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Is Herbalife a Scam?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I just need to vent for a moment. My mother-in-law and I joined a weight loss challenge a little over a week ago. It was advertised as "Be the Biggest Loser in ##### County." It cost $29 to join the 12 week program. When we got there, before we weighed in or got started, we had to sign a contract stating the $29 fee was unrefundable, that if we gain a pound on the challenge we have to pay $1 for each pound gained, if you don't make it to a meeting you have to pay $5 for missing, and if you come and weigh in but leave before the "nutrition" lecture, you have to pay $2. Little did we know we were joining a Herbalife Weight Loss challenge. The "nutrition" lecture is them telling us how much more enriched our lives would be if we were to use their products. These people are advocating the discontinuation of people's medicine, telling them diabetes can be completely controlled with diet, high cholesterol is a myth propagated by pharmaceutical companies to get you to take more pills, and so on and so forth. Oh, did you know milk isn't a source of calcium (since when???). None of them are nutritionists or dieticians. None of them have any sort of degree. I am so frustrated. I joined because $29 seemed reasonable for a weight loss program. I'm laid off and money is tight. I feel like I've been duped, lied to, taken advantage of. I understand they can not force me to use their products and if I win the weight loss challenge, that money is still mine ($250 prize) but I don't enjoy being forced to listen to their sales pitch or their own propaganda! Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is there someone I can report them to? I feel they falsely advertised themselves. emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ODAT1117
    Hey Everyone,
    I was about to sign up for a 12 weight loss challenge in Clinton County, with a similar payment/cost set up. I had sent an email to the Smart Nutrition 101 website to get more info and the "coach" of the local group called me. I'm glad she did. And she was honest and told me it was about Herbalife. I'm SO glad I found out ahead of time. She said I was "still welcome to come" even though I did not want to end up buying the products. Dang. Well, gosh, thanks so much..... She said there were a few people in the challenge who didn't want the products and they were still in the group, etc etc.

    Anyway, I really appreciated her honesty and set out to do my research. Yeah. Not going to go there or participate in this "challenge". I'm disappointed about the hidden agenda and do NOT want to get into a sales pitch. I also don't want to have to pay five bucks for missing a stupid meeting. Oh, yeah, but I get one "free absence". Whatever.

    Anyway, there is a ton of information out there about herbalife and lots of negative info, including research studies about its lack of efficacy and about its liver toxicity and about all the law suits they've settled out of court. Nice.

    Do your research folks and then make the decision based on what's best for you.

    Thank you for posting this blog!!!! I found it while I was doing my research. :-D

    Good luck everyone!!!

    -Mary
    3236 days ago
  • no profile photo MANDYPAR
    I have been attending this weight loss challange for 3 wks now in Ionia County. I am very very DISPLEASED with the lies and false advertising to get ppl to sign up. I was really excited to learn about positive eating habits, coaching, weekly dicussion's on how people are losing their weight etc... I did not know I would be forced to listen to a sales pitch after every sentence that was read. The instructor talked a total of 3 mins at the MOST (read 5 sentences off 2 pieces of paper) about (fiber) and the rest on (if your not getting enough take this pill or drink this shake ect.) There was more talk about Herbalife then healthy habits.

    Also last night we brought it up and had a discussion about this at the end of the class and all we asked was for was more talk about health and less about Herablife, seeing every sentence there is mentioned of a product..... (have to admit they brainwash/train those people well) to make my long ugly story short we were TOLD to leave the program because this is what it is, HERBALIFE!!! This is what we do and this is what we sell!!! I sd so you are trying to make money off ppl? It’s a scam... I did not believe in their product and we were not buying it. We were attacked by 4 of the so called coaches and yelled at and they tried to turn the tables on us, saying that we had our blinders on and whatever they said wasn't going to change our minds, and YES they do tell you that you can get off other med's if you take this product so if you are a rep (please get a hold of me personally) I was told last night!!!!!!! she flat out asked me if a doctor would prescribe you med's would you take them. I sd yes, she said well i am not telling you to but i promise you if you do it will help out a lot and you would never have to go back to the doctors.. (OK WHERE IS HER MEDICAL LICENSE) and they were REALLY defensive that a couple of the ladies were shaking as they were yelling at us, YES YELLING AND SCREAMING AT US and trying to turn the tables and blaming us for things. I was like WOW... They even excused the rest of the class because they didn't need to hear this. I am sure there are success stories out there, i am not a dummy, i know when I am being played. The question they wouldn't answer, and i was called a bitch for, was where are they now and what happens to ppl when they stop taking their products???


    Bottom line IF you are promoting a product and that is your main goal then tell ppl what you are all about before they invest their time and money. Although I have to admit, I did get my money back so, lesson learned. Watch out for Herbalife cults cuz they are all over.
    3282 days ago
  • no profile photo SUSANMSNIDER
    Four of us just discovered this...we were so excited to join The Biggest Loser Challenge in our area. Nothing about Herbalife was mentioned on the email flier we were sent...they call themselves •SMarT Nutrition here is the link....http://www.smartnutrition10
    1.com/component/content/article
    /2-news/13-are-you-up-for-the-c
    hallenge.html

    What a bunch of BS!!! VERY DECEPTIVE!!!! We were not happy when we realized the first night that this was sales reps from Herbalife trying to promote their product/make money. Started seeing the Herbalife Lanyards (what you put around your neck and they hold a name badge at the clip)and the Herbalife shake info. etc. in the folders they give you. But, we decided since we were there, would continue on and see how the classes were conducted... Well, the first night it was very subtle. The second night out come the sample shakes they had made up for everyone and the discussion promoting Herbalife products started. Hoping that that was the end of it and that product would just be there if people wished to purchase it at our weekly class meetings. Well last night took the cake when there was a 5 minute informational talk on negative calories and then right into the speal about getting off medications and trying this and that instead...this and that being Herbalife's magic potions. NOT what we signed up for!!! The gals that are heading up the class are, obviously, there to promote/sell Herbalife when, instead, the leaders of the class should be there because they want to promote health in general, healthy eating, weight control management, and support for loosing weight and eating healthier, exercise, etc., which is what the Biggest Looser concept is all about. There are more/have been more issues with the class, but this is the biggest one. Next week we are going to bring the topic up in class for discussion...will be an interesting night...especially since I have found your blog! LOL So now our goal is not only to lose weight and get healthier, but to also win proving that exercise and eating normally/healthy works and Herbalife is NOT needed!!!

    The funny thing is...they have SparkPeople on one of sheets they gave us as a good place to get support.
    3289 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/12/2010 2:31:37 PM
  • no profile photo THINANDLOVINGIT
    I am an Herbalife distributor. The company does NOT make any medical declarations, nor does it advise anyone to quit taking any medications. Herbalife is expressly against that type of advice. It is strictly against the rules of distributorship. Herbalife does not act as a laxative. Check the ingredients out for yourselves. As far as the promotion not being advertised as Herbalife. There are a few reasons for that Herbalife distributors are independent distributors- Herbalife is a trademark. It has certain ways advertising can be done- simply so that someone does not misrepresent the company. Herbalife is a great product and works well, before you start jumping on any band wagons- check out some testimonials for yourself. My own results were what got me to become a distributor. The only person who told me to stop taking my medications, was my doctor.
    By using Herbalife- I quit eating a lot of junk/non nutritional food, and stopped craving it.
    Lost weight, cholesterol going down, blood pressure great, no more asthma meds.
    Why? Not because Herbalife cured anything, but because it allowed me the proper nutrition to help let go of the junk. I clearly had food sensitivities as well as too much fats, carbs... If a Herbalife rep makes any kind of medical diagnosis or misrepresents themselves in any way, you should alert the company.
    Herbalife is a good company, a good source of income opportunity and has highly qualified Dr's and nutritionists developing their products. Their labs are at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Their Dr.'s are the same ones congress calls on. A 4 billion dollar company that is even growing in this economy? Surely someone is doing something right. It really isn't a scam, but as with any business and life in general- you can't please everyone all of the time...And the wrong person representing a product can quickly make you feel like the product is wrong.
    Weight loss challenge has a 48 hour money back guarantee, after that- it is solely up to the discretion of the distributor. The challenge is intended to be fun, motivational, and help customers get educated about the Herbalife products.
    I haven't found anywhere in the weight loss challenge rules- that state you can charge 2.00 if you leave early. I would check that out. Ask for a copy of the contract you signed, the distributor is required to keep it for a year. So don't let them tell you they don't have it. The contract Herbalife provides- states that a refund will be given in the first 48 hours if requested. It should also only state- the price to join- the 1.00 weight gain per pound- and a absence fee. 1 absence is allowed without charge.
    ALL money is to be paid in the form of cash or prizes. The distributor may not keep any money (fee money) as profit. They can only profit from the product. All fees are paid and collected as incentive to lose weight and to start taking an interest in getting healthier.
    3593 days ago
  • no profile photo THINANDLOVINGIT
    I am an Herbalife distributor. The company does NOT make any medical declarations, nor does it advise anyone to quit taking any medications. Herbalife is expressly against that type of advice. It is strictly against the rules of distributorship. Herbalife does not act as a laxative. Check the ingredients out for yourselves. As far as the promotion not being advertised as Herbalife. There are a few reasons for that Herbalife distributors are independent distributors- Herbalife is a trademark. It has certain ways advertising can be done- simply so that someone does not misrepresent the company. Herbalife is a great product and works well, before you start jumping on any band wagons- check out some testimonials for yourself. My own results were what got me to become a distributor. The only person who told me to stop taking my medications, was my doctor.
    By using Herbalife- I quit eating a lot of junk/non nutritional food, and stopped craving it.
    Lost weight, cholesterol going down, blood pressure great, no more asthma meds.
    Why? Not because Herbalife cured anything, but because it allowed me the proper nutrition to help let go of the junk. I clearly had food sensitivities as well as too much fats, carbs... If a Herbalife rep makes any kind of medical diagnosis or misrepresents themselves in any way, you should alert the company.
    Herbalife is a good company, a good source of income opportunity and has highly qualified Dr's and nutritionists developing their products. Their labs are at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Their Dr.'s are the same ones congress calls on. A 4 billion dollar company that is even growing in this economy? Surely someone is doing something right. It really isn't a scam, but as with any business and life in general- you can't please everyone all of the time...And the wrong person representing a product can quickly make you feel like the product is wrong.
    Weight loss challenge has a 48 hour money back guarantee, after that- it is solely up to the discretion of the distributor. The challenge is intended to be fun, motivational, and help customers get educated about the Herbalife products.
    I haven't found anywhere in the weight loss challenge rules- that state you can charge 2.00 if you leave early. I would check that out. Ask for a copy of the contract you signed, the distributor is required to keep it for a year. So don't let them tell you they don't have it. The contract Herbalife provides- states that a refund will be given in the first 48 hours if requested. It should also only state- the price to join- the 1.00 weight gain per pound- and a absence fee. 1 absence is allowed without charge.
    ALL money is to be paid in the form of cash or prizes. The distributor may not keep any money (fee money) as profit. They can only profit from the product. All fees are paid and collected as incentive to lose weight and to start taking an interest in getting healthier.
    3593 days ago
  • SHUTTERCOOKIE
    I just had this happen to me last night! I did some research and left a message that I want a refund or would complain to the BBB. It must have made her nervous because she said she would give me a refund but her email was completely nasty; essentially, saying I deserve to be overweight since I'm not open to using her products!

    3647 days ago
  • HEALTHYTAL
    Hi I just joined a similar 12 week program/challenge with Herbalife distributors. I must admit, I didn't like that it turned out that the people running the challenge were Herbalife distributors and that they were not "nutritionists" or real "dieticians". But there is still value in doing the challenge or program. As a prior military officer I was required to learn about nutrition and fitness (albeit I haven't been applying that knowledge) and the information they are sharing is sound. You have to drink water, eat more protein to fuel the muscles, watch your intake, and exercise. If you look at your metabolic test and what is recommended here on sparkpeople, you will see that their recommendations are within the same ranges. Don't buy into the products and embrace the challenge (the information and the competition). Having to weigh-in and pay for any weight gained is a way to motivate. You have to admit, they came up with a smart/creative way to sell their products. I already lost 7lbs in two weeks, and, yes, I did use their protein shake to get more protein. But,most importantly, I use this site to track my calories.
    3701 days ago
  • DAWNWINS
    My friend and I just joined a "Weight Loss Challenge" on 9/1/09. Upon walking in we were offered "herbal tea" from Herbalife, I got real suspicious. Then we had to go with our "coach" to a local business where we had our body analysis. Then we got the sales pitch. We had already agreed before we got to the "shop" that we were not buying anything. We are upset because this "class" was setup as part of our Local Park District program. What I do believe is true is their statements about how much protein is required. I did alot of research on the net on this and realized that almost all the programs that people have lost weight on included kicking up the protein. Probably my biggest shock was to find out that the contestants on "The Biggest Loser" were using protein shakes. My solution to this...we went to the GNC store and bought a much cheaper version of protein powder. My friend has already lost 7 pounds and I am down 4 so something is working. I think it is probably a good product, just the sales tactics aren't so much
    3713 days ago
  • JRADILLY82
    I just came across your blog. How did you handle your situation with herbalife? My mom used to sell it and my aunt has been selling it for years. She doesn't sell it like that, it's out of catalog.

    Right now I'm only drinking the shakes in the morning. In a previous post, someone said that herbalife acts as a laxative. It doesn't make me feel like I took a laxative at all. I drink the shake (3 scoops) with just water and it keeps me full until lunch. (i have a mid-morning snack though).
    3754 days ago
  • BNSGOODWIN1991
    Im with Herbalife and I have never heard of people doing this that you reported. I would be mad too. I have lost weight and have helped others to lose weight . I have never told anyone to quit taking their meds. Im sorry that you got a hold of some bad people but not everyone is like that. Im in it to help people not just to make money. emoticon
    3759 days ago
  • SUMMERHEALTH
    This is TERRIBLE! I just googled "herbalife legal help" and found there are at least two ongoing lawsuits. The webpage for one of them is "www.tcpasettlement.com" If you are really in the mood to fight this, you could call one of the attorney offices listed at the bottom of that page. They may not be very helpful, but then you could tell the Herbalife reps "I've been in contact with _____ attorney's office that is handling the current lawsuit." and ask them to release you from your contract or you will pursue legal action. It's a bit of a bluff, but you wouldn't be lying and it might just work! Let me know if you decide to pursue this. I'll be curious!
    -Summer.
    3837 days ago
  • DEVONLANE
    YEP!!! Herbalife is a HUGE SCAM and there "advice" is medically unsound. I don't know if you know this, but Herbalife actually acts as a laxative--it may be plant derived, but the effect on your body is the same as if you were popping laxative pills. I don't know about you, but I don't want to give up one bad habit--compulsive overeating, for a new bad one--abusing laxatives. Neither one is good, and both can be deadly.

    I've worked in healthcare for over 20 years, and any program the advocates people discontinuing their meds--without their physican's knowledge or or say-so, are setting themselves up for even bigger problems than obesity.

    I'm in complete agreement that you should contact the Better Business Bureau in your area. If you wrote acheck, can you put a stop payment on it? If they had been truthful in their advertising for the "weight loss challenge," I'm willing to bet that less than half of the folks at the meeting would have showed up. Sounds like deceitful advertising to me.

    I'm unemployed too--and $29 bucks is almost half of my weekly food budget--every penny counts in our circumstances doesn't it?

    Good luck!
    3837 days ago
  • BPWRITER47
    you might want to see if you can report them. I'm not sure who you would go to; better business bureau or attorney general??

    they've been around for years but I hate those kind of selling techniques. hopefully you didn't sign a contract about the fees. they can't hold you to it if there's no contract and I'm not sure that is legal anyway. It's misleading if they didn't inform you who the company was.
    3837 days ago
  • KELLYININ
    OMG I would be furious! I don't even know what to say!!! Can you maybe listen to your headphones during the "lecture"? They can't force you to listen, can they? ARGH!
    3837 days ago
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