Herbalife: A Strong Contender Despite Legal Woes [Review]

herbalifeIf you’re looking for a strong MLM that’s been in business longer than most, Herbalife should be at the top of your list.

Herbalife may be one of the most well-known MLM opportunities. Certainly one of the largest and most controversial (up there with Amway, Scentsy, and Advocare).

Independent Herbalife members sell health, wellness, and skin care products directly to consumers; they may also develop their own sales teams and build their own business, earning commissions based on their team members’ sales, too.


1. What does Herbalife sell? Herbalife sells nutrition supplements, weight management, sports nutrition, and personal-care products.

2. What are Herbalife’s most popular products? Herbalife recommends starting with Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix, Formula 2 Multivitamin Complex, and Formula 3 Cell Activator to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

3. How much does it cost to join Herbalife? Herbalife makes it easy to join. There are no minimum purchases required other than the initial Distributorship kit. For that, you have two choices: the International Business Pack, which costs $94.10, or the International Business Pack Super Starter, which is $124.10. There’s a fully refundable, 12-month money-back guarantee for the cost of the International Business Pack if Distributorship is canceled for any reason — including the cost of shipping.

4. Is Herbalife a scam? No, Herbalife has beat every legal claim that they aren’t a legitimate business, even restructuring their business to remove any confusion and ensure distributors are treated well. They’re a public company with investors. And their products are available for purchase on their website, though the order will be routed through a distributor.

5. What is Herbalife’s BBB rating? A-

6. How long has Herbalife been in business? Since 1980

7. What is Herbalife’s revenue? $1 billion

8. How many Herbalife distributors are there? An estimated 8,000 people worldwide

9. What lawsuits have been filed? In 2016, the FTC charged Herbalife with deceptive earnings claims and required Herbalife to pay a $200 million settlement to nearly 350,000 people who lost money running an Herbalife business. They were also required to fundamentally restructure their business so distributor success depends on whether they sell the company’s products, not on whether they buy them. [1] You can read an update on the results of these changes here. In 2018, a new class-action lawsuit was filed for misrepresenting the amount of potential income distributors could earn by signing on and hosting events. [2] In 2017, Jeff Rodgers accused Herbalife of racketeering, to which Herbalife filed a motion to dismiss. [3] In 2015, an Herbalife investor alleged that Herbalife was a pyramid scheme, but the case was dismissed. [4] In 2014, Herbalife paid $15 million, plus up to $2.5 million for product returns, to settle a class-action suit claiming the company was running an alleged pyramid scheme. Under this agreement, the company began paying shipping charges for returned products and clarified its membership agreement to make it less confusing. [5]

10. Comparable companies: Amway, Isagenix, Melaleuca

One of the biggest MLMs in the game right now, so should you get involved?

Product-wise this company might be legit, but if you’re just interested in the business opportunity, there are better options out there…

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Either way, here’s the full review on Herbalife.


Herbalife products feature vitamins, minerals, nutrients, enzymes, and other ingredients intended to support healthy and active lifestyles. Doctors and scientists have a role in product research and development; the company also has a Nutrition Advisory Board made up of international members.

Herbalife’s 60-page product catalog offers consumers health and wellness support across several broad categories, with specialized products within each. Herbalife products include meal replacement shake mixes, bars, nutritional supplements, and a skincare line.

  • Cellular Nutrition: Formula 1 (Healthy Meal and Nutritional Shake Mix), Formula 2 (Multivitamin Complex), and Formula 3 (Cell Activator)
  • Weight Management: includes protein and protein snacks, Formula 1 and Formula 1 meal options
  • Targeted Nutrition: digestive health, heart health, stress management, plus immune health, women’s health, men’s health, children’s health, and healthy aging
  • Energy and Fitness: sports, fitness, energy, and hydration
  • Herbalife Skin: cleansers, toners, and moisturizers; shampoo and conditioner; hand and body cream

Herbalife shake mixes and bars are offered in a variety of flavors. Some products are offered in an allergy-free version that’s without gluten, dairy or soy. The catalog spotlights specific products and product combinations for healthy living goals, including weight loss, maintenance or gain, and athletic performance. Some products are sold in individual packets for on-the-go use.

Herbalife offers a money-back guarantee on its products.

Compensation Plan

Herbalife’s roughly 4 million Independent Herbalife Members are the only distribution channel for the company. New members have a choice of two Herbalife Member Packs to get started: $94.10 for the basic kit or $124.10 for the super starter kit.

Members can purchase products at wholesale rather than retail cost, for personal use or resell.

Independent Herbalife Members can earn money two ways: on the products sold directly to consumers, and/or by developing a multi-level sales team and earning commission on downline sales. According to materials found on the Herbalife website, roughly 20% of Herbalife members develop multi-level sales teams; no commission is earned for sponsoring new members.

Members who do decide to develop their own business network are supported by monthly training and meetings. Online resources for members include product information, online training resources, sales and marketing materials, tools for lead generation, email marketing and invoicing, tools for managing activity of sponsored members and downline sales, and the ability to order products. It’s unclear if there’s a fee or associated cost for any of these services or tools.

Here are some pros about Herbalife:

Herbalife offers a detailed summary of compensation and potential earnings online, including general statistics about percentages of members and their corresponding earned compensation levels. Various backend tools are available to members serious about building a business. Members are not subject to minimum inventory and there are no minimum sales required.

Members have 90-day money-back guarantee on their enrollment kit. Members who resign can return unsold and unused products for a refund for a limited period of time.

Throughout the website copy and member-solicitation materials, the importance of ethics and realistic compensation expectations are pointed out.

Here are some cons about Herbalife:

Herbalife’s own company materials indicate that the majority of members sign up for discounts on products for personal use, rather than to initiate a sales team.

There’s no policy and procedures manual online, so there’s likely a lot of fine print that prospective members won’t see until farther along in the enrollment process. For example, customers can get a refund from the member they purchased a product from if they’re not happy; however, does that member get back the wholesale cost he or she paid for it from Herbalife? Or does that member eat the full retail cost of the item and take it as a loss?

Also, there’s mention of bonuses for those with multi-level sales teams in place but no additional details — what’s the threshold for earning a bonus? Do Independent Herbalife Members have to have a minimum number of people on their team to earn a bonus? A minimum sales volume?

There’s no available information as to whether members can set their own retail prices for Herbalife products when re-selling them, or if there are company-issue guidelines members must adhere to.

After the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) 2015 investigation of Herbalife’s business opportunity, Herbalife restructured their business to remove some of these ambiguities and to ensure distributors are compensated for selling products, not buying them. Overall, these changes appear to have strengthened Herbalife’s business. That said, class-action suits continue to be brought against them, so it appears distributors still struggle to create a profitable business with this MLM.


Herbalife’s health and wellness products are sold exclusively through its distributors, and come with a money-back guarantee; for these reasons, there’s some incentive for people to buy from Herbalife members. The company has an established model in place for bringing in and providing sales and marketing tools to independent sales agents to build their own multi-level marketing business. That said, in its own website copy, it’s clear that these Herbalife members are the minority rather than the majority.

Herbalife has demonstrated consistent financial performance and growth over the past several years; however, the impact of lawsuits and federal investigations may eventually affect it and the Independent Herbalife Members who signed on under specific contract terms.

Look, I’ve been involved with network marketing for over ten years so I know what to look for when you consider a new opportunity.

After reviewing 200+ business opportunities and systems out there, here is the one I would recommend:

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Meet the Author


JP teaches network marketers how to build a real business. Far from a hater, he still LOLs at 3-way calls and building "downlines". If you like Monday morning conversations with your kids by the pool, you might like this.

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