Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Tastefully Simple Discontinue Earnings Claims
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McLean, VA – April 5, 2022 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs recommended that certain earnings claims disseminated by Tastefully Simple, Inc. salesforce members be discontinued. Tastefully Simple is a multi-level marketing company that sells meal kits and other prepared food products. The inquiry was commenced by DSSRC through its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.
The five representative claims that formed the initial basis of this inquiry were located on social media. They include:
- "Are you looking for a new career or a second income source?"
- "What would you do with an extra $500 to spend each month?"
- "Replace another income"
- "Full-time opportunity"
- "Travel for free"
In addition to these challenged claims, during the inquiry DSSRC identified ten additional earnings social media posts that communicated such earnings claims.
DSSRC informed Tastefully Simple of its concern that a reasonable consumer may interpret these and similar claims to mean that salesforce members can earn significant income from the Tastefully Simple business opportunity. Tastefully Simple did not contest DSSRC’s concerns.
As stated in DSSRC’s Guidance on Earnings Claims for the Direct Selling Industry, while DSSRC will evaluate any claim based upon the context in which the claim appears and the potential net impression of such claim to the audience, 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.
DSSRC appreciated Tastefully Simple’s good faith actions to remove from circulation the initial five claims on social media sites and additional seven claims identified during the inquiry, which DSSRC determined communicated claims that prospective participants in the Tastefully Simple business opportunity can typically earn significant and/or unlimited income. DSSRC determined removal of such claims to be necessary and appropriate.
DSSRC also appreciated the bona fide good faith effort made by Tastefully Simple to have the remaining three improper Facebook and Pinterest claims removed. DSSRC recommended that Tastefully Simple use the social media platform’s reporting mechanism for intellectual property violations and, if necessary, also contact the platform in writing and request removal of the remaining social media posts.
All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of DSSRC decisions, visit the DSSRC Cases and Closures webpage.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council: The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent, impartial monitoring, dispute resolution, and enforcement of false product claims and income representations made by direct selling companies and their salesforce members across digital platforms. The DSSRC seeks to establish high standards of integrity and business ethics for all direct selling companies in the marketplace.
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