Established in 2019, the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) is a third-party self-regulatory program founded by the Direct Selling Association (DSA), administered by BBB National Programs. The DSSRC monitors the entire U.S. direct selling industry and embodies these principles:
BBB National Programs (formerly part of the Council for Better Business Bureaus) is an independent, non-profit organization that develops and delivers effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. The organization 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.
The DSSRC is a third-party, self-regulatory program created as a result of deliberations of DSA’s leadership, and dialogue with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to increase the oversight of the direct selling industry.
The purpose of the DSSRC is to strengthen the direct selling industry with additional third-party, oversight, as well as articulate clear principles based on established business ethics set forth for more than five decades by the DSA.
Comprehensive active monitoring of the direct selling marketplace, including websites and social media of both companies and the salesforce in the areas of income representations and product claims.
Independent investigation and reporting unresolved violations of non-compliant companies to the Federal Trade Commission.
Rigorous, competitive challenge process, enabling other companies to identify issues for the DSSRC.
Increased consumer protection that will compliment law enforcement with the hallmarks of successful self-regulation.
The DSA developed the DSSRC with BBB National Programs for several reasons, including:
Yes, the DSSRC applies to the entire direct selling industry, both DSA members and non-members.
DSA members’ compliance with the DSA Code of Ethics will help inform them of current standards and business ethics.
Yes, the DSA Code of Ethics program will be in place and will continue to maintain its code enforcement process for DSA members.
The DSSRC is a complement to the DSA Code of Ethics. Additional resources to review marketplace activity will ensure higher activity levels of compliance with ethical business standards. Further, the DSSRC has higher levels of transparency as to the results of the self-regulatory process and apply to non-members.
BBB National Programs is a leader in developing, managing and enforcing self-regulatory programs like the DSSRC for other industries including:
Yes, the program will be adjusted as necessary depending on DSSRC findings and outcomes, changing market environment, and the regulatory climate throughout 2019 and beyond.
The DSSRC may refer individual matters regarding member companies to the DSA Code Administrator, and the DSA Code Administrator may refer matters to the DSSRC if a company’s pattern or practice of complaints is identified. The DSA Code Administrator may also serve as a consultative resource. Further, the DSSRC Executive Director may recommend amendments to the DSA Code of Ethics.
The DSSRC reviews product claims and income representations by direct selling companies and their salesforce members.
Yes, these core issues will be evaluated using a combination of standards contained in the DSA Code of Ethics and industry guidance, such as the DSSRC Guidance on Earnings Claims for the Direct Selling Industry, developed in 2020. Many of these standards are grounded in federal law regarding marketing and advertising.
The DSSRC reviews companies based on independent monitoring of the direct selling marketplace; matters referred by the DSA Code Administrator due to a pattern and practice of complaints identified, or pursuant to media reports, or matters identified by consumers; matters raised by competitors’ challenges; inquiries received from distributors, customers and other users of direct selling companies products or services; and complaints from BBBs directed to the DSSRC.
The company will receive a letter from the DSSRC.
Actions of the salesforce can be imputed to a company, whereby if there is a pattern of non-compliant claims on social media for example, that content can be viewed as activity by the company.
No, the DSSRC procedures clearly state that participation is not an admission of anything and that decisions are not legal findings.
Yes, the proceedings are confidential except for publication of case decisions, press releases announcing disposition and referrals in the case of a non-responsiveness or non-compliance.
Yes, competitive challenges have a $10,000 fee with a 50 percent discount for DSA members. DSA members have free access to the library of DSSRC decisions. Appeals have a $5,000 fee for all participants.
Yes, DSA members have participated in the development of the program, its implementation and funding. They will also continue to help nurture and develop a direct relationship with BBB National Programs.
Please visit www.dsa.org or https://bbbprograms.org/programs/all-programs/dssrc for more information.
You can also refer to the following PDF:
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