Milkshakes recalled by wellness company caused chronic vitamin overdose, BC sales rep says

The former Canadian poster for an American multi-level marketing firm for wellness and weight loss is now suing the company, claiming its unsafe products caused it to overdose on vitamins and minerals.

Chera Harris of Kelowna, British Columbia, was once a popular reseller of products marketed by Isagenix, winning a national weight loss challenge and earn well above the typically low take-home pay of most company salespeople, according to court documents.

But according to a civil suit filed last year, Harris “experienced a significant overall decrease in his health due to a chronic overdose of vitamins and minerals” from eating and drinking Isagenix meal replacements.

Many Isagenix shakes and bars were recalled by Health Canada in 2020 and 2021 because of “over-enrichment” of vitamins, which made some customers sick.

Harris claims to have consumed these products between July 2017 and November 2020, resulting in overdose symptoms including chronic pain, abnormal heart rhythm, insomnia, depression and anxiety.

She alleges that Isagenix was negligent and deceptive and breached its duty of care to its customers.

Her lawsuit says she was “entirely dependent” on Isagenix to accurately report the level of vitamins and minerals in her products, and if she had known they weren’t safe, “she would have purchased alternative products “.

B.C. judge allows trial to go ahead

Isagenix has yet to file a response to Harris’ claim, but the company has filed for a stay of the case, arguing that as a sales associate, Harris signed a contract obliging her to settle. disputes by arbitration in Arizona.

This argument was rejected by the Supreme Court of British Columbia last week, when a judge rules that Harris was suing as an Isagenix customernot a seller, and allowed the lawsuit to continue.

Isagenix calls itself a “Global Wellness Company” and operates using a multi-level marketing system.

This type of business, also known as MLM, works by using salespeople who sell directly to friends and family. Stay-at-home moms are often targeted to work for MLMs, and they often have to make a significant investment in buying inventory before they can start making money from sales.

Sellers can increase their income by recruiting and sponsoring other representatives.

Multilevel marketing companies often target stay-at-home moms trying to earn extra money. (S_L/Shutterstock)

Harris won $10,000 in 2019 when she was named the winner of the Canadian Enterprise Grand Prize in her “Isabody Challenge” for weight loss after losing 95 pounds. The company’s CEO called her an “inspiration to our entire team” in a press release and Harris gave the company “a whole new inspired life”.

She’s earned more than $35,000 as an Isagenix Associate and brought on 75 new Associates and “Preferred Customers” since she started selling the company’s products in August 2017, according to Demand. Isagenix to suspend the matter.

This income puts her well above the typical reseller of Isagenix products.

MLMs are required by law to disclose the average income and income range brought in by their associates.

According to Isagenix’s 2020 Disclosure Statement, the average associate earned only US$843 — and that’s before business expenses are factored in. Even among the top 10% of salespeople, the median annual income was $7,427 before expenses.

Harris’ claim seeks damages, including pain, suffering and lost earnings, punitive damages for “intentional, malicious, vexatious and dangerous” actions, as well as reimbursement of health care costs. healthcare under the Healthcare Cost Recovery Act.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court. Isagenix spokespersons have not yet responded to requests for comment.

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