Case #28-2020 -Government Referral- Fortress Network LLC
BBB NATIONAL PROGRAMS, INC.
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council
Case Number 28-2020: – Government Referral – Fortress Network LLC
Fortress Network LLC (“Fortress” or the “Company”) is a direct selling company that is described on the Company website as a “Social Referral Network that focuses on selling products and referring new members.”
BASIS OF INQUIRY
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) is a national advertising self-regulation program administered by BBB National Programs, Inc. This inquiry was commenced by the DSSRC pursuant to its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.
Specifically, DSSRC identified several income and business opportunity claims being disseminated on “Welcome to Fortress” Video located on the ‘Opportunity” page of the Fortress website (https://eleej.fortressnetworkllc.com/opportunity2). DSSRC was concerned that the representations communicated in the subject video conveyed the message that someone engaging in Fortress business opportunity will typically earn a significant level of income and/or lead a lavish lifestyle”
“Welcome to Fortress” Video
- “With a Fortress membership our members are positioned to capitalize in three major ways
- Save money,
- Advertise their own products and services
- Make money by generating ongoing residual income”
- “The most significant benefit is the opportunity to earn ongoing residual income for your direct role in bringing new members to the Fortress community and growing the Fortress ecosystem. The compensation plan enables every member of the opportunity to generate a monthly residual income that balloons into a monthly income of near $30,000 per month. The power of the internet, social media, and your contacts makes it easy for your personal community to rapidly expand and generate an ongoing income while you sleep, travel, or play.
- “Now you’re earning over a $1,000 a month. Now what would you do with a $1,000 a month.”
- “Now you have a potential of more than $3,000 a month. What’re you going to do now? Buy a new car, get a new house, are you still going to continue to work for someone else? There’s just so many things you can do with an additional $3,000”
- Look what happens when your seventh level goes out and brings in their three people. Now you’re making over $9,000 a month. Need I say more.”
- “Look what happens when your level eight goes out and brings in their three people. You would now be earning $19,000 on your ninth level alone. And when you add all your levels together, that’s $29,593 every single month you can potentially earn by becoming a Fortress member.”
- “Tell your friends and family about this, show them this incredible opportunity and you can have a potential of nearly $30,000 a month.”
- “Once you get a full Matrix you will earn an additional $10,000 monthly bonus indefinitely. That’s right, $10,000 monthly bonus for the rest of your life. So now we’re talking nearly $40,000 every single month for you doing something that you do already anyway.”
- “In Fortress, you add all of your levels together and that’s your monthly income. Now look what happens when your matrix begins to fill up. We are a 3x9 force matrix, so that means you have the potential of earning over $29,000
and this happens very rapidly because social media is so powerful.”
COMPANY’S NON- PARTICIPATION IN THE DSSRC PROCESS
DSSRC brought the representative claims identified above to the Company’s attention by written correspondence dated September 22, 2020. The Company was provided with a 15-business days to respond to the DSSRC inquiry pursuant to section (II)(4) of the DSSRC Policies and Procedures.
After the Company failed to provide within 15 business days, DSSRC attempted to call the Company, however, a contact telephone number is not for Fortress is not provided on the Company website. DSSRC attempted to find a telephone number for Fortress online but was unsuccessful. Consequently, DSSRC sent a second correspondence to Fortress pursuant to the email address provided on the Fortress website reiterated its concerns with respect to the representative claims identified above and providing the Company with an additional 10 business days to provide DSSRC with a response.
Notwithstanding the additional opportunity to provide DSSRC with substantiation for the claims, the Company again failed to respond to DSSRC.
REFERRAL TO GOVERNMENT
Despite DSSRC exercising its due diligence to contact Fortress several times, the Company was unresponsive to the inquiry. In accordance with section (II)(9) of the DSSRC Policies and Procedures, in the event the company whose marketing is the subject of a DSSRC inquiry fails to participate in the self-regulatory process, DSSRC may refer the matter to an appropriate government agency for review and possible law enforcement action.
Accordingly, DSSRC will refer this matter to the appropriate government agency.
(Case No. 28-2020 PCM, closed on 11/2/20)
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