SUBTITLE: Hessischer Rundfunk SUBTITLE: Hessischer Rundfunk It's a business that makes billions every year.
And everyone should be able to get on board and earn a lot of money.
I am discussing with you today how to really make big income becomes possible for you in network marketing.
I mean really big income.
8 million euros after just eight years.
The secret: network marketing.
A business model in which customers become sellers and recruit new sellers yourself.
Social media is full of it.
Network marketing is awesome when you have lots of people.
Then you earn money everywhere.
That accumulates further upwards.
The products: touted as true all-rounders.
It's a sugar destroyer.
Rich, beautiful and healthy.
Who is behind it? What is behind the promise? And how much of it is true? I didn't sell anything.
I research undercover and discover an unbelievable distribution network with questionable miracle cures.
I recently in the waiting room of a doctor's office a woman tells about her job in which she earns 20,000 euros a month only by recommending products.
I could do that too, without any prior knowledge and without any risk.
I just have to get on board with this company.
I ask myself: can this really work? The company she works for is called Forever Living Products.
A company from the USA, that specializes in products based on aloe vera.
Cosmetics, beverages, dietary supplements, a wide range.
But can you really make that much money with it? During my several weeks of research I come across dubious promises.
That knocks away the bacteria.
I swear to you.
This is insane.
And on cheated sales partners, who got stuck on debt and products.
I feel really ripped off.
What kind of business is this where strangers just like that 20,000 euros in income per month is promised? I get curious.
To immerse yourself in this world, I'll get in touch in various Facebook groups under a false identity.
People promptly write to me.
Shortly afterwards I get the first invitation to an online presentation.
Run by one of the most famous names from the "Forever Living" universe.
In this webinar I should learn more about the business model.
Much seems to be inaccessible for a long time until someone proves otherwise.
With courage, creativity and intuition.
Strong pictures, strong words, strong emotions, this is how the presentation begins.
It should be clear: This is about something really big.
Then Rolf Kipp speaks up.
Hello and welcome to 40 minutes of valuable information, which will certainly enrich and positively influence your life.
My name is Rolf Kipp.
This most valuable piece of information is about more free time, Family time, health and above all financial independence.
All of this could be achieved by getting into the business with.
And there is more to come.
What I'm going to introduce to you now you may not even be able to believe at first.
Many say: "It almost sounds like paradise.
" Then he shows a table that is supposed to prove what excessive income should be possible here: of 36,000 euros after the first year up to 3.
8 million euros after just eight years.
You should be able to earn that here, with little work.
Believe it or not, it really does exist: with only five hours of work per week earn more than most people in their full-time job.
The secret to the enormous success lies in multi-level marketing.
A commission-based sales strategy, in which one does not recommend products, but recruits new sellers, who in turn also recruit new sellers.
So you should be remunerated for a working time of 500 hours, even though you only work five hours yourself.
He calls it multiplying working hours.
Sounds great, doesn't it? Entry costs 360 euros for the starter package.
With that you can get the products 30 percent cheaper.
And he attributes great abilities to these: rejuvenating, antiviral, pain reliever.
Is it all true? I will investigate this question.
According to self-promotion, "Forever Living" World market leader in exclusive aloe vera products and been in business for a long time.
The Arizona company has existed for 40 years.
The things don't exist in the store.
The distribution runs exclusively through recommendations.
And that's if you believe the distribution partners a highly profitable business.
Rolf Kipp, for example, is supposed to be in his network Produced 40 millionaires.
At least that's what an online magazine says.
But how much truth is there? The internet is full of images that suggest with "Forever Living" you can really enjoy yourself.
Rich, healthy and happy, that's how beautiful life can be.
And how that should work, he wants to show here: Jim Menter.
Tomorrow I will actually show my personal bank statement live in the online meeting.
And I show how I passively earn 1321 euros every day with a billion-dollar company.
And above all, the whole thing without a nine-to-five job, as you can too.
That's a lot of money, really.
And I'm slowly noticing how the pictures and the promises begin to have an effect on me too.
A former distributor will tell me later how it all went with her.
But first to my own story.
I want to know more and register for the webinar.
It is run by Jim Menter's parents.
Obviously the whole family is on board.
Different people have their say in the webinar, who should have made it.
They tell very similar stories over and over again.
So that you have more time for yourself again, for your family, your lifelong dreams.
That you have more quality of life again, long-term health, self-determination and freedom.
Quality of life, health, self-determination, I've heard that before.
Something is doing to me.
It makes me feel like I'm questioning whether it might be possible after all that you can earn 20,000 euros or more a month.
Because they introduce so many people telling the exact same story all of course super well dressed, in some great parks, in the background a fat mansion.
I think if you are receptive to it, then that draws you.
After completing the webinar, I will be asked to leave my contact details.
The first call follows a few days later.
I take on myself.
* The phone rings.
* Hi! It's nice that I can reach you.
What do you think? Are you getting on? Yes, I don't really know what it's about yet.
I understand it's about Forever Living Products.
And with selling the products.
I'll explain it in my own words, okay? You actually have Brigitte Menter, Jim Menter's mother, she coaches you.
It is number four in the world on "Forever".
You have to imagine that, in 162 countries number four, Madness! She makes 170,000 a month, 170,000 passive income.
You learn from her.
– 170,000 euros a month? Right.
– Is that really true? That's right, Alex.
Alexandra, you get something in your hand here.
That's the most important.
Because in online marketing, for example you also have the New Era, a much greater range in the network.
You can reach more people online.
You will be taught everything from us.
Because we are the experts in this area.
And what exactly do I have to do? I will explain to you.
If you acquire so-called business coaching from us, first of all you get a mega-giant starter package.
That means 45 packages of clean-9 packages, that is a starter package.
So a huge range of products, which you will then get sent to your home.
And the 4600 euros that should cost it does not go to us.
But it also goes directly to "Forever Living".
So we're not taking any money at first.
So again, I would have to raise 4600 euros, so to speak.
Well, to start with, Alexandra.
But what we say: If you invest five hours a week, and that's really not much, you have after three months a passive income of no less than 5000 euros.
After three months already? – I guarantee you.
From my mouth because that's just a fact.
Of course, if you invest more time, one can earn beyond that.
Because "Forever Products" are aloe vera products.
They are natural and helpful too.
And I don't want to give that up now Jim made it well.
He had a skin disease and it made him well.
Many people also get healthy through the products of "Forever".
You can't present that because of the pharmaceutical industry.
You know they want to make big money.
They only earn money from the sick.
So I'm not a seller.
I started myself two years ago to take the products to me too.
And I'm actually doing better.
I don't want to show it off now.
It’s just a fact.
I'm just talking about the toothpaste.
What she can do! You can inhale it, smear it on the wound.
Your tooth is getting stronger.
As soon as you just use the toothpaste I'm sure you switch to "Forever".
5000 euros guaranteed and this promise of salvation.
What is this guy telling me? What kind of company is it whose name such statements are made? "Forever Living" is huge.
The US group is according to its own statements several billion dollars worth and a true global player in multi-level marketing.
They are active in more than 160 countries, for 20 years also in Germany.
And this is how the business model works: In network marketing, the customers of a company become to independent sellers.
They recommend the product to their friends and recruit new sellers at the same time.
They in turn attract new customers and new salespeople.
The so-called upline, i.
those who stand above it, receive a commission for recruiting and selling.
The more levels, the more the people at the top earn.
Because there are different levels one speaks here of multi-level marketing.
Is that legal? Or is this an illegal pyramid scheme? I meet with Peter Solf in Bad Homburg.
The lawyer is the managing director from the protection association against white-collar crime.
I tell him about my research and show excerpts from the webinars.
The chances of success that will be met there are very borderline high.
I don't know if all of this is feasible.
And not necessarily from the standpoint, the premise, that I see something like that more often.
I think you should use common sense have corresponding doubts about such statements here.
Of course, the key issue here is the question of delimitation: What is in the foreground? Is it really about just selling products and possibly to win new sales partners for these products? Additionally.
Or is it all about to win new partners for this system? Then it might indeed be inadmissible and maybe even criminally relevant.
Pyramid systems are banned in Germany.
Without a product, there would be no real business.
In "Forever Living", however, there are products.
But what role do they actually play? I keep asking myself this question during my research.
I want to learn more about the company and the products and order a couple of the bestsellers.
Aloe vera gel, two bags of vegetable shakes and a few cans of nutritional supplements.
All of this for a proud 340 euros.
Are these products worth the money? So here it says: Contains over 20 types of fruit and vegetables as well as vitamins C, E.
and magnesium, which help your body keep performing well.
Sounds pretty promising, doesn't it? And people rave about the products online too With Clean-9 I have a completely new body feeling.
I no longer feel hungry and really want to exercise.
I feel much more in the mood for healthy food and feel fitter and slimmer as a result.
This is a sugar destroyer.
He's got a very special ability.
He's got a creeper in here.
It's called .
I keep looking.
And that's a creeper.
If you could eat a piece of this creeper and then you would eat a spoonful of sugar then the sugar tastes like sand.
And even if you like it "wah" the first time.
It gets better over time.
Aloe is like soap for our body, our intestines.
It has a very basic effect and simply helps to restore the body to bring them into a balanced acid-base level.
Bottom up! What are the products really good for? To find out I'll send her to food research at Giessen University.
During my several weeks of research, I will keep coming back called by one sales partner.
I have the 4600 euros for the starter package namely not transferred.
Now he's trying to convince me again.
I understand, I should sell the products, but not only, right? It's not necessarily about you doing the selling the products.
Oh, not yours? – So yes.
Sure, can you do that too if you want your money straight away.
But I don't find it so useful.
It's about finding new partners.
It is referral marketing.
What I would do if I were you: You must know a lot of people who have many followers on Instagram, for example.
I would give the things to them.
Someone who is really acquainted.
It goes without saying that it has to have a lot of followers.
He should test that to detoxify the body.
For example someone who is a little more chubby.
You give that to him too.
It picks up directly.
He comes up to you again and asks: Alexandra, where did you get that stuff from? Out of ten there are five, four, I can guarantee that.
Because anyone who has tested "Forever" can no longer get away from it.
I can guarantee that.
With us you become a manager.
We have none of it if you don't become a manager with us.
We don't make a penny if you don't become a manager.
That's why we want to lead everyone to the manager.
That said, it's about me having new partners, so to speak get into the company.
Right, you get the partners and benefit from them.
– Yes, everyone benefits from it.
You shouldn't think: "I'm not going to put myself under that.
" "He then earns from me.
" This is a completely wrong way of thinking.
Everyone earns from everyone, Alexandra.
We'll only benefit from it if you become a manager.
Because the money you pay here with us does not go directly to us, but to "Forever".
So again, Alexandra, we don't earn anything from it.
You benefit from it.
If you can really make that much money with it, why do you have to convince others with so much emphasis? For a while, someone called me every day some days up to nine times in a row.
Over time, I follow various online training courses and presentations.
It strikes me that they always follow the same pattern.
The stories always sound the same.
They are only told by other people.
From single mothers, entrepreneurs, who would have given up their company for "Forever".
There are men, women, young and old.
And they are happy.
This image is suggested over and over again.
Anyone who belongs to the "Forever" family is doing well.
This is also shown by videos from the numerous events, organized by "Forever".
I have an appointment for a video call with an expert for such distribution systems.
Claudia Groß from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, has been researching such structures for a long time.
The business economist criticizes the Forever Living business model.
Multi-level marketing advertises with dangerous promises.
In MLM it is said that anyone can get to the top.
But only those who earn money from others can make it up.
This is very typical for companies.
The difference to MLM is that it is said here, The one downstairs, the caretaker, the cleaning lady can also become the chief executive.
That's just not true because I need a lot who are below me.
Mathematically: It does not work.
I earn money on my downline, that's the only way to get up.
When everyone is up, nobody has a downline.
There are individual stories from the cleaning lady or the caretaker in MLM who actually made it.
But that's one out of 10,000, 20,000, 30,000.
Not everyone can be upstairs.
It can't work.
I meet a former sales partner on Facebook from "Forever Living".
She too did until three years ago still believed in all the promises But instead of great wealth, she went into debt.
How it came about, she would like to tell me, provided that that we don't say her name or show her face.
Open criticism is undesirable in the industry.
Laura came to "Forever" through a friend.
At that time she was on parental leave.
Your money was tight.
The friend raved about the great success.
And then she said to me these are really very good products.
That it also works for me.
And it could also be sold very well.
I mean, I was home too.
Then I was on parental leave with my little one.
So I thought, okay, I can't lose a lot.
She trusted her friend and got involved in the business.
The around 400 euros for the starter package I borrowed it from her.
I really believed in it.
I really imagined it.
If I persevere, do what the experts do the big ones who have already achieved something have achieved I could do that too.
I really believed this is my business, this will work.
And every time we've been to these events everyone cheered.
Then people were always called out who have reached the next level.
I am so satisfied.
" "I'm so happy to be part of it.
" Then you also have this euphoria: "You can do it.
" After the event you think: "You can move mountains.
" Then you arrive at home and you arrive in reality.
Then you start to calculate: "Oh, oh, oh.
" "I'll have to order products again next month.
" "How am I supposed to do this?" Because in order to be able to earn any money at all, she had to generate a turnover of 800 euros every month.
By selling and recruiting new partners.
Only then, she tells me, is she eligible for a commission.
It doesn't matter if she's selling something or not.
Then has this business worked for you at all? That didn't work for me at all.
Just to advertise these people.
It is always said: "Yes, you have to present the products to someone first.
They have to get to know you in your area.
" Where do you start in the first place? In the family.
Then I had to speak to my father my aunt and friends approach to give them the products.
Try it, what do you say, is that nice, is that good? Does that bring you anything? It gave me such a stomach ache every time.
Until I said I don't want to.
My brother also invested a few euros for my sake and bought a couple of products.
He said the products didn't do anything for me: So what is promised, really none of it.
Your family has become skeptical.
But her team pushed her and said every entrepreneur must initially fight for success.
It's your business, you have to hide that, only see the positives.
You have to leave the negative behind.
There will always be people who say it won't work, you can't do it.
Of course, after a while, that creates such pressure.
You want to make it, want to continue just to prove to the family that it works.
That then causes me to invest more and more money without anything happening.
Soon she didn't know anymore who else she should offer the products to.
She also no longer had any money to buy.
However, the pressure from her team continued to increase.
I was even animated to if I don't have the money, I'm supposed to sell things.
Where I then sold my daughter's game collection I thought it couldn't be done.
I can't sell things of mine for buying some products that I keep trying this thing.
Then I was told again "Yes, look if you still have anything at home.
" Then I started selling the electrical appliances.
I had a huge argument there, also with my boyfriend.
Then I said it couldn't be done anymore.
Practices from which "for ever" officially distances itself.
For Laura, the success never set in, she was there for a year.
Do you deserve anything? I haven't sold anything, sold nothing.
Not a product? – Not a product.
Instead, she has accumulated debts of 4,000 euros, from costs for seminars, events and a bunch of products that nobody wanted.
This is no surprise for business economist Claudia Groß.
She tells me about the numbers that the company publishes.
Already then it becomes clear, "forever living" itself promises neither quick money nor wealth.
When asked by "foever living" it shows that only a few earn any money here.
Out of 1000 distributors, 395 have people just earned up to 400 euros gross.
It gets thinner and thinner above it.
How many have earned more than 20,000 euros? And how many earned nothing at all? "Forever living" does not provide any information on this when asked.
Reason: sensitive information.
they are in competition with other companies.
If you read these numbers, you can see that there are very few.
This is not surprising because I need a large group for a passive income.
So I need a lot of others.
So not everyone can be at the top.
Also, I am critical when taking nutritional supplements or health products are distributed through multilevel marketing.
The risk is that in the private sector, online or offline, here too the blue of the sky is promised, what products can do.
So the company doesn't just distance itself from the high income promises, but even forbids sales partners to make such statements.
Healing statements are also prohibited according to the company policy.
But do they all stick to it? This product is used by the distribution partners particularly heavily advertised.
[ __ ] pollen.
But luckily I have "Clean Nine" I not only achieved my sporting goals with it, I can breathe deeply again.
Also on Facebook: Here I am contacted by various people without being asked.
You see me as a customer.
While I'm still waiting for the assessment from the lab, I get before and after pictures sent to me, which prove how effective "Clean Nine" is supposed to be.
A lady tells me that you can use the program can lose up to eight pounds in nine days.
I say I have a sensitive bowel and be unsure whether I would get complaints from it.
No, you shouldn't have intestinal problems, because the aloe vera is basically the very best, what a dam you can get.
This is what you drink when you have intestinal problems, if you have digestive problems.
So there the intestines are properly cared for.
You are probably rid of your bowel problems that you got yourself through the other story.
She claims aloe vera is also good for intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease.
The latter is a serious illness.
I feel insecure and ask whether I should not seek medical advice.
Doctors are usually not familiar with nutritional supplements or not with aloe vera.
As I said, I can only say that we have had good experiences.
I fixed my ladies with this 20 years ago.
That was my start in the aloe vera story.
Back then I had very bad fungi in my intestines.
I just got it under control with it, that was gone.
So doctors don't know about active ingredients in diseases? And these tips: Can the woman say such things without medical knowledge? I want to clarify that with the consumer advice center.
But first I will meet with a sales partner that I also got to know on Facebook.
According to her own statements, the woman has been working for "forever" for 15 years.
A colleague accompanies me.
We give ourselves together as interested parties for the business model.
What will the woman tell us to lure us into business? She has prepared a whole range of products at home and let's try it.
Aloe vera leaf tea, vegetable shakes and pure aloe vera gel.
Things taste terrible.
Can you really sell them that well? This is a very high quality protein shake with many valuable amino acids.
They are very helpful for many things: for the skin, regeneration of the intestines.
I have a partner on my team, she had neurodermatitis and bronchial asthma.
She got away from these things with "forever".
Really, it sounds incredible, like medicine.
Yes, but that's not what it is, it is food.
Hippocrates already said: "Food should be your medicine.
" Now a few years ago her husband got throat cancer and had an operation.
She pumped him full of all sorts of things from us.
He didn't have the chemo burns and the mucous membranes weren't as bad from the radiation as others.
TOI Toi Toi.
Until now is also still there.
Is that also preventative against cancer? I have many cases in my family.
Aloe is cell food and protects the cells.
These are antioxidants.
That's something like that, for example.
When you look at what fruits and vegetables are in there.
This is the cracker, it is no longer available.
You can't take that over normal fruit.
Or can you manage five servings of fruit and vegetables a day? Even if one could do it there is no longer what was there 20 or 30 years ago.
But it takes a lot of effort to drink this stuff.
If the level of suffering is great enough, then you drink it.
Nobody drinks that stuff for pleasure.
Nobody would do that if they had common sense if he didn't flush the benefits.
So I always lived excessively in my youth.
I still smoke and have been lying in the sun a lot.
For me this is not just an elixir of health it is also an elixir of youth.
It can't be anything else because I haven't taken anything else.
Then the lady tells us what the creams can do like the warming heat lotion.
She smears the cream directly into her throat in front of our eyes, because it would kill viruses and bacteria.
We can't believe it.
In front of the door we talk about the experiences.
She has already left some of the leather.
At first she held back said that one must not make promises of salvation.
She didn't want to give me tips for my irritable bowel syndrome.
But at some point it started.
That's when she started.
Yes, aloe vera was the magic bullet.
What does it all help against? We have now heard: against pollen allergy, cat allergy, insect bites.
What else did she say? Supportive with chemotherapy, then long-term damage after cancer.
The products from "forever": The consumer advice center warned against this as early as 2017.
Defects in labeling, impermissible advertising messages and questionable ingredients.
Conclusion: This casts doubt on the seriousness of the provider.
"Forever" has also been warned in England and the USA: because of inadmissible healing claims and because products like the "Clean Nine" exceeded the limit values for lead.
Wiebke Franz from the consumer center in Frankfurt has dealt with the company's advertising promises.
What you can find about the products at the company today, is largely okay.
Not so with sales partners, example "Clean Nine": A cleansing and weight loss program is offered.
It is not said at all whereby a cleaning should take place.
What are we supposed to be dirty with? It is claimed that without prior purification the desired weight cannot be achieved.
The manufacturer doesn't even know the desired weight.
So that's not a concrete promise of weight reduction.
It's all very global, very vague.
It is not documented in detail by any of the ingredients, whereby this effect is to be achieved.
I'll show her my research.
Many of the advertising promises are from their point of view hardly durable and also not permitted.
Nevertheless, this is a typical phenomenon in multilevel marketing.
She observes this again and again in similarly structured companies.
It's a basic problem.
Usually there are sales partners medical laypeople employed.
We notice again and again and food monitoring as well, that with health and disease related statements action is taken when it comes to dietary supplements.
That can of course, if the promise is .
I can't judge that well.
But when someone is on medication and then also takes such dietary supplements, the plant substances are also included.
Interactions or side effects are also possible.
In any case, this can be hazardous to health.
Does "Forever Living" know about it? After all, they pretend properly train the sales partners.
I'm curious what they have to say.
Before that, I'll talk to the competition headquarters again, this time with the expert for the European Health Claims Regulation.
As for the products themselves and the application for them, I noticed that of course you have to try to upgrade something.
If I understand correctly, they are relatively expensive.
That means, I have to add some additional benefit to them.
It seems to me to be here that one simply claims that they also help against diseases or prevent diseases.
Is that permissible? That is not allowed.
You always have to keep an eye on that dietary supplements are not drugs.
Food supplements are foods.
And food is subject to very strict rules legal requirements regarding advertising.
So you can, for example, for food do not advertise illness references.
That said, it doesn't really matter, whether I do it directly or indirectly.
But I mustn't give the impression that dietary supplements are suitable in any way, to help with illness.
You will now examine the extent to which against the sales partner Injunctions can be filed.
Because they are liable.
But also the company it should be demonstrable that it knowingly tolerates these statements.
I ask "Forever Living" about it.
They too are presented with the research.
In this case .
I have doubts.
Does "Forever" really not know anything about it? After all, I have healing statements from different independent and long-term sales partners heard and seen, among others by Rolf Kipp.
I get a call by the food analyst Gertrud Morlock from the University of Giessen.
She has now been able to examine the products and want to meet with me.
The scientist has been involved for more than 15 years with the effectiveness of ingredients.
Are these products of any use, for example for the intestines? But aloe vera gel also consists of 99 percent water.
If you now drink a mineral water or something the stool is getting better.
I don't know if I would spend 31 euros on such a product.
And there is still a little bit of ascorbic acid in here too, so vitamin C and citric acid.
Presumably to round off the taste, because the gel tastes almost like nothing.
So that's a product for 31 euros.
Yes I do not know.
I would eat oatmeal or drink mineral water.
Then my intestines will probably be coping well too.
Their verdict: far too expensive for the supposed use.
Especially for many ingredients in the products it cannot be clearly stated whether they have any effect at all.
There are already plant extracts included, which certainly also have active ingredients that can be cheap.
But you also have to show that with clinical studies, whether there is an effect behind it in the dosage.
For some it says "as you like".
That doesn't work now.
Because then sometimes I can't eat anything.
We know from the area of active ingredients that you also need a regular dose to see an effect.
When asked, I find that evidence studies lasts "Forever" not necessary for your own products.
In the case of aloe vera gel, for example, this is vitamin C.
Whether there are other products with active substances does not want to answer "Forever".
How can something like that be possible? I would like to have an interview on this business model with the Ministry of Consumer Protection in Hesse.
But they refer to the Frankfurt Veterinary Office, the local food control.
Forever is based in Frankfurt.
But the veterinary office is also only responsible for the quality control of the products.
Something she's been criticizing for a long time.
No authority feels responsible for multi-level marketing, although almost a million people nationwide work in such structures.
Consumer protection cares about the quality of products.
For example, about dietary supplements, that they don't harm us.
The problem with MLM is that it's not just that is about the quality of the products, but with what promises that are sold.
Too little control is carried out here.
Consumer protection needs more powers to also take care of the sales structure.
As long as no political level feels responsible Big business will go on with false promises and billions in profits made at the expense of others.
COPYRIGHT SUBTITLE: hr 2020