Maybe you are just looking to buy some essential oils or maybe you are looking to go a step further and actually join the business as a representative. No matter what the case, a good question to ask, and one that comes up a lot, is whether or not the doTERRA essential oils business is a scam.
Are the products overpriced? Do they even work? Can these essential oils really cure just about any problem under the sign as many “wellness advocates” (or representatives as I will be calling them) claim they do?
And what the heck is up with this pyramid -like business model where representatives are going out and recruiting others in?
In the short post I’ll be going over different aspects of the business and touching upon whether or not this place is a scam. And by the way, I am not a representative of the company, nor my affiliated with it in any way, so this is my unbiased opinion. I sure as heck am not going to try to recruit you in like some other people might.
But anyways… To begin, let’s first talk about what the heck this place actually is…
What Is doTERRA?
In a nutshell, doTERRA is a MLM (multilevel marketing) business that sells essential oils as their main product. This place is based out of Utah and actually is accredited by the BBB and has an A+ rating. But of course looking at the BBB rating alone definitely is not a good indication to whether something is a scam or not.
Most people seem to be calling this place a scam for one of two reasons: 1) because a lot of the representatives selling essential oils are luring people in to buy them with over exaggerated and unproven claims, and 2) because this business has a pyramid-like structure where representatives can actually recruit in other representatives beneath them and earn money from what they do (I’ll get more into this in a bit).
A Look at the Products
Essential oils have skyrocketed in popularity recently, but for good reason?
Well… Unfortunately many people out there selling these oils have “un-scientifically” proven views and tend to market them as cures for just about anything, as I mentioned above.
You can apply essential oils topically or even inhaled them through aromatherapy, which is becoming more and more popular. Some people even add them to drinks and ingest them that way.
Some of the many different things that essential oils are marketed for include…
- Immune system strength
- Skin conditions
While I don’t agree with the exaggerated in the often unproven claims made in the cults that have been developing around essential oils, I do definitely agree that the quality of the essential oils on the market can vary a good bit and that doTERRA does a good job at ensuring the highest quality possible.
They use a CPTG (certified pure therapeutic grade) quality protocol and use the low-heat steam distillation method for extracting the oils from the various plants they source them from.
That said… Are they really worth the incredibly high prices that they charge?
I mean seriously… As I am writing this if I want to buy a 15 mL bottle of Basil essential oil from doTERRA it is going to cost me about $26…
Now in my opinion you can definitely find just as good of quality essential oils on places like Amazon for around half the price, but I know there are a lot of people out there that would argue with me till death on this one.
The products are not a scam, although a bit overpriced. The problem here is with the business model in the amount of misinformation being spread when representatives try to sell these products.
In fact, the FDA even issued a public statement warning consumers about misinformation given by doTERRA representatives, such as how it can be effective in treating… “conditions including, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), bacterial infections, cancer, brain injury, autism, endometriosis, Grave’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, tumor reduction, ADD/ADHD, and other conditions”.
They also issued the same warning against the similar MLM business called Young Living.
How the Business Side of It Works
When you go to join you have two choices, you can either become a normal customer or a “wellness advocate”, which is just a representative like I’ve been talking about who goes around selling products and recruiting other representatives into the business.
And if you do choose to join as a representative, you will then be able to make money by either recruiting in other representatives or by bringing in new members, which you can commissions from their purchases of 25%.
By earning retail commissions is not what has people questioning this place as being a scam. Selling products and making profits… There is nothing wrong with that.
It is the recruitment structure, the MLM side of this business, that has many people suspicious. And just to give you a taste of what I am talking about here, below is a table of one of the main components of the compensation plan, the unit level organizational bonus, which as you can see has a pyramid-like structure with 7 different levels…
The main goal for pretty much any representative, or any representative that is actually focused on making as much money as possible, is to move up the ranks which allow you to earn down more and more levels.
When you recruit someone in personally the make up your level 1, and when that person recruit someone in the new recruit now falls into your level 2, and if that person recruit someone in the go to level 3 and so on… Allow you to make money down multiple levels depending on your rank.
Now you might be thinking… Isn’t this a pyramid scheme?..
So one question that I know gets asked a lot is whether this qualifies as a pyramid scheme, which we all know are illegal.
The fact of the matter is that it does not. This is a legitimate business model, although it structure is very similar to a pyramid scheme.
Basically what separates this from a pyramid scheme is the sale of legitimate products, in the fact that there is a lot of focus on actually selling good products, not just recruiting in other representatives. In fact, according their 2017 opportunity and earnings disclosure, around 70% of members are actual customers… Not representatives just running around trying to recruit others in.
The “Scammy” Side of The Business
The “scammy” side of the business comes from representatives that are “bad apples”. And who I am talking about here are the representatives that go around marketing doTERRA with the misleading, unproven, and exaggerated information, such as what I mentioned earlier in this post.
Unfortunately, a lot of representatives in these essential oils “cults” (as I called them) really do believe that the stuff cures just about any problem or illness, although much of the time they have no scientific backing for their beliefs.
Conclusion: Scam or Not?
There is nothing that is a scam about the business itself, at least as far as I see. The products are good and the business model is legitimate… It is just that they often get a bad reputation from the representatives running around trying to make as much money as possible.
Unfortunately when it comes to MLM businesses like this, this shady side of the business always seems to exist.
So if you are looking to buy essential oils from doTERRA or join the business as a representative, just make sure you know what you’re getting into and don’t always trust everything you hear from other representatives out there, although they may seem very sincere and what they tell you and very trustworthy. And if you do join as a rep, do us all a favor and promote the business in a legitimate way.
The last piece of information I want to leave you with, for those thinking about joining, is the earnings disclosure that you may have seen on the official website…
The reason I want to talk about this is because it is quite misleading. As you can see the annual earnings listed above look pretty darn amazing… However these are only for the “leadership” ranks, which most members don’t even make it to in the first place.
The statistics shown are confusing and misleading, and in my opinion were made the swim purpose to make the opportunity as representative seem better than it really is.
Based on other information I have found out there, most people who joined as representatives actually lose money, or make incredibly little and end up giving up, which is common with MLM opportunities like this.
Leave your comments and questions below 🙂