Vemma Preliminary Injunction Hearing: Cautiously Optimistic

    Kevin Thompson is an MLM attorney, proud husband, father of four and a founding member of Thompson Burton PLLC. Named as one of the top 25 most influential people in direct sales, Kevin Thompson has extensive experience to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses on secure legal footing. Recently featured on Bloomberg TV and several national publications, Thompson is a thought-leader in the industry.

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    I’m not one to report the news. I’m a lawyer, not a reporter. When I write about current events, I write from the context of providing education. I try to take my time and pull out the lessons. Here, I’m reporting on the news. While there’s a lot to be learned from this hearing, those lessons will be shared AFTER the judge makes a decision on the issue. As most of my readers know, the FTC sued Vemma, alleging them to be a pyramid scheme. Without a hearing, the FTC got the company shut down with a temporary injunction. On September 15, Vemma had an opportunity to be heard, requesting that the court remove (or modify) the injunction. At the hearing, both sides were able to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses.

    I have a lot of thoughts on what I saw in the courtroom. I will admit, I’m cautiously optimistic. With that being said, I recognize that the FTC has won its past 16 efforts for this kind of injunction.

    Summary of the FTC’s Allegations

    (1) Vemma is operating as a pyramid scheme; and
    (2) Vemma utilizes false and misleading income claims in its promotional materials.

    Post-BurnLounge Universe

    This is the FTC’s first lawsuit after the Ninth Circuit’s BurnLounge decision. I get the sense that this Vemma case is sort of a test drive where the FTC is exploring the fringes of its power. If successful, this opens up a lot of possibilities for the FTC in the MLM space. If unsuccessful, it will suck a lot of air out of their tires.

    What is an “Ultimate User”?

    After BurnLounge, this is the key question for purposes of determining the existence of a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes exist when there are rewards “unrelated to product sales to ultimate users.” In BurnLounge, the court said that participants themselves can “self-consume” the product and be ultimate users IF the product consumption was for the right reasons (value driven, not opportunity driven). Understand, the mere fact of selling some product to ultimate users is not enough. How much is necessary? And how does the court even determine if someone is buying product as an “ultimate user” (legitimate consumption) or as an inconvenient tax to participate in a pyramid scheme (illegitimate consumption)? These were the two big issues addressed at the hearing.

    Issue #1: How much revenue needs to come from ultimate users? In BurnLounge, the court punted on this issue, saying “Because the outcome in this case is clear . . . we do not need to decide the degree to which rewards would need to be unrelated to product sales in a case presenting a closer question.” At the Vemma hearing, the FTC took the position that the majority of revenue needs to come via Ultimate Users. According to the FTC, if the majority of revenue comes from people simply seeking to qualify for commissions, it’s proof of a pyramid. While there’s no precedence for this position, it makes sense.

    At the original hearing where the FTC requested an injunction (when Vemma was NOT present), the FTC made a big promise. The attorneys for the FTC said, “We believe that, ultimately, when we obtain the company’s records, we are going to determine that the vast majority of the purchases . . . were what we consider cost of the business participation, which would be the $600 Affiliate Pack and the $150 a month auto-delivery. . . We believe that most of the sales volume is going to be traceable to that activity.”

    At the hearing, the FTC did not deliver on that promise. As it turned out, about 47% of revenues came via affiliate pack sales and monthly auto-ships (far short of the “vast majority” promised by the FTC). Faced with this problem, the FTC appeared to pivot its argument, focusing more on the “emphasis” of the marketing materials. Dr. Stacie Bosley, appearing as an expert witness for the FTC for the first time, stated that the consistency of the recruiting message in Vemma’s materials led her to believe that the main motivation driving consumption was for qualification. Regardless of Vemma’s data (which she disputed), it’s her position that Vemma’s recruitment bias is proof of a pyramid scheme.

    Issue #2 (the big one): How does the court determine if someone is an “ultimate user”? This is where the parties argued their points over the definitions of “customer” (i.e. ultimate user) and “affiliate” (business builder). According to the FTC, affiliates that purchased product in an amount that equaled or exceeded the monthly volume requirements were not “ultimate users.” Vemma’s expert, Dr. Emre Carr, stated that people were customers if they (1) never purchased an affiliate pack; (2) never enrolled another affiliate; or (3) never earned a commission. With this definition of “customer,” the data showed that the majority of revenue came from customers. In my opinion, this logic makes sense: motivation can be measured by actions. If people do not buy the affiliate pack OR if they’re unable to recruit a single person, this lack of activity would indicate a desire to simply tag along and buy product. The FTC argued that those “customers” were likely failed distributors and should not be counted towards as “ultimate users.” There were at least two friends of mine at the hearing that have been Verve customers for years. According to the FTC’s logic, since they’re also Affiliates, they’re victims / failed distributors.

    In my opinion, the FTC lacked the smoking gun evidence of a pyramid scheme. Notably, there was very little reference of retail sales by the FTC. This is a new thing in the post-BurnLounge universe. The FTC understands that affiliate consumption is relevant. The key is in determining the motive driving the consumption.

    Income Claims

    The FTC showed a few videos that contained strong income claims. The income disclosures were weak.

    Conclusion

    There was a lot of confusion in the courtroom by all parties. The lawyers and the judge were all trying to navigate around this nebulous issue of legitimate network marketing vs. pyramid schemes. Due to a lack of standards, the FTC is able to morph its arguments case by case. I think if the FTC prevails, it’ll prove bad for the industry. Their arguments are incredibly broad. There are some that think the case will likely go the FTC’s way, just by nature of the history of how these things go. There are others that think it was a slam-dunk for Vemma. Friend and CEO at Life Matters, Richard Brooke, has a strong opinion: “[The FTC] did not have a case nor did they have a clear grasp of the issues of how our model works in general. They came from a position that recruiting is not supposed to happen and even a $150 autoship is inventory loading…none of which is supported by case law. . . You all may wonder why this happened. Simple. The YPR group and Powell groups in Vemma offended the public and the media with their brash, arrogant and insensitive recruiting tactics and their celebration of their unique earnings.”

    It is true that the FTC did not produce any evidence of consumer harm or inventory loading. They focused mainly on the emphasis of the program.

    The judge was sharp. He stood THE ENTIRE TIME and paid attention to every detail. He said he’ll make a decision by no later than 2:00 on Friday. One of three things will happen: (1) The injunction will remain; (2) the injunction will be modified; or (3) the injunction will be dissolved. Wait and see.

      Kevin Thompson is an MLM attorney, proud husband, father of four and a founding member of Thompson Burton PLLC. Named as one of the top 25 most influential people in direct sales, Kevin Thompson has extensive experience to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses on secure legal footing. Recently featured on Bloomberg TV and several national publications, Thompson is a thought-leader in the industry.

      • I pray Melaleuca, Inc. Is one of the NEXT RULED ON! #NoRecruitNoPay #PyramidScheme

      • Could it happen that they’d drop the first allegation (Pyramid scheme) but keep the 2nd, thereby sending a message to the industry that they won’t tolerate income claims? If so would that require a new case involving only those culpable for that part? And not keep the entire company closed? Thanks for keeping us in the loop!

        • Kevin Thompson

          The allegations are going to stay there until the lawsuit is over. The question is what sort of restrictions will be in place during the lawsuit. I’m hoping that Vemma will be able to sell product and cut commissions. They might be restricted from making earnings claims, but we’ll see.

          • RJ

            With no commissions or false health & earnings claims, sales fall 85-90%+ and what you have is an unprofitable business. The products aren’t the scam, the false claims are.

            • Tracey Pike

              First, we are not allowed to make any health claims in Vemma. The product has been clinically tested, which costs a lot of money. You can’t fudge those results, as they are done by an independent company.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                We’re also not allowed to speed or drive without insurance, but people do it. I saw a video where one of the highest earners said “if you know someone who has MS,” recommended giving that person a Vemma product. While that doesn’t say it will cure MS, it does suggest it could help.
                Second, while to so many people say they “take Vemma”, as opposed to drinking it, since most of products (except the new pills–which you would take) are liquid. The only liquid I take is medicine. I DRINK beverages and juices. In marketing, every word in carefully chosen, and it’s no accident that the word “take” is used. People don’t generally take coffee or Monster to boost their energy. They drink them. Kind of implies a health thing.
                Tracy, I’m not making this stuff up. It’s either stuff I’ve personally experienced or seen/read online. Maybe you haven’t, but I have.
                BTW, have you read the studies? Yes, some peoples’ immunity were improved. There were also some who could be harmed. The populations weren’t randomly selected, and if you notice the conclusions, there needed to be further studies.

              • Tracey Pike

                Which studies are you reading? I’m reading the true clinical studies done by an independent agency, Cindy.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                Same ones. Looked at the graphs, which showed improvement after Vemma usage on some, read the results. At the end, each said further study was needed.
                Who would make these up? And why? It would be way to easy to be caught.

              • Ben Cordle

                Cindy the only sad thing I see here in this experience your daughter has had is that she’s learned to quit when things get tough. Now she will be more prone to quitting other th gnd in life. She learned how you can earn a huge income in an MLM company, she would be smart to start looking for another company that has a solid background, solid products, solid leadership, and a long history. I hope you realize that you as a hovering mother are harming her future by trying to influence her decisions with your awful negativity. I started out with NOTHING and was just evicted from my apartment because I couldn’t afford my rent after I said laid off of my civil engineering job that I got a COLLEGE DEGREE to do. Got started in Herbalife and just made the decision that I would not quit and I would not fail. My first year, $17,000+, second year, $43,000+, third year $73,000+ and my fourth year was $117,000+

                The business opportunity didn’t fail your daughter, your daughter failed at the business opportunity. And yes, the only way to not succeed at something is to quit. Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school tryouts. What if he would have quit? Quitters never win at anything Cindy.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                That’s what Vemma would have you believe. And I think you missed the parts in my posts where I said my kids were self-supporting.
                My whole purpose (again) was to shed light on a side of Vemma that it seems most people don’t even know about. You can deny it all you want, but it kind of looks like that might have been why the company got into trouble–lies, predatory practices, false income promises. Argue all you want, but you weren’t there to hear it.
                And yes, I will ALWAYS try to influence my kids’ decisions if they get involved with anything that suggests they leave their family and that company says, “We’re your family now.” She believed that because, you know, she was absolutely not going to be one of those quitters, a failure. The “failures” are the ones who, as my mama said, throw good money after bad, and she did that for almost a year. If Vemma has a good solid product, as you say, then there will be no trouble selling it and getting customers now that they know they can’t browbeat kids into doing what they want them to.
                Congratulations on your Herbalife success.
                BTW, I can’t imagine, with the large income that engineering fields are known for, why on earth you were evicted from your apartment. Did you not have any savings on which to fall back?
                I also don’t understand why you would and how get into mlm if you have nothing. It seems to me that rent, deposits, gas, and a little cushion so that doesn’t happen again would be priorities before you tried to start a business. That completely bewilders me. And where did you live when you got evicted?
                At any rate, I’m glad you’ve pulled yourself back up, but does the money you made include the benefits you’d receive from a traditional company? Does Herbalife pay half your SSI or do pay the entire amount? What about medical insurance? Are you really making appreciably more? Just curious, and a little skeptical.

              • Ben Cordle

                I never said Venma was a good company or had a good product. I believe Vemma is a pyramid scheme and they sell junk products. They did have predatory methods of recruiting on college campuses and their leadership was very flippant in the things they said about the government. Those reasons are why they found themselves in the crosshairs of the FTC. But their business model did work and anyone could be successful with it. So I’ll be clear by saying that your daughter failed, not the business model. I’ve failed at things in my life, but I eventually succeed because I don’t give up, there is the magic difference ultimately between failure and success.

                Cindy you are the typical American that thinks that the normal American way of a college education and a good career is the best method. If that was what everyone did then this country wouldn’t be where it is today. I lost my job when the economy tanked in 2008, like many many others did in other career fields also. There’s nothing secure about your idea of a career. And 6 months of savings isn’t secure either. What you speak of is the typical weak existence that many Americans live everyday. I want financial freedom, not golden handcuffs that your version gives you. I made $60,000/year as an engineer after 5 years of college and 7 years as an engineer. I make over $100,000/year after just 4 years with Herbalife, an MLM company. With Herbalife, I’ll break through $500,000/year within the next 5 years. That can’t be said with your idea of a career. Entrepreneurship is the best way to build wealth, but not the easiest way. Your daughter had the right idea, just the wrong company. If you persuade her to follow the path you have taken with your life, then she will climb no higher than you have. Is that what you want for your child? A meager existence of working to make someone else rich your whole life?

              • Cindy Shuffield

                First of all, you don’t know me, my successes, achievements or income, or what path have taken in my life, but I do live what you’d call a meager existence. I was at the top of my field (in a tiny fishpond) and gave it up to invest in my kids. Not the easiest job, no tangible benefits but the pay — lots of hugs– was pretty great.
                As a “controlling” mom, I had definite ideas of what I wanted my kids to be when they grew up: kind, compassionate, intelligent, responsible, generous, content, independent, loving and loved and have character and integrity. And, able to function effectively in the world. From the time they were little, I tried to instill values that would point them toward the time they’d leave home.
                Fortunately, I was raised on frugality, and knew how to do a lot with a little. I never knew I grew up poor, and neither did my kids. Their treats were different than those of other kids, and my oldest son has now said how much he appreciates some of those things. Most of our society can’t fathom how to get along without perceived necessities, or buying anything and everything you want.
                Fast forward to now. My daughter and I were out, and a panhandler approached her car. She gave the woman three protein bars she’d bought at a grocery store. It seems she keeps them in her car to give away to people who look like she needs them. Quite a difference from the greed she’d been experiencing in the world of “helping” others by getting them to spend lots of money for affiliate packs.
                Nothing is guaranteed in this life except death (remember Bernie Madoff? Enron?). College guarantees nothing, and certainly not a career or even a job. What it does do is give you options. And at 19-20, this is the only time in her life she can experience being a college kid, which, as you know, is more than just studying and going to class. The percentage of many graduates working in their chosen career in woefully small. BUT the percentages of people making living wages in mlm is smaller, and being as successful as you even smaller.
                I’m positive we can agree you are one of the “results not typical” people.
                If I could persuade or control any of my kids about anything, my girl would have never gotten involved in Vemma, and she would be $3500 richer, money from a minimum wage job she’d worked and saved all her $$. That in itself it pretty rare for a kid.
                Now, she works full-time, is back in school full-time (her choice) hanging out with friends and boyfriend, working out and loving life. Something she didn’t do when she was worried about being a failure, and devoting her time to Vemma.
                And, at 20, she makes almost half what you did when you were a CE, one year of community college and after being there for nine months. She’s proud of herself now, and she will be the first to say that she is embarrassed and didn’t like feeling that she tried to use her friends. I think she’s going to be ok, though; she doesn’t want to hear the name Vemma.

                As far as me being the typical American, I’ll let you decide. I wired the last payment for my house to our mortgage company earlier this week. We pay cash for our cars, even when they’re new. I pay my credit card balances in full each month, and our insurance twice a year (to save on those pesky processing fees, of course).
                My kids have all had college paid from outside sources due to grades, hard work, ECs, community service. They will have with no debt when they graduate, and no contribution from me or my husband (sorry for those who’ve heard this ad nauseum), with two of those being from very expensive private schools. I was surprised they were able to get those paid for, but they did.
                So, since you have me pegged, is it typical American meager existence, someone who’s chosen a path that doesn’t value the same things you do (this is America, I’m allowed), or someone who’s rare, making a choice not to follow people who have to have the next big thing because it’s the next big thing.
                One thing I can tell you is this: When someone asked/asks my kids what they wanted to do with their lives, none of them has expressed any desire to do something that would make them rich.
                Word to the wise: don’t pre-judge someone you don’t know. Don’t presume to know me. For all you know, I could be a secretive millionaire who’s chosen to keep my money hidden and live on an average income. The car for which I pay cash could be just be a Toyota or it could be a Benz.
                You just never know.

              • RJ

                Health & income claims are commonplace as the court documents prove.

              • Tracey Pike

                Sadly RJ, it would seem some people were not following the rules very well.

          • foobeca

            As an avid pyramid scheme critic, I hope that the judge modifies the TRO and allows Vemma to operate, but with recruitment, autoship, and the recruitment-related bonuses being banned. Want to guess what would happen and how many sales to consumers outside the scheme would actually occur?

          • foobeca

            Hey Kevin: How’s Vemma’s sales after the lottery ticket was taken away?

        • Ken Stewart

          VEMMA is likely to beat the illegal pyramiding charge, the most severe of the allegations, and which was the principal reason for the temporary restraining order, but end up having to pay a fine and sign a consent decree (not an admission of guilt) regarding the income claims issue, which historically has not been a shutdownable offense….ironically, the 2 principal leaders tied to the majority of the complains are no longer with the company….

          • RJ

            When has an MLM ever had to pay a fine after the FTC came after them ?

            Remember, the FTC is 24-0.

            “…. especially when one considers that in its last 24 cases against an MLM alleging pyramid scheme the FTC has either won the case outright or obtained a favorable settlement. Or, to put it another way, the FTC hasn’t lost a case like this in the past 40 years.”

            Q: Why no pyramid “brands” bought after injunction or BK by real consumer prod company? A: Zero consumer demand.

            • Cindy Shuffield

              People seem to be clamoring for product. It’s been three days since Vemma could re-open. Where are the auto-ships? They had all weekend to turn on the machines, surely they had cans upon cans of product cased and ready to go. Where is it? The website is now just a webpage. It gets curiouser and curiouser.

      • Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop Kevin. I personally appreciate your time and input on this immensely. I am a longstanding member, and leader, inside of Empower Network and have been so very grateful your service inside of our company. It is a blessing to have you in our corner, helping us protect what we love and passionately do to help others change their lives on a daily basis. Thank you for your service.

      • RJ

        I sure hope that the DECEPTION stops. Frankly, Im not aware of a single MLM that could be profitable without misleading health & income claims.
        The industry is deceptive by nature. Maybe not Avon & Tupperware but most of them.

        • Vanessa Arruda

          I don’t know any sales positions mlm or not that doesn’t embellish the truth

          • Cindy Shuffield

            Isn’t that called lying?

            • Vanessa Arruda

              Yeah, but you already know that from jump! HELLO

        • Jerome

          Amway

      • No Bull

        Interesting. Costco has NO customers.

        • Cindy Shuffield

          I wonder why Kevin didn’t answer this? I’ll throw my 2 cents in, FWIW.
          In a Ponzi scheme the victim thinks he’s making money off his own investment instead of new people coming in. In a pyramid scheme, the victim knows he’s making money off the new people he recruits.
          At least that’s what I read on the internet, so it must be true.

          I think it’s way simpler than all that.
          A customer is someone who buys the product, presumably from a distributor, affiliate, whatever.
          An affiliate is someone who is selling an opportunity or dream. And that’s where the problem lies.

          I suppose you’d have to answer what your motivation for joining Costco is. Do you want to legitimately shop there, or do you want to get the incentives? They aren’t trying to get you to spend a lot of $$ with very little return. It’s strictly a place to go buy stuff, and if you spread the word, you’ll get a reward. Not rewards on rewards on rewards. But a reward.
          I know nothing about commerce law, but that’s really interesting, and I’m not surprised. Did you know that every time a paper requires your signature it represents a lawsuit?
          That’s not completely true, but when we bought our house the agent, or whoever, said, in regard to the vast number of papers, said, “Almost all of these represent a lawsuit.”

      • No Bull

        Starbucks entices customers (college students) with signs to become managers all the time. What is the average lifetime earning from Starbucks of a Starbucks employee? Do we need income disclosure statements at Starbucks? How about McDonalds. What is the average lifetime income of all McDonalds employees.

        • Cindy Shuffield

          Seriously? Do you have to pay $500 to start working at Starbucks? Does the company entice you with bling if you hire more people, encourage you to drop out of college because you’ll make so much more money at Vemma, as happened in our family?
          These are exactly the kind of (unnamed) companies Vemma recruiters warn you against — working for someone else and not being your own boss.
          At any company like these, you know what you’re going to get: you work, you get a paycheck. Oh, and let’s not forget benefits: healthcare, Social Security, paid vacation days. Vemma affiliates entice you, not with a wonderful product, but with becoming a millionaire and “retiring your parents.”
          For almost a year, my daughter spent hours every day, and contacted over 200 people, determined to succeed.
          Her eranings? Less than $500, the cost of her starter pack
          Her outlay? Approximately $3500.
          Customers? 0
          Product she had when she left? About 6 cases.
          Every time she was ready to leave, one of the big boys would Skype her and convince her what a good job she was doing.

          Tell me again, Kevin, BK, etc how she’s not a victim and was a customer buying Vemma for her own consumption, and not so she could get commissions and rewards. Even that didn’t work for her.

          No Bull, I do hope you’re being facetious

          • RJ

            As much as I hate predatory MLMs. Your daughter should have had the common sense to stop well before her losses approached $3500.
            Common sense is MLMs worse nightmare. Besides the FTC shutting them down.

            • Cindy Shuffield

              I totally agree with you. And that’s what baffled me. I have one kid who’s a genius, and the other two (including her) who aren’t far off. I couldn’t understand why she’d let herself get sucked into this. She’s so frugal, and saved over $10K from jobs she’d worked since 15.
              None of it made any sense. I’ve been researching all this since I first heard the name Vemma, a year ago, and have found out extraordinary lies and deceptions. But she’s always been hard-headed and determined. When the brother she idolized told her she was too smart to fall for this pyramid scam, she stopped talking to him. She almost literally became another person,, and all her common sense disappeared.
              At one point I asked her how much she’d spend before she gave up. Her response was, “Giving isn’t an option. I’ll never give up.” If you give up you’re a failure, and since they’ve already alienated from your family what are you going to do if you”quit” your Vemma family? Plus, who wants to be a failure?
              But, this is why they went after kids. Troy Dooley even has a snippet in a video on his site where he’s discussing BK “having all these kids selling for him” and laughing about it. And I believe he’s talking to Kevin. But I’m not going to swear to that.
              And Alex Morton’s dad has some interesting things to say about how dazzled Alex was with all the possibilities when they first met with Vemma reps, and he justifies it by saying Alex was a kid.

          • Tracey Pike

            Seriously Cindy? I’m betting I’ve spent that much money as an Affiliate, if not more. Do I care? NO! Have I made money? NO! I LOVE the product and consume it, as well as share it with potential customers. MLM’s are here to stay! If she dropped out of college, that is HER decision and you can’t blame BK for that.

            • Cindy Shuffield

              I totally agree, it WAS her choice to drop out of school, however BK has called college a pyramid scheme (online video I personally saw) and the party line is: why be left with so much college debt and not be able to get a job when you can be your own boss, build a business, become a millionaire and “retire your parents.”
              If you are merely buying Vemma products because you enjoy them, then why not become a customer? You’re not making any money, and don’t care that you’re not making any money, then there’s no need to recruit.
              Declare yourself a customer, and that will help keep Vemma in business, it seems to me.

              • Vanessa Arruda

                The truth is Cindy that colleges get rich & richer all the time & leave students with tons of debt. Some have jobs in their feild & most don’t but they all start life after college with debt. Being your own boss is very liberating & rewarding. Doesn’t mean you have to attain millionaire status. Focusing on solid business practices is your first step. Success is defined in many ways. Discovering your own strengths is paramount.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                I completely agree with what you say about solid business practice, success, and discovering your own strengths.
                The part about college is the same old thing I’ve heard/read from every other Vemma rep: it leaves you with mountains of debt, a lot of people don’t get jobs in their field, etc.
                None of my kids will have any debt when they finish school. There are no mountains of debt for any of them, because they worked hard on grades, ECs and volunteering in addition to working part- and full-time jobs. Guess who gives $$ to kids like this? Colleges, foundations, organizations. My two oldest have private school entirely paid for, my daughter state school, although she had the same options. Additionally, my husband and I haven’t paid a penny for their college. And they have been self-supporting since they graduated from high school. So maybe you can see why her behavior was so bewildering and out of character, especially when she wouldn’t listen to her older brother (her role model).
                BTW, I was my own boss, so I know what that entails, and it’s very different for a 30-year-old than for a teenager.

              • Tracey Pike

                It’s quite puzzling to me why she would drop out of school. It’s also very puzzling why she wouldn’t do her own homework on the company. Having said that, it appears Vemma is reopening today, with restrictions. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                She dropped out of school to devote more time to Vemma. She works 40-45 hours a week, and she let her upline convince her that she didn’t need a college education, that she could learn everything she needed from reading motivational books. Bob Proctor (who has a connection with Vemma) Jim Rohn, Eric Worre (also a Vemma speaker), etc. And the millennials all brag about their “library” and what they’ve read.
                One kid even stated, “Most people only read one book a year. Millionaires read a book a month.” I don’t know where they get this stuff, but they all want to be the next motivational speaker.
                It’s pretty hard to comprehend everything and how these kids could be so deceived unless you’ve lived through it, and seen how these guys operate. Mostly boys. Since she’s gotten out, she can see clearly, she’s horrified at what’s going on and how she behaved. It’s a crazy subculture that a lot of people don’t realize even exists. It certainly surprised me that she would make such a foolish choice and stay there so long.
                Why didn’t she do her own homework? She’s always been the kid, even though really smart, who sees what she wants. IF she did any Vemma research, she’d only see the positive. That’s one of her weaknesses. I kept telling her to read the clinical studies. There are contradictions and flaws. But she wouldn’t do it. Plus, she’s really stubborn and I think she was afraid I was right. The “ignorance is bliss” strategy.

              • Vanessa Arruda

                Cindy you brag about your children being debt free & that is fantastic however I hope you realize that is the exception & not the rule, especially today. My sister is what you would call a genius, i call her gifted. She got a PhD back in the day when few & far between made it, never mind make it debt free. She got scholarships & worked full time, 3rd shift & still had debt, which she has paid. Her professorship allows her daughter to receive a free ride to any state University. She also made sure she’s mastered other talents to enable her more opportunities. However whatever path my niece chooses, she will own. As far as myself, i choose t unlike my brothers and sisters, to travel the world, instead of higher education. My sister the professor, makes 350k a year opposed to my 130k & recently confined in me that she was jealous of the fact that I have lived life on my terms & was envious of my freedom. So you see, as I admire her, she admires me. Life is more about finding your own path. I value freedom while she values education. Life is about choices, happiness and fulfillment.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                The grass is always greener, isn’t it? Sounds like your sis lived life on her terms as well. Personally, I’d love to have half your income 🙂
                Where on earth do professors make that kind of $$?
                And why can’t you have an education AND travel? There’s no reason to limit yourself. My oldest graduated, two weeks later married his HS sweetheart, then seven days later they got on a plane for Korea to teach college prep classes for the summer. When they were finished teaching, they spent several months travelling around former Eastern bloc/Russian countries, and were home in December.
                Fast forward two months, and they were back on a plane to Colombia to teach ESL. They did a little travelling during breaks there, then back home for about a week, returning to Korean for a repeat of the previous year. This year’s itinerary so far has been Australia, New Zealand, China, and now India. They will continue to Indonesia, Thailand and that region,back through the East, maybe Middle East and home for Christmas.
                He did his study abroad semester in Cairo and traveled to several Middle Eastern countries. When they started their adventure, he pointed out that he’s 23 and going to his 23rd country. It’s into the 30s now, plus he’s been on every continent except Antartica.
                You don’t have to choose either/or. You can have both, education and travel, but most people don’t travel like they do–backpacking, with what they can carry. They just want to see as much as possible and have experiences.

              • Vanessa Arruda

                She makes that kind of money because she has multiple streams of income. She is a full professor, she does research, she profiles, independently & for the court system, psych evaluations in prison for two different states ( where she lives in a bordering state), autopsies and consulting. And she does travel the world. For one her daughter is in the national Orchestra. She’s a violinist she has played all over the world at the tender age of 17 the same countries you mentioned and more. Her research partner lives in Australia, so she does travel, but with all those positions, there is much responsibility and obligation. So it’s a much different kind of freedom and I think that’s what she was referring to. We have both have lived life to the fullest. And you are right that has not been my experience with FEMA I personally have not going out to sell it I use it for myself and my grandson. The leaders that I know are top producers in the company and they do not pitch like that nor have I met or heard it. Of course it is paramount to surround yourself with ethical people & and the golden rule is buyer beware.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                If it sound too good…
                I guess we believe what we want to believe, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many weight-loss products on the market.
                Anyway, it sounds like you come from an amazing family, and that your sister’s taken/created amazing opportunities, and is one of those people who get 30 hours out of each day. I’m going to make a judgement without knowing you and say it sounds like you’ve raised terrific kids, and for that I applaud you.
                Alex Morton was surrounded people you’d call ethical: BK, Bob Proctor, and the Alkazins. And we was one of the faces of Vemma. How do you know who to trust? Even Alex’s dad called him an “impressionable 21-year-old” when he was brought into the Vemma fold.
                If you haven’t read the account Alex’s dad gives, I’ve posted it above in reply to Tracey Pike. It might shed some light on how my daughter could be so foolish and deceived.

            • Claudia Gruy

              That’s my thought too. At no point have I LOST money, because I bought product and consumed. Yes, I bought more product then I needed initially, but that only means it lasted longer. I didn’t lose it. That’s what puzzles me. I guess if I had stood on a street corner and handed out cans I could say I lost it (or I would have done something good – but I wouldn’t have had to money to do it and selfishly rather drank it myself lol)

          • Vanessa Arruda

            Sorry your family member is that weak minded. Not for everyone

            • Cindy Shuffield

              Lol Vanessa, no one has ever called my daughter weak-minded, before. It’s more a case of, like many, wanting the brass ring, believing the lies she was told and being too trusting. Call that weak minded, but I call it the naivety of a 19 year-old girl. Why else do you think they have spent so much effort into recruiting college-age kids. Everyone “knew” someone who was a millionaire. When I checked, there were only a handful of millionaires, and none young except Alex, and he’d barely passed it this year. Barely.
              When I pointed out that it was a pyramid scheme, she’d have none of it. Because I’m her mom.
              Thankfully, she sees the truth now and is pissed off at her ignorance.

              • Vanessa Arruda

                I said weak minded because it sounds like you blame others for your daughters naivety. I never blamed others for what my children did because there are only two types of people, leaders & followers & I always knew they were strong willed & marched to the beat of their own drum. So in life you have to take full responsibility for your own actions. So if she is gullible sounds like she needed to learn some things in life that college would not of taught her anyway. She has now graduated from the school of life. And the brass ring means different things to different folks. Not everything that glitters is gold. Oh yeah, when you say recruit college age kids you imply that they are not smart enough to make an informed decision for themselves so why would you even go to college if your not smart enough to make any informed decisions??? Contradiction in terms

              • Cindy Shuffield

                Most of the people I know who went to college did stupid things-things they regret. That’s the time to do those things when you’re not a child under your parents’ roof, and you’re not in the complete adult world. You just hope your kids’ (at least I do–I still have two in college) mistakes are ones that aren’t life-threatening. I made crazy mistakes. One weekend a group of us decided to drive to Mexico. Four college kids in the cab of a pick-up. It worked out fine, but the border patrol trashed the truck looking for weed and left it for us to clean up (we didn’t have any)
                Does that mean I’m not smart? No, I made the Dean’s List. It means I made a stupid decision. Have you never made stupid decisions, and does that mean you’re not smart?
                My daughter has very much been a follower, although when she’d try to get out, one of the very top leaders would Skype her, telling how great she was doing and just keep trying because it took them a long time, too. And she was impressed that these top guys–Andrew Yeager, etc. “cared” enough to contact her.
                This was a very expensive ticket in the school of life, but it will be easier for her to see next time. She’s got some very valuable life experience, but I DO blame Vemma for it’s predatory techniques.
                If you’d heard the “strategies” for getting college kids to go to home events, I think you would as well.
                Vanessa, do some research and check out some articles. Google Vemma YPR, Vemma Rolling Stone, Vemma TINA. You’ll find out the info I’m telling you.
                I can send you links if you’d like…

              • Tracey Pike

                YPR no longer exists. I’ve only ever heard BK encourage kids to finish college. Having said all that, the company has been given some restrictions to abide by. I’m very anxious to see how it all plays out. Afflilate packs are no longer.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                Yeah, I believe that Alex was hired to develop or start YPR. I’ve read there may be possibilities of him doing the same thing at Jeunesse, but I’ve not seen that written in stone.

              • Tracey Pike

                Alex Morton was not hired by Vemma. Alex Morton was an Affilate who happened to make quite a bit of money. Alex made a decision to leave and join Jeunesse. I wish him nothing but the best.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                I’m looking for the account I read written by his father about their entry into Vemma, how they were ushered into meet BK. I’ve read so much, I can’t remember where I read it, and it may have been taken down. But it was in response to the criticism that Alex was getting.

              • Cindy Shuffield

                You’re right, Tracey, Alex wasn’t hired by Vemma. I was mistaken about him being hired to start YPR. You can judge for yourself about his role in Vemma, and how he was influenced others. Here’s his dad’s (unedited) account of how Alex and YPR came about:

                Alex and myself visited the home office of Vemma with our sponsor in February of 2011. Alex was a 21 year old Full-Time Junior at Arizona State in the Hugh Downs School of Communication, and a part time Arizona Real Estate Agent leasing homes and condos.

                Alex asked me to come check out Vemma after spending several night in the “VerveLounge” at the
                Phoenix Suns games. His first few visits were uneventful and Alex didn’t see himself selling energy drinks. Then he came across Brad Alkazin who flashed his watch, talked to Alex about making $10,000 a week in Vemma, his cars and his life.
                Alex was an impressionable 21 year old and called me in Ohio all excited about the opportunity, and asked me to come to Phoenix. I was impressed with the home office and with Bk Boreyko’s story . He answered several questions I had written down and we both enrolled in February of 2011`.

                Brad Alkazin promised to teach and train Alex how to build a business on a college campus. Over the next several months, Brad came to ASU almost every single week, and slept in Alex’s apartment with him and a roommate Josh Noble, This is where they created their game plan as to how to market VEMMA to college students It was an obvious plan as they were living in the middle of 75,000 college students at Arizona
                State.

                The process was made easier as BK Boreyko opened up his office to meetings and tours almost every day of the week. There were meetings almost daily at the previous Vemma headquarters, and BK loved to come in and talk about the opportunity with the young people.

                We have several pictures from these numerous meetings at Vemma Corporate. The college students migrated to Phoenix area HS students, and again they were welcomed with open arms by BK and Vemma. BK had phone calls with HS principals in the early days and many parents. Point is he was in the middle of the young people recruitment at Vemma.

                Point is putting the recruitment of college students problem on a 21 year old kid who just wanted to make money and make BK and his mentors Tom and Brad Alkazin proud and happy is totally hypocritical by BK and VEMMA.

                IN approximately February of 2011, BK launched the “YPR” when he took Alex and Brad to a Regional event in Charlotte North Carolina. VEMMA produced a short video titled “YOUNG CRUSADERS” and you see a 21 year old Alex flanked by his Leader and Mentor Brad Alkazin along with BK Boreyko. This video was seen by millions around the world and really launched the college vemma movement.

                A few other facts.
                None of this is hype or opinion. Only the truth.

                BK decide to rebrand verve energy drinks so they would be more enticing to young people and came out with VERVE BOLD in a hot black can and more caffeine. BK paid for the opening of VERVE CENTRAL next to the Arizona State University Campus. This is where the majority of the recruitment took place at ASU.

                BK produced and paid for the infamous VERVE CENTRAL OPPORTUNITY VIDEO that became the main recruiting video responsible for recruiting tens of thousands of college students around the world. BK paid for the production of Alex doing a VIDEO INVITE available on the VEMMA app so that college student could text a video to their friends inviting them to check out the Vemma opportunity.

                BK made the decision to film viral videos of Alex and several other of the top YPR leaders on his private jet multiple times. This helped to create the image of the movement.

                BK contracted with Success Magazine to sponsor several events around the country to bring
                thousands of these young people together in one venue. The Young people recruitment in Vemma didn’t just happen. The marketing campaign was paid for by BK and the architects were Tom and Brad Alkazin , Alex’s up line leaders.

                One other point I want to bring up is the influence of Bob Proctor on Alex and many of the YPR leaders. Bob took Alex and other YPR leaders under his wings and many of Alex’s thoughts and statements can be attributed to Bob… Alex worshipped Bob Proctor and happily accepted videos and other data from him on his wonderful teachings.

                Alex’s bullet points about how to get into the top 3 %, the college scam ( Proctor never attended college), how to get into the top 3 %, so many of his brash attitudes about business and getting ahead came from Bob. BK funded Bob’s numerous speaking engagements at VEMMA events.. You only have to listen to Bob’s videos to understand what I am talking about.

                Saying Alex Morton was 100% responsible for the recruitment of College kids in vemma is a joke. Truth is that Alex had less than half of the young people in VEMMA on his team. There were several other large organizations, Most of which were under Tom and Brad Alkazin. There is no doubt that Brad with help from his dad Tom were the architects of the YPR and it was 100% funded by BK and VEMMA. And they made all
                the right moves along the way to make this movement come to pass. VEMMA sales increased from around $75 million when we walked into their doors in february 2011 to over $220 million a few years later. So BK’s marketing plan to young people worked to their financial advantage.

              • Tracey Pike

                I’ve already read this, Cindy, and I find it amazing that the Morton’s, who have made a lot of money in Vemma, have made the decision to trash to company. Their choice, I suppose.

              • Vanessa Arruda

                Cindy, no offense but I think you are far to protective & controlling. You have to let go & allow your daughter to live life on her terms, make her own mistakes and learn from them. That’s how you become an adult and an individual. You’ve lived your life now you got to let her live hers. You can not fight all her battles. She is going to scrap her knees & its okay. What doesn’t kill her will make her stronger & more equipped for life. Sounds like you have the issues not her. Did you ever think her resistance to quitting was more about independence than anything else?
                As far as stupid mistakes I haven’t made many only cause I chose to say I am a risk taker. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I don’t look back as if I lost, especially monetarily, but what I’ve gained in wisdom, strength and spirit. We are the sum of the life we live & lessons are a important aspect of growth. Life stagnant is a loss & shame, every blessing comes wrapped in problems. Be confident in how you raised her, allow her her own mistakes and just be there. Blessings to both of you on your own journeys. Remember we have to be responsible for ourselves & the only behavior we can change is our own!

              • Cindy Shuffield

                I think if you’d be open to my story, you’d see why Vemma has gotten into trouble. These issues HAVE been mine–she thought she was going to be a millionaire, no issues there–and I laid them all out. When a company alienates kids from their families, you’re darn right I have issues. And believe me, if I could control my daughter, she would have never done this.
                Maybe I should have clarified that my daughter hasn’t lived at home for awhile, and my stance has been that she should do what she thinks is the right thing, except choose Vemma (or anything/anyone else) over family. However, no company has the right to imply that kids should stay away from their families and say, “We’re you’re family now.” That moves into cult-like tactics.
                Pretty sure I mentioned that my kids have all been self-supporting since they graduated from high school (two years for her and her twin) five for her brother, having worked since they were 15. So “letting her go” and everything that entails started long ago. I’m not sure how you see that as controlling and over-protective, but call it what you will.
                I want my kids to make mistakes because I believe that’s how they learn. But I draw the line when mature adult leaders of a pyramid are lying, deceiving, bullying and preying on them out of greed. I think, ironically, the reason she wasn’t successful was mostly due to “controlling” parents.. The kids were excited about the opportunity (without having seen or tasted any product), but either didn’t have the money, or their parents wouldn’t let them. The adults she approached knew how things worked and just politely said, “No thanks.”
                Obviously the FTC, TINA, BBB and various media sources got enough complaints from parents who had the same issues I did, otherwise this whole investigation and lawsuit would have been unwarranted.
                I’ve been trying to explain a dark side of Vemma that perhaps adult affiliates aren’t exposed to.
                Thank you trying to school me on my life and parenting skills, but I’ll continue to make mistakes, because I try different paths, and encourage my kids to do the same.
                My daughter is returning back to her old (more) rational self and is annoyed and embarrassed about her Vemma experience. She had a large amount of money she could throw away, but now she’s having financial difficulties. It was an expensive mistake, but one she won’t make again. Am I going to bail her out? Absolutely not, and she hasn’t asked. She sees everything clearly now and is a fast learner.
                . I’m glad that Vemma has been such a good experience for you. It hasn’t for many people, hence all the “failures”.

                What I’ve tried to do on here is to explain our story, which is representative of other YPRs and millennials, and I’ve been criticized and so has my daughter. To assume things about me when you have no idea who I am, is baffling. I’ve made mistakes in posts, but corrected them when I realized it, just so I could try to inform people there’s a whole group you might not even know about. If you don’t want to hear this perspective or believe these things have happened, that’s your choice. We are all free to say what we want, but to make assumptions about someone when you don’t know them is uncalled for.

                One last thing:
                This is from a mental health website, but others are about the same: consensus of neuroscientists agree that brain development likely persists until at least the mid-20s – possibly until the 30s.

                Maybe this is why my daughter was weak-minded, had no common sense and many of us made poor choices when we were that age. And maybe it’s why Vemma recruited college-aged kids.

          • Michael

            I am so sad to hear about your daughters experience. I joined Vemma in the hopes of creating my own business. That never materialized. The fault of that is 100% on me. I know quite a few folks who have become very successful with Vemma products. The difference is in work ethics and mentorship. I have seen all of Vemma’s advertising. I’ve witnessed hundreds of hours of Video and in person program informational and training meetings. In EVERY case and without fail, the fact that most people don’t succeed and that results is the only way to get paid are right out front and in the open. Only someone with an agenda to see otherwise could miss the clarity in the messages. One simply has to work their ass off to succeed at starting and continuing their own business, which is exactly what becoming an affiliate of a company like Vemma is all about. I have simply not put in the effort that it takes to succeed at my own business. I continue to take the Vemma products because they actually deliver the nutrition that most vitamins fail to deliver. The Vemma products are that good. By the way, Verve is not the company’s top selling product. The Vemma Multi-vitamin is. And just to clear the record. One can of Verve regular, Zero Sugar, or Bold contains exactly the same load of nutrients as a dose of Vemma Multi-vitamin. So that anyone consuming a Verve is getting their vitamins too! Somewhere near 80 to 90 percent of business staartups eventually fail. My truth is that Vemma Affiliate businesses fail for all of the same reasons that other businesses fail. I know by experience that Vemma as a company supplies a formiddable amount of support so that it’s Affiliates will succcedd. If a buddding affiliate doesn’t search out the help of effective succseeful mentors they will have a hard time. If they focus their attention and efforts on joining forces with and carefully duplicating the efforts of successful mentors they have a strong chance of succeeding. I pray that this all comes clean. And that those who enjoy the benifits of great nutrition can continue to use Vemma’s products. I know that I will. Whether I ever figure out how to be a successful Vemma Affiliaet or not. Thanks for your time.

            • Cindy Shuffield

              Thank you, Michael.
              “One simply has to work their ass off to succeed at starting and continuing their own business, which is exactly what becoming an affiliate of a company like Vemma is all about.”
              My daughter worked her rear off, as I said, for hours a day, so lack of effort wasn’t part of the problem. She was told, and foolishly believed, that that the only way to fail was to quit. I tried to get her to understand that she wouldn’t be a failure, that it was a faulty business model. She didn’t believe me because, you know, I’m her mom.

              • Ben Cordle

                Just as Jim Rohn says Cindy, “work harder on YOURSELF than on your business” and you will succeed. If she failed it is 110% her own failure, not the business opportunity that failed her.

          • Claudia Gruy

            Now as I said I wasn’t into the business, but still when she left the only thing “bad” was she had 6 cases of a great product she could still consume. I don’t see it as if I ever lost any money. Sure I had to scratch together to get my big pack, but it was better value and I consumed it myself – I lived longer from it than I would have on single orders every month. No loss for me. I am puzzled by the loss of 3500 – how did she lose that?! By giving away product?

            • Cindy Shuffield

              She lost that by spending the money on nearly a year of autoship (180 including shipping), going to the convention and paying for a ticket for a team member as an incentive (which was pretty useless, one of the top leaders took care of her hotel), going to a regional event (also pretty useless, including plane ticket, she stayed with one of her uplines). No she didn’t drink it, didn’t like the taste, other people she gave it to preferred Red Bull and monster, so that’s how she wound up with all the leftovers. She was enticed by the prospect of making money. She’s always been good and that, and she was a business major in college. Ironically. She totally should have known better.
              The worst part, to our family, is that she followed what she heard, like a lamb to the slaughter.

              Your family may try to get you not to do this, tell you it’s a scam. Other people will tell you it’s a pyramid scheme, They’re haters. Stay away from haters and negativity. We’re your family now.
              And that’s what she did. And that’s the worst part of all–losing my daughter for almost a year. As one friend said, “You fought like a tiger for her.” And I did. I said, “I don’t understand how you can choose Vemma over your family.” But teens know everything, and her response was,
              “When I’m successful, you will.”
              She could never be that successful, and she was raised to believe that $$ isn’t everything. We was sucked in by the opportunity, and now she’s embarrassed at “using” her friends.

              • Ben Cordle

                If she traveled to another city and stayed at a hotel and went to her favorite NBA team’s game and then they lost, should she also then get her money back for her expenses because it didn’t turn out how she wanted? Your arguments are silly. I’ve been in Herbalife for 4 years and I make a six figure income now because of it. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE has the opportunity and ability to succeed in a legitimate MLM. The reason some do not is because they don’t put in the work to improve THEMSELVES. People are not attracted to an MLM business, people are attracted to people. Your daughter failed, it’s ok, it happens. The business didn’t fail her, she failed herself. Parents never want to have their children responsIngle for their own actions. It’s called life, grow from the experience or go get a job and be a slave like everyone else.

      • All of the mlm world needs to stand in solidarity with legitimate companies with real products/services like Vemma. The vapor ware system/leads/money game stuff doesn’t help the cause

      • Michael

        1. Vemma is in the business of selling nutritional products. They are top notch products. Even their energy drink Verve! contains the same level of nutrients as their best selling Vemma multi-vitamin.
        2. One can become AND be successful as a Vemma affiliate without ever buying a Starter Pack. The ONLY requirements are to order and consume at least one case of product a month and to declare that you are an affiliate. There are no other requirements and no promises.
        3. An affiliate is literally starting their own business. They could start a business selling sandwiches for between 250 and 500 thousand dollars or perhaps a hamburger joint for a million dollars or more. Or they can start their own home business utilizing a significantly smaller investment of their own dollars and sense (yes I meant sense) to prevail against the almost insurmountable odds of succeeding. Trying and failing leads to success. Ask Warren or Donald, they’ll tell you the same. Becoming successful at any business takes great extraordinary effort and the ability to find out what it takes and stick to implementing that. Failing and continuing UNTIL success is achieved. The key is to never give up. Vemma doesn’t make profit off of $600 Starter Packs that contain $700 worth of product! And Vemma ALWAYS and continuously tells student to STAY in school. That advanced education is brilliant for success in today’s world. They are super clear about that. There is massive disinformation being used against Vemma. It is my sincerest hope that integrity will prevail. Blessings on this whole process!

      • kathryn

        i have belonged to different net work co one because of the product and two because of the opportunity. What gets me is automatic orders or having a point system of having to order a certain amt each month in order to get paid. when you work for traditional co you don’t have to buy their product to get paid. I have seen many friends lose a lot of money and even destroy their credit because they were ordering for everyone in their downline so they can get paid. Very sad that basically the majority of people who get rich are just like in any other co ,the ones who start it.

      • Claudia Gruy

        When I started on Vemma-products as a CUSTOMER I simply bought the affiliate pack at first because it was great value and I could try out a variety of things. But because I bought it, I automatically became an AFFILIATE (Brand-Partner at the time) but never involved myself in the business model. I actually considered getting another pack just before trouble started as I liked the energy drinks (I live in red-bull country Austria and loved to have a healthy alternative) – and it was a hot summer! So because I got more than the court assumes is what a “normal” person would consume, I am a failed affiliate who doesn’t count. Great, thanks!

        • Cindy Shuffield

          Have you considered getting out of Vemma, then signing up with someone as a customer and spending the same amount the Pack would cost on the products you want? Doesn’t Vemma have variety packs? That will build up the customer base, which is what Vemma needs to stay alive. It’s a win-win. You get your product, and Vemma stays in business.

          • Claudia Gruy

            Basically you can’t (or couldn’t) “get out” and resign with someone else like that – which was a great restriction to keep ppl from finding the best spot lol. Oh I have no prob getting my product another way once we can again (as of yesterday). I just found that the elimination of ppl not counting as customers just because they bought more (aka as in two cases authoship) and therefore not counting to Vemma’s income through customers annoying! That’s like the judge decides for me how much I am allowed to consume! If they had gone through the trouble of looking more into the dreaded upline/downline (as in every job) they would have seen that ppl like me may count as “teamleaders” (aka affiliates) because of the amount of product, but with no teammembers this actually wouldn’t count. Bummer.

            • Cindy Shuffield

              I can see where it may seem like the judge can decide how much you can consume, but with every starter pack, doesn’t that look like a new affiliate is being recruited, with a good commission going along with that pack, at least on paper? I don’t see how they could check the thousands upon thousand of failed affiliates. It might not occur to the players that anyone did that, but maybe Vemma will do that and bring it up at the trial. If you’re only a customer (but identified as an affiliate) , it seems like you should be able to contact the head office and explain the situation. Get rid of you as an affiliate, take your name off the books, and you’re free to do what you want–become a customer. If enough people do this, problem solved.