COVID-19 Updates & Resources
National Programs Operating Status
BBB National Programs remains vigilant, following the guidance of federal, state, and local officials and using necessary precautions to keep our employees, partners, and stakeholders safe and healthy.
As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, we stand ready to help businesses and individuals navigate the significant challenges they are facing in a time of great uncertainty.
Like any major natural disaster, the coronavirus will have a significant impact on businesses and economies and has already demonstrated an ability to disrupt regular operating procedures for most Americans. BBB National Programs staff, and the 10 programs we serve, have successfully moved to remote work and remain operational.
BBB National Programs remains focused on serving its stakeholders during this international pandemic.
- We are accepting new and proceeding with existing complaints, challenges, and inquiries.
- We are conducting video conference, email, and teleconference dispute resolution, compliance, and guidance support.
- We are welcoming new participants and program supporters. All our programs are providing uninterrupted services.
BBB National Programs stands ready to serve you. If you do not already know how to engage with us, and need assistance or have questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org—one of our team members will respond quickly to assist you.
Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food Drug Administration have both stated that there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19, BBB National Programs urges all companies and their salesforces to exercise extreme caution in the dissemination of health-related product claims in their marketing. They should be especially mindful of expressly claiming or implying that their products:
- Treat or alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19
- Cure, treat, or alleviate symptoms of viruses
- Boost or improve immune function
- Eliminate or remove germs and/or viruses
Should any direct selling company become aware of any COVID-19 or other problematic health-related claims, send them to us here.
Operating Status: National Advertising Division
For the health and safety of our National Advertising Division® (NAD) stakeholders, all NAD Fast-Track SWIFT filings should be filed through our online portal and NAD Standard filings should be submitted by email until further notice.
- Opening a Challenge? Please email Laura Brett, email@example.com, and Sheryl Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your opening letter, exhibits, and the challenged advertising. If you submitted a filing by mail after March 9, please email Laura Brett.
- Large Files: Please contact us directly if any files related to your filing are too large to submit via email and we will make alternate arrangements.
- Filing Fees: You will be provided an invoice and information on submitting payments electronically.
- Meetings: All meetings will move forward as scheduled and be held by video or telephone conference. The attorney assigned to the matter will contact you to set up meeting logistics.
Operating Status: BBB AUTO LINE
We are experiencing a higher than normal call volume.
- If you are calling to file a new BBB AUTO LINE® claim, click here.
- To follow up on an existing BBB AUTO LINE® claim, email us.
To protect the health and safety of BBB National Programs staff, stakeholders, and partners, and to align with the guidance of federal, state, and local officials, we are rescheduling upcoming events to the fall or moving them to an online platform. We are communicating with participants and registrants via email but if you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
Our national partner, Google, has gathered some useful resources to help your business navigate these challenging times. View these resources here.
Following NAD Inquiry, L’Oréal Modifies Disclosures to Clarify that Content on Sites May be AdvertisingFollowing an inquiry by the National Advertising Division (NAD), L’Oréal USA made immediate modifications to three L’Oréal-owned websites, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Hair.com, to enhance and make it clear that the content is written by or on behalf of L’Oréal. The challenge arose from NAD’s routine monitoring program.
Luxury Mattress Manufacturer, The Saatva Company, Should Exercise Caution Making Claims Based on Third-Party Ratings and RankingsFollowing a challenge by Casper Sleep Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) found there no evidence demonstrating that luxury mattress manufacturer Whitestone Home Furnishings, LLC d/b/a The Saatva Company has material connections to third-party websites that impact the editorial independence of the sites, but recommended Saatva discontinue the claim “America’s best-reviewed luxury sleep brand” if the claim:
NAD Recommends Amerisleep Discontinue or Modify “Native Advertising” Websites SleepJunkie.org and SavvySleeper.org
The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that two mattress ranking and review websites, SleepJunkie.org and SavvySleeper.org, owned by the mattress manufacturer Amerisleep, LLC, may appear independent to consumers and recommended that the advertiser discontinue the sites or modify them to ensure that consumers clearly understand that the websites’ contents are advertising for Amerisleep. The implied claims that the reviews on SleepJunkie.org and SavvySleeper.org do not have a material connection to Amerisleep, were challenged by Casper Sleep Inc.
NAD Refers Advertising Claims for Little Spoon Baby Food to FDA and FTC for Further Review After Company Declines to Comply with NAD’s RecommendationsThe National Advertising Division (NAD) has referred online advertising claims made by Little Spoon, Inc. for its Little Spoon Baby Food to the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for further review after the company declined to comply with NAD’s recommendations to discontinue certain “fresh” claims.
NAD Recommends GlaxoSmithKline Discontinue Benefiber Claims of “100% Natural,” Satiety, and Curbing Cravings; Advertiser to AppealThe National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) discontinue the express claims that its Benefiber Original and Benefiber Healthy Shape fiber supplements are “100% natural,” and that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings,” and “helps you feel full longer.” These claims, which appeared on Benefiber product packaging and website advertising, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), maker of the competing dietary supplement and laxative product, Metamucil. GSK said that it will appeal the adverse findings to the National Advertising Review Board.
After Appeal, NARB Recommends AT&T Discontinue “5G Evolution” and “5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G” ClaimsA panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that AT&T Services, Inc. discontinue its “5G Evolution” and “5G Evolution, The First Step to 5G” claims. The advertising at issue had been challenged by T-Mobile USA, Inc. before the National Advertising Division (NAD). Following NAD’s decision, AT&T appealed NAD’s recommendation that these two claims be discontinued.
NAD Finds Certain Invisalign Product Performance Claims Substantiated; Recommends Clear & Conspicuous Disclosures and Discontinuation of Some ClaimsThe National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that Align Technology, Inc. (“Align”) substantiated certain product performance claims for Invisalign clear aligners as challenged by SmileDirectClub, LLC (“SDC”), maker of Smile Direct Club clear aligners, but recommended modification to the accompanying disclosures. In addition, NAD determined that Align’s description of its SmartForce attachments and the challenged social media posts were not misleading. However, NAD recommended that Align:
BASIS OF INQUIRY
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) is a national advertising self-regulation program administered by BBB National Programs, Inc. This inquiry was commenced by the DSSRC pursuant to its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry. Through its monitoring of the direct selling marketplace, DSSRC reviews income claims and product claims made by direct selling companies and their salesforce members through all means including websites and social media.
NAD Recommends Verizon Discontinue the Claim that it is Delivering “The Most Powerful 5G Experience for America” in Two TV Commercials; Advertiser to AppealThe National Advertising Division (“NAD”) determined that, in the context of two challenged television commercials touting Verizon’s rollout of 5G service in sports venues, the claim that “Verizon is building the most powerful 5G experience for America” reasonably communicates a message about the consumer experience of using 5G mobile service that was not supported by the evidence in the record. Therefore, NAD recommended that Verizon discontinue the claim that it is delivering “the most powerful 5G experience for America.” Verizon said that it will appeal this adverse finding to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). NAD also recommended that the advertiser modify the challenged advertising to ensure that disclosures regarding 5G coverage both inside and outside the touted sports venues are clear and conspicuous (e.g., that Verizon’s 5G service will be available in parts of the sports venues; and that it is available only in parts of select cities). The claims were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc., provider of competing wireless services.
CRN and NAD Continue Commitment to Self-Regulatory Efforts for Dietary Supplement Advertising as the CRN/NAD Program EndsThe Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation (CRNF) and the BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division (NAD) announced today that the CRN/NAD program will conclude on July 1, 2020. Launched in 2006, the CRN/NAD program has served as a key self-regulatory initiative to monitor and promote truthful and accurate advertising for the dietary supplement industry, closing more than 360 cases.
BBB National Programs’ Children’s Advertising Review Unit Urges FTC to “Follow Up Now” on U.S. Senators’ Call for Inquiry into the State of Children’s PrivacyWith widespread recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated children’s risk online, BBB National Programs’ Vice President Dona Fraser, who leads the non-profit organization’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), today issued the following statement in support of a call by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conduct an inquiry into the state of children’s privacy in digital advertising and educational technology:
Following NAD Challenge, Factor Nutrition Permanently Discontinues Claim that Focus Factor is “America’s #1 Brain Health Supplement”The BBB National Programs National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that Factor Nutrition, LLC discontinue the claim that its Focus Factor brain health supplement is “America’s #1 Clinically Studied and Patented Brain Health Formula,” following a challenge by Quincy BioScience, Inc., maker of Prevagen brain health dietary supplement.
NAD Recommends Discontinuance of Claim that Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Toothbrush Provides “The Same Great Clean” as the Oral-B Pro 1000 for a Fraction of the PriceThe BBB National Programs National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recommended that Church & Dwight Co., Inc. discontinue the comparative claim that its Arm & Hammer Spinbrush toothbrush (“Spinbrush”) provides the “same great clean as the Oral-B Pro 1000,” as well as the accompanying value claim, “instead of paying $50, you get the same great clean for less than $10. So why pay more?” These claims, which appeared in website and television advertising, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), maker of the Oral-B Pro 1000 electric toothbrush.
NAD Findings Support the Claim that Benefiber Healthy Balance “Helps Relieve Occasional Constipation and Abdominal Discomfort Without Causing Diarrhea”The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) provided a reasonable basis for its claim that Benefiber Healthy Balance “helps relieve occasional constipation and abdominal discomfort without causing diarrhea.” The claim, which appeared on product packaging for Benefiber Healthy Balance, was challenged by the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), maker of competing dietary supplement and laxative product, Metamucil.
Following National Advertising Division Challenge, Claims that Talyoni and Ecoco Cannabis Sativa Cosmetic and Wellness Products Contain CBD will be DiscontinuedThe National Advertising Division (“NAD”) recommended that Talyoni Professional, LLC and its affiliate, Ecoco, Inc. (collectively “Talyoni”) discontinue express claims that Talyoni and Ecoco Cannabis Sativa cosmetic and wellness products contain CBD, as well as product performance claims based on the presence of CBD in the products. The claims were challenged by Zotos International, Inc., maker of Joico and other hair care products.
BBB National Programs’ Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Applauds Federal Trade Commission’s Warning Letters on Coronavirus ClaimsBBB National Programs’ vice president of the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Peter Marinello, today applauded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s April 24 action to send 10 warning letters to direct selling businesses disseminating inaccurate claims about the ability of their products to treat or prevent coronavirus disease, as well as claims that their salesforce members can earn significant income during the current pandemic that is not representative of the amount of income that their salesforce members generally earn.
NAD Finds Certain Performance Claims for Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners Supported, but Recommends Modification to Others| Recommends Discontinuation of Challenged Comparative Savings Claims, Speed Claims, and TestimonialsThe National Advertising Division (“NAD”) determined that SmileDirectClub, LLC (“SDC”) substantiated certain express claims regarding the ability of its Smile Direct Club Clear Aligners to correct some bite issues, but recommended modification to others. NAD also recommended that SDC discontinue the challenged comparative claims, savings claims, speed claims, and consumer testimonials, as well as modify certain questions in SDC’s “Smile Assessment” quiz, and SDC’s “Confident Smile Guarantee” policy. The claims were challenged by Align Technology, Inc. (“Align”), maker of Invisalign clear aligners.
BASIS OF INQUIRY
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) is a national advertising self-regulation program administered by BBB National Programs, Inc. This inquiry was commenced by the DSSRC pursuant to its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.
Specifically, DSSRC identified several core product claims and earnings claims as well as representations regarding bonuses and incentives that are being disseminated on social media Company Associates.
Privacy group brings app publisher and website of health treatment centers into compliance with best practicesToday, the Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP) released new actions detailing its efforts to provide consumers with control over how their data is used in personalized digital advertising. The privacy watchdog brought the app developer Mammoth Media into full compliance with the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory principles (DAA Principles), which are best practices for privacy and interest-based advertising (IBA). Separately, the program alerted Recovery Centers of America, a company that operates addiction treatment facilities, to IBA on its website which the company immediately addressed.
NAD Finds Supported Petco’s Claim that it is “Setting a Bold New Standard for Nutrition”; Recommends Modification|Discontinuance of Certain “No More Artificials” ClaimsThe National Advertising Division (“NAD”) determined that Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. had submitted evidence sufficient to demonstrate that it is “setting a bold new standard for nutrition” and that it “will continue to evaluate and evolve [its] standards and assortment to take pet nutrition to new levels.” However, NAD recommended that Petco modify claims that it is removing “all” artificial ingredients or that there will be “no more artificials” in any dog food or treats. NAD also recommended that Petco modify certain hyperlinks to its “Better Nutrition” page, discontinue its characterization of artificial ingredients (i.e. as contained in other pet foods or carried by its competitors) as “nasties” or “bad stuff” and related imagery as to such pet foods in its video advertisement, and discontinue claims that as a result of its initiative to remove artificial ingredients from its store shelves, Petco provides “better nutrition.”