Multi-level marketing outfit Young Living Essential Oils finds itself among the defendants in a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the “cult-like” organization’s sale of essential oils for ostensibly medical purposes is nothing more than a pyramid scheme that prioritizes paid recruitment of new members over sales profits.
Filed in Texas federal court, the 38-page RICO case states proposed class members forked over hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to the defendants—Young Living Essential Oils, LC; The Young Living Foundation, Inc.; and the companies’ CEO, COO and CSO—in search of “the ever-elusive promise of financial success and an alternative lifestyle.” According to the lawsuit, the promises made by Young Living Essential Oils to those who bought in to peddle its products, and continued to pay monthly for the privilege, were simply the hook to grow its mass of recruits, which the plaintiff claims is the true goal of the company.
“Young Living falsely represents to its Members that participation in Young Living—which necessarily requires regular monthly payments—will result in spiritual and material riches as long as they continue to solicit additional recruits to become Members of the Young Living family,” the suit reads.
In truth, the defendants, the plaintiff alleges, have created an illegal pyramid scheme that “overwhelmingly” relies on the recruitment of new members more than the sale of products. The very structure of Young Living, according to the case, ensures that new members will “almost certainly lose large sums of money” while they attempt to recruit others from a dwindling pool of candidates.
The suit, citing public company disclosures, states 94 percent of Young Living Essential Oils’ members “earn an average of $1 per month in sales commissions,” with more than half of those who joined in 2016 reportedly pulling in no commissions at all.
As the case tells it, the plaintiff paid $100 in 2015 to become a Young Living member and has since spent thousands more to participate in the operation, costs the woman claims are now lost.
The lawsuit, which goes deep on how exactly the defendants’ alleged scheme apparently worked, can be read below.