Arbonne Scam: Pyramid Scheme or MLM? [Review]

If you’ve been looking into ways to make some extra cash, chances are you’ve heard of Arbonne. It’s an MLM company that sells personal care products and nutritional supplements. You might have even heard about it from a friend or family member.

However, I want to be upfront with you – success with Arbonne is unlikely. It’s a tough industry to crack, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

As an online entrepreneur, I have reviewed many similar online opportunities over the years. So I can tell you what you need to know.

Now, let me make one thing clear: I’m not affiliated with Arbonne. I’m not getting paid to write this review. So you can trust that I’m going to give you an honest and unbiased opinion.

At the end of the day, there are better ways to make a full-time passive income online than with Arbonne. And I’ll let you in on the best alternative to the Arbonne MLM program that has worked for me.

What is Arbonne?

Arbonne is a skincare, makeup, and nutrition company that sells vegan alternatives to traditional products. Founded in 1980 by Norwegian entrepreneur Petter Mørck, Arbonne has become a global MLM company that aims to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

In 2018, Arbonne was acquired by Yves Rocher, a well-known health and beauty brand. With projected sales of $847 million in 2020, Arbonne is ranked 22nd on the DSN Global 100 list of the most successful direct selling companies.

Recently, Jean-David Schwartz stepped down as Arbonne’s CEO, and Tyler Whitehead was named as his successor. Arbonne has received the highest possible rating from the Better Business Bureau.

However, some people have criticized Arbonne for focusing too much on recruiting members and have labeled it as a pyramid scheme or a scam. Arbonne’s headquarters is based in Irvine, California, with additional locations in Chatsworth, Greenwood, and Addison in the United States and in other countries, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

As a multi-level marketing company, Arbonne encourages you to sign up, purchase a product kit, and then invite your loved ones to do the same.

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Arbonne’s Product Lineup

Arbonne is a company that offers a wide range of products that they claim to be free of animal-derived ingredients and gluten-free. If you’re curious about what they offer, look no further! Here’s a rundown of Arbonne’s product lineup:

First up, they offer Plant-Based Nutrition Supplements that can help you get the nutrients you need to support your health and wellness. Next, they have a range of Bath & Body Spa Products that can help you feel pampered and refreshed. For those looking for anti-aging solutions, Arbonne offers Botanically-based skin care and cosmetics for both women and men.

They also have Sports Nutrition Products to help you power through your workouts, and Baby Care Products for the little ones in your life. All of Arbonne’s products are formulated by the Arbonne Institute for Research and Development (AIRD) based in Switzerland. 

While their manufacturing is done in the United States, it’s worth noting that a 2006 article published in The Virginian-Pilot raised concerns about AIRD operating without its own facilities. also lists no address for the AIRD.

Overall, Arbonne offers a diverse range of products to help you take care of yourself and those around you.

Is Arbonne An MLM? 

Yes, Arbonne is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that’s even a member of the Direct Selling Association. But what does that mean exactly?

Well, Arbonne’s products are sold by independent consultants who run their own home-based businesses. The good news is that you’re not considered an employee if you become an independent consultant, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Plus, being an official member of the DSA is definitely a plus for Arbonne.

But here’s the thing: making a good income selling Arbonne products is unlikely. Like most MLM companies, the success of your business depends heavily on recruiting new members to work under you. You’ll earn a commission on the sales and new recruits generated by the people you hire once they begin producing results.

Here’s how it works: imagine a triangle where everyone in the triangle is in your direct downline (in an MLM, the people beneath you are known as your “downline,” and you are their “upline”). If the person at the top recruits ten people, and each of these ten recruits ten more, you’ll earn commissions from everyone in the triangle. If you can bring in just 10 people, you’ll make $1100. Sounds easy, right?

Well, it’s actually complex on many levels (hence multi-level). Most people in an MLM company would rather earn a lifetime passive income from recruiting others than a one-time commission from selling products, even if the company offers a wide range of products. And due to the way the money flows, those at the top of the triangle have the most financial success, while those at the base have the least.

That said, having a large number of people in your “downline” is essential for success in a multi-level marketing company like Arbonne. So if you’re considering joining Arbonne’s MLM program, it’s important to go in with your eyes open and be aware of the potential challenges and benefits.

You may also want to read our article on the top MLM companies.

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Is Arbonne A Pyramid Scheme?

No, Arbonne is not a pyramid scheme. It is a legitimate MLM company that offers opportunities to make money by selling their products. Some people have questioned whether Arbonne is a pyramid scheme, but a class-action lawsuit filed against the company was dismissed in 2018.

One of the key differences between MLMs and pyramid schemes is that MLMs emphasize selling products, while pyramid schemes often focus on recruiting new members. In a pyramid scheme, members are promised money or other rewards for recruiting new members, which is often unsustainable and can lead to people losing money.

To join a pyramid scheme, members typically have to pay a membership fee, and the company rewards those who recruit new members with a portion of the funds raised. However, this model is usually only profitable for those at the top of the pyramid, while those at the bottom often lose money.

In contrast, Arbonne’s focus is on selling products rather than recruitment. While members do pay a fee to join, they can make money through sales rather than just recruiting new members.

It’s essential to be wary of pyramid schemes, as they often only generate income from recruiting new members rather than selling valuable goods or services. And because the scheme’s revenue depends on new recruits, it is unsustainable and almost guaranteed to fail.

A good example of a pyramid scheme is Vemma, a company that the FTC accused of operating a pyramid scheme in 2015. Participants were required to pay high fees for starter packages and monthly products, but the majority of them lost money.

You may read our article on the difference between MLM and pyramid schemes here.

Is Arbonne a Scam?

No, Arbonne is not a scam. It is not a pyramid scheme. So, can you make money selling Arbonne products? Well, the truth is, most Arbonne reps don’t make any money at all. But, there are a few people who do make money, but only if they put in a lot of effort. And usually, those who do make a lot of money from Arbonne are doing so by recruiting aggressively.

One thing that bothers me about Arbonne is their marketing claims. They make a lot of claims about their products being made of premium botanically based ingredients, which is great if it’s true. But, it turns out that many of their formulations don’t live up to their own standards. In fact, Arbonne has had to recall many of their products over the years.

For example, in 2009, Arbonne had to recall some batches of their peanut butter cups due to the possible contamination of peanut-based products with Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. In 2013, they had to recall a facial moisturizer for men due to the detection of Aerococcus viridans in the batch. And, in 2014, samples of a branded day cream had to be recalled due to the bacterium Enterobacter gergoviae being found in it. This list goes on.

So, with all of these problematic products, it’s hard to see how you could make money as an Arbonne consultant and do good for customers. Unfortunately, like many MLMs, most Arbonne consultants have to rely on recruiting members to earn a living.

Arbonne Compensation Plan

Arbonne is a multi-level marketing company (MLM) that lets you earn money by selling products and recruiting new customers. Here, we’ll break down the different ways you can make money with Arbonne.

Retails Commissions: Earn Money Selling Products

One way to earn money with Arbonne is through Retails Commissions. As an Independent Consultant, you can earn 15% to 35% of the price of each product you sell. These commissions are paid out every week, so you can start seeing results quickly.

Override Commissions: Earn Money from Your Team’s Sales

Another way to make money with Arbonne is through Override Commissions. These commissions are paid out every month, and they allow you to earn a percentage of all products sold by your team. This is a great way to leverage the efforts of others and earn passive income.

Mercedes Benz Cash Program: Drive a White Mercedes Benz

If you’re looking for some extra motivation, Arbonne offers a Mercedes Benz Cash Program. The company may pay qualified independent consultants to drive a white Mercedes Benz. This is a great perk that can help you feel even more motivated to succeed.

Arbonne Cash Bonus Programs: Get Cash Bonuses for Advancing in Rank

Arbonne also offers Cash Bonus Programs that let you earn extra money as you advance through the ranks. You can earn a $100 to $600 cash bonus if you meet the requirements for each position and unlock it. This is a great way to stay motivated and rewarded as you work to build your sales team.

How to Advance in Rank

To advance in rank with Arbonne, you’ll need to focus on building your sales team. This means recruiting new Independent Consultants and training them to sell Arbonne products. As you build your team, you’ll be able to sell more products and earn more money.

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How Much Does It Cost To Join Arbonne MLM Program?

So, you’re thinking about joining Arbonne’s MLM program? Here’s what you need to know about the costs involved.

First off, there’s a $49 registration fee and a $29 annual fee to become an Arbonne Independent Consultant. However, without any products, it’s pretty tough to get your business up and running.

Luckily, Arbonne offers discounted value packs with a wide range of products for you to try out and sell. Depending on the pack you choose, this will cost you between $270 and $500.

But that’s not all. To stay active and earn commissions, you’ll need to spend a minimum amount on Arbonne products each month. This can be a bit of a catch-22, as you won’t earn a commission on sales without investing money into the business.

To keep your Arbonne account active, you’ll need to sell 150 PQV in products each month. PQV stands for Personal Qualifying Value, which is a point system where 1 PQV equals 1 USD. In the US, you earn one PQV for every dollar spent directly on Arbonne products.

This means that you’ll need to spend at least $150 on Arbonne products every month to stay active and earn a commission on sales. However, there is a way to reduce your spending. You can earn PQV points by convincing others to sign up under you. Plus, if they make a purchase, you’ll earn even more.

So, while Arbonne’s MLM program may have some upfront costs, there are ways to reduce your spending and make a profit. Just keep in mind that if you don’t invite anyone into your downline, you’ll need to spend money again to stay active.

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Can You Make Money With Arbonne?

According to the Arbonne Canada website, in 2017, a typical consultant earned between $30 and $250 in bonuses and commissions. That’s not a lot of money, considering the effort you need to put in. In fact, only 12% of the 250,000+ consultants actually make money, which is quite surprising.

So, why do so few people make money with Arbonne? Well, it seems that many consultants are more interested in buying the products for themselves than selling them to others. And that’s fine with Arbonne – they don’t really care as long as they’re making a profit. The company’s sales totaled nearly $600 million in 2017, so they’re clearly doing something right.

To become an Arbonne consultant, you need to pay a one-time fee of $79, followed by an annual renewal fee of $30. This gives you access to discounts of 35% to 50% on all your purchases, which can be tempting. However, to maintain your status as a representative, you need to meet quotas, which means you might end up being your own best customer.

The good news is that anyone can become an Arbonne representative at any time, and there’s no required training. So, if you’re interested in the products and think you can sell them to others, it might be worth a shot. But if you’re just looking for a way to save money on your own purchases, you might want to think twice.

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Pros and Cons of Joining Arbonne MLM Program 


  • Arbonne has been in operation since 1980, which is a testament to its stability and longevity in the industry.
  • Consultants who join the program receive a pre-built website that they can use to promote and sell Arbonne products.


  • One common complaint about Arbonne is the expensive price of their products, which may make it difficult for some customers to afford.
  • Some users also express concern that the program operates as a pyramid scheme, which can make it challenging for individuals at the bottom of the pyramid to earn significant income.

Overall, like any MLM program, Arbonne has its pros and cons. It’s important to do your research and make an informed decision before joining any MLM company.

Why I Don’t Recommend Joining Arbonne MLM Program

Customer Complaints

Arbonne has received a significant number of customer complaints over the years, particularly regarding their products and services. Trustpilot reviews show that some customers have not received what they expected from Arbonne’s products, resulting in disappointment and even negative reactions. 

Unfortunately, some customers claim that Arbonne has ignored their refund requests, making it difficult for consultants to sell the products.

Arbonne complaints

Difficulty in Making Money

Making money with an MLM company like Arbonne can be challenging. Statistics suggest that a large percentage of MLM members lose money, with sales quotas that require members to sell a certain amount to be eligible for commissions. This can lead to financial losses for consultants who may struggle to meet quotas or recruit others into the company. As a result, it can be challenging to achieve success as an Arbonne consultant.

Losses Reframed as Investments

Some Arbonne uplines have misrepresented financial losses as “investments” to keep their reps in the MLM scheme. However, the reality is that these losses are unlikely to be recouped, and the return on investment is often negative. Reframing losses as investments can be deceptive and lead to further financial losses for consultants.

The Cult-Like Company Culture

Arbonne has a reputation for having a cult-like company culture. If you ask too many questions or deviate from the company’s mindset, you may be chastised or isolated. Leaving the company can also be difficult because reps are not allowed to contact former members, and rejection from people they once considered family can be very tough on those who leave.

Personal Purchases Might Be Necessary

If you don’t have a large network of people to sell to, you may need to buy Arbonne products yourself each month. This can be costly and make it difficult to turn a profit.

Overpriced Products

Arbonne products are often overpriced compared to similar products from other brands. This can make it difficult to sell products to potential customers who can find the same product elsewhere at a lower price. It’s no wonder that many people who join MLMs like Arbonne focus on recruitment rather than selling products.

Arbonne’s Bad Reputation

Arbonne’s MLM business model is widely criticized. Many believe that the distribution of commissions is skewed towards the top, with only those in the upper echelons of the company making any real money. As a result, some people don’t consider Arbonne a legitimate business opportunity.

Exaggerated Claims of Income

Like many MLMs, Arbonne makes exaggerated claims about how much money you can make. In reality, only a small percentage of distributors make a decent living selling Arbonne products. With a low retention rate, less than 41% of Arbonne distributors are active, and over 99% never make a profit.

Recruiting is Required to Succeed

Arbonne’s emphasis on recruitment can make it difficult for those who are uncomfortable with this approach. Eight out of ten ways to earn money with Arbonne require recruiting, making it challenging for those who prefer to sell products without having to build a team.

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Final Verdict

After checking out Arbonne, I’ve got to say that I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re hoping to make some cash. Starting off, it can be a real struggle trying to find recruiters to add to your Arbonne commission. And the worst part? You might feel pressured to hit up your loved ones to join your business, which isn’t exactly fun.

On top of all that, your upline might push you to buy Business Support Material even if you’re not having any luck getting people to join your downline. All things considered, you might end up losing more money than you earn. In fact, a case study on the FTC’s website found that 99% of people who join an MLM break even or lose money. Yikes.

One of the biggest reasons folks bail on MLMs is because they feel like they’re under constant pressure to succeed. If that sounds like something you want to avoid, have you considered starting your own online biz instead? With an online business, you can pick what you want to promote without anyone breathing down your neck.

In the next section, I’ll share how I’ve built a legit online business that’s helped me earn passive income in just one year. Unlike MLM models, it’s 100% sustainable and above-board. Let’s dive in!

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Is There a Better Way to Make Money Online?

If you’re looking for a program to help you start your online business journey, then Arbonne might not be the best option. Instead, I highly recommend trying out Wealthy Affiliate, which is my number one recommended platform.

Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform that can help you build your affiliate marketing business from scratch. It offers top-notch web hosting services, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software that can help you build your online business step-by-step.

The best part is that you can register a free account with Wealthy Affiliate and start affiliate marketing right away without paying a penny. If you like the platform, you can then upgrade to the premium membership to get access to everything on the platform. And the best part? There are no upsells afterwards.

You may read our article about the difference between MLM and affiliate marketing.

So, you might be wondering how much you can earn with Wealthy Affiliate. Well, let me tell you, a 21-year-old student from Wealthy Affiliate was able to earn $7,395 in just one week by applying what was taught inside the platform. That’s more than $1k a day!

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Wealthy Affiliate Testimonial

Wealthy Affiliate has a longer history than Authority Hacker, having been established for 15 years. With over a million members, it’s clear that Wealthy Affiliate is a popular platform. There are many inspiring success stories from Wealthy Affiliate members, which shows how effective this platform can be.

If you’re interested in joining Wealthy Affiliate, it has a simple pricing scheme. You can sign up for the free starter membership here (no credit card required). As a starter member, you can get access to the community, live chat, over 500 training modules, 2 classrooms, networking, commenting, 1 free website, and access to the keyword tool.

So, what are you waiting for? Register a free account with Wealthy Affiliate today and see it for yourself!

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