DSSRC Administrative Closure #271

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding twelve product performance claims disseminated on social media by Company salesforce members. The claims at issue were disseminated on Facebook, Vimeo, Pinterest, and Twitter.

DSSRC contacted the Company and expressed its concern that the posts included representations that the Company’s products could treat a series of health-related conditions including migraines, colds, and flu, and boost to the immune system which could prevent other illnesses.

The Company acknowledged that the product claims at issue were not appropriate and did not attempt to provide evidence to support the claims. Shortly after the commencement of the inquiry, the Company began contacting the salesforce members responsible for the post in question to have the claims removed. The Company was successful in removing or correcting eleven out of the twelve posts that were identified by DSSRC. The Company informed DSSRC that it will continue to use its best efforts to ensure that the Company’s distributors refrain from communicating similar claims in the future.

With respect to the one remaining post which was disseminated by an inactive salesforce member, the Company demonstrated to DSSRC that it made a good-faith effort to have the post removed or significantly modified. The company stated that it contacted the salesforce member on several occasions and requested the post be removed but was unsuccessful in its attempts. Notwithstanding, the Company committed to DSSRC that it would be contacting the social media platform where the remaining post remains accessible and request that the unauthorized and unsupported post be taken down.

DSSRC determined the actions taken by the company were necessary and appropriate. As DSSRC has noted in past cases, it is well established that health-related claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. The Federal Trade Commission generally defines competent and reliable scientific evidence as: “test, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results”.1

In conclusion, DSSRC determined that the Company demonstrated that it made a bona fide good faith attempt to address DSSRC’s concerns by removing eleven posts that were brought to its attention and taking the appropriate steps to have the remaining social media post at issue removed. The Company has stated that they are engaged in ongoing training with salesforce members to reaffirm the importance of following procedures and policies and not disseminating any unsupported product claims again in the future. Given the Company’s bona fide efforts to address DSSRC’s concerns, the inquiry was administratively closed.


(Administrative Closure #271, closed on 4/20/23) 
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[1] See, Vital Basics, Inc., C-4107 (Consent April 26, 2004); see also In Re Schering