It’s a bad thing when companies with great resources, power, and responsibility turn their back on doing the right thing. In October 2015, the Volkswagen scandal exploded and revealed cheating at an epic level by a company that’s been trusted implicitly by consumers the world over. The good news is that through the work of a few responsible and dedicated people, we, the consumers, have learned the truth despite the Volkswagen group’s once flawless reputation. Jeunesse Global hardly has the reputation once prized by Volkswagen but it seems their day of reckoning may be at hand. The latest investigation into Jeunesse Global, perfectly timed for <a href="https://en.wikipedia xenical medication.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night”>Guy Fawkes day, is causing the company to come under fire for misleading both consumers and its distribution network of independent contractors.
Several complaints of false advertising have been filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Florida Attorney General as a result of an October 2015 investigation by non-profit organization Truth in Advertising (TINA). The claim dug into Jeunesse Global’s exaggerated claims regarding income opportunities with the company as well as inappropriate health benefit claims that were simply not true.
Defined in The Lanham Act of 1946, (15 U.S. Code § 54); “any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities” is considered “false advertising”.
After receiving several complaints from consumers, TINA identified 11 areas of deceptive trade practices and published them on http://tina.org. Here are some of the advertising watchdog’s findings that unearth unethical marketing practices at Jeunesse Global. These complaints, filed with the FTC, may just end in bringing the company down.
- Unsubstantiated health claims, plus genetic and cellular manipulation
TINA.org has amassed a database of well over 100 instances of inappropriate health claims from Jeunesse Global’s distributors who’ve been caught claiming the company’s products “can cure cancer, lower blood pressure, disappear psoriasis, and treat a host of other diseases”.
Attempting to control the problem by taking some of the offending statements down from the Jeunesse Global website, Jeunesse appears to be finding it difficult to completely distance itself from these bogus claims.
And it’s not just the distributors who are up to no good. Jeunesse Global’s so-called “scientific advisory board” isn’t above bending the truth either. Supporting Jeunesse Global’s claims that range from the baffling to the downright absurd, one could be forgiven for thinking these doctors have forgotten their Hippocratic Oath.
Claiming that its products can manipulate cells, repair DNA and “slow the aging process”, Jeunesse Global’s “scientists” provide no scientific support for their nutty professor claims.
One such “scientist”, Dr. Nathan Newman, M.D is quoted on the TINA.org website as commenting at the company’s 2015 global conference, “EXPO6: Unite”:
“When we are putting these products on our body or taking them by mouth, we’re really changing every cell in the body… we’re changing one cell at a time, we’re effecting them and that effect is/has a domino effect and it goes much further than the one place that we treat or what product (that) we take.”
Of course, Dr. Nathan Newman doesn’t make any sense and frankly, he sounds a little creepy. I don’t imagine there are many customers who would be happy for Jeunesse Global products to change every cell in their body, especially if they’ve purchased a topical face cream.
- Dubious ‘before and after’ images
Harking back to the 1990s when before and after pictures depicting miracles and out-of-this-world transformations were commonplace, the constant advance of image manipulation technology, namely highly skilled photoshop users, created a standard approach. Generally, though, these types of comparisons anything but credible, specifically because of what is possible with a high resolution picture and a good photoshop jockey.*
But Jeunesse Global didn’t get busted so much manipulating images of its customers as much as it would seem they didn’t even bother to use real customers at all. To communicate the effectiveness of their products, Jeunesse Global opted for images that “can also be found on websites for health care providers (such as plastic surgeons) and in stock (image sites)”.
- Troubled legal history
With scrutiny on the Jeunesse Global mounting, several brushes with the law are coming to light and TINA.org believes that “close to 50 complaints have been filed with the Florida Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission”.
This is in addition to the TINA.org count that Jeunesse Global has been embroiled in 11 lawsuits since it’s launch in 2009: “three as a plaintiff and eight as a defendant”. Suing competitors and detractors, Jeunesse Global has previously settled a case, where, as the defendant, it was accused of violating California’s Health and Safety Code by including an alleged carcinogen, coconut oil diethanolamine condensate, in its Luminesce Youth Restoring Cleanser. By the way, National Institute of Health archives reveal that testing on mammals for the effects of Coconut oil diethanolamine condensate resulted in “Histopathologic lesions of the skin” that “included epidermal hyperplasia, sebaceous gland hyperplasia, chronic active inflammation, parakeratosis, and ulcer.” Whoa.
If that’s not enough, these lawsuits tend to reveal unresolved disagreements with former distributors. In a defence case that is in fact still open, Jeunesse Global is being sued by a former distributor who claims that he “was unlawfully terminated by the company”.
Then there’s Jeunesse Global’s founder, Randy Ray. From the picture on the Jeunesse Global website you’d be forgiven for thinking that Randy Ray, who co-founded the company and acts as it’s CEO, is a sweet man who was lucky enough to hit the big time.
Also passing as “Ogale Erandal Ray” from time to time, court documents reveal that Ray has “at least five legal judgments between 1984 and 1985 totalling almost $800,000”. He’s also previously filed for “Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy”, meaning that perhaps he’s not the best person to have at the helm of a company aiming to amass one billion dollars worth of sales in 2015.
- Outrageous income claims
Going after Jeunesse Global for its use of deceptive income claims, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) made a summary highlighting the company’s aggressive dishonesty “regarding the financial gains consumers will achieve by becoming distributors”.
Wild assertions were made. “It’s a proven plan… People are making $26,250 a week – a week. Think of what you could do with that” they said. TINA.org followed that with “Jeunesse Global’s distributors are breaching the company’s strict 34-page ‘Procedures and Policies’ agreement which clearly state that ‘no past, potential or actual income claims may be made to prospective distributors nor may distributors use their own income as indications of the success assured to others’.”
Always cleverly distancing itself from the “independent contractors” who form its distribution network, Jeunesse Global itself boasts that it has “one of the most lucrative and truly balanced compensation plans around”. With puffery like that it’s no small wonder then that Jeunesse Global claims of having more than half a million distributors in 215 countries and territories are likely true.
The truth is though that for the hundreds of thousands of distributors the world over, the reality is far less glamorous. Jeunesse Global was recently forced to publish an “income disclosure” which clearly states that to receive in excess of $26,000 per week, a distributor would need to have climbed high up the pyramid to the “double diamond” level. The fact that as of 1 January 2015 this was true of only about 0.01% of Jeunesse Global’s total distributors is, I suppose, not relevant.
- Recruit and duplicate business strategy
Building a distribution channel through recruitment is commonly cited as a way to “create wealth” among Jeunesse Global’s top earners. These include Kim Hui and former distributor “Double Diamante” Jason Caramanis, who I’ve written about before. it’s strange then that the company’s “Procedures and Policies” document states that “distributors are compensated only for the generation of sales of product and services and not for sponsoring new distributors into the program”.
Perhaps that’s because the Jeunesse Global recruitment scheme is a tell-tale sign of, according to the Federal Trade Commission, “participants purchase the right to earn profits by recruiting other participants, who themselves are interested in recruitment fees rather than the sale of products.” Why else would you need to focus on anything other than selling and distributing a solid product? Clearly this hints at the quality of the Jeunesse Global product.
So the most interesting thing about being at Jeunesse Global, to someone selling Jeunesse Global products, would be being a salesperson, not selling a good product. But building your business with Jeunesse is not as plain sailing as the company would have us believe, in order to begin the illustrious journey to become a distributor, “independent contractors” must agree to be bound by a minimum of four contracts; Distributor Agreement Terms and Conditions, Jeunesse Global Policies and Procedures, Jeunesse Financial Rewards Plan, and a Consent to Electronic Record.
Contained within these documents is a stringent non-compete clause, arbitration agreement and non-provision agreement which effectively traps distributors, holding them in their arrangements with Jeunesse Global.
With global turnover for 2015 said to be on track to exceed that goal of $1 billion, it’s like something straight out of Ocean’s Eleven. Thinking about the financial scale of Jeunesse Global and the dishonest ways it has amassed its profits by allowing the bullying of its distributors, duplicitous marketing, and overall regrettable conduct over the past six years, this is truly staggering.
While the outcome of the ongoing investigation by the FTC and Florida Attorney General are yet to be determined, it remains to be seen if Jeunesse Global will ever learn the lesson that if you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned. Either way, I’ll be watching to see what happens. In the meantime, I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on things.
*I’ll talk more about Jeunesse Global before and after images in another article. This is something you really have to see first to understand what exactly Jeunesse Global skin creams are made of and how they do what they do.