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A BounceBack for Mannatech? Um, OK?

Mannatch's Ambrotose -- or, what Wired last year identified as, ya know, "sugar pills"
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This morning brought a chipper press release from Mannatech, the Coppell-based nutritional supplement company besieged by bad press. At its annual convention last weekend in Dallas, higher-ups unveiled a new line: an “all natural product that supports recovery after physical activity or over-exertion.” The new stuff is called BounceBack.

Sounds like just what the company needs after two years of negative publicity and lawsuits, one of which was recently settled for $11 million. But, see BounceBack seems kinda ... premature. Because that suit was hardly the last of Mannatech’s problems.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is suing the company for making exaggerated claims about its natural supplements -- you know, that they can clear up little issues like liver cancer, cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome. You can read all about it here -- including the state's original petition, filed in Travis County District Court in July 2007.

This all highlights the challenges multi-level marketing companies face in controlling their associates, who are independent contractors who often work from home (the company has more than 5,000 salespeople). Take this recent story, about a Washington state Mannatech associate who had a wee problem with the Internal Revenue Servicex.

BounceBack? Sure, yeah. We’re sold. --Megan Feldman

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