Review of Herbalife: Under FBI Investigation

Posted on Posted in Product Reviews, SCAM Reviews

PRODUCT NAME:   Herbalife International
Overall Ranking: 30 out of 100 
Price: $49 initially to sign up, but has endless upsells going upwards to the thousands of dollars
Owners:  Founded by Mark Hughes in 1980.
He passed away in 2000 from mixing his anti-depressant medicine with an excessive amount of alcohol. His alcohol level was reported to be  It is ironic and very sad that someone who owned and started a natural health and wellness company died from doing something that was extraordinarily unnatural and unhealthy.   The company continued to see profits after Hughes death and in 2002, the company was acquired by J.H. Whitney & Company and Golden Gate Capitol for the amount of $685 Million.   In 2003, Michael O. Johnson joined Herbalife as the CEO following his 17-year long career with Walt Disney Company and the president of Walt Disney International.



Herbalife is an American multinational multi-level marketing (MLM) company which develops and distributes personal care products, weight loss and nutrition supplements, weight management and sports nutrition products.  Herbalife had a reported earning of $3.625 billion in 2014 which was a 21% decrease from 2013.   It is headquartered in the Cayman Islands.  As of August 2015, Herbalife internationally operates and distributes their products to 95 different countries.

The way an MLM structure operates is people make commissions, sales and bonuses from selling to their downline which are the people they recruit and bring into the structure.  However, recently as of March 2014, Herbalife has been under investigation from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Herbalife has been the focus of a serious hedge fund battle. Pershing Square Capital Management, ran by Bill Ackman, states the company is a “pyramid scheme” which is against the law in many countries to include United States, Canada and many European countries.

FBI Investigates Herbalife for being a pyramid scheme
FBI Investigates Herbalife for being a pyramid scheme

A pyramid scheme is defined as an unsustainable business approach which promises unsuspecting participants services or huge payments, mostly from recruiting other people into the scheme instead of being able produce sales of products or services to the general public.  Another words, if a company makes more money from the recruitment of new people who are forced to buy their products in order to become part of the scheme than they do from actually selling and distributing the products to the general public, then they are known as a pyramid scheme.   The term ponzi scheme has also been referenced in relation to the open investigation of Herbalife.

FBI Investigation
FBI Investigation

In a pyramid scheme, an organization compels individuals to make a payment and join. In exchange, the organization promises its new members a share of the money taken from every additional member that they recruit. The directors of the organization (those at the top of the pyramid) also receive a share of these payments. For the directors, the scheme is potentially lucrative—whether or not they do any work, the organization’s membership has a strong incentive to continue recruiting and funneling money to the top of the pyramid.

In 2011 after I was laid off from my position as a librarian, I was collecting unemployment and looking for ways in which I can earn money.  I was desperate, as a single mom with two kids, I needed to find ways to make money and quickly.  I was looking online because I had degrees and computer experience.  Somehow I ended up getting suckered into Herbalife.  I first was asked to give $49 and than there were more upsells and then I started receiving numerous phone calls from a gentleman named Jim who according to him was my upline.   I did not know anything about MLM marketing.  After being put through some super high pressure sales calls from Jim and the one above him, I began to become highly suspicious.  Being a librarian, I started doing my own research and I found hundreds of articles from credible sources about the legitimacy of Herbalife.  I was then asked to buy nearly $4 thousand dollars worth of Herbalife’s products – What?!  I was collecting unemployment and looking for new job prospects, not scams and “get rich quick schemes” which is what Herbalife promises to its new investors.  They were pressuring me to take out loans from banks and max out my credit cards to purchase $4 thousand dollars worth of their products. Fortunately, I wised up before they got my money but do be warned and do diligence by researching any opportunity in which it sounds too good to be true.

Herbalife scam
The Truth Behind the Claims of Herbalife




  • Easy to join


  • Under current investigation from the FTC, SEC and FBI for evidence of operating under a pyramid and ponzi scheme.
  • Must spend thousands of dollars upfront
  • False promises of “getting rich quick”
  • Enormously risky
  • Must recruit and make others spend thousands of dollars too on the products
  • Only a small reported percentage of the products are actually sold to the general public. The majority of the products are sold through recruitment of new investors.
  • Has reputation of preying on low income individuals, especially Hispanic and minority groups.


This product is for someone who wants to work from home and is exploring ways to achieve financial freedom.  It is an MLM firm in which you can set your own schedule and be your own boss.  However, keep in mind, the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) warns everyone of how many MLM companies are actually pyramid schemes.


I spent some time in their website and sign up platform and there did not seem to be much training nor support.  The gentleman who was actively attempting to recruit me, Jim, would pretend to try and help but when I asked to speak to someone in their technical support department, I was told, there was no access to a technical support staff member, which had red flags going up.

I was looking for a training portal where I could listen to tutorials and take notes and I did not see anything like that.


The only “support” I ever seemed to get was from Jim who did not seem interested in letting me talk to anyone other than himself or his upline.  I was looking for a broader team-based community involvement business model and not one in that I could only reach out to one person. I wanted something where I could reach out to other individuals 24 hours a day and find assistance and help and support.  I wanted to see for myself how successful was this company.  I did not want to take one stranger’s word for it.  The only place I have been able to find something like that is Wealthy Affiliate.


My final opinion and advice is to stay away from Herbal Life International.  With the current investigation from the Federal Bureau Investigation, Federal Trade Commission and the Pershing Square Capital Management, it is best to look elsewhere for ways to earn a legitimate online opportunity. Do your research on Herbal Life and see for yourself how this company has lost it’s credibility over the years and will probably soon be out of business completely and forced to shut down pending the results of the investigations.  The ones I feel very sorry for are the people whom have been taken advantage of by Herbal Life.  If you are one of those individuals, please leave your comments below, because I would love to hear from you.

If you are searching for a way to build a legitimate online business, one that is that under investigation by the FBI and FTC, check out Wealthy Affiliate.


Steph Hill

Greetings! It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Stephanie and the aim of this website is to help newcomers to the field of internet marketing by providing free easy-to-follow tutorials, product reviews and resources. I hope you find the information useful and down-to-earth. My background is in librarianship, technical writing, special education, software training and web design. Please leave a comment with your questions and I will be happy to answer them.

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38 thoughts on “Review of Herbalife: Under FBI Investigation

  1. I was in Herbalife for 2 years. I liked the products but I didn’t like the high pressure sales and ra-ra sales meetings. I have been with Wealthy Affiliate for a while and I believe it is a much better way to make money online. It is not get rich quick but I believe it will make a good income.

    1. Hi Enid:

      I am so glad to hear from people who have been involved with Herbalife as well as Wealthy Affiliate and thus, are able to make a comparison between the two different business models. I am just like you as I am sure many people are in that I do not like the high pressure sales tactics. I think there are some very questionable ethics with business models that are all about high pressure sales methodologies. MLM companies often focus more on recruiting than on selling the products. Many of these types of companies are pyramid schemes in disguise which are illegal in the USA.

      Wealthy Affiliate believes in ethical standards and not pressuring people into buy-buy-buy. There is a big difference between sales and marketing as I explained in my affiliate marketing article. Sales is all about the bottom line and meeting a quota but marketing is more about helping to match people with the right products and services, giving people what they need when they need it.

      Thank you so much for your input Enid. And yes, you can make a good income with Wealthy Affiliate, but it does take time and much hard work. You have to be diligent and committed and always set time aside each day to work on your business.


  2. Hello Steph,

    You did an amazing job on the Herbalife article. I remember years ago when it was circulating hot and heavy among people in my sphere. Some people swore by the products, some didn’t. Personally, I rank Herbalife, Amway and many others in the same boat. They are about lining their own pockets, not about truly helping people.

    Steph, I appreciate the way you handled the irate commenter who seemingly was defending Herbalife. I think the fact that you did not just remove his comment in itself speaks to your credibility. The fact that you decided to let the individual voice his opinion regardless that it was in direct opposition of your article was really incredible. It shows that you truly appreciate all comments and understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. You stood by your review and presented information that anyone could check out if they want to.

    I recently had an experience with the company, Trivita, who promotes a juice called Nopalea. I have actually purchased several bottles at a time at least 4 or 5 times. I suffer from excess body inflammation and supposedly, Nopalea juice helps to decrease the amount of inflammation in the body. I actually believed in the product because it did make me feel better when I used it on a daily basis. The down side of it was that it was very expensive. I recently started to order a new supply, but this time I came across a site that said the Trivita was refunding money to people who had purchase this very product. The officials from FDA said there was no scientific proof that the medical claims about the product could be substantiated. Trivita is still allowed to sell the product, but they have to remove the statements regarding the medical claims from their products. After finding that information, needless to say I did not move forward with the purchase, but now I wonder if I was playing a mind game with myself!!

    So yes, if there is credible information that any product is under some kind of official investigation, it is best to steer clear. Anyone who continues to participate with a business that is being investigated is only looking for trouble for themselves.

    Thanks Steph for educating the public and giving each of us the opportunity to choose for ourselves who and what we want to let into our lives.

    And, as a member of Wealthy Affiliate I agree that it is the best thing I came across in a long time and would recommend it to anyone. Sure, there may be some things that could be improved upon. I’m not saying it is perfect, but it is a very good investment for a small amount of money for people who are looking to start a legitimate online business.

    Keep up the good work Steph and continue to write those articles that people can benefit from.

    1. Hi Verna:

      Thank you for reading my article today on Herbalife and also thank you for the kind words you said in regards to my credibility. I aim to present the information as honestly and accurately as possible. That does mean others will perhaps disagree from time to time. I actually welcome healthy debate because it means the content on this website is worth arguing over and that tells me I have succeeded with writing content is engaging.

      I do not write reviews unless I have some personal experience with them or if I have done extensive research on the product. In the case of Herbalife, I have checked both boxes. I have some personal experience which is not pleasant and caused me some financial harm during a time where I could not afford such turmoil to happen and I have done some extensive research.

      Just to clarify, I never said that Herbalife was a pyramid scheme. I stated that the truth and that is Herbalife was under an investigation started by William Ackman claiming that Herbalife was a pyramid scheme. As of the writing of these comments, the situation is close to a resolution. Herbalife may have to pay some hefty fines but I believe they will still be able to operate. That is just my guess. Nonetheless, as you said Verna, any company that has received that much heat and controversy followed by a bitter lawsuit is probably best to steer away from.

      Many MLM (Multi-Level-Marketing) schemes are in fact pyramid schemes and are aimed at the concept of making the new recruit purchase an exceedingly large amount of products at a very expensive price tag and in order to her your investment back, you have to make your friends and family do the same. I cannot speak for everyone, but personally, I am not comfortable with that type of business model.

      Thank you again Verna. Please visit again soon.


  3. Hi Steph,

    I don’t like your review, really I don’t…
    There is no proof of evidence, nothing, especially not that it would be a pyramid scheme, OMG, how can a company survive for 35 YEARS when it would be using an illegal pyramid scheme?
    May I ask if you actually know what an illegal pyramid scheme is?
    Because I am under the impression that you just say something, but that you do not understand who is actually playing an unfair game here in this review! And all those people apparently that read your review, they follow… Except a few people who have had CONTACT with Herbalife…

    I will stop now with being rude, but actually, in my opinion you have to “delete” this review or add an appendix that your whole review is based on nothing but some unproven rumors and you actually even did not know where you were talking about.
    That would be fair and correct.

    So, what REALLY happened is that an investigator wanted to invest Herbalife, to check if everything is ok and if they need to change things… This happens every day and they do this with Microsoft, Google, Apple and when Wealthy Affiliate will be big enough and well known by, they will do it with them too.

    Now, As we all know Herbalife is 35 years old and the MLM’s business model could use an update, Herbalife started the improvements immediately, just like any other company does when they are in that situation.

    The end result will be that Herbalife will profit from this investigation and will be ready with a fresh model for the next 10 years, they have had this also in the past that they were under investigation and also then they adapt and continue.
    But again: this happens to every big company.
    How many fines did Microsoft, Apple & Samsung already pay this year? The fine Herbalife will get will be peanuts when you compare that with the other 3.

    Do you actually know that this whole investigation had an impact of nothing on their shares, that means that everybody believed that it would be ok with this investigation.
    They dipped around 1% last 12 months….

    Some real info now:

    When you read this, do you think it is still fair that you wrote a review like you did and give feedback to people like you did?
    It is one of the oldest and biggest MLM’s in the world and you talk about this company as it are criminals and we all should have known this…

    Why do I react like this, of course, I have a reason:
    10 years ago my first experience with work from home was Herbalife and actually that was a good experience, cause that’s also something: I had a step by step training, I had a free website, I had free hosting, I had every support you can imagine. And at WA everything is online behind the computer, which is ok, but at Herbalife it was face to face all the time and that is something else.

    I earned between 2000 and 3000 euro every month with selling products and having people signed up and gave them training and so on.
    I had never the feeling that they were not correct with me.
    In 1 year, I have been to Nashville, Barcelona, and London because I was qualified for those events.
    I was in a team and we were all together growing.

    But why did you stop?
    It was just not my product, I am not THE healthy guy that likes to drink protein shakes and drinking water all the time.
    I was 25, I was young and I wanted to party! 🙂
    And that was not compatible with the lifestyle of a real HBL member and so I stopped.

    But everything you write about those 0.12% that earns more than 150000 euros and you pretend that the rest lives from less than a minimum wage, that’s completely wrong and A BIG FAT LIE… Why do you tell those things?
    It is really unrespectful against all those people and against the company…

    And indeed there are some stories that are not nice to hear about people that sell distributor packages in the wrong way or friends that keep on calling, but that’s those people there choice and that’s absolutely not what you learn during your training…

    I am gonna stop now, but I hope you understand my reaction.

    Oh sorry, one next thing: your last comment: Mark Hughes was the founder of the company and he apparently was rich, but hardly anyone else in the company became rich.
    –> I know in Belgium only 10 – 15 people that earn between 60.000 and 120.000 euro a month (and there will be more because I was only well known within a certain group)

    So please stop doing this, telling these things you do not know.
    And of course, there are people with bad experiences because they thought it would all be so simple… But those same people you will also have within Wealthy Affiliate…

    Ok and now I stop for real!!!

    Hope you are not angry, I had to write this, otherwise I would feel very bad…


    1. Hi Bert:

      WOW! Thank you so much for taking such an interest in my article, no matter how controversial it might be. I really do appreciate you taking the time to voice your honest opinion, because I strongly encourage that on my site. I respect that there are many people whom have different opinions and I have incredibly high regard for all of them.

      I am really glad that you had such a great experience with Herbalife. It sounds like it has been working for. I have never been to Barcelona or London, so that is awesome you were able to go. And it sounds like Herbalife funded your entire trip with airfare, hotel, lodging, sightseeing tours?

      I can, of course, only talk about my story and how I was asked to spend $4000 on their products which I tested and become very ill from with no guarantee of getting a quick return on my investment unless I recruit my family, friends and unsuspecting strangers to do the same. I was collecting unemployment after I lost my job as a high school librarian and I thought it was unethical to ask someone in my position to put that much money down. I believe in helping people to make a difference in their lives and not hurting their pocket food or taking money away that is desperately needed to feed their family. That is why I recommend Wealthy Affiliate on my website, because you can join for FREE and unlike Herbalife, you are not asked to spend thousands of dollars and max out your credit cards which is what I was asked of from Herbalife. With Wealthy Affiliate, you can try it for FREE without a credit card and only if you are ready, you can upgrade to premium which is $47 a month or you can do the yearly membership which is $359, giving you discount on your monthly investment and costing you only 0.98 cents a day. Because, I believe starting a business should never cost you a fortune. You should be able to try and system for FREE to determine if it is the right match and then upgrade but only paying a small amount towards your future.

      I believe in the philosophy of paying it forward which is the same philosophy which drives Wealthy Affiliate forward and is the same philosophy I maintain throughout this website. Again, thank you so much for your detailed and in-depth comment. I know it took you a lot of time and thought to write your comment and I really appreciate your efforts because everyone should have a voice and be allowed to express themselves.

      I strongly encourage you to visit other areas of my website such as:

      I do hope you come back soon. I love hearing from all of my readers and appreciate each and everyone of their comments, no matter if the opinions are different or not.


  4. I was once thinking of joining Herbalife International. Now that I know they are under investigation by the FBI I’m glad I didn’t. With the bottom 99% earning less than half minimum wage there is no wonder this MLM thing is a pyramid scheme. From the looks of it you saved me a lot of money. Thanks for the great article. I can’t wait to read the next one.


    1. Hello Merceadez:

      Thank you for checking out my review of Herbalife. You are correct in that it appears no one actually makes any money with it. Any company that is under investigation by the FBI, you are best to avoid it. I hope you continue to enjoy reading the other articles as much as you enjoyed my Herbalife review.


  5. Hi Steph I am interested in your Herbalife pyramid stuff. I was involved with an MLM company called LIFEPLUS. I did actually make money with them. The reason it didn’t work out is quite complex and not really matter for a reply to a post.
    But surely a pyramid scheme has no real product behind it.
    Multi Level Marketing (MLM) Companies usually do have a product so if they do they are not really a Ponzi Scheme
    The reason MLM doesn’t work is because is of those chain letters we got /still
    where you send 1$off to the top of the list and sent 10 letters of etc.. and within a month you will get about a million $ through the post.
    I’m still waiting , sadly I never quite sent off those ten letters…..
    which is why MLM doesn’t work.
    just a thought

    1. Hi Trevor:

      Thank you for your in depth comment regarding Herbalife. I am not saying that Herbalife is a ponzi scheme. My review on Herbalife covers the fact that they are under investigation by multiple governmental agencies for a being a pyramid scheme. The two are similar, but different. Please read my article on Ponzi Schemes as well as my article on Pyramid Scheme to get a better idea of the difference.

      I do not know much about chain letters. I have not heard that term in a long time. So, I am not sure what the exact connection between them and MLM campaigns. I do know MLM campaigns want you to persuade your friends and family to fork over large sums of money and I have very strong ethical convictions towards any organization that pushes that tactic. If that is what you are referring to with chain letters than yes, that would be the reason why many people are not able to make a success with an MLM campaign. You have opened the doors for me to have to do some more research about the use of chain letters and how they relate to MLMs.

      Have a wonderful day!


  6. Great review, Steph! Thank you for taking one for the team and going through the site a little bit to report back on it. It’s ridiculous that you were told there was no tech support!

    I did have to laugh at the one pro – “easy to sign up.” That always is the one thing sites like this excel in, isn’t it?

  7. Hi Steph,

    Another excellent article. Herblife has been walking the tightrope of legalities for a long time. I have known about this company for over 30 years. They do have some good products, but their business practices have become outrageously sleazier over the years.

    A couple of years back they offered an online business opportunity without initially divulging that they were Herbalife. By the time you paid and received the business packet, and then realized it was Herbalife it was too late. You were stuck with the cost of the received business packet. They were initially able to get away with this, but it looks like justice is finally being served.

    1. Hi Ronn.

      Good seeing you again and I am really glad you enjoyed my latest review on Herbalife. I had done extensive research on the company before writing this article and you are right about their sleazy business practices. Not sure how the one who suckered hundreds of dollars from me sleeps at night. I am hoping someday he reads this and reaches out to me with an apology, but if not, that is fine as well. After all, it is his conscious and not mine on the line.

      What you described as being their business practice of offering an online business without initially divulging that they were Herbalife is EXACTLY what they did to me. I signed up through a website that no mention of Herbalife anywhere on the site and when I received their packet, I knew what they had done. It was a case of bait and switch. Had I known it was Herbalife from the beginning, I would have been able to save myself some money for sure. And yes, you are right. It has been long in the making, but Justice will at least prevail.

      Thank you again for visiting and please continue to return to my site. Have a wonderful day Ronn!


  8. Hi Steph. I must have missed this bit of news. But I do believe the business model is truly flawed. Years ago, I was recruited by friends who joined other MLM companies… it seemed the presenters or upper pyramid folks were quite good at hypnotism… the crowd was so wowed…ha ha. They sell dream and are quite good at it… if people can afford to buy their dream… the bottom keeps on dreaming and the top lives their dreams. I do like some herbalife products but most are expensive and I will not support someone else living their dream. Good topic. Good review.

  9. Hello Steph, great article on a very popular, well known MLM opportunity. A lot of people don’t really know what it takes to make consistent money with any of these network marketing opportunities and other pyramid-like schemes. Its good to read an article that breaks things down clearly. I will be back to read more!



    1. Hi Beau:

      I am glad you found the article on the investigation that is currently underway on the well-known MLM company known as Herbalife. Herbalife is one of few pyramid schemes that is being investigated by a number of different entities to include the FTC, SEC and Department of Justice. I also recently read that the executives of Herbalife are lawyering up preparing for what is to come. I will have many more articles on these types of unsustainable business models we are seeing today.


  10. I’ve heard about Herbalife for quite some time now but never got around to properly researching it. Based on the advertising seen prior to this review, everything seemed on the up and up, who knew?

    I’m glad you took the time and effort to educate us readers about it in this detail, and the heads-up regarding the FBI investigation. I actually was considering joining for a while.


    1. Hi Ty:

      I am glad I was able to educate you about the FBI and FTC and Department of Justice investigation that is currently underway with the business practices of Herbalife. Herbalife has been around for a while, so it has taken a few years for the authorities to catch up to this company in hopes of bringing them down. There is actually a website called Herbalife Pyramid Scheme what you can check out and learn more about what has been going on for years.


  11. This has not been my experience at all. I know thousands of people who have been truly happy with both the products and the business opportunity. And the only criminal investigation that I believe is happening is the one into Bill Ackman’s campaign against the company. He made a bad bet and is now trying to recoup his money. That is the only criminal investigation and the NY Times has reported on this investigation.

    1. Hi Steve:

      Thank you for visiting my website today and reading the article I wrote about Herbalife. It sounds like you have some information you would like to share regarding Herbalife. I would appreciate hearing from you by telling everyone what your experience has been. It is possible my perception of all my extensive research and my own personal experience with Herbalife is misunderstood. This is definitely a controversial subject and I welcome any healthy debate. I have read the New York Times articles covering this. It does make sense that with the thousands of dollars taken from former Herbalife employees who spoke out that the company has some deep pockets to also be able to fund a fight and hire high profile lawyers to defend themselves. My question is, however, if they are innocent they why do they feel the need to spend a lucrative sum of money to fund a massive team of high profile lawyers? Why not, if they are innocent, just turn over the books and official documents to the SEC, FTC, FBI and DOJ and allow the truth to speak for itself?

      If you are looking to build an online business, one in which has not undergone any criminal investigations nor requires its new investors to spend thousands of dollars upfront on products they do not want, then consider giving Wealthy Affiliate a try. Unlike Herbalife, it is free to join and there are never any phone calls or lengthy conference calls pushing you to max out your credit cards. Herbalife whether or not a pyramid or ponzi scheme is an MLM company and according to the SEC many MLM companies are pyramid schemes in that they “take money from Peter to pay Paul.”

      Many thanks again for your comment and opinion. I hope you come back soon to elaborate on your experience.


  12. Hi Steph,
    How are you?

    Myself I tried being a Herbalife distributor some time ago. I wouldn’t say it is a pyramid scheme at all. In Spain where I joined it about 7 years ago I paid about 120 Euros to get a first kit used for slimming (I needed to slim so it came in handy). These initial products are meant to be consumed by the distributor to be so that he/she is aware of their effect in the body and how they work. After that one should look for clients and distributors and try to sell so many items per month and one thereby goes moving up.

    Pyramid schemes are those where you are asked to pay a lot of money upfront and for not product at all. The issue is one might be unfortunate to join under unethical people like the Jim described above who do not follow the rules as they should. Herbalife had back then good quality products such as the protein shakes that actually helped me to slim.

    With the passing of its founder and its purchase by a hedge fund (these are people who want to multiply profits at all costs), I can attest to the fact that some products got modified (the aloe vera product for example was so natural and safe that you could put it inside the eye to calm it but when I bought the same products two years later and put it in the eye it gave me a terrible searing sensation so I knew it was no longer the product it had been. Then the company also started selling the typical bottles of proteins etc for body builders and exercise fans, that to me was overstepping the borders.

    Herbalife has been sold so well for many years and become so popular that obviously its quality control standards have suffered. Otherwise take it from me that it is not a typical pyramid thing at all.


    1. Hi Evelyn:

      Thank you so much for leaving such a detailed and informative comment. I am really appreciative of you sharing your experience and knowledge about Herbalife. You mentioned that “tried being a Herbalife distributor”. May I ask as to what happened? You tried, but you were not able to make money perhaps? I also find it peculiar that you only had to be one product at 120 Euros (equivalent to $136.66 US Dollar) – less than $150. If I had been given that option I might have gone through with it, but I was being pressured to max out all of my credit cards while unemployed and needing to put food on the table for my children to total nearly $4,000.00 dollars. It is possible you are right that the gentleman named Jim whom approached me was unethical, but I did not get the impression he was working outside the rules. I got the clear impression that is how the company operated. This was back around 2011 (four years ago) and perhaps by then it had shifted as you indicate. It sounds like perhaps while Mark Hughes was alive, Herbalife was perhaps not the company which it later became following his dismiss. I was not familiar with the company prior the passing of Mark Hughes in 2000. However, in the year 1985 the California Attorney General sued Herbalife for making inflated and false medical claims about the efficacy of their products. The company settled the suit for nearly one million American dollars without admitting any wrong doing on their part. For more information on the false medical claims made, please refer to the 2004 Bloomberg article by David Evans.

      We can only write about its current state of affairs and right now, they are under investigation from both the Federal Bureau Investigation and the Federal Trade Commission. And when asked to comment about the investigation, Herbalife refused. They claimed they no knowledge of such an investigation. That sounds pretty suspicious to me.

      Also, I wanted to address your statement that Herbalife is not a pyramid scheme. Wikipedia describes a pyramid scheme as the following, “A pyramid scheme is an unsustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.” The way in which Herbalife operates is exactly how they seem to operate, and again this may have changed in the past several years following the death of it’s original owner. For example, I was asked to buy thousands of dollars of products and then in turn, recruit other unsuspecting distributors and have them pay the same amount towards their products instead of actually selling those products to “the public” and that is precisely the definition of a pyramid scheme. In order for the company to not be a pyramid scheme, the majority of the products would have had to been sold to the public. However, the majority of the products are being sold to new distributors instead of the public. There is actually a website you can check out called Herbalife Pyramid Scheme which provides all of the evidence you need to include a section on Former Herbalife Distributors Speak Out combined with a Misleading Medical Claim section.

      Like your experience with the changeover of management and the introduction of different and altered products not being effective. For example, you mention the eye product how it changed from being a safe natural aloe vera product to one that hurt you and gave you a terrible sensation. That sounds like it hurt just reading about it. I am so sorry that happened to you. I also tried the Herbalife products. I tried their weight loss shake and I become severely ill four five days following. I did further investigation regarding the harmful products that are placed in many of their weight loss products.

      I want to thank you again for taking the time to read my complete review. If you are looking for a way to legitimately earn money from home, check out Wealthy Affiliate. Unlike Herbalife, Wealthy Affiliate is free to join without any credit card required and you only upgrade if and when you are ready. There is no hype and no pressure from anyone. You receive mounds of training from many different individuals and not just the owners, thus creating a more diverse training platform no matter what your learning preferences are. I myself have created numerous training modules which are available as a FREE starter member. You do not need to upgrade to premium to view my training. I wanted to make them available to everyone because I believe whole-heartedly that a product should sell itself without rigorous high pressure upsells making false promises, much like Herbalife practices.

      Many thanks! Have a great day!


  13. I know people and have seen people that have been on both sides of the spectrum with Herbalife; and I guarantee you that the customers see more success than the affiliates. Their recruiting method is extremely old fashioned and annoying; one time I was flagged down at a parking lot outside a Chinese restaurant.

    Hopefully their affiliates get out while the getting’s good. Thanks for posting, some people are still promoting Herbalife while under investigation for operating under a pyramid scheme and I’m sure they’re not aware that their leads are aware. LOL


    1. Hi Diana:

      Thank you for reading my review on Herbalife. You are right about their methods being annoying and old-fashioned. I chuckled when I read how someone from Herbalife flagged you down outside a Chinese restaurant. When they are so desperate they have to resort to such measures, you know that there is something fishy going on. A product should be able to sell itself without having to push and pressure people into listening to long drawn out conversations and maxing out their credit cards to buy their products.

      I feel the same as you – I hope their affiliates are able to get out while they can before it is too late. I am hoping this article goes far and wide to warn people about the dangers of getting involved with a company like Herbalife.

      Have a wonderful day!


  14. Hi Steph,

    As I was reading your article on Herbalife I kept thinking of a company that I came across a while back called Work at Home United. They recruit members and promote eco-friendly cleaning products from a company called Melaleuca.

    The set up of Work at Home United seems to be similar to that of Herbalife. I am just wondering if you know anything about this company and if so what is your opinion on it?


    1. Hi Brenda:

      I am not familiar with Work at Home United or the products from the company Melaleuca. I do know there are many MLM type companies out there and I think everyone should indeed be leery of MLM companies because many times they are pyramid schemes. Thank you for sharing yet another probably pyramid scheme.

      Have a great day! ~ Steph

  15. Oh wow, not surprising. Herbalife is not the only company that operates like a pyramid scheme. WakeUpNow has been shut down too I think. All those MLM companies are based of selling overpriced products and services. I used to be involved in an mlm, and I felt unethical recruiting my friends. There’s definitely better opportunities out there.

    1. Hi Ian:

      I have not heard of WakeUpNow, but I agree with you. There has to be much better ways of earning a living online besides recruiting your friends and preying on innocent people who are displaced from work and looking for ways to put food on the table for their hungry children. MLMs schemes do leave you feeling unethical for sure. I know I could never be involved with anything like that. Tears come to my eyes when I think of all the people out there who have been victimized by companies like Herbalife and the one you spoke of – WakeUpNow.

      Wealthy Affiliate is NOT an MLM or pyramid scheme. That is the company I joined to begin a career working online so to better provide for my aging recently widowed mother and myself. WA (Wealthy Affiliate) is a company that provides you with the training and resources to learn how to do affiliate marketing. Plus, the community is second to none with an overall philosophy of pay-it-forward, meaning once you are learning new skills, you in turn can help others you need the assistance in discovering how to build a website or what search engine optimization is and how to use it.

      Thank you for reading my article today and I wish you the best of success.

      Sincerely, Steph

  16. Interesting read. I heard of Herbalife years ago. Never really went anywhere with it. I certainly had no idea of any of these recent events until I read your post. As Emily said, if the FBI is involved best to stay away. Thanks for letting us know about this very likely pyramid scheme that Herbalife seems to be running.

  17. Wow!!! I don’t know what to say! I have of course heard of Herbal Life and know that they are a very successful company. I know that they require its members to purchase large amounts of stock to sell to their potential customers. I can now see your point that the bulk of Herbal Life’s sales are too their distributors. I suspect that a good portion of Amway’s sales were to their distributors as well. I heard that Amway has been investigated too for being a pyramid scheme. Wasn’t Jim Rohn a Herbal Life distributor. He made millions building a huge organization. Are you saying that their business model changed from a legal MLM to a pyramid scheme?

    1. Hi Sheni:

      Thank you for visiting my website today and reading my review of Herbalife and the investigation to discover if they are indeed a pyramid scheme or not. I too am familiar with Jim Rohn’s past minor involvement with Herbalife, but I wonder how much Mr. Rohn truly believed in the power of Herbalife when he does not promote Herbalife on his website anywhere? If you go to Jim Rohn’s website you will see no mention of Herbalife.

      There are other opportunities out there which are legitimate that you can check into. An obvious piece of advice is do your research. If the company you are considering on becoming involved with does not have a bad reputation nor are they under any current or past investigations, such as Herbalife, then you should feel safe in joining. Wealthy Affiliate is a program which makes you feel safe and comfortable.

  18. I have stayed away from hearbal life for years because it reminded my of a scam that I got caught up in a number of years ago. I know sever people who have used it to some extent. I’m glad they are looking into the company and hope your review of the FBI investigating it goes far and wide.

    1. Hi Debra:

      I appreciate that and I too am hoping and praying that my review goes far and wide. I did some research and not too many people had written reviews like the one I have written. I aim to help people from being taken advantage of. I am nearly brought to tears when I hear stories of innocent people being suckered into programs like this. My goal with this website is to give people the training and resources to become there own legitimate business online and to warn them against those programs which seek to break their spirit and bring them down. Thank you for visiting and reading my article today.


  19. Doesn’t surprise me. Their set up really is like a pyramid scheme. I joined them for a short time attempting to work from home since I had just had my first child and I was trying to spend more time with her. Once you sign in you have to start trying to get people to register under you. It really is the only way to make money. I barely saw any return on my investments. Plus I was always buying their products so overall, all I did was spend money. 🙁 Would look some where else for sure. I think I will check out Wealthy Affiliate because they sound much more honest and legit.

  20. hi Steph
    wow! I think that if the FBI is investigating the company then yes, for sure it is best to stay away from it! I cannot believe they were asking you to buy 4000$ worth of their products. I think that unless you harass every person like Jim was harassing you, there is no way to make money in MLMs. I would like to keep the friends I have….
    I signed up in the past with a similar company and had a similar experience as yours. This girl kept calling me and would never really answer my questions. After 2 calls I called it quit and it was the best decision of my life.

    1. Hi Emily:

      Thank you so much for reading my story and my review of Herbalife and how they were attempting to pressure me to spend thousands of dollars on their products. It is a shame there are so many scams out there like this one that are taking advantage of the poor and desperate, because those are the people we should be trying to help the most and not tearing them down even further. It took a number of years unfortunately for someone to begin lobbying the Department of Justice and FBI to start digging further into the shady dealings of this company. Mark Hughes was the founder of the company and he apparently was rich, but hardly anyone else in the company became rich.


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