The Federal Trade Commission has released an archive of customer complains regarding problems with Herbalife, and the Wall Street Journal and New York Times often publish articles concerning controversial marketing practices and safety risks within the company. Herbalife is currently facing allegations of illicit marketing practices and has been accused of various health risks in the past.
Herbalife is a large American multinational corporation that employs 7,400 people and produces nearly $4 billion in annual revenue by selling nutritional and health-related products. In addition to its employees, Herbalife has a worldwide distribution network of 3.2 million people participating in a direct sales model for the company, known as multi-level-marketing. This practice has come under increasing scrutiny from the government, as of 2015, and is a source of customer complaints.
In the past, many complaints with Herbalife have involved product safety. In 2011 the company faced problems with metal contamination. In 2008 Herbalife was accused of illegal lead-levels in some products. In 2004 the company was forced to remove certain weight-loss products containing ephidrene after the FDA banned the substance. In addition the company has faced ongoing complaints of liver-related problems, but this has been attributed to excessive dieting by Herbalife customers.