Is Valentus a pyramid scheme? To give you the short and sweet answer…no. But that’s only because the FTC hasn’t made that determination yet. In fact, Valentus is similar to another multi-level marketing (MLM) company that did get sued for being a pyramid scheme.
But that’s not their only problem.
Let me tell you all about this company so you can decide if this is an opportunity that you want to get yourself involved in.
(Spoiler alert. You won’t.)
What is Valentus?
Valentus is a MLM company that was founded in 2014 by Dave Jordan. According to the website:
“In Latin, the word “Valentus” means “prevail,” defined as proving to be superior in strength, power, and influence.”
They focus on “healthy” weight loss products, with their most popular product being their SlimROAST coffee.
There are a total of 12 products showcased on the Valentus website, and they are:
- Breakthrough AM/PM
- 24/7 Carb Burner
- Prevail SlimROAST
- Prevail Max
- Keto Creamer
- Prevail K-9
- Prevail M.O.R.E. + Detox
- Prevail Emulin
I usually like to tell you the prices of the products because I like to compare them with regular, non-MLM products. However, the prices are completely hidden.
Is that a red flag? Well, it kind of reveals that retail sales aren’t that important. And that’s a problem.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Valentus?
There are a few different starter pack options when you join Valentus.
Here are the packs and their prices in case the image is hard for you to read:
- Basic Pack = $59.95
- Starter Pack = $145.95
- Advanced Pack = $239.95
- Business Builder Pack (Option A or B) = $575.95
There’s also a one-time $20 website activation fee.
You also need to have a minimum amount of monthly sales to qualify for ranks and commissions. This is either 50 BV (business volume) or 100 BV, depending on the rank and/or commission qualification. This can be from your personal orders or from retail sales.
But I know a lot of distributors will buy this themselves to stay qualified if they can’t make the retail sales.
Another tricky thing is that when you rank to Gold or above, you need to be on 100 BV autoship every month. That’s going to be a minimum of $100 – $150 every month.
Valentus Compensation Plan
According to the Valentus compensation plan, there are 7 ways to earn:
- Retail commissions 25%
- Fast Start Bonus (up to $100)
- Legacy Coded Bonus ($100)
- Dual Team commissions up to $100,000 per week
- Dual Team matching bonus seven levels starting at 20%
- 1% Global Volume shared enrollment pool
- Vehicle Bonus $400 – $3,000 a month
What’s interesting about this compensation plan is the fact that you can buy your rank based on which pack you start with.
- Basic Pack – Qualifies you as an Independent Representative (IR)
- Starter Pack – Qualifies you as a Gold IR for the remainder of the month you join, plus the following month
- Advanced Pack – Qualifies you as a Platinum IR for the remainder of the month you join, plus the following month
- Business Builder – Qualifies you as a Ruby IR, if you fulfill 100BV no later than the last day of the following month
- Career Success (this is an additional pack not mentioned above. The cost is $1199.95) – Qualifies you as an Emerald IR.
There are thirteen ranks you can achieve in Valentus, and they are:
- Double Diamond
- Triple Diamond
- Blue Diamond
- Royal Diamond
- Black Diamond
- Crown Diamond
- Crown Ambassador
Because I hate compensation plans (because they make no sense), I’ll hand you over to Behind MLM. They are great at breaking down compensation plans and here’s the one for Valentus.
I don’t put a lot of effort into the compensation plans and understanding them because I would never recommend you join an MLM, so there’s no point. All compensation plans lead to the same thing…money lost for almost everyone.
And that’s especially true when a monthly autoship is required, which it is for Valentus once you get past Silver rank.
Valentus Income Disclosure
Looking for a Valentus income disclosure? Me too! Since they’ve been up and running for a few years now, they should absolutely have an income disclosure available. However, some companies just don’t have them.
As far as I know, in order to make any income claims, an independent distributor is supposed to reference the income disclosure when doing so.
In any case, I’ve seen enough income disclosures by now to know exactly what the Valentus one would say. The majority of people make little to no money.
That’s what this report on the FTC’s website also tells us about MLMs.
This is a huge report, but here’s all you need to know:
“Failure and loss rates for MLMs are not comparable with legitimate small businesses, which have been found to be profitable for 39% over the lifetime of the business; whereas less than 1% of MLM participants profit. MLM makes even gambling look like a safe bet in comparison.”
That’s right. You’re better off playing the lottery than joining an MLM.
Valentus Complaints & Positive Reviews
Valentus has a mixed bag of complaints and positive reviews. They are not accredited with the BBB and they get a B+ rating from them, which means they do a pretty good job of addressing customer complaints at the BBB website.
There is one positive reviewer here, and he’s not a distributor, so it’s nice to see a happy customer with nothing to gain from it:
Other positive reviews from TrustPilot said things like:
- It gives me a boost of energy and wards off hunger
- I don’t get hungry anymore and I’m losing weight
- Sort of lost my craving for carbs and I’m down 34 pounds
- I’ve lost 8 pounds on the coffee
Here’s someone who loves being a distributor and a customer:
Of course, with every good, there’s a bad. Valentus certainly has its share of complaints. Most of the complaints I’ve seen have to do with customer service. Some are due to the fact that Valentus changed its formula at some point and now people are gaining weight instead of losing weight. (Which is such a similar story to Revital U.)
Some of the Valentus complaints said:
- I ordered a product and was charged for it, but it’s been 3 months and I haven’t received it
- I placed an order early, but haven’t received it and customer service will not give me a refund
- I ordered two products, tried them and didn’t like them. I sent them back, but I can’t get a refund because the products are opened
- I used the product consistently for over a month and gained 15 pounds
- The worst customer service I’ve ever dealt with
- I was about to buy it but realized it’s too expensive
I think this Valentus complaint tops them all. This person would rather deal with migraines than deal with Valentus customer service:
And here’s another great one from someone who was hoping to become a successful distributor:
You can see these complaints and more at TrustPilot.
Valentus Scandals and Lawsuits
Here’s a news story about a woman in New Zealand who was getting a drug test for employment and ended up testing positive for amphetamines. Adamant she wasn’t a drug user, she ended up giving samples of the Valentus SlimROAST coffee to Compliance Partners who sent it off to a lab for testing and the testing showed that it contained two concerning ingredients: Phenethylamine (PEA), and 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA).
In October 2019, Medsafe (looks to be New Zealand’s’ version of the FDA) warned consumers not use Valentus SlimROAST coffee and advised them to either return it or dispose of it.
There is even a Victims of Valentus Facebook group for New Zealanders who were harmed by Valentus in some way.
On another note, Valentus is illegal to sell in the UK.
Finally, there was a $3.1 million lawsuit between Valentus and its supplier because the supplier claimed that Valentus broke their contract. So this one doesn’t have anything to do with customers, but it’s still interesting to note.
Be Careful with Valentus Distributor Tricks
This is a problem that is prevalent in the MLM world, and not just with Valentus. While browsing Instagram, I found this post about Valentus:
The distributor tries to say that this person (Denya Terzian) successfully lost weight due to Valentus. As a commenter points out, the photos are from the Instagram account of someone named Ashley Morris who doesn’t have anything to do with Valentus. If you look at her Instagram, it looks like she works out and eats well and that’s how she lost weight. (What a concept, right?)
When you take a look at those before and after pictures you see online, just remember that they may not be exactly what they seem.
- Is Revital U MLM? [Weight Loss Coffee Pyramid Scheme, or Legit?]
- MLM vs Affiliate Marketing – Why Affiliate Marketing is 100x Better
- Why I Quit Young Living [Any Why I’m Now Anti-MLM]
Is Valentus a Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?
I’m not the FTC, so I can’t determine whether Valentus is a scam or a pyramid scheme. However, I can give my opinion. And in my opinion, it sounds like the Valentus opportunity is very similar to how Vemma was set up, and Vemma was determined to be a pyramid scheme by the FTC.
The reason why it seems Valentus is going down pyramid scheme territory is due to their push on recruiting and due to the fact that you are required to have autoship in order to qualify for certain ranks.
- You can start as a distributor for a low price
- The products get pretty good reviews
- The big starter packs are expensive
- You can buy your way into a certain rank (this is known as pay to play)
- There is a heavy focus on recruitment, which makes Valentus right in pyramid scheme territory
- There is a requirement to have a monthly autoship for most ranks
- Some people say the new coffee formula doesn’t work and makes them gain weight
- The products are very expensive, which will make them hard to sell retail
- Customer service seems to be very unresponsive
- They had illegal substances in the products
- It’s illegal to sell Valentus in the UK
- New Zealand gave a warning for people to throw their products away due to illegal ingredients and health concerns
- It’s almost impossible to make money in an MLM
Products are Expensive
We don’t actually know how much the products cost because the website doesn’t show retail prices. But we can take a look at Amazon and see what people are trying to see what price people are trying to sell this stuff.
It’s going to be really hard to convince people to buy coffee for $64.95. Especially once they read reviews about the dangerous ingredients, poor customer service and weight gain the new formula causes some people.
Behind MLM’s Conclusion
I really like Behind MLM’s conclusion on Valentus, and this part especially tells the whole tale of this company:
“At the end of the day, an MLM opportunity needs to reward affiliates based on sales performance, with a healthy amount of that being retail sales.
Valentus instead demands affiliates sign up for autoship and recruit others who do the same, with retail able to be ignored completely.”
That’s pretty much how a pyramid scheme works…
While Valentus may not be technically considered a pyramid scheme at this time, there are definitely some red flags to consider before signing up. Besides the fact that almost no one makes money in any MLM, Valentus is especially troublesome due to the high costs of the products, the illegal ingredients, the health warnings in New Zealand and customer service issues.
All of that’s on top of the fact that you have to be on autoship every month in order to qualify for most rankings in the company and there is a heavy focus on recruiting versus retail sales.
I love coffee as much as the next person, but I think I’ll pass on this one.
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