Case #33-2021: – Monitoring Inquiry – RBC Life Sciences, Inc.

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) is a national advertising self-regulation program administered by BBB National Programs. This inquiry was commenced by the DSSRC pursuant to its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.

NAD Finds One American Association of Orthodontists Video Puffery; Recommends Discontinuation of Unsupported Implied Claims About Competitor’s Platform

New York, NY – March 2, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) supported its implied claim that SmileDirectClub, LLC’s retail stores lack on-site medical professionals. However, NAD has recommended that AAO discontinue implied claims, and certain videos containing such claims, that SmileDirectClub’s direct-to-consumer teledentistry program is risky, ineffective, that medical professionals aren't involved, that the kit is difficult to use, and that the product is ineffective. The claims were challenged by SmileDirectClub, LLC, which provides orthodontic services through its direct-to-consumer teledentistry platform enabling consumers to straighten their teeth using clear plastic aligners from home. 

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NARB Recommends AT&T Disclose Material Connections When Citing Testing Company Data, Modify “Building 5G on America’s Best Network” Claim

A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that AT&T Services, Inc. clearly and conspicuously disclose its material connection to Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) when making a “Best Network” claim that is based on GWS testing. The NARB panel also recommended that AT&T discontinue the claim that AT&T is “Building 5G on America’s Best Network,” or state in the body of the claim that the “Best Network” referred to is AT&T’s 4G network. The advertising at issue had been challenged by Verizon Wireless, Inc. before the National Advertising Division (NAD). Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 6401), AT&T appealed and Verizon cross appealed. 

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NAD Recommends T-Mobile Modify Post-Merger 5G Claims to Avoid Implication that Aspirational Benefits are Imminently Available

New York, NY – February 23, 2021 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that T-Mobile, U.S., Inc. modify certain advertising claims that imply imminent availability of certain promoted benefits to T-Mobile customers as a result of the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. The T-Mobile claims at issue included “the best 5G network,” the “most reliable 5G network,” and the “best prices” for 5G service and appeared in television and radio advertising that was discontinued in July 2020. These claims were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc.

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DSSRC Administrative Closure #136

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding a Facebook post disseminated by a Company salesforce member that was located overseas. The social media post came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace. More specifically, the post included express claims that the Company’s products and/or the ingredients contained in the products are efficacious to treat the symptoms of a number of serious health-related conditions including anemia and breast, colon and lung cancer. The post was accompanied by several health-related hashtags that referenced blood pressure, asthma and cancer.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #135

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding two social media posts disseminated by its salesforce members, one found on YouTube and one found on Facebook. The subject claims and social media posts came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #134

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding two identical Facebook posts disseminated by two separate salesforce members. The subject claims and social media posts came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #133

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding three identical Facebook posts disseminated by three separate salesforce members. The subject claims and social media posts came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace. 

DSSRC Administrative Closure #132

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding three Facebook posts and a YouTube video disseminated by Company salesforce members. The three Facebook posts all referenced an antioxidant ingredient in the Company’s product that was purportedly efficacious against certain disease conditions including, but not limited to, ADHD, autism and cancer. Of additional concern to DSSRC, were representations made in the YouTube video that the Company products work to renew, replenish and protect cells in the body and has helped the salesforce members to “fight this pandemic”. 

DSSRC Administrative Closure #131

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding a social media post disseminated by a Company sales force member on YouTube. The subject claim which involved an earnings claim regarding the amount of income that can be realized by the Company’s business opportunity, came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #130

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding a video that was identified during DSSRC’s monitoring of the direct selling industry and which was disseminated by a member of the Company salesforce team. In the video, the salesforce member makes unqualified representations regarding the potential of earning significant income within one year through participating in the Company’s business opportunity. The video also included several references to “6-figure earners” and testimonials indicating that “In less than 2 years I was able to match his [her husband’s] income - $135,000 a year” and that, as part of the Company’s compensation plan, some salesforce members were earning $275,000 a year.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #129

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) opened an inquiry with a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding one Facebook post and one YouTube video that were disseminated by Company salesforce members located in Europe. The Facebook post made reference to “boosting the immune system” to protect against the corona virus during the winter months. The YouTube video similarly included claims regarding the ability of the Company’s product to treat several health-related conditions including the coronavirus.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #128

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding a testimonial video that was posted on Vimeo by a Company salesforce member. DSSRC was concerned that the video, which touted the salesforce member’s earnings as a direct seller, could be reasonably interpreted as implying that a new or prospective salesforce member of the Company could expect to earn full-time income, career-level income, or income sufficient to replace a full-time job.

NAD Recommends Nanoceutical Solutions Discontinue Certain Claims for Nano Glutathione Liquid Dietary Supplement and Modify Instagram Ad

The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that Nanoceutical Solutions discontinue efficacy and establishment claims for its Nano Glutathione liquid dietary supplement due to a failure to provide sufficient evidence for the claims. The claims at issue were challenged by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). NAD also recommended that Nanoceutical Solutions modify a “Conditions Associated with LOW Glutathione” Instagram advertisement to avoid conveying the misleading message that supplementation with Nano Glutathione can prevent or reduce the risk of the listed health conditions. 

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DSSRC Administrative Closure #127

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding four Facebook posts disseminated by Company salesforce members. All four posts referenced the products ability to treat coronavirus by virtue of the product’s efficacy at boosting the immune system. While some of the claims expressly identified COVID-19  (e.g., “Lets fight COVID-19 – Boost your immunity”) other claims made general reference to fighting viruses in a context that DSSRC determined could be interpreted by consumers as referring specifically to COVID-19 (e.g., “Helps you get rid of the virus”). Two of the posts were disseminated by sales force members located in foreign countries.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #126

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding two social media posts made by salesforce members of the Company.  Both posted touted the income opportunity afforded by the direct selling opportunity. In the context in which the posts were made, DSSRC was concerned with the claim that the opportunity afforded Company salesforce members with financial freedom.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #125

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding two Facebook posts disseminated by Company salesforce members. DSSRC was concerned that the posts could be reasonably interpreted as meaning that the direct selling company’s products can treat or prevent several serious health-related conditions.

DSSRC Administrative Closure #124

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding two Facebook posts and two Instagram posts disseminated by Company salesforce members that were identified during DSSRC’s monitoring of the direct selling industry. DSSRC expressed its concern to the Company that all four posts either expressly communicated or implied that the Company’s products could treat a number of health-related conditions including infertility, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. 

DSSRC Administrative Closure #123

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding one Facebook post and one online video disseminated by Company salesforce members. The marketing materials came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace. DSSRC expressed concern to the Company that both social media posts conveyed unreal expectations regarding the amount of income that could be earned working at the Company. For example, the video included references to “replacing full time income” and the Facebook post claimed that through the Company business opportunity sales force members could earn “thousands of dollars a month.” 

DSSRC Administrative Closure #122

Social media advertising for a direct selling company that markets health and wellness products came to the attention of the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) pursuant to its monitoring of the direct selling industry. DSSRC identified two Facebook posts that were disseminated by a Company salesforce member as communicating egregious health-related claims. One post listed several serious health-related conditions that can purportedly be treated by product use. In addition, the second post referred to the product as an “immunity protector” and was accompanied by the hashtags “Immune System” “Covid Protection” and “Covid19.”