BBB National Programs Archive

Advertising Watchdog Expands Inquires to Include Lead-Generation Companies, Review of Telemarketing Scripts

New York, NY – Jan. 28, 2013– The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) today reported on its first full year of activity under an expanded program to review advertising claims made for lead-generation businesses, as well as the review of  telemarketing scripts and calls.

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus and funded by the Electronic Retailing Association.

ERSP, founded in 2004, has earned the respect of the direct-response industry through its expeditious, fair and even-handed review of core truth-and-accuracy advertising claims made by electronic retailers.

In 2011, companies in the lead-generation marketplace approached ERSP to develop a self-regulatory mechanism to address misleading lead-generation practices and provide review of advertising and telemarketing claims made by participating members of the coaching and mentoring industry, particularly claims concerning the financial returns consumers may expect when purchasing such products.

Over the past year, ERSP has reviewed lead-generation and coaching and mentoring advertising, telemarketing scripts and telemarketing calls from two participating companies, Professional Marketing International (PMI) and Prosper, Inc.

“ERSP is encouraged by the commitments of the participants to self-regulate their advertising practices, and we’re very optimistic that other companies in this industry will follow their example and join us in this self-regulatory initiative,” said Peter Marinello, Director, ERSP.

In addition to its review of the participants’ advertising, ERSP opened 10 inquiries regarding lead-generation advertising, including matters that ERSP forwarded to the FTC because the companies refused to participate in the self-regulatory process.

As part of its review process, ERSP provides companies with an assessment of their telemarketing and/or advertising practices, follow-up reviews to assure compliance with ERSP recommendations, and the opportunity to discuss these reviews in detail with ERSP staff.

Participants in the pilot program are committed to ensuring that their advertising is truthful and accurate. They’ve expressed their support of industry self-regulation and they have taken ERSP’s recommendations into consideration during the development of new advertising.

To learn more, please read the ERSP General Activity Report.