I have been approached recently by friends about this rewards/cash back company known as Lyoness http://www.lyoness.net/AU/ . After watching the video presentation its seems well and truly a great way to generate extra income plus its free to join or is it , and so we are presented with a slightly confusing way to get our hands on this so called cash back by generating units this is where I switched off.
I know this video Screams propaganda right, complete with charity organizations and major brands.
Anyway just wondering if anyone has been approached since they have been in Australia for a year now and very people have heard about them.
After reading a few articles from blogs like below it seems like its building up to be just another Ponzi scheme slightly structured and named differently but still the same system
The below extract taken from Behind MLM website this breaksdown the system.
On the surface, Lyoness looks like a regular enough cashback member rewards scheme and that part of the business I have absolutely no problem with.
You sign up for free, you shop and you earn a 1-2% cashback and a 0.5% cashback on the purchases of people you refer (and members they refer).
If this was the extent of the Lyoness compensation plan then, apart from it not really being MLM my conclusion would stop short here. The inclusion of “accounting units” however throws the entire Lyoness business model into question and raises some serious questions.
From a rewards viewpoint, the idea that members can earn an additional commissions as members in their downlines accumulate accounting units is solid.
What Lyoness then do however is allow their members to purchase these accounting units themselves.
Jump start your Lyoness benefits with “Down Payments” against a specific gift card order for future purchases.
The down payment is converted into units, which are placed in your Lyoness accounting program.
Being a “down payment”, as I understand it the money stays with Lyoness itself as nothing has been purchased from any retailer. At a later stage you could cash out a gift card but there doesn’t appear to be any onus or requirement to do so (you can’t redeem the money as cash so it makes sense to request a gift card).
Effectively you pay your $75, $225, $600, $1800 or $6,000 to Lyoness and they give you an accounting unit. Then after between 20-35 people in your downline make a similar payment, you are paid a lump sum cash payment as a loyalty commission, as well as a lump sum to be used in their retail network.
With how much you are paid and the amount of people needed to create accounting units above and below you directly tied into the value of your own accounting unit, it’s very hard not to see this as a return on the money paid to Lyoness for an accounting unit.
Lyoness themselves even encourage this:
Become a Business Member
The fastest way to become a Business member is by making a down payment of $3000 on future purchases.
Down payment: $ 3,000
Loyalty Credit: $ 15,750
Loyalty Commission: $ 9,108
Total Benefits: $ 24,858
In the above example, ignoring the loyalty credit, the investing member has generated an effective 303% return on their original $3000 investment. This return is generated and paid out solely on the condition of getting other members to invest in their downline.
Now as far as I can tell, the only difference between a business member and anyone else in Lyoness is the $3000 they’ve pumped into the company.
Given that you can entirely bypass the purchasing of products from retailers and cashback side of Lyoness and just focus on purchasing accounting units with your own money and encouraging others to do the same, it’s hard to not look at it as an investment scheme.
Effectively, the Lyoness compensation plan can be broken down into five investment plans:
AC I – invest $75 with Lyoness and once 70 similar investments are made by your downline, Lyoness will pay out $873 (264% cash ROI + 900% credit ROI = 1164% total ROI)
AC II – invest $225 with Lyoness and once 60 similar investments have been made by your downline, Lyoness will pay out $1869 (264% cash ROI + 566% credit ROI = 830% total ROI)
AC III – invest $600 with Lyoness and once 50 similar investments have been made by your downline, Lyoness will pay out $4380 (330% cash ROI + 400% credit ROI = 730% total ROI)
AC IV – invest $1800 with Lyoness and once 50 similar investments have been made by your downline, Lyoness will pay out $13,140 (330% cash ROI + 400% credit ROI = 730% total ROI)
AC V – invest $6000 with Lyoness and once 50 similar investments have been made by your downline, Lyoness will pay out $43,800 (330% cash ROI + 400% credit ROI = 730% total ROI)
Note that if downline members make multiple investments individually, less people overall are required to invest to reach the targets of 70, 60 and 50 investments respectively. Also if the initial investor does not meet the cash return requirements (loyalty commissions), these ROIs are still paid out but go to the first available qualifying upline member.
Obviously not all of these counted units are going to be straight cash injections into the company and no doubt a lot of legit cashback accounting units are created, but the fact remains that the above scenarios are readily occurable.
Moreso when you consider that each member is relying on money being pumped into Lyoness by their downline (people they’ve recruited and people their recruits have recruited).
Lyoness do state that
down payments are neither investments nor loyalty credits, they are down payments on a specific gift card order for future purchases.
But given that there’s no requirement to put the money towards an actual purchase pending a ROI payout, I don’t see how members injecting money into Lyoness for a guaranteed return upon certain conditions (people above and below you creating accounting units) isn’t just a straight out investment with a paid return.
Finally there’s the question of revenue. Lyoness charge no membership fees and as far as retailers go, they are charged a once off registration fee of between $392 – $790 USD and then just $26 USD a month thereafter.
Even with thousands of stores participating, when you consider how many members Lyoness claim to have (in the millions)… it’s clear that at $26 USD a month the company would struggle to pay out the accounting unit returns (remember that the 0.5-2% cashbacks are paid out by retailers and not Lyoness itself).
Consider though that at the $75 accounting unit level, $5250 is the revenue generated by the creation of 70 member paid accounting units (enough revenue to pay out six $75 accounting unit ROIs), and it’s easy to see where the money comes from.
Like I said earlier, obviously not all the units are going to be member payments and there will be legit cashback accounting units in there so the numbers aren’t exact, but when you factor in that these cashback accounting units are actually a loss to Lyoness itself when it comes to payouts, it’s clear that the business model relies on a significant portion of the accounting units being directly paid for by members themselves.
As a cashback rewards program, given that Lyoness don’t themselves pay out the cashbacks, as long as they have retail partners that side of the business is sustainable. When it comes to the whole accounting units and MLM side of things though, all I’m seeing is what alarmingly resembles a Ponzi scheme.
Lyoness themselves acknowledge that
money spent on everyday necessities may generate several hundred dollars in Cashback per year
but as a business opportunity, “several hundred dollars a year” isn’t really worth writing home about (it’s only a few thousand in accounting unit payouts). Not withstanding the fact that in order to legitimately generate just one $75 accounting unit, members themselves must spend at least $3750 at Lyoness’ retail partner stores (less if you consider the 0.5% referral payment).
With the legit use of the cashback card no doubt joe average can generate a few cashback accounting units a year but if you want to earn anything considerable, we’re talking either massive retail spend on your behalf or a gargantuan downline, they themselves spending huge amounts on retail.
Much easier to just pay Lyoness $75-$6000 directly yourself and get others to do the same no?
Not a straight out Ponzi granted what with the sprinkling of legit cashback earned accounting units added to the mix and no fixed ROI timeframe, but a largely member funded scheme nonetheless.
Your thoughts and comments please?