FTC issues second COVID-19 warning to MLM companies
The FTC has issued a second COVID-19 warning to major players in the MLM industry.
This time around the regulator is citing examples of marketing fraud from Youngevity, Melaleuca, Isagenix, Juice Plus+, Plexus Worldwide and Vivri.
Specific examples of COVID-19 marketing fraud cited by the FTC include:
A video promoting The Juice Plus Company that said, “There are a lot of people out there who have lost income … You may want to build a side income, you know, make $500 a month, $1,000 a month or more.
There’s no ceiling on this. It’s whatever you want it to be … What would you like this do to for you? … Maybe it could cover one of your bills, like a car payment.
Or enjoy more time and financial freedom. I can tell you those are both possible at the same time because I’ve been living that for the past eight years, and it’s wonderful to be able to offer that to other people.”
A social media post that said, “#VIRUS_CORONA Worried? I’ve been boosting my immune system for several years with high-quality Plexus supplements.
You can too! #Plexus provides excellent all-natural supplements that truly work. Be sensible –not fearful. Scientifically formulated & doctor-approved! Ask me!”
A Spanish-language social media post promoting Vivri USA, LLC that said, “Take care of your health, your body, avoid many diseases many viruses, since this virus and many others are here to stay, coronavirus, influenza, flu, we should nourish our cells, our immune systems, reinforce it with the best nutrition system in the world …”
In addition to COVID-19 fraud, Isagenix and Juice Plus have also been cited for making illegal income claims. Melaleuca was cited only for illegal income claims.
Currently there is no scientific evidence that these, or any, products or services can prevent or treat COVID-19.
In letters alleging unsubstantiated earnings claims, the FTC reminds the companies about what constitutes a false or misleading earnings claim that would violate the FTC Act.
All six MLM companies have been sent warning letters, which they have forty-eight hours to respond to.
Meanwhile an accompanying FTC blog post has a blunt messagefor MLM companies and distributors engaged in this behavior;
Dear Multi-Level Marketer. Stop it. Stop all promotions that push your products by claiming they prevent or treat COVID-19.
Stop all misleading or unsubstantiated promotions that push your business opportunity by claiming people can earn substantial income peddling your products. The claims are unproven and deceptive.
Whether you or your distributors are making them, you’re responsible. That means you could be breaking the law.
I imagine if these practices continue, sooner or later we’re going to see another major FTC takedown.
I wish they’d go after Norwex. Their huns are falsely claiming the Norwex silver-infused cloths (whatever that means) will kill germs as well as liquid disinfectants will.
The only way to kill germs with silver is to keep them in close contact with one another for minutes to hours, depending on the microbe. Contact time to kill coronavirus is about 4 hours.
Wiping with a cloth with silver in it does *nothing*, but they’re bragging how they don’t need “dangerous chemicals” because of their magic pixie cloths. They’re going to get somebody sick or killed.
It reads and feels like the Over Bearing FTC doesn’t want anyone to have access to alternative health foods, especially by noticing how they used Juice Plus as an example because the words they used in the Juice Plus is as mild as I’ve ever heard and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the words that they used.
it just seems like the FTC wants to take everybody down to protect the bullshit FDA AMA and all others who get rich from our perpetual suffering.
You really want to the FTC to subpoena Juice Plus for financials and see just what percentage of their affiliate base is making “$500 a month, $1,000 a month or more”?
This didn’t work out well for MOBE or Digital Altitude.
Your whacky conspiracy theories have nothing to do with Juice Plus marketing targeting people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 with bullshit income claims.
MLMers using trash marketing tactics need to be called out, particularly riding on this CoronaVirus Scam we have all been subjected too.
Do not put up with this sort of low life opportunistic behavior.
(Ozedit: derails removed)
Norwex does not and has never claimed to ” kill” anything. Nor have they made ANY claims on protection against Covid 19.
It only claims to REMOVE 99% of bacteria.
Ftc is just wanting everyone and everything to be shut down.
(Ozedit: whatabout derail removed)
how is it that when safola oil says on TV some crap about getting healthy heart and long life, it is accepted by FTC?
All forms of advertising is selling people hope and is actually lies sold to people. How is all that accepted? Common people. Wake up.
It is not easy to become wealthy. There is levels of mis representation happening in every industry. Does not mean people get it easy. Specially in direct selling. People work hard.
Ftc should focus on many other pressing matters than going behind Network Marketing companies.
MLM is sales and marketing so you get what you put into it! Juice plus never claimed at least in that ad that they help or cure Covid 19.
Do people have to go to a store to get Juice? No they don’t they can buy it from wherever and whomever they please.
If you joined an MLM and it was a good product you probably didn’t put in the work or you are just uncomfortable marketing to others and that’s okay, but many MLMs are very reputable like Avon, Mary Kay, Amway, Primerica to name a few. FTC is far over reaching on on Juice Plus!
They’re pretty clear in that they want MLM companies and their distributors to stop making bullshit COVID-19 claims.
Don’t let that get in the way of your wacky conspiracy theories though hey.
I assume you’re talking about safflower oil, a quick search of which reveals clinical studies supporting the claim.
There are no clinical studies to back up any COVID-19 claims made by MLM companies.
Illegal health and income claims are violations of the FTC Act. Stop making excuses for fraud.
Quote from the letter the FTC sent Juice Plus+:
That’s in addition to the illegal income claims made.
As a victim of selling MLM clothing for LuLaRoe, I think the FTC should take a HARD LOOK at all these MLM companies.
If your on top of the pyramid you are making money off the back of people down the chain.
Did I make a mistake, definitely! Did I learn something, definitely!
How many people are you willing to step on to climb the ladder.
Most if not all MLM’s are predatory! Just my two cents!!!
You want a good MLM to go after, Neora! Formerly Nerium!
They say you can cancel anytime yet you can’t get to anybody to talk to, to get out of the monthly products you have to pay for it every month!!
They are trying to say they sell anti aging products. Anyone in their right mind should know there is no such thing as anti aging, ask a dermatologist!
When that were Nerium they used these poisonous weed flowers that grow in the grass along freeways and stuff.
One woman I have seem put on her Facebook page a side by side picture of a woman, and the caption read, “Look at the difference in 3 1/2 years that these products did for my girlfriend!”
And if it’s legit then why does it seem like the lady selling it, uses it I guess, but I really see no difference. Bad crows feet.
If she’s using the products, they are not working for her????????
Not all MLM’s are good companies, do your research, because a lot of them are phenomenal.
Just because you had a bad experience, doesn’t mean ALL MLM’s are crap.
Many are structured so that you don’t make money unless you help those below you make money.
Show me any MLM where someone is highly profitable from selling the products.
MLM is always about recruitment – Where as your recruited members are you BEST CUSTOMERS – they are the only ones buying the product.
The FTC went after Nerium last year. Lawsuit still playing out.
Oz, how many MLMs do you know / have you been in?
Didn’t you know there are a lot of MLM’s that don’t pay commission out of new members registration fee? So no business just for recruiting, and there are many that will not force you to buy monthly if you know you don’t have a commissions check comming, that is the case of newbies just starting, who begin building an income buy selling the products to real customers.
yes real customers or how do you explain an MLM can position a product in the top 5 of the most purchased suplement or energy drink in a southamerican country?
If only distributors buy their products then almost every citizen in that country is already a member????
There are terrible dishonest ones that are a total Scam, let’s go after those together but STOP saying ALL are such and such, that hurts a lot of people whose only income these days is selling a product to their neighbor.
If you want to play the experience card I’ve likely been covering the MLM industry far longer than you’ve been in your current gig. Not that it matters.
I didn’t. Learn to read maybe?
1) did you know that the company Nerium is no longer active and that the original company that used the Nerium Oleandar plant changed from using that ingredient and started a new company?
Did you also know that Nerium biotech company that holds the product patents you are discussing has joined with a company called PURE and they have started a new company as of last year peddling this same “side of the highway” ingredient.
Which also, as a scientist let me tell you, there are a lot of ingredients that are on the side of the roads or even in your back yard uses in pretty effective products or even medicines, it’s just the way you break it down and combine it with other ingredients, etc, which causes the magic.
Ever hear how Polio’s vaccine was created…from bread mold. Let’s get up to par here because your ignorance is preceding you.
2) the company has and has always had a phone number that has has customer service reps on the other end that you can talk to and cancel ANY products you no longer wish to have. And you also have account access online that you could have logged onto and cancelled your orders.
It sounds more like an issue with your sponsorship NOT helping you than a company issue because I NEVER had an issue cancelling anything with this company.
3) your comment about a representative having crows feet…this product or ANY product out there short of BOTOX and FILLERS will stop the actual aging process. Do you live under a rock???
Anti-aging products, which yes, even dermatologists SELL or create their own to SELL, are aimed at helping people correct and prevent issues, but not STOP the actual aging process. Talk about judgemental. It’s amazing you think people who sell anti-aging products should have crows feet.
You certainly sound like a bitter, old representative that wasn’t properly educated or didn’t learn enough about how the products were created, let alone how to use a phone or internet properly to cancel a automatic delivery order, yet you want to bash a company and the lady that sold it to you – you know, with one the horrible crows feet, because how dare she have those when using an “anti-aging” product?!
Hahahahaha! I hope you see how ridiculous you sound.
Dear Leann, when you reply so arrogantly you should at the very least check your facts.
Your casual remarks cast doubt on your credibility as a “scientist”; you appear to be confusing Fleming’s work on the discovery of penicillin with the completely unrelated Polio vaccines.
How anybody could think of mold working as a vaccine for a virus is a mystery to me.
You must be an MLM scientist holding a diploma from the university of life, or of Youtube.
That was a late night mistake…obviously I meant to say the Penicillin vaccine. I hope we are allowing mistakes here.
My point to Shannon was that wanting to go after a Direct Selling company because she couldn’t find the needs to call or log in to cancel her automatic delivery order – which is most definitely the result of poor sponsorship from the person who brought her into the business.
Then to comment that a woman’s crows feet means that the products are not working? I mean, c’mon…people are aging everyday and the purpose of most of these companies is to help people grow older gracefully. It was rude and uneducated.
I truly have become a great lover of Direct Sales products because they are much superior than local department store or big box store products.
If I need To cancel, I just call the number and cancel or delay my orders.
I also want to add that I have personally come across a great number of successful people in different companies in my journey of looking and feeling better and I inquire about their comp plans because I’m interested in if they really are a pyramid scheme and most are very happy in sharing their information and answering my questions.
Of course you need to build a team to earn more and “unlock” more pay available in the comp plan, but a majority of the companies I purchase from sell more than they recruit – something pyramid plans don’t produce and that the FTC are trying to shut down.
In my research, I have found that Neora (who Shannon mentioned which caught my eye) has one of the best compensation plans which not only helps its reps earn their monthly products for free with only 3 purchasing customers, but they also have a compensation plan built on customer getting and retention for those that have no desire to team build which is pretty great for a side gig business.
Then, of course they unlock more pay if they bring on more customer getters. In my research this company has at least 75% of its revenues from customers…not including their reps.
This is pretty great in comparison to what’s out there and how many companies make their reps purchase monthly from them as well.
This is obviously in my humble opinion and research, plus, I really enjoy their products and I recommend my friends and family to purchase so I get discounts.
Another company I like is Prüvit…I just don’t like that the company pushes its reps to purchase thousands of dollars of products to sell off in their sample packs.
It’s very expensive and front loading product companies, like Lula Roe mentioned above really only makes the companies more money and are setting many customer getters for major investment loss.
Not to mention the trouble in sending out products to the customers. Give me a full e-commerce company that does it all for me, if I ever decided to join a company…which I won’t.
We cannot lump together ALL Direct Sales companies, but instead educate ourselves on them and weed out things we would rather not deal with.
Direct Sales companies have its pluses and minuses…we just cannot lump them all together because in my experience, the most successful people are those who work it daily and get the most products as they can in peoples hands to try them!
How do those “below you” make money?
My own research revealed Neora had a focus on affiliate autoship recruitment.
It’s not surprising the FTC went after them.
Well, penicillin isn’t a vaccine, but hey, nice try.
It wouldn’t be a big deal, but you called yourself a scientist. No scientist would mistake polio vaccine for penicillin antibiotic, no matter how late at night it is.
Afraid I can’t agree with you, Lalo. All MLMs encourage endless-chain recruiting, which quickly saturates the market with sellers. (And please, Lalo, do not compound your error by saying more people are born every minute. Not until you can add children to your family as fast as you can add people to your downline.)
Trying to sell into a saturated market is a good way to lose money, yet the recruiting never stops.
And who benefits? Mostly the company, along with a few near the top of the chain. It’s an inherently unfair system.
No, they are almost all structured so you make money as soon as those below you spend money on product. Whether they ever sell any of it is neither here nor there.
And I’m talking about mainstream MLM companies, here, not the pyramid-scheme ones that kick back sign-up fees to the recruiters. Those are worse, but they’re all bad.
First, I never said Norwex made the claims. I said their reps do. And Norwex isn’t doing anything about it. Like the companies the FTC named, Norwex needs to rein in the behavior of their reps who are making outrageous claims.
Second, Norwex claims to remove up to 99% of bacteria. Real-world tests show numbers closer to 90%, but even 99% is two orders of magnitude below what’s needed to disinfect surfaces. And yet healthcare workers have reported (on Reddit) Norwex reps trying to talk them into using their silly towels to kill coronavirus.
Third, Norwex does claim to kill bacteria. Specifically, they say the silver in the towel kills bacteria within 24 hours. But that’s just the towel, not anything the towel touches. But reps are doing crazy stuff like wiping the inside of a toilet and then wiping their face (again, Reddit report).
Norwex is clearly not training their reps well at all, and they should remedy that.
Start flagging illegal claim hun videos with a remark linking to the FTC decision on ANY platform that you can find.
Also forward a copy to Truth in Advertising (TINA) who loves archiving violations like that. More ammo for them later.
Nobody wears a towel for 24 hours. More like 24 seconds.
It’s not much larger than a washcloth, so…yeah.
Some TV news person (consumer product tester) reported the “jaw-dropping” results of a cleaning test between paper towels, a regular washcloth, some generic microfiber cloth, and the Norwex.
It was close to a tie between the microfiber and the Norwex, with the Norwex slightly better: 92% to 84% of areas free of bacterial growth.
I guess 92% counts as “up to 99%,” right, Norwex? As far as I could tell, they ran only one test on a single dinner plate. Sloppy science, kids!
I’m not sure how a statistical dead heat between two similar products in a single test counts as “jaw-dropping,” but I’m not the paid professional consumer product reviewer.
Overreach and be careful what you wish for. Just more government control being played out on the backs of ignorance.
We can cheerlead the government going after MLM people but they’ll be coming for you next no matter what category.
Nah I should be right. I don’t run around making bullshit medical claims for a quick buck.
That rumble under your feet is the sound of Cardinal Niemoeller turning in his grave.
First they came for those who scammed people into joining pyramid schemes via medical fraud, and I did not speak out, for I did not scam people into joining pyramid schemes via medical fraud.
Then nothing happened, because I still didn’t scam people into joining pyramid schemes.
F— the haterz. #liveyourdreamshun