Young Living scandal, “Cult-Like Pyramid Scheme,” Per New Lawsuit

The essential oil market is worth over $5.1 billion and is expected to reach $25 billion by 2024. Young Living is one of them. The Lehi, Utah-based company has built a thriving healthy business with a network of farms ranging from sandalwood restoration projects in Hawaii to Arabian frankincense distilleries in Oman. Through “therapeutic-grade essential oils” and oil-based cosmetics, its mission is to help consumers around the world “enhance spirits, support healthy habits, achieve lifelong wellness, and create lasting abundance.” But a new lawsuit says the 26-year-old multi-level marketing firm is more aptly described as something else: a “cult-like pyramid scheme.”

According to a class-action lawsuit filed this month in Texas federal court by Young Living member Julie O’Shaughnessy, the company, which generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, “claims to operate through a complex [multi-level marketing] model that is “extremely high” Depends on recruiting new people into the Young Living sales force”.

While Young Living claims to be a company that “creates abundance” (i.e. financial returns) for its nearly 3 million members, in reality, Ms. O’Shaughnessy’s complaint states, “Young Living is little more than a cult-like organization that makes A structure in which each new member is almost certain to lose large sums of money…trying to recruit more new members from the ever-shrinking pool of available candidates, thereby falsely peddling the ever-elusive promise of financial success.”

The Young Living system works like this: Once a member joins, and purchases the required “starter kits” from existing members, “from $100 (basic kit) to $260 for “premium” kits,” Young Living wrote for Each new member she recruits pays a $25 cash bonus. Since the company does not pay sales commissions to new members, “recruitment takes precedence over product sales.” In fact, new members “have the only chance to earn enough income to pay for membership by recruiting new members and then encouraging [those] members to actively recruit as well.”