Shame on The Sun newspaper for ‘promoting’ MLM Forever Living

Find out why we are disappointed that The Sun newspaper has appeared to publish income claims by a Forever Living MLM rep – without seemingly fact checking them.

You would be mistaken for thinking that a national newspaper would conduct thorough research before printing income claims. But as we already know from The Times, this isn’t always the case.

And now The Sun has shared a story in the Bossing It section of their Fabulous Magazine about a mum of four who “launched her business with £199 while on maternity leave” and “now rakes in a whopping £80k a year”:

You can imagine many women reading that story would be keen to follow in this woman’s footsteps. And The Sun makes her success seem remarkably easy:

“Lisa has since waved goodbye to her ten-year career in the police and now earns an impressive £80k per annum working part time – having built up her business during her children’s nap times.”

But is this really true? Has this woman genuinely built an £80k annual income during nap times?

Quick research on Companies House doesn’t back up The Sun’s claims

Well, given she’s a distributor for the MLM Forever Living, we believe not.

And the facts seem to support this. According to Companies House, this woman is a director of two businesses. One, for her Forever Living sales, is dissolved. And the other, for a business selling planners to MLM distributors, is currently in the process of a compulsory strike off because accounts have not been submitted:

Not only is this company late for both filing its accounts and confirmation statement, but its last set of accounts, filed in October 2021, show an outstanding director’s loan of over £72,000:

That is money that either needs to be repaid to the company, or a tax of 32.5% paid on it.

That’s hardly a secret you’d expect such a successful, inspirational mum to be hiding, is it? And easy to find, if only The Sun had done their research, rather than relying on this woman’s word – as we believe they did.

As already mentioned, this woman’s other business, the one she put her Forever Living sales through, was dissolved in 2021. And the last set of accounts, filed in August 2019, don’t appear, to us, to show a business turning over £80,000 a year. There was just £1,005 in the bank, and the last tax bill shown in the accounts was for £3,076.

And if she really was earning £80,000 a year, why close her limited company? According to these tax experts, once you earn over £50,000, you are financially better off as a limited company than a sole trader.

The Sun makes success look easy with Forever Living

Worryingly, The Sun makes it seem like this woman achieved financial success easily:

“To Lisa’s astonishment, she replaced her full-time detective salary in just eight weeks and never returned to her decade-long career in the police when her maternity ended.”

And they help her promote her opportunity to other women:

“Along with the flexibility, another huge perk for Lisa is that she’s been able to help hundreds of other women.

“”It’s amazing helping women change their circumstances a lot or a little bit, holding their hand and cheering them on every step of the way,” she enthuses. 

“”You don’t have to be great to start something new, I know I certainly wasn’t. 

“”What you do need is a desire to make some positive changes and know that you have to at least start to be great.””

Today, when the dangers of multi-level marketing are well known, and often covered in the media, including The Sun (ironically), we think it is astonishingly ignorant and damaging of a national newspaper to publish these income claims as fact, seemingly un-checked:

“Lisa has since waved goodbye to her ten-year career in the police and now earns an impressive £80k per annum working part time.”

Most women who join Forever Living will lose money – according to their own data

The truth is that most women won’t earn £80,000 a year if they join Forever Living. And we don’t believe Lisa is, either. Here’s what Forever Living’s own data shows people actually earn with the company:

According to these figures, 88.6% of people who joined Forever Living didn’t earn anything from the company in 2018 (these are the current numbers on the company’s website). 

The remaining 11.4% of monthly purchasers earned bonuses based on their downline’s sales (or purchases). 69% of these earned an average of $105 a month (or $1,263 a year). 30% earned an average of $1,493 a month (or $17,916 a year) and less than 1% earned an average of $28,512 a month (or $342,149 a year).

So this means that, of all the people signed up to Forever Living:

  • 88.6% earned nothing.
  • 7.86% earned an average of $105 a month.
  • 3.42% earned an average of $1,493 a month.
  • 0.2% earned an average of $28,512 a month.

In order for Lisa to earn £80,000 a year, we estimate, based on these numbers, that she’d have to be in about the top 1% of the company. And she doesn’t appear to be – far from it.

But more importantly, this data shows that the people who read The Sun’s misguided and (we believe) poorly researched article won’t earn anywhere near £80,000 a year. And just one look at Forever Living’s company accounts shows you that this is a company that has been on the decline for the past few years.

In fact, according to research published on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website, on average 99.6% of the people who join an MLM like Forever Living will lose money after business expenses are taken into account.

Forever Living distributors have a history of lying

Sadly, MLM reps have a long history of lying and distorting the truth, so it is sad to see a newspaper simply regurgitate what one tells them. Especially as many vulnerable and impressionable women will see this article, and some of them may get sucked in – and lose money.

Forever Living in particular seems to have a few distributors who hide dark secrets and bend the truth – as we reveal here. And many of their top distributors are struggling right now.

If The Sun is a responsible newspaper, we think they should remove this article, and stop promoting MLMs like Forever Living, which we (and many other experts) believe are pyramid schemes.

We have made a complaint to The Sun

We have made an editorial complaint to The Sun and will update this article when we receive a response. Update: despite acknowledging receipt on 17 March, The Sun has yet to respond to our complaint.

Read more about the MLM industry

If you’d like to learn more about MLMs, and why we believe they are so harmful, we recommend reading these articles:

We also recommend reading the experiences of some of the former MLM reps we have interviewed here: