Visalus pyramid scheme class-action settlement options explained
News of the recent Visalus class-action settlement appears to have spread, resulting in a number of queries from victims as to how to proceed.
Following a spate of enquiries over the last few days in particular, I figured it’d be worthwhile putting up a guide for victims unsure of what their options are.
For those unfamiliar with the litigation, back in 2015 plaintiffs Timothy Kerrigan, Lori Mikovich and Ryan Valli filed a class-action lawsuit against Visalus.
In their complaint, Kerrigan, Mikovich and Valli alleged Visalus ‘depended more on recruitment of distributors than selling products to outside customers.‘
Thje lawsuit was settled back in May, resulting in an August deadline for Visalus class-member victims to take action.
As defined in the settlement, Visalus affiliates who signed up between July 9th, 2008 and June 16th, 2019, qualify as class members.
Class-members must also have suffered a net-loss, which is calculated as follows:
- $49 in signup fees (irrespective of whether a more expensive kit was purchased), plus
- Vi-Net subscription costs, plus
- affiliate membership renewal fees paid, minus
- commissions paid, minus
- the value of any free products received, minus
- the value of any VI Points acquired.
If the above calculation comes out negative, you qualify as a net-loss class-member.
Your options thus are as follows:
- participate in the settlement;
- exclude yourself from the settlement; or
- object to the settlement.
Participating in the Settlement
Participation in the settlement enables a Visalus class-member to either claim benefits or cash.
The benefits option will see class-members receive;
- a 25% commission rate on all sales made (initial and recurring orders) for one year;
- a 35% product discount of up to $1000 (expires after one year);
- distributor fee waived for one year;
- free tickets to one Visalus event (must be redeemed within eighteen months); and
- a year of Vi-Net Pro for affiliates who were already paying for the services, and six months for everyone else.
If a class-member wishes to receive the benefits option, they don’t need to take any further action.
The cash option is a one-off $25 to $50 payment.
If a class-member wishes to receive the cash option, they need to fill in an Election Form by August 28th.
Note that participating in the settlement (either option) will mean giving up your right to sue Visalus at a later date or participate in any future lawsuits pertaining to similar claims.
Excluding yourself from the class-action settlement means you will receive neither the benefits or cash option detailed above.
You will also retain your right to sue Visalus over similar claims or participate in any lawsuit alleging similar claims in the future.
If you wish to exclude yourself from the settlement, you need to
send a signed letter to the Settlement Administrator requesting exclusion on or before August 28, 2019.
Your request for exclusion should include your name, address, signature, and ViSalus IP number if known.
Contact details for the Settlement Administrator are available on the Visalus Settlement website.
Objecting to the Settlement
If you think both settlement options are baloney then you can formally object to the settlement itself.
Any Class Member who wishes to object to the Settlement must file a written objection with the Court and serve copies of the same on Class Counsel and counsel for ViSalus.
If the Class Member wishes to appear before the Court at the Final Approval Hearing, he or she must state so in the written objection.
A Class Member may appear through an attorney if he or she so desires.
Details of class and Visalus’ legal counsel are available on the Visalus Settlement website (you’ll have to look up court details).
Due to the filing requirement, I strongly suggest anyone going down this route obtain legal advice and/or representation.
I’m happy to answer any general questions in the comments below, but if your looking for legal advice seek out a lawyer.
Note to any lawyers reading this: that’s not an invitation to solicit business.
Personally I think losing hundreds of dollars in an alleged pyramid scheme and being offered up to $50 is rubbish, but at the same time I can’t say how effective an objection might be.
If enough people object there’s a chance the court might not grant approval at the Final Approval Hearing, but again seek legal advice on that.
The take-away is whichever option you choose (participation, non-participation or objection), you have until August 28th to take action.
The Final Approval hearing is scheduled for October 1st.
If you do nothing you’ll automatically participate in the settlement and receive the benefits option (see above).
I don’t believe you’ll be able to change this after the Final Approval Hearing (assuming approval is granted).
Hopefully this clears up any confusion among affected Visalus affiliates.
Update 29th October 2019 – Final approval of the settlement was granted by the court on October 1st.