BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Reviews Advertising for ‘FBA Stores,’ Recommends Marketer Modify or Discontinue Certain Claims
New York, NY – July 21, 2017 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that FBA Stores modify or discontinue claims made in online and print advertising for its FBA Stores 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 an anonymous competitor challenge.
ERSP reviewed online and print claims that included:
• “The opportunity is here now — you can make big money selling on Amazon in today’s online market.”
• “And if you can follow simple directions, you absolutely CAN earn these big checks.”
• “Make $5,000-$10,000 on Amazon in the next 30 Days.”
• “All you have to do is join the membership, pay attention, list products on Amazon and Get paid.”
• “Start an Online Business with No Money out of your pocket. Setting up an Amazon Account is 100% Free.”
• “Have Amazon Store Your Stuff, Inventory Your Products & Ship Out Your ALL Your Orders & Generate $1,000-$2,000 by Selling the Stuff You Have Lying around your House.”
• “I have an internet business bringing me in over $6,000 per month consistently!”
• “I’ve had a profit of $2,321 in just the last month.”
At the outset of the inquiry, the marketer explained that it is in the process of reviewing all of its marketing and voluntarily agreed to modify or discontinue several of its advertised claims. Specifically, FBA stated it will no longer make earnings claims and is in the process of removing all such claims from its marketing materials. ERSP limited its review to the remaining representations.
In its review of the claim “Start an Online Business with No Money out of your pocket. Setting up an Amazon Account is 100% Free,” ERSP concluded that the monthly cost of maintaining a website is material information to consumers and would be a consideration in their purchasing decision. ERSP determined that the cost to maintain the Amazon account should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the advertising.
ERSP also determined that the marketer’s claim “Join Over 4,000 Successful Students Around the Globe” was reasonable and would not be misinterpreted by consumers. Similarly, ERSP concluded that the claims “Last year we sold over $10 Million on Amazon & we share exactly what we do with our clients” and “My name is Chris Bowser and over the past 17 years I have sold over $40 Million online” were not considered core messages in the advertising.
Regarding the claim “All you have to do is join the membership, pay attention, list products on Amazon and Get paid,” the marketer committed to ERSP that it will be revising this claim in future advertising, a decision ERSP determined was warranted based upon the implied message that was being communicated in the context of the advertising.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “… FBA Stores (FBA) agrees to adhere to all recommendations made by ERSP in its Final Decision … FBA affirms its commitment to strict compliance with all federal, state and local laws and regulations in addition to industry best practices.”