Industry Education Remains Top of Mind for Direct Selling Companies

Mar 9, 2022 by Peter Marinello, Vice President, Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council, BBB National Programs

Last month I joined thought leaders from across the direct selling industry at the 2022 Direct Selling Legal and Compliance Summit, a three-day event featuring sessions that addressed the latest issues concerning direct sales regulation, legal best practices for direct selling companies and their salesforce members, as well as compliance strategies for the year ahead. Distinguished speakers discussed the impact of the change of administration at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Business Opportunity Rule, the FTC Notice of Penalty Offense letters, as well as what is on the horizon for the direct selling industry. 

At the event, I had the pleasure of joining compliance professionals Rena Schultz (Xyngular) and LaRane Jenson (LifeVantage) on a panel moderated by Terel Transtrum (ServiceQuest) that focused on how direct selling salesforce members can convey their own experience and excitement about products or services responsibly and in compliance with relevant laws and self-regulatory standards. The panel was called “What to Say When You Can’t Say Anything” (Spoiler alert: When there is nothing you can say, then you shouldn’t say anything).  

Our session focused on a topic at the forefront of our work at the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) – how to appropriately substantiate and disseminate product and earnings claims – one that will be on center stage at our 2022 Direct Selling Summit on July 27. 

As an example of the topic’s relevance, on the same day that Former FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen and Former Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Andrew Smith participated in a session at the Legal and Compliance Summit (The Real World: FTC Edition), the FTC held an open meeting regarding its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Concerning Earnings Claims. The result of that open meeting was the issuance of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with respect to earnings claims.  

As the Commissioners pointed out during their conference session, the motivation for this rulemaking is, in part, to recoup the FTC’s ability to recover monetary relief for consumers after the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management.  

We look forward to digging into this topic further at the virtual Direct Selling Summit in July for our audience of direct selling industry business leaders, legal professionals, advertising experts, and salesforce members, with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joining us as our distinguished keynote speaker. 

This event provides practitioners in the direct selling industry with an educational inside look at how direct selling advertising is monitored and reviewed for compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Direct selling companies have a critical responsibility to protect consumers from misleading advertising and to prioritize the training and education of their independent salesforce members to ensure that consumers receive truthful messages regarding the companies’ products and the direct selling business opportunity.  

The Direct Selling Summit, a half-day lineup of one keynote session along with three panel sessions, will focus on that business responsibility and will help companies understand how to build brand trust through truthful, transparent interactions with consumers through their advertising.  

With all that is transpiring in the direct selling world, the Direct Selling Summit is sure to be one of the noteworthy industry events of 2022. Registration is opening soon – for questions about the event, reach out to our events team at events@bbbnp.org. You can also learn more about the 2021 Direct Selling Summit or read the recap on our blog.  

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