A WOMAN with a chronic illness ended up £3,000 in debt after being recruited into a “Multi-Level Marketing” company by a pal.
Multi-Level marketing, or MLMs, are companies that offer the potential to gain huge financial rewards for selling products on social media.
BBC THREE Lindsay, 36, is now £3,000 in debt after a friend recruited her into a “multi-level marketing company
People are then encouraged to recruit friends, family and strangers in order to build their business – and earn top cash.
A new BBC Three Documentary – Secrets of the Multi Level Millionaires – investigates the industry, and finds a trend of cash-strapped Brits being targeted to join – before finding themselves in debt, or working for as little as £16 a month.
Lindsay, 36, worked for 30 hours a week on her online sales business with Younique, on top of a part-time job, for three years.
But instead of earning herself the dream life she says she was sold, she ended up thousands of pounds out of pocket after feeling encouraged to buy products and training.
BBC THREE Lindsay spoke to Ellie Flynn for BBC Three documentary Secrets of the Multi Level Millionaires
Explaining how the costs added up, Lindsay tells BBC journalist Ellie Flynn that in her team: “You had to be the first in line to get a new product to showcase to customers.
“You would think, okay – I do need it because I’m not making any money at the moment, but if I buy this maybe I’ll make something on this product.”
Lindsay says she struggled to sell to people in her local area of Moss Side, Manchester, due to the high-end product prices.
“If you ask someone around here to spend £23 on a mascara, they look at you like you have two heads,” she explains.
When Ellie asks why she didn’t leave the company, despite losing money, she says you “convince yourself you’re doing something wrong” or are “not working hard enough”.
BBC THREE MLM firm Younique makes cash from people who sell their products on social media
The documentary hears from a number of people who allege they felt “brainwashed” after signing up to these companies – with some claiming they are cults.
A woman who spoke to Ellie anonymously, using the name Jessica, said it took her a year to leave Younique – despite working eight hours a day, seven days a week for as little as £16 a month.
She claims the emotional side was “so mentally powerful” and said: “You’re totally drawn in to this belief system.”
Younique said: “We purposefully developed the business model to allow Younique Presenters to run their businesses at a level that makes sense for each individual.
“Our sign up fee is low, and Younique Presenters do not need to build up any product inventory, as our digital platform allows customers to buy products directly from Younique.
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“We take compliance very seriously and have strict policies in place for our Younique Presenters to ensure adherence with all local laws, including those related to product claims and earning potential.”
Ellie also spoke to young mum Vickie, 24, who felt so pressured by another pyramid scheme that she ended up working from her hospital bed hours before giving birth.
The Sun previously revealed the shocking truth about the marketing scandal on Britain’s maternity wards that target vulnerable new mums.
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