Business Review
 

Online Business Systems

Overall Rating: Overall Rating
Type of Business: Marketing System Kit for Herbalife
Skill Level Needed: N/A
Income Potential: N/A
Website: http://theonlinebusiness.com
Recommended: No

Online Business Systems

by David Harris

Is “Online Business Systems” found at theonlinebusiness.com and myobsoffice.com a scam? The “legal” answer is no, but it comes with caveats that are based in part on a wide variety of individual experiences by people who have dealt with this company.

And many people have had experiences with “Online Business Systems” because it’s purpose is to be a way (not the only way) to get a foot in the door with Herbalife.

Herbalife was founded in 1980, is a public company that is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has annual retail sales in the billions of dollars, and has over two million distributors in over eighty countries.

“Online Business Systems” was started in 1998, was incorporated in 2001, and became a Better Business Systems Accredited Business in 2003.

So has anyone who signed up through Online Business Systems ever made a lot of money? Absolutely. No question. Herbalife does indeed have an overall good company reputation as far as the actual quality of their product.

And again, though Herbalife would be quick to point out they are not endorsing Online Business Systems, the actual corporation ‘Online Business System’ is a marketing company that offers an opportunity for independent distributors to make money through Herbalife.

If you go to the Online Business Systems site, or run searches to learn about the “opportunity”, you will likely end up getting to a page that wants your name, email address, phone number, and zip code.

They want you to get their “risk free income kit”, and they will certainly contact you if you express interest.

I am looking at the Online Business Systems website right now, and it implies this offer expires tomorrow. Yesterday it told me it expired today.

This is however a common practice among many legitimate businesses (a call to action technique), but does still seem odd for a reputable business to do since it’s also a technique most all scam sites used to make you “hurry before you lose out on the opportunity!”.

Online Business Systems also tells me this income kit has been heard on radio stations in “my home town”.

They use their access to my IP address that shows what my specific town is, and it lists the specific town I live in on my ad, of course.

Your ad would list your town. Well, that’s a good thing, huh?! Sure… except in my case there are no radio stations in my town! (Oops!)

But again, I am not saying it is a scam! If you went through the process and it wasn’t for you it may feel as if you were “scammed” by Online Business Systems, but outside of issues like timeliness in explaining what you are about to get into, how much it will cost, and other deceptive strategies designed to appeal to you, I do not find those in and of themselves a big enough violation to truly reach “scam status”.

“OK, so what am I about to get into if I choose to go with Online Business Systems?”

Initially (which is an important word) you will likely be asked to spend $9.95 for the aforementioned “income kit”, which consists of a CD, a DVD, a booklet/tutorial, and a consultation with a personal business coach.

The Online Business Systems people are very careful to not claim these “training materials” fully explain specifically how to actually run your own business, rather the kit will show you necessary steps you should take in order to successfully profit from your own independent business.

Each corresponding step costs more money. If you decide to stop at the initial step, you are told to return your materials for a refund.

If you do not do that in a timely manner it will cost you $39.95. It does appear – unlike true scams – they will make an attempt to resolve this with you, though you will likely have to “jump through some hoops” in order to get the full refund.

One reason it behooves Online Business Systems to resolve your dispute is that they would get extra consideration from companies like the Better Business Bureau (and thereby better ratings with them) if they can show they have indeed “resolved complaints”.

If you decide to pursue the “Online Business Systems” marketing system further, you will as I stated be encouraged to purchase more “upgrades”.

The numbers might change a bit, but research shows some fairly consistent prices for the next steps could include the following:

Choosing to seriously pursue the business marketing model instead of the less expensive option of only being a basic distributor (trying to sell Herbalife products on your own), you are looking at a likely $399 charge. 

Plus $100 for a “back office” one time setup fee. Then it’s perhaps $49.95 to $79.95 charge each month to keep it going.

Then you “need” to spend around $50 to set up a merchant account for credit card processing, then $25 a month to continue that service.

OK… so is that all?

Of course not.

To really do this “right” in the “you must spend money to make money” continuum, you’re going to need leads, right? Right. And they “only” run you $100 each.

You will want a lot of them. Oh – did I mention you’re going to need to send a package to each lead? That will be $29.95 more. For each package.

Now… you’ve put so much into your business already, don’t you think it’s a good idea to actually advertise your business?! That makes sense… how much is that?

Good news – you get to decide how much you spend on advertising!

But really, if you want success, the more you spend, the more you can make. I wouldn’t scrimp here if I were you. (Thanks coach!)

And there you have it. Now you are a primed-for-success independent distributor!

Congratulations!

That’s almost as good as being a Superviser!
(Wait a second… supervisor? What’s that about?!)

Glad you asked. As a Supervisor you get to make even more money, make a higher percentage of profits, get even more discounts… it’s really something you should aspire to!

And it “only” takes purchasing and/or selling $4,000 of Herbalife products (minus your discounted cost) in a month. But really, as a Supervisor you will definitely be in a position to make more money!

So how then is Online Business Systems not considered a scam?!

Because even if (and since) not everything is presented up front when you spend around 10 bucks on your income kit, they do eventually get around to telling you all of this.

Plus, if you had the money necessary to invest the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars necessary to get you to “higher levels”, there are many people who have indeed profited enormously from this system.

The “things” you are buying are indeed valuable to you.

The main complaint from people who have gone with “Online Business Systems” and then “dropped out” appears to be how so much of what they would eventually want to know is concealed from until they reach later stages of the process.

Even if you point blank ask specific questions, the protocol is to basically treat you as if you are on a need to know basis, and eventually that will all be explained to you…”now let’s focus on what really is important to you at this stage!”.

I want to state again the truth that ‘Online Business Systems’ does not equal ‘Herbalife’.

They have legal detachments that are valid. You can indeed be an Herbalife distributor (and the rest of the different company positions) without dealing at all with Online Business Systems.

Online Business Systems itself is not a terrible system, especially if you are new in the whole multi-level marketing (MLM) field and want to pursue that kind of business.

If you were to do a search for Online Business Systems, you would likely run in to a lot of glowing sites “about” them, with wonderful testimonials and “comments” seemingly around every corner.

Many say right up front things like “I am a completely independent reviewer and am not affiliated in any way with Online Business Systems… these are just my thoughts – good or bad!”.

Again, remember, Online Business Systems is a marketing system that in essence “attaches itself” to a company with billions of dollars of retail sales per year.

Herbalife started over 30 years ago, and Online Business Systems started in 1998 and incorporated in 2001.

Online Business Systems have an immense amount of combined experience in their industries, and with that amount of time and resources, they know how to “get around” anybody that might have anything negative to say about them.

So Online Business Systems is obviously very careful to legally separate themselves from anything that might appear to paint them in a broad, negative light.

Or, in cases, even in good light.

Here’s an example. Onlinebusinesssystems.com takes you to a “home page” that can get you started with the “real” Online Business Systems.

I will let you know here – and you will see soon why I am saying this – that if you add “two dashes” and go to online-business-systems.com, you get to the same page as this one.

Clicking on the flashing “Click Here To Get Started” link takes you to their page to get their “income kit”, but that page’s address says you’re dealing with theonlinebusiness.com.

Affiliate names listed with the Better Business Bureau connected with Online Business Systems include Income at Home, Online Business Systems – Nat’l Customer Svc Ctr, Online Marketing Solutions, and the Centurian Media Group. All indeed related.

But, for example, if you were to type in Online-businesssystems.com (note I added just one “dash”) you get to an “unaffiliated review” – that’s pretty darn glowing about Online Business Systems in their opinion.

Even though the claim is they are not affiliated (legally true), if you were to click on the “about” link from there, it tells you “I used to work for Herbalife as a MLM consultant and I have heard quite a bit about Online Business Systems so I have decided to present both the good and bad about the company as a free resource to the public.”

Something they might want to change in that site, then, is where the “reviewer” says “our products are sold exclusively though Herbalife independent distributors… “.

Wait… “our products”?! Not affiliated… yet it’s “our products”? Legally I’m sure they’re covered. Ethically?… that strikes me as odd if nothing else.

Something else I noticed about that “review” is immediately following their red-highlighted “disclosure” that it is an unbiased review, the first sentence says:

“A solid company founded 27 years ago, Herbalife has business operations in over 64 countries.”

The very next sentence? “With businesses operating in over 64 countries, Herbalife has been in operations for more than 27 years.” OK… thanks… I get the point.

Again, this doesn’t point to fraud – perhaps it’s just bad copyrighting. Not legally an issue I’m sure. (Again, there are years of experience making sure they are covered legally.)

In actuality, that particular “unrelated” site does do a more thorough job of explaining what you are looking into with Online Business Systems than the simple “send your info for a trial kit” page found at either onlinebusinesssolutions.com or online-business-systems.com.

It lays out pertinent information and/or advice that says, amongst other things, that you must go through training before you are in position to get your business going. (True.)

If it’s not the right job for you, it doesn’t mean it’s a business scam. (True.)

If you don’t send your kit back, it will cost you $39.95. If you create an “operational budget”, you are able (I would suggest at least you could be able) to get back your investment and build a business. (True.)

It tells you it is not a “pyramid” because in that case the only ones who make money are the ones at the top. It tells you in order to succeed, you must “work hard to sell the products”. (True.)

As a distributor – and this is important – “one has to use the product”. (True.)

You should view this a business, and put in “time, finances, training, and hard work. (True.)

This venture “is demanding in terms of time and effort”, and a distributor’s success “depends on their ability to get prospective customers”. (True, and true.)

Again, that’s advice form an unaffiliated site – legally. But wouldn’t you have liked to have known all of that from the “real” Online Business Systems site?! I would!

“But wait – don’t both Online Business Systems and Herbalife have at least “A ratings” from the Better Business Bureau?!”

Yes. Yes they do.

“Then if that’s the case, didn’t you just waste my time with your review?!”

I don’t think so. Of course people affiliated with Online Business systems or Herbalife would likely tell you that fact proves… well, whatever they want you to think that proves.

I’ll let them explain it, as I’m sure they will try. Why do I say the grade doesn’t necessarily mean that should be the “end of the discussion”?

Here are some things I’d like you to know:

While getting a positive rating in my opinion can be a very good sign for a particular company (and inversely a negative rating can be a very bad sign), a good question to ask might be “what are the criteria the BBB uses to rate a business/company?”.

That is a good question! Here are some answers I found when reading “the fine print” at the actual BBB site:

Pretty much right away you see a statement that “BBB has determined that Online Business Systems meets BBB accreditation standards”.

What does it take to get that? Well, for one it means the company has showed a good faith effort in resolving consumer complaints. That’s a good thing.

In the next sentence, you see the businesses pay the BBB for “accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public”.

Hmmmm… ok, it’s a service… it’s not a terrible thing to pay for it. Agreed.

“Next?”

The BBB says right there on their review of Online Business Systems that the accreditation does not mean that the business’ products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB!

It doesn’t?!

BBB also says the accreditation does not mean they have made a determination as to the business’ product quality or service competency!

It doesn’t?!

Well then, what factors did the BBB use to rate Online Business System so highly?!

BBB says some factors (and I say these are legitimate considerations) include length of time business has been operating, complaint volume for a business of this size, response to complaints, resolution of complains. All good things when taken at face value.

Remember earlier I mentioned Online Business Systems often resolved issues regarding the initial refund? The BBB review criteria in order to get a good rating strikes me as a good reason to do that. Of course.

And to help you breathe easier, BBB does say they have “sufficient background information” on this business.

That is a good thing in my opinion, but it would be better if they specified what that background information actually was.

And though it is true Online Business Systems itself is accredited, it does not mean each distributor (which is what you might want to become) gets the same accreditation.

If you want that, you must get that (and pay for it) on your own… which you rightfully should.

So as a synopsis of all the information I just gave you based on research, I will say again – no – Online Business Systems does not in my mind qualify as a scam.

I do wish they would be more up front with what/who they really are.

I wish people thinking of getting involved with them could get a clearer picture of what they were getting into in areas such as time and expense earlier in the process.

That’s my main concern here, actually: transparency!

Not just eventually… but initially as well.

Of course the Online Business Systems representatives do not really want to do this for obvious reasons, including and especially the fact it might scare potential leads away once they hear “Herbalife”.

“Herbalife?!… forget it!” Again, Herbalife is also considered to be a reputable business with a quality product line, so I am not personally trying to dissuade you from either Herbalife or Online Business Systems.

If you are interested in the product line (which includes wellness products, nutrition, vitamins and supplements, etc.); have a desire to put time, training, and hard work into building a business; and – perhaps for you most importantly – a significant financial investment into building your own business, perhaps Online Business Systems is something you might want to look into.

If you are not interested in investing a good deal of work, time, training, and money into a business selling the type of product Herbalife has to offer… perhaps this particular company – Online Business Systems – is not for you.

I hope I’ve helpful to you, and I do wish you much success!

I do not recommend “Online Business Systems”.

Thanks for reading…

– David

 

 

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