MLM Company Investigated by TINA.org Shuts Down U.S. Affiliate Operations
MADISON, Conn., Feb. 18, 2015 — Following an investigation by truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org), which included a protracted legal battle with the state of Utah over the release of consumer complaints, Utah-based multilevel marketing company, WakeUpNow (WUN) has announced it is halting U.S. affiliate operations.
The troubled business has blamed its entire failure on its former CEO Kirby Cochran, filing suit for more than $10 million in damages against him and family members he hired to work at the business. Reading like a tabloid magazine feature, the suit against Cochran alleges he milked WakeUpNow out of all its cash with “rampant and reckless spending,” arranging for cushy jobs for family members, bullying employees, and making “creepy” comments to attractive women.
The consumer advocacy organization began examining WakeUpNow after receiving consumer complaints about the company’s questionable business practices. The investigation revealed a number of disturbing facts about the company, including, among other things, its emphasis on recruitment, sales of products and services that were readily available for free or lower prices elsewhere, and the fact that less than one percent of affiliates make any significant income (96 percent earn less than $1,000 a year), all of which point to the possibility that the company was running an elaborate pyramid scheme.
To supplement information provided by the FTC through a Freedom of Information request, TINA.org requested consumer complaint records about the company from the state of Utah. State officials not only flatly denied the request (through multiple levels of appeals), but also would not even confirm if they have received any complaints against the company at all. State lawmakers are now exploring legislation to open up consumer complaints in Utah as a result.
“The downfall of WakeUpNow amid allegations of serious misconduct exemplifies why TINA.org will continue to push for full and quick disclosure of consumer complaints,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TINA.org. “Consumers who are trying to do their due diligence in researching a company should have access to others’ experiences.”