PureTrim Review: Autoship pyramid recruitment
PureTrim’s website does have an “about” section, however no information about who owns or runs the company is disclosed.
Instead, aside from mentioning a launch “just over 3 years ago”, PureTrim uses the page to market itself.
PureTrim’s Policies and Procedures document states the company is “a division of Awareness Corp.”
This lead me to PureTrim’s original company name, AwarenessLife Worldwide. The name-change appears to have taken place on or around May 2014.
Further research reveals PureTrim and Awareness Corp are owned by Mark Tahiliani (right).
Tahiliani is CEO and President of PureTrim. Within the company (except on PureTrim’s website), Tahiliani goes by “Dr. Marc”.
Why Mark Tahiliani isn’t featured on PureTrim’s website is unclear.
One possibility (which ties into “Dr. Marc”) is Tahiliani ran BigSmart, a pyramid scheme sued by the FTC in 2001.
Rather than defend himself, Tahiliani settled the FTC’s fraud allegations in March 2001.
Operators of an Internet-based business opportunity that promised easy income for investors in an Internet shopping mall network have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that their scheme was an illegal pyramid operation.
Under the terms of the settlement, Bigsmart.Com L.L.C. and principals Mark and Harry Tahiliani will provide up to $5 million in consumer redress and post a $500,000 performance bond before engaging in any new multi-level marketing activity.
The defendants also are prohibited from engaging in any illegal pyramid schemes.
Whereas BigSmart was ecommerce themed, PureTrim operates in the nutrtional supplement and weight loss MLM niches.
Outside of PureTrim, Tahiliani cites himself as a “puppy photography specialist”.
Tahiliani styles his social media accounts with a profile photo of Don Emeka, a Nigerian victim of gang violence in Italy who featured in a Vice documentary.
No idea what the story is there.
Whatever the reason Tahiliani keeps himself off PureTrim’s website, the end-result is a faceless corporation.
Not a good look for an MLM company.
Read on for a full review of PureTrim’s MLM business opportunity.
PureTrim markets a range of nutritional and weight loss supplements.
- PureTrim Mediterranean Wellness Shakes – “this unique, whole body approach to weight loss is the solution for shedding pounds and for achieving overall wellness”, retails at $39.99 for a box of ten single-serve packets
- Boost Tea – “will help support your metabolism and reduce your appetite and food cravings”, retails at $39.99 for a 7.4 oz tub
- TrimBar – “a 100% organic meal replacement bar”, retails at $29.95 for a box of five bars
- Joint Tea – “improve your flexibility & mobility with a delicious iced fruit tea”, retails at $39.99 for a 4.5 oz tub
- Joint Mist – a “100% plant-based joint & muscle spray is blended with FOUR types of Plant Stem Cells to target joint and muscle discomfort”, retails at $39.99 for a 60 day supply
- Cardio 9 – “provides 23 organic greens, fruits & vegetables, specifically blended to help improve your Nitric Oxide levels”, retails at $69.99 for a tub of 30 servings
- Daily Complete – “boost your energy now with the 243 vitamins, minerals, and nutrients”, retails at $39.99 for a monthly supply
- Experience – “if you’re suffering from bloating, gas, heartburn and occasional constipation, you may benefit from Experience”, retails at $39.99 for a bottle of 90 capsules
- LiverMaster – “a time-tested Mediterranean blend of 11 natural ingredients, designed to cleanse and support your liver, thyroid, and pancreas”, retails at $39.99 for a box of 30 capsules
- SynergyDefense – “a blend of 115,868 pure Non-GMO High Stability Plant Enzymes, along with a special active blend of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Antioxidants to help with gas, bloating and to support healthy digestion”, retails at $39.99 for a box of 30 capsules
- PureGardens – “an organic way to look 10 years younger without chemicals or additives of any kind”, retails at $39.99 for a 2 oz tub
- Clear – “a natural blend of plant ingredients designed to help support a healthy immune response and provide respiratory support”, retails at $59.95 for a bottle of 90 capsules
- Female Balance – “an effective and gentle Mediterranean herbal recipe that helps balance the female body to ease the unique, mild symptoms of PMS and Menopause”, retails at $29.95 for a bottle of 60 capsules
PureTrim’s products are also available in StarterPak bundles.
PureTrim’s Compensation Plan
PureTrim’s compensation plan pays affiliates, who themselves are forced to purchase products to qualify for commissions, to recruit affiliates who must also purchase products to qualify for commissions.
PureTrim Affiliate Ranks
There are seven affiliate ranks within PureTrim’s compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Executive Promoter – sign up as a PureTrim affiliate
- Direct Promoter – purchase $400 of PureTrim product in a single month
- 1-Star Promoter – recruit two Executive Promoters
- 2-Star Promoter – generate and maintain two 1-Star Promoters across the first two levels of any two unilevel team legs (one in each leg)
- 3-Star Promoter – generate and maintain three 2-Star Promoters across the first two levels of any three unilevel team legs (one in each leg)
- 4-Star Promoter – generate and maintain four 3-Star Promoters across the first two levels of any four unilevel team legs (one in each leg)
- 5-Star Promoter – generate and maintain five 4-Star Promoters across the first two levels of any five unilevel team legs (one in each leg)
- President’s Club – generate and maintain five 5-Star Promoters across the first two levels of any five unilevel team legs (one in each leg)
To count towards the above qualification criteria, downline affiliates must be MLM commission qualified (see below).
MLM Commission Qualification
To qualify for MLM commissions a PureTrim affiliate must either:
- maintain a monthly $199 autoship order and have three retail customers and/or recruited affiliates on monthly autoship;
- maintain a monthly $349 autoship order; or
- purchase $399 worth of PureTrim products each month.
Retail commissions are paid on products ordered by retail customers.
PureTrim pays a 10% retail commission to Executive Promoters. This increases to 25% for Direct Promoters and 35% for Executive Promoters and above.
PureTrim pays residual commissions via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
PureTrim caps payable unilevel team levels at six.
Residual commissions are paid as a percentage of the wholesale cost of products ordered across these six levels as follows:
- 1-Star Promoters earn 5% on level 1 (personally recruited affiliates)(
- 2-Star Promoters earn 5% on levels 1 and 2
- 3-Star Promoters earn 5% on levels 1 to 3
- 4-Star Promoters earn 5% on levels 1 to 4
- 5-Star Promoters earn 5% on levels 1 to 5
- President’s Club ranked affiliates earn 5% on levels 1 to 6
Starting from the 3-Star Promoter rank, the Gold Bonus extends payable unilevel team levels to ten.
To qualify for the Gold Bonus, a PureTrim affiliate must
- maintain a personal $299 autoship order and
- maintain ten retail customers and/or recruited affiliates on $99 or more monthly autoship orders.
Once qualified, the Gold Bonus extends payable residual commissions as follows:
- 3-Star Promoters earn an extra 1% on level 4
- 4-Star Promoters earn an extra 1% on levels 5 and 6
- 5-Star Promoters earn an extra 2% on levels 6 to 8
- President’s Club ranked affiliates earn an extra 3% on levels 7 to 10
All-Star Matching Bonus
The All-Star Matching Bonus rewards Executive Promoters for recruiting seven Direct Promoters within their first thirty days.
If the above qualification criteria is achieved, the All-Star Matching Bonus pays out $700.
Fast Start Bonus
The Fast Start Bonus pays $100 to Executive Promoters every time a personally recruited affiliate qualifies as a Direct Promoter.
Executive Promoters and higher receive a 10% commission on personally recruited Direct Promoter product orders (non-autoship).
Luxury Car Bonus
2-Star and higher ranked PureTrim affiliates qualify for a monthly Car Bonus:
- 2-Star with $12,000 in wholesale sales volume across two unilevel team levels = $150 a month Car Bonus
- 3-Star with $28,000 in wholesale sales volume across three unilevel team levels = $300 a month Car Bonus
- 4-Star with $70,000 in wholesale sales volume across four unilevel team levels = $400 a month Car Bonus
- 5-Star with $175,000 in wholesale sales volume across five unilevel team levels = $750 a month in Car Bonus
- President’s Club with $350,000 in wholesale sales volume across six unilevel team levels = $1500 a month Car Bonus
Wholesale sales volume is the wholesale value of product purchases and sales across the unilevel team.
Although not explicitly clarified in PureTrim’s compensation documentation, it is assumed Wholesale sales volume for the Luxury Car Bonus is accumulated volume.
PureTrim affiliate membership is $29 annually.
To qualify to participate in the MLM business opportunity, a PureTrim affiliate must purchase $400 worth of products in a single month.
To maintain MLM commission qualification, a PureTrim affiliate must continue to spend $199 to $399 a month on products.
I’m not privy to Bigsmart’s compensation plan. So here’s how the FTC described the business model:
Although Bigsmart claimed that members would make substantial amounts of money, the scheme was structured in such way that to realize continued financial gains, would depend on “. . . the continued, successive recruitment of other participants,” not on retail sales of products and services to the public.
Minus the income representations, PureTrim is that with different products.
According to PureTrim’s own compensation documentation, here’s the company’s recommended “30 day action plan” for new affiliates:
1. Become an Executive Promoter: Sign up for just $29, and begin receiving a 10% Retail Product Rebate on all of your product orders. Next, become a Direct Promoter by ordering a total of $400 or more of product in one calendar month.
On your next order, your Retail Product Rebate increases to 25%.
When you join AutoShip, you become an Executive Promoter, your Retail Product Rebate increases to 35%, and you receive your free Online Health Store.
2. Become a 1-Star Promoter: Get 2 or more Executive Promoters personally sponsored under you, who are active.
Right off the bat, you can see the emphasis on signing up for an autoship order. And not even a token order.
$400 or more? Are you kidding me?
There’s no justifying that against inventory loading under any circumstances.
Then all you have to do is recruit others who also purchase indefensible amount of products (to also qualify for commissions).
To maintain your commission qualification you’ve got then spend even more money, between $199 to $399 a month.
Retail? Not required.
In an attempt to justify blatant pay to play autoship recruitment, PureTrim includes this disingenuous statement in their Policies and Procedures:
No product purchase is required to become a Promoter.
Technically they’re not lying. But if you want to qualify for commissions, you’re forced to purchase PureTrim products.
Moving onto PureTrim’s products.
The first thing I noticed was PureTrim makes a lot of hullabaloo about its products being “listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference.
Physicians. Y’know, doctors. Thus implying that PureTrim’s products have medical benefits. Perhaps even FDA approved medical benefits? More on that later.
Having never heard of the publication, I looked the Physicians’ Desk Reference up.
The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) is a commercially published compilation of manufacturers’ prescribing information (package insert) on prescription drugs, updated annually.
While designed to provide physicians with the full legally mandated information relevant to writing prescriptions (just as its name suggests), it is widely available in libraries and bookstores, widely used by other medical specialists, and sometimes valuable to the layman.
The compilation is financially supported in part by pharmaceutical manufacturing corporations which create drugs listed within its pages.
2017 was the last year Physician’s Desk Reference was physically published. Today it exists as the “Prescriber’s Digital Reference”; and is available online only.
I ran a search on PureTrim products and sure enough, some of them came up – confirming only that PDR to list their products.
PDR themselves don’t stand by any of the prescribing information they’re paid to publish:
PDR.net is to be used only as a reference aid. It is not intended to be a substitute for the exercise of professional judgment.
You should confirm the information on the PDR.net site through independent sources and seek other professional guidance in all treatment and diagnosis decisions.
Needless to say I’d be surprised if any doctor worth their salt actually “prescribed” PureTrim products to treat or manage an actual disease or illness.
Which brings us to the “clinical studies” PureTrim provides on their website.
Typically we see examples of affiliates/distributors making unsubstantiated medical claims regarding an MLM company’s products.
Here we have PureTrim offering commissioned studies specifically pertaining to their products, from a number of companies.
Normally I’d champion this but in this instance I’m not so sure.
The study that caught my eye was for Pure Gardens Skin Serum, supposedly observing the “efects of Pure Gardens Serum in eczema & psoriasis”.
Eczema and psoriasis are two very real and very specific diseases. So a study examining a PureTrim product as a possible treatment piqued my interest.
The one-page, three-paragraph study paper was authored by International Clinical Research Center, INC., who are based out of Arizona.
Running a search on “International Research Center” will give you all manner of similar name sounding results. But no exact hit.
The company PureTrim used however in Arizona, for which there are no hits.
Peter M. Burkholder is the cited President and Medical Director for International Clinical Research Center.
Couldn’t find anything on him either, except for a few books published in the early 2000s.
The address at the bottom of PureTrim’s undated study paper is “c/o 2140 EAST BROADWAY ROAD, TEMPE, ARIZONA 85282”.
Punching that into Google reveals the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
That seems to be a real business, but what of International Clinical Research Center, INC.?
No idea. There’s literally zero information out there.
The study itself examined an undisclosed number of “selected patients” over a four-week period.
Treatment with the Pure Gardens Skin Serum appears to have effected the symptoms associated with eczema (erythema, pruritus, dryness, vesicles, lichenification and scaling) and psoriasis (erythema, silvery and hyperkeratotic scaling.)
Based on observation and patient reported documents of the 4 week trial, the Pure Gardens Skin Serum reduced these symptoms.
Clinical observation and self-reported documentation both support that psoriatic lesions of the scalp responded significantly to the herbal cream.
Sounds promising but… there’s nothing to suggest this study was submitted for peer-review. If it’s legit, why hasn’t PureTrim sought FDA approval for Pure Gardens as a topical treatment for eczema and psoriasis?
Response of patients with eczema varied depending on patients’ history with topical steroid use.
The eczema lesions improved by 78% in patients without recent use of steroid creams; the lesions cleared by more than 90% in 33% of the patients, and improved by 50% in the remaining 67% of the patients.
I mean dayuuum, those are some pretty impressive numbers no?
Other studies pertained to testing for the presence of certain ingredients, constipation and “the efficacy & safety of daily complete for energy & overall well-being”.
Undermining all of these studies is the FDA disclaimer included in the footer of PureTrim’s website:
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Yes, that’s on the same page PureTrim presents its clinical study claiming one of its products delivers a 78% improvement in eczema lesions.
And in light of that provided FDA disclaimer, how on Earth to PureTrim justify offering a “free health test” on their website?!
In reality PureTrim’s “health test” is an email harvester and product marketing too, but that’s not how it’s presented.
You’re going to tell me someone taking a health test that asks for “symptoms” isn’t looking for treatment of specific medical conditions?
FDA where you at?
All in all you’re looking at pretty expensive meal replacement shakes (~$120 a month) and supplements backed by questionable “clinical studies”.
Throw in the practically guaranteed probability that on the MLM side of things PureTrim is operating as a pyramid scheme, and it begs the question why the FTC haven’t followed up on Mark Tahiliani since 2001.
Tahiliani’s 2001 FTC settlement explicitly prohibits him from “engaging in any illegal pyramid schemes”.
Awareness Corp has been around since at least 2000!
Unless you like being forced to spend hundreds a month to earn commissions on victims you’ve recruited who must also spend the same, approach PureTrim with extreme caution.
I’m genuinely floored as to why the FTC hasn’t picked up on “Dr. Marc” and his pyramid scheme yet.