Seeking Alpha

FTC initiative targeting deceptive weight-loss product claims hits MLMs

  • Weakness in shares of Herbalife (HLF -4.5%) is being attributed to an announcement that the FTC is set to launch a new initiative against "deceptive claims made by national marketers of fad weight loss products."
  • A press conference will be held next Tuesday to address the issue.
  • Also lower: Nu Skin (NUS -5.3%), Usana (USNA -1.8%)
  • FTC media advisory
Comments (103)
  • chummybeagle
    , contributor
    Comments (106) | Send Message
     
    Doesn't sound like Herbalife although one could try to make that connection.
    3 Jan, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • Dampflok
    , contributor
    Comments (787) | Send Message
     
    Its a start.
    3 Jan, 12:09 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    As long as the FTC I focused on deception, Herbalife will be ok.
    3 Jan, 11:03 PM Reply Like
  • Quoth the Raven
    , contributor
    Comments (2069) | Send Message
     
    Here we go. Where's my popcorn?
    3 Jan, 12:10 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    I guess they quickly put damage control on this one:
    Hebalife Says has No Reason to Think Any of its Weight-Management Products will beSubject of the FTC's January 7 Press Conference
    01/03/2014 01:45 PM
    "Herbalife has no reason to think any of its weight-management products will be the subject of the FTC's January 7 press conference. Herbalife uses sound science in assessing those products and conveys substantiated claims for them in a non-deceptive manner. Herbalife also emphasizes the importance of incorporating healthy eating habits and appropriate physical activity in every weight-management regimen."
    3 Jan, 03:09 PM Reply Like
  • Yteeld
    , contributor
    Comments (1026) | Send Message
     
    The sad part is that anyone that followed your advice on HLF and Netflix can't afford popcorn because of the losses they have encountered..............
    3 Jan, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • Brian Sanders
    , contributor
    Comments (634) | Send Message
     
    I never really decided to go long or short on HLF because of it's extraordinary situation. It's obvious they are a pyramid scheme but no one really seems to care, and with their accounting procedures recently approved for the past few years...it just made bullish players very happy. But investors shouldn't have too much hindsight exuberance (i.e. Icahn)...and I also don't think the business model is sustainable, especially in theory. Using a fcf model assuming a realistic growth multiple (between 11-17% which occurred from 2011 to 2013) of 14% going forward values HLF around 8.2 billion or $80 per share after cash/debt adjustments. So there is virtually no upside in terms of fair valuation...I guess time will tell what the market does. It's also one of the biggest battleground stocks on the market - if shorts cover (and potentially switch sides) it's a huge setup to get burned.
    Technicals are bullish, but are very shaky. In terms of a prediction...I think the market will irrationally push it higher via momentum.
    I will remain on the sidelines. Nonetheless it's a very interesting scenario...personally I hope the bears catch a break haha.

     

    Best Regards,
    Brian
    3 Jan, 10:31 PM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    briansanders: "It's obvious they are a pyramid scheme"

     

    Its obvious that they are NOT a pyramid scheme ... that's why the market is rewarding the longs.

     

    If you are going to charge Herbalife of being a pyramid scheme, you should at least give SOME reason for that charge. Every single argument brought by Ackman and his army, the copycat shorts and the Anti-MLM cabal has been thoroughly debunked here on SA.
    4 Jan, 08:53 AM Reply Like
  • Brian Sanders
    , contributor
    Comments (634) | Send Message
     
    Well, I've talked to plenty of investors who have analyzed HLF and they say it's pretty obvious. An acquaintance of mine who has a PhD in Finance and Accounting simplified it saying they have X number of distributors, of which a % end up being unprofitable, and they grab new ones to fill their place.
    4 Jan, 11:22 AM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    briansanders: "An acquaintance of mine who has a PhD in Finance and Accounting simplified it saying they have X number of distributors, of which a % end up being unprofitable, and they grab new ones to fill their place."

     

    So YOU haven't analysed it at all. Funny how the PhD's definition of a pyramid scheme doesn't match any of the recognized definitions.

     

    Do some research, then in your own words, tell us why you accuse Herbalife of running an illegal pyramid scheme.
    4 Jan, 01:23 PM Reply Like
  • Brian Sanders
    , contributor
    Comments (634) | Send Message
     
    I actually have looked into Herbalife; I simply used that person's statement as a point of reference. Also it doesn't have to be so cut and dry as you claim for it to be a pyramid scheme. The leaders who start the pyramid schemes look for people who "add" to the top line (aka HLF) which inevitably hurt those at the bottom (i.e. the distributors, who are unprofitable, OR the consumers of their products). It's a complete conflict of interest.

     

    Why do you have to come out with such crazy accusations and make yourself look like a fool? Think before you speak.
    4 Jan, 03:58 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "Every single argument brought by Ackman and his army, the copycat shorts and the Anti-MLM cabal has been thoroughly debunked here on SA."

     

    Off the top of my head, I am not aware that HLF has provided to distributors financial statements audited by a certified public accountant showing that it generates revenue from selling its products or services to people outside the program. The FTC says an MLM that is not a pyramid scheme should be able to do this, yet HLF has told the SEC it doesn't even track this data because in its belief it is not relevant to the business or investors.
    4 Jan, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    briansanders: "Also it doesn't have to be so cut and dry as you claim for it to be a pyramid scheme."

     

    The Court in Belgium did a thorough analysis and determined that Herbalife is NOT a pyramid scheme. So why do you publicly accuse a legal company of operating an illegal pyramid scheme based purely on someone else's faulty and callow remarks?

     

    briansanders: "Why do you have to come out with such crazy accusations and make yourself look like a fool? Think before you speak."

     

    How ironic ... that's my question for you.
    4 Jan, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    willytsa: "Off the top of my head, I am not aware that HLF has provided to distributors financial statements audited by a certified public accountant showing that it generates revenue from selling its products or services to people outside the program."

     

    Even Matt Stewart no longer believes that is relevant.
    4 Jan, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "Even Matt Stewart no longer believes that is relevant."

     

    You said "every single argument brought by Ackman...has been thoroughly debunked". The FTC states and Ackman agrees an inability to produce audited statements of outside sales is a hallmark for whether an MLM might be a pyramid scheme. This argument of Ackman's can only be debunked by HLF producing these audited statements. Since HLF can't produce these statements if what it has told the SEC about not tracking outside sales because it doesn't believe the data is relevant to the business or investors is true, your point is incorrect based on this example alone.
    4 Jan, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    willytsa: "The FTC states and Ackman agrees an inability to produce audited statements of outside sales is a hallmark for whether an MLM might be a pyramid scheme."

     

    Not true. The FTC does not require audited statements of outside sales, never has. Regardless the point is moot since we know that virtually 100% of all product is sold to the ultimate consumer for its intrinsic product value. After more than a year ... there is still ZERO evidence of any inventory loading.

     

    Retail sales argument ... thoroughly debunked. No evidence of inventory loading, competitive pricing, real products, Leiberman and Neilson studies, eBay sales, etc. ALL prove that the product is being successfully retailed.
    4 Jan, 06:15 PM Reply Like
  • powershake
    , contributor
    Comments (1176) | Send Message
     
    Brian,

     

    It looks like you are the tool -

     

    You have no idea of what you are talking about. I am a 20 year distributor, that is I started when HLF was 13 years old. If I had listen to your advice - I would have missed out on millions of dollars of income, since you say the people who started first make all the money. On top of that, I have distributors in my team that make more money than me!

     

    Can you put this data into your calculations? HLF helps people to become better human beings. Better parent, students, children, business people, community service people, healthier people, happier people...

     

    91 countries approve our business model, over 50+ million people have their positive health result - HLF is helping with the overweight - obesity crisis - which leads to many illnesses as you probably know. Health crisis is at and all time high all over the world.

     

    Do you know how good the HLF are? Probably not, from your myopic point of view.

     

    Happy New Year!
    4 Jan, 08:40 PM Reply Like
  • Brian Sanders
    , contributor
    Comments (634) | Send Message
     
    Oh wow thanks powershake I am now enlightened! Appreciate the insight! My point of view just took a 180.

     

    Happy New Year to you as well :)
    4 Jan, 09:48 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "The FTC does not require audited statements of outside sales, never has."

     

    I didn't say the FTC said it was required. The FTC has clearly stated in its investor alert that an MLM's inability to produce audited statements showing outside sales is a hallmark of a pyramid scheme.

     

    Ackman has made the argument this hallmark of a pyramid scheme applies to HLF. Since no one on Seeking Alpha has been able to point to audited statements of outside sales that HLF makes available to distributors, Ackman's argument has not been debunked, and as a result your statement that "every single argument" has been debunked is incorrect just based on this example.
    5 Jan, 12:16 AM Reply Like
  • MetsFan02
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    you are one of the few powershake. HLF has an EXTREMELY high turnover ratio. it is simply unsustainable.
    5 Jan, 12:59 AM Reply Like
  • Financial Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    Powershake,

     

    I've ran multiple models on HLF's valuation including dcf, fcf, earnings, etc and even if they continue their extraordinary growth rate there isn't much upside. As a prudent investor, all the quarreling aside, this has almost no safety net. In other words, what do you think Herbalife is actually worth? If you are a distributor fine but an investor? Other companies are way more attractive.

     

    But seriously since you are very informed on Herbalife, what do you think it's worth in terms of market cap/share value?
    5 Jan, 01:01 AM Reply Like
  • powershake
    , contributor
    Comments (1176) | Send Message
     
    Financial Anaylyst,

     

    Here's why I put my money in with HLF:

     

    Ichan, Soros, Stiritz, Bass, Perry, Chapman, etc. have done their DD. Ackman no significant investor on his side, none!

     

    Stiritz 13D filing states:

     

    " The Reporting Person has analyzed the Company and concluded that it has a sound business model, a strong distribution system and a positive outlook for long-term growth opportunities. The Reporting Person believes that the Company’s market capitalization is undervalued at this time. The Reporting Person plans to interact with Company management to offer them, for their consideration, his views, advice and counsel for ways of promoting and furthering the Company’s shareholder interests." OMG

     

    Do you think you know more than Stiritz? Are you as informed as him? Do you have all the information he does? Did your office of personal analyst review all the inside information he had access to before putting up such a massive amount of investment from his personal funds as he did? Come on now. None of us are even close.

     

    Big SQUEEZE coming in Jan - the way I see it!
    LBO will happen if shorts continue to hold on to their shares AT AROUND 90.
    HLF SP could be $100 by Q2 - LBO before then IMO.

     

    Happy New Year1
    5 Jan, 01:55 AM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    What are your chances of becoming a millionaire? This is based on a USA Today article by USA Today analyst Danny Sheridan and Rich Kid Smart Kid by Robert Kiyosaki. As I said a few weeks ago, we need to overwhelm the nonsense being published on these boards with facts and brag about Herbalife. Here is another fact to overwhelm the opinions of some others.

     

    Odds of becoming a millionaire
    USA Today analyst Danny Sheridan calculated these odds on ways to become a millionaire:

     

    Inheriting it: 12 million to 1
    Winning the lottery: 12 million to 1
    Playing the slots at the casino: 6 million to 1
    Winning in a game show on TV: 4 million to 1
    Saving $800 per month for 30 years: 1.2 million to 1
    Owning a dotcom that goes public: 10,000 to 1 (these odds were calculated in August 2000)
    Owning a small business: 1,000 to 1

     

    Source: Rich Kid Smart Kid, by Robert Kiyosaki

     

    In Herbalife:

     

    Herbalife Distributor: 1 in 26,000
    Herbalife Supervisor: 1 in 2,600
    Herbalife World Team Member: 1 in 800
    Herbalife GET Team Member: 1 in 80
    Herbalife Mill Team Member: 1 in 8
    President's Team Member: CERTAINTY (unless you just don't want to!)
    5 Jan, 06:43 AM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    willytsa: "The FTC has clearly stated in its investor alert that an MLM's inability to produce audited statements showing outside sales is a hallmark of a pyramid scheme."

     

    Herbalife has released two independent surveys by two internationally renowned research companies, both of which show "outside sales". There are thousands of Nutrition Clubs all making "outside sales". Distributors here on SA have told you they are making "outside sales". Many commenting here on SA have stated that they are not distributors and they are purchasing the product. ie. "outside sales". Even Ackman himself points to all the "outside sales" on the internet.

     

    Now, if you want to try and make bones about no "audited statements of outside sales" ... good luck with that.

     

    No "outside sales": Debunked.
    5 Jan, 08:40 AM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    metsfan02: "you are one of the few powershake. HLF has an EXTREMELY high turnover ratio. it is simply unsustainable."

     

    Its been "sustained" for going on 34 years now. There is no credible, factual information that has been made public to suggest that Herbalife can't continue to grow. What has changed that makes you make such an observably false statement?
    5 Jan, 08:43 AM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    Financial Analyst: "I've ran multiple models on HLF's valuation including dcf, fcf, earnings, etc and even if they continue their extraordinary growth rate there isn't much upside."

     

    Have you run those models on similar companies, ie. NuSkin, GNC, etc.? How do they compare in terms of growth and market cap/share value? I'd be curious to know.
    5 Jan, 08:49 AM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "Now, if you want to try and make bones about no "audited statements of outside sales" ... good luck with that."

     

    It sounds like you agree with Ackman that HLF is not able to produce audited statements of outside sales as the FTC says an MLM company should be able to do.
    5 Jan, 09:58 AM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "Its been "sustained" for going on 34 years now. There is no credible, factual information that has been made public to suggest that Herbalife can't continue to grow."

     

    The data reported by HLF on its website shows that its growth has stopped and sales are declining in Asia-Pacific, the region where it has the most number of sales leaders by far.

     

    http://bit.ly/19e3jJm
    5 Jan, 10:04 AM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    willytsa: "It sounds like you agree with Ackman that HLF is not able to produce audited statements of outside sales as the FTC says an MLM company should be able to do."

     

    Here are two independent statements of "outside sales":

     

    Lieberman: http://bit.ly/1d6x02R pages 36 - 45

     

    Nielson: http://bit.ly/1ebjPJN

     

    Add to that the "outside sales" at the thousands of Nutrition Clubs, the "outside sales" on internet web sites, the "outside sales" drop shipped by Herbalife, the "outside sales" testified to by people here on SA, both distributor and those "outside" Herbalife, the fact that inventory returns are de minimis, the fact that there is ZERO evidence of inventory loading ... etc., etc., etc.

     

    Do YOU remain convinced that there are no "outside sales"? If so, on what do you base your belief?
    5 Jan, 11:31 AM Reply Like
  • just2look
    , contributor
    Comments (1358) | Send Message
     
    willytsa: "The data reported by HLF on its website shows that its growth has stopped and sales are declining in Asia-Pacific, the region where it has the most number of sales leaders by far."

     

    I agree, that is disconcerting. We'll have to see if that trend continues, if it was an anomaly or there is some other explanation forthcoming. Definitely will keep an eye on that.

     

    However, as you are aware, worldwide the growth continues, even in the face of Ackman's monumental interference in Herbalife's business. Pretty impressive.
    5 Jan, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "Do YOU remain convinced that there are no "outside sales"? If so, on what do you base your belief?"

     

    I do believe you when you say you are a retail customer who purchases from eBay and pays less than SRP.

     

    I also believe you agree with Ackman's argument that HLF is not able to produce audited statements of outside sales. The FTC says an inability to produce audited statements is a hallmark of a pyramid scheme.
    5 Jan, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    just2look,

     

    "We'll have to see if that trend continues, if it was an anomaly or there is some other explanation forthcoming. Definitely will keep an eye on that."

     

    It's been a couple quarters, but yes, something to keep an eye on.

     

    "However, as you are aware, worldwide the growth continues, even in the face of Ackman's monumental interference in Herbalife's business. Pretty impressive."

     

    The data does show HLF continues to grow, although the company forecasts a significant slowdown in growth this year.
    5 Jan, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • User 6461431
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
     
    WillyTSA: "The FTC has clearly stated in its investor alert that an MLM's inability to produce audited statements showing outside sales is a hallmark of a pyramid scheme."

     

    The FTC never said any such thing. If the FTC has said this, can you please provide a link?

     

    The SEC in its investor alert (http://1.usa.gov/185PHLq) also never said that an MLM's inability to produce audited statements was a hallmark of a pyramid scheme. The SEC (when talking to investors) said that no demonstrated revenue from retail sales was a hallmark of a pyramid scheme, and reviewing documents such as documents audited by a CPA is one way (but not the only way) to see if retail sales exist. The surveys that HLF has conducted, and once the numbers become available, the number of members (those that join to get the discounts) are another way to demonstrate retail sales. If you as an investor are not happy with the evidence that a company provides, then either short the company, or don't invest.
    5 Jan, 07:11 PM Reply Like
  • powershake
    , contributor
    Comments (1176) | Send Message
     
    To me its not about become a millionaire, which is cool. But rather, improving peoples' skills so they can become more valuable to their families, community, church and the marketplace. That's my focus and intention.

     

    HLF distributors guide customers to getting results. Some customers become distributors. Some distributor become team builders. Some team build become royalty earners. Its a great system which challenges the human potential inside each person to do their best.

     

    HLF helps people improve their health, personal development and income. HLF is awesome in educating, inspiring, motivating and empowering people to greater successes!
    5 Jan, 07:30 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    User 6461431,

     

    "The FTC never said any such thing. If the FTC has said this, can you please provide a link?"

     

    We're talking about the same alert from the FTC. I agree the FTC seems open to substitute documents other than audited financial statements to demonstrate revenue generated from outside sales. So how much revenue did Lieberman say was generated by outside sales? What was the average discount off SRP paid by people outside the program? Is Lieberman regulated by the SEC, or any government body? Are the people who conduct surveys for Lieberman professionally licensed like CPAs?

     

    Do you agree that HLF has not produced any audited financial statements demonstrating outside sales?

     

    By the way I note you are using the term "retail" sales instead of "outside" sales in your restating of the FTC language. It seems you agree here with Ackman that a retail sale is a sale to a person outside the program.

     

    "The SEC (when talking to investors) "

     

    The SEC was not just talking to investors who might buy the company's stock. The alert says "When considering joining an MLM program, beware of these hallmarks of a pyramid scheme"

     

    "and once the numbers become available, the number of members (those that join to get the discounts) "

     

    Does the new member program prohibit members from retailing and recruiting? If not, what will the numbers tell us about those who "join to get the discounts"?
    5 Jan, 09:00 PM Reply Like
  • valuedriver
    , contributor
    Comments (67) | Send Message
     
    Wow, the FTC announcement has zero to do w any public co. Did you finish your popcorn or did you drop it under your seat?
    7 Jan, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • G. Hudson
    , contributor
    Comments (296) | Send Message
     
    Are you still having trouble finding your popcorn along with a basic understanding of how a MLM works????

     

    Can't wait for the next over reaction and how you and Matt jump all in LOL thinking you really have a grasp on the situation.
    7 Jan, 12:20 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Do you remember the old tv show "The A-Team"?? Remember how Decker was always so sure that he had the guys cornered and there was no escape??? These guys (if it really is more than one guy) are way too optimistic. Always hyping nonsense and purveyers of bad news. And always WRONG!
    11 Apr, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • sciences
    , contributor
    Comments (72) | Send Message
     
    It's more likely due to Herb Greenberg advertising his report and the FTC announcement all over the net as related to HLF.

     

    There are very few people who have the courage to admit when they are wrong and Greenberg is not one of them
    3 Jan, 12:13 PM Reply Like
  • bitemebill1
    , contributor
    Comments (73) | Send Message
     
    >There are very few people who have the courage to admit when they are wrong and Greenberg is not one of them.<

     

    As evinced from his CYA tweet today, Greenberg is trying to spin his wild speculation into a an example of solid journalism. What a hack!
    7 Jan, 04:11 PM Reply Like
  • Herbalifestudy
    , contributor
    Comments (163) | Send Message
     
    To think that HLF with it's lawyers would not stay legal with their product claims appears far out. In the US there must be hundreds of obscure firms promising left and right with "miracle" products. Good to clean them out and offer more market for the proper companies that do not over-promise.
    3 Jan, 12:26 PM Reply Like
  • SimonSaysShort
    , contributor
    Comments (105) | Send Message
     
    Sounds about right from the guy with the username "Herbalifestudy"
    3 Jan, 12:31 PM Reply Like
  • powershake
    , contributor
    Comments (1176) | Send Message
     
    I agree Herbalifestudy,

     

    This will stop companies that are bogus and many new companies which start their campaign at the beginning of the new year and then fold in 3 months.

     

    Excellent news for HLF, IMO.
    3 Jan, 12:48 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    Seen plenty of Herbalife videos with claims that the product helps cure cancer etc. Yes, cleanup desired.
    3 Jan, 12:32 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Please share us just one ok K Hebert??
    11 Apr, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • G. Hudson
    , contributor
    Comments (296) | Send Message
     
    Over -reaction -> I'll give anyone odds that Herbalife's name is not even mentioned during this press conference but at least FTC gets some good press-

     

    This conference is NOT ABOUT HERBALIFE->

     

    FTC Announces Initiative Against Deceptive Claims Made by National Marketers of Fad Weight Loss Products; To Hold Press Conference Tuesday, January 7, 2014, at 11:00 AM ET (Benzinga
    3 Jan, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    FTC may use Herbalife as the model for credible weight loss programs. I wonder if the naysayers saw this:

     

    http://bit.ly/1diHl6a
    3 Jan, 11:45 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    You were right.
    11 Apr, 03:34 PM Reply Like
  • fahaln
    , contributor
    Comments (46) | Send Message
     
    Awesome! If anything, FTC will commend Herbalife for the rules they have in place. Bring it :)
    3 Jan, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • optionsexpert
    , contributor
    Comments (279) | Send Message
     
    HLF has been scamming people for 30 years.
    3 Jan, 02:03 PM Reply Like
  • barmen
    , contributor
    Comments (126) | Send Message
     
    don't take it personal :)
    http://bit.ly/KplraG
    me cca 134 kilos, me 118, me (next to me is my nutritionist) 92 kilos :)

     

    i promise nothing, but i eat herbalife every day
    4 Jan, 05:47 AM Reply Like
  • the_value_vulture
    , contributor
    Comments (157) | Send Message
     
    No deceptive product claims here. Just prey on the lower working class and convince them into buying overpriced products and opening up their own business to make millions. Their products are world class and it's only 3 to 10 grand. Just ask their customers *crickets chjrp*.
    3 Jan, 02:04 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    How about these product testimonials:
    http://www.mts.net~dwdrain/10%20Herb...

     

    Herbalife Product Testimonials According To Health Conditions

     

    As you are aware, the Herbalife products are not a treatment or cure for any medical condition. The company does not promote any special way of taking the products nor taking any specific product for a particular medical condition. The Herbalife products are food, nutritional and dietary supplements providing balanced and optimum nutrition. Kind regards, Kimberly Ricks Coordinator, Product Inquiry Medical Affairs & Education
    MEDICAL DISCLAIMER - All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice. This information is not intended to replace the advice of your personal physician.
    ADHD - see Tourette Syndrome

     

    Allergies, Arthritis, Bad Colon, Acid Reflux

     

    I was born with arthritis, a bad colon, acid reflux and a lot of allergies; including skin care/cosmetics/dust/an... grass, and M.S.G., just to name few. I always seemed to be battling about 10-20lbs. Extra all of my life. After my two kids were born, I was very over- weight, lacked energy and was on anti-depressants. (Which made me even more tired).
    With Herbalife's Nutritional program, my health problems are under control; I feel better than I have ever felt before...I'm happy to say that I no longer suffer from allergies. You see, I'm a Cosmetologist by trade and 18 years ago I was unable to enter my desired field, due to them. My skin would burn and break out, and my eyes would itch and burn just from the fumes of the lash color. I have lost 37 lbs and 44 inches and a total of 10 dress sizes, went from size 18 to a size 8 and kept it off now for 3years. I love these products and so does my family. Thank you Mark Hughes Tammie Lee W. W., B.C.

     

    Asthma, Acne Results

     

    My name is, before Herbalife I was overweight, asthmatic for over 30 years and had terrible acne scarring. I went on the Quick Start Weight loss program, RoseOx and Schizandra Plus, Herbal Aloe Drink and Florafibre. I added some awesome Herbalife Skin care products to that.

     

    In 4 months I lost over 26 lbs, 6 dress sizes, all my allergies, threw away my prescription asthma medication, discovered I no longer needed to wear glasses... but the most amazing thing for me was the significant improvement in my skin! I absolutely love Herbalife products!....Herbalife will continue to be 'my way of life'! Valerie M. Kingston , Jamaica

     

    Autism

     

    My little boy, age 4, has a mild case of Autism. This impedes his learning, so you never know if you're going to have a "good day" or a "bad day". Recently, we've been trying to teach the alphabet and the numbers from 1 to 10, but to no avail. One day he may know 1,2,3 and the next he may give you a blank stare.

     

    I consistently have given him the Children’s Shake for 4 weeks now, but at 2 weeks, we noticed that he was actually counting with us from 1 to 10 (he would say "4" right after we got "3" out, "8" after we said "7" and so forth)!

     

    We were excited!!! He counted the next day with us, which was unheard of before the shake was being given to him!!! He's also started talking a lot more, making more connections, almost to a point of being a "normal 4 year old". I'm hoping that the Autism will keep lessening in severity. I'll keep you updated!!! - Shelley H.

     

    Bipolar Disorder, Depression

     

    My husband, Randy, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder several years ago. Although we don't often see the manic phase of this disorder get out of control, the Depression hits very severely. He wasn't sleeping any more than 15-20 minutes a night for several weeks. He lost weight and was also suffering from anxiety/panic attacks.

     

    The medications prescribed by his psychiatrist caused so many side effects that we weren't sure what was worse, the side effects or the depression. I ordered Sleep Now for him and the first night he took 2 - he slept 4hours!!! This was major! He got started on Formula 1, 2, and 3. He also took Tang Kuei, Mentabalance, Xtra-Cal, Ultimate Ginkgo, Mega Ginseng Blend, Herbalifeline and Male Factor 1000.

     

    His results were incredible!! Within a very short amount of time, he gained weight, was sleeping through the night and no longer had anxiety attacks or any depressive symptoms. At his appointment with his psychiatrist, he told him that he was no longer taking ANY of the medications that were prescribed. The Dr's response: "I can't believe I'm saying this....but I don't think you need any of the prescriptions. BUT don't you DARE stop taking the Herbalife!! " Randy has remained symptom free for 2 years!! - Audrey E.

     

    Body Toning

     

    I have a condition that I think is called Hyperthyroidism. I have stretch marks on my hips and inner thighs after going through puberty and after gaining 20 kg in 6 months due to the illness where your metabolism goes down (hyperthyroidism). The stretch marks were like bumps and had a lighter color than the rest of my skin.

     

    I have now actively been using Cell-U-Loss, Body Buffing and Body Contouring for 14 days, and can already see that the stretch marks are starting to disappear. They still have that lighter color, but the bumpiness is gone. I can feel that the skin has another texture where they are, but I am very pleased to experience that it is getting better - and only after 14 days!- Helga O.

     

    Blood Pressure – See High Blood Pressure

     

    Candida and Leukemia

     

    I'm a leukemia survivor with 12 years since my bone marrow transplant. I'd been dealing with Candida ever since that time because the good bacteria in my body had been so diminished from all the drugs and chemo. I regularly dealt with thrush (white patches) and mouth sores. I've learned that I need to take higher amounts of Probiotic (lactobacillus, acidophilus, etc) than the average person and stay on that permanently because of my past history.

     

    Since taking Herbalife products on a daily basis (AM replenishing and Florafibre) along with Formulas 1, 2 & 3, I have no more thrush or mouth sores. - Jeanette G. - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

     

    Cancer - Radiation Therapy

     

    I am a 2-year cancer survivor. In the past 2 years I have been through intensive radiation therapy 3 times. The first two times I was always exhausted. I napped several times a day and went to bed early as my body tried to recover from the therapy. This last time though, I was on Herbalife products and boy am I thankful. I have more energy than I have had in two years and my body has not demanded so much as a catnap from me during the day. I feel great!! - Kevin D.

     

    Carpal Tunnel

     

    My sister was taking B-12 for her carpal tunnel because she thought that would help relieve the water and pressure in her hands. Well the only thing it did was give make her heart race and gave a burning sensation in her ears. I started her on Formula #3 and her carpal tunnel has disappeared. She takes is three times a day. She has no more pains in her hand! She is now going to add Joint Support to stay healthy! - Patty L.
    3 Jan, 04:30 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    You answered this yourself when you pointed out that these are "testimonials" What you left out is that all "testimonials" are followed with this statement:

     

    Herbalife products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. However, when the body is getting complete nutrition at the cellular level amazing results can occur!

     

    After looking at these "testimonials" it is obvious that these people indeed did see some amazing results.
    3 Jan, 11:16 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    I think that even with the disclaimer, the parade of testimonials is nothing but deception. Why line up all those testimonials if none of it is proven to come from the Herbalife products? No doubt is it an accomplishment if someone fights of a disease or loses weight etc. But why does it have to be explored in order to sell distributorships to people.
    3 Jan, 11:28 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    I think you are the one trying to deceive people. Herbalife doesn't make any claims. A customer telling what has happened to them is not the same as claiming that anyone using the product will improve their health condition.

     

    My blood pressure dropped by 50 pts using Herbalife's quick start and Herbalifeline products. I tell people what happened to me. Do I tell or guarantee them that same will happen to them? No. Why. Because no one, not even customers can make claims or promises.
    11 Apr, 03:39 PM Reply Like
  • User 6461431
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
     
    I would put the odds that this press conference will be specifically about HLF, NUS, or USNA at less than 0.001%.

     

    It more likely has something to do with a press release issued right before the holidays where the FTC collected fines from a company in 2010 who claimed their supplements could prevent cancer. http://1.usa.gov/192fnzC and a series of other similar cases:
    http://1.usa.gov/1kh5Vxn
    http://1.usa.gov/1kh5T8H
    http://1.usa.gov/1kh5VND.

     

    The FTC will likely be thumping its chest (Look at the good work we did in 2013), and send a message to the industry that they are watching and what they will be looking for as a deterent. I do not believe that HLF, USNA, or NUS corporate offices make any such claims about their products.
    3 Jan, 02:23 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    User 6461431,

     

    "I do not believe that HLF, USNA, or NUS corporate offices make any such claims about their products."

     

    HLF on its website says its Aloe Concentrate "supports healthy digestion", "enhances intestinal health", and so forth.

     

    http://bit.ly/K0od4R

     

    Overview
    Supports healthy digestive function by soothing the stomach and alleviating occasional indigestion.

     

    Key Benefits
    Relieves occasional indigestion*
    Improves nutrient absorption*
    Enhances intestinal health*

     

    Details
    Herbal Aloe Concentrate is made from the aloe plant which contains natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that help support healthy digestion.*

     

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

     

    In what way is this any different than the what the Disney vitamins claimed in the link you posted from the FTC,which went after the marketer charging them with making false health claims?

     

    http://1.usa.gov/1kh5Vxn

     

    The Disney ad says the vitamins provide "immune system support" and "promote brain and eye development". The ad also contains the IDENTICAL FDA disclaimer HLF has with its * reference.
    7 Jan, 12:02 AM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    WillyTSA,
    Thanks for pointing us to the Disney vitamin issue. I have been trying to make the point all along that the disclaimer doesn't make unfounded claims any more valid, nor does it protect them from legal action. The Aloe, isn't even the worst product when it comes to unfounded claims. Look at this product for example:
    http://bit.ly/1cv8xkx
    Key Benefits
    Supports blood flow, for the healthy function of the heart, brain and other organs.*
    Helps keep blood vessels toned and flexible for healthy vascular function.*
    Offers the combined benefits of L-arginine and L-citrulline to support Nitric Oxide production.
    7 Jan, 08:24 AM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    K.Herbert,

     

    " I have been trying to make the point all along that the disclaimer doesn't make unfounded claims any more valid, nor does it protect them from legal action"

     

    You are correct. There are examples throughout HLF's website and literature, with the source being the "corporate offices" as User 6461431 would say. Since the FDA disclaimer apparently doesn't provide any protection based on the Disney vitamins example and the same type of words like "support", "enhance", "improves", "helps" and so forth are used , it's not clear why HLF wouldn't be subject to charges of making false health claims about its products by the FTC as it is targeting a broad range of items including dietary supplements. HLF or its products may not be mentioned as a target today, but regardless it seems like the FTC's initiative would apply to them based on the lack of differences.
    7 Jan, 10:39 AM Reply Like
  • ben_nimaj
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    herbert,

     

    You said "I have been trying to make the point all along that the disclaimer doesn't make unfounded claims any more valid, nor does it protect them from legal action."

     

    They appear to be following the law and the regulations.
    7 Jan, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • User 6461431
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
     
    Willy TSA: I stand corrected, and I can admit when I am wrong, and I would not see any difference between the statements, however, based on the statements made at today's press conference, if Herbalife (or any company for that matter) has verifiable studies (From memory, the wording used by the FTC was "Double blind studies") to back their claims, then the statements would be acceptable.

     

    With that said, perhaps at some point, the FTC/FDA might take action against Herbalife (and others) for deceptive health claims, unless they already have and found nothing wrong (FTC rules prevent them from saying anything about any cases that they have or are reviewing unless those cases have been made public).

     

    Based on the actions announced today, the only penalty was that the companies had to pay a monetary fine and stop making the claims. The companies were still able to market and sell their products. So even if the FTC was currently investigating Herbalife for deceptive marketing, and came out next month stating that Herbalife was in violation, they would not shut the company down, or prevent them from selling their product. The stock would likely take a hit, but it would not go to zero as Ackman projects.
    7 Jan, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    User 6461431,

     

    I am just trying to understand whether there are in fact any differences, because it didn't seem obvious what they might be, or why the FTC might look at Disney vitamins but not HLF Aloe. In terms of any possible investigation by the FTC, I don't know what it would mean if they found HLF guilty of making false claims, in terms of whether the stock would go to zero, whether the company would be shut down, fined, and so forth. However, the issue does seem to be separate from the pyramid scheme question.
    7 Jan, 01:31 PM Reply Like
  • ben_nimaj
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    Hello WillyTSA,

     

    I think the difference is that the Disney vitamins claimed to have a certain amount of a supplement, but the FDA found that there was actually only 1/1000th of the supplement.

     

    See http://bit.ly/1dP7n4F

     

    "Product packaging and print ads promoting the vitamins had bold graphics highlighting that the products contained DHA, but in reality, the products allegedly had only a trace amount of DHA," the FTC said in a statement. "While the vitamins' packaging touted the purported health benefits of 100 milligrams of DHA, a daily serving of the Disney and Marvel multivitamins for children ages four years and older contained only one thousandth of that amount (0.1 mg or 100 mcg), according to the FTC's complaint."
    7 Jan, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    ben_nimaj,

     

    "I think the difference is that the Disney vitamins claimed to have a certain amount of a supplement, but the FDA found that there was actually only 1/1000th of the supplement."

     

    Looks like there might have been perceived misrepresentation of claims about both the amount and action of the ingredients.

     

    "As part of the settlement, the companies can no longer misrepresent the amount of any ingredient contained in their products. It also prevents them from misrepresenting any ingredient, including DHA, as promoting brain or eye health the claims are "true and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence."

     

    It's interesting that the product advertising states 100 mg of DHA promotes eye and brain development, with the same FDA caveat as the "immune system support" wording, and then right next to it explicitly states there is only 100 mcg in the vitamin. I don't know how the FTC defines deceptive, but everything is actually fully disclosed to the consumer. Applying this to the pyramid question for HLF, it seems like the FTC is saying something can be deceptive even with full disclosure if too much of the disclosure is in the fine print, not clear enough, and so forth.
    7 Jan, 04:33 PM Reply Like
  • User 6461431
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
     
    WillyTSA,

     

    I am certainly not an expert in this area, so I can only speculate, but based on the claims made on the HLF website you linked to above, there is not any significant difference, other than the risk of the claims. For example, a product claiming to cure or prevent cancer will attract more attention from regulators than a product that claims to relieve indigestion simply due to the risks associated with the claim, and the actions consumers might take as a result of those claims (a consumer who stops taking their chemo medications to take a supplement is at a much greater risk than a guy who after eating a bowl of chili reaches for a supplement rather than a Tums pill.

     

    Herbalife's claims are somewhat vague compared to the Disney products or the ones the FTC went after today. For example, in the Sensa ad from today, the ad said "Sensa is clinically proven to help you lose 30 pounds..." is very specific, and very easy for the FDA/FTC to disprove, but HLF http://bit.ly/1adosEz is a bit more vague "Contains aloe, which may help support the body's absorption of micronutrients"

     

    I have to suspect that the wording HLF chose was very specific for a reason, and that Herbalife, being significantly larged than Sensa has experts reviewing product claims (but again, this is speculation as it is out of my area of expertise). The FTC blog post today does a pretty good job of explaining their concerns with misleading product claims: http://1.usa.gov/1adosUQ

     

    Any possible false advertising action would be separate from any pyramid scheme action, and the penalty taken by any Federal agency must be in line with the severity of the wrong doing as well as what the law says. The 4 companies that were identified by the FTC today were assessed a monetary penalty and any future advertisements will most certainly be reviewed by the FTC and/or FDA. If these companies mislead again, another (larger) financial penalty may be assessed, and as they would be "repeat offenders", the FTC may seek an injunction to take control of all of the company's assets if the law allowed them to do this. Looking at past cases, if Herbalife was the subject of such an investigation, they would most likely be assessed a financial penalty and that would be the extent of it. Product claims made by distributors in my opinion is a sticky situation. How can HLF or the government for that matter control or regulate verbal statements made by "Distributor Dave" at a meeting that is recorded and posted you YouTube? The distributor is definately at fault, but does that then make the company at fault if the distributor was not following company policy/procedures, and how can the company or government monitor these scenarios?

     

    I don't believe that HLF is a pyramid scheme, and I don't have enough knowledge to know whether HLF's product claims are misleading, but I have the trust in the company that if there were any complaints from the federal government that HLF would respond to those complaints in an appropriate manner.
    7 Jan, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    User 6461431,

     

    "Herbalife's claims are somewhat vague compared to the Disney products or the ones the FTC went after today"

     

    I haven't looked at the Sensa claims, but if they said something about proven to help you lose 30 pounds, that would be more specific than HLF or the vitamins. Regarding HLF and the vitamins, I don't see a difference in the vagueness. If there isn't any difference, why the FTC hasn't gone after more companies who make the vague claims with the FDA disclaimer isn't clear to me.

     

    "Looking at past cases, if Herbalife was the subject of such an investigation, they would most likely be assessed a financial penalty and that would be the extent of it"

     

    Based on cases from today and previous, I agree. However, with Ackman on them about the pyramid scheme and the general spotlight on the company, the damage would probably be worse than just the fine.

     

    " The distributor is definately at fault, but does that then make the company at fault if the distributor was not following company policy/procedures, and how can the company or government monitor these scenarios?"

     

    I have this question as well, and whether HLF has any responsibility would extend to the pyramid scheme question. In addition to the agreement signed between HLF and distributors where the distributors pledge not to "engage in any unfair, deceptive, or illegal practices", HLF is going to be doing even more training now, I believe even certifying that proper training has been given.

     

    "I have the trust in the company that if there were any complaints from the federal government that HLF would respond to those complaints in an appropriate manner"

     

    At that point they'd be playing with fire not to.
    7 Jan, 05:55 PM Reply Like
  • User 6461431
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
     
    WillyTSA:

     

    With regard to the claims made in the Disney Vitamin case, I think there were several problems as ben_nimaj suggested above.
    Here is the FTC press release: http://1.usa.gov/1ifkJId which reads in part

     

    The FTC charged NBTY, Inc. and two subsidiaries, NatureSmart LLC and Rexall Sundown, Inc., with making deceptive claims about the amount of DHA – an Omega-3 fatty acid – used in their line of Disney- and Marvel Heroes-licensed children’s multivitamin gummies and tablets. The companies also made unsupported claims that a daily serving of the products promotes healthy brain and eye development in children, according to the FTC administrative complaint.
    >>>>>The wording suggests that misrepresenting the amount of DHA in the product was the primary offense, and the secondary issue was the claim that the product promotes brain and eye development.

     

    Product packaging and print ads promoting the vitamins had bold graphics highlighting that the products contained DHA, but in reality, the products allegedly had only a trace amount of DHA. While the vitamins’ packaging touted the purported health benefits of 100 milligrams of DHA, a daily serving of the Disney and Marvel multivitamins for children ages four years and older contained only one thousandth of that amount (0.1 mg or 100 mcg), according to the FTC’s complaint.

     

    >>>>>> Again, no mention of the misrepresentation of potential health benefits, just the lack of the chemical in the product.

     

    The FTC alleged that the packaging and ads for the Disney and Marvel multivitamins misrepresented that they contained a significant amount of DHA, and that NBTY, NatureSmart, and Rexall Sundown made unsubstantiated claims that the amount of DHA provided by the multivitamins promotes healthy brain and eye development in children.

     

    >>>>>&g... As the vitamins contained only minimal DHA, any claims as to the health benefits would not be true as the vitamins did not contain sufficient amounts of DHA to provide any health benefits, substantiated or not.
    The settlement:

     

    * bars NBTY, NatureSmart, and Rexall Sundown from misrepresenting the amount of any ingredient contained in any product.
    * bars them from misrepresenting that any ingredient, including DHA, promotes brain or eye health or provides any other health benefit, unless the claim is true and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
    * specifies that any violations could subject the NBTY, NatureSmart, and Rexall Sundown to civil penalties.

     

    Based on this, is HLF in trouble with their product claims? I don't know, and I'll let the experts in FDA law and FTC product claims work all of that out. It is definitely in the grey area, unless they have reports or some other independent study that support the claims that thy are making.
    7 Jan, 10:18 PM Reply Like
  • WillyTSA
    , contributor
    Comments (1380) | Send Message
     
    User 6461431,

     

    "Product packaging and print ads promoting the vitamins had bold graphics highlighting that the products contained DHA, but in reality, the products allegedly had only a trace amount of DHA"

     

    While factually, in terms of claims and caveats, I don't think the difference exists, I do see what you are saying about the "bold graphics" that might heighten the misperceptions. From the few pictures I see on the website, it doesn't look like HLF packaging has bold claims on them. HLF also doesn't do a lot of advertising, instead relying upon the distributors who may be doing the equivalent of the "bold graphics" when promoting the products. As you note these distributors are not HLF corporate, which brings back the responsibility question.

     

    There was a question asked at the FTC press conference today about word-of-mouth advertising, like HLF does, and how this initiative would impact it. This may be unexplored territory for the FTC.
    7 Jan, 11:39 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2564) | Send Message
     
    This isn't going to impact Herbalife. Unfortunately.
    3 Jan, 02:28 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    It should, just look at this Herbalife quick Reference

     

    http://bit.ly/1cs23iW
    3 Jan, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Don't you really mean fortunately??

     

    OK, so you have 2.7 MILLION people testifying to you that Herbalife changes your whole life. Could you PLEASE tell me why you don't believe it?
    3 Jan, 11:58 PM Reply Like
  • hneumann
    , contributor
    Comments (560) | Send Message
     
    FTC is ?
    3 Jan, 02:34 PM Reply Like
  • optionsexpert
    , contributor
    Comments (279) | Send Message
     
    Federal Trade Commission
    3 Jan, 03:17 PM Reply Like
  • Bryce_in_TX
    , contributor
    Comments (2567) | Send Message
     
    Here's one I laugh at everytime I see it advertised. Apply some cream, put the vest on and go about your business, and viola!! the weight will melt off. LOL

     

    http://bit.ly/1crZ7Te

     

    Come on FTC, sick 'em boy, sick 'em!!
    3 Jan, 04:01 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    Herbalife cures Acne???!!!
    http://bit.ly/KnQT93
    Herbalife Aloe concentrate "Relieves occasional indigestion*
    Improves nutrient absorption*
    Enhances intestinal health*"
    http://bit.ly/KnQT95
    "Helps to gently dispose of toxins accumulated un the body"
    http://bit.ly/KnQT96
    sleep now
    "Herbalife distributor 07565659298 mohammadadil cancer,diabeties, epilepsy, depression, oily skin, dry skin, grey hairs, hair loss age, weight loss, build lean muscle etc mohammadadil@live.co.uk"
    http://bit.ly/KnQT98

     

    Local doctor cautions residents about HerbaLife
    http://bit.ly/KnQQKs
    3 Jan, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Guess againl Here is what Herbalife really says. As a HLF long, I checked.

     

    Herbalife products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. However, when the body is getting complete nutrition at the cellular level amazing results can occur!
    3 Jan, 11:12 PM Reply Like
  • K. Herbert
    , contributor
    Comments (775) | Send Message
     
    If I rob a bank and tell all the bank employees and customers in the bank that bank robbery is really illegal and my gun is a dangerous weapon as a disclaimer, does that make the bank robbery legal?
    Obviously, many of the distributors make claims that Herbalife products cure this or that, do you think the company bears some responsibility?
    Sounds like a lot of "snake oil" peddling to me. All just so you sign up as a distributor.
    3 Jan, 11:35 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Remember the "Dreamaway Diet" where you take some pills before you go to bed and just "Dream" the weight away?? I think that lasted about 1 year. Then there were the diet patches, diet cookies and other gimmicky diets.

     

    People don't realize what they have with Herbalife. So here is a challenge for you sent to me by my Herbalife distributor:

     

    I triple dog dare you to find me 2500 calories worth of nutrition, but only 200 calories to eat it. Oh, and you have to do that for 60 cents. Oh, and you have to hand it to me in 1 minute. Oh, and I have to be able to be washing that dish in 2 minutes. Oh, and it has to be perfect nutrition, provides all the nutrients the body needs, the kind that heals bodies, makes them age backwards, and be so strong. OK, GO!!!!

     

    I've looked and found one! It's called Herbalife.
    4 Jan, 12:16 AM Reply Like
  • User 6461431
    , contributor
    Comments (651) | Send Message
     
    Why were companies like GNC Holdings (down 1.77% as I write this) not included in the list of companies above? Someone at SA has a bias against MLM companies.

     

    To those of you that believe that this FTC Press conference will bring down HLF, ask yourself this. Why would the FTC if there was really something wrong with the business practices with this MLM (i.e. it is a Pyramid Scheme as you would like to believe) aim so low as to hold a press conference announcing that they would fine the company for misleading advertising. Taking action against HLF for misleading advertising would not stop the evil pyramid scheme that you believe exists in this and other MLM companies. It would be similar to a police officer giving Jeffrey Dahmer a parking ticket while there were 4 victims in the back of his car. We sure showed him!!!
    3 Jan, 04:32 PM Reply Like
  • bitemebill1
    , contributor
    Comments (73) | Send Message
     
    So Bill Ackman took a billion dollar short position on a comapny because he didn't believe they could back up the weight loss claims made for their products?

     

    How about the Herbalife short diet? That one's really effective. All those short don't have any money left to buy food. Hey, there're always Top Ramen . . .
    3 Jan, 05:40 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    The newest tweet on twiiter says, "Will 2014 be the year Ackman and the shorts get crushed?"
    I love it.
    3 Jan, 11:10 PM Reply Like
  • Drew Hutcheson
    , contributor
    Comments (64) | Send Message
     
    Ackman's vengeance will be felt and his short position redeemed. This may very well be the beginning of the end for $HLF. If you ever read "Confidence Game" about Ackman's short on MBIA you'd have confidence in his short on HLF. Perishing Square's team is to be admired.
    3 Jan, 07:42 PM Reply Like
  • bitemebill1
    , contributor
    Comments (73) | Send Message
     
    "If you ever read "Confidence Game" about Ackman's short on MBIA you'd have confidence in his short on HLF."

     

    One trade doesn't equal another. It's sort of like saying that based on his long position on Canadian Pacific Railroad, you'd love his stake in JCP.

     

    By the way, shorts keep referring to MBIA - you do realize that Ackman was involved in that short position for seven years, right? Not sure I'd want to have money tied up in a short position that long waiting for a payoff . . .
    3 Jan, 09:47 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Hint: This isn't MBIA. Ok??
    3 Jan, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • Drew Hutcheson
    , contributor
    Comments (64) | Send Message
     
    Your comment just tells me you didn't read the book. Ackman and Perishing Square are no idiots. No one would open a $1B short position if there wasn't alpha in it or at the least substantial evidence leading to it. I don't know what you and Tony Dee have against Ackman or if you guys simply buy and sell HLF products and don't want to go out of business with HLF when the bottom falls out.
    4 Jan, 10:58 PM Reply Like
  • mdsmedia
    , contributor
    Comments (41) | Send Message
     
    Why is it that you keep referring to Pershing Square as "Perishing Square". Faux Pas much?
    5 Jan, 07:39 AM Reply Like
  • Drew Hutcheson
    , contributor
    Comments (64) | Send Message
     
    mdsmedia, My apologies for the typo.
    5 Jan, 08:23 AM Reply Like
  • bitemebill1
    , contributor
    Comments (73) | Send Message
     
    I don't have anything against Ackman, in fact I think he's a pretty smart guy who's made some brilliant investments. This isn't one of them, however. His bet on HLF is that the government is going to shut the company down.

     

    It would seem to me that if you were going to take that sizable of a short position, you would do it based on something more than a low probability event. So far he's been wrong, and lots of investors have made a lot of money trading against him.

     

    No, I don't buy or sell HLF products, lol.
    7 Jan, 05:58 AM Reply Like
  • Herbalifestudy
    , contributor
    Comments (163) | Send Message
     
    @Drew, I believe one can draw different conclusions from that book. It is written by a journalist who writes adoringly adore Ackman and some 2 years after writing the book she is pitching the HLF short idea to Ackman when she works at indago advisory/research firm. (She no longer works here). Further, one can read how Ackman trashes other companies with campaign websites and trash talking, companies who are around still. Ackman has refined shorting to a commercial activity, it is like a professional 360 marketing campaign.
    7 Jan, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • Carolina1954
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Bureaucrats care about appearances. One consequence of Ackman's repeated, loud, public attempts to sic the FTC on HLF is that if the FTC does go after them after decades of inaction, it will look as if it is merely accommodating a billionaire speculator's desperate need to bail out of an underwater short position.

     

    After all, why is HLF any more of a "pyramid scheme" now than it was 5, 10, or 20 years ago? Does the FTC need the likes of Ackman to wake them up?

     

    C. David Kirby
    (no position in HLF)
    3 Jan, 08:24 PM Reply Like
  • m3m4
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    Yes, because the scope and scale has become too large. It's not a marginal issue anymore and, yes, that's not exactly fair but the way priorities work when there are limited resources for attention and follow-through.

     

    HLF is a serious fad and arguably, as well noted by Matt Stewart and QTR, an outright pyramid scheme. I've seen this before, heard all the emotional arguments, and laugh at all the "great awards". Sounds like North Korea propaganda.

     

    We people do not live - and will not live - on protein shakes, fiber bars, and tomato soup. Time for HLFs to wake up and smell the coffee, tea, or whatever. Eat some fruit, drink water, and take a good walk...much cheaper and better for you. My "stake in the ground" whoever made that silly post a couple weeks ago.

     

    70% drop from Dec 31, 2013 to year-end 2014 doesn't strike me as unreasonable. It's even faster if Chinese authorities get concerned. U.S. company deceiving their population? Call it 50/50 right now on that one.
    4 Jan, 01:30 AM Reply Like
  • Carolina1954
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    m3m4,

     

    My point is that Ackman is in over his head in DC. If you want federal regulators to do a certain thing that will be profitable to you, you should quietly provide relevant information to staff and keep your mouth publicly shut, a thing which Ackman is not good at.

     

    If the FTC goes after HLF now, they will look like sock-puppets for a Wall Street billionaire short-seller. Maybe they will, but not likely IMO.

     

    As for China, I would not want to risk my capital on the assumption that HLF's practices fall short of prevailing standards of product quality and business ethics in that country, but you may have better information than I do.

     

    I'm just a bystander in this, so I can honestly say "good luck."
    4 Jan, 10:20 AM Reply Like
  • m3m4
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    Carolina1954 -

     

    I agree with your point about Ackman talking too much. It appears he belatedly realized that late last year ("will make no more public comments"), so will be very interesting as to how HLF plays out. Does the SEC, FTC, and others now weigh in, or do folks get tired of drinking shakes?

     

    Enjoy the show.;-)
    5 Jan, 01:57 AM Reply Like
  • herbs4mike
    , contributor
    Comments (2066) | Send Message
     
    Ackman and company are getting a broad net put out to fish for anything. The fact is every single slide herbalife puts out has a huge disclaimer on it that says.... "Results not typical". All this really means is ... This is all they got, .Not anything that will shut Herbalife USA down or make the stock go to 0. This will just create a buying opportunity to buy more stock at a lower price (probably in the high 60's), including any LBO or buyback. So when whatever adjustments are made, I'll profit more. The Pyramid scheme allegation has no weight at all, nada. Remember 80% of all revenue are made from outside the USA....
    3 Jan, 10:59 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Dee
    , contributor
    Comments (536) | Send Message
     
    Rumor has it that Ackman may be retreating again and readjusting his shares. Do you guys remember this article from a few months ago? We may be seeing another one very similar:

     

    http://onforb.es/1a7jWHv
    3 Jan, 11:29 PM Reply Like
  • TimurI
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    although HLF may need to rein in some of its promotional materials, they are not going to be significantly impacted, because there are people who have lost weight while taking HLF supplements. Their formulas are rated 3.8-3.9 out of 5 on Amazon, which is a good product rating.

     

    Now, the people who have lost weight probably have strong self-discipline and/or genetic/physical advantage. However, it would be impossible for FTC to prove that HLF supplements do not work.
    4 Jan, 08:33 AM Reply Like
  • m3m4
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    Movies on Red Box show relatively good ratings, and they're still lousy and a waste of time and money. It's easy to game ratings and most folks who go on diets regain the weight. Google "fad diets" and one will easily see thirty+ listed somewhere. What a shame, what a waste of people's money.
    5 Jan, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • Bryce_in_TX
    , contributor
    Comments (2567) | Send Message
     
    As far as a product being dangerous, I consider prescription meds dangerous. I have tried nine (9) blood pressure meds thus far. Seven made me very sick, two worked to a degree for a while, but now they make me sick also. The side affects to these meds for me is worse than having high BP. My cousin, same age as I, is doing well on BP meds, as is my wife. But, for me, this stuff feels like poison and I simply can't tolerate it.

     

    For me, due to my medical condition and the fact that the doc can't find anything to help, makes me think the entire medical community is made up of quacks and impotent and powerless to help some people. It's not true (the quack part), but when a doctor gives you meds that make you very sick from their side affects and tells you to keep taking them despite the amount of suffering being unbearable, you want to think it's true, and you want to exact a pound of flesh from the doc also. :)

     

    I'm out of bullets. What do I have to lose in trying Herbalife?
    4 Jan, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • herbs4mike
    , contributor
    Comments (2066) | Send Message
     
    Actually... properly prescribed prescription medication was the 4th leading killer in the USA in 1996. I researched this a little lately and found out it was still #4. Well over Nutritional supplements
    4 Jan, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • powershake
    , contributor
    Comments (1176) | Send Message
     
    Bryce,

     

    Put us to the test. You be the judge. I have helped many customers with High Blood Pressure, I'll send you an email - with more details.
    4 Jan, 09:21 PM Reply Like
  • Yteeld
    , contributor
    Comments (1026) | Send Message
     
    Nice try Herbert but you and other shorts on numerous occasions have belittled longs for their anonymity. Need I also say that you have never once called out one of your biggest cheerleaders, QTR, who desires anonymity.

     

    As you are well aware there were many people who participated in this country being founded who wished to remain anonymous. The point being that just because someone wishes to remain anonymous means nothing.

     

    You seem very comfortable perched high on that mountain of good that you have placed yourself but I am very confident that some of your long investments would produce one or more companies that are suspect. Just ask PEhrlich who had nothing good to say about HLF until it was uncovered that he loved McDonalds as a long investment.

     

     
    4 Jan, 10:14 PM Reply Like
  • herbs4mike
    , contributor
    Comments (2066) | Send Message
     
    I was on the call.... Not about Herbalife at all.....
    7 Jan, 11:40 AM Reply Like
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