Is Viridian Energy A Pyramid Scheme?

is veridian energy a pyramid scheme scam or legitViridian Energy Review
Founder: Michael Fallquist
Launched: 2009
Website: www.Viridian.com
Enrollment fee: $299 or + $59/year
Overall Rank: Not recommended

Quick Viridian Energy overview

Greener energy, cheaper electric bills, limitless earning potential.

If you’re thinking about joining Viridian as a way to make enough money to replace your full-time income, at first glance this company might sound like the perfect opportunity.

But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that all is not as good as it seems…

Customer complaints about higher prices, at least half a dozen law suits, the pyramid scheme style commission structure and the fact that 90% of all associates make less than $28 per month are just a few of things we’ll look at in this Viridian Energy review.

And just so you know, I’m in no way affiliated with Viridian so there’s no bias here. I just say what I see and present you with the facts so you can decide what you want to do next.

Of course if you have any questions or comments please feel free to share them below. 🙂

What we’ll cover in this Viridian review:

  • What is Viridian Energy?
  • What is the Viridian business opportunity?
  • Is Viridian Energy a pyramid scheme?
  • Should you become a Viridian associate?

What is Viridian Energy?

Viridian Energy was founded in 2009 by Michael Fallquist who was awared the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. Their offices are in Norwalk, Connecticut and Viridian Energy is currently operating in the United States and Australia.

As a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, they give independent associates the opportunity and structure to make money by promoting cheaper energy rates for electricity from greener, more eco-friendly energy sources like wind and solar power.

Their mission is simple:

“To make green energy affordable and readily available.”

what is viridian energy about

The latest income disclosure figures show that Viridian Energy made $263 million in total revenue for 2016 and was recently ranked #59 in Direct Selling News’ Global 100 list.

They’re also a member of the Direct Selling Association.

According to Viridian, thanks to energy deregulation in many states, they are able to offer cheaper and cleaner energy than any other company out there.

These are bold claims but if this is true, I’m all for going greener.

The products

When you’re looking at a potential business opportunity one of the most important things to look at are the products to find out if these products are something you’ll feel confident in selling and comfortable putting your name too.

As a representative your main job is going to be to try and convince people to switch energy suppliers, so let’s take a look at what Veridian offers in terms of affordable and flexible rates and plans for their environmentally conscious customers:

viridian simply right

Simply Right

This is the natural gas plan which claims to help neutralise your carbon emissions through buying carbon offsets.

Everyday Green

veridian everyday green review

The Everyday Green plan is for electricity customers who want to help protect the planet by using 20% local and renewable sources.

Clean & Simple Solar

veridian solar review

Homeowners can pay to get solar panels installed and save money using clean energy. This is definitely a growing trend and a great way to help save the environment.

For full product details you can visit Viridian.com.

Is Veridian Energy really cheaper?

ElectricityWatch.org recently ran a Viridian energy rate comparison and found that their energy rates are “not attractive” and lower energy rates can be found elsewhere.

Viridian’s rates are also variable which means they can change at any time. That’s hardly reassuring as a customer, and not a good sign for someone thinking about promoting this company.

viridian energy comparison cheaper

That’s a 263% increase! [Source: Yelp.co.uk]

Is Viridian Energy really greener?

Okay so in some cases, Viridian energy may be more expensive than their competitors but some people might still switch if they know the energy sources are greener.

But are Viridian as green as they make out?

I think buying carbon offsets is definitely a good way to reduce our carbon footprints and installing solar panels to get 100% clean energy is a no-brainer.

But what about their gas and electricity sources?

This is where I feel Viridan are a little deceptive in how they market themselves. In the table below you’ll see energy sources for Viridian’s Conneticut customer’s for 2013

(Interestingly this document has since been taken down and is no longer available)

For a company claim to offer affordable green energy there’s still a long way to go…

viridian energy business opportunity review

Not as green as you think…

Common Viridian complaints and lawsuits

Every company gets complaints, but Veridian gets a lot more than usual.

1. False Energy savings claims and higher prices

According to the National Law Journal, in September 2014 a class action was bought against Viridian from customers claiming:

“The company uses a “bait-and-switch” sales model to lure them to sign up for the company’s purportedly cheaper electricity service that over time actually costs the households more.

Legal News Line also reports of a New Jersey man filing a class action suit against them for “deceptive practices“.

veridian energy scam reviews complaints

2. Automatic renewal of energy contracts without permission

According to Fox61.com The State of Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is investigating claims from consumers saying:

“Consumers allege that Viridian automatically renewed customers to a fixed rate contract at the end of a previous contract without  customer consent or authorization.

If the customers then left Viridian by switching to another supplier or returning to Standard Service during the term of the renewed contract, Viridian assessed an early termination fee on the grounds that the early termination fee provision was contained in the renewed contract.”

Is this really something you can proudly promote to your friends and family?

What is the Viridian business opportunity?

The reason it’s good to know about the company history and common Viridian complaints is because these are likely the kind of issues you’re going to be dealing with if you sign up as a Viridian associate.

I don’t know about you but I only ever want to be involved in representing products and services I can be proud of.

Why?

Because you’re putting your name to the company you’re promoting and if it all goes belly up, it’s you in the firing line.

Okay, so now let’s look at the Viridian business opportunity and find out if you can really make money with this thing.

Viridian Energy claim to give a structure and commission plan to help every day people become successful business owners and take advantage of the deregulation of energy (17 states have deregulated energy so far).

The idea is you help people pay less for their gas and electric bills, save the planet create an income for yourself at the same time – who wouldn’t want that?

viridian business opportunity review

To sign up and become a Veridian associate you’ll need to pay a $299 enrollment fee and an annual renewal fee of $59. This will give you access to a member’s area and the ability to promote their products.

As with all direct selling companies, there is a leadership ladder with 6 levels and qualifying criteria for each level:

  • Enrolled
  • Associate
  • Senior Associate
  • Consultant
  • Lead Consultant
  • Senior Consultant

Your rank depends on your ability to find new energy customers and recuit other Viridian reps under you. This takes a lot of sales skill, time and effort but it’s not impossible if you’re good at this type of thing.

As with nearly every multi-level marketing company I review (with the exception of Wikaniko) their compensation plan is way too complicated and complex and you probably need to book a session with a lawyer to try and decipher it.

You can check out the full Viridian Energy Compensation Plan here (PDF)

But basically:

Signed up a new energy customer? You’ll get a customer acquisition bonus plus a percentage of their energy bill each month.

But if you really want to make money with Viridian, you’ll going to need to recruit others into your downline and help them find customers too.

The whole compensation plan is built around the idea of finding and recuiting others into Veridian. They have what’s called “The power of 5” incentive which is where you sign up 5 customers in your 1st month, 5 in your 2nd month and in the 3rd month help each of them to sign up 5 of their own.

This means (5 + 5) x 5 = in total you’ll need to find 50 people who want to switch their energy suppliers and start promoting Viridian in the first 3 months.

For 98% of people, signing up 5 new customers every month is going to be extremely difficult, especially when you factor in the fact the prices are higher and the energy sources aren’t as green as they claim.

Here’s a video explanation of how the business opportunity works and a more detailed view of how you go about earning commissions:

It looks like not many people are making money with this…

In my recent Zija Opportunity review I talked about why 98% of people going into a network marketing company fail.

It’s a very sad but true statistic and unfortunately Viridian Energy seems to follow this trend…

The most up to date income disclosure was published by Viridian in 2015 shows that over 40% of people who enrol with Veridian never make any money.

Those who make it to Associate rank earn only $5 per month on average. Those who make it to Senior Associate earn just $28 per month on average.

Do the simple math and this means over 90% of all Veridian associates made less than $28 per month.

It’s clear we’re not talking about life-changing amounts of money here. And this is keeping in mind that we don’t know how much time, energy and money these aspiring entrepreneurs put into this to real very little reward.

viridian energy income disclosure

Is Viridian Energy a pyramid scheme?

is viridian a pyramid schemeI’ve just shown you a chart that shows a vast majority of people losing money and a tiny fraction (less than 0.1%) of people at the top of the chain making a lot of money.

But is Veridian a pyramid scheme? Well, it kind of depends on what your definition of pyramid scheme is.

Viridian is a multi-level marketing company otherwise known as a direct sales or network marketing company and their commission structure rewards those who recruit others under them.

According to Wikipedia a pyramid scheme is:

“… a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services.

 

As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.”

Do I think they’re an illegal pyramid scheme?

No, because they have products you can promote to earn money.

But it’s important you know that in order to qualify for the higher levels of the company and increase your commission percentage you will have to meet recruitment targets.

Here’s an interesting quote from Veridian’s income disclosure which I think says a lot:

“Your Rank depends on your own ability to acquire customers, recruit other Independent Associates who choose to work within your team, and then teach them how to duplicate within a successful system.”

But just because they’re a product-based pyramid scheme does not mean they’re a scam. I think they are a legit company, even if only a small fraction of associates are making any money.

Should you become a Viridian Independent Associate?

Personally I would never get involved with a company like this. I feel like they’re using misleading marketing tactics to get people to think their energy is cheaper and greener when it isn’t.

I think their compensation plan is unnecessarily complex and the long line of customer complaints and law-suits against them will make this a hard sell.

Do you really want to nag your relatives, friends, neighbors and church members to try and persuade them to switch energy suppliers? Do you really want to be ‘that guy’?

In my opinion, the reason 98% of people fail in the network marketing industry is because it’s a lot harder than people think and as I said before, it does require a certain skillset I don’t have. I hate face to face selling and to succeed with Viridian you’re going to need to do a lot of that.

And what do you do once you’ve burned through your list of contacts? We all have a limited number of family and friends we can harass before there’s no one else on the list.

Thinking realistically, do you really think you can sign up 5 business owners under you in the next 30 days who can then sign up 5 others under them?

Maybe you can, I don’t know.

Ultimately it’s up to you whether or not you want to join as an associate but my advice would be to give this one a miss. I just think it’s a lot of hassle and stressful work for little to no reward.

A better alternative

You might find this hard to believe but I don’t spend all of my waking hours sitting here complaining about network marketing companies…

I actually own several very successful web-based businesses I created from scratch that generate money for me all year round WITHOUT the need for face to face selling or recruiting.

You can read my online success story to find out more, but basically I learned how you can build profitable websites based on any topic you’re interested in and make money from them.

There’s a free training course I took back in 2014 called Wealthy Affiliate that helped me go from broke and living in my mum’s house to earning more than $6,000 a month and living the life of my dreams in Thailand.

You can check out my Wealthy Affiliate review here

I’ll be honest with you – it does take work to get everything set up, but once you put the effort in upfront you can potentially earn money around the clock, yes even while you sleep.

Click on the button below to find out more about the training program and the biggest online community of entrepreneurs on how they can help you start your own success story:

 

wealthy affiliate review

 

What’s your take on Viridian? Had any experience with them as a customer or associate? I’d love to hear from you!

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