lyoness-logoHasn’t BehindMLM covered this story already?

Back in June of 2014 Lyoness announced a ‘new prepaid Lyoness Mastercard for European members‘.

In an attempt to justify Lyoness’ Ponzi-like AU investment scheme business model, the Mastercard announcement saw “legitimacy by association” marketing begin shortly after.

By January 2015 Mastercard had had enough, and affirmed they had “no direct relationship” with Lyoness.

So Lyoness and their affiliates stopped using the Mastercard brand in their marketing and that was that?

Not quite. Turns out over a year and a half later, Lyoness and their affiliates are still misusing the Mastercard brand.

Despite the clarification from Mastercard last year, Lyoness continues to be marketed via a purported partnership with Mastercard.

In South Africa, a promotional email was sent out by Lyoness which contained an offer for a Lyoness Mastercard polo shirt.

Mastercard are aware of the email, with its circulation “triggering an immediate response”.

In an interview with Wirtschafts Blatt published on July 1st, Mastercard Austria CEO Gerald Gruber was asked about the brand continuing to be used to market Lyoness.

“We will do everything that is necessary to keep damage to our brand.”

According to Gruber MasterCard never had a direct relationship with Lyoness.

All Lyoness cards had been issued through a registered inter alia UK card issuing company.

I wasn’t able to establish who the UK card issuing company is/was.

MyCard, a “card solutions” merchant incorporated in Gibraltar, claim to have an “exclusive contract” with Lyoness.

MyCard launched their first pilot programme in partnership with Lyoness (Global Loyalty Programme) in 21 countries simultaneously, of which 19 are in Europe.

MyCard has the exclusive contract with Lyoness to introduce the prepaid MasterCard to its clients, thereby expanding to 45 different countries internationally.

MyCard have been around since 2014. Whether they were perhaps initially incorporated in the UK or not is unclear.

This MasterCard licensee created numerous card programs, including the Lyoness card program.

The problem: The Lyoness card program was never approved by MasterCard, as claimed by Gruber. “We have warned our contractors accordingly.”

To his knowledge, the Lyoness prepaid card program has already been closed.

“On the Web though, there are still images on the card,” says Gruber.

In response to the South African Lyoness email, Mastercard has issued another warning to its contractor partners.

Gruber states that Mastercard has yet to go to court over the matter, but that “legal action has been threatened”.

In their defense, Lyoness claims it “has no knowledge”  of any warnings issued by Mastercard.

This was a trial basis that operated in only five countries and was discontinued after a trial period because Lyoness wanted to implement a global system for its customers.

This was not possible with the existing Lyoness program.

Lyoness was only a customer, at no time (were we) a card issuer.

Last week Gerald Gruber had to clarify Mastercard had no relationship with OneCoin, another MLM Ponzi scheme.

As with Lyoness, OneCoin affiliates had been running around the internet using an imagined relationship with Mastercard to infer OneCoin’s legitimacy.

Unfortunately “legitimacy by association” is an ongoing problem that is rampant throughout the MLM underbelly.

It was only yesterday that I had to address unfounded claims of a partnership between a blatant pyramid scheme and reputable brands such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Hyundai.

The bottom line?

If an MLM company doesn’t look legitimate on the merits of its business model alone, there’s a good chance they’re up to something they shouldn’t be.