US weight-loss business Isagenix has been hammered by Consumer group Choice for allowing unqualified operatives to sell its products and supply diet advice they are not qualified to give.
The spruikers, it seems, are more interested in recruiting sellers than actually pushing their products.
Isagenix is only one of many multi-national businesses at the fringes of the law. Call it what you will – network marketing, multi-level marketing, direct selling, pyr- Oops, no, I could be sued for saying that. Whatever name you give it the business is still structured to exploit personal relationships for a business benefit.
Many people have found out the hard way that foisting promises of wealth and happiness on friends and family doesn’t make good business sense. Especially when those promises aren’t backed up with anything,
In his book False Profits author Robert L. Fitzpatrick explains why companies like Amway, Avon, Herbalife, and Isagenix can be so disruptive and destructive to those who fall for their marketing: “With a 99 per cent failure rate, it is inevitable and understandable that recruiting friends, families, and neighbours into such losing propositions leads, almost universally, to rancour, alienation and the loss of trust. Divorces are common outcome
“MLM is, in fact, the only business on earth based entirely upon the commercialisation of personal relations, a fundamental contradiction that obviously could not work.”
The way multi-level marketers speak tells you the nature of their business. They use words like: ‘relationship’ selling and ‘personal’ referrals when describing their sales techniques. Such terms assume the consent of the other party in this transaction. But it is a transaction where they are at a distinct informational disadvantage – they don’t know they are being sold to until it’s time to close the deal.
Chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre in Melbourne, Gerard Brody, says MLMs “tend to overpromise on what they deliver, even potentially mislead people about the sorts of income generation they can obtain.
“Our concern is that they can target some pretty vulnerable people, maybe low income earners, but also those potentially easily persuaded by pressure sales or marketing clams.
“They encourage a sort of family or team-like atmosphere, so people tend to think they’re getting something out of it beyond the business outcomes that it’s delivering.”

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