Why Forever Living don’t sell Aloe Vera products for health purposes

I have established in previous posts that Forever Living do not hold the correct licences to sell products for health purposes. I detailed the laws covering the regulations for this in the UK and stated why it is important to follow these rules. Previous blog posts here and here.

But WHY don’t Forever Living hold the correct paperwork to sell their products for health purposes?  Surely, if the products are as good as they say they are, a licence should be easy to come by?

A possible explanation was put forward by a Forever Living rep on her team’s facebook page-

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She thinks- “The reason we can’t make medical claims is because, we as a company would need to hold a pharmaceutical certificate…If you hold one of these- you cannot sell products outside of a pharmacy”.

I disagree. It is possible to obtain a licence called a Traditional Herbal Remedy (THR) from the MHRA (The government body responsible for licencing medicines, medical equipment and herbal remedies.) Website here. This is granted for herbal remedies that are used for minor ailments such as colds that don’t require medical input. Also available are licences for products that treat symptoms of more serious conditions. Theses licences are called a marketing authorisation.

If a product has these licences, they do not need to be sold in a pharmacy. Think of the products you can buy in health food shops, or even Tesco-

These products have been through the proper channels. Evidence was produced that they were not harmful, the strength had to be proved to be consistent and contain what it said it contained. There is monitoring and reporting systems and proper information is provided to users of the products.

 

Importantly, as part of this registering and licencing process, it has to be shown that the natural ingredient has traditionally been used for this purpose. There is a database for products used in Europe for this purpose. I looked for the part of the database for Aloe Vera on the European Medicines Agency, who hold all the data.

Aloe Vera is allowed to be used as a traditional herbal remedy for constipation. There is adequate evidence that it has been used for this purpose for many years. Scientific studies show that it is safe for this purpose. Link to the Aloe Vera information page here. Here are the conclusions-

V. Overall conclusion Well-established use: short term use of occasional constipation.

There are no clinical studies available, which evaluate the clinical efficacy of barbados aloes and cape aloes in patients with occasional constipation. The postulated laxative effect is mainly based on pharmacological data, experts’ opinions and clinical experiences. Clinical and pharmacological data obtained on other anthranoid-containing laxatives (primarily senna leaf preparations) support the efficacy of these anthranoid-containing herbal substances for short-term use in cases of occasional constipation. The current level of evidence1 of the available scientific data for “the short term use of occasional constipation” can be identified as level IV because well-designed studies with mono-preparations of aloe are missing. The conditions determined in the pharmacovigilance actions for anthranoid-containing laxatives have to be maintained for the moment because further investigations are needed to clarify the carcinogenic risk. The results of the most recent studies are inconsistent. However, a risk was also revealed for constipation itself and underlying dietary habits. 1 As referred to in the HMPC ‘Guideline on the assessment of clinical safety and efficacy in the preparation of Community herbal monographs for well-established and of Community herbal monographs/entries to the Community list for traditional herbal products/substances/preparations’ (EMEA/HMPC/104613/2005) @EMEA 2007 24/24 The use in children under 12 years of age is contraindicated and use during pregnancy and lactation is not recommended. Traditional use Besides the use as a laxative, the use as an emmenagogue and the external use for wounds and abscess are described in most references mentioned above. But as already mentioned in the Dispensatory of the United States of America 1918, it is extremely doubtful whether aloe exercises any action upon the pelvic organs which is not attributable to its cathartic effects. There are no plausible pharmacological data for this indication, nor for haemoptysis, jaundice or gout etc. Furthermore, the preparations used are not described exactly, even for the external use In view of existing possible risks, such traditional uses cannot be recommended and referred to in the ‘Community list of herbal substances, preparations and combinations thereof for use traditional herbal medicinal products’. This is in accordance with the German pharmacovigilance actions for anthranoidcontaining laxatives. 

To translate the above paragraph-

  • Aloe Vera can be used as a herbal remedy for occasional constipation.
  • Children under 12 must not use aloe vera.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women must not use it. It has affected unborn rats in studies, and their fertility. (this info is from the main body of the report).
  • There is insufficient evidence that aloe vera is useful as a remedy for anything other than constipation.

 

I have shown that it is not easy to simply obtain the relevant herbal remedy for aloe vera products for Forever Living. And that you do not need to be a pharmacist to sell it.

Maybe there is another way to obtain licencing? A company could start from scratch with clinical trials and prove that their product does what they say it does.  This would take years and a lot of money. Here is a chart showing how much it costs to do one clinical trial.

unspecified-1

This information is from this site.

So, for example, if Forever Living wanted to show that their aloe vera gel helps with asthma and pain (as has been widely reported by FL reps), it would cost $240 million to carry out the research. Then they would have to hope that the findings were in their favour. This would take years to do and there is the very real and probable risk that the product would not have the effect that is being claimed by some reps.

A lot of time and money could potentially be wasted on these studies.

Which begs the question, why bother with all the effort needed to properly test these products when your independent reps will make these claims illegally on your behalf? If they are called on it, they can be blamed as individuals and the company will be blameless because they keep telling their reps not to make false claims. Just like the above rep “our products work”. Do they? Where is your evidence?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Truth behind Forever Living Adverts

9c84aa745cc8d32e79a3b2965cddae86This 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.

  1. 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,

new-bizownertraning-fall20131-3-638

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.maxresdefault

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-

forever-living-products-business-opportunity-5-638

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.

photo

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…

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A final note- The DSA and International Aloe Science Council demand that their members only ever put out truthful adverts.

 

Making False Health Claims. Part 2

Part 1 explained why people must not make health claims for products that have not been licenced, tested or shown to work. It looked at the law, agencies involved and showed examples of bad practice.

How do you know if a product has the correct licence to be sold as a health product or medicine (enabling you to make health claims)?

To sell or supply a medicine in the UK a company must hold a wholesale dealer’s licence (WDA) from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).  Click here  for the register of licenced wholesale distribution companies.

JuicePlus, Forever Living, Ariix and ItWorks do not appear on this list. I have contacted the MHRA to ask if they hold any licence enabling them to make health claims on their products. They do not.

 

Herbal remedy?

If you find yourself selling a product that you believe to have a positive health benefit and you have discovered it does not have the correct licencing to be considered a medicine, maybe it could be classed as a herbal remedy? Luckily for the consumer, this area is heavily regulated too. Since May 2014 it has been the law that herbal remedies have to be licenced by the MHRA as a Traditional Herbal Remedy (THR).  Such products will have this symbol on them-

200x200_new_herbal_remedies_registration
This means that the product has been tested for-

  • Quality
  • Contamination
  • Contents of product
  • Information provided on side effects
  • Information on contra-indications with other drugs
  • Information for pregnant women
  • Information for people with certain medical conditions

This mark does not show that the herbal remedy works, just that it is what it says it is and it has been traditionally used as a herbal remedy for certain conditions for more than 30 years. More information can be found at WebMD.

You can look on the packaging for the THR mark. If you want to order a product and don’t have the packaging to hand, you can search the database here on the MHRA’s website for the company and product. This list shows the name of the product, which herbal ingredients it contains and what these ingredients have traditionally been used for. I have asked Forever Living if any of their products have the THR mark. They said that they do not.

 

If you are selling products within an MLM company in the health and wellness sector, you may now be concerned about how you can sell these products.

You will probably have been told in trainings that your products are fantastic at curing all sorts of things.  You have probably heard testimonials about how the products have helped people that you know, or heard of them at group meetings. This is an extract taken from a training manual from Forever Living in November 2013, encouraging their distributors to make health claims when prospecting for customers-

photo 2

You can access the whole manual here. I believe there is a more upto date manual but this has to be paid for and as a non-member of FLP, I am not going to buy one.

BUT

You have already found out the product does not have the correct legal approval. You are not allowed to

  • say your product cures anything
  • show any evidence from studies/books showing it is effective if you are also selling the product
  • give any first or second hand testimonials
  • verbally recommend a product for a specific condition
  • say the product enhances natural performance e.g metabolism, energy levels.

Here is a Forever Living manual that sets how not to make health claims. The last two pages set out the law and what is and isn’t allowed and would be useful to anyone selling ‘wellness’ products in an MLM.
How can you sell products without breaking the rules?

You have to resist the urge to make any health claims or imply them.  You don’t want to break the law or get in trouble with the ASA, MHRA or your MLM.

You would have to just concentrate on other qualities of the product, such as how great it tastes or what a lovely colour it is. Try selling the product on how lovely the packaging is and what it could be used for when it is empty. A nice rocket or a vase maybe? I am obviously joking here because it is clear that the products are meant to be sold as health products and encouragement will be given for you to sell it as such.

One woman in an MLM noticed the contradictions between what she was being told to do in official trainings and what she was allowed to do. She became concerned that there was no legal way to sell the products. She complained to the company. They said there was no problem. She complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the Direct Selling Association (DSA) who found in her favour. She details the complaints she made and the outcomes very clearly in this damning complaint. She was fired.

What can consumers or concerned people do if they discover blatant examples of health claims being made for a product that is not correctly licenced?

I would not bother with a complaint to the MLM itself.  My personal experience is that they acknowledge it is non-compliant but nothing is done.

  • You could complain to the ASA for a breach of advertising rules.  They cover online promoting, not just printed and televised adverts. You can make an online complaint on their website.
  • You could complain to the MHRA. They say “Our experts in the Inspection, Enforcement and Standards division can help assist investigating claims being made on the products and you are welcome to provide this information and the websites of the distributors to the following email address below and our experts who action as necessary.Email: borderline_medicine@mhra.gsi.gov.uk”
  • You could contact the offender and tell them they are breaking the rules and they could get into trouble. Give them the link to this blog or cut and paste this warning-

You have been making health claims for a product that does not have the correct legal paperwork. By making these claims you are breaking the law and the policies of your company.  You could get yourself into serious trouble with the authorities if reported.  Or worse, someone could be harmed if they follow your advice.  Please amend the wording or delete this claim.

  • You could give the person a link to the following sites for them to research for themselves the dangers of MLMs and some shocking stories from people who used to be involved in MLMs. A lot of the areas covered involve false advertising. Hopefully they might think twice about what they are doing.

facebook.com/timelessvie – a parody of a made up MLM to highlight the practices used by real MLMs.

facebook.com/liestopper – the Bot Watch Facebook page which contains useful facts for MLM people on how not to break rules. Also Bot Watch warns people about their false claims and seeks to have them removed.

timelessvie.wordpress.com – a blog linked to the Timeless Vie Facebook page.  Interesting articles from ex MLM people and insightful posts on how MLMs operate.

@Timeless Vie – the Twitter account for Timeless Vie.

The Mumsnet Discussion on MLMs- http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/legal_money_matters/2578946-Cant-Stop-Wont-Stop-MLM-Botwatch-10-Now-Featuring-MLMers-who-dont-answer-questions-jokes-posts-by-eyes-questions-about-Forever-Living-Ariix-Younique-Jamberry-etc-as-scambralamas?pg=21

blogwatchblog.blogspot.com – this blog

 

Good luck.

Making False Health Claims. Part 1

 

If you are in a Multi Level Marketing (MLM) company in the ‘health and wellness sector’ you may be promoting and selling products that you believe can help people with their health problems or that promote wellness.

YOU MUST BE VERY VERY CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS!!!

Some typical social media material promoting these products have made some pretty bold claims…

healthclaim

 natasha

 

health2

 photo 4

stupid

 stupid2

These products have been made to sound wonderful and can cure nearly anything! The thing is though, in Britain, you can only make a health claim about a product if it has actually been shown to help with a condition.  And if you are advertising anything, the adverts have to be truthful.  These rules are serious and are designed to protect the public from quacks selling snake oil and taking advantage of people. People who are often vulnerable or desperate, or both.

 

Reasons why you cannot make false health claims-

  1. You need to know a few things when taking a medicine. You need to know it will do what it says it will, what the side effects are, and that the benefits will outweigh the possible risks. This information can only be gained through proper clinical trials conducted by professionals and the product monitored by official channels. If a product has not been through the proper testing methods, you do not know that it will help any condition. You will be lying if you say it can help when you don’t know that.
  2. The Advertising Standards Authority take a dim view of false advertising. They do not just cover TV and print adverts, but also cover promoting online. This includes claims made on Facebook. If a health claim is investigated by them and it is found to be non-compliant, they will ask for it to be removed. If it is not removed, it can be referred to trading standards.
  3. It is illegal to make health claims without the right licence. This is overseen by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
  4. It is illegal to make claims that an unregulated and unlicenced product can cure cancer or assist in the treatment of it. The Cancer Act 1939 makes this an offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment for upto three months.
  5. Your MLM will probably state in their policies that you are not allowed to make these claims and they will not back you up if you break their rules.

Here is Forever Living’s policy on it

fl policy

6. If you lied about a product being helpful to someone and they took it, believing it would help, and it didn’t, that is very very wrong.  You would be giving false hope and could be causing serious damage. You may think you are not harming people and you really believe in the product but even benign sounding products can cause real harm-

In 1995 The Independent published a story about how bee products had seriously hurt some people and killed an 11 year old. This was due to allergies.

     “The most serious case was that reported in Australia of an 11-year-old girl who died of what       was diagnosed as an asthma attack. When she took a double dose of royal jelly she developed a wheeze and severe diarrhoea, started having bronchial spasms, and was taken to hospital.

She failed to respond to treatment “The death of the 11-year-old urgently re-emphasises the fact that royal jelly constitutes a major and life-threatening risk to patients with a known history of asthma or related allergies,” said Alain Rohan, a drug reaction specialist, in a letter to the Medical Journal of Australia. “Natural substances such as royal jelly, in which the protein content is very high, appear to pose the greatest antigenic threat of all such compounds.”

People with asthma and hay fever will often have allergies to pollen and bee products. But some companies are saying bee products can help with these conditions!

 

Part 2 coming soon, to include-

How do you know if your products have the correct licence to make health claims?

How can you sell products without breaking rules?

What to do if you see someone flouting these rules and you are concerned.

 

Are you or someone you know in an MLM? Having doubts?

dreams-reality

 

Is your business not going as well as you hoped it would? It is ok to wonder why this might be. It is ok to assess what you are doing and what is best for you. It is not ‘negative thinking’ to evaluate what is happening and move forward.

Successful people like Alan Sugar, Richard Branson etc do not just go with one idea and persevere. They have advisors and seek others’ opinions and adapt their strategies according to the evidence around them. Here are some things for you to think about, and links for further information, should you wish to find out more.

1. You may have been told that you can work your business around your family, using spare time or just working a few hours a week to earn great money. Pretty quickly you will find out that to get anywhere, you need to spend a vast amount of time tending to the business. It is not part time at all.

(Here is a short video highlighting the differences between what you are promised and reality-     )  Unfortunately this video was taken down by YouTube after Forever Living complained it breached copyright rules. The video was of Emma Cooper promising how easy it was to achieve an amazing income. In another video she was saying how hard it was. The two videos demonstrated how Emma was lying to everyone. Forever Living didn’t like that.

2. Even if you are spending a lot of time and effort on the business, you will still not be making money. This is for two reasons,

a)the odds are against you and the maths really doesn’t stack up at all. Statistically, MLMs never make the sellers any money. The maths is explained here.

 

b) Your expenses will be very high. Do you have to pay for samples, website, postage and packaging, event equipment (tablecloth, leaflets, posters), answering services, training days, mileage, babysitters, hotel costs, training manuals, stickers, bags, books etc etc? Have you been factoring in these costs when working out your earnings? Other industries would provide these sorts of things as expenses and you would certainly not pay for them yourself. You even have to pay for your own coffee at training events.

3. What’s with all the ‘mindset training”? People involved in many MLMs are sent on seminars, webinars and told to read books to help them achieve success. These trainings pretty much all say the same thing- keep on going. If it isn’t working, it’s because you aren’t trying hard enough or you don’t believe in yourself enough. It’s a form of victim blaming. It sells books and keeps people bringing in money to the MLMs a little bit longer. These courses and books cost money and you are just paying to be told it is all your fault. It is not your fault, you are not being lazy or not believing enough. The odds are just stacked against you, you will never make any money in an MLM.

Here is a snippet from

‘Become a Network Marketing Superstar’ by Mary Christensen.

book quote

 

4. This leads on nicely to the concept of The Law of Attraction.  Have you been told about this?  The idea is that if you think positively and visualise good things, then good things will happen to you and you can achieve anything.  Seems harmless enough doesn’t it? This is why people go virtual house hunting and are encouraged to visualise their dreams. This is also why negative thoughts and people are discouraged, in case they bring on negativity and failure.

People who believe in The Law of Attraction believe that good things happen to positive people and bad things happen to negative people, because of the ‘frequency’ of these thoughts.  This is why people get caught up in wars, car accidents, illness, plane crashes.  They have brought it upon themselves, even if they don’t realise it. Does this really sound plausible?  Could it be a concept that just makes people keep their business going a bit longer, blaming their nagging doubts for lack of success?  Could it be making people lose contact with friends and family who are warning them against MLMs?  Could it be preventing people from voicing their concerns to other business owners or admitting them to themselves?  Could it be the case that going to all the mindset training where these ideas are encouraged is making some people a lot of money?

 

5. You may be finding that your friends and family are at best neutral, but more likely to be ‘negative’ towards you and the business. They are not being closed minded or jealous, they are concerned for you. You may be encouraged to remove these people from your life and surround yourself by like-minded people. This is not ok. Losing friends and family and becoming isolated is what happens to people in abusive relationships. Please do not write off people who you see as doubters, they care about you and will be happy to reconnect with you. They are not the evil, negative haters that you have been led to believe, they care about you.

6. Is the product you sell really that great? Is it a little overpriced? Are you encouraged to buy a lot of it yourself? Are you encouraged to get your downlines to buy it? Are you the real customer? Here is an interesting clip about the theory of ‘redirecting your spending’. https://youtu.be/T022sL3Negg

Without a product, the MLM would be a pyramid scheme. You buy the product, voila, the whole thing is legal.

7. But there are many successful people out there, claiming to be millionaires. They can retire after a few years and keep on being paid. Really? Have you met any people who have retired from an MLM? Have you seen ANY evidence of this? Have you heard of ‘fake it til you make it? People buy the person, not the product etc’. You may have been told to bend the truth about your own success to encourage others to join you. 

They are ALL doing that. Fake holiday pictures, covering up bonus cheque amounts, renting expensive houses, pretending they bought them. Here is a tongue in cheek parody about MLMs and a post on faking it until you make it.

8.  But I’ve seen people at the global rally and the massive cheques! Yes, but how many people get those cheques? What have they sacrificed to get there? How much have they spent of their own money to get those cheques? Where are the people who were brandishing those cheques 20-30 years ago?

 

I hope that reading this document has given you something to think about. If you are worried about something that you are doing, or been asked to do and feel you are in too deep, speak to someone. There is support out there. Friends, family, other people who escaped MLMs. You will not be treated like you were stupid or you are a failure. Your friends and family will be glad to have you back.

 

If you want to chat to people who are concerned about MLMs and will welcome your thoughts, join us on Mumsnet where there is a series of lengthy ongoing discussions about it all. You can be anonymous and you will receive a supportive ear. Just jump in at the most recent thread, you don’t have to read it all, that would take weeks. There are a few ex MLM people on here and they discuss why they left and why there is concern for people who are still involved.

Mumsnet thread