Friday, August 25, 2017

IPro Network One Month Update: still no proof of any original claims

More than a month ago, I highlighted some spurious claims by (over-)enthusiastic IPro Network members claiming that some famous personalities have "endorsed" IPro Network.

Two anon comments were left claiming I know nothing, blah blah blah, but left NO evidence to rebut any of the observations. I invited them to leave publicly verifiable evidence, not "I know the secret call me" or "my friend told me" evidence.

It has been about a month, and I haven't gotten a single reply.

So I decided to go search for some myself. Is there any news that Kevin Harrington endorses IPN?

Google says... nope. Indeed, there is ZERO mention of Kevin Harrington with ANY sort of cryptocurrency or blockchain opportunity in the entire 2017 when searched via Google News.

Instead, it appears that in 2017, Kevin Harrington is jumping into soap, cannabis, marine phytoplankton (sea scum), and horse racing, not to mention lending his name to entrepreneur bootcamps and invention services. But nothing about cryptocurrency, and definitely not IPN.

Indeed, the ONLY webpages that mention Kevin Harrington and IProNetwork together are IPro Network members webpages (or social media) and event listings that mention his one-time appearance.

Yet this tweet is still there:

And here's a claim that Kevin Harrington has "JOINED" with Pro Currency Team (i.e. IPro Network)

"Kevin Harrington from the Original hit TV show (Shark Tank) Joins
With Pro Currency Team (IProNetwork)..." claims G+ post

I am still waiting for the evidence, guys.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

MLMSkeptic Investigates: Why is Valentus illegal in the UK? (it's the ingredients)

Recently, it was all over the news (cite 1) (cite 2) (cite 3) that former finalist for Miss England and FHM model Charlotte Thompson was "busted" selling 'slimming coffee' and got a visit from the UK Trading Standards Officers and told to stop her business.  She went online to vent. But what you won't find in these news articles is WHY did Trading Standards make a visit to her home?

MLMSkeptic investigates this little conundrum, by exploring what Valentus did in the aftermath passing blame, then check the sources from Valentus itself, and the statements by Ms. Thompson, then checking the relevant UK laws and interpretations, to see if there is ANY hope for Valentus, in UK, and in rest of Europe.

Recently, when forced to address the issue, Valentus corporate "Director of International Registration", Terry Recknor, gave a webinar.  Ms. Recknor initially blamed Ms. Thompson for spamming thousands of people, implying that was the reason for the visit from Trading Standards, but she soon dropped this bomb:
What you need to understand is, the products technically are illegal because we’re not registered yet.
This seems to imply that as soon as Valentus registered their products in the UK, then there would be no more problems. In the meanwhile, there are suggestions that recruitment in UK and rest of Europe are continuing as if nothing was wrong, despite warning from Ms. Thompson that dealing in Valentus is apparently illegal.

So, what is the truth? Let's investigate first, what does UK Trading Standards actually do?  In the case of their visit to Ms. Thompson, it is to offer:

  • Business advice: Trading standards offer a range of business advice and enforcement policies for all traders and businesses. These range from issues regarding licensing to consumer protection laws.

So presumably, when you combine the various statements given by Ms. Thompson, Ms. Recknor, and explanations, one should conclude that

  • Valentus SlimRoast coffee needs to be registered in UK
  • Lack of registration is a violation of consumer protection laws
  • Ms. Thompson's spam alerted Trading Standards to let her know

But is this true?  Searching UK Food Laws (Food Safety Act 1990, Food Standards Act 1999, and Food Hygiene Regulations 2006) brought up nothing about registering coffee or similar drink mixes and such.  There had to be a different reason.

Which brings us back to "consumer protection", and what other areas does that cover. This was made clear at a different Trading Standards page:

We make sure that people are not misled by claims, prices, descriptions and other selling techniques used by traders when they are selling goods and services.

As it wasn't about registration, let us investigate whether Valentus made any misleading claims. But what constitutes misleading claims under UK law? As SlimRoast is about weight loss, I googled "weight loss claim UK", and that brought me to Advertising Standard Authority, or and their guidance on slimming guidelines for the press (PDF).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MLM Basics: Why do so many MLM noobs don't understand "referral sales" is illegal?

It seems an MLM noob is very fond of her comp plan, which she described as
... I can find 3 people who also want sustainable <item> my order is then FREE
She doesn't realize that this is ILLEGAL. Yes, I said it. It is ILLEGAL.

This is called "referral sales", and it can be described as

  1. Seller offer to prospective buyer a consideration (discount / rebate / commission, etc.) 
  2. for a sale (or lease) of item from seller to buyer
  3. the buyer must provide sellers list of potential customers
  4. the consideration (see 1) is contingent on seller be able to make additional sales/lease to one or more of the potential customers (see 3)

And all four elements are in the quote found earlier. Let's check it again, with the elements highlighted.
... I can find 3 people (3) who also want sustainable <item>(4) my order (2) is then FREE (1)
And yes, this is ILLEGAL. In all 50 states of the US, and in all European countries, and Australia, and so on and so forth.

And you'd be surprised how many companies engage in this ILLEGAL behavior, and its affiliates are completely unaware they are being defrauded.