From One MLM Scam (Mary Kay) to an Even Worse MLM Scam (Isagenix)

Written by TRACY on . Posted in Other MLMs

The story of Robin Blackmon Dunda broke in the early days of Pink Truth (known then as Mary Kay Sucks). She was unceremoniously booted from Mary Kay with a 30-day termination letter . Her Mary Kay career came to an end as she was approaching the status of National Sales Director.

Her mother, Joann Blackmon was a NSD at the time but couldn’t talk Mary Kay out of the termination. She even rounded up people who apparently approached corporate and asked them to reconsider the termination.

Many have wondered what became of Robin, and the rumors included stories of magical healing magnets for the ears and of an oxygen bar. She and Joann have landed at Isagenix, and here’s a little bit of the story recently published:

Even after her success with the products, Jo Ann was reluctant at first to jump into building an Isagenix business. She had recently retired as a national sales director for a direct sales company where she had spent the last 37 years building a successful business.

I have always enjoyed supporting others with their health and the opportunity to turn my personal passion into a profession was undeniable,” says Jo Ann.

The same passion she tapped into in finally finding a weight-loss solution with Isagenix, she also poured into her business. Jo Ann and Ron have been with Isagenix® for less than a year, but have worked hard to find success including becoming 2-Star Crystal Executives.

 

“Isagenix is a young, progressive company with a generous compensation plan, remarkable leadership and an outstanding marketing plan,” says Jo Ann. “They truly follow the belief that if it’s not good for the Associates, it’s not good for the company.”

Jo Ann and Ron have set goals to bring 20 people to Celebration, reach 3-Star Crystal Executive and create at least five new Crystal Executives on their team this year. They are also traveling to Australia in May and may expand their business internationally. With over 40 Success from Home Magazines on hand, they will be sure to pack a few because “you never know when an opportunity presents itself,” shares Jo Ann.

“We’re going all the way to the top and are not stopping until we become millionaires,” says Jo Ann. “If Jimmy Smith can do it at the age of 80 and is just beginning, we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

If you think Mary Kay is a pyramid scheme, you haven’t seen anything yet! Isagenix is even worse. It’s one of these magic potions that has supposedly cured all sorts of ailments. (Of course, they never make medical claims – wink wink – but users have been magically cured of all sorts of things.

Here’s a little information from a site that discusses medical scams :

The following article has been submitted by Dr Harriet Hall.

A friend inquired about a product, Isagenix (actually a whole family of products) that is being pushed by the leader of her weight loss group, claiming that “The Isagenix cleanse is unique because it not only removes impurities at the cellular level, it builds the body up with incredible nutrition. Besides detoxing the body, Isagenix teaches people a wonderful lesson that they don’t need to eat as much as they are accustom to and eating healthy choices are really important and also a lot of the food we are eating is nutritionally bankrupt.”

I went through the website (http://www.isagenix.com/) and watched the promotional videos. There is so much to criticize that I hardly know where to start. It’s all misinformation, unsupported claims, testimonials, and money-making ploys.

I couldn’t find a critique of Isagenix on the Web, but that’s not surprising. No serious medical scientist would take it seriously enough to bother about it. And it’s basically all been done before; it’s just a slightly new wrinkle on an old scam. You will find some information on related products at:

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/detox.html

You can also go to the quackwatch.org homepage and type in cleansing or type in detoxification.

The claims on the Isagenix website are a mishmash of pseudoscience, myth, misrepresentation, and outright lies. For example:

  • Americans are sicker than ever before.
  • Toxicity accounts for most diseases.
  • The body protects itself from toxins by coating them with fat, causing obesity. [The truth: some toxins are soluble in fat and can be taken into existing fat cells, but no new fat cells are created.]
  • The internal organs become clogged and deteriorate if you don’t cleanse. Nutrients that cleanse, revitalize, rejuvenate – what does this even mean? The human body needs cleansing like air conditioners that need their filters changed and car engines that need oil changes. [This is nonsense: the human body cannot be compared to a machine: it is a living, self-regulating organism that does its own maintenance.]

They engage in scare-mongering about toxins, but provide no data to show that the tiny amounts we ingest lead to any significant adverse health effects. They also provide no evidence that their treatment actually removes any toxins from the body. Or that doing so would have any significant impact on health. There have been no properly controlled scientific studies of their “cleansing” treatments, only testimonials of the sort that abound on the Internet for hundreds of other ineffective products.

There is absolutely no rationale for the particular combination of ingredients in their products. They have LOTS of different products, and have included just about every nutrient and herbal remedy in existence: 242 of them! Some of these we know to be useless, some are potentially harmful, and we have no idea how the particular ingredients in the mixtures might interact for better or for worse.

They offer “ionic” minerals from “ancient plant deposits.” Minerals are the same thing wherever they come from, and all “ionic” means is that it is in a form that can be absorbed – i.e. magnesium as milk of magnesia rather than as a lump of elemental magnesium metal.

They advertise “no caffeine added” for a product that contains green tea; green tea contains caffeine. They repeat the tired old myth that our food isn’t as nutritious as in the “good old days.” They put digestive enzymes in their products to help you assimilate them, not realizing that orally ingested digestive enzymes are themselves digested in the stomach before they can do anything. They say that their electrolytes “ignite the body’s electrical system” – I have no idea what this means, and it certainly is not scientific terminology.

Their antioxidant mixture contains 15,000 IU of vitamin A as beta carotene plus 5000 IU as palmitate. The Medical Letter recently reviewed vitamin A and warned that no one should take high-dose beta carotene supplements, and that women should not take vitamin A supplements at all during pregnancy or after menopause. Among other things, they said: Vitamin A may also have pro-oxidant effects in vivo. A high intake of vitamin A from supplements and food has been associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women and with teratogenicity when taken during early pregnancy. A placebo-controlled intervention trial in Finnish smokers found that 20 mg/day of a beta carotene supplement increased the incidence of lung cancer by 18%, which was statistically significant. Another large double blind intervention trial in smokers and asbestos exposed workers, terminated early because no benefit was demonstrated, found that combined therapy with 30 mg of beta carotene and 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily was associated with an increase in the incidence of lung cancer, cardiovascular mortality and total mortality.

The Medical Letter concluded: “A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables may be safer than taking vitamin supplements. No biologically active substance taken for a long term can be assumed to be free of risk.”

Isagenix claims to promote weight loss. All treatments for weight loss work the same way: they get people to ingest fewer calories than they expend. There is no reason to think that a person who restricts calorie intake and exercises will lose any more weight if they add Isagenix products. Diuretic and laxative effects, psychological factors, and enthusiasm for a new method may initially fool people into thinking they have benefited.

Their medical advisor, Becky Natrajan, MD, tells us on a video presentation that she is “excited about results” but she does not say what those results are or why she thinks the results are due to the product rather than to diet, exercise and other factors. Perhaps her funniest argument is that the $5 a day Isagenix costs you is less expensive than open heart surgery. As if it were a simple choice between the two!

She tells you to contact the person who told you about Isagenix. And one of the headings on the website is “Wealth.” There you will find out how you can sell products from your home and become an associate, a consultant or an executive with increasing levels of financial return. This sounds like a typical multilevel marketing scheme, typical of products that can’t be marketed effectively based purely on their merits.

In short, Isagenix is a slick marketing enterprise that lines the promoters’ pockets by selling baseless hope. There is a disclaimer on the website that should be taken very seriously: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Harriet Hall, M.D.

These kinds of scams with these kinds of bogus products are sickening. I’m offering this information simply so readers of the site can be aware of some of the other MLM scams that are out there. And how these wonderful Mary Kay women have no qualms about getting involved with these scams.

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Comments (12)

  • saff

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    I have no professional background in nutrition and still feel like i’m reading something written by a 5 year old. absolute bullshit.

    Reply

  • Marie

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    Sounds just like the ridiculous claims made by CieAura, which claims that an oval shaped piece of tape cures your ills.

    Reply

  • Benjamin

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    Oh so that’s what Isagenix is. Fantastic, I’m delivering for yet another pyramid scheme.

    I’m a courier. I deliver packages for a living. When I’m not hating life for this once-profitable-now-not-so-much career, I get to deliver packages from Amway, Isagenix, and a few others. I cringe when I get these packages. I do it anyway, because I have to. I feel like the post office, delivering junk mail nobody wants and which ends up in the dump. (Although, I take it the Amway customers have regular orders of groceries instead of going to Walmart each month. I’m a little torn on that.)

    UPS and FedEx would deliver for FHTM. I know because I was a rep for FHTM for a little while, and that’s how I learned what a pyramid scheme is. The vitriol I felt and still feel for that “business model” might never be extinguished.

    Tracy, and others, thank you for this site.

    Reply

    • princess lea

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      Benjamin, I’m curious if the consultants you deliver for leave you their products as presents during the holidays? Don’t stress about your career, it is much more profitable and moral than any MLM.

      Reply

  • Carol

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    So…what business would you suggest? What is wrong with selling to make a living? Why the vitriol? I am not in leadership with MK, but I am a consultant and don’t understand what is wrong with learning salesmanship and leadership skills. I agree, I am not impressed with the $$ in MK leadership, but you can earn decent $$ from sales. Sorry, but so far this site reads like “hate mail”! I happened across it by accident and I’m so sorry I did. How much do you earn per month?

    Reply

    • TRACY

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      I would suggest just about anything except an MLM. MLMs are predatory companies in which more than 99% of participants lose money. That’s not making a living. Mary Kay is a predatory company, period.

      As far as how much I earn per month… that’s really none of your business, especially since I’m not try to recruit you to do a business like mine. But I am comfortable, thank you very much.

      Reply

    • Lazy Gardens

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      So…what business would you suggest? One where you are not a contracted reseller competing for market share with half a million other contracted resellers of the same product.

      What is wrong with selling to make a living? Nothing. It’s the lying to recruit people that we object to.

      I am not in leadership with MK, but I am a consultant and don’t understand what is wrong with learning salesmanship and leadership skills. Nothing, if you were actually being taught good business management, good sales skills, and actual leadership.

      you can earn decent $$ from sales. Define “decent” … and then ask yourself how many hours a year you need to work to make that amount of after-tax, after expenses, genuinely spendable money.

      Are you really making money?

      Add up ALL your income from Mary Kay sales
      Add up ALL your expenses from selling, including samples, meeting fees, gas, conferences, hostess gifts, obsoleted product, baby sitting, coffee for interviews, shipping, interest on your credit cards … everything you would not have to pay for it it weren’t for Mary Kay.

      Subtract the expenses from the income. That’s your pre-tax income. If it’s not a positive number, you are losing money. You may be hiding it by are shifting money from your job, your husband’s job and the family budget to pay for Mary Kay. You may be calling it a “great offset” on your taxes … but upi are losing money.

      Then add up all the time you spend on Mary Kay: Meetings, driving, the parties that were no sales, the inventory management, profiling … EVERY SECOND OF YOUR TIME.

      Take your pre-tax income and divide it by the number of hours it took to get that money … how much are you REALLY making per hour?

      Reply

    • MLM Radar

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      You MIGHT earn decent money from sales… if you can control the sales price, and the company competition, and the customer buying decisions. If you can’t control those you’re toast.

      Can you control the sales price of Mary Kay products? You might thnk so, but you’ll be wrong. Sure, Mary Kay says “buy at wholesale, sell at retail.” But take a look at your local CraigsList. Take a look at eBay. That’s your competition. How can you even imagine you can sell at retail price when everyone else around you is selling at wholesale price or less with free shipping?

      Can you control the company competition? You might think so, but you’ll be wrong. You have no exclusive territories. You have no way to keep other people from approaching your customers. There’s a reason you’re not told how many other people in your area are also selling Mary Kay. It’s to hide from you that the market is saturated with sellers.

      Can you control the customer buying decisions? You might think so, but again you’ll be wrong. Sure, you provide great customer service, but that’s only one of many reasons people choose a seller. You’re also competing with Sephora and Ulta and every other makeup store where women get products just as good or better, for prices just as good or lower, without having to listen to a recruiting pitch.

      Your Sales Director will tell you that persistence is the key, and the only way to lose is to quit. She’s wrong. In Mary Kay the only way to STOP losing is to quit.

      You CAN make good money from

      Reply

      • MLM Radar

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        You CAN make good money from sales, but not in Direct Marketing / Network Marketing / Dual Marketing / Multi-level Marketing / Relationship Marketing. In all of those the business model is a proven failure for greater than 98% of participants.

        Reply

    • princess lea

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      Hi Carol! There is nothing wrong with selling as a career, as long as you own your own business. In dual marketing, also known as pyramid schemes, you do not own a business. You are a contractor. I think I hear what you are saying though – because you are selling product it probably feels like you are making money. but if you honestly calculate the time you are spending and your expenses is there really any profit left over? I was a very hard-working consultant for 10 years.I had several hundred customers in my database. But despite my sales, my expenses were through the roof and the time I spent was much more than full time.after 10 years I took a look at my schedule C and found that I lost over $20,000. my Mary Kay MLM was not a business it was a scam!

      Reply

  • princess lea

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    Ooooh! Crystal Executive! That sounds like a fancy term for “I would be making money by selling stuff but my expenses are eating my bottom line so now I’m a pushy recruiter.”

    Reply

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