DSSRC Administrative Closure #140
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (the “Company”) regarding two Facebook posts that were disseminated by one active salesforce member and one inactive salesforce member. The first post discussed the efficacy of an ingredient in the Company’s product to protect against a number of serious health-related conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s and high cholesterol. The second post included language indicating that one of the Company’s products “helps with Arthritis and fibromyalgia.”
Immediately after receipt of DSSRC’s opening letter, the Company informed DSSRC that it had contacted the salesforce member responsible for the first post and had it disabled. With respect to the second post, the Company advised DSSRC that the salesforce member who made the post is inactive salesforce member who hadn’t purchased the Company’s product since 2016. The Company noted the post is intended to promote a “homemade” product that is sold in the place of the Company’s product. More specifically, the individual advertises the Company’s product and then delivers a homemade product in its place.
The Company provided DSSRC with a chronological list of dates when it attempted to contact the inactive salesforce member responsible for the post by telephone. The Company noted that the inactive salesforce member hung up several times and has refused to take any remedial action. Moreover, the Company provided DSSRC with copies of written correspondence sent to the inactive salesforce member requesting that the post be removed and further informed DSSRC that it is currently seeking legal action to stop the individual.
As DSSRC has noted in several previous inquiries, once a direct selling company learns that an inactive salesforce member has disseminated a post that includes language not authorized by the Company, the Company should make a bona fide, good faith effort to contact the individual to request that the improper claim be removed. DSSRC also recommends that the Company take additional steps to remove such claims from the marketplace including utilizing the mechanism that websites and social media platforms may have for removal of trademark or copyright violations. If the subject claim by a former salesforce member occurs on a platform without a reporting mechanism, DSSRC recommends that the Company should also contact the platform in writing and request removal of the subject claim or post.
Based upon the information provided by the Company, DSSRC determined that the Company has demonstrated that it has made good faith effort to address the concerns of DSSRC by having one post removed and taking legal action to effectuate the removal of the second post that was disseminated by a former salesforce member. As such, DSSRC has administratively closed this inquiry.
(closed on 2/18/2021)