‘We got the rug ripped out from under us.’ Dozens complain about Idaho Falls company not paying them
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IDAHO FALLS — A company headquartered in Idaho Falls is facing heated criticism after dozens of direct sellers went public with complaints about not being paid for their work.
At least 30 ambassadors for Juvenaé, all women, reached out to EastIdahoNews.com last week. Most said they are owed anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Juvenaé started as a multi-level marketing business in June 2020 promoting health, beauty and lifestyle products.
Each of the women who contacted us live in various parts of the country. They had become an ambassador and built tiered teams to promote and sell the products. Many of the ambassadors spoke on the condition of anonymity, as they fear it might impact their chances of getting paid.
Change in business model
The ambassadors say last month, Juvenaé announced it was moving away from its multi-level marketing business model and changing to an affiliate program. That means ambassadors would no longer recruit others to work under them. Instead, everyone would recruit customers and collect a commission on those sales.
The founders of the company, Scott Seedall, Lauralie Seedall and Kent Derricott, sent an email in July to their ambassadors.
“Juvenaé was founded with the goal of having thousands of ambassadors across the world who actively worked to build their businesses by both recruiting and engaging new ambassadors and enrolling customers. That has not been our reality,” the email said. “For many months we have had an overwhelming number of Juvenaé customers. In the last three months we have averaged over 83% retail customers and this month it’s climbed to over 90%. All the reasons suggested for this lead to the same conclusion: our compensation plan does not fit our ambassador demographic.”
Juvenaé ended its previous sales model on July 14 and the new affiliate model began on Aug. 1.
“We got the rug ripped out from under us,” one ambassador said.
The change in business model came as a shock to many ambassadors who had invested time and effort to create teams and sell products.
“We were promised an amazing ground floor opportunity with a new company and the CEO having numerous years of business experience coming from a family legacy of business owners,” one woman wrote in an email to EastIdahoNews.com. “(But) everything came to an abrupt stop.”
The woman said the ambassadors should have been paid sales and rank bonuses on July 15, but they weren’t.
“We were told that they would be evaluating each individual ambassador account to ensure that we truly earned the commissions,” she said. “They promised that we would all be paid by Aug. 15.”
But that date came and many of the ambassadors still had not been paid.
‘It’s Time to Move On’
Things took another turn on Aug. 17. The now-affiliates received an email titled “Thank You All But It’s Time to Move On.” The email informed all current affiliates that they “will begin the process of winding down Juvenaé LLC as it currently exists. The affiliate program will be closed down Aug. 30, 2021.”
EastIdahoNews.com reached out to Juvenaé about the close of the affiliate program and CEO Scott Seedall responded:
“The affiliate transition has not gone as we expected. We have a lot of people that love our products and they want to buy the products but as we looked at the first few weeks after we made the transition, the feedback we received from some of our people, we don’t think the affiliate program as we had envisioned it, in the long run, would be as successful as we would need it to be, so we are transitioning out of that as well where we are just going to go directly to customers and to wholesale accounts that want to carry the products.”
As for the Aug. 15 payments, Scott says they are still being processed.
“We are working as fast as we can to get all final commission payments calculated and paid out. We continue to process returns from our ambassadors, which impact the commissions and slow down the process. In our communications to our ambassadors, we anticipated we could complete the process by Aug. 15, but it is taking a bit longer.”
He said the company is continuing to pay out commissions daily.
“We’ve made great progress on that. We’re down anywhere in between 90 and 95 percent of all of the individuals who are eligible to receive commissions for June and July have been paid. The ones that we are finishing now are some of the larger ones,” he said.
Despite those efforts, several of the ambassadors say they are having trouble communicating with management, and cited that Lauralie’s Facebook page had been taken down. They say that further hampered their ability to speak with management about the money owed to them.
Scott says the page was taken down because of profane and abusive messages.
“The threats – the unbelievably unprofessional behavior on the part of some of our ambassadors. I understand that everyone is frustrated. This isn’t where we saw the company going when we set out,” Scott said.
Support for Juvenaé
Not everything has been negative, however. Several ambassadors reached out say they were happy with the efforts made by Juvenaé.
“I joined the company July 15, 2020, in pre-launch, and was one of the top 20 people to sign up. I was lucky enough to meet and spend time with Scott and Lauralie Seedall, Kent Derricott and some of the Juvenaé staff. They were always respectful, caring and in touch with all of the direct sales team. They worked above and beyond to listen to our concerns and requests,” said Tess Ingalls.
Others said they’ve had few issues with payment.
“I have been paid in full each and every month without issue. Juvenaé was running along smoothly and without issue until a number of top-level leaders defected from other direct sales companies and brought huge teams with them and frankly, and in my opinion, a hornet’s nest of problems,” said Kathi Hof VanderMeer. “I will continue to use the products and support the owners and corporate staff as they continue to work through the issues and resolve them as I am confident they will.”
Scott reiterated to EastIdahoNews.com that they are working their hardest to ensure everyone gets paid.
“We’ve always paid them and we will continue to pay them,” he said.