Agel Pyramid Scheme Exposed

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Jameel at the Muqata writes about the multi-level “pyramid” scheme used to market Agel, an overpriced and unproven vitamin supplement. The highest-level marketers have made a lot of money, but hundreds at the bottom will lose their investment unless they can convince enough others to invest and market as well. Most large “Anglo” communities in Israel have several Agel representatives.  (Agel hasn’t discovered mine yet. Please stay away.)

According to a comment on Jameel’s post by an Agel representative, a month’s supply of one type of supplement costs NIS 1000, or about $250.

In related news, Haaretz reports that an Israeli woman who used and marketed Herbalife products is suing the company over  damage to her liver.

An Israeli woman filed a NIS 2.5 million lawsuit yesterday against Herbalife Israel, claiming that the companies’ products had caused her chronic liver disease, with the risk of future liver failure necessitating a transplant.

In her suit, submitted to district court, Mali Nir, 54, alleged that products marketed by the California-based nutritional-supplements and weight-control company and its Israel affiliate as natural and promoting “health for life” destroyed her health.

The suit claims that she “was never advised that consuming the companies’ products could cause irreversible liver damage, and that they could even be poisonous to the body.”

Nir said she began taking Herbalife supplements in 1998 and even signed on as an Herbalife distributor. She says that the first sign of a problem surfaced in 2001, when she began to experience fatigue and weakness. She then discovered that she had serious liver damage.

When she stopped taking the supplements, her liver function reportedly returned to normal, but with indications of cirrhosis of the liver, along with problems that included pain, chronic fatigue, weakness and insomnia.

Attached to the suit was a medical opinion from Hadassah Hospital internist Dr. Mayer Brezis. In it Brezis stated that research literature from as far back as the 1990s reported the risk of liver damage from herbal products, and that there was a high probability that the Herbalife products caused Nir’s liver problems.

The suit also alleges that Israeli researchers documented 12 cases of severe liver damage similar to Nir’s in patients who used Herbalife products like the ones she took.

Not everything advertised as natural is truly natural.  And not everything natural is good for you. No matter how convincing the pitch, companies and stores that market “health” products are usually more interested in selling than in protecting your health.

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Comments

  1. Some of the Mishloach Manot we received were 100% organic. They also had 28 grams of sugar per serving. Sorry folks, but that’s not healthy, even if the sugar has no pesticides.

    This Agel thing sounds much worse. A real scheme.

  2. mominisrael says:

    Someone once tried to convince me that cigarettes aren’t inherently unhealthy. it’s the fact that they are processed so much. Like sea salt is better than salt, etc. There could be some truth to this but I’m skeptical.
    The comment notices went to my spam folder for some reason.

  3. Dear MIL ,
    I completely agree with you. Marijuana is natural; tobacco is natural as is cocaine. Natural does not equal healthy in any way. One of the most potent mutagens known is a fungus that grows on peanuts: Completely natural. I also think pyramid schemes are terrible.

  4. i hate it when a customer comes in and asks which vitamin to take for this or which herb for that. as far i am concerned it’s almost all a waste of money, but no boss wants to hear me say that.

  5. I’ve been “off” vitamins for a long time. In many/most cases, they’re a total waste of money. Proper food and exercise are best.

  6. I’m all with Batya. Here very few people add vitamins to their diets because they already include vitamins – not so true with younger folks I’m afaid but still.

  7. I’ve found that a regular cheap multivitamin seems to help me a tiny bit.
    expensive super-natural ones work about the same or not at all.
    mainly – I’m slightly anemic without a little bit of supplementation,

  8. mominisrael says:

    Ariela, agreed.
    LOZ, that’s tough.
    Batya, I’ve read about your dieting success! Kol hakavod.
    I-D, some people think food is just a way to get nutrients into our body.
    TC, it’s different when you are actually lacking something vital. Anemia is no joke.

  9. The diet industry makes money hand over fist. Thanks for raising awareness here.

  10. mominisrael says:

    TD, I guess a lot of people are desperate.

  11. Why am I not surprise about Agel?? After all, they do get 1,200 per distributor?? As if anybody has that kind of money.. They even have ppl so convinced that ppl will go to a gemach to borrow the money.. sad.

  12. What an interesting group of people here. Reminds me of an old expression “Misery likes company…”
    Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree with the statement that pyramid schemes are not a good thing. I wonder what you based your opinion upon, for it at least sounds like you have no experience with them. I have, and you’re right: they are bad for the majority of people that get involved. Especially if they joined expecting to earn a lot of money. And that’s where my agreement with you ends.

    Good Lord, rarely have I seen such a bunch of whining querulants whose statements are put forward as fact, when they are nothing more than conclusions jumped to based upon hearsay at best.

    Naturally, as with every large organisation, there are people who don’t get it and do whatever they think is best instead of following a few simple steps over a longer period of time. For starters: Agel is not meant to be sold, there are no stocks and there is no obligation.

    There are 8 different ways to be paid, and the recruitment bonus is the least interesting one. Actually, the whole money side, though enjoyable, is not even the main thing. Do it right and the money comes inevitably. What I personally find most appealing is the quality of the products (yes, they are THAT good) and the emphasis on personal development.
    Granted, there will be reports that the products don’t work. There is probably scientific proof of that too, if you look for it well enough and long enough. Then again, the scientific facts that a bumblebee cannot fly are well known throughout the world.) With the exception of the bumblebee, that is. It doesn’t know that it can’t fly so it does.) There is, on the other hand, ample scientific proof that supports Agel’s information.

    I made my decision about half a year ago and it is my experience that anyone that takes it serious, grows. Whether is be the benefits of the products, the money or new life skills, the rewards are substantial and much more -and in different ways and several levels- than any other business has ever been able to offer.

    But I am not here to convince anyone; not of the money, not of the opportunity, not of the products and even not of the necessity of supplements. Why would I? Instead, as I always do, I leave the choice completely to you. I thought it was smart to base your choices on facts, not opinions & hearsay, and upon all the relevant information that is available, so that the choice can be a well founded, well defined and well made.

    If that choice should turn out so that you decide that it is not something for you, then that is fine. I’d shake your hand and congratulate you with a firm decision to walk a different road, a little sad perhaps that you did not see it, but happy for the fact that at least you gave yourself the chance to look at the whole picture, to see it for yourself what it is. To base your choice upon your own experience and conclusions, instead of apparently valuing other people’s over yours.

    And even though I know out of experience that Agel is good for everybody, not everybody is good for Agel. At the very least, Agel gives people the chance to take charge of their own lives, to be -as Richard Bandler so aptly states- the drivers of their own bus again. To provide freedom and choice.

    In closing: whatever your decision, would it not be nice if you know what you are talking about: fact or fiction? proof or claim? fantasy or reality? Network Marketing or Pyramid? The Beatles or The Stones?

    Then even if we don’t walk that road together, we can still respectfully agree to disagree.

    Wishing you all health, wealth, happiness and love and above all: wisdom.

    Namaste,

    Michael D. Wilde MNLP
    Agel Manager
    The Netherlands

    “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right either way.”

    • Svetlana says:

      Спасибо, Майкл за поддержку. Какие ещё тёмные, необразованные люди есть

      Google translate: Thank you Michael for your support. What other dark, uneducated people are

  13. To the “Agel Manager” who posted above:

    Who are you trying to convince? You’re either A) Someone who’s just been sucked in, and to avoid any cognitive dissonance, you’re very verbosely trying to justify your investment. Or, B) You’re one of the people whose job it is to convince other suckers that this scheme is a surefire path to financial “freedom”.

    It’s a scam: plain and simple. You talk about having “control” over your life. This is the biggest selling point. Agel says, “Hey everyone, you don’t need to work like a chump to be rich! It’s easy, if you just BELIEVE in yourself!” Then, they instruct you to call anyone who points out the irrationality in those views a hater.

    If the products were that good, they’d be sold on shelves. Why would any marketable product want to place an infinite number of people between the target consumers and the company? The reason is that they see much more potential in selling the right to sell the product, because it’s tied to notions of “success” and “freedom” and “independence”. In short, they’re not selling the product – they’re selling an idea. An idea that you don’t need to work for your money. That getting rich is easy.

    The people at the top of the pyramid are very smart because they recognize the inherent weakness in people, and they exploit it. You could substitute any product in place of Agel and the business would be the same.

    To anyone considering joining Agel, I would say STOP AND THINK:

    -Do you have what it takes to lie to yourself and your friends and family? Remember that your main job will be to sell the business to others (the product is secondary, if a consideration at all).

    -Ask yourself what the goal of the scheme is, and ask does it make sense.

    -Ask yourself what they are selling? Yes, they are ostensibly selling vitamin gels (for which there is not market), but they are really selling the opportunity for you to sell the opportunity.

    -FInally, look at the person who’s selling it to you: do they drive a Ferrari and live in a mansion? If not, where do they get off trying to sell you a chance at financial freedom?

    Also, if you’re hearing all this buzz about it, it’s probably too late. If this really is your goal, wait until the next scam comes out and get in at the top. This bubble (and yes, it’s a bubble) will burst, and you’ll be left swallowing the loss on your starter fees.

    Also, Michael D. Wilde MNLP: Agel does not have “Manager[s]“, so you are misrepresenting yourself from the get-go. Agel has executives who collect the money from the people you recruit, with a little kickback to you. You are a recruiter, the same as everyone else. Call it whatever you want, but it is not your own business in the true sense of the word.

    In re shares: of course they do not have “shares” in the sense that you mean. If they did, they would be a public company, and they would have to disclose their source of income, as well as all financial statements. It would not bode well for the company if it was widely known that most of the money they make comes from recruitment fees and forced sales to distributors. Also, why would they go public as a company? Why would they share their profits with the company, when they have a business where people simply GIVE them money? FInally, shares are sold publicly to generate capital. They do not need this, as people GIVE THEM FREE MONEY. Again, you’re either misinformed or you’re trying to mislead.

    Also people: MNLP denotes that he’s a hypnotist. This is no business expert by any stretch of the imagination. He’ll push the “power of belief” on you, but that’s because he’s been reading all the motivational materials that his “upline” has been selling him (with a commission going to them- that’s another way they make money).

    “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Micah M. B.Sc, JD, MBA

  14. Oh, and before I get the automatic retort of: “Gee, you must have tried and failed, because you didn’t BELIEVE…”, I must say that I have never been naive enough to try my luck at a scheme such as this.

    I researched it because a friend from high school contacted me about this “great opportunity”. I looked into it, and couldn’t believe how irrational it is. I googled it, and found this site.

    As a side note, if you google “agel scam” or “agel pyramid” you get 100s of pages trying to convince you that it’s legit. That’s because people over tag their pro-agel pages as such, leaving valuable consumer information pushed to the back. If the scheme was transparent and legitimate, you wouldn’t need have tons of pages justifying it.

    “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a scam.”

  15. What do you think about Biometics? Well, those vitamins are getting popular among ADD/ADHD people.
    I am totaly with you on the pyramid things, I hate those. But I also have Asperger/ADD son and was desperate to try anything to avoid getting on Ritalin. You probably know how many crooks feed on desperate parents.
    Anyway, we’ve tried all sorts of supplements sold in stores. Finaly I gave up and bought Biometics set of 2 bottles and 2 cans for $128. I was really really sceptical. The funny thing it seems to help. I would not say that he is completely off the Ritalin, we still use 1/3 of a daily dose but in general much better. I also feel the difference when I take even the half dose. And my very sceptical husband started taking it also. I do not know what they have in there, mega dose of caffeine or what but it helps to keep me running. THey claim it is very safe that even babies can take it, but I am still concerned. Do you know if they are legally responcible to have only the ingridients they have on the bottle?
    Our first set is of vitamins is almost done, so I am thinking about ordering more, and of course if you become a distributor you get 20% off the price. I am not going to sell or to make a busness but I am thinking about joining just to get that price. They claim that you do not have to sell anything. There is just $30 memebership fee a year.
    I do not know what to do :( I hate feeding those vultures, but I want good vitamins. And their prices are not too bad compare to supplements that are sold in stores.

    • mominisrael says:

      Hi Jane,
      I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you could do a double blind study where you didn’t know whether you or your son were getting the placebo or the supplement each day. I am skeptical that a vitamin could help ADD. Good luck.

  16. Fernando says:

    Hi, I fully agree with Micah on this….I’ve done some research on Agel beccause one of my best friends was pulled into it and I was dubious about it, and I’ve found that maybe its not strictly a scam,but its definitely a dishonest way of doing business.
    What they sell you, as it has been previously said, is not a product,but a “business oportunity”, and one that, by the promise of quick money, makes you pull more people in and get all of them in an auto shipment roll that makes money for the company without actually selling anything….said in simple terms,they force you to buy the product in order to be able to sell it.
    Like in most MLM companies, the only ones getting the benefits are the ones on the top of the piramyd, and everyone below them are making the effort based on just a promise of quick money, wich isnt true, because to actually make it would take a huge amount of effort (400 people recruited to make $2000 USD a month, without considering drop-outs).
    As for the suposed life improving business model, I’ve found that its quite the contrary….it makes you a slave of the MLM system, makes you consider every possible social interaction as a sale opportunity and gets you progresively away from your friends and family and limits your view of society to a selling field.
    Finally, I’ve tried their products,and although they are good tasting and new, I’m not sure they are the best option if you are considering using suplements, both because of their price and the fact that they are not cientifically proven to absorb faster, or to have less side effects than other formats.

    greetings from Chile

    PS: to Michael….I’m not and have never been involved in Agel or any other MLM company (just in case you pull that argument)…..and if you consider that opinions given here are uninformed and not based in facts, you should properly defend your product by giving those facts…in not doing so you are just proving that your product is not what you sell

    Bye!!!

  17. Glenn A Youngman says:

    I totally agree with this, most of these supplement companies are snake oil sellers.

    Seriously, look at a company like Biometics..they push selling their products more than the products themselves. Then you add their outrageous sales pitches like making $5,000 a week selling this junk.

    Scammers like this need to be put out of business.