This week New York State Senator Jeff Klein and Public Advocate Letitia James issued a scathing report on multi-level marketing company Herbalife (NYSE: HLF). The report, The Amercian Scheme: Herbalife’s Pyramid ‘Shake’down, is based on complaints filed by 56 Herbalife victims. It definitively calls the company a pyramid scheme and highlights the company’s deceptive practices.
The key findings include:
Since 2004, only 56 Herbalife victims in New York have been brave enough to file complaints against the company. Most victims are afraid of betraying family, friends, and neighbors.
The 56 victims that have filed complaints reported nearly $1 million in financial losses ranging from $90 to $100,000. The average amount loss was approximately $20,000.
Over 60 percent of new members make initial investments larger than the required $60 to $100 for the new member kit. The average initial investment is $1,800, but some are as high as $10,000.
Herbalife distributors purport that supervisors can make as much as $20,000 in monthly income.
Of 56 complaints analyzed, only eight victims received a check directly from Herbalife for their royalty claims. The average amount was $100.
Last week Yelp, AVVO, and Mediolex filed a Brief of Amici Curiae in the FTC case against Roca Labs Inc. The brief was filed in advance of a hearing on the FTC’s motion for a temporary restraining order against Roca Labs.
Kevin Trudeau is a charlatan with a colorful history of interaction with the authorities. Over and over, he has been found misleading consumers via infomercials (his main method of self-promotion), but now he would have you believe that he’s just a victim of the man who is trying to take away his First Amendment right to free speech.
I thought it might be some fun to do a little research on Gerald Nehra, the attorney for Shop To Earn, who likes to intimidate bloggers who write negative reviews of MLMs. I found this item from Nehra, in response to the FTC’s proposed Business Opportunity Rule.
The rule is unlikely to be enacted in any form that will do something to stop the abuses by multi-level marketing companies. Nonetheless, these comments are fun to read. Nehra’s biggest complaint in this note? The fact that it will take time to comply with the rules! Heavens, no!Continue reading