Is Arbonne a Pyramid Scheme Company or an MLM? (2024)

January 8, 2024 |

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Is Arbonne a pyramid scheme or not?

The company’s officials chant – No!

But the research I performed doesn’t entirely agree.

This article will provide you an insight into how Arbonne functions as a Legit MLM and why it is suspected to be a fraudulent pyramid scheme at the same time as well.

I’ve gathered some statistics, facts, and distributor reviews in this article to filter out bogus claims from factual information about Arbonne’s business structure.

So, scroll down to detangle some hard knots about Arbonne.

What Is Arbonne?

arbonne logo

Wondering what Arbonne is?

Let’s start with the history. Arbonne is named after a nature-cloaked town, ‘Arbon’ in Switzerland, by Peter Morck.

The eco-centric CEO founded the MLM company in 1980 and is motivated to provide vegan and eco-friendly products to its customers. As of today, Arbonne has established offices in 7 different countries.

It is instituted as a direct sales company meaning you can only buy products from independent consultants and not company employees.

The product line falls in the spectrum of vegan diet/nutritional drinks and supplements as well as vegan cosmetics and skincare.

If you are akin to this nature-centric approach, listen to this welcome news, Arbonne gives you a chance to become a part of its business as ‘distributors’ or ‘consultants’.

You need to make an initial investment and have the right convincing skills to get your Arbonne business up and going.

You can garner all the profits, promotions, and even a passive income according to your effort, which bails you out from those tedious hours on that shabby office desk that promises only a fixed salary. – This is what Arbonne claims.

To find out up to what extent this is correct, scroll down!

Is Arbonne a legit MLM company

Or just another fraudulent Pyramid Scheme?

From all the facts I’ve gathered, ‘Yes’ Arbonne is a legit MLM company on the white paper records.

However, when we look deep into how it works, it appears crystal clear that the “internet facts” are just creating a smokescreen to make people trust Arbonne.

Here’s why People are tricked into thinking Arbonne is a Legit MLM

  • Arbonne Rating

Arbonne is accredited A+ by the  Better Business Bureau and has a rating 0f 2.35 out of 5 stars. BBB rating increases the business’s trustworthiness, strange that it still seems suspicious.

  • Buy-Back Policy

Legit MLM’s have this refund policy that buys back 90% of the products bought within the last 12 months to protect distributors from going bankrupt.

And fortunately, Arbonne does incorporate a return or exchange policy for independent consultants.

Which makes people think that even if they don’t get succeeded, they’ll return the products.

However, it’s not as straightforward as it seems.

Reasons why I suggest that Arbonne is a Fraudulent Pyramid Scheme

Let me sort this out for you with reason because the facts aren’t working in the right direction.

Here are red lights that reek of a Pyramid scheme.

  1. The uplines make more profits than the downlines.
  2. Profits come in from recruitments rather than sales.
  3. FTC Lawsuits
  4. The Arbonne horror stories.

#1. The uplines make more profits than the downlines:

If you witness the downlines suffering and only the uplines getting the optimum benefits, it is a pyramid scheme.

If we look at the company’s 2020 Independent consultant Income disclosure, it is no sweat to structure the table into a pyramid.

The 1% VP at the top bag more profits ($253,607) than the combined profits of the 56% active consultants at the end of the pyramid.

The 56% of ‘Active independent consultants’ earned an average annual income of only $206, even less than the minimum wage in the US.

And these ‘active’ consultants are only that chunk of the total independent consultant recruits that ACTUALLY earned something.

The majority didn’t even get back the initial investment let alone profits.

#2. Profits come in from recruitments rather than sales.

Here’s the fine line between legit MLM companies and fraudulent Pyramid Schemes- Profits.

MLM companies are focused on earning profits from products sales rather than new recruitments.

On the other hand, Arbonne encourages distributors to buy more than they can afford.

Sales reps end up buying more instead of earning because there is a limit to how much you can sell from person to person.

Then the only way to stay afloat is to sign up more recruits who will work for you.

More sellers rather than buyers mean that the products are accumulating in distributor’s garages, and the only figures benefitting from it are those sitting at the top of the pyramid.

To sum it up, a company that is more focused on new recruits is a tip-off that it is a pyramid scheme.

#3. FTC lawsuits

Thankfully, FTC looks over MLM companies to ensure they aren’t illegal pyramid schemes.

Arbonne has been alleged of being a pyramid scheme in a 2017 FTC lawsuit.

But then again, it was dismissed in 2018. FTC also sent Arbonne a warning letter in 2020 for its distributors’ false covid and income claims.

#4. The Arbonne horror stories

I’ve come across a bunch of Arbonne horror stories from distributors who are stuck and sinking in the Arbonne scheme quicksand every day.

Keep reading to see some of their experiences that scream ‘Pyramid Scheme.’

A woman writes on Reddit that Arbonne brainwashes its sales reps into believing that every criticizer is jealous of their success. It blindfolds them so that they cannot detect the obvious red flags.

She exposed how the scheme sabotages the sales rep’s dignity and caused her mental stress and monetary loss since she joined the company.

In another Reddit story, a man narrates how his frustrated wife ended up walking out of business after a year because obviously their circle got saturated and suffocated with Arbonne, and no income source was left.

Another woman exposes how sales reps manipulate customers because there is no other way than to lie and deceive customers into buying products.

Related post:

FAQs – Everything else about Arbonne Pyramid Scheme

How much commission does an Arbonne consultant make?

An Arbonne consultant earned approximately $120-$502 in 2019.

You can also earn:

  • 35% commission from retail sales
  • 15% commission from preferred client sales
  • 6% override from self-recruited independent consultant sales.

Does anyone actually make money from Arbonne?

Yes, you can earn money from Arbonne, but the law is not universal for EVERYONE.

According to the 2020 income disclosure of independent consultants. 56% of ‘Active independent consultants’ in the US earned an average income of $206.

Varying percentages of consultants on higher levels also made a decent annual income.

How much does it cost to join Arbonne?

You can join Arbonne either as a preferred client or independent consultant.

It costs $25 to join as a preferred client and $45 plus the cost of initial purchases to become an independent consultant.

Can you just buy Arbonne products?

Yes, you can buy Arbonne products as a preferred client or at retail price from independent consultant websites.

Do Arbonne consultants get free gifts?

Yes, independent consultants get awards, incentives, and trips at every level, depending on the team sales performance. The most anticipated one is the VP success award reserved for the independent consultants at the Vice President level.


To wrap it up, I would not call Arbonne a 100% legitimate MLM since many people have reported getting ripped off because of their pyramid scheme.

According to my research, I’d suggest that if you aren’t passionate enough to sign up for a do-or-die situation, there are better places to invest in other than the Arbonne business.

Besides, on average, only 1% of consultants become vice presidents. That too, in approximately 60 months.

If you ask me, I won’t prefer losing my friends, mental health, dignity, and investing a bunch of my bucks and life years just for an additional income.

But still, there are prospects available for you at Arbonne if you really want it. It all comes down to what you prefer. 

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