BBB National Programs’ Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Applauds Federal Trade Commission’s Warning Letters on Coronavirus Claims
Arlington, VA – April 28, 2020 – BBB 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.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there currently are no products that are scientifically proven to treat or prevent the virus.
Marinello issued the following statement:
“Now is the time for direct selling companies to step up and fulfill their commitment to self-regulation. The actions taken by the FTC are consistent with the recent guidance issued by both DSSRC and the Direct Selling Association (DSA) cautioning direct selling companies against expressly claiming or implying that their products can prevent, treat, alleviate, or cure COVID-19 and its symptoms.
“Several of the direct selling companies that received warnings letters from the FTC have also been the subject of recent DSSRC self-regulatory inquiries. They have committed to take significant steps to monitor their salesforce and refrain from communicating any claims that could be interpreted as offering protection from COVID-19 or its symptoms.
“DSSRC remains concerned with the continued proliferation of these claims and will continue to monitor the advertising messages of these direct selling companies as well as other companies in the industry to make sure they adhere to appropriate and ethical advertising standards throughout this pandemic.”
To submit a challenge to a COVID-19 or other problematic health-related claim, visit bbbprograms.org/programs/dssrc/file-a-dssrc-challenge for direct selling companies and bbbprograms.org/programs/nad for other advertising claims.
Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC): An expeditious system for review of advertising and marketing in the direct selling industry to discourage unsubstantiated claims and enhance consumer confidence in those practices. For more information about the DSSRC and its commitment to truthful and accurate advertising, please visit BBBprograms.org/programs/dssrc.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is a non-profit that fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumers’ trust and consumers are heard. BBB National Programs is the home of leading industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org.
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