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When the FTC settles with – or sues – a company, we’re often trying to stop illegal behavior, return lost money to people as often as we can, and generally make unfair things fair and deceptive things true.

Today’s historic settlement with Herbalife goes one better: the FTC’s settlement significantly restructures Herbalife, changing – top to bottom – how it does business. And it makes the company pay $200 million back to people who lost the most money. This is a big win for anyone who paid lots of money to Herbalife, and people who might in the future.

You might know Herbalife through its extensive marketing in English and Spanish. Through print and video promotions, and glowing testimonials, Herbalife told people they could change their lives – quit their jobs or even get rich – by selling the company’s weight management and nutrition products:

“The days when I would earn a living cleaning houses are behind me…”

“When we worked in factories our earnings could only pay for basic needs, but now we can take our 12 grandkids on vacations.”

“When I got to ten thousand, I thought, well that wasn’t so hard after all, maybe I can get to fifteen, and I went from fifteen, to twenty, and then to thirty, and then even up to forty thousand dollars a month.”

Hundreds of thousands of people signed on for the Herbalife business “opportunity” – but most people made little or no money. In fact, the FTC’s complaint shows how half of Herbalife’s “sales leaders” earned less than $5 a month on average from selling the product. Instead, the incentives were to recruit more people who would then buy more product – whether or not there was a market to sell it. 

That’s why this settlement is so important for consumers. Now, anyone who tries to make money selling Herbalife will be paid based on what they sell, not how many people they recruit. The settlement also requires the company – from now on – to make only truthful claims about how much money people are likely to make. And they have to be able to back those claims up.

Watch this space to find out how the $200 million will be divided among the people who lost money to Herbalife. We’ll keep you posted.

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August 23, 2016
Are there any updates on how the $200 million settlement is going to be distributed? It's been over a month and we have not been given any details or any kind of timeline to this distribution. I purchased a nutrition club in 2012 and just about broke even for almost 4 years before luckily being able to recoup my start up fee. I worked 80 hours a week on average after my up line told me they would help me after I opened up and I would purchase my first home in cash. After I opened up they disappeared and I was forced to move back in with my parents. I still think Herbalife is a good business opportunity if done correctly (including rewarding distributors more for sales and not signing up new members), but they deserved the $200 million fine because their high level distributors will tell every person they encounter that they are going to be rich.
FTC Staff
August 23, 2016

In reply to by AK

According to the FTC's press release, the order imposes a $200 million judgment against Herbalife to provide consumer redress, including money for people, such as many Nutrition club owners, who purchased large quantities of Herbalife products and lost money. The FTC has information about the Herbalife refund process.

Small Business Guy
September 07, 2016
How do I tip off the FTC about another company that is way out of control with money and car promises?
September 09, 2016
The amount of lies, willful ignorance, an misinformation on this thread is nothing short of staggering. Did Bill Ackman make all of these posts? Too bad this did not go to litigation...
October 04, 2016
I also started a Herbalife business and before I knew it I was in serious debt. how do I get my money back. I would love to get in on this
John Oliver watcher
November 14, 2016
If john Oliver can accurately portray Herbalife as a pyramid using the actual data from FTC investigation of Herbalife, why can't the FTC put the same label on it? It should be shut down just like VEMMA. Words on FTC settlement are almost identical.
January 19, 2017
I received my check yesterday and was shocked, lol. I bought into the LIE and LOST. I thought I would make money selling the product but all I ever heard from my sponsor was RECRUIT. How do you honestly recruit your family and friends into a business and the product just won't sell? It's just WRONG. Thank you FTC for getting at lease SOME of my money back. I ended up throwing the stuff away.........sheesh.
January 19, 2017
You need to look into that "lead selling" they do as well. I don't know if that changed in the new structure but it's a RIP OFF. Not ONE SINGLE LEAD paid off for me! Most wouldn't even email you back. It was a total waste of money!!!
January 19, 2017
I called the number and they said I was not on the list because I am still "active". I only purchase for myself.
January 20, 2017
How can we seek a refund. We lost over 3k in 2011. Can you please post specific steps that we can follow to ensure we get some of our money back.
FTC Staff
January 22, 2017

In reply to by rbenitez

In general, the FTC is sending partial refunds to people if they:

  • ran a Herbalife business in the United States between 2009 and 2015, and
  • paid at least $1,000 to Herbalife, and
  • the people got nothing, or very little, back from the company.

Click here for more information and a number to call if you think you should get a refund.

January 23, 2017
So what happens if i was a supervisor in 2009 and i quit doing herbalife in 2011 and i move to a different state can i still get a refund? ??
January 26, 2017
I was in Herbalife from 2009 to 2013 I believe. I cashed the rest of my 401K in to invest with this company to come in directly as a supervisor. They just tell you to do what the process says, don't ask question, just trust them. I lost thousands and thousands, buying leads, stocked kits etc. Finally lost my supervisor status so I thought that was the end of it. Then I hear the top guy in our line, Anthony Powell left to run Vemma and tried to get us all to follow him and took my direct supervisor with him! I was completely left in the dark. I wasn't even buying anything at that point, just a couple of personal use purchases with a small discount. This is considered an active distributor? I was not distributing to anyone. No body told me anything. I recently discovered I was converted to a "charter member". I lost so much but I hear my downline got refund checks! It's not right.
I'm a distributor
March 12, 2017

In reply to by LyB

You would have had to switch to a preferred member yourself, no one can do that for you. I would call member services and find out
April 27, 2018
I filed a claim about a year and a half ago and have not receive any response. I have talked to the refund administrator who has no information or timeline for a decision. Is there anywhere to get a timeline or more information on when this may come to a conclusion?
September 12, 2019
I received an refund check from the federal trade commission and put it a side. I just found it again and it's pass the 60days, can I still cash it?
FTC Staff
October 22, 2019

In reply to by WHITTIER

If you have questions about the case, please call the refund administrator at 844-322-8146.

September 16, 2019
I sold Herbalife . or rather recruited people and never made a dime, lost money doing this and quit when my up line started calling my down line. Did I loose out on getting anything back? This was in 2011.
FTC Staff
October 22, 2019

In reply to by Lostmoneyinherbalife

If you have questions about the case, please call the refund administrator at 844-322-8146.

April 02, 2020
I was cleaning my junk mail and found a check from FTC/Herbalife , but it expired in 2019. Can I still deposit this check or where can I get a new one?