DSSRC Administrative Closure #108
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) commenced an inquiry with a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding three Facebook posts disseminated by Company salesforce members.
The first Facebook post discussed how “confident” his family was during the pandemic because the Company product boosts the immune system. The second post features a picture of the company product alongside a list of serious health-related conditions that can purportedly be treated by the products (e.g., arthritis, diabetes, leukemia, stroke, pneumonia, etc.) Finally, a third social media post was almost identical to the second post in that it featured a picture of the product next to a list of forty-three health-related conditions that can be treated by the product. DSSRC notes that it is incumbent on an advertiser to support health-related claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence which have been defined by the Federal Trade Commission as "tests, 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." Moreover, according to the Center of Disease Controls and the Food and Drug Administration, there are currently no dietary supplement products available that can treat the coronavirus or its symptoms.
Within 48 hours after receiving DSSRC’s opening letter, the Company immediately contacted DSSRC and stated that the three posts were disseminated by salesforce members located overseas and included claims that were not authorized by the Company. The Company then promptly contacted the compliance officer for the foreign countries where the posts originated and had them disabled. In addition, DSSRC alerted the Company of posts that were disseminated by Malaysian salesforce members that also communicated serious disease claims. The Company informed DSSRC that it contacted Company’s compliance officer in Malaysia regarding the inappropriateness of the posts and was in the process of having the posts removed.
Based upon the Company’s actions to promptly disable the posts that originated outside of the United States, DSSRC administratively closed its inquiry.
(closed on 11/24/2020)