Direct Selling, Not Overselling



COVID-19 has impacted the lives of millions and will continue to, from a health, economic, and personal standpoint for many years to come. Among the heart-breaking thousands of casualties that have occurred, the job market has also taken a hit. The Federal Reserve reports that unemployment rates are higher than they have been since the Great Depression. In this reality, Americans are turning to direct selling as a solution.

The BBB National Programs created the Direct Selling Self Regulatory Council (DSSRC) to protect consumers and assist independently acting sellers in ethically engaging with their customers. The DSSRC is an independent body that provides impartial monitoring, enforcement, and dispute resolution for direct selling organizations. It analyzes, reviews, and makes recommendations about claims to companies. 

Peter Marinello notes that direct sellers often have “a real appetite for more instruction, more education, more guidance regarding the rules of the road with respect to claim substantiation.” In the current state of affairs, the direct selling market has become particularly appealing. Still, there is an accompanying responsibility to make sure all claims are being disseminated truthfully and without embellishment. 

Howard Smith shares that since the start of the pandemic, there has been an uptick of questionable claims. The DSSRC investigates these cases, reaching out to the companies and getting the claims removed from circulation.  In the face of COVID-19, direct sellers have had to refine their messages and communication methods with audiences. However, despite these slight adjustments, the direct selling industry hasn’t been impacted as greatly as some others. 

There are numerous challenges for regulating the direct selling market. One of the unique challenges is monitoring the field of a salesforce with millions of independent distributors. With salesforce teams of large numbers, ensuring compliance and accountability has been a proven difficulty, making organizations such as the DSSRC all the more important.

From the product perspective, it’s a matter of not overpromising product efficacy. The evidentiary bar for health claims is naturally higher, and avoiding misleading product claims is essential. On the income side, not overpromising is also vital. Instead, it is best to shed light more so on the modest, supplementary qualities of direct selling, such as more flexibility. This is where The DSSRC comes in, providing a check and balance for the direct selling community.

Listen to the full conversation and learn how DSSRC is regulating and bringing order to the world of direct selling.