This question merits a deeper discussion, because the word “scam“ means different things to different people.
According to Dictionary.com:
scam [skam] Show IPA noun, verb, scammed, scam•ming.
1. a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
verb (used with object)
2. to cheat or defraud with a scam.”
1960–65; orig. carnival argot; of obscure origin
By this definition, some people consider Pre-Paid Legal/LegalShield to be a scam. The reason for this; there is often a huge disparity between people’s expectation of what the service provides and the actual value (or at least perceived value) they receive once they have the actual service.
Some will argue that this is a result of “false advertising” or at least inflated claims. Others claim that this is the result of a associates overselling the membership. It’s possible that the network marketing scenario only adds to the distasteful feelings some members (and perhaps, associates) are left with, given the over-the-top expectations that are often set in these sales-oriented settings.
Google Trends: “PrePaid Legal” and “Legal Shield”
Certainly less people are searching to see if it’s a “scam” which could indicate that the new branding has a more positive reputation than its predecessor.
Google Trends: “PrePaid Legal Scam” and “Legal Shield Scam”
“Pre-Paid Legal Scam”
For several years now, many have been calling Pre-Paid Legal a scam. PPL defenders on the other hand, not only swear by the service, but often claim that those who make these claims are either disgruntled former associates who didn’t follow the sales guidelines and/or irresponsible members who failed to understand what they were signing up for.
The myriad of lawsuits have certainly not helped the company’s image. Pre-Paid Legal detractors cite these lawsuits and other problems as evidence of their claim. Proponents of the organization generally reply that lawsuits and complaints are part of doing business.