BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Recommends ‘Work at Home Institute’ Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims Made in Online Advertising
New York, NY – Dec. 7, 2016 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Work at Home Institute modify or discontinue claims made in online advertising for its Work at Home Institute program.
ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.
ERSP reviewed claims that included:
- “If I could show you an easy, proven and guaranteed way to earn money from your living room, and without ANY prior experience of online marketing required… Would you be interested?”
- “… A legitimate, proven, and easy work at home job opportunity that can make your financial dreams come true, as it did for me and has done for thousands of other people worldwide!”
- “Here is an example of someone I know personally, and the earnings they made a few weeks after I explained this opportunity. While results vary on a case by case basis, the point is, it’s really up to you how much you’ll make and the potential is endless”
- “With The Internet There Is No Limit To How Much Money You Can Earn”
- “URGENT UPDATE: Recently this work at home opportunity has received a lot of national media attention. All positions for this program are filling up quickly. To secure a position you must act now!”
ERSP was concerned that images depicting transaction activity summary reports and the potential income calculator could reasonably communicate the message that consumers could earn money quickly and easily. ERSP found, however, that with the
exception of one or two isolated examples, there was no evidence to indicate that consumers could typically expect to earn money in the amounts stated by using the Work At Home Institute program or that consumers could earn significant income by working a few hours a day and without any experience. ERSP recommended that such claims be discontinued.
ERSP was further concerned that the advertising could be understood to communicate to consumers the amount of money they could earn by using the product. For example, the advertisement noted that “With The Internet There Is No Limit To How Much Money You Can Earn” and then featured three monthly “activity summary reports” showing monthly earnings of $18,900 (January), $82,600 (February), and $37,660 (March). The marketer did not provide information whether these amounts may be typically expected by consumers who use the program and there was no clear and conspicuous disclosure regarding the amount of money that consumers could reasonably expect to earn in a month. ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue the earnings claims at issue.
ERSP further recommended that both claims identified as testimonials and endorsements be discontinued and found that the presentation of the income calculator in the context of the advertising was inappropriate. ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue the selective enrollment and limited availability claims.
Finally, ERSP determined that the advertising (and streaming video) at issue included a number of performance claims, earning claims, and consumer testimonials that could not be authenticated and/or supported.
Accordingly, ERSP recommended that this advertising be discontinued in its entirety.
During the course of ERSP’s inquiry, the advertiser modified a number of the claims at issue and the company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “…the advertising that ERSP evaluated was replaced prior to Work at Home Institute’s receipt of ERSP’s draft report.”