Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends Lifebrook Discontinue Health-Related Product Performance and Earnings Claims
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McLean, VA – October 26, 2021 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs recommended that certain product performance and earnings claims disseminated by Lifebrook LLC and its salesforce members, be discontinued. Lifebrook is a direct selling company that sells juices, supplements, and other products containing Aronia berries. Central to this inquiry was a concern that the product performance claims and earnings claims at issue communicated that Lifebrook products can treat and protect against serious health-related conditions.
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 the company website and by Lifebrook salesforce members on social media, primarily on Facebook.
Product Claims included, but were not limited to:
- “PURONIA, an aronia juice, may be the kryptonite that could weaken the diabetic growth and begin to save lives”
- “Impact Your Health With Aronia The Healing Berry” -- Weight Loss, Menopause, Fibroid/Cysts, Prostate Health, Erectile Dysfunction, Sex Drive, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Cataract, Improve Your Eye Health, Breast health, Arthritis Pain Relief, Energy Booster - And Much More
- Aronia Berry is effective for: Blood Pressure, Immune System, Cardiovascular, Help Aid with Cancer, Diabetes, And so much more
- “Aronia Berry is clinically proven to help with heart disease, high blood pressure; diabetes; arthritis; weight loss; eye health, kidney problems; circulation and high cholesterol – The Healing Process”
- “I almost lost my life due to diabetes. It put me in the hospital in August with a bad toe infection and then in October, I had a mild stroke. I was at my end, is what I through. As I layed at home recovering I remembered a product called Aronia Berry I was using about 1 1/2 years ago to help me maintain my blood sugar, high blood pressure and my diet. It was working great. But as time past along, I got a little cocky and started skippy doses because everything was looking normal. That was my biggest mistake and the one I regret to this day, the one that help put me in the hospital in 2020. I have started back on this wonderful berry and after just a short time, it has given me back my life again.”
As noted in previous DSSRC cases, health-related claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, as defined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). DSSRC informed Lifebrook of its concern that these product claims may convey unsubstantiated health-related and wellness benefits. Lifebrook did not contest DSSRC’s concerns.
- “Imagine how that can multiply to give you residual monthly income” (accompanied by a large stack of one hundred dollar bills).
- “Build your health while you build your wealth”
- “Now is the best time to start your journey to … financial health.”
- “Earn long-term residual income from a growing customer base”
- “How much can you earn? It's entirely up to you.”
- “The sky is the limit. Join now as an independent advocate”
- “Decide just how far—and how fast—you want to grow”
DSSRC informed Lifebrook of its concern that a reasonable consumer may interpret these and similar claims to mean that salesforce members can earn significant income from the Lifebrook business opportunity. Lifebrook 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 requested that Lifebrook immediately remove any and all social media posts and website content indicating that its products are efficacious against serious health-related conditions as well as the claims that Lifebrook salesforce members will receive significant income from the Lifebrook business opportunity.
DSSRC appreciated the company’s good faith actions to remove several social media posts from circulation as well as claims on the Company website regarding the amount of income that can be generally expected by prospective salesforce members. However, DSSRC remained concerned that some of the social media posts are still publicly available.
Lifebrook was able to provide DSSRC with copies of the takedown requests that were sent to salesforce members with challenged claims that remain accessible to the public, but DSSRC recommended that Lifebrook heighten its efforts to effectuate the removal of problematic social media posts including contacting the website or platform where the posts were disseminated in writing and request removal of the posts.
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.