Last year a reader wrote me to ask about Le-Vel Thrive. Jason wrote:
"[My neighbor] has started this 'Thrive' regiment with a patch, a pill, and perhaps some other lifestyle changes, and posts daily pictures of herself on Facebook to 'document' her progress with weight-loss. To me, this looks to be just another one of the plethora of scams and schemes out there. What do you know about this 'company'? Perhaps you've already written articles on it that I wasn't aware of. If not... perhaps this could be one to look into and write about for future articles.
I decided it was worth looking into and the result was this article on Le-Vel Thrive. I'll let you read the article, but regular readers can guess my reaction to their weight-loss patch and "premium lifestyle capsules."
My article aimed to educate people on MLM and pyramid schemes similar to Truth in Advertising's article on The Thrive Experience:
"When earning your fortune depends on constant recruitment, you may find yourself entangled in a possible pyramid scheme. Know the red flags."
For the most part, I simply stuck to quoting the FTC guidelines on MLM and pyramid schemes and giving my opinion based on those guidelines.
The overwhelming response in the comments are from readers detailing how bad Le-Vel is and thanking me for writing the article.
This is the third time I've been sued for trying to help consumers make an informed decision. The previous two times I had lawyers who were greatly sympathetic to my cause and willing to win their fees in what is called an anti-SLAPP motion. They are suing me in Texas, not my home state of Rhode Island. That means that I have to find a lawyer in Texas. Thus far, I haven't one willing to work on the contingency of winning to get their fees. It's hard to ask them to take the risk of perhaps working for no money at all.
On the other hand, defending such a lawsuit can run tens of thousands of dollars. Lawyers are typically paid several hundred dollars per hour and it adds up quickly.
This leaves me in the position to ask readers to help me so I can help you (cue Jerry Maguire). Suddenly my article last week,Ask the Readers: What Makes for a Successful GoFundMe Campaign?, makes a little more sense, right?
I give a lot more detail about what is going on my GoFundMe page.
I ask that you give what you can to support free speech. If you can't give anything, please share it on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and anything else you might use like InstaChat or SnapGram.
Finally, if you happened to know a lawyer in Texas who is willing to work on contingency and/or a news organization please put me in touch with them. I can be reached here.
Thank you for your support.
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