Social media has been exploding over the last year with claims that essential oils have cured all sorts of diseases and illnesses. Obviously, this is a total scam. Even worse, essential oils are being pushed through multi-level marketing (also a scam) with companies such as doTERRA and Young Living.
What is the real story about essential oils and multi-level marketing? As our friend Lazy Man has said: No, Your MLM Health Product Doesn’t “Work.” (This most definitely includes Medifast, Herbalife, Xyngular, Isagenix, Usana, and any other MLM with a “health product.”) Continue reading
If Roca Labs (seller of weight loss goop it claims is just like gastric bypass surgery) hasn’t brought enough shame to itself (remember the fake endorsement, the other fake endorsement, the child porn doctor who tells us the products are wonderful, the bogus DMCA takedown notices, its suit against a witness against Roca, threats to sue just about anyone who wrote about the company’s tactics, and on and on….), today additional shame has been brought its way thanks to Marc Randazza.
Roca Labs sued Randazza, counsel for PissedConsumer.com and Opinion Corp. There are currently multiple suits pending between Roca Labs and Opinion Corp, basically all because Roca Labs doesn’t want Opinion Corp to provide a forum for unhappy customers to tell the public about Roca’s horrible product. Continue reading
A class action lawsuit filed in California highlights issues that a number of people (including consumers, attorneys, journalists, and forensic accountants) have been discussing. I will let the complaint speak for itself. The highlights include:
Defendants advertise and market the Formula that it advertises as follows; “Roca Labs® (Florida, USA) invented the Gastric Bypass Alternative®, strongest non-. surgical weight loss in the world for the obese. The Formula procedure creates an immediate gastric bypass effect, leaving only 20% stomach space available for eating, practically forcing the user to eat only half and lose weight from day 1.” [www.rocalabs.com, hereinafter “the Website”]
Both statements are false. A gastric bypass is an operation that divides the stomach into multiple pouches and rearranges the small intestine connections to the stomach. Roca Labs’ Formula does not divide the stomach into parts nor does it rearrange the small intestine.
Multi-level marketing companies are quick to tout the success of their “million dollar earners.” Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to make a million dollars?
Except that phrase “million dollar earner” hides the truth:
- What they don’t clearly mention is that this is cumulative earnings over a number of years, typically between 5 and 20 years.
- They also fail to mention that this is gross income, prior to any business expenses. The business expenses in multi-level marketing can get very high, and will include product purchases (in order to stay active and/or meet requirements for certain commission levels), travel, office expenses, training costs, business insurance, supplies, prizes for customers and downlines, venue rental for events, food for events, etc. The expenses can easily equal 40% to 60% of gross income.
This woman says that Primerica Financial Services representatives lie and misrepresent the business opportunity to others in order to get them to join and stay an active part of the plan (even if they’re not making any money).
Hi. My name is Anne and I was a Primerica representative (full time) for about 7 months (from May ’07 to December ’07). I ended up in a multi-level marketing job in Primerica as a young adult.
I like what the company stands for and stuff (as far as helping families with their products), but it’s such a difficult position to be in. A lot of your success is based upon how many people you know. I knew the products backwards and forwards, became a decent sales person, was able to conquer most objections, but because I didn’t have a big warm market to start out with, I sucked.
When I first joined into the company, I was promised that everything was easy and I’d be making as much if not more than I was at my full time steady desk job… so I quit my regular job because at the time when the opportunity was presented to me, it was a “regular” paying job just with very flexible hours. Continue reading
Bill Ackman and Pershing Square produced an educational video about multi-level marketing companies and how and why they are pyramid schemes. Yes, I often hear:
- “Pyramid schemes are illegal!”
- “If XYZ Company was a pyramid scheme, the government would shut them down!”
Yes, pyramid schemes are illegal. No, our government generally doesn’t shut down pyramid schemes masquerading as multi-level marketing. Continue reading
Roca Labs is no stranger to ridiculous litigation. Last year, Roca Labs filed lawsuits against a multitude of companies and individuals in an attempt to silence critics. Essentially, the company sells a sketchy product called Gastric Bypass No Surgery. Roca Labs claims it is an alternative to gastric bypass surgery, but it has questionable results, and some people have even said it is dangerous. There are plenty of people alleging that Roca Labs is making false claims about its product, thus the company seems to truly earn the label of scam or fraud.
Roca Labs wants to stop customers (and others) from discussing their negative opinions of the company and the products. The company says critics have damaged is reputation, but I submit to you that Roca Labs itself damages its reputation.
Roca Labs filed suit against me in Florida, using a couple of theories that they thought were novel. Unfortunately for them, those two litigation theories have already been tried against me and were shot down by federal courts at both the district court level and the appeals court level. Back in 2010, Medifast Inc. filed a $270 million lawsuit against me (and others) in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California. I was dismissed from that case by the district court. Medifast appealed, and the appeals court upheld my dismissal from the case. Counsel for Roca Labs could learn a thing or two from that case. Continue reading
Jennifer McKinney Mugshot
It has been quite a while since I have written about professional con artist Jennifer McKinney, known by some as MckMama from her blogging days. Previously, we have discussed her bankruptcy fraud (debts NOT discharged and forever payable by her thanks to her dishonesty about her income and assets), her repeated lies about paying off her debts, and her shilling for Xyngular (a multi-level marketing program which peddles crappy and possibly dangerous diet supplements).
Despite bragging repeatedly that she makes $30,000 per month with Xyngular, Jennifer Howe Sauls McKinney now has entered a FOURTH foreclosure on a home. Previously she lost three homes to foreclosure :
- 316 W. 2nd Street, Chaska, MN – Purchased 8/30/04 for $210,000; Notice of Foreclosure 12/2/08
- 6016 Beachwood Road, Mound, MN – Purchased 6/30/07 for $465,000; Notice of Foreclosure 2/5/09
- 14464 98th Street, Becker, MN – Purchased 8/28/09 for $485,000; Taken by bank 4/19/11
In the past, MckMama has bragged about how they stopped paying the mortgage and instead “saved” the money to buy another house. No doubt she is doing the same thing this time around. Continue reading
In a video released this week, Pershing Square (the hedge fund that exposed the Herbalife fraud) contrasts Herbalife’s public statements about the “business opportunity” with the statements made behind closed doors.
Herbalife claims to offer “the best business opportunity on the face of the earth.” But the reality is that it is an opportunity in which you are almost guaranteed to fail, with 96% of distributors making less than half of what is earned by employees making minimum wage (per the video). Despite Herbalife executives and high level distributors publicly repeating how lots of money can be made, the numbers really look like this (according to the video): Continue reading
I am a firm believer that companies that sue critics (whether the critics are journalists, customers, forensic accountants, or otherwise) have something to hide.
This was the case with Medifast Inc., a multi-level marketing company that sued me (and others) for $270 million nearly five years ago. (They suffered a resounding loss against me, lost again on appeal, and now must pay my substantial attorneys fees… which of course they are claiming are inflated…. disregarding the fact that huge fees are a result of the need to defend against their shady litigation tactics.) Medifast didn’t like the fact that I expressed my opinion of its business model and business practices.
Other companies have tried such tactics: Continue reading