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Is MonaVie Juice a Scam?

by J. Money on Thursday, September 30, 2010

juice scam

(By Lazy Man — I’d like to thank J. Money for giving me a stage to tell my story for the day. I am the man behind Lazy Man and Money, a personal finance blog somewhat similar to Budgets are Sexy.)

MonaVie and Me

One day my wife came home and told me that she had been introduced to a juice called MonaVie at a charity group she’s involved with. I have nothing  against juice in general, but my wife said that this juice was $45 for 25 ounces. I think anyone interested in personal finance would immediately think, “Why would I pay $45 for such a small bottle of juice?”

I decided to research this MonaVie juice. I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer to my question. All I could find is that MonaVie is a blend of the juice of 19 fruits. It was very deficient in fiber, vitamins and minerals… just look at the MonaVie nutritional label. I decided to ask if my readers if MonaVie is a scam. I got a lot of comments from regular readers saying that the product was ridiculous. Slowly, I started to get comments from people who weren’t regular readers, people who had done a lot of research on the juice and had significant evidence that it was a scam.

I also started to get comments from MonaVie distributors. These comments often made illegal claims disguised as personal testimonies. You name a disease, I probably have a comment that MonaVie has cured or helped with it. A few of my favorites include fibromyalgia, autism, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis. Why would these distributors say such a thing?

MonaVie’s  Multi-Level Marketing

MonaVie is sold through a multi-level marketing compensation plan. You might be familiar with other organizations like Mary Kay or Amway that are sold the same way. MonaVie can show a chart where a few people at the top are making millions a year. Perhaps these MonaVie distributors are hoping to get rich too?  Or, perhaps they have difficulty selling $45 juice on taste… so their idea is to create the illusion that MonaVie has medical benefits.

One commenter on my website said something to the  effect of, “When your child has autism, and you hear that this juice is helping, $45 a bottle isn’t very much.” Months later, he would come back and comment that he was sorry he was so misinformed about MonaVie.

MonaVie Scam Site

As time went on, I was getting more and more upset that this company was taking advantage of sick people. I decided to start a website, MonaVie Scam with all the evidence I have that MonaVie is a scam. My only regret with the website is that I don’t have enough time to post all the evidence. I have written 89 articles and I haven’t touched 10% of what I know.

MonaVie doesn’t like what I doing, because I’m costing them money. They have harassed me with two empty legal threats (see: here and here). One of their employees has called me an annoying douche. One person has attempted to blackmail me into taking down my websites and a MonaVie
distributor threatened to kill me. MonaVie and these people affiliated with it didn’t count on the Streisand Effect.

The blackmail and threats were the last straw. I’m now cooperating with the FBI, the FTC, the FDA, and other organizations. As powerful as those organizations are, their resources are limited with our large budget deficit. So while they push the necessary paperwork, I have decided to fight the good fight on the Internet.

Great people like J. Money have graciously donated their website to spreading the word. I ask you, his readers, to take to your blogs, your Twitter account, your Facebook account, and any media connections you have to spread the word of my MonaVie story and my MonaVie website.

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Editor’s Note: I personally haven’t ever tried MonaVie before, but from what I’ve heard it’s actually pretty tasty! (and now I’m even more curious to try it :)) But yeah, def. not putting any stock in it’s magical potion-ness. It’s totally cool if you wanna spend $45 on juice – or sell it for that matter, (I mean $hit, I’ve spent $40 on water before!) but just make sure you do your research and know what you’re picking up. There’s nothing wrong with spending money on something you find valuable. If you’ve tried this stuff, or you sell it, let us know! Would love to hear more thoughts on this.


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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tom September 30, 2010 at 9:28 am

Uh oh… with the thousands of comments Lazy Man has on his Juice Scam website, mostly from the nutcase distributors… I have a feeling you are about to get bombarded!

To the bomb shelters!!!

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2 Jeannine September 30, 2010 at 9:33 am

This sounds ALOT like TAHITIAN NONI juice. It is marketed the same way, with the same attributes. I was invited to a marketing group, and the home of an acquaintance of mine. I know this is a different product, but I had many of the same reservations about the business. I know there are many legitimate businesses that market in a bottom up manner (Avon, Mary Kay, Silpada, etc.) so I have no problem with the concept, but it just doesn’t seem “right”. Oh well. I’m not buying

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3 MK September 30, 2010 at 10:06 am

I have actually tried MonaVie before, a friend of mine bought a bottle and brought it in to work to share with everyone, seeing if she could drum up buisness before she forked over the money to join the MLM. Well, we all agreed it was pretty yummy, but we all also agreed that there was no nutritional value and we werent EVER going to fork over $45 dollars for a bottle of juice.

Anyone else hear about what is happening with the POM juice company? Wonder if MonaVie is wrapped up in this too?

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/pom-drinks-accused-dubious-health-claims/story?id=11756840

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4 tom September 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

@MK… if haven’t gone to LM’s Juice Scam blog, I recommend it. It’s extremely entertaining

They have been making a lot of dubious health claims, but I don’t think the FDA has fully gone after them yet, but it sounds like they might if they are working with LM.

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5 WR September 30, 2010 at 11:18 am

I would not pay 45 bucks for a bottle of Pinot.

If someone convinces another person to buy a 45 dollar bottle of juice and that it will cure a disease that modern medicine and science could not cure, I have to applaud them on some level. It takes real salesmanship (and cojones) to make that claim and have it stick.

If someone walks away with my $45.00 and I am standing there with 25 ounces of juice then I just got ‘educated’.

That said, linking your product with healthy outcomes is probably the oldest scam out there.

What did you drink today that was initially marketed as a medicine?

Coca-Cola? Iinitially a combination of Cocaine and caffeine (Kola Nut)
The owner “claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence.”

Looks to me like Monavie is treading in some very lucrative footsteps.

I do applaud Lazy Man’s efforts on this. Shining light on scammers is a great thing.

-WR

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6 Steve September 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

If you look at the nutrition label, you’ll see that it hardly has anything in it. It’s mostly water and sugar with some vitamins C and K thrown in. I don’t know any juices with that kind of nutritional profile – the sugar is about right, but a blend of 19 fruits should have more than two vitamins and a trace of iron.

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7 Kelsey September 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Wow, that nutritional label tells the whole story.

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8 Molly On Money September 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this and having your website! Many more thanks to J. Money for having you as a guest writer.
I have a few friends that suffer from fibromyalgia. It’s tough enough to suffer from it where there are not a lot of answers but lots of debilitating symptoms. To then add on all the ‘snake oil’ remedies that are out there makes me irrate!

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9 Jenna September 30, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Wow! I’ve seen that scam website before and didn’t realize Lazy Man was the creator. You aren’t so lazy after all.

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10 JoeTaxpayer September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm

There’s a sucker born every minute, and I believe that statistic is just counting the US. People will believe anything because they want to believe. I don’t know how much juice the customers are buying, but it seems like it would cost thousands per year. And I thought the Starbucks $4 drinks were pricey.

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11 Adam September 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Wow, this is what I love about you J$
This is quite clearly an emotive issue and you offered your blog as a platform for someone who’s passionate in their position -yet the classy thing is that your piece at the end didn’t take sides and simply closed with heartfelt advice.

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12 Lazy Man and Money September 30, 2010 at 6:11 pm

@Jeannine,

It is a lot like the Noni juice. There are a pile of companies in this MLM juice scam space. I think it is because they promise to people health (through the juice) and wealth (through their compensation plan) for themselves, friends, and family. Who doesn’t want to believe in that? Unfortunately, they don’t deliver either health or wealth.

@MK,

Yeah, I’ve noticed the FTC stance against POM Wonderful’s claims. MonaVie itself makes a few claims, but tends to let their distributor lines make most of the more outrageous claims. So they have another degree of separation. I contend that it won’t help them any more than it helped Napster which tried to claim that they weren’t directly violating any laws.

@WR,

Unfortunately, there are desparate people in this world. I have had people tell me, “The doctor says my child has autism. Even if there’s a 0.0001% that MonaVie will help, I have to try it right?” It’s hard logic to fight, but I make a counter-argument that is that person going to try every combination of everything in a GNC store? Who has the millions of dollars for that? That makes as much sense as trying MonaVie.

@Steve & @Kelsey,

Great points. I often make a point that it should have fiber in it as well. MonaVie may have heard these complaints and is now going to fortify the juice with more vitamins and fiber. It’s not the same as getting it naturally, but for those looking at the nutritional label and not knowing that its fortified like a cheap glass of Metamucil and a multivitamin, it may seem convincing.

@MollyOnMoney,

You are welcome. If you read the comments there are number of them where distributors say that MonaVie helped with fibromyalgia. It is extremely depressing that they take advantage of the sick in this way.

@Jenna,

Thanks ;-). I have some help with that website from people who comment regularly on Lazy Man and Money. The Lazy Man and Money name is more about acheiving a financial status where you can choose to be lazy… or choose to do other things. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting close enough where I can choose to spend more of my time trying to help people.

Regarding J$ note in the footer:

- I should mention that I haven’t tried MonaVie either. My wife did try the two bottles that she was given (she didn’t gain any special abilities). J$, it seems like your $40 on water link is broken, but I’m curious how you did that.

- While I generally agree with the statement “There’s nothing wrong with spending money on something you find valuable”, I think MonaVie is the exception to the rule. A lot of distributors claim they “feel better” while drinking MonaVie, and thus claim that they find MonaVie valuable. However, there is something called the placebo effect which I’ve written about before that I don’t believe is worth paying some $1500 or $2000 a year (per family member) for. I was visiting my two-year old niece the other night and she slipped and bumped her knee. My mother (her grandmother) offered to kiss it and make it better. Soon after the kiss my niece’s knee was fine again. Should my grandmother now go out and charge big money for being able to cure knee pain?

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13 Rod September 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

New to the site. Great post

Rod Busby
bign.com/rbusby
“showing you how to save money while earning an incredible income”

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14 J. Money September 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Lazy man – Thx again for dropping by! This whole thing fascinates the pants off me. Really glad you’re taking the time to get your voice out there and educate people, I know how much it means to you :) And good catch on that broken $40 water link of mine too – it’s been corrected! Be prepared to laugh at me…

I once spent $40.00 on a bottle of water…(Bling H20 to be exact)

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15 Jaime September 30, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Dude that’s just crazy, why would anyone threaten another person over juice? That person must have mental issues. People are stupid, they think that just because its online that they can’t be identified. I really hope that you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself and I’m glad that you went to the authorities about it.

This is what I don’t get, why are people so weird and psycho over a juice? (Rhetorical question) Can’t they get other jobs besides selling juice? I mean I don’t know, what has our world come to? It really upsets me that people are so vicious to each other. Why can’t people just be nice to each other.

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16 Darwin's Money September 30, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Haha! Don’t piss off Lazy Man or he’ll even guest post all over trashing your scammy outfit. This is awesome; these guys have behaved like such douchebags. Serves them right. What a joke, just like the whole “natural” movement. People are constantly selling fear and peddling shit for exorbitant prices. Sure, buy my “all natural” product that can cure autism and cure cancer – sure! Excuse my language, MLMs, Scams and bullshit just piss me off.

Go Lazy Man.

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17 Nicole September 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I have a long distance friend who was sucked into a similar scam with another acai berry juice blend. These pyramid schemes are nuts.

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18 Serenity September 30, 2010 at 11:25 pm

This reminds me of people who get caught shoplifting at work (or my students when I catch them plagiarizing their papers). They don’t take responsibility for themselves and their unethical behavior, so they lash out at whoever catches them. I’m sorry you’re going through all that, and I hope they get shut down before anyone else gets scammed out of their hard-earned money for no good reason.

With that, I say: Keep fighting the good fight!

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19 Greg McFarlane October 1, 2010 at 2:06 am

Lazy Man’s feud with the MonaVie lunatics is my absolute favorite thing on the internet, with the possible exception of the MILF Hunter.

I love how there isn’t a single person without a vested business interest in MonaVie who has anything positive to say about it. (Other than “it tastes good, but not enough to justify the price.”)

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20 Lazy Man and Money October 1, 2010 at 8:32 am

@Greg,

If I wasn’t stuck on keeping my website being largely “G-Rated”, I would put that quote up on a marketing page somewhere.

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21 J. Money October 1, 2010 at 9:14 am

“MILF Hunter” Haha… oh man, cracks me up. Have you been drinking this juice Greg? I heard it makes people funnier too ;)

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22 Mama Geek October 1, 2010 at 11:01 am

Ugh, my in-laws do this. All they ever post on Facebook is MonaVie this, and MonaVie that. I actually had to hide their updates.

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23 Que October 1, 2010 at 11:14 am

OK… The editor’s note had me rolling where you said you hadn’t tried it but hear it was actually tasty after all that you posted! That is AWESOME! Great post as well. I was wondering about that stuff as well.

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24 WR October 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

Ok, I think I might have changed my mind about all of this.

I went and dropped my $50.00 on a bottle of this stuff (had to tip)

Being the skeptical person that I am about these things I decided to just smell the stuff first. Big mistake. as the natural, healing aroma wafted into my nostrils I immediately experienced a strange sensation. I could suddenly hear out of my deaf ear that Mr Gower socked all those years ago at the pharmacy. Since I was so excited and just could not stay put, I ran out the door and just kept going. I shaved 12 minutes off of my best 10K time and then I realized that I was barefoot to whole time. In my euphoria I forgot to don the New Balance. I was shocked and amazed that despite running through gravel, grass and God knows what, my feet were unmarked. I just cannot say enough about this juice! the Juice-ologists over at Monavie laboratories must be elated to know that their hard work is not going unnoticed. Curing Cancer and Autism is just the beginning. I am seriously concerned that if this stuff gets into the wrong hands (The Nazis, Taliban, Tea Party Patriots or worse…Canadians) we may never win another World Cup. If I could go back in time. Wait, can this help me bend the laws of space-time? Probably need more than just one bottle for that.

[did I just write that? been a long week. Happy Friday everyone!]

-WR

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25 J. Money October 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Happy weekend MonaVie lover :)

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26 Ramona October 3, 2010 at 6:16 am

If I want NATURAL, tasty and fresh juice, I pick some fruits from the grocery store, put them into my juicemaker and it’s all done. Have done this countless times with all kinds of combinations (apple, kiwi, oranges, pears you name it) and it was always amazing.

Anything that’s not made RIGHT in front of you with natural stuff, is not natural. And I’d first kill myself than pay so much money for a “juice”, when I can make my own in 4 minutes.

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27 Just Anonmyous October 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

So here’s my MonaVie story.. This creepy old lady approached me at a grocery store. At one point she started getting too close to me..Like, in my personal space close. So close where I was forced to say hello. All I thought to say was “Yes.. hi..” She said “Hi, I just wanted to say that you have an amazing auro permeating off your flesh. And for $20, I would like to talk to you about a business opportunity called MonaVie.” I said “Wow, well first of all, thank you so much for the kind words. As you approached me, I thought the same thing about you. I asked myself, “Who is this amazing woman with such great energy just wafting off her flesh?” Yes, I would love to speak to you… for $40..”

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28 HappyMan October 6, 2010 at 2:26 am

Monavie is in Malaysia now. a frind of mine just introduce the Monavie juice + the business opportunity. It seems like the company is approaching our Malaysia network marketing leaders with all the luxury cars. The Monavie business was established in Malaysia is 5 months ago and the business is growing very fast. After reading some of the post here, the Monavie juice is nothing special (juice + water only) like what my friend described to me. I think our Malaysia retail price below USD35.00

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29 MoneyMaus October 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

My Mom’s friend introduced us to MonaVie a few years ago. She liked it and it made her feel good about getting more fruit in her diet! A few weeks later, she e-mailed us to let us know she had found a practically identical product called FruitaVie. Sold at Costco for $16 per bottle, a 65% cost difference! I tried FruitaVie a few times and liked it, but as a very healthy 20-something, I didn’t find that it made me feel different. And, of course, I would NEVER expect a pure juice blend to cure any diseases whatsoever!

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30 Evan October 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I was so excited to see this guest post! I am with Greg that this is one of the best fights on the internet! I am shocked there were no “Kill Lazy Man” comments

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31 J. Money October 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm

haha yeah, me too actually! i thought for SURE there’ be some haters coming after him. maybe they’re concentrating their efforts on his juice scam site :)

@HappyMan – Malaysia? That’s impressive. Wonder if it’ll catch on a lot or not
@MoneyMaus – Yeah, i really do believe it tastes good from what i hear! I swear I’m going to get my hands on it one day :)
@Just Anonmyous – haha, dude you CRACK me up!
@Ramona – oh man, i loooooove fresh fruit like that! if only I wasn’t so lazy and actually DID that! Wanna come over and make me some? :)

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32 dick hertz March 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

it is a scam. Mona·Vie promises false hopes and dreams. Boycott Mona Vie!!!

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33 Dick Hertz April 26, 2011 at 3:11 am

Team and Mona Vie offers nothing but empty promises, there so-called “opportunity” is nothing but a load of heaping bullhockey..Orrin and Chris are nothing but liers, cheaters and charlatans?there no better then Bernie Madoff..I hope the FTC and the IRS goes after them…cause when they do I won’t feel one bit sorry for them..

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34 Jason August 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

You can use the principles of demand here, if the product is as good as ‘they’ say it is people would not be able to keep their mitts off it, and it would sell itself. Instead what you get are shady ‘distributors’ or ‘wholesalers’ that are fast talking trying to unload their product, before they town finds out they are pushing snake oil. Not one person has even let me try the product. Also i see these ‘guys’ at the local mall trying to get rid of all the juice their stuck with that has less nutritional benefit than a hand ful of blueberries

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