BBB National Programs Archive
Investing Daily Agrees to Modify Advertised Claims for Personal Finance Program Following Recommendations of Electronic Retail Self-Regulation Program (ERSP)
New York, NY – Feb. 19, 2019– The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Investing Daily, a division of Capitol Information Group, Inc., modify or discontinue certain claims for the Personal Finance program, the company’s subscription service for investment recommendations.
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 through an anonymous competitive challenge.
The Marketer explained that Personal Finance is an entry-level subscription that provides subscriber with a wide variety of investment recommendations, including equities, fixed income, options trade, and general financial commentary. The service is primarily marketed to consumers through online advertisements featuring videos from a spokesperson, Jim Fink.
From the outset, the Marketer pledged its full cooperation and good faith efforts to work within the spirt of advertising self-regulation, and noted that it had every intention of complying with the ERSP inquiry.
ERSP reviewed email and online advertising claims for the mentorship program, including:
- “Give me 9 minutes a week and I guarantee you $67,548 a year.”
- “Look how easy it is to collect thousands of dollars in ‘free money’ every month.”
- “And that’s why selling options is about the closest you can get to never losing money investing.”
- “I ended the year with a cash-flow well over $100,000… which is just plain unbelievable.” –Roger D., Wayzata, MN.
In its initial response to the inquiry, the marketer informed ERSP that it would be making revisions to the advertising that was the subject of this inquiry. ERSP reviewed the proposed changes, and made several recommendations.
For example, the marketer changed the claim, “I want to thank you for taking the first step to earning an average of up to $185 per day, every day… forever” to “I want to thank you for joining me on the path to earning up to $185 per day, every day trading options. That adds up to $67,548 per year.” ERSP determined that the claims, in the original and modified forms, constituted earnings claims, and, therefore, the marketer must have a reasonable basis for making these claims. Similarly, it concluded that claims regarding paying for higher education or purchasing items such as diamond rings and cars, were implied earning claims that communicate that consumers can earn enough money to achieve these goals.
The marketer submitted articles documenting the prior success of trades recommended by the program Options for Income, which was available for consumers to purchase when subscribing to Personal Finance. While ERSP appreciated this documentation, it also questioned the relevancy of this data to the earnings claims made specifically for Personal Finance. As such, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue any express or implied earnings claims.
ERSP also determined that claims such as, “Give me 9 minutes a week and I’ll show you my $67,548 trading blueprint” constituted an earnings claim and could also be interpreted as a claim that earning money is quick and easy. While ERSP recognized that a select few, dedicated purchasers may earn money, it was troubled by claims regarding quick and easy profits. Accordingly, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue any claims that earning a profit using Personal Finance is quick and/or easy, and specifically, that it can be done on 9 minutes a week.
Additionally, ERSP reviewed consumer testimonials and claims regarding the success and earnings of the spokesperson, Jim Fink, using the recommendations in Personal Finance. While ERSP did not question the success of the endorsers it noted that if earning claims being disseminated by a marketer are attributed to product users and are atypical, then the marketer’s burden is to disclose (clearly and conspicuously) the amount of money consumers can generally expect to earn. The advertising that was the subject of the inquiry contained several consumer testimonials. However, the marketer did not submit information regarding what the “typical” customer experience would be, and whether, or not, the featured testimonials were “atypical.” Therefore, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue the use of customer testimonials and claims regarding the success of Jim Fink, and/or include disclosures that state what consumers can generally expect to earn.
Investing Daily, in its marketer’s statement stated, “Our company is committed to running its business ethically, following best industry practices, and making sure that its subscribers are fully informed of the products that we offer.”