Is Herbalife a Scam?
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a scam as, “A fraudulent or deceptive act or operation.” A similar definition I’ve found is “A fraudulent business scheme; a swindle.” Many people wonder if there really is a Herbalife scam, and we’re going to explore that in this article.
Whenever I hear the word scam, what comes to mind are things like the Nigerian email/letter scam and the recent Ponzi Scheme perpetrated by you-know-who. Typically, it’s something inherently designed to cheat people out of their money. There are other schemes out there that may not be a scam in the eyes of the law, but are painfully deceptive. Take the so called auto warranty phone scam for example, and one that I continue to see every year is the letter I get from a company who makes money preparing annual corporate minutes. The letter is specifically designed to look like it’s coming from the IRS. You really have to look for the small print explaining that it isn’t an official letter. And sometimes we are apt to label something a scam because of a gross injustice perpetrated by individuals or companies, and I completely understand this. So the question remains, is there a Herbalife scam?
So What’s This About a Herbalife Scam? Is It Real?
When I hear the words Herbalife Scam, I’ve found that typically, people who ask this type of question about a legitimate company are basing their skepticism on too much misinformation, or negative preconditioning. Sometimes it even stems from an unwillingness to take responsibility for their own misfortunes. It’s easy to blame other people, situations or companies for our own failures. Sure there are some very real scam’s out there, it’s just that Herbalife isn’t one of them.
“Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.” —Voltaire
“A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion” —Chinese Proverbs
“At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation, and prejudice. —Gore Vidal
Although these can apply to almost any company or opportunity, here are some reasons I believe there are those who call Herbalife a scam:
- I tried to make money in the Herbalife business but failed.
- I tried to lose weight using the products and either failed, or felt sick.
- I’m just leveraging the popularity of the Herbalife brand as a marketing tactic to discredit it so I can sell more of my own product or service.
- I’m an unhappy, cynical, skeptical, closed-minded person and if I don’t like you, then you’re a scam in my books.
Excuse my frankness, but skepticism isn’t natural. I believe what’s partly to blame for this is the negativity we’re inundated with on television and the fear that many news stories perpetrate. As a result, we become conditioned skeptics. Most popular news is bad news. We should be able to see and hear more of the good things about our country and the rest of the world. Many times when we don’t understand something we’re quick to make sweeping statements that aren’t based on fact. We may even read something on the internet, and we can always believe what we read on the internet, right? It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said that “Skepticism is slow suicide.” I tend to agree.
I’ve always believed in digging deep enough to discover the facts about anything before jumping to conclusions. As it relates to an alleged Herbalife scam, it’s important to be clear on exactly what part of Herbalife may be considered a scam. Is it the weight loss and nutritional products the company sells? Or is it the business opportunity which provides entrepreneurs with a way to run their own business marketing and selling the products? Or both?
Do people claim there is a Herbalife scam because of the products, and does Herbalife really work? Well, has anyone ever purchased one of their nutritional shakes, opened the box and found nothing in there but air? If so, that could be called a Herbalife scam, but that isn’t the case. How about people who say the program never worked for them? Is that a good enough reason to call it a scam? The fact is, there are millions of people around the world who have achieved success using the products. So, the program certainly works. Will it work for everyone? Probably not.
How many of the people who say it isn’t working, actually stick to the program? When the going gets tough, most people quit. It doesn’t matter what program you choose for your weight loss, unless you commit to it, and follow through, your chances of success diminish. Most times, it isn’t that the program doesn’t work, it’s that the individual using the program doesn’t work the program. If you bought a gym membership but never went, would you claim it doesn’t work and call the gym a scam?
Some people who have felt sick after taking the products, say it must be a Herbalife scam. The thing is, this may be a normal part of the detoxification process as the body is being cleansed of toxins.
What about the business? Now this opens up a whole can of worms. There is no other industry that I know of that has received such a bad rap, as the direct sales/network marketing/multi-level marketing industry. There are many people who say that the Herbalife business opportunity is the part that’s the Herbalife scam.
Herbalife was founded in 1980. Today there are more than 1.8 million Independent Distributors in more than 65 countries generating annual sales in excess of $3.5 billion.
The only way to purchase Herbalife products is from an independent distributor. Herbalife uses a direct sales business model to take the products to market. Direct selling is defined as “Marketing and selling products, direct to consumers away from a fixed retail location.” This is a very effective form of distribution that has been around for over 50 years, and is used today by some of our most respected, multi-billion dollar companies.
Unfortunately, most people have a 40 year old image in their mind of folks standing around a kitchen table selling soap. We’re pre-conditioned to believe this is not a legitimate way to sell a product. But the industry has evolved, and continues to attract entrepreneurs committed to developing as leaders and enhancing their life experience. There’s a great CD narrated by Bob Proctor who was featured in The Secret called What Would You Change if Your Annual Income…Suddenly Became Your Monthly Income? This CD will really help people understand the industry.
Now I’m sure there have been some scam artists out there who have given multi-level marketing a bad name, and some people even confuse this legitimate business model with a pyramid scheme. The reality is, any business requires effort to be successful. Many people who fail at the Herbalife business are quick to call it a Herbalife scam and blame the company or the products, when they should really be looking internally for why they didn’t succeed.
Do a Google search on Herbalife scam or just Herbalife, and you’ll find a bunch of paid advertisements telling you not to join Herbalife, and why the advertiser left Herbalife, etc., etc. Some people seem to have made a career out of discrediting the company. You can just as well do this for any other company or major direct sales organization and find similar ads.
Do you realize the people who are paying for these ads specifically design them to leverage the brand as a marketing tactic to sell their own program, lead source or service? Most people don’t realize this, and take what is being said on face value; that the Herbalife scam is real. And what does it say about the advertiser if these are the tactics they resort to in order to promote their own business. Personally, I’m not going to put another company down, just to sell more of my products.
Then there are those who object to the marketing practices of some eager independent distributors. Personally, I find it more offensive when I check out at the supermarket only to find a television in my face at the checkout lane. But to each his/her own. Within reason, I can’t fault the eager entrepreneur who is driven to take massive action in order improve the quality of their life.
Of course, there are bad apples in any business, but look at the core. Who are the leaders behind the company? Look at their track record. Did Herbalife have challenges in the early days? No question. Just as any business would as they experience tremendous growth. What about challenges currently? I don’t know of a major company that doesn’t.
We may not all agree on everything, but these facts and observations should help to set the record straight, and put you in a position to make an intelligent assessment for yourself about this so called Herbalife scam, and you may just realize that Herbalife is a legitimate organization.
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