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Is Nu Skin a Scam?

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Nu Skin MLM

Nu Skin MLM

Is Nu Skin a Scam?

Nu Skin is a multi-level marketing company founded in 1984 in Provo, Utah. They produce a range of skincare and other beauty products. The company trades across 50+ markets worldwide. However, they don’t sell products in the traditional way; they have a network of around 800,000 to a million independent distributors. It is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company.

I’ve been very anti-MLM for a long time, and I wanted to write this article and delve into how these companies operate. Maybe someone who is thinking of signing up might come across this article and learn that they need to stay as far away from these companies as possible.

So are they a scam? Not in the technical sense. But they engage in highly immoral business practices. So if you’re thinking of joining this company or any other MLM, then please read and re-consider.

How Much Does It Cost To Join Nu Skin?

Unlike most MLMs, you don’t have to pay a joining fee. Nu Skin and their representatives like to point this out as much as possible to potential new recruits. But upon joining, you don’t get any products to sell. They do, however, sell introductory product packages that cost £404. The reason they do this is because there’s a law stating that multi-level marketing companies cannot allow investments from new recruits of more than £200 in the first seven days. They’re essentially treading a fine line between what’s legal and what isn’t on this. It appears to me that what they’re doing is illegal.

They do have another option called ARA (Automatic Delivery Rewards), which is four of their products for £152.65. Yes, you read that right. Four products for a whopping £152. However, this isn’t just a one-off payment. You’re signing up for a monthly charge of £152 for these products. And if you want to cancel, you have to provide 14 days' written notice in advance.

If all that sounds a little confusing, it’s because it is confusing. This is all clearly written and designed to confuse you about the reality of what they’re doing.

How Much Can You Earn as a Nu Skin Rep?

The website is just as confusing when trying to figure out how much you can get paid. They use non-industry-standard terminology and use words like “blocks” instead of pounds or dollars. I’m going to assume they do this on purpose to try and confuse you. I was, however, able to find a table of average commissions for each of the levels you can reach. The active distributor (non-executive seller) has a monthly average income of $36. And that’s without taking any expenses into account. In fact, when I average the annual commissions of the 10 levels you can reach, it comes to $1,806. Which is less than $35 a week. This is the information on their own website.

What makes it worse is it states that only 15% of sellers actually earn any commission at all, and only 1% earn an actual living wage. So just to make it clear … 85% of sellers don’t make any money from selling Nu Skin products. If you think you can make a wage from this, think again.

I’ve also seen a lot of Nu Skin sellers claim that the company creates a millionaire every week. When you look at the number on their own website, that doesn’t add up.

Below is a quote from Reddit member hyrle;

Hi. I'm a former employee of that company. (Was not a salesperson - I worked in a corporate analyst gig.) Only approximately 8,000 out of their 2 million current distributors take home $100/mo in commissions or more. Million-dollar lifetime earners are rather rare, I think the company had approximately 700 when I last checked. When you're talking about a company that's been around 30 years, it's not exactly churning out tons of millionaires. If a rep sells a $30 bottle of pills, they'll see around $10 in commission, if they can manage to sell it without offering any discounts (which come out of their pay.)

So, I'd say to people that are thinking of joining: do you really think you're really going to be in the top 1%? I mean, statistically speaking, it's highly unlikely. You'd be better off gambling in las Vegas as a profession.

But I guess this shows you how convincing their recruitment techniques are. Further down the article, I talk about the lengths some people go to in order to make you believe they're making thousands when in reality, they aren't. It's an age-old sales technique. A good salesman always turns up in a posh car. I mean, if you turn up in a Mercedes, you clearly know what you're talking about, right?

The Cult-Like Behaviour

One thing I see from former sellers is the claim that bullying is rife within the company. They start off with the welcoming supporting vibe. They bombard you with supportive talk and constantly use words like “hun” and “bossbabe” to make it seem like a supportive community. But it's often short-lived. After a short time, when you’re not selling enough products, they often turn nasty. You’re told you don’t work hard enough or that you haven’t followed the training plan (despite the fact that you were told you could work around your own schedule to hours that suit you). Eventually, they’ll cast you out.

The bullying doesn’t stop there either. A friend of mine who quit Nu Skin had to delete her social media because she was being harassed by former teammates. She told me, “I had to delete my social media accounts. They collectively reported my accounts and sent me tens of messages a day calling me all sorts of names because I left and criticised the company.” This is cult behavior. A quick Google search will show you that this type of behaviour is rife in the MLM industry.

The Lie

One thing I did get to witness with my own eyes is the level of deceit they encourage from sellers. My girlfriend received an invitation to one of their training seminars. They encourage you to lie on social media. If you go on holiday, then they recommend you take pictures and share them on Facebook with captions like “all this paid for by Nu Skin.” If you’re sick from work and have to stay home, you use that as an opportunity to take photos for Facebook and thank Nu Skin for making it possible for you to work from home and look after your kids. I was shocked at how dishonest they encourage new recruits to be in order to sell the lifestyle, which in turn helps recruit even more (vulnerable) people.

The last straw for me was seeing my friend go to a Land Rover showroom with the sole intention of taking a selfie with a high-end car and claim that she was purchasing it with the (non-existent) profits from selling Nu Skin products. I began to distance myself from her at this point. Faking a level of success to lure people into signing up thinking they’ll earn easy money is enough for me to speak out. It was sad to see all this.

The end result, like with most people who get involved with MLMs, is she got herself (and her husband) into a lot of debt trying to fake the lifestyle, and now she works in retail. How someone can go from claiming to be making six figures to working minimum wage in under a year is something I still haven’t figured out.

And the saddest thing of all? These MLM companies and their reps are so well versed in tricking people into thinking they can be earning six-figure sums, that she’s now started with a new MLM. I guess some people are that desperate to get out of debt that they leave all common sense behind.

How to Spot an MLM

I'll leave you with this information. There are five red flags for identifying exploitative product-based pyramid schemes, according to the website MLM-TheTruth. So this is what you should be looking out for when you are offered an opportunity to work from home.

  1. Recruitment of participants is unlimited in an endless chain of empowered and motivated recruiters recruiting recruiters.
  2. Advancement in a hierarchy of multiple levels of participants is achieved by recruitment rather than by appointment.
  3. There are significant requirements that participants “pay to play” the game via product purchases. Thus, new recruits are the primary customers.
  4. An MLM company pays commissions and/or bonuses to at least five levels of participants, creating great “leverage” at the top. (Nu Skin uses a breakaway compensation system, with six levels of whole groups of participants, making it a mega-pyramid with one of the most extreme or highly leveraged compensation plans in existence. This is great for those at the top, but the pits for hundreds of thousands beneath them, who become its victims.)
  5. Most of the payout goes to the upline rather than to the person selling products, creating excessive incentive to recruit and inadequate incentive to sell products (except to new recruits)—and an extreme concentration of income at the top of a hierarchy (pyramid) of participants.

My advice is you should avoid Nu Skin and any other MLM like the plague.