Published on November 26th, 20141
The Thrive Experience
That’s how Le-Vel sells the Thrive experience, an 8-week “premium lifestyle transformation plan” that incorporates a regimen of pills, shakes, and body patches to achieve “peak physical and mental levels.”
Pitch the product to others and take it yourself, and the company says you can be on your way to earning more than $1,000 in your first two weeks, $800 toward a monthly car payment, as well as “lifestyle getaways” to places like Las Vegas, Napa Valley and the Caribbean (ooh la la).
RELATED: What You Should Know about Thrive
In one promotional video, money literally rains down on the product’s name. In another, glowing over-the-top testimonials abound, including one woman who says she “shrunk 13-and-a-half inches” in three weeks using the products. And on the product’s website, there is euphoriant praise. Writes one Patricia Crouse:
Well this morning I woke up feeling wonderful. Something I haven’t felt in about 15 yrs. I took my last sample of “Thrive” and went singing to to (sic) Dr’s office to have my BP checked. … My BP had not lowered but I was in such a good mood the nurse and I didn’t care.
One of the promotional videos claims that, “Everyone that experiences Thrive raves about it.” But consumers should consider the very real possibility that the same people raving about health claims are the same people selling the product. (That is, after all, how you make the big bucks and end up in the tropics.) But Le-Vel says it’s in no way doling out medical advice. States a disclaimer on the company’s policies, terms and conditions page:
Any personal testimonies and opinions relating to Le-Vel Brands LLC and Le-Vel.com are not considered as medical advice and should not be taken as such. The Le-Vel product line is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any illness, disease or injury.
Presumably, Le-Vel runs such a disclaimer so that when Thrive fails to deliver what thousands of testimonials (the company’s estimate) say it will, Le-Vel won’t be liable. There’s a similar disclaimer regarding the advertised earnings and financial incentives (emphasis added):
The earnings of Le-Vel Brand Promoters relating to Le-Vel Brands LLC and Le-Vel.com are not necessarily a representation of the income, if any, that a Le-Vel Brand Promoter can or will earn through his or her participation in the Le-Vel Compensation Plan. Any figures should not be considered as guarantees or projections of your actual earnings of profits.
Clearly not as sexy as the images of jet skis, luxury cars and tropical waters that we see in the videos. But the bottom line here is that you have to put in a lot of legwork and potentially a lot of money (the Thrive packages range from $100 to $300) to net a profit.
For instance, to qualify for the $1,000 in the first two weeks, you’d have to get four people to sign up for auto-ship deliveries and four more to enroll as fellow promoters whose packages need to total at least 1600QV (QV stands for “qualified volume” and although the website does not make clear what that means, suffice to say it’s a lot).
It’s also worth noting the tenuous agreement Le-Vel has with its so-called “promoters.” According to the company’s policy on unauthorized returns:
Should a Brand Promoter refuse delivery of any Le-Vel shipment or request to return any previously purchased product for a refund, such request will be deemed as a voluntary resignation.
Ouch. So upon closer inspection, there’s no guarantee that the product will work or that you’ll make even the slightest bit of money. In fact, you may end up saddled with the costs of products you’re not allowed to return if you want to remain in the game, as the last policy pointed out.
When earning your fortune depends on constant recruitment, you may find yourself entangled in a possible pyramid scheme. Know the red flags.
UPDATE 9/25/20: The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) has issued a case decision based on a TINA.org complaint finding that Le-Vel and its distributors were making inappropriate health claims about the Thrive product line and atypical income claims about the company’s business opportunity. The decision concluded by stating that “DSSRC will continue to monitor the messages disseminated by the Company’s promoters … and will take prompt and necessary steps … should it identify an ongoing proliferation of unsupported product or income claims.”