What Is AdvoCare About? – A Scam? A Pyramid Scheme?

Posted on

Name: AdvoCare

Website: www.advocare.com

Founder: Charles E. Ragus, CEO: Brian Connolly

Price: $79 + $50 sign up fee + Upsells

Overall: 1 Stars (1 / 5)

Date when it started: 1993

Verdict: Product-Based Pyramid Scheme

You may have heard about the multi-million dollar company AdvoCare, that sells which sells nutrition, weight loss, energy, and sports nutrition dietary supplements to approximately 60,000 independent distributors in the United States, it’s a huge business, but it has also created a huge controversy between high profile supporters and detractors.

AdvoCare has a long history of working with professional athletes to promote their products and business opportunity. They are famous for their sales and recruitment technique called the “Bulletproof Shield.” However, is it really as “bulletproof” as they mentioned? Well, let’s find out how “bulletproof” and legitimate their business opportunity is.

Before explaining the business opportunity of AdvoCare, let me tell you something you might not have possibly known about the Founder of AdvoCare, Charles Ragus.

Who is Charles Ragus? – Is he a Con Artist?


AdvoCare International was a company founded by Charles Ragus. Charles Ragus, joined Herbalife in 1983 and became one of the company’s top distributors. In 1989, he founded a company called Omnitrition. Webster v Omnitrition became a landmark case in the legalities of running a MLM. In 1992 distributors of Omnitrition, who had lost money, brought suit against the company and its principals, alleging the exist-ence of an illegal pyramid scheme. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount. Ragus in 1993 created AdvoCare International. The company slogan is, “We Build Champions.”


Charles Ragus the founder of AdvoCare had involvement with Pyramid Schemes in the past (Herbalife and Omnitrition), so it’s very likely he company he created “AdvoCare” is a Pyramid Scheme too. Well, let’s move on and find out more facts about AdvoCare.

So, what is the business opportunity that AdvoCare is trying to promote? 

AdvoCare offers a business opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing their potential. Many people across America are starting their own AdvoCare business which empowers them to share AdvoCare products, earn additional income, and make a difference along the way.  – AdvoCare Site

Here is a video explaining their business opportunity.
It claims that the proven result of their products has lead to a rewarding business opportunity, “their generous compensation plan rewards those who share the products and the business opportunity with others”, and they offer an average american a chance to make a above average income.

What is the AdvoCare business opportunity really about?

The AdvoCare uses a multi-level marketing model to run their business.  It teaches their distributors how they can make money from product sales and additional commissions from sales by their “downline” distributors. AdvoCare representatives use a sales and recruitment technique called the “Bulletproof Shield.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 8.35.32 PM

With the “Bulletproof Shield” a representative uses endorsements and the AdvoCare scientific and medical advisory board to divert questions about the product and business opportunity. The way a representative does this is when they get tough questions about the company and they will reply, “Well, I don’t know about “X”, but what I do know is” — and then they reference specific athletes or doctors who have vouched for AdvoCare. “You sell the products and the opportunity with the heart and the eyes, not extensive knowledge.” – advoarmy.com

How Safe And Legitimate Are The Products From AdvoCare?

In July 2008, Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive for the banned breathing enhancer, clenbuterol. Hardy said she had never heard of the substance, attributing the positive result to either a tainted supplement or sabotage. At the time, Hardy had been taking the supplement Arginine Extreme, which she had received for free from AdvoCare in exchange for making product testimonials, and she claimed in a subsequent lawsuit that the company’s product was tainted. AdvoCare sued Hardy for making false claims. An arbitration hearing reduced Hardy’s suspension after a scientific expert testified that the AdvoCare product was tainted. AdvoCare disputed the panel’s findings, saying that two independent laboratories had not found any evidence of Clenbuterol in the supplements. – Wikipedia

AdvoCare ceased offering KickStart Spark, targeted to youth age 4-11, after pediatricians had expressed concerns about the product containing 60 mg of caffeine. AdvoCare was also the subject of criticism for its marketing at youth athletic events. In 2005, the company paid $5,000 to sponsor a high school wrestling tournament in Sacramento but after negative publicity, AdvoCare officials said they would not sponsor any more school events. – Wikipedia

AdvoCare also like to use professionals and celebrities to gain trust and legitimacy. Many AdvoCare Representatives will tell you that these sponsors are not paid and they support Advocare because of the great products they make.

An example would be a famous american footballer, Drew Brees. This is what AdvoCare Representatives would say, “Drew is our unpaid, National Spokeman and has been using AdvoCare products for many years. To be a product endorser an athlete is not allowed to supplement any other product and must be a tested product user for two years. At this type of level, voluntary endorsement equals extraordinary products.” However, the truth is Drew Brees is a paid endorser for AdvoCare. – www.drewbrees.com/disclaimer

Here is a video on Drew promoting a product called “spark” from AdvoCare.

AdvoCare contributes to the Brees Dream Foundation. Drew Brees is also compensated for his role as AdvoCare National Spokesperson. Drew Brees receives a percentage of the sales from DB9® Signature Series products. – https://www.advocare.com/endorsers/

Here is what ESPN says about Drew Brees and AdvoCare. “AdvoCare and its athlete endorsers pitch the company as a way to change lives and achieve “financial freedom.” Salespeople can make money by selling products, though the big bucks come from recruiting members. But the odds are long. Of AdvoCare’s 517,666 salespeople in 2014, only 0.54 percent made $10,000 from the company and just 0.06 percent exceeded $100,000. Here are the numbers from that year, the most recent available. All data from AdvoCare’s official 2014 income disclosure statement.”

Full article here – http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story

Is AdvoCare A Franchise Opportunity Or Not?

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.41.36 PM

AdvoCare is not a franchise opportunity, but representatives like to compare the AdvoCare business opportunity to franchises. – http://www.championseekers.info

So how can you really earn with AdvoCare?

Well, it’s quite complicated with AdvoCare. How long would it take for a company to explain to someone how much you get paid and for what? For many companies, it’s pretty straightforward. But, if you are a AdvoCare distributor, the answer is very difficult. In fact, a lot of people who have signed up with AdvoCare can’t explain how they make money. New recruits often get a lot of misinformation. As AdvoCare distributors buy product from the company and get others to do the same, they move up in this complicated plan. As distributors advance, they gain access to product discounts and commissions that are paid when distributors in their downline (those who they’ve recruited and their recruits’ recruits etc.) make purchases from the company. The recruiting distributor, or sponsor, often doesn’t explain how difficult and expensive it is to advance in the plan. Instead, recruits are told that with hard work, they can make a lot of money from AdvoCare.

Sadly, too often they are not told the most important pieces of information any new recruit should know that nearly 92% of all active distributors earn less than $2000 per year. And out of all the 517,666 distributors, only 154, 819 are considered as “active”. That’s only about 30%. – www.advocare.com

The reality of the compensation plan of AdvoCare


Firstly, you have to pay $79 plus taxes and shipping fees to become a distributor and you have to pay a yearly membership renewal fee of $50 to stay as an “active member”. So how can you earn? When you buy any products as a distributor under $500, you get a 20% discount, so when you sell the product to a non-member, you sell it at the full price and you profit from the difference. So basically, the more products you buy, the more discount you get, and you will get a higher profit if you manage to sell the products.

So, What Are The Products Of AdvoCare?

It’s broken down to 5sections, the 24-Day Challenge®, Trim, Active, Well and Performance Elite. Products may only be sold person-to-person or through the Distributor’s personal AdvoCare Microsite.

Distributor Revenue Sources:

  • Retail Profits
  • Wholesale Earnings

The Wholesale Commission, which AdvoCare pays directly to you, is the difference between your discount and the discount of the Distributor(s) you sponsor. If you are at the same level you do not make a wholesale commission.

Advisor Revenue Sources:

  • Retail Profits
  • Wholesale Earnings
  • Incentives
  • Overrides
  • Leadership Bonuses

You must show that you made at least five (5) retail sales to at least five (5) different customers (other than yourself) in each pay period during which any Override, Leadership Bonus or other bonus incentive is earned.

Advisor qualification requires $3000 in PV and GV, with at least $500 of that being PV generated in one to three consecutive pay periods. You can buy your way to being an Advisor or you can work your way to being an Advisor.

When you are working your way to be an Advisor, you must have at least $500 of Personal Volume in each qualifying period. Most qualifying periods are 2 weeks, but a few are 3 weeks.

You can build your organization infinitely wide and three advisors deep by recruiting people into AdvoCare.

“The great benefit of building both wide and deep is that you’re showing people how to lead by example; among other things, YOU must continue to personally sponsor at least one or two new Advisors at least each month or two.”- www.advocare.com/0204550/Pdf

Recruitment is required to receive the top AdvoCare leadership bonuses.

Personal Volume (PV) is defined as the total suggested retail value of product purchases made by you, your retail customers and your downline Distributors. This excludes the volume of downline Distributors who are former Advisors (Distributors at the 40% discount level) and those who are using their volume to qualify for Advisor status.

Group Volume (GV) is defined as the total suggested retail value of product purchases made by your downline Distributors who are in a qualifying period to achieve Advisor status ($500 in product purchases or more). This excludes any volume of former Advisors (Distributors at the 40% discount level).

Here is the full compensation plan of AdvoCare

Refund Policy Of AdvoCare

A Retail Customer is entitled to a refund on any Product purchased in the last 30 days. Distributors must refund a Retail Customer’s money immediately if asked to do so. Failure to do so may result in the suspension or termination of a Distributorship at the sole discretion of
AdvoCare. After issuing a refund to a Retail Customer, Distributors must return the unused portion of the product along with a copy of the Retail Sales Receipt and a completed Retail Customer Product Return form in order to receive a replacement for the product from AdvoCare.

AdvoCare will permit a Distributor to return or exchange product up to an amount of $500.00 in retail value within a calendar year. The products must be unopened. Any Distributor wishing to return Product worth more than $500 in retail value within one calendar year must resign his or her Distributorship.

Distributors who choose to resign may be entitled to receive a refund for the cost of his or her Distributor Kit, plus shipping and handling, sales tax (if applicable) as well as a refund or credit for any unopened products purchased from AdvoCare.

To be entitled to a refund, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Products must be unopened and returned to AdvoCare at the time the Resignation Form is submitted;
  2. Returned Products must be accompanied by an inventory list and proof of purchase.
  3. Returned Products must also appear in the order history of the Distributor to be eligible for a refund; and
  4. Returned Products must have been purchased within the 12 months preceding the date of resignation.

A distributor must be able to certify that he or she has sold or consumed at least 70 percent of all products previously purchased prior to placing a new order.

Finale Verdict: AdvoCare is a product-based pyramid scheme.

They charge you an upfront free and then try to get you to make a large $2100 product purchase. There is a limited amount of money to be made through retail sales with AdvoCare. The majority of money to be made is through recruiting representatives who personally purchase the products and the Incentives, Overrides, and Leadership Bonuses that come from that. You have to recruit people to receive the top bonuses they offer. Nearly 92% of all active distributors earn less than $2000 per year. And out of all the distributors, only 30% are considered as “active”.

After reading my post, I would appreciate if you share this with anyone you know who is going through the AdvoCare. You will be saving more lives from this scam. This is our fight. To prevent anyone else from being victims and to shut down this fraud. If you have lost money to this scam, you can file a complain with the FTC here www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov and tell them your experience with the company.

Lastly, if you have gone through the AdvoCare, you can share your experience with me down below! I would be happy to talk to you. 🙂

If You Want To Make A Real Income Online, You Can Check Out My Start Here Page!

Written by: Samuel
Date Published: 06/06/2016
1 / 5 stars

Leave a Reply

8 Comments on "What Is AdvoCare About? – A Scam? A Pyramid Scheme?"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest

This is a very detailed description of Advocare. Quite honestly, I haven’t heard about these guys…but I’ve heard A LOT about Herbalife! As I was reading through the article, it seemed like it was almost a mirror reflection of the Herbalife MLM. Thanks, I definitely will be staying away from Advocare and their products!


Enjoyed reading your content, never heard of Advocare before.
My first thoughts of Advocare was that it sounds like a really popular, professional and amazing product. But as I read further it does sound like a scam. With all the misinformation you receive and the earning potential. Think there are better ways to earn money.
Really enjoyed reading about the safety of the product and Jessica Harvy experiance with it.
Was an interesting read. Thanks for the information

Simon Crowe in Asia

Hi, thanks so much for the info here.

I’m looking for a way to set up my own business and was looking at AdvoCare because I’ve had some friends who have been promoting it recently.

I’ve also looked at Amway and Herbaife (I didn’t realise it was the same guys behind Herbalife and AdvoCare!)

The only thing that puts me off is the fact I have to harass my family and friends to buy stuff or sign up to start my pyramid.

Can you promote the products online (like with a link). This would be better so I can refer people to their website and they can order and pay their.

I don’t want to be taking payments and having to drive round delivering myself.

Thank you for your help : )


That sounds like a LOT of “business opportunities” I have seen online! Thanks for the heads up! What are some of the red flags that would indicate that a company is a pyramid scam and what is the best way to avoid them? Are there any programs that you would suggest?