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A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed by two former affiliates of Tori Belle Cosmetics, a troubled MLM firm.

The $9 monthly cloned website fees that Plaintiffs say Tori Belle continued to demand even after affiliates quit the business are in question.

according to Theresa Johnson and Steven McKnight, the plaintiffs;

Significant revenues are generated by Tori Belle, wholly independent of the accomplishments of its Affiliates.

The truth is that the corporation secretly generates a considerable percentage of its income by charging both current and former Affiliates high fees and expenses.

The $9 monthly “website charge” (or “access cost” for Tori Belle) is the most prominent.

Tori Belle Cosmetics has not been evaluated by BehindMLM. Yesterday, when we discussed the business’ most recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy, I got my first glimpse at it.

I checked the company’s transparency on joining fees and discovered a $9 “start your business” price. I’m assuming that the monthly charge for keeping a Tori Belle Cosmetics affiliate membership is $9, as stated in the plaintiff’s complaint.

The majority of the time, but not always, MLM businesses charge a monthly or yearly fee to join the MLM opportunity.

In the plaintiff’s complaint, it is claimed that former affiliates of Tori Belle Cosmetics are still being charged.

Most credit card bills include this cost, which is usually unnoticeable. For years, there was no indication that this fee was being levied.

Active Affiliates naturally agree to this and should anticipate it. Former Affiliates, however, do not.

The most recent affiliate agreement for Tori Belle was published in 2020.

The status of the Affiliate would be reduced to “Affiliate Shopper” if sales quantities fell below predetermined thresholds.

The person would no longer be eligible to receive commissions and incentives, but the $9 website charge would still apply.

However, it was made explicit in the “Term Section” that this would only apply for three months of missed website fee payments or four months of inactivity.

A termination or downgrading to “Junior Affiliate,” a status subject to “no ongoing monthly service costs,” would result from either of these events.

You won’t be billed by Tori Belle Cosmetics if you become inactive, get degraded, and remain so for four months (or three months if you quit paying). That is the way things should operate, at least.

The issue is that Tori Belle never intentionally decided to discontinue billing anyone as a result of inactivity or extended periods of non-payment.

Former Affiliates were still being charged up until they complained or until they switched credit cards.

Tori Belle occasionally even charged deceased persons based on facts and assumptions.

Both Plaintiffs Johnson and McKnight, despite being former affiliates, assert that they “just found that they were being charged monthly website fees by Tori Belle.”

Additionally, the Complaint describes what appear to be particular instances of inaccurate invoicing from earlier this year;

Earlier this year, Tori Belle billed ex-Affiliates for three or four website fees in a single month (and occasionally even more).

People were given a partial refund if they complained.

According to information and belief, this is happening because the corporation is racking up expensive legal bills as a result of its unlawful behavior and is intimidating former Affiliates with bogus federal lawsuits.

Two ongoing federal lawsuits brought by Tori Belle Cosmetics against former affiliates were each filed in early 2021.

Tori Belle Cosmetics LLC v. McKnight is the name of one case. Steven McKnight, the class action plaintiff, and defendant Cynthia “Cindy” McKnight both hail from the same state, but I was unable to establish a relationship between them.

Update: August 22, 2022. It becomes out that Cynthia McKnight is married to Steven McKnight. I had a suspicion, but I refrained from assuming until I had proof.

Before that, Cindy McKnight worked for Tori Belle Cosmetics. This is from the lawsuit Tori Belle filed against her;

In addition to commissions based on sales, Tori Belle promised to give the defendants extra incentives for exceeding certain goals in performance or promotional activities. In McKnight’s instance, Tori Belle accomplished this admirably while earning over $250,000 per year over the pertinent period.

The complaint then accuses McKnight of recruiting people from her Tori Belle downline to work for another business; this practice is known as “cross-recruitment.”

That’s a different matter, but this assertion from the class action struck me as odd:

Mr. McKnight and Ms. Johnson are both former associates who had a transient active relationship with the business.

I’m not justifying Tori Belle for allegedly billing McKnight in an unauthorized manner, but I do question why he ever had an account. Was he only there to double his commissions because his wife was the successful affiliate?

This is not mentioned in the class action lawsuit or Tori Belle’s complaint against Cindy McKnight, as far as I can see. ends updating

Resuming the class action, the plaintiffs charge Tori Belle with

fraud, careless misrepresentation, contract breach, and a violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

The proposed class, according to the plaintiffs, will “number in the hundreds, if not thousands,” and they hope to establish

Whether Tori Belle misrepresented itself and broke its affiliate agreement, constituting per se misleading or unfair behavior;

Whether Tori Belle’s unfair or deceptive business practices have harmed Plaintiffs financially; the legitimacy of Tori Belle’s collection of fees to those who have left the firm; and

Damages suffered by the Class and the Plaintiffs.

It is yet unknown how many allegedly impacted affiliates of Tori Belle there are overall and how many erroneous fees were collected.

Plaintiffs, The complaint by Johnson and McKnight was submitted to the Washington Superior Court on August 2.

According to what I understand, there is an automatic stay in place regarding the planned class action lawsuit until the August 3rd bankruptcy filed by Tori Belle Cosmetics is resolved.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to follow specific files further forward because this matter is at the state level. We’ll update you if we learn anything new regarding the Washington Tori Belle class action.

Update: August 22, 2022. In reaction to the $9 monthly website fees, Tori Belle has provided the following corporate comment;

The claim is that we overcharged customers by $9 after they discontinued their affiliate agreements, or the agreements should have expired and made millions of dollars as a result.

Additionally, they claim that there was no actual way for them to know they were being charged. These charges are all emphatically refuted.

The case is still open.

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