Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends pawTree Discontinue Salesforce Member Earnings Claims

McLean, VA – May 9, 2024 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs recommended that pawTree, LLC discontinue certain earnings claims made by salesforce members on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn.  

The inquiry into pawTree, a direct selling company that sells a range of products for cats and dogs including supplements and grooming supplies, 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:

  • “financial freedom”
  • “🐾I earn free trips to places like Cancun, Alaska Bahamas and puerto Vallarta etc 🏝️”
  • “If you are looking to add or replace your income, now is an awesome time to do it!”
  • “no cap on income, you can make as little or as much as you want
  • “*Financial freedom with a residual income ✅
  • *NEVER having to worry about getting your bills paid ✅
  • “I was able to raise my family, stay home with my kids, and build a career and have career income on the side as well…maybe you’re one of those people that are thinking I want to get out of my job or maybe I just want an extra 200, 500, 1,000, extra dollars”
  • “I also know that my pawTree business deserves my attention and I have unlimited income opportunity there, plus it brings me much JOY.”
  • “Image with copy stating “Earn up to $25,000 in bonuses!”
  • Testimonial on presentation stating “Cathy worked over 25 years as a professional to earn a good pension. After working our pawTree business for only 3½ years, our pawTree monthly commissions have now exceeded her monthly pension check.”

 

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 pawTree 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 pawTree business opportunity, pawTree did not try and substantiate the claims but instead promptly removed 14 of the 18 posts from social media. 

Though DSSRC appreciated pawTree’s good faith efforts, DSSRC remained concerned that four of the social posts were still available to the public and asked pawTree to reinitiate its communication with the salesforce members responsible for the four remaining posts. If these individuals are active salesforce members and continue to not comply with the takedown requests, DSSRC recommends that pawTree take necessary enforcement actions, including suspension or termination of the salesforce member accounts. 

If the individuals responsible for the remaining public claims are not active salesforce members, DSSRC recommended that pawTree take additional steps to have the remaining posts removed from social media, 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.

 

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