Consumer Watchdog TINA Going After Plexus Worldwide
TINA.org is a non-profit organization that uses investigative journalism, education, and advocacy to empower consumers to protect themselves against false advertising and deceptive marketing.
The organization has triggered in the past FTC investigations. According to their below press release, Plexus could be a target.
Plexus Worldwide, an Arizona-based multilevel marketing (MLM) company that markets nutritional supplements, weight-loss, and personal care products, calls itself the "health and happiness" company that offers life-changing financial freedom for recruits.
But an investigation by ad watchdog truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) has found issues that could put a darker spin on the meaning of life-changing.
Here's what you should know about Plexus:
1. Unsubstantiated Health Claims
Despite a previous FDA warning, TINA.org found more than 100 unsubstantiated health claims marketing Plexus products for everything from depression to cancer to Lyme disease.
2. Breast Chek Recheck
Though Plexus' Breast Chek kit's label says it is "recommended by Doctors and Nurses," the company provides no specifics on its website about exactly who is doing the recommending. Additionally, the American Cancer Society requested that Plexus stop using its name in promotions relating to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
3. Product Safety Issues
The Environmental Research Center filed a lawsuit against Plexus alleging that the company has failed to provide clear warnings to consumers that some products were found to contain lead. The MLM has also faced scrutiny over safety issues overseas.
4. Over the Top Income Claims
TINA.org's investigation uncovered a plethora of social media posts boasting that by becoming a Plexus distributor you can pay off college debt, stay at home with your kids, and work part time all while earning oodles of money. In reality, less than one percent of Plexus distributors earn six figures and more than three-quarters of distributors make less than $500 a year.
5. Lawsuits Galore
Plexus is entangled in a myriad of lawsuits including those between founding members. The company has also filed multiple lawsuits against former distributors who left to join other MLMs.
6. Mounting Consumer Complaints
The FTC has received more than 800 consumer complaints about Plexus of which more than three-quarters are from consumers who said Plexus repeatedly charged them for product shipments they didn't want.
Read more about TINA.org's investigation of Plexus here: www.truthinadvertising.org/what-you-should-know-about-plexus/
Find out more about TINA.org's work examining the MLM industry here: www.truthinadvertising.org/tag/mlm-or-pyramid-scheme/
Plexus Worldwide wanted to respond to a recent article and announcement made by the organization, TINA. It is our hope that the following answers resolve any questions that the TINA article presented.
Plexus’ Policy and Practice Related to Product and Income Claims:
Product and income claims disclaimers and disclosures are placed on all advertisements when appropriate.
Plexus’ Compliance Department is reviewing and ensuring that older materials that may require updated disclaimers and disclosures are applied.
Plexus spends a lot of time and effort educating its Ambassadors about what they can and cannot say as far as income claims and product claims.
All Ambassadors are instructed to confirm through the Compliance Department before making a claim on a social media post or in an advertisement, and could be suspended if they don’t abide by the rules. (Unless you are a jewel, then you can say whatever you want without consequences.)
As part of Ambassador training, all Ambassadors receive weekly emails called “The Plexus Way” which explains compliance topics.
Ambassadors with an Emerald ranking or higher participate in a live or videotaped compliance training at quarterly training sessions, which they attend when they reach Emerald or higher.
A new compliance video with a focus on product and income claims has been created for all new Ambassadors, and this new video will be presented at to approximately 21,000 Ambassadors in attendance at events in various cities taking place the first week of January.
As part of its ongoing effort ensure compliant advertising by its Ambassadors, Plexus has hired a third-?party company to monitor the internet and send back reports of possible inappropriate posts, which helps (BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! YEAH RIGHT!)
Plexus’ Compliance Department enforce the company’s policies and require removal of non-?compliant items by Ambassadors. Plexus has also recently increased its Compliance team to handle the flow from the third party monitoring system. (UNLESS YOU ARE A COVETED JEWEL THEN YOU CAN SAY ANYTHING AND GET AWAY WITH IT! I was fired because Sonya Dudley told Serena I was a "Nut Job", true story.)
Plexus’ Support for the American Cancer Society:
Plexus is proud to have supported the American Cancer Society (ACS) to promote participation in their Making Strides events and by donating money related to its breast cancer efforts. (It was cheap advertising for Plexus is what it was.)
As stated in Plexus’response on October 25th about ACS, Plexus has never inferred there is a product endorsement by ACS, nor has Plexus ever stated, promoted or encouraged our Ambassadors to say that we are partners. The only reference to a partnership was in regards to a Making Strides race/sign-?up page where ACS directly approved the language.
Even after the article ran, ACS confirmed that the website could stay up unaltered. It’s also worth noting that The Breast Check Kit is a class 1 medical device and is exempt from Premarket Notification 510(k).
Plexus Products are safe: (SERIOUSLY????)
Plexus is a health and wellness company, and it is extremely important to the company, the customers and Ambassadors that all products are safe.
Plexus performs quality assurance testing of each lot of products received, including testing for California Prop 65 compliance. (Then why are they paying Prop 65 fines? https://oag.ca.gov/prop65/60-day-notice-2015-00285)
All Plexus products are below the Prop 65 thresholds. Still, out of an abundance of caution Plexus displays the prop 65 warning for the subject products that are shipped to California.
The article also questioned a product that has not been sold by the company for several years. In October of 2013, Plexus voluntarily acted to discontinue selling the Accelerator product containing DMAA well before the FDA voiced concerns about that ingredient.
Plexus developed a new formula marketed as “Accelerator+” that did not include DMAA. Plexus announced the reformulation on October 26, 2013, and began selling the reformulated product on November 6, 2013 and destroyed excess inventory of the prior formulation of Accelerator that was on hand. (That's funny cause my diamond upline got me some. Wonder how that happened??? See what I mean!)
Unfortunately, Plexus is not able to comment on the Pettersen litigation, and the Spencer settlement agreement contains a confidentiality agreement that prohibits both parties from disclosing the terms of the agreement.
First, there is no fraud regarding these complaints and second, the company should be commended for how it has handled the complaints, most of which were created by a software issue.
In October 2015, Plexus changed its system software, which resulted in significant problems in getting products shipped properly.
This resulted in a large increase in the calls to Customer Service, which limited the ability of customers to contact Plexus about a refund or cancellation. Plexus has a 60-?day money back guarantee, which is always honoured.
In October, Plexus analyzed the complaints received by the FTC to ensure that, where possible, all complaints reach a resolution. That analysis indicated that 750 of the complaints sent to the FTC over the last year were Better Business Bureau complaints. (You never provided a resolution to my complaint!)
Read the complete story here.
*NOTE: *The statements in red are my personal opinions and experiences and have not been evaluated by anyone. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, cause or prevent anything.
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