping that this is the one that will make them millions. After all, it is clinically proven, everyone likes coffee and everyone needs to lose weight without putting in any effort right? Surely they can’t lose? After all, their last coffee MLM had problems because the meanies wouldn’t let them promise weight loss miracles. This one will apparently. They sell weight loss coffee and expensive ‘tools’ aimed at self improvement (read ‘brainwashing products’)

Let’s look at the claims made and the evidence behind them. Then we’ll look at the law and see if they should be making these claims.

Here are some of the claims being made out there…

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Wow! That’s quite some coffee! The list of claims is significant and promises quite a lot. The addition of ‘clinically proven results’ sounds quite impressive and has obviously convinced the people trying to sell it.

So what are the ingredients? They seem to be-

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I went to the website of the actual company , through clicking on a rep’s link, and found some details about the amazing ingredients. There are 3.

Ingredient 1.

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20 people is a very, very small sample of people to base any conclusions on. Even if it is without ‘side affects’. The dose quoted is 500mg, how much is in the coffee? We don’t know because that isn’t disclosed on the label. It could be 1mg for all we know. Let’s see if we can find the research that was done to come up with these claims.

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The above article summary is from the Super Citrimax part of the Lonza website.  Lonza manufacture Citrimax.  If you understand research (as I do), you will notice that there are only 24 participants which is pathetically low. More tellingly, the results are not as good as they are making out. It says at the end that ‘body weight tended to decrease (P=0.1)’. For a result to be statistically significant, ie the results are what they say they are, the P value needs to be less than 0.05. This means the research does not show Citrimax does anything except reduce how much energy the people consumed. It has no effect on feelings of fullness or weight loss.

Three other research papers are cited on the super Citrimax website, but none of them describe anything resembling the research cited by Java Bean. Another study stated results but they were not all statistically significant. Even more tellingly, it was described as a pilot study. This is a type of study that is done as a practice run to see if it is worth running a bigger study. There is no mention of a bigger study. Either they didn’t do one or no significant results were found.

Ingredient 2.

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Lonza describe the two studies that were done on Chromemate. The first one had 4 groups of 10. Just ten! LDL cholesterol, and therefore total cholesterol, were reduced in the small group that took Chromemate. Three other cholesterol related numbers were not affected. Again, this was a pilot study with no follow up. The other ‘study’ wasn’t a study at all, rather, it was someone theorising how Chromemate might be useful for atheletes.

Ingredient 3.

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I found the website that is linked to this ingredient. It is pretty disturbing. It has to be visited really to truly take in the horrors of this product. Cocaine leaves without the cocaine? What?

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The ingredients are listed here. The reasoning for including these ingredients are mostly traditional use claims, such as

Annatto Leaf Powder

Annatto Leaf Powder – the rainforest tribes have used the entire plant as medicine for centuries. The Piura tribe as an aphrodisiac and astringent, and to treat skin problems, fevers, dysentery, and hepatitis uses a tea made with the young shoots. The leaves are used to treat skin problems, liver disease, and hepatitis. The plant has also been considered good for the digestive system. The Cojedes tribe uses an infusion of the flowers to stimulate the bowels and aid in elimination as well as to avoid phlegm in newborn babies. Traditional healers in Colombia have also used annatto as an antivenin for snakebites. The seeds are believed to be an expectorant, while the roots are thought to be a digestive aid and cough suppressant”.

 

So, are the claims made for the coffee based on trustworthy facts?

There has been no research done to test the Lean Bean Java coffee.

The claims come from research and traditional claims made for individual ingredients.

The research is flimsy at best.

We don’t know how much of the ingredients are in the coffee itself.

 

I conclude that there is not enough evidence for the claims that are being made for the coffee.

 

Legally allowed claims

But surely, for the company (and the people selling and buying it from them) to make these claims, they must have pretty solid grounds? They are making claims that their product can interact with the body and change how it works, bringing about changes. This means it is a medicine in UK law and a drug in US law. The MHRA regulates medicines in the UK and they say this-

“A medicinal product is:

  • any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties of preventing or treating disease in human beings
  • any substance or combination of substances that may be used by or administered to human beings with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying a physiological function by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or making a medical diagnosis”

If  product is to be sold as a medicine, it needs to have a licence from the MHRA. Is Lean Bean Java coffee or any of the three ingredients listed as a medicine?

I searched the MHRA’s list of licenced medicines.  The following ingredients were not on the list- Lean Bean Java, Macoca, Chromemate and Citrimax (with and without the ‘super’). This means they are not an authorised medicine so no medical claims can be made about it or the ingredients.

I decided to search the European Medicines Agency (EMA). They keep a register of medicines and herbal remedies for the whole of Europe. I searched for the same ingredients. Guess what? There is no record of any of the ingredients there either.

I then looked up some of the other ingredients on the EMA. Ginseng root can be claimed to be able to treat tiredness and weakness, but not if it is in combination with other herbal medicines.  There is no good science for it, and a few side effects, but this ingredient can only be claimed as a herbal remedy if it has been authorised by the MHRA in the UK. Looking this up, the only Ginseng products that are allowed to make these claims are from two companies that make it in tablet form.

Green tea extract was searched for next. The EMA are still evaluating the evidence. The MHRA have not licenced any green tea products based on their herbal use.

I then looked up all the other ingredients on the EMA and MHRA websites and found no mention of any of them. I won’t bore you with the links to each search. You can have a look yourself if you like.

Legally then, no one can claim that Lean Java Bean or any of its ingredients can affect metabolism or have any noticeable effects on the body. Looking back at the images in the beginning of this post, there are many claims being made about the physical effects of this product on the body. These are very, very wrong, as well as misleading.

 

What can be done?

Companies should not be allowed to get away with making misleading and illegal claims about their products. There are safeguards in place to prevent these lies from being made and products sold under false pretences. The legal body in the UK that monitors these adverts is called the Advertising Standards Authority. They refer to a set of rules called CAP that set out what can and can’t be said. Their website says they were set up keep adverts ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.

If you see any adverts about Lean Java Bean coffee claiming they cause any physical effect on the body’s functions, you can complain to the ASA. It is a really simple process and you can do it anonymously if you like. Normally, if you complain about an MLM, it is the rep who was selling it that got in trouble and they took the blame. The company reprimanded them or fired them (so much for being an independent business owner). In this instance, however, the claims seem to be coming direct from the company (Vitae Global).

Background to the company.

I tried to look up this company at Companies House but there seems to be no trace of them. I wanted to see their history and the owners’ details for some clues as to what they might be upto. A little look around shows a facebook page that has been deleted, and a  Behind MLM review that has been deleted. I found this review, but be warned, it tries to sell you his method of recruiting but it has a lot of information.

Here is a video message for the founders who are joining before the company launches. Jim Britt literally promises you will be rich very quickly and very easily. I investigated the company further but I began to be drawn down a rabbit hole so I extricated myself and decided not to bother.

For now, I would just like to concentrate on the fact that the health claims are bogus, illegal and come straight from the company.

 

What you can do

Please complain to the ASA if you see any of these illegal health claims for this coffee. It needs to be stopped. The complaint form is straightforward to fill in. You will need to take a screengrab and note the time and place that you saw the advert.

The basis for the complaint will be that the health claims are not allowed as the product is not a medicine or herbal remedy as regulated by the MHRA. Let us know how you get on…