Renée Cogdell Lewis,
Senior Compliance Manager & Corporate Counsel
INTEGRITY is what Yunho Lee led with when he started the Univera business twenty years ago – integrity of the aloe vera plants he grew and integrity of the products he sold. Today, his son, Bill Lee, carries on his father’s legacy of integrity and provides the opportunity for Associates to go passionately into the world every day helping people achieve their health and financial goals.
Associates’ daily interactions with people are the foundation of the Univera community and ethical business practices are imperative. As a member of the Direct Selling Association (“DSA”), Univera abides by the DSA Code of Ethics (“Code”) and encourage Associates to follow them as well.
Tatiana Galeas, Univera VP & Director of Sales & Marketing said, “The most important role of the DSA and Univera is to protect our Associates’ businesses and to ensure we all are doing business right. Univera and its Associates are proud to follow the DSA Code of Ethics.”
The DSA adopted the Code in 1970 as a self-regulatory measure to address deceptive and unlawful consumer and recruiting practices. This move served to distinguish its membership from predatory companies operating as pyramid schemes. An independent Code Administrator ensures member companies comply with the Code and resolves consumer complaints.
“The Code of Ethics is in place because the DSA is protecting the right of our Associates to engage in their business in ethical ways and because it represents the best practices of our industry,” said Casey Harris, Univera Vice President and General Counsel. He continued, “At Univera, we champion the Code because it demonstrates our commitment to protecting all of Univera Nation through its tenents – which is something we take very seriously.”
There are many provisions to the Code and below are a few highlights:
The Code prohibits stock piling of products or what is termed “inventory loading.” Salespeople should only be encouraged to purchase reasonable amounts of product that can be used or sold within a reasonable timeframe. This rule is in place to discourage the purchase of product for the sole purpose qualifying for increased commissions, higher ranks and bonuses.
Buyback of Sales Force Purchases
The purpose of the buyback provision is to eliminate the negative financial effects of inventory loading. The Code encourages companies to allow its sales force to return marketable inventory and other purchased products within twelve (12) months. This gesture engenders trust in the company, the people who introduced them to the company and the products. If members of the sales force are dissatisfied in any way, they know they are able to receive a refund.
Cooling Off Period
The Code requires member companies provide consumers with a minimum of three (3) business days to return product. This requirement ensures consumers who felt pressured to buy or simply have buyer’s remorse are able to return product for a full refund. Univera has gone above and beyond in its efforts to stand behind its products by providing a 90-day, money back guarantee.
Proper Earnings Representations
Marketing messages about a company’s opportunity, whether they be in social media, print or made verbally, must be true. While it is possible to have enormous financial success with a direct sales company, the company and its sales force must ensure consumers understand this type of success is not typical and that it takes time, effort and money to build a business. The Code requires its members to publish an Income Disclosure Statement informing consumers about average earnings and costs associated with being a member of the sales force. A copy of the Univera Income Disclosure Statements can be found here: Income Disclosure Statement – US and Income Disclosure Statement – CA.
Engage in Lawful and Ethical Recruiting Practices
There is nothing worse for a salesperson who has spent countless hours cultivating relationships and building a team than someone raiding and stealing them away. The Code strongly discourages this type of behavior between companies and its salespeople, especially when it is done in an unethical manner and/or interferes with contractual obligations. The best way to build a team is organically over time.
The DSA Code of Ethics provides an excellent framework for companies and their salespeople to work from to run their businesses in a responsible and honest way.
By taking advantage of the Univera reputation for integrity and following the Code, Associates have a winning combination to attract new customers and people interested in starting a Univera business.
Suzan Zeiger, an Associate from Puyallup, Washington, said it best, “The more people trust us, the more they will want to be involved with us. We are fortunate to be in a company which highly values integrity.”