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Herbalife Review (2022 Update): Legit or Pyramid Scheme

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By: Scam Risk - Expert Reviewer

Table of Contents

Herbalife is a multi level marketing company centered around selling dietary supplements. Herbalife was founded in 1980 and widely known in part thanks to Jim Rohn.

It’s another one of those making money online businesses that is centered around selling a saturated membership that supposedly makes you money by selling marked up products. 

It is promoted by people who have every incentive for you to join the company or buy products from them.

It’s supposed to show you how to become a “Jim Rohn marketer” but most members don’t make money promoting other products.

That’s just the truth…you won’t get rich off a crappy $6 commission

If you want to really get rich online, (at an average of $1,500 per sale PER MONTH), check out our #1 recommendation here.

And while we have to be honest for this review…

DISCLAIMER:
This Herbalife review has been thoroughly researched with information and testimonials that are available online to anyone in the public. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.

Pros: What I Liked

  • It Will Help You Lose Weight
  • A Long Standing Company Of 40 Years
The Good

Cons: What I Didn't Like

  • You Have To Purchase The Products You Plan To Sell Upfront
  • Known As Illegal Pyramid Scheme
  • Very Expensive
The Bad

Table of Contents

Chances are you heard about Herbalife because someone – a friend or family member – introduced you to the company. Maybe you attended an online workshop or webinar, or maybe an in-person information session. 

Your head’s probably spinning. This might be the first time you’ve heard about a real way to make money outside of a typical job. 

So first off, congratulations! 

You’ve just entered a whole new world…the world of making money on your own terms.

However, you came in through the wrong door. 

Because Herbalife is – plain and simple – an MLM. Throw whatever fancy name you want on it…multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing (NWM), direct sales, or anything else, it’s the same concept:

You pay some money upfront for the “opportunity” to sell products. 

The products are typically low-quality but with high price tags (because fancy labels and stuff).

You’re told that the key to building your own successful business is selling these products to friends and family, and getting them on a subscription (so you get “monthly recurring revenue”).

Unfortunately, like most people who get taken in by these types of schemes, you’ll quickly discover that the well runs dry faster than you imagined. 

After all, they make it sound really simple. “Just get 5 people you know onto this magic widget, and things will just grow from there.”

And in your head, you think “How hard can it be? I know plenty of people, 5 will be easy.”

But then you do it, and you realize people look at you like you’ve joined a cult. You’ve become “that person”, who joined an MLM, and is now trying to sell questionable products or services to everyone they meet. 

It puts a strain on your relationships, and you end up stuck between two worlds.

But it’s not your fault. These companies spend millions of dollars each year figuring out exactly how to brainwash and recruit people. And that’s why we’re here. 

To help you find a better way before it’s too late.

So, what if there was a way you could build a passive income stream that’s actually passive?

An income stream that doesn’t require:

  • Inventory
  • Selling to friends and family
  • Selling to strangers
  • Recruiting people
  • Dealing with questionable products that weigh on your conscience

An income stream that brings in consistent revenues every single month (from a couple thousand dollars to well over $10,000)?

An income stream you could actually build in your spare time, and grow as large or as small as you want to, without having to spend hours a day chasing, selling, or managing anything?

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out Digital Real Estate. 

Still Getting Paid

This is nothing like MLM, and that’s probably a good thing. 

However, if you’d still like to know more about Herbalife, keep reading.

So What Is Herbalife?

Herbalife is basically a direct-selling company. In 2019, Herbalife’s global net sales amounting to approximately 4.88 billion U.S. dollars.

You won’t be able to find their protein shakes or nutritional supplements on the shelves of any stores.

The only way that you’ll be able to purchase these products is from an Herbalife distributor. You can learn more about the products on their website, and get the prices but you cannot purchase them.

That’s great for distributors obviously.

With a network of 3.7 million “members” in about 90 countries Herbalife is a pretty big company.

How Does Herbalife Work?

As a member or distributor, you’ll buy Herbalife products in bulk. Then you could sell them or use them.

Or do both.

You can find a distributor on their website if you don’t know anyone.

How Do You Make Money?

Here’s where it gets interesting.

They pay based on a “multi-level marketing model,”

So what does this mean exactly?

Well, it means that your compensation doesn’t come from selling Herbalife products alone. You can get bonuses from the sales of new members that you recruit and that your recruits recruit as well. :

But you’ll need to sell an awful lot of Herbalife protein shakes to make any type of money. And don’t forget you have to buy the products first in order to sell them.

There lies the problem.

Basically, you’re limited to how much you can make based on how much you can purchase.

But not only that.

There’s a risk of buying too much product and not being able to sell it.

You’ll have 12 months to return the products that you haven’t opened from the time that you purchased them.

So what is their compensation plan?

See the image below.

Distributors aren’t making much from the sales of these products. Of course the more you sell the more you’ll make.

When you reach a certain number of volume points you’ll be able to move up to the next level where you’ll make a greater commission from your downline, but your retail commission doesn’t change.

You accumulate volume points when you or your downline order products. So the more you order or downline orders the more volume points that you get.

This will help you to move to the next level.

What’s that?

You say you’re not a fan of having to sell things to friends, family, or even strangers?

We can definitely understand how that might be uncomfortable.

You might find our number one recommendation more in line with your personal goals!

What Are Herbalife Products?

Herbalife Nutrition’s products include weight-loss and protein shakes. They have protein bars, teas, aloes, vitamins, and sports hydration, energy, and personal care products as well.

The product claims to change people’s lives.

This is claimed to be achieved by the products targeting your body’s cognitive weaknesses.

These cognitive weaknesses are one subject of debate with Herbalife.

Herbalife encourages social gatherings calling this group “nutrition clubs”. At these gatherings, members will try the shakes and discuss healthy lifestyles.

But are these gatherings are really just a way grow their business by showcasing the product and getting sales.

Herbalife claims that these nutrition clubs help people who would normally eat from a vending-machine and consume fast food. That they help show them healthy choices and support them with positive reinforcement.

But are Herbalife products overpriced?

The jury is still out on that one…

Do People Lose Weight With Herbalife?

Herbalife meal replacement shakes do help you lose weight.

But they are no different than the many other meal replacement shakes on the market today.

You’ll consume less calories by feeling fuller longer.

You use these healthy shakes to replace one or two meals.

The research behind Herbalife weight loss products is still ongoing for the product claims of it being able to prevent weight gain over several years.

Is Herbalife Legit?

MLM’s like Herbalife are often the center of great debate. But some are looked at as a scam more so than others.

While others teeter on it being an illegal pyramid scheme.

So what is Herbalife?

It’s difficult to answer the question of whether or not Herbalife is legit, a scam or a pyramid scheme.

so, let’s first take a look at some of the drama that Herbalife has been part of over the past few years.

In 2012 when Herbalife’s president, Des Walsh was asked by hedge-fund manager, David Einhorn, “how many sales there were outside of the companies network”? And Mr. Walsh responded with this,

“We don’t track this number and do not believe it is relevant”

As you could imagine David Einhorn was enraged. And shortly after Bill Ackman, who is the head of the hedge fund Pershing Square bet $1 billion dollars against Herbalife. He shortened its stock in late 2012.

Herbalife CEO, Michael Johnson, decided to fight back. He called Ackman’s statements false and misleading.

Then Carl Icahn jumped in to call Ackman a liar and that his claims were complete bullshit.

The worst of it occurred in March when there was a front-page story in The New York Times. This story revealed about Ackman.

Ackman had been lobbying public officials and even contributed funds to anti-Herbalife advocacy groups. Herbalife officials said that this was a lie only for them to publically come out two days later admitting that they were being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC.

Ackman has even gone as far as to say that he is convinced that Herbalife is a global pyramid scheme. And believes it’s a criminal operation.”

Herbalife’s chief financial officer, John DeSimone, responded to this statement by saying, “I am 100 percent convinced Bill Ackman is wrong. I think he has gone beyond the legitimate role short sellers play and crossed an ethical boundary.”

Then in 2016 Herbalife was forced to pay $200 Million dollars for ‘unfair and deceptive practices’ and had to restructure its US operations. This was following a two-year investigation.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there.

Why Is Herbalife So Bad?

Herbalife has been around for nearly two decades. And have been the subject of many is from being a scam, a pyramid scheme, trouble with the FTC, paying millions and having to restructure its United States operations.

The FTC Chairwoman, Edith Ramirez has said that Herbalife has sold people on a false promise by exaggerating their claims to become rich selling nutritional supplements.

And today Carl Ichan is selling back all of his Herbalife stocks back to them for $600 Million dollars.

Why would he do this after the big showdown he had with Bill Ackman a few years back?

Who Is Bill Ackman?

Bill Ackman the head of the hedge fund Pershing Square played a controversial role in many of Herbalife’s exposures to their potential misleadings.

Both Ackman and Herbalife spent 2 years battling each other.

It all started with Ackman betting $1 Billion dollars that the stock price for Herbalife would crash and talking about how Herbalife doesn’t offer their members a real way to make money.

This was the beginning of the outing of how Herbalife has been deceiving their recruits.

Herbalife claimed that Ackman said these things because Perishing Square investors would profit from Herbalife’s collapses on Wall Street.

Why Herbalife Is Banned In The US?

Herbalife agreed to “fundamentally restructure” its business and pay a $200 million fine as part of a 2016 settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) following accusations of it being a pyramid scheme. In November 2017, Ackman’s hedge fund closed out its short position in Herbalife.

Concurrently, plant sources of ephedrine were removed from Herbalife products in 2002 after several U.S. states banned supplements containing such herbs. In July 2016, Herbalife agreed to change its business model and pay $200 million to its distributors in a settlement with the FTC.

Is Herbalife An MLM?

Herbalife is an MLM, but for years they have been considered borderline Pyramid by the FTC. And a few people and have been the center of a great deal of controversy.

As with most MLMs Herbalife is structured to make money by signing people up.

But Herbalife borderlines being a scam because of the way that they present their company, the promises they make to people, and the amount of money you can actually make by joining them as a distributor.

You won’t make a living wage selling their products, at least not anything that worthwhile. It’s a known fact that 99% of people who join MLM’s break even or lose money.

Just look at what Sharon Shea, a former Herbalife distributor had to say,

“You don’t make money from selling product. You make a little. Not much. Not enough to pay the bills that are racking up. You make money from signing people up.”

Members are asked to get their friends involved and become distributors, but eventually, your efforts will dry up and there’s nobody left.

The compensation plan isn’t designed to make money, but rather the business is designed to keep you motivated to keep their members using their products and buying more.

You keep losing money while they continue to make it.

Why Is A Pyramid Scheme Illegal?

Pyramids are designed for early investors to make money, but only for a short period of time before they dry up.

They are designed to fail, but that’s not how they present themselves. They give you false expectations for something that they know will dry up.

These aren’t just a waste of your time, they are also a big waste of your money.

It’s sad how they prey on your hopes and dreams of getting rich.

It seems like there are many MLM companies that borderline do the same.

Is Herbalife A Scam?

Scam

So, is Herbalife a scam? 

Not technically. You can make money with this program, but it’s definitely not as easy as the company makes it sound. 

There’s a ton of work to be done upfront, no real guarantee of success, and – most importantly – the actual commissions are pretty small. 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with front-loading the work and making the money later.

But if you’re grinding it out for 3 months and then your reward is a $50 commission, it’s not really worth it.

What if, instead, you could do that same 3 months of work (in your spare time), and your reward was a $500 to $2,000 payment that came in every single month?

And what if you actually didn’t need to wait 3 months? What if you could get started today and have your first payment in a week?

And what if you could double it next week?

Well, that’s the power of Digital Real Estate

And, unlike an MLM, you can legitimately do this from anywhere. It’s a true lifestyle business. 

Your laptop and an internet connection is all you need.

Some of the most successful students in this program run their entire 6-figure businesses from:

  • A camper in the middle of the woods
  • A beach chair on the water in Mexico
  • A small villa in Greece

Saying goodbye to our job

They’re able to travel around, living their lives first, and focusing on their income second. 

Because even if they stop working for an extended period of time, the money keeps coming in. 

So adventure, memories, and experience are the top priority. 

And they never have to worry about how to pay for the next trip, or consider asking for time off. 

If this sounds more like the type of life you want to lead, just click here to find out more about Digital Real Estate.

Is Herbalife A Pyramid Scheme?

Is Herbalife A Pyramid Scheme

No, Herbalife is not a pyramid scheme and has been able to avoid that label after reaching a $200 Million settlement with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in 2016. Since then, their product sales have soared to nearly $5 Billion in 2018. That said, the company still has its issues.

John Oliver tried to expose Herbalife as a Pyramid Scheme.

Claiming that the business model for this “MLM” company is that you make money off of the people that join and then making a commission from their sales.

But was he right or wrong?

If you take a look at Herbalife’s incentive structure you can kinda see what he’s talking about.

Some MLM companies are really good at hiding the fact that they are not a good company.

They get big names to endorse them so that you believe they are worthy. All the while they are structured in plain sight for who they really are.

Herbalife, has even been declared as an illegal scheme by Commercial Court in Brussels, Belgium. This was based on Herbalife’s inability to show it’s retail customer base.

Most pyramid cases are easy to spot. They are usually structured with a chain-letter-like arrangement. They ask for new recruits to pay cash upfront in the hopes of making money from your downstream recruits.

This is manipulative and against the law.

Generally, most multi-level marketing companies require up-front payments for products.

But if they are not a scam then you’d be compensated for your independent sales and these retail sales would be tracked.

There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to determining a MLM from a pyramid scheme. It’s in these gray areas that fraud is often camouflaged within established companies because they don’t dry up and they continue to commit fraud and remain in business.

Someone people have tried to argue that is precisely Herbalife’s structure. They’ve been in business for nearly 40 years.

They’ve adapted but haven’t really changed much.

Although after 2014 when they were forced to change the structure of the way that they pay their salespeople.

There are some Herbalife recruits that have received unrealistic promotional materials from top distributors in the past. Videos from a member named Doran Andry where he is seen driving a red Ferrari. He talks about how he’s making close to $100K a month selling Herbalife products.

This was a huge embellishment.

When Herbalife disclosed their financials after this video started circulating it was proven that this video was a lie.

The company said in 2013, that only 704 U.S. members made more than $100,000 A YEAR.

Not a month.

The truth is that a majority of their MLM distributors make less than a few hundred dollars.

And let’s not forget about member expenses.

Yes in order to remain active you need to purchase products.

But the part of Herbalife that gets most worked up is their nutrition club.

This club is not only expensive to attend, but it is designed to recruit.

But that’s not how they market it.

But they are designed to recruit low-income distributors.

These recruiting venues for Herbalife are all over the world. Herbalife reports that they have a substantial increase in sales from these nutrition clubs.

And they have been thought to be drug laundering in Mexico and Venezuela back in 2013 by third-party investigators. However, nothing ever seemed to come from these claims.

Is there A Lawsuit Against Herbalife?

They have had many lawsuits against them. With their most recent one being this year.

Just when you thought things were looking up for them.

They bribed Chinese officials for the third time within just four years.

This time it cost them $123 million dollars to settle these charges with the United States government.

This indictment and settlement came just a year after Herbalife was forced to pay the SEC $20 million for misleading investors with its China business model.

This came after Herbalife CEO Rich Goudis’s audio recording was revealed where he advised an employee to ignore expense account limits in China.

These are just some of the recent lawsuits.

Pros & Cons For Herbalife

The Good

Meal replacement shakes are easy and convenient.

The Herbalife diet is designed for busy people who want to lose weight without worrying about what to make for dinner.

It’s quick and easy to make the shake. All you have to do is mix 2 scoops of powder with 8 ounces of nonfat milk or put it in the blender with ice and fruit to make a smoothie.

Soy-based shakes may be good for your heart

Soy protein isolate is the main ingredient in most of the Herbalife meal replacement shakes.

This does limit who is able to take this product.

Research suggests that consuming 50 grams of soy protein per day helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of heart disease.

Drinking two Herbalife meal replacement shakes a day will only give you 18 grams of protein.

A soy-free, dairy-free formula is available

Many people have allergies to soy, so Herbalife offers a soy-free and dairy-free alternative.

These shakes are made from pea, rice, and sesame proteins. And they are GMO-free.

The Bad

There’s no real way to make money

This company has been in trouble multiple times because they make big promises that they are unable to deliver on. No matter how many sales members make the only way to earn an a decent income by most peoples standards is by recruiting people.

So if you’re looking to make money without constant recruitment…we suggest you look elsewhere.

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative these shakes aren’t exactly your best option.

Herbalife meal replacement shakes contain highly processed ingredients.

Just look at some of these ingredients protein isolates, sugars, gums, fibers, synthetic vitamins, artificial flavors, and emulsifiers.

The sugar content alone makes this an unhealthy choice. With only two servings of a Herbalife shake, you’ll have 18 grams of added sugar.

The goal of a healthy diet is to eat less processed foods, and more high-quality proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Could make you hungry

Herbalife shakes are marketed as meal replacement shakes. But they lack the right amount of calories to be a meal.

So you’re left feeling hungry throughout the day.

You can add fruits, protein, and fat to help increase the calorie, fiber, and protein to help keep you satisfied.

It can get expensive

Herbalife isn’t cheap. You’ll pay $40 for 30 servings of Herbalife meal replacement mix.

And they recommended that you drink two shakes per day.

So you’ll need to buy two containers which ends up costing you $80 per month for just the shakes.

This isn’t including the supplements that they want you to take.

They justify this by saying that you’ll save money on groceries because it’s replacing your meals.

But if you need to add additional things to keep you full how much are you really saving?

Herbal supplements are said to cause liver damage

Several supplements contain a bunch of ingredients that aren’t regulated by the government.

So the effectiveness and quality is unknown.

There have been a bunch of reports that suggest Herbalife supplements have been the cause of liver damage.

Some Herbalife products have been said to be contaminated with an overgrowth of the bacteria B. subtilis.

This bacteria is also linked to liver damage.

Herbalife isn’t the only supplement that contains these ingredients. You can find them with many over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Conclusion

Herbalife MLM company borderlines as a scam. Their main goal is to get their distributors to continue purchasing products and getting new recruits.

This company has been into some shady things in its 40 years as a company.

They are structured to look like an MLM, but as with many MLM companies they teeter on the pyramid side working in the gray area where it’s difficult to classify them as one or the other.

However, a majority of people, members, distributors and organizations have come out to speak against Herbalife company.

But even giving Herbalife the benefit of the doubt for past mistakes, and being forced to change the way that they word their promises just this year they got themselves into trouble with the FTC.

There are plenty of MLM’s out there, and plenty of business opportunities that you can join that will offer you the freedom and income that you desire.

In fact, you might find this opportunity below to better be in line with your personal goals.

ScamRisk's #1 Recommended Online Business Model In 2022?

Digital Real Estate

Our review team has spent months researching, reviewing, and vetting dozens of business models and thousands of programs.

While there may be no “perfect business”, the research IS conclusive:

Digital Real Estate is the #1 online business model for those just starting out.

Whether you’ve never made a dollar online, or you’ve been in this space for a while but never really “made it,” Digital Real Estate is for you.

Why?

1) It’s Flexible: got an hour a day? You can do this. Ready to drop everything else and dive in full time? You can do this. Yes, the more time you put in, the faster you see results. But even with a little time each day, you can move the needle in a Digital Real Estate business.

And because this system is so flexible, you don’t have to constantly be working to make more money. It’s called PASSIVE INCOME because if you stop working, the money doesn’t. 

Imagine taking 3 months off to just tour around Europe, rent a cabin in the woods to write a book, hike the Appalachian Trail, or live on the beach and surf all day. 

This is only possible if you have an income stream that’s not tied to your time.

Jump All In

2) You Own & Control EVERYTHING: With MLMs and Network Marketing, you don’t really own anything. You have no control over the quality of products. You don’t even own your “team”.

Look at the fine print for most of the agreements folks sign when they join one of these companies. At any point, the company can change your commission structure, reduce your profit margins, or kick you out entirely.

With Digital Real Estate, you own the assets, which means you have all the power and all the control.

Feeling Blessed

3) Little To No Startup Costs: It’s possible to get into Digital Real Estate with zero dollars upfront. Because, using the strategies outlined in this program, you can get a client to pay you BEFORE spending a penny out of your own pocket…even before you do any work. 

Even without getting paid in advance, you can have your first Digital Rental Property up, running, and generating profits for less than $100.

Scott Lead Gen

4) No Inventory: Alright, so most MLMs don’t make you buy the products and fill your garage with them anymore (unlike the good ol’ days), but you’re still in a physical products business. 

And physical products always have physical limitations. Even if you don’t have to manage the inventory, you still have to deal with supply chain shortages that cause major delays. 

Imagine finally landing your first customer, and then losing them after one sale because they had to wait 6 weeks to get their order.

With Digital Real Estate, a 100% online business, you never even have to think about that risk.

ANNA DONE DEAL

5) Easy To Duplicate: Ok, here’s the best part: once you have your first Digital Rental Property up and running, you can literally DOUBLE your income with a few clicks, a couple keystrokes, and a single phone call (and you don’t actually need the phone call).

Remember: each Digital Rental Property is worth $500 to $2,000 a month in semi-passive income (over 95% profit). Every time you decide to create another one and increase your income, it gets easier.

Because you have more knowledge, more experience, more results, and more momentum. 

If you wanted to double your income with an MLM, you’d have to double your customers OR double the average order size of your existing customers. And, guaranteed that’s a lot harder than a few clicks and a few minutes of your life.

Lance Lead Gen

6) Make Money Helping Real People: This part is what makes it all worth it. In an MLM, your “upline” might convince you that what you’re selling improves people’s lives, but deep down, you likely know that’s not true. 

Most of the time, you’re either selling a dream or a poor-quality, overpriced product with a fancy label. 

And that makes it pretty hard to sleep at night.

But with Digital Real Estate, you’re actually helping people by solving your clients’ biggest problem:

Small, local businesses need more customers, and with Digital Real Estate, you are unleashing a flood of happy, paying customers for these businesses. 

You make money by helping them make money. 

Not a big, faceless corporation either…a small business owner who’s using that money to put food on the table for their family, start a college fund for their kids, or take care of a sick parent. 

Once you see how Digital Real Estate makes a real impact in the lives of real people, you’ll sleep like a baby with a big smile on your face.

Boss of My Own Future

Now, the choice is yours. 

You could continue browsing, looking at opportunities like Herbalife which could one day make you money.

You could continue researching, never making a decision. 

OR, you could take a look inside, consider what you really want, and join a program that makes your dreams a reality. At the same time, joining a community of over 2,000 successful students that are living life on their own terms thanks to Digital Real Estate.

A consistent, reliable, semi-passive stream of income that doesn’t depend on you or your time to keep producing profits. 

All while genuinely helping real people who are grateful and happy to pay for it. 

If this sounds more like what you want out of life (or if you just want some nice side income), click here to learn more about Digital Real Estate.

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