DSSRC Recommends Direct Selling Company ONEHOPE Modify and Discontinue Certain Earnings Claims
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McLean, VA – March 8, 2021 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs opened an inquiry into several earnings claims made by ONEHOPE, a California-based direct selling company that sells wine, coffee, and other comfort beverages, including claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inquiry was commenced through DSSRC’s ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry. The claims that were the subject of the inquiry were disseminated on ONEHOPE’s website and the social media accounts of salesforce members and included, but were not limited to:
- “Need some extra income during COVID? This business has been such a blessing to me and my family. I would love to share my success with you.”
- “In 2016, I was able to leave my full-time job and focus on ONEHOPE. I replaced my full-time income in that very first month and was making double my income by the end of the year!”
- “Your income potential is as high as you want to be. Here are some of the ways you can earn an income as a ONEHOPE Cause Entrepreneur:
- “Whether you’re looking to start a side hustle or turn your wine business into a full-time career or make this something more, ONEHOPE will help you achieve your goals.”
- “My why for joining OneHope is this for my family and having financial freedom. I love this company because not only do I learn about wine but I make a difference in my community the people who lost their jobs because of COVID, parents who still need to support their loved ones, the flexibility to be able to still work from your home using a computer or your phone can do this!”
ONEHOPE participated in the DSSRC process in good faith, revising and in some cases discontinuing the earnings claims in question, including removing the “Need some extra income during COVID?” claim.
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had sent several warning letters to direct selling companies after it identified claims being disseminated by salesforce members regarding their products’ ability to treat or prevent COVID-19 or about the earnings people who have recently lost income can make during the pandemic. DSSRC expressed its concern to ONEHOPE regarding statements suggesting that people who may have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic can earn significant income and/or even replace their lost income through the ONEHOPE business opportunity.
Though ONEHOPE discontinued the claims in question, DSSRC expressed concern over the “My why for joining OneHope” claim, which was a social post made by a salesforce member that had not yet been discontinued at the time of this decision. The claim used the term “financial freedom,” which contributes to an overall net impression that potential salesforce members can earn significant income during the pandemic by engaging in ONEHOPE’s salesforce.
As DSSRC notes in its Guidance on Earnings Claims, some words and phrases commonly used in earnings claims, such as a reference to “financial freedom,” can carry a particularly high risk of being misleading to consumers. DSSRC requested that ONEHOPE take all necessary steps to get the post removed and requested that ONEHOPE provide a written response to DSSRC to outline the steps they will take to contact the salesforce member and get the social media post in question removed.
ONEHOPE’s company statement said that they appreciated DSSRC’s outreach, as well as the work DSSRC is doing for the direct selling industry and will continue to work towards DSSRC’s recommendations where their salesforce members are concerned. They added “ONEHOPE will continue its commitment to adhere to best practices and train and educate its community of independent contractors to do the same.”
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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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The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) is a national advertising self- regulation program administered by BBB National Programs. This inquiry was commenced by DSSRC pursuant to its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.