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Last July, we told you about the FTC’s settlement with Herbalife, which made the multilevel marketing company not only restructure how it does business, but also pay $200 million to people who lost money trying to run an Herbalife business. Today, we mailed checks to about 350,000 of them.

Are you thinking about a multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunity? Every year, many people join MLM plans – and many also leave. Before joining any MLM company, do some research. Your time and money are too valuable not to. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Can you realistically see yourself selling to your network of friends and family? Selling is work, and not everyone is good at it.
  • What about the product? Would people you know buy it repeatedly and consistently? Or would they only buy it once as a favor? Can people buy comparable products for less?
  • What will it cost you to run this business? You might get pressure to buy a lot of product – in fact, people have lost a lot of money buying more product than they can sell. Also consider things like gas, shipping and packaging costs, sales aids, trainings, and your time. Does that math add up for you? Lots of people leave multilevel marketing programs without making any money, and many lose money.

If the person who recruited you into the business tells you not to worry about selling because you can make money by recruiting others – walk away. In a legitimate MLM program, you need to be able to make money by selling the product, not by recruiting others to join and buy the product. 

So, what about the money back from the Herbalife settlement? Well, the settlement covered people who worked with Herbalife between 2009 and 2015. If you were an Herbalife distributor who paid at least $1,000 to Herbalife during those years, but got little or nothing back from the company – and we were able to locate a valid address for you – you should be seeing a check. The check is a partial refund of the money we estimate you lost while trying to run an Herbalife business.

If you get a check refunding some of the money you lost in Herbalife, cash it. If you have questions about why you didn’t get a check, learn more on our refunds page. Thinking about whether a business opportunity is right for you? The FTC has resources for evaluating business opportunities, including MLMs.

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253 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Ana Laura
January 10, 2017
Los felicito por su labor; efectivamente, muchos de nosotros aceptamos entrar a programas de multinivel debido a la necesidad de esforzarnos por ganar dinero extra al que obtenemos por nuestro trabajo formal, o incluso, debido a que no se cuenta con uno. Lo hacemos con esperanza, con entusiasmo y quizá, sí con dudas y desde luego, sin analizar del todo los aspectos reales que ello conlleva. Agradezco mucho su intervensión; en mi caso no me incorporé a Herbalife, pero sí lo he hecho con otros productos y como bien dicen, las ventas son un ejercicio profesional, en donde se debe contar con habilidades que nos siempre desarrollamos. Gracias por compartirnos los recursos para ayudarnos a evaluar las oportunidades de negocio, es de gran valor. Reciban un gran y fraterno saludo y mi reconocimiento por su invaluable apoyo .
Michael C
January 11, 2017

Please make these rules/regulations for all MLM's (Primerica, Anway, NuSkin, Mary Kay) Herbalife is just one of them. They need to be stop. Thanks!

LLH
January 18, 2017

In reply to by Michael C

Another one that should be looked at is Life Vantage. They do the same thing.
Herbman
January 25, 2017

In reply to by Michael C

They should also look up Ambit Energy and melaleuca
EnergyLife
April 11, 2017

In reply to by Michael C

Hi there. I am stunned to hear this about Herbalife. I joined Herbalife in 1993. What about the rest of us in the UK who spent lots of money, but made nothing like myself? I am still a member but due to the fact that I lost a lot of money, I only use it for myself now. I attended a lot of Seminars, gave up my precious time, saw how rude people can be in those seminars (if you were not part of their downline and you tried to get help from them). I could not attend anymore. I only use the product now for personal use.
Jystana
November 06, 2019

In reply to by EnergyLife

same thing happened to me- lost over $30K. Herbalife is NOT at all what they tell you it is. Even with the "new structure" they have implemented, it's still a scam. I hope someday, someone will take down the company and maybe just MAYBE I might see some of my money back.
Carlos L. A. S…
January 10, 2017
aquí en Chile casi nada se ha sabido de este problema de Herbalife con sus distribuidores. Excelente información de ustedes.
AmberRobb
January 10, 2017
I want my money back
ScamLife
January 11, 2017
You guy's didn't go far enough. Should've shut them down for good in the USA.
Maria Salome. …
January 10, 2017
Ok,muy importante,q le devuelvan el dinero,a pobres luchadores como ami q perdí dinero en el 2007,con ellos,y el producto no sirve,porque ami me daño mi estómago,con el polvo para bajar e peso tuve q dejarlo de tomar porque sino hubiese perdido mi estómago,pero feliz porque hallan tomado medidas sobre esto,eso es una cogioca...
Tamaraga
May 25, 2019

In reply to by Maria Salome. …

Buenas, no creo que el daño de su estómago fuese causado por herbalife son productos de nutrición saludable y a mi me van genial me encuentro superbien y mis análisis están mucho mejor. Cada uno invierte en lo que quiere y a veces se gana y otras se pierde. Pero cuantas personas han invertido millones en negocios que no han funcionado? No se puede culpar a Herbalife, a nadie Le ponen un cuchillo en el cuello, uno lo intenta y si sale bien y si no pues nada, lo que se pierde es mínimo.
Leopoldo Patri…
January 11, 2017
Una publicación valiosa, ademas yo fui distribuidor independiente de Herbalife, y su Publicación es un alerta para los que hacemos este tipo de Trabajo, que nos sirve de mucha ayuda, gracias..
MONILOVE
January 12, 2017
i sent in a claim and never heard back anything
Ivanramo
January 17, 2017

In reply to by MONILOVE

You should be recieving a check pretty soon i just got mine.
Barb
January 17, 2017

In reply to by Ivanramo

I never sent In anything this was a total surprise to me
rc100
January 12, 2017
Thank you for your informative post about Herbalife; btw I'm testing the reCAPTCHA on the site.
JorgeE.Romero
January 13, 2017
Cuanto es lo que tienen que reembolsarme
shopper01
January 13, 2017
Is th refund money legitimate?
Miriam
January 14, 2017
Seré una de las personas que recibirá el rembolso hay un listado?
jess0319
January 17, 2017

In reply to by shopper01

I'm wondering the same? Did you find out for sure if it was legit?
easoto50
January 14, 2017
and where is my money I needed it bad
EV67
January 15, 2017
Eloy Ortega Vega: les doy las gracias, por el buen trabajo que han hecho sobre la demanda de esa compañía fraudulentas como "Herbalife".Era yo uno de esa víctima; gracias por que he recibido mi "check de REEMBOlSO"...!!!!!
Michelle velasquez
January 16, 2017
Como dieron con mi direccion actual, si no es la misma que cuando empese a ser distribuidora???
js200
January 14, 2017
Considering the money I spent to join Herbalife as a Supervisor, and the amount spent buying leads for their products the check I received is very minimal this is not to down their products by no means. I'll like to Thank the FTC For your effort to protect the consumers, with all the marketing scam today we need much more attention from the FTC. THANK'S
garciasanchez
February 06, 2017
Hola mi nombr XXXXXXX e es c. s. mi numero de id de miembra de herbalife desde 01/28/2011 y estoy informada sobre los cheques de reembolsos de esta compañia y el motivo de mi mensaje es que yo no he resibido reembolso y he estado lllamando por mas de dos horas en espera y no me contestan hay otra manera que yo obtenga ayuda sobre todo porque yo cambie de direccion mi num de telefono es xxxxxxxxxx.
cmiranda
February 06, 2017

In reply to by garciasanchez

Hola,

La FTC usó los registros de Herbalife para determinar quiénes son elegibles para recibir un reembolso y el monto de cada cheque.

Si necesitas más información, favor de visitar a ftc.gov/es/herbalife.

Gracias.

2Good2BTrue
January 14, 2017
I got my check today and I am thrilled because I was not expecting it. Kudos to the FTC for the great job they have done! Hopefully, other companies and their participants will learn from this.
Katy
January 17, 2017
Yo también invertí dinero en esta compañía y quisiera saber adonde me puedo comunicar para más información acerca de los rembolsos
Taken for a loop
January 23, 2017

In reply to by 2Good2BTrue

I heard about this last year but never thought I would receive anything. I spent over $2500 and just received my check for $384 a little more of my money would have been nice but I'm happy I've received this.
Dontloosemoney
January 14, 2017
I spent over 3,000 and only got a small refund. How was the amount of refund determined? This is the first I've heard of this.
Reymond
January 17, 2017
Como puedo saber si voy a recibir un cheke por esta demanda
FTC Staff
January 17, 2017

In reply to by Dontloosemoney

The FTC used Herbalife’s records to determine who would get a refund and the how much the refund would be.

In general, the FTC is giving partial refunds to people who ran an Herbalife business in the United States between 2009 and 2015, and who paid at least $1,000 to Herbalife, but got little or nothing back from the company.

Most checks are between $100 and $500. The largest checks are more than $9,000.

keb
January 25, 2017

In reply to by FTC Staff

I made a business investment of USD3,345.62 into Herbalife and received a check from the FTC for USD371.75. 11+ US cents on the dollar invested by me. By the way; Hebalife added a 9.5% California retail sales tax on my business investment based on a retail product value of USD4,308.26. (I was told my my sponsors that My business investment into Herbalife was at the Supervisor wholesale distributor level which is not retail.) Continuing; If I would have sold Herbalife products at retail, not, I was required to add another 9.5% California retail sales tax on to the retail sales price. So Herbalife collected a 9.5% California retail sales tax (USD409.30) on my original business investment with Herbalife and then I was also required to collect another 9.5% California retail sales tax. Say what? I would be paying California, in this example, two 9.5% retail sales taxes. This is wrong. My business investment into Herbalife was not a retail transaction but a wholesale transaction and should not have been taxed as a retail transaction. What relationship does the USD371.75 FTC check to me have to do with my business investment of USD3,345.62 into Herbalife? How did you arrive, in my case, at damages of 11+ US cents on the dollar invested? . . . When does the USD409.30 owed to me for a tax I didn't owe California in the first place come into your calculations for damages? IF time, please advise. Thank you.
Please Reply I…
August 23, 2017

In reply to by FTC Staff

Hi Bridget Small-FTC. I received a check for $950.00 2 months past the expiration date of the check....due to an error in the mailing address...So finally receiving the check I have been trying to get answers, with no luck. The FTC has told me that someone may contact me within a month and I have been checking back with them and they state the same thing. Nobody is giving me a person to talk to, a number to call to get this taken care of. I am a bit frustrated as it is very obvious the money is issued to me, yet I am getting the run around. Please give me some guidance in regards to this manner. my email is . Thanks
FTC Staff
August 23, 2017

In reply to by Please Reply I…

Please make a copy of the comment you submitted here and send it to BlogInfo@FTC.gov.

bogus
January 17, 2017

In reply to by Dontloosemoney

hm they've must of given it to many other "satisfied" customer/members. 6 people i know of(and counting) that received money that still consume herbalife and were never complaining to begin with, hmm those FTC algorithms....
ChyNaRed
January 15, 2017
No one had called or reached me by mail that there was a class action against Herbalife, so imagine my surprise when I got a nice sum of money in the check I received today. I'm so glad, after all I put $3,200. into Herbalife from a savings account in 2010, I had over 1/2 of the product left that I never sold, so this is great. Thank you FTC.
Abdiel Ponce
February 06, 2017
Muchas gracias por el cheque, es mucho el gusto que tengo. Ahora les ruego me ayuden para entender esto: Mi cuñada trabajó desde México con la compañía herbalife, Su nombre es Elizabeth G. A. ID # XXXXXXXX
LoveConquersAll
January 15, 2017
Thank you for the info. You're right, if I can't make money selling it then it's not worth it.
Eunice Gutiérrez
February 06, 2017
A quien corresponda: Quiero hacer de su conocimiento que yo adquirí un número de socio con Herbalife y lo estuve consumiendo por más de un año sin que el sistema me diera ninguna ganancia pero peor aún me dejó una complicación hepática que casi me cuesta la vida, por lo que he expuesto solicito ser tomada en cuenta en el reclamo de una compensación justa, dejando en claro que estoy muy decepcionada de Herbalife. A continuación les dejo mi email XXXXXXXXXXXX y mi num de socio con el que estuve dada de alta: XXXXXXXX Les solicito una respuesta a mi justo reclamo
cmiranda
February 06, 2017

In reply to by Eunice Gutiérrez

Hola,

La FTC usó los registros de Herbalife para determinar quiénes son elegibles para recibir un reembolso y el monto de cada cheque.

Si necesitas más información, favor de visitar a ftc.gov/es/herbalife.

Gracias.

lconstanza alvarado
August 15, 2017

In reply to by Eunice Gutiérrez

Querida, si te asociaste para consumo propio con descuento y no para negocio, entonces tu ganancia sera tu descuento y si algo gana un asociado que quiere hacer negocio esla diferencia entre su descuento y el precio al que se lo vende al cliente, esto es negocio independiente, los cliente te pagan a ti no a herbalife, por lo tanto tu manejas tu ganancia, si no ganaste no tiene bada que ver con la empresa... con respecto a tu problema de salud lo lamento, pero la estafa era del negocio no del producto, asi que compensación para eso temo que no exite ;)
Dlee
January 15, 2017
Ya i lost about 6k, purchase items and tools to move forward and try to make money with it. I bought products to even went out to big mall event's to sale. It was not about us being to sale a product it was about them feeding off of a dream that wouldn't never come true. I would love to have all the money i spent back in my pockets. Its only far
pr800
January 15, 2017
Thank you very much for helping us learn about the refunds. This gave me faith to our government in preventing abuses by business operators.
Juan A. Luna
January 18, 2017
me cambie de direccion y quisiera saber si me mandarin cheque