This advert is pretty common and very easy to find on Google. On the face of it, the advert shows Forever Living in a pretty good light, making it look like a good, solid choice for a way of making an income. However, if you look at the claim a little critically, you can see it is not that great after all.
Let’s look at the points one by one.
- “Uncapped and willable income“
Uncapped pretty much means nothing. You work harder and harder and you get more money. This is not an unusual concept. It is capped by your finances, time available, effort put in, opportunities for recruiting, home circumstances, performance of your downline, availability of customers etc etc etc.
Willable presumably means that when you die, the money being generated by your downline can be given to your dependents. People think this is great and it does sound good. You’ve put in all that work for a few years and built up a good downline and the money is trickling in. It would be nice if this could keep trickling to your children when you are gone. It’s not true though. The Forever Living Policy book details exactly what the reality is.
“9.10. The inheritable rights to a Distributorship are limited and are subject to the following conditions: • Written confirmation from a legal body must be sent to Head Office detailing who the heir is in accordance with any will or probate decision. • The heir must be someone who has been, or can be, registered as a Distributor. 9.11. Since the heir must be an adult individual, a trust or guardianship may have to be established for multiple heirs or minor children. In the event a trust is established, a copy must be placed on file at Head Office and its terms must clearly allow the trustee to act as a Distributor. In this case, the Distributor may be a corporation, if acting as the trustee for such multiple heirs or minor children. However, the Executive Committee must approve the corporate officer assigned to represent the trust. In the event a guardian is appointed for minors, such a person must qualify as a Distributor. The guardian must be appointed by the court of proper jurisdiction and receive specific approval to be a Distributor on behalf of the minors. 9.12. A trustee or guardian shall retain the Distributor status provided the Distributorship agreement is not violated and until the beneficiaries have attained the age of majority, and an heir accepts the responsibility of operating the Distributorship with prior approval of the court of the trust document. 9.13. A trustee, guardian, spouse or other representative-type Distributor shall be responsible for the actions of the beneficiary, ward, or their spouse for purposes of complying with Company Policy. A violation of Company policies by any of the above individuals may result in termination of the Distributorship. 9.14. The inheritable Distributorship position within the Company Marketing Plan is limited to recognition at no higher than that of Manager. However, bonuses shall be paid at the same levels and requirements as held by the deceased. Distributorship positions below Manager shall be inherited at that level. Heirs who inherit a Manager position will be considered Inherited and would have to re-qualify to receive Gem Manager status.”
To reduce that down to simpler points-
- What is ‘willabble’ is the position in the scheme, not the income.
- The inheritor will have to work the business to gain any income, as the deceased person did.
- except the rank is reduced to manager, any extra promotions (gems etc) will be wiped, meaning that a high earning person will be passing on a lower position to their heirs.
- and the heir has to be 18 or over so if they are a child, another adult has to do the work for them.
- You have to go through the courts to obtain this position.
It doesn’t seem so great when looked at in detail does it?
2. Time and freedom to build your own life according to your dreams.
Much is made of your dreams and being able to achieve whatever you want in life,
as long as you work for it. If you want to actually make any money at all (and most people make nothing, or less than nothing), you need to spend every minute of every working day doing it. You won’t be told that at the beginning though. Have a look at this youtube clip that starkly shows the reality versus the image presented to new recruits.
3. Puts you in charge of your income and career.
I would argue that you aren’t in charge of your ‘income’ at all. Firstly, your income is dependent on how your downline perform, how much time you have available and how many of your morals you are willing to sacrifice. How many people are you prepared to lie to in order to get the CC’s (case credits- a way of counting revenue) and what lies you are willing to spread about the health benefits of the products.
Of course, on a more basic level, you are set to fail anyway because that is how Multi Level Marketing schemes work. More details here.
4. All products carry a company financed 30 day money back guarantee so no risk to you or your customers.
This isn’t quite true. If a distributor buys a product and sells it to a customer and they subsequently return it, they do not get their money back from the company. The distributor has to pay the customer with their own money. The distributor can return the product back to Forever Living and they will replace the product. This could cause problems if it is a difficult to sell, expensive item.
“6.3. The Distributor who originally sold the Products, and who thereby received the proceeds of the sale, shall be responsible for refunding 100% of their retail Customers’ purchase price for any Product sold by them within the previous 60 days if a Customer is not satisfied with the Product. Customers must be able to prove that they purchased the Product originally by returning the retail sales receipt and any remaining Product and packaging (including empty containers) with which they are dissatisfied (this will not affect their statutory rights). 6.4. Any partially used or otherwise unmarketable Products (or empty containers) should be returned by the Distributor to Head Office or to a Product Centre, within 120 days of its original purchase from the Company, supported by retail receipts or other proof of purchase. The Company will then replace the Product. The Company will not exchange it for other goods, offer a credit note nor will it refund the purchase price paid.”
If a distributor buys a product, either for personal use or to make up stock to sell, they do not get their money back.
“Any Distributor who is dissatisfied with a Product they have bought will be given a like for like Product. Please Note: the Company will not offer a refund, exchange or credit note.”
Please see the Policy handbook for these terms and conditions.
5. Start part time and build to full time.
See point 2.
6.Global franchise operating in over 160 countries worldwide.
I fail to see what this has to do with choosing a place to work. The NHS, police and many, many other employers only operate in one country. This does not make it bad to work under them! Likewise, organisations that operate in many countries include Al Qaeda, Nestle, lots of banks and criminal organisations.
7. Established company of over 33 years, cash rich and debt free, so totally financially secure.
Companies a lot older than this have gone bust before. Woolworths had been in operation for 99 years before their shops were shut, TWA 71 years, Pan Am 64 years, Barings bank 233 years.
Likewise, all companies start somewhere and a company that might be new now may well be very successful in the future.
Forever Living Products may be cash rich and debt free but this means nothing for the distributors. It is the distributors that are buying the new business boxes, the products and they are selling the products. The distributors get a small percentage of this, the rest goes to FLP. FLP do not pay pensions, wages, sick pay, maternity leave, training, health insurance. FLP charge for their success days, trainings, leaflets, post and packaging, samples, in fact, anything. They do not even pay for coffee at the success days that the distributors drive to , pay admission, pay for their own food, hotel stay, childcare and all the rest.
How cash rich are they? A slide that is regularly used by FLP to show their success is this-
Is there any evidence to support this? There are pro-MLM websites that gather information on MLMs. This one has compiled a list of the top 100 performing MLMs in 2014. FLP does not feature on this list. Number 100 has a turnover of $63 million. If the chart above were to be re-written with the figures from non-biased sources, the last bar would only be a bit taller than the very first bar!
If you look at the above chart closely, you will notice a few things. The teeny tiny writing at the bottom says “based on calculated retail sales of worldwide affiliated companies”. So if a distributor buys a product f0r $10 wholesale and the RRP is $14, FLP has calculated their revenue for this sale as $14. Never mind if this item is never sold on to a customer or if it is used by the distributor. The chart bears no resemblance to actual money going to FLP.
This still doesn’t account for the massive discrepancy between real figures and the chart. Maybe the ‘affiliated companies’ include the website companies that distributors are encouraged to pay for, the mindset training provided by outside people, the sales of pro-planners? Who knows? what is clear though, is that none of it is clear.
8. Excellent product and business training- members of the Direct Selling Association and awarded the International Aloe Science Council Seal of Approval.
The Direct Selling Association. What are they? Is it impressive to be a member? Here is their website. It is an organisation made up of MLM companies who oversee their members’ conduct. Here are the current council members-
“Current Council Members
Lynda Mills Director General UK
Andy Smith Chair and General Manager UK & Ireland – Amway
Bob Parker Vice Chair and Managing Director – Forever Living Products
Mimi Bogelund Managing Director – Captain Tortue
Mark Franklin Marketing Director UK, Europe & Canada – Usborne Books At Home
Penny Farish Director, Europe – Morinda
Clive Norton Business Development Director – Cambridge Weight Plan
Sandra Whittle Managing Director – Partylite
Lisa Burke Network Managing Director – Kleeneze
Andrea Slater General Manager – Avon
Mike Roberts General Manager UK – Mary Kay
Gavin Aley Senior Director UK, Ireland and Iceland – Herbalife
Kathleen Mitchell Vice President EMEA – Stella & Dot
Vicky Beckett UK General Manager – Arbonne
Simon Bowler Regional Director – The Juice PLUS+® Company “
Membership into this association is granted on only a few criteria. I do not think any MLM will find it difficult to gain membership of this association.
International Aloe Science Council Seal of Approval. Who are they? Is this seal of approval impressive?
You can visit their website here. Their chairs and board members are from companies that sell aloe vera products.
Look at the third name up, bottom right corner.
Have a look at the ‘scientific research’ link and then ‘bookstore’. There you can find some books on how amazing aloe vera is and a webinar on how to market aloe vera without actually making any health claims. Only one bit on actual science and that is for a conference itinerary.
This association does not fill me with confidence that it is science based. It seems more like a trade organisation aimed at sellers of aloe vera, and run by those same sellers.
9. Unique product range- World leaders in aloe vera products.
What does this actually mean? Many similar products can be bought from other retailers. Cheaper, more accessible, organic.
They brag about being the largest growers of aloe vera. So what? Has it had good product reviews? Is the product in demand? Are the prices competitive? Are the products backed by science and medical testing with the correct licencing?
10. No joining fee or minimum activity level.
The New Distributor Pack (NDP) costs £199.75. But you don’t have to buy this, you can ‘just’ purchase £100 worth of products at a higher price than people who have purchased the NDP. Once you have purchased enough products, you are then allowed to participate at the same level as other new members.
To be paid anything more than pennies, you need to meet all sorts of minimum activity levels. And you might get harrassed by your upline to keep bringing in the money for them. I’ll just leave this here…
A final note- The DSA and International Aloe Science Council demand that their members only ever put out truthful adverts.