Actual message from Facebook – Click to enlarge

The full post on MLM

I'm going to put this out there...and hopefully not offend. I am currently being hounded by five or six friends who are involved in an MLM "network marketing" scheme, and it's getting old. I am tired of being pressured to buy, I'm tired of the manipulation from not only my friends but THEIR FRIENDS who think it's cool to try and troll Facebook looking for new recruits.

I am NOT interested in your JuicePlus, Arbonne, Plexus, Greens on the Go, travel club, Monavie (now out of business), Dove Chocolates, gold and silver buying, "residual income" scheme, leadership training, or other "opportunity." These are all companies that sell a product so they can make the bulk of their money off you recruiting your friends...plain and simple.

Your signup fee and your recruits' signup fees are all that they are interested in. They are pyramid schemes and ONLY legal because they "sell a product." But they swindle people out of their hard-earned money with the promise of making a LOT of money...but only about 1-3% ever make any money (that's ONE to THREE, not THIRTEEN...).

And if you're "only involved because you were going to buy the product anyway and it saves you money?" Sooner or later they'll start pushing you to recruit. Most people go in with honest intentions, but quickly get caught up in the friendship of like-minded MLM victims who seem to reassure each other that what they're doing is legit.

If you are friending friends of your friends on Facebook so you can promote your multi-level marketing (MLM) scam, you're disrespecting your friends.

Recent Abuse by an Acquaintance

After I posted my comment about not drinking Cokes, a friend of a Facebook friend contacted me about a product he reps called "Greens on the Go™." After looking into it, it is an scam. I was a little put off by the private message...not a "Hey Kat, how are you doing these days?" but a copied and pasted message trying to sell me something, not personalized at all. It said something about a "Loyal Customer Price" (red flag!!). You can see in the image to the right that the "Conversation started Tuesday" and his first contact was trying to sell me on something for which he is an "independent distributor." 

When I looked at his Facebook page, I found the mutual acquaintance. I also found a plethora of memes and professional graphics that this person uses on their Facebook wall to "advertise" their products to "friends" (see images below).  I later realized that this person is a friend of a relative; someone whom I've never met.

I do a lot of product research on Amazon, so I looked to see the Amazon reviews on Greens on the Go™, the one-star reviews are scathing. And there are 353 BBB complaints for business practices on the parent company, It Works!. They get a B+ rating from BBB ONLY because they respond; the responses are never accommodating of customer requests. 

(Before I go further, I'll exempt my friends who are involved with Pampered Chef. I think their products are good quality, and I watch your success from afar...never a hard sell, I just know where to find you when I need another pizza stone or apple corer and I don't feel pressured to buy.)

I have a couple of other actual friends who I think are involved with MLMs who have never tried to sell me anything...I am very appreciative of that, by the way. If you approach me, I'll be polite, but I can tell you I'm probably not interested. I do a lot of research before buying anything, and I'm kinda hooked on Amazon Prime's 2-day shipping.

But if you're trolling Facebook and USING your friends to find new people to sell to? NOT COOL.

Anyway, Bobby's former parents (who tragically went over a cliff in a horrible, hypothetical, fiery bus crash) were addicted to multi-level marketing. It got to the point that if they stopped by to visit, it was NEVER for the reason that they wanted to see our smiling faces. There would be a nice visit of 15-20 minutes, them BAM! It was time for the hard sell. Dove chocolates, MonaVie, leadership training, skincare, a sell-your-gold party.

Once we were pressured by his mother to go to the sell-your-gold party, and watched awkwardly as one woman acted like she knew what she was doing with the kit to test gold karat content...she bought the kit from the MLM company for several hundred dollars and watched a video, then became the de facto "expert" as she tested gold at a snail's pace while trying to hook others into becoming involved. We got some snacks, but overall, it was just awkward.

This is so common, there's actually a name for it...if you focus your MLM efforts on FRIENDS AND FAMILY, they actually call them a "warm market." Some systems caution their distributors about overusing their warm market. 

His mom's next get-rich-quick scheme was an açaí berry juice that was supposed to cure cancer and arthritis and every other malady known to man. When we told his mother the MonaVie she was pushing gave us heartburn and acid reflux, she said that "it couldn't possibly...it CURES those ailments." Then pressured us to buy the overpriced $40-a-bottle juice and really try it out...no wonder...we learned that after a $39 initiation fee, she had to sell (or buy herself to use as samples to sell the product!) an eight-bottle minimum to stay "active." Then she brought it to Thanksgiving dinner with 23 guests, and tried to sell to everyone at dinner.

We felt used. But here's the end result. We quit inviting them to family events, and eventually totally cut them off (for other reasons as well, but it was 50% for the MLM stuff). If you are involved in this kind of thing, your friends and family may politely try whatever it is you're selling, but if they kinda fall off the face of the earth, it might be that they don't want to be constantly sold on your "business" offerings.

I also watched as my sister-in-law got caught up in these kinds of scams; on disability SSI, they didn't have a lot of extra disposable income. My brother related to me that she would want to spend a lot of money getting started with kits and products, and that they really couldn't afford it. It was that get-rich-quick mentality, and I ended up doing a lot of research on several companies, only to find out that they were poorly rated for their business practices; once they got you started, it was almost impossible to quit and stop the debits from your account. I learned that these companies prey on those who can least afford it...giving hope of financial independence.

And many of those people don't even realize they're getting involved with a scam...insisting that "it's a distributor model" or "something new." But if you're looking into something like this, just Google the company or product name and "scam." Look at least through the first three pages of results, and take an HONEST look at the company feedback. If you see things like "auto-draft" or "startup kit" or anything about recruiting your friends, this is "multi-level" or "network" marketing.

Interestingly, in May of 2014, MonaVie defaulted on a $182 million note. This blog post shows how the company came into existence, describing MonaVie as a "product-based pyramid scheme." Newsweek reported the following in an article from 2008:

"Fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week. And the dropout rate, while not disclosed by MonaVie, is around 70 percent, according to a top recruiter."

Anyway, I just wanted to give you the perspective of someone who's been hounded for years to buy, buy, buy.

And person who sent me the note? Sorry, dude. You've been UNFRIENDED and blocked.