A NEW mum felt pressured into working from her hospital bed HOURS after giving birth – for a company that saw her earn just £20 in six months.
Vickie, 24, began selling products for cosmetics company Nu Skin when she was heavily pregnant with her first son – but struggled to make money despite "hours and hours" of work.
Nu Skin is a multi-level marketing company – which offers huge financial rewards, cars and holidays in return for selling products on social media.
A new BBC Three Documentary – Secrets of the Multi Level Millionaires – investigates the industry, and finds a trend of cash-strapped Brits being targeted to join – before finding themselves in debt, or working for as little as 50 pounds a month.
Vickie says she signed up to become a Nu Skin distributor a week before going on maternity leave, as she and her husband were worried about finances.
She was drawn in by social media posts showing "people at the top [who] had lovely cars, lots and lots and lots of money, and lots and lots of nice houses".
Vickie says she was told: "Follow this training, do what we do, copy what we do – and you will get the same success."
However speaking to BBC journalist Ellie Flynn, she claims the reality was far from glamorous.
"I was in it for about six months, and I earned about £20," she admits.
Vickie claims she spent "hours, day in, day out" trying to sell products and recruit team members in a bid to make a success of her business.
She says she felt pressured to work by her "upline" – the person who recruited her, and made money off anything she sold – or anyone she recruited.
The pressure to work was so extreme she worked for the first eight hours of her 25 hour labour – and soon after giving birth.
She tells Flynn: "I was in the hospital working hours after I had my baby, he wasn’t even a day old."
The BBC documentary finds Nu Skin places a heavy emphasis on recruitment in training materials.
While undercover at a training event, Ellie is told: "This is a recruitment business. That’s where the big money comes from."
This heavy emphasis on recruitment has led some people to claim these companies are operating as illegal pyramid schemes.
Action Fraud says: "Pyramid scheme fraud involves an unsustainable business which rewards people for enrolling others into a business that offers a non-existent or worthless product."
Vickie echoes these concerns, saying she herself "targeted" people as she knew that was the way to make money.
"You don't earn as much on what you sell, you earn on your downline – on their hard work," she claims.
A spokesperson for Nu Skin said: "As with any business venture, the level of success varies greatly based on factors such as a person’s goals, ambition, commitment and skills.
"We have strict policies against misrepresenting the opportunity or our products and making exaggerated claims.
"We also have a one-month 100 per cent, and one-year 90 per cent refund policy for resalable products to further ensure a sales leader is not financially harmed.
"We are committed to strict compliance with the laws and regulations where we operate and have implemented policies and training to help our sales force comply.
"We take seriously any misrepresentations made by sales leaders and take appropriate remedial action."
Secrets of the Multi Level Millionaires: Ellie Undercover is available on BBC Three, via BBC iPlayer, on Saturday April 27 at 10am.
The Sun previously revealed the shocking truth about the marketing scandal on Britain's maternity wards that target vulnerable new mums.
Another struggling mum claims she was chased for washing machine repayments by BrightHouse staff "while in labour".
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