The stages of leaving

From helping many people through their journey away from Multi Level Marketing, I have noticed common themes. I have attempted to describe them here. Have you been through these stages? Would you add any others?

Trigger

There is often a single event that unsettles people. This trigger goes against their personal ethics or crosses a line that is important to the person. For example, someone finds out that Younique is not as animal friendly as they were led to believe or they witness an upline encourage lying. Perhaps they find out the CEO is a homophobic tax evader or the charity the company supports is a sham.

Whatever the trigger is, it is enough to upset the person on a level where they cannot deny the wrongness of it.

Dawning realisation

Once someone has been awoken to the trigger they are more easily able to see other troubling things around them. They start questioning like never before. Niggling doubts become real concerns. The nagging upline can now be seen as the bully they are. The little lies they have been encouraged to make are now seen for the deceptive recruiting tactics that they are.  The rep becomes more and more horrified at what they have become involved in.

Fear

The fear at this stage is real. Timeless Vie looked into the fear that is instilled into MLM members. The fear is probably worse the longer someone has been involved in the company. They will have been faking it to make it. This would have involved presenting the image of success to their friends and family, telling them they are making money. They will have had conversations with friends and tried to persuade them to join them in this successful venture.  If they then decide to leave, they will lose face.

The worst fear will come from the realisation that friends will have been lost due to the MLM. Often people are encouraged to ditch their friends and family if they are less than totally supportive. They could have unfriended people and upset long standing friendships. Slowly their friend groups will have been replaced with their MLM family, their Senesisters, Y-sisters, other family/group name of belonging.

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It’s a bit culty actually. People spend a lot of time with their MLM ‘family’ and feel a real connection with them due to the immense amount of time they spend with them. The slow backing away from friends and the encroaching influence of the MLM group creeps up on people and they can feel quite isolated when they realise how alone they really are.

This isolation can be worsened when people left their normal jobs (‘sacked the boss’) or if they have mental health issues.

There will also be fear from the thought of how the upline and team will react. They will have seen people leave the team before and heard how they were treated. They may have witnessed the blocking, isolation and character assassination that often occurs to the traitors that leave. They are blamed for their failure and lack of commitment to the group. Again, the cult vibes surface here. The excommunication and vilifying of outsiders is a feature of cults and MLMs.

Action

In this stage, the person decides that they can no longer continue in the MLM and they have to do something. They know it will be hard to take action but they know that they must. The question here is what they need to do. Do they stay members and let it fizzle out? Do they have a raging argument with their upline? Do they just delete and block everything and pretend it never happened? Do they tell an old friend and seek some perspective? Do they contact Bot Watch, Elle Beau or Timeless Vie for support and advice?

There is no simple answer here as each person’s situation will be different and their ability to cope will vary. I would strongly advise, whichever tactic people use, that they stop spending money on the products/ training/ any MLM activity. Take time to decide what to do, but stop trying to make it work. Once you have gone this far down the decision making process, you will not be happy in MLM any more. The visor has been lifted and you can no longer pretend it might be ok. The person will be OK, but not if they stay in MLM.  It can be harmful to keep trying to lie to yourself and knowingly lie to others to recruit.

 

Consequences

This is the part where people have to deal with the upline, contact head office, admit to friends what happened. Sometimes people need to admit to partners about the money that they borrowed or face their downline and try to make amends. They need to deal with friends who can no longer quite trust them due to previous attempts to recruit them and the perception from friends that they were seen as a way to make money. There must be the problem of coming across people who are thinking ‘I told you so’.

This part can be very isolating and can be difficult when you have been told repeatedly to just follow the plan and to reject the ‘normal’ way of working by having a J.O.B. So much hope and energy and money will have been invested in the dream of succeeding in the MLM. The actual process of leaving will be unchartered waters and can be very scary.

Healing

This is a very important part.  People need to be able to sit back and lick their wounds. Often a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression could be worsened. Previously strong people might be feeling fragile. Their belief systems have essentially been shaken to the core and everything they were working for has come crashing down.  Sometimes a reaction can be to start blogging and becoming an active voice against the MLM can become all-consuming. The anger and distress can be overwhelming and people seek to channel it.

If you have been through anything like this, it is very important that you slow down and take time to process what has happened. Please realise that you have been subjected to many techniques designed to keep you in the company, spending your money and working every spare minute to send money up the pyramid to the owner. You have been manipulated and it will take a lot of healing to overcome the damage.

If you have a friend who has been through this process, be gentle with them and allow them to talk about their feelings. You may have to occasionally step in and offer  a different perspective when their faulty logic shines through. They may blame themselves for things that happened that wasn’t their fault. They may have a negative view of themselves and their abilities. Be gentle with them and be patient.

Please contact Bot Watch if you need help, support or advice.

Some other articles you might find useful on this site are

How to help someone in an MLM,

How to leave an MLM,

How to be a Bot Watcher,

Why do people join MLMs?

Network Marketing is a cult.

MLM Expectation vs Reality

Testimonial use in MLMs

We already know that MLM often sell products with absurd health claims. Health claims that are not allowed by law. See here, here, and here about the laws around what health claims are allowable.

People in MLM schemes end up with products that are usually overpriced and of little actual use. The only way they can sell these products is to exaggerate their uses and make it sound like it has magical qualities. Have a look at TINA’s findings of false health claims made by MLMs.

Hence, you see posts like this on Facebook-

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However, these sorts of claims are frowned upon by the law, advertising authorities and the companies themselves. The companies tell their reps, outwardly at least, that they must not make health claims. They have compliance departments that are supposed to be finding these claims and asking their reps to stop.

If these wildly inacurate and illegal claims are not allowed, how are people supposed to sell them?

Juice Plus have come up with a great idea. Share testimonials. Then people are not making claims, they are just sharing stories. Here is an email from their compliance department to a Bot Watcher.

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“If someone has seen that the product has helped them with a specific condition, then we encourage them to tell their story in the first person”.

 

“share this story with your readers or tag them in the post.”

 

 

From this belief sprung the Juice Plus Testimonials page on Face Book. Here, people tell stories about how they took Juice Plus and their health condition improved. Here is a selection of some of those testimonies-

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You can find any medical condition there and use their stories to put on your own page if you are selling Juice Plus and want to make health claims without actually making health claims. Reps end up discussing their customers and working out which of their products to recommend. Totally not making any health claims though. Here’s an example of one such discussion.

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Well there you  go, The shakes must be ok in pregnancy, the rep says so. Even though she has no training. I’ve looked up the ingredients to see if there is any vitamin A in the shakes. There isn’t. Vitamin A can be found in their capsules, but not the shakes. I did find something interesting though. There was a link to click that was labelled

“California residents: Click here for Proposition 65 WARNING.”

I don’t live in California but thought I’d click anyway. This is what I found

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The shakes can cause birth defects. This is pretty serious and it concerns me greatly that reps are telling other reps and customers that it is safe because they used it and they were ok.

It should be pretty obvious that sharing testimonials is a very bad idea. We don’t know the truthfulness of these claims and they could be very harmful. People may try and come off their medications, or have false hope for their condition. There are many, many conditions catered for on the Facebook page and shared widely.

The Law in the UK

Section 15 of the non-broadcast CAP advertising code states what sort of claims can be made for foods or food supplements.

 

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So claims that Juice plus capsules can replace anti depressants would not be allowed. The claims that can be made are very clearly set out I these registers. But what about personal testimonies? Is it ok for someone to say that a product has helped with a condition?

There are some general rules that marketers must comply with when sharing testimonials-

  1. The marketer cannot be the consumer and give their own testimonial.
  2. The marketer must have written permission from the person making the testimonial.
  3. The marketer mush hold evidence the claim is true- evidence of the ordering history, email records (not Hotmail, but a provable email address), address of the customer and be able to prove the testimonial is genuine.

 

This next bit is very interesting, found on this page on the CAP website.

“Marketers may not use testimonials to circumvent the Code by making claims in a consumer review that they would not otherwise be permitted to make. For example, if a marketer doesn’t hold the evidence to substantiate an efficacy claim, they cannot use a testimonial which makes that claim.

Testimonials alone do not constitute substantiation so marketers should not rely on testimonials as support for any direct or implied claims made in the marketing communication.”

What claims are Juice Plus allowed to make?

I asked the MHRA who regulate medicines and supplements in the UK if any health claims are allowed to be made by Juice Plus (and Ariix and Herbalife). This is their reply

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Essentially, this means no health claims can be made for products from Juice Plus.

I told them about the Juice Plus Testimonials page and one of their investigators joined and had a look. They were very concerned about the sort of posts there and wanted to inform Trading Standards about the group. Unfortunately though, they realised the page originated in America so they could not do anything about it.

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I never heard back about anything Facebook said. The page still exists so I am assuming they took no notice.

 

Conclusions

If you can’t make a claim for a product legally, you cannot get around it by using a testimony.

Making health claims that are not proven or allowed could lead people to believing it and ditching their medicines/ treatment. This could lead to significant harm.

If you sell a product, you cannot make your own testimonies when advertising it.

The strict rules around allowable claims are there for a reason, do not break them just so you can make a bit of money. Especially if you are taking advantage of ill people, this is despicable.

 

Vida Divina in trouble again.

I have written about Vida Divina before. Have a read of this post on their illegal selling of Melatonin, a prescription only drug.

Many people were concerned about Vida selling Melatonin in the UK as it is a prescription only drug. Complaints were made to the MHRA (The official body that regulates medicines and medical equipment in the UK) and most of the reps stopped selling it. The MHRA informed me that these sales should end once the current reps had offloaded them.

The MHRA did not stop at the Melatonin investigation. They looked at their other products and found that many of them breached UK medicines or food law. The US company were contacted by the MHRA and told that their reps were breaking the law and they must stop. Vida responded, saying that they would stop supplying the UK distributors until it could make their products compliant.

To make the products compliant, some of them would need to be relabelled and have the health claims restricted to legal ones. According to the MHRA, the US company have not reported back on any changes made. It seems they are still supplying the UK reps with non compliant products, opening them up to legal action and a visit from Trading Standards, as per what happened to Valentus reps.

It is not just non compliant labelling and health claims that we need to be concerned about. One of the products contains DHEA which is a class C drug in the UK.

DHEA

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is an adrenal steroid that is made in the body and is turned into male or female hormones. It can be synthetically made from plants. Read WebMD for information on what it is used for. It is a potent substance and is banned in atheletes as it can affect their performance. No wonder Vida would want to put this product in their coffee. I expect it would make the drinker feel revitalised. However, as with any effective drug, there are many side effects.

Among these are-

It is harmful in pregnancy;

affects diabetes;

affects conditions that are sensitive to hormones;

cholesterol problems;

liver problems and

psychiatric side effects.

Class C drugs

DHEA is considered a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. You are not allowed to possess, sell or give away class C drugs. You could be arrested and punished if you do. The punishment for possession is up to 2 years in prison. If you are caught selling it, the punishment is much worse. You could go to prison for up to 14 years

14 years!

and have an unlimited fine. In practice though, you are more likely to be dealt with in the magistrate’s court where you can go to prison for 6 months and/or a £5000 fine.

The product in question is a supplement called ‘Ripped’.

 

Let’s hope no reps have stockpiled this product. The more product someone has in their possession, the higher the potential prison sentence.

Vida Divina have previously said that their products are not for resale in the UK, but are ok for personal use.

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This raises two concerns-

1. If you join a direct selling scheme but have no products to directly sell, it could be an illegal pyramid scheme.

2. You could go to prison just for possessing ‘Ripped’. If you try and sell it, you are officially a drug dealer.

What to do if you are in Vida Divina

The MHRA say that Vida Divina’s products should not be sold, supplied or advertised in the U.K. You should not be telling people to buy it from your website. You cannot be giving free samples.

If you decide to persevere and continue ordering products for personal consumption, consider this. These products have not been tested properly and the MHRA are concerned that they do not know if they are safe.

If you want to use supplements, buy them from a proper retailer that has the relevant legal paperwork and that you know is safe.

Is it worth the risk to your health and criminal record to get involved with Vida Divina?

 

Source of information

Here is the email that was sent to a concerned observer from the MHRA.

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If anyone sees Vida Divina reps saying their products are legal to sell in the U.K., please send a screenshot or link to Botwatch and we will pass it onto the MHRA to help their investigations.

The scandal of ‘cancer care kits’

These ‘cancer kits’ or ‘positivity packs’ are appearing all over the internet at the moment, and on the face of it, look harmless. Helpful, and charitable even. Increasingly though, it is making people feel very uncomfortable. I will attempt to explain why.

I think the biggest element that makes people feel uncomfortable is that it is hard to criticise someone when they are helping to raise money for a good cause, especially if they are doing it without making any money. Who wants to stop people raising money for cancer patients?

Part of my job brings me into contact with people who have cancer. I want to help them, not stop them from having nice things. I also want to protect them from being exploited, especially if a massive multi national company in America is going to profit from the sales, as well as people in a multi level marketing scheme. The people selling these kits are being less than truthful and I feel a lot of people are being taken advantage of.

Let’s have a look at some of the calls for help to make these kits and see if we can analyse what is going on.

This one was spotted on Facebook on Thursday 9th November 2017, and the packs were due to be dropped off on Friday 10th November.

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Her friends and family have bought these products from her. Forever Living will make a profit, the woman selling the products will be closer to earning her bonus, and her uplines will get a percentage.

 

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The person writing the post says she ‘told her story’. Telling of a story is a common occurrence in MLMs. People stand up in front of a group and explain to them some health problem they had or some dreadful problem with a job, or something else that was bad in their lives. Then they explain how their MLM came along and everything changed. Their health problems went away, they left heir job, they found a ‘new family’ etc etc. Then they explain how they are so thankful for the amazing opportunity and then they subtly/ or not so subtly (depending on their audience) try and recruit people. The people in the above picture could be being subjected to a recruitment attempt.

The post claims that the products can ‘help with certain side effects’. It is very common for sellers of these products to make false health claims.

 

Have a look at this attempt to make sales and false health claims. This person has set up a Just Giving page where she can appeal to people to send her money so she can purchase products from Forever Living and give them to cancer patients. She wants to raise £1500 to make 100 packs. (Not sure why she says £300 when she says each pack costs £15 to make).

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She claims that the aloe vera toothgel helps with mouth ulcers. This is an illegal health claim. Aloe Vera cannot be claimed to help with mouth ulcers.

She claims that aloe gelly can help with hair loss and dry skin. Again, this is an illegal health claim.

She recommends taking the gelly internally. This is not actually recommended by the scientific bodies that regulate medicines and herbal remedies. There is no evidence it is good for people, and some evidence it can cause harm.

She claims that aluminium is linked to breast cancer. It is not. She is scaremongering people into buying her products. Cancer Research UK are among many websites that debunk the myth that aluminium and cancer are linked.

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She claims here that the packs are ‘none profit’ (sic). This makes it look like she is doing this out of the goodness of her heart and not making any money. In reality, she has to sell these products in order to earn her bonus, and her upline will be getting a cut of the profits, as will their upline. By selling these packs, she is losing nothing, whilst gaining financially and making herself look good.

So what is being bought for £1500? A deodorant stick, lip balm, nail varnish and a card. I can’t help but wonder what else this amount of money could be spent on that would actually be useful.

 

This person is trying to raise £898 to purchase products from her team. She will benefit from all sales from people below her in her team.

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It’s not just Forever Living that use this tactic, Modere are at it as well.

They use the exact same techniques- cancer patients, bogus health claims, aluminium free deodorant, being kind to needy people.

Here is a NuSkin rep raiding money for her kits. She omits to mention the NuSkin element in her Go Fund Me page. You have to go to her Face Book page to see that is what she is actually selling.

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Some reps have been more creative with their links to charities when getting people to buy their products.  This one seems to have swapped a proportion of her proceeds to a hospice, gaining sales and contact details of customers/ potential recruits.

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This one managed to persuade at least four people to buy C9s from her for a hospice fundraising activity.

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C9s cost £108.95 each. That’s £435.80 if only 4 people bought them. This effort raised £100 in total for the charity, costing the ‘customers’ £485.80. It earned the FL rep some great sales, enough to qualify for her bonus, new customers and some publicity.

 

This Consumer Reports article examines the phenomenon of ’cause marketing’ where product sales are related to a charitable cause. There are many negative aspects to it.  Here are a few  interesting quotes from the article.

After all, companies don’t do cause marketing solely to give, but also to get more of your business. Surveys show that almost 90 percent of consumers say that given similar price and quality, they’re likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause. (Case studies suggest that is actually what happens in stores.) And businesses get to bask in the warm glow of good PR. “Nonprofits are lending their good name to the business, and consumers are well aware of that,” Irvin said.”

Think before using a product as a go-between, Krishna says. “Are you buying a $30 T-shirt from which $2 will go to the charity?” she said. “Or could you give $30 to the charity and do without the T-shirt?”

If you see someone selling some expensive products that they and their company will benefit from, think hard. Would it be better to donate the £10 directly to a charity? Where they can directly benefit, spending it where it needs to go? Would the cancer patients benefit from being given some toiletries and used as a sales prop, handed false health claims that could harm them, or would they be better served by their ward being given £1500?

I think cancer patients would be better served with direct donations to charity. I think friends and family of the reps would prefer not to be tricked into thinking they are doing a good thing. Many people find it hard to decline making a purchase to MLM reps at the best of times. People want to help their friends out and are often guilted into supporting them. If the donor is told their purchase will help someone fighting cancer, they will find it even more difficult to resist purchasing.  This is a very manipulative tactic.

Summary

Friends, family, social media contacts and the wider public are not told the whole truth about who will benefit from their purchase.

Cancer patients are given expensive packs of toiletries with false health claims.

Cancer patients are used to persuade people to help them. Sometimes their photos are used. All with the aim of making more sales.

Opponents of these schemes are reluctant to speak up, because who wants to be seen denying nice things to ill people?

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

MLM meets quackery

Most Multi Level Marketing companies (MLMs) have some element of quackery in them. Just take a look at the bogus health claims attributed to Ariix, Juice Plus and Forever Living products to name but a few. When Cleanshield came to my attention, I was horrified at the sheer amount of idiocy that I felt compelled to write about why it is so wrong.

Here is their product

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Wow, some bold claims there!

What is in this amazing product I hear you cry? How on earth can it ‘resist and correct’ these many conditions?

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Sodium carbonate.

There is a website dedicated to this ingredient. This ingredient used to be a key ingredient in household cleaners and washing powders. It is an irritant.

Sodium phosphate

This is a strong laxative and features on Medline plus, a medication information website.  There is a serious risk of kidney damage or death with this drug, especially if certain other drugs are taken or if there are some other underlying health conditions.

 

The pH of this liquid is 11-11.3.  pH is measured on a 0-14 scale where 0 is extremely acid and 14 is extremely alkaline. What else is pH 11, for comparison?

I’ll tell you what is-

Ammonia.

How would drinking a highly alkaline solution cure all those conditions in the advert above?

It won’t.

For some reason there is an idea being touted by quacks that all illnesses are caused by the body being too acidic and this can be cured by ingesting alkaline things. Here is what Cleanshield have to at about the process-

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This shows a gross misunderstanding of how the body works. If the stomach’s acid is diluted, it will no doubt make more acid, but this will not affect the rest of the body! Cleanshield think that the body’s water is an ocean and the whole ‘ocean’s’ pH will alter. Different parts of the body have a different pH and the body is very good at keeping them where they should be. Drinking an alkaline solution will not trick the whole body into being more alkaline. If it did, you would die really easily.

That bit at the end- ‘No known harmful pathogens can survive in the human body with a pH near 7.0’ !!! No human bodies can survive for long at a pH of near 7!

Blood’s pH should be between 7.35-7.45 and it is kept this way by the kidneys and lungs. If it goes much out of this range, you become very ill. If it goes under 7 and over 8 you will most likely die. It is very difficult to artificially change the pH of blood, and you would be foolish to try. To think that you can change it with a drink is laughable and ridiculous.

Where are the scientific papers showing any evidence at all of these claims of Cleanshield? How do we know what their drink does to their body? Where is the evidence this supposed change of pH will affect the immune system and that this can help with the list of conditions? There is none.

There is no evidence at all.

Cleanshield are not the only quackery MLM that are peddling alkaline water. Enagic are another MLM company at it. They sell expensive machines that make alkaline or acidic water to help with health.

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Kangen water comes in 5 different strengths of pH. They have a pH11 water just like Cleanshield. Interestingly, they say not to drink this.

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They subscribe to pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo of changing the body’s pH though.

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Please, if you are going to believe in the idea that drinking products can change your pH level and this can change your health, despite there being no evidence or any credible scientific reasoning behind it, do not do it within an MLM company.

 

 

 

Quick and simple guide to why network marketing is a bad thing.

This blog post has been written at the request of a follower who wants to present information about MLMs in a simple format that can be printed onto a sheet of paper that she can distribute to some people to explain why MLMs are a bad thing. Anyone is welcome to copy and paste this into a word document. It will all fit onto one page if you make the font size 10. Make your own title as you think is appropriate.  The information may seem simplistic but it is this way on purpose.

Earning money

Most people do not earn money. The only people that do earn money are the people at the top who have recruited thousands of people under them. A lot of people lose money.  You will be told about many people who are earning money and that you can too. You can’t unless you already have a team of hundreds that all join at the same time as you. People often lie about the money they make because they want you to join and to think it is a good business opportunity. Do not believe anyone who says they earn a lot and want to recruit you.

Products

The products are very expensive and people don’t want to buy them. This is because some of the money goes up the pyramid to pay all the levels above. No one wants to pay the expensive price. You will end up buying it or friends will buy it because they feel sorry for you. People can buy products for cheaper in a shop.

Your friends

Your friends will get annoyed if you keep trying to sell to them and they will be even more annoyed if you try and recruit them. Do not use your friends and family to make money from them, it is not kind or friendly. If you lie to them to trick them into joining you, they will never trust you again. Friendships and family relationships can be ruined.

Control

Often, people in these schemes are told to do things that they feel uncomfortable doing. They are told to follow instructions and do things that don’t feel right, like lie about the products, buy a lot of stock for themselves, lie about how much money they are making, trick people into going to meetings. People start off doing some of these things and feeling bad, until soon they are doing lots of these things and it feels normal. Right and wrong start getting confused and the person changes into someone they don’t like anymore.

Hope

People realise they will not make money. They are told they are not working hard enough. They are told they are not being positive enough and if they spend more time and money they will start earning money. They are told to stop talking to friends and family who have been saying these schemes don’t work because their negative talk will make them fail.

The reason people do not make money is because only very very few can make any money and most lose money. It is not the person’s fault, but it is the way the company is set up. If you keep trying and keep spending money and keep hoping, you will still lose. But you will lose even more. And you will lose friends, time and more money.

Your own business

You are told you are an independent business person and you are in charge of what you do. You are not a boss. You do not own anything. You are just a salesperson who only gets paid commission. You do all the advertising, recruiting, training, selling and buying and take all the risks. You can be fired for many reasons and companies like these often fire people just for asking questions or saying they won’t do something.  You are responsible for following advertising laws, paying your taxes, registering your business properly, following the correct legal procedures for selling, storing and distributing products. There are a lot of rules to follow that you might not know about and you can get in trouble for. The company won’t get in trouble if you break the laws, you will.

 

This article has been translated into West Africanised French. Thanks to the Bot Watcher that did this for me.

 

Gagner de l’argent

La plupart des gens ne gagnent pas d’argent. Les seules personnes qui gagnent de l’argent sont les personnes qui ont recruté des milliers de personnes sous leurs ordres. Beaucoup de gens perdent de l’argent. On va te parler de nombreuses personnes qui gagnent de l’argent et on te dira que toi aussi tu peux gagner une fortune. Tu ne peux pas gagner une fortune sauf si tu as une équipe de centaines de personnes qui rejoignent l’affaire en même temps que toi. Les gens mentent souvent sur l’argent qu’ils font parce qu’ils veulent que tu les rejoignes et que te convaincre que c’est une bonne opportunité. Ne croit pas quiconque qui dit qu’il gagne beaucoup et veut te recruter.

Les Produits

Les produits sont très chers et les gens ne veulent pas les acheter. C’est parce qu’une partie de l’argent monte la pyramide des gens pour payer tous les gens qui sont arrivés avant toi. Personne ne veut payer le prix fort pour des produits chers. Tu finiras par acheter les produits ou tes amis vont les acheter parce qu’ils ont pitié de toi. N’oublie pas que les gens peuvent acheter des produits moins chers.

Tes Amis

Tes amis vont s’ennuyer si tu continues à essayer de leur vendre des choses et ils seront encore plus agacés tu essayes de les recruter. Utilise pas tes amis et ta famille pour faire de l’argent sur leur dos , ce n’est pas gentil ou amical. Si tu leur ment pour les inciter à te rejoindre, ils ne te feront plus jamais confiance. Les amitiés et les relations familiales peuvent être ruinées !
Le Contrôle de sa vie
Souvent, les gens dans ces affaires sont invités à faire des choses qui les mettent mal à l’aise. On leur dit de suivre les instructions et de faire des choses qui ne leur conviennent pas, de mentir sur les produits, d’acheter beaucoup de produits pour eux-mêmes, de mentir sur le montant d’argent qu’ils gagnent, d’amener les gens à se rendre aux réunions. Les gens commencent à faire certaines de ces choses et se sentent mal, jusqu’à ce que bientôt ils font beaucoup de ces choses et ça devient normal pour eux de mentir a leurs amis et leur familles par exemple. Le bien et le mal commencent à devenir confus et la personne se transforme en quelqu’un qu’elle n’aime plus.

 

L’Espoir

Les gens se rendent compte qu’ils ne feront pas d’argent. On leur dit qu’ils ne travaillent pas assez dur. On leur dit qu’ils ne sont pas assez positifs et s’ils dépensent plus de temps et d’argent, ils commenceront à gagner de l’argent. On leur dit d’arrêter de parler à leurs amis et à leur famille qui ont dit que ces programmes ne fonctionnent pas parce que leur conversation négative va les faire échouer. La raison pour laquelle les gens ne gagnent pas d’argent est que très peu peuvent faire de l’argent et la plupart perdent de l’argent. Ce la faute de la personne, mais c’est la façon dont l’entreprise est mise en place. Si vous continuez à essayer et continuez à dépenser de l’argent et continuez à espérer, vous perdrez toujours. Mais vous allez perdre encore plus. Et vous allez perdre des amis, du temps et plus d’argent.

Avoir Sa Propre Affaire

On te dit que tu es un homme d’affaires indépendant et que tu es responsable de ce que tu fais. Mais n’oublie pas tu n’es pas un patron.Tu ne possede rien. Tu es juste un vendeur qui ne reçoit que des commissions payées. Tu fais toute la publicité, le recrutement, la formation, la vente et l’achat et tu prends tous les risques. Tu peux être viré pour de nombreuses raisons et les entreprises comme celles-ci virent souvent des gens simplement parce qu’elles posent des questions ou en disant qu’ils ne travaillent pas bien. Tu es responsable pour payer tes impôts, pour enregistrer ton entreprise correctement, en suivant les procédures légales correctes pour vendre, stocker et distribuer les produits. Il y a beaucoup de règles à suivre que tu ne connais peut-être pas et tu peut avoir des ennuis a cause de ça. La compagnie n’aura pas de problèmes si tu enfreins les lois, mais toi si.

 

 

 

 

Letter templates

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If you see an advert for an MLM at a jobs fair or a school fete, please complain to the organiser. Let them know that more and more people like yourself disapprove of these things and want them stopped.

If you send a letter and get a request for more information or you would like assistance in drafting a letter, please contact us on FB, Twitter, email or in the comments here and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

If you get a positive reply, please let us know in the comments. It would be great to know that, together, we are making an impact.

MLM at a job fair

Dear organiser,

I have noticed that (insert MLM here) will be appearing at your jobs fair on……….. at…………..  The inclusion of this organisation concerns me somewhat, for the following reasons.

  1. The company does not offer jobs, they offer the opportunity for people to act as independent contractors, earning commission on sales and the sales of the people they recruit.
  2. The company offers no employment benefits at all.
  3. People who sign up under this company are led to believe they will own their own business and be in control of their activities. In reality they are tied to a very restrictive set of terms and conditions. Please look them up under the company’s website.
  4. Research by the FTC in America has shown that 99% of people in these schemes lose money. Figures published by these types of company show that the average earnings before expenses is dismally low. Search for an ‘Income Disclosure Statement’ for the company to see what their figures are.
  5. People in these schemes buy products, marketing materials, training materials, samples, business cards, leaflets, website fees, etc etc. They take all the risks for the company and are given very little in return.
  6. There is no proper leadership or hierarchical structure. Anyone can recruit anyone and become an ‘upline’ who becomes like their manager, with no experience, management training or anything resembling someone with authority. These uplines tell their recruits what to do, often giving really bad advice, leaving the recruit to take all responsibility if they make mistakes.
  7. These types of companies often target women, especially mothers. They guilt them into questioning their choice to go to work, leaving their children behind. They tell women they can earn a living with this scheme so they do not need a traditional job. Giving up a job for this scheme would be a disaster.

People who join these schemes are put in really difficult positions and can waste many months and hundreds or thousands of their own money before they realise it is a scam. Please help protect future victims of this type of company by not allowing it a presence at your fair.

Please advise if you need further information on the matter.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter,

 

Kind Regards,

 

MLM at school fair, fete, market stall etc

Dear organiser,

I have noticed that (insert MLM here) will be appearing at your…………… on……….. at…………..  The inclusion of this organisation concerns me somewhat, for the following reasons.

  1. The products from this type of company are often of average or below average quality, with inflated prices. The prices are expensive to reflect the commission that needs to be paid to the seller, the person who recruited them, their recruiter, etc, all the way to the top of the pyramid.
  2. The people running these stands will say they are an independent, local business but that is not true. The main company is a large one and the stall holder is just a contractor who pays for the ability to sell the products. They are tied to the main company by a very restrictive contract and actually have very little say in what they can do.
  3. The people in these schemes will try and recruit the people at fairs so they can earn off the commission they might make. They especially target women, young mums and pregnant women who might feel they need more time at home.
  4. Research by the FTC in America has shown that 99% of people in these schemes lose money. Figures published by these types of company show that the average earnings before expenses is dismally low. Search for an ‘Income Disclosure Statement’ for the company to see what their figures are.

 

The general public are becoming increasingly aware of this type of scam and the inclusion of it at your event will diminish the enjoyment of many people and tarnish the event’s reputation.  Please reconsider this stall’s inclusion at your event, both to protect your reputation and the risk to the attendees of being recruited into the money losing scheme.

Please advise if you need further information on the matter.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter,

 

Kind Regards,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

How to be a Bot Watcher

 

 

Fed up of the scamming MLM companies you come across?

Is it time you took a stand and took your interest further than just observing from a horrified distance?

If you would like to join the fight, here are some things you can do.

Twitter

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Join Twitter if you haven’t already and follow the people/ sites that are likely to offer upto date information on MLM developments. If you are new to Twitter, have a look at this Wikihow article on how to get started.

I have compiled a list of people/organisations to get you started. If you subscribe to the list, you will see all the valuable tweets they make. Add in some companies or people that you have an interest in as well. Make sure you also follow other non-MLM people/ pages of interest, otherwise you will be inundated with depressing tweets. Follow your favourite companies, actors, musicians to balance out the dark stuff. ‘Faces In Things’ is quite funny if you need a distraction.

Take a stand and comment on MLM tweets, showing up their lies. Tell people in MLMs that are making health claims that they are wrong. Follow the MLM companies’ official accounts so you can see what they are up to.

Retweet tweets that need to be spread so that awareness can be spread to your followers.

Using Twitter as a Bot Watcher can be a passive or active activity. You can join in the arguments, retweet stuff, or just watch and gain information to stay up to date.

Don’t forget to follow Bot Watch. Click on the twitter symbol at the top of tis page to join us.

Facebook

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We are on Facebook so you can watch us there for some updates or join in the discussions there. Sometimes MLM supporters turn up, trying to defend their companies. Feel free to join in the arguments, whichever side you are on. We will not block you just because you support MLM, but we will if you try to recruit or we think you are using us to gain traffic to your ‘business’.

To follow us on Facebook, click on the link at the very top of this page.

Here are some other Facebook pages you can follow-

Juice Plus/MLM Lies Exposed  People post things they have seen and heard about MLMs, and there is often quite an enthusiastic discussion on the posts. It reveals the deceptive practices and obvious lies that people tell to try and recruit or sell their products.

Elle Beau The Antiblogger.  Elle was a presenter with Younique until she saw through the lies. Now she tries to spread awareness to protect others from making the same mistakes she did.

Timeless Vie Their original page was taken down due to people reporting them for using that well known hate/ racist word ‘Hun’. This page is a back up one. They offer support and information to victims of MLMs, as well as being a spoof MLM.

Sounds like MLM but OK This group has over 22,000 members so there is a wealth of information posted. Lots of discussions about the items posted. You’ll see a lot here.

 

Internet discussions

You could join in or observe discussions about MLMs, asking questions or sharing knowledge you have. You are sure to learn a lot here.

Mumsnet  This link will take you to the ‘money matters’ page. From here, look for the thread that contains the words ‘MLM botwatch’. The people here are very knowledgeable and you are welcome to join in and ask questions/ make contributions. I hang out there under the name TooBusyToWee.

Reddit have a subreddit where MLM subjects are discussed.

Report

If you see an illegal health claim or dodgy advert for an MLM product you know is banned, report them. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK are the people to report advertising infringements to. They have advice on their website about what you can complain about.

If you see an MLM is due to appear at an event, try complaining to the organisers, warning them of the MLM’s intention. If they are sponsoring an event, complain. Let people know about the event and complain, and others can also let their feelings be known. If you want to remain anonymous, pass on the information to us here and we can complain about it. Make a noise. Tell people on Twitter, write letters, email, mention it on forums. If you want to explain to organisers why MLMs are a BAD THING, you can copy and paste from this piece or give them the link.

If you see someone in an MLM making claims or doing something dodgy, confront them or report them to their own MLM. MLMs have compliance departments that investigate dodgy behaviour. They are very quick to sanction people. So much for them being ‘independent business’ people! I try not to go down this route because people are often the unwitting victims and do not know what they are involved in. Sometimes, however, it is justified. Use your judgement.

If you see a scheme that is behaving like an illegal pyramid scheme you can report them to the police at Action Fraud via the phone or online. If a business is operating without having customers or breaks any of the pyramid scheme laws, they can be reported for investigation.

 

Share your experience

Tell your story and help spread the truth. Make sure there’s lots of evidence out there for people researching joining one of these schemes. Make sure that the truth outweighs the propaganda. You can do this in a number of ways-

  1. If you are a talented writer, consider writing a blog. Either write a post for someone else’s blog or start your own. If you want your story telling but don’t want to write it yourself, consider speaking to Bot Watch, Timeless Vie or Elle Beau to see if they could use your story.
  2. Give a brief rundown of what happened or what information you have so you can go on Bot Watch’s database. You might be needed when a reporter contacts us, looking for people to interview. This happens quite regularly. Unfortunately we are often not able to find people who are willing to help. This means the story doesn’t get written. It would be really useful to have you on our list, along with details of whether you need to anonymous or not. Drop us an email at botwatchmail@googlemail.com and tell us how you can help.
  3. Add your voice to the twitter discussions or website forums and make sure people hear what you have to say.
  4. If you have any professional experience and wish to give your take on something, e.g. a dietician who has looked into Juiceplus or a business person who wants to give an analysis, please let us know. You might be able to act as an adviser or write your own post.

Recognise an MLM/Pyramid scheme

To be a Bot Watcher, you need to make sure you know what you are looking at. If you see a company and you suspect it may be an MLM, you could look it up on the Directory of MLMs here at Bot Watch. If it isn’t there, it still might be an MLM, but just hasn’t been put on the list yet (there’s so many).

If you Google the name of the company, followed by ‘MLM’, often you will get loads of results if it is one. Look for posts of people trying to recruit into it.

The key things you are looking for are-

1. There is usually a mention of a ‘compensation plan’ instead of a wage or hourly rate.

2. Look for terms like ‘team building’ or ‘recruiting’ or a chance to grow your team.

3. Are there pictures of cruises, holidays, cars, piles of money? Promises of what you can obtain if you join?

4. Search for the company on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. Are the sellers using a lot of emojis and unable to spell correctly? They may be making outrageously incorrect statements or just seem dodgy.

5. Do not rely on websites that claim it is not a scam or pyramid scheme if they then try and get you to join. It is a very common thing to see people put titles on posts such as ‘Is company X a scam?’ or ‘Don’t join company X until you read/watch this’) These are always written by people in the schemes trying to trick people who are suspicious and change their minds to join them. Don’t fall for it.

6. If in doubt, email, FB message or comment on posts here. I’ll get back to you                  pretty quickly with an answer. Then I can add the details of the company onto                  the Directory.

Research

Learn what you can about these schemes. Have a look at some blogs on the subject, read some books, watch some programs or short YouTube clips to learn more. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Websites

Timeless Vie’s blog has some interesting exposes, interviews with victims and articles that look at MLMs from a feminist angle. On their menu, they have a drop down bit where you can look up different MLMs that they have written about.

Elle-Beau’s blog  This is a multi part story on a Younique presenter’s experience from beginning to end. Funny and addictive. You’ll learn about the tactics used.

Ethan Vanderbuilt‘s website has details of many individual MLM scams as well as more general articles and MLM news. He has videos and written articles.

Pyramid Scheme Alert is a consumer organisation that confronts the abuses of MLMs. Full of information.

Truth IN Advertising (TINA) is an American website that fight false and misleading advertising. As such, there are many mentions of MLM scams.

False Profits by Robert Fitzpatrick, an MLM academic and expert witness on the subject.

MLM The American Dream Made Nightmare by David Brear gives detailed analysis on the subject. He’s been researching MLM for over 20 years.

Videos/ programs to watch.

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Betting On Zero is a very informative documentary that looks at Herbalife and the deceptive practices that go on. It also looks at the financial battle going on with the company’s shares. It’s more interesting than I’m describing here! You can buy this film on Netflix or iplayer. Here is a  free trailer for it.

 

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This episode of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ takes a satirical look at Multilevel marketing, focusing on Herbalife but the message applies to all MLMs.

 

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Documentary where an investigative reporter looks into MLMs that prey on people in Uganda, selling them false health products and promises of riches.

 

 

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How to spot a pyramid scheme video. This explains the basics of how pyramid schemes/MLMs work. 6 mins 21 seconds long.

 

 

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This video contains the testimonies of many Herbalife victims. It is really quite sad.

 

 

Reading list

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Complain

If you discover that an MLM are going to be at a jobs fair or will be running a stand at a fete, please let the organisers know what these companies are like. Ask for them to reconsider the inclusion of the company and give them a list of problems associated with MLM. Some templates you can use can be found on this blog here.