For many years, Plexus was the hottest game in town. Everyone was taking Plexus and evangelizing their friends. Social media was overflowing with the virtues of Plexus.
Now many Plexus Ambassadors have gone silent. They’ve quietly left with as little fanfare as possible, in direct contrast to their earlier salesmanship.
What’s going on? Why are people leaving Plexus? What is the problem with Plexus?
The answers are diverse, but the bottom line is that Plexus has ruined many lives. Read on for a more nuanced and detailed explanation of the issues with Plexus that are causing folks to leave.
Is Plexus an MLM? Multi-Level Marketing Pyramid
Pyramid Schemes & MLM
A pyramid scheme is an illegal business model that is characterized by the recruitment of new members in order to make money. According to the FTC, the essential element of a pyramid scheme is that most of the profits come from recruiting new members rather than selling a product or service.
On the other hand, multi-level marketing (MLM) organizations can be technically legal businesses that rely on members to sell a product or service. MLMs typically have a hierarchical structure where members earn a commission not only on the sales they make but also on the sales made by the members they recruit. While pyramid schemes and MLMs may share similarities, such as the emphasis on recruitment, MLMs are legal as long as they sell a legitimate product or service and the revenue is primarily generated from sales.
MLM companies are usually marketed as a way to gain financial independence. However, research has shown that only 1% of MLM representatives make money, and 99% lose money instead. Despite this, the appeal of being able to earn money while staying at home remains. Many join MLMs on the quest for financial freedom, not realizing 99% are taking a step backward.
While one is technically legal and the other illegal, the line between MLMs and pyramid schemes is blurry because both can harm individuals similarly. Both types of schemes can lead to financial losses for most participants. Both can damage personal relationships as people feel pressure to recruit friends and family. Additionally, both can also be characterized by the use of high-pressure sales tactics and false promises of easy wealth.
Each layer adds unnecessary expense
The commission structure of an MLM organization like Plexus, which pays commissions to 7 levels of sales reps, can add exorbitant costs to their products. This makes them more expensive compared to generic products from retailers, as the commissions that are paid out to the various levels of sales reps must be factored into the cost of the product. This pyramid commission structure means that while a few members at the top earn most of the money, most of the members earn less or no money at all, thus passing the cost of the product to the consumers.
Monetizing friendships and social pressure
Direct sales companies (another name for MLMs), rely on personal relationships to sell their products. In the past, this meant that people would invite their neighbors to their homes for “parties” to try and buy products like Tupperware or scrapbooking materials. Today, however, the MLM model has moved online and is being done through social media platforms, where MLM representatives use their personal accounts to show off the success of their products and how it has impacted their lives.
As more MLM representatives use social media for marketing their products, the line between friendship and salesmanship becomes blurred. This can lead to uncomfortable situations where people feel pressure to buy products from friends or acquaintances.
Additionally, there is also pressure for MLM representatives to maintain a personal brand online, which can further complicate the relationship between friendship and sales.
Ineffectiveness and Deceptive Marketing
According to Kaitlin, a former representative of Plexus, the company reps ask what people’s ailments are and then use vague promises of fixing those health problems to attract customers; in other words, unsubstantiated health claims. She states that the idea behind the company is that “everybody in your entire life would be healthier and feel better if they started taking Plexus.” These Plexus claims
Why is Plexus not FDA approved?
Kaitlin also mentions that reps are instructed to be vague in their language to protect themselves from liability when the product doesn’t actually fix the wide variety of problems it is marketed to solve. Because Plexus products are not FDA-approved, as long as the reps don’t promise that Plexus can cure or help with any particular disease, they can market it as a supplement to alleviate symptoms rather than a cure for a specific condition.
In 2014 the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter about Plexus products stating that Plexus was directly advertising their supplements as curing diseases, which is illegal unless they’ve gone through the drug approval process.
Banned in Australia!
Additionally, some Plexus products, specifically earlier formulations of Plexus Slim, are banned in Australia.
The Australian Department of Health has issued a warning against the use of Plexus Slim Accelerator capsules and Plexus Slim Accelerator 3 Day Trial pack, as they pose a serious health risk.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) found that these products contain the undeclared banned chemical 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA), which is associated with risks such as high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, bleeding in the brain, and stroke.
The TGA has not assessed these products for quality, safety, or efficacy as required by Australian legislation, and their manufacture is unapproved. Consumers are advised to stop taking the products and dispose of any remaining capsules at their local pharmacy. The TGA is working with Australian Customs to prevent future shipments from entering the country and warns consumers to exercise caution when purchasing medicines from unknown overseas internet sites.
Expensive: 5-11x as Expensive (Cost Comparison)
One of the biggest reasons people are leaving Plexus is the expense.
While all of the above negatively affects the cost/value proposition, the straight-up cost comparison with similar products dramatically illustrates why Plexus is simply a bad deal, even if you’re convinced by their testimonies.
$47 = 30x doses
6x as expensive
|All In One Omega||$0.26/dose|
$47 = 180x doses
$49 = 60x doses
5x as expensive
$106 = 720x
$49 = 30x doses
11x as expensive
$106 = 720x
I chose these three popular Plexus supplements because it’s easy to find comparable alternatives from a high-quality manufacturer like Puritan’s Pride. Plexus Slim, Plexus Ease, and Plexus Body Cream are a little harder to do an apples-to-apples comparison. I will add Plexus Lean and Plexus BioCleanse to the comparison above when I have some time.
How Plexus Ruined My Life
So why is everyone leaving Plexus? How has Plexus ruined people’s lives?
There are numerous heart-breaking stories online about how the MLM system in general and the Plexus MLM in particular ruined lives. Not only did it drain people’s financial resources, but the religious zeal of some Plexus Ambassadors strained and even broke family relationships.
Losing Money, Gaining Anxiety
One of them is the riveting story of a former Plexus ambassador who quit the company.
The individual, who struggles with impulse control and rational behavior, said that they had joined Plexus during a manic phase and that they had been unable to find any benefits from the products.
“I wanted to say thank you [to the anti-MLM Reddit sub]. I’ve looked at this sub on and off for awhile. I found myself snickering at the references to hunbots and the SCIENCE posts. This morning I just woke up and I asked myself ‘Why are you still a Plexus ambassador?’ and I couldn’t find one single reason,” said the former ambassador.
She said the products were expensive, costing around $220 CAD per month just for her dosage. “It was also very expensive! I bought the Tri-plex combo (pink drink, probiotic, and bio cleanse) and the multivitamin. This cost me around $220 CAD per month,” she said. She later added her husband as one of her first customers and was spending even more.
She had heard about Plexus from a friend and had signed up to be an ambassador without being referred, not realizing that this would automatically assign them to a team.
“I heard about Plexus from a friend. He mentioned that he and his wife take it, and that he doesn’t need coffee anymore, he just gets out of bed at 6 am feeling so refreshed and energized. I thought that sounded good,” she said.
“I Googled, saw all the positive testimonials about the weight loss and other supposed benefits. I decided I would try Plexus… I signed up to be an ambassador… I figured I’ll get the product discount, and IF it seems to do all the miraculous things the huns are saying, MAYBE I’ll talk about it with others. Maybe I’ll sell it,” she added.
The former ambassador also talked about their experience with the company’s recruitment process: “She asked me if I was looking for opportunities to make money… I explained I wasn’t interested in that, just trying the products for myself… she said once I could see for myself that the products worked, if I changed my mind about selling she would help,” they said.
The reality was very different from the money-making dream. She summarized, “I’m spending $430 and ‘earning’ less than $50 per month. CRUSHING IT!!!”
Even worse were the unsubstantiated health claims as she did not really lose weight while using the products. “I took Plexus products for 13 months. During this period, I was also on a medically supervised diet and exercise plan. So I was eating well, and getting off my ass several times a week, and I was losing some weight. But I wasn’t noticing any type of weight loss like other Plexus people talked about,” she said.
“I spent a lot of time wondering, what does Plexus actually DO? I didn’t really feel like it helped with my own weight loss since I was on a diet and working out. I was losing 2-3 pounds per month, and I wasn’t impressed with the Pink Drink’s effect on weight loss”, she mentions.
The former ambassador said that she felt a great sense of relief after quitting and blocking contact with the company reps. “A few minutes ago I removed myself from all the secret Plexus groups on FB, I blocked all of my hunbot ‘friends’, and also blocked emails from my upline. I didn’t realize how anxious I felt about any of those people contacting me until I actually hit the block button. Now I am free!” she said!
More stories about leaving Plexus
Another plea for help came from a man who noticed that Plexus dominates his girlfriend’s life. He states that he is familiar with the pitfalls of MLM marketing schemes, so he was looking for a solution to extricate his significant other from the cult-like influence of the network. He’s seeking advice on how to help his girlfriend get out of Plexus, an MLM scheme. She’s deeply involved in Plexus, attributing her weight loss and improved health to the products. However, he believes her lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier and cutting out sugar, are the real reasons for her progress. She’s struggling financially due to her involvement in Plexus, and he wants to help her leave the company. He is asking for guidance on how to convince her that her success is not due to Plexus and to stop investing time and money into the MLM scheme.
Another user on Reddit who was diagnosed with a brain tumor shared how Plexus destroyed her family life after her brother and his girlfriend signed her up as an ambassador without her knowledge. Their zeal for Plexus led them to being very disrespectful of her stated wishes, taking a toll on her relationship with her brother. She noted that MLM companies are often ruining lives and taking advantage of people’s health issues to sell their products.
All that being said, one’s MLM experience is heavily dependent on the people in your upline. Many of these terrible experiences come from disrespectful people with terrible priorities and poor integrity. It is possible to be in MLM and be a good, sincere person. However, it is very difficult to be a good, sincere person because of the poor value of most MLM products and the misaligned incentives of the MLM system.
Whew! No wonder folks are leaving!
- Destroyed families. Ruined lives.
- MLM systems that border on pyramid schemes.
- The hope of making money replaced by the cold reality of losing money.
- Monetizing and exploiting trusting friendships.
- Desperately trying to rescue family before they get totally sucked in.
- Wild claims that Plexus will fix whatever ails you.
- And of course through it all, the way a family’s financial resources are drained by the overly expensive monthly subscription that costs up to 11x the cost of the active ingredients from high quality manufacturers.
So why is everyone leaving Plexus? How did Plexus ruin my life? Hopefully now you know!
Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or stories to add.