Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Trades of Hope Discontinue Salesforce Member Earnings Claims

McLean, VA – April 17, 2024 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs recommended that Trades of Hope LLC discontinue certain earnings claims made by salesforce members on Facebook and YouTube.  

The inquiry into Trades of Hope, a multi-level direct selling company that specializes in the sale of an assortment of goods such as jewelry and coffee, was commenced by DSSRC through its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry. 

The earnings claims that formed the basis of this inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  • “start earning an income immediately!”
  • “I’d been with Trades of Hope 9 months and I was swimming in accolades--accolades that had allowed me to write the biggest check of my life and pay off all our outstanding debt…earning an income”
  • “Want to earn extra income?”
  • “Want to earn extra income?”
  • “more financial freedom for my family and families around the world…You’ve been a part of almost $300,000 in artisan products sold”
  • “You can have this financial flexibility too, to earn an income where the sky is the limit…financial freedom”
  • “I have sold over $150,000 in my five years with Trades of Hope but because I got over my concern about being pushy and started inviting people to join me in doing an important work that I love so much and then those people invited others to join them, we’ve grown a team that sold $150,000 in one month.”

 

As stated in DSSRC’s Guidance on Earnings Claims for the Direct Selling Industry, some words and phrases commonly used in earnings claims can carry a particularly high risk of being misleading to consumers. Such words and phrases include claims such as “financial freedom,” “full-time income,” “replacement income,” “residual income,” and “career-level income.” Furthermore, earnings claims must be substantiated and representative of a level of earnings that can be generally expected by the audience. 

When DSSRC opened its inquiry and informed Trades of Hope of its concern that these types of earnings claims can lead a reasonable consumer to conclude that salesforce members can earn significant, career level, or replacement income from the Trades of Hope business opportunity, Trades of Hope discussed the claims with DSSRC and promptly removed several of the Facebook posts and had others modified to remove the challenged reference or add new disclosures of the earnings that could be expected by a typical salesforce member. 

Though DSSRC appreciated Trades of Hope’s good faith efforts to address DSSRC’s concerns, DSSRC determined that in one of the Facebook posts with a new disclosure, the disclosure added was not sufficient to qualify the egregious earnings claim made in the post and carried a high risk of misleading consumers. DSSRC recommended that this post be discontinued. 

In addition, DSSRC identified one Facebook post and one YouTube video discussing career and team earnings that remained online and unmodified. DSSRC recommended that these remaining posts be discontinued or modified to clearly disclose the earnings that can generally be expected of the typical Trades of Hope salesforce member. 

DSSRC recommended that Trades of Hope take additional steps to have the post and video removed, including using any tools available on YouTube for trademark or copyright violations. 

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For full text of DSSRC decisions, visit the DSSRC Cases and Closures webpage.

 

Subscribe to the Ad Law Insights or Privacy Initiatives newsletters for an exclusive monthly analysis and insider perspectives on the latest trends and case decisions in advertising law and data privacy.

 

 

 

 

Latest Decisions

Decision

National Advertising Review Board Finds Glad ForceFlex MaxStrength Trash Bag “25% More Durable” Claims on Packaging Not Misleading

New York, NY – May 23, 2024 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) determined that The Glad Products Company’s “25% more durable” claim for Glad ForceFlex MaxStrength bags, as it appears on the packaging of 45- 34- and 20-bag sizes, is not misleading.

Read the Decision Summary
Decision

Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Healy World Discontinue Health-Related and Earnings Claims in Compliance Inquiry

McLean, VA – May 21, 2024 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) has recommended that Healy World, a direct selling company that markets consumer health and wellness products, discontinue certain health-related product performance claims made on social media by its salesforce members.  

Read the Decision Summary
Decision

National Advertising Division Refers Problem Pregnancy Center to the MA Attorney General and Social Platforms for Review

New York, NY – May 16, 2024 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) referred advertising claims made by Problem Pregnancy, a crisis pregnancy center, to the Massachusetts Attorney General and social media platforms after the company failed to respond to NAD's inquiry.

Read the Decision Summary
Decision

National Advertising Division Finds Certain Compostability Claims for HoldOn Bags Supported; Recommends Others be Modified or Discontinued

New York, NY – May 16, 2024 – The National Advertising Division determined that HoldOn Bags has a reasonable basis to claim that its trash bags break down in compost environments, but recommended other claims be discontinued. 

Read the Decision Summary