Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Chalk Couture Discontinue Inaccurate Earnings Claims
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McLean, VA – November 9, 2021 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs recommended that certain earnings claims disseminated by Chalk Couture and its salesforce members, be discontinued. Chalk Couture is a direct selling company that sells do-it-yourself home decor products.
The inquiry was commenced by DSSRC through its 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 Facebook and YouTube by Chalk Couture salesforce members.
Challenged earnings claims include:
- “Would you like to have the opportunity to earn: some fun money? Make a full time income?”
- “part time or full time income,” “Make 25-40% commission,” “Make bonuses from $500-$2000 a month”
- “Maybe some side income or if you want to stay home with kiddos or replace an income?”
- “Whether you are looking to make a little or possibly replace your existing income, Chalk Couture could be what you have been looking and praying for. It has changed our lives so much.”
- “Maximize your earning potential” “Your potential for earning is unlimited” “To begin with, when you order products at your Designer Price and resell at retail, you typically earn 40% commission” “You’ll also earn a 25% comission on your online sales”
- “whether you want to supplement or replace your income, or just support your Chalk Couture habit”
- “If one of your goals is to earn money doing something you love – whether it’s residual income or a way to eventually leave your 9-5”
DSSRC informed Chalk Couture of its concern that a reasonable consumer may interpret these and similar claims to mean that salesforce members can earn significant income from the Chalk Couture business opportunity. Chalk Couture 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 Chalk Couture’s good faith actions to remove several claims on social media sites which DSSRC determined communicated claims that prospective participants in the Chalk Couture business opportunity can typically earn significant and/or unlimited income. DSSRC determined the removal of such claims to be necessary and appropriate.
DSSRC recommended that the direct selling company make a bona fide good faith effort to have the remaining improper Facebook claim removed.
With respect to the YouTube video at issue, while DSSRC appreciated the Company’s good faith efforts to remove the YouTube video from the public domain by listing it as “private,” DSSRC remained concerned that the video may nevertheless be re-purposed to a select group of potential downline salesforce members. When it comes to private or password-protected videos, DSSRC recommended that Chalk Couture take appropriate steps to assure that the YouTube videos cannot be shared or redistributed and, as such, determined that any videos designated as “private” should be disabled in their entirety to ensure that the video claims are not shared in their original context with even a limited audience.
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.