Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) Frequently Asked Questions

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION. INCREASED OVERSIGHT. ACTIVE MONITORING.

What is the DSSRC?

DSSRC is the new Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council, a third-party self-regulatory program founded by the Direct Selling Association (DSA) and to be administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) beginning on January 4, 2019.

The DS-SRC will monitor the entire U.S. direct selling industry and will embody these principles:

  • Clear industry standards on issues such as product and earning representations;
  • Identification of relevant best practices from other self-regulatory models;
  • Creation of a process that both monitors and enforces strict business principles; and
  • Enacts measures to raise the bar of excellence for DSA members and the entire direct selling channel.

What is the CBBB?

The Council for Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) is the network hub for BBB’s in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Why was the DSSRC created?

The DSSRC is a third-party, self-regulatory entity 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.

What is the purpose of the DSSRC?

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.

What is the program foundation for the DSSRC?

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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.

Stack of Papers

Independent investigation and reporting unresolved violations of non-compliant companies to the Federal Trade Commission.

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Rigorous, competitive challenge process, enabling other companies to identify issues for the Direct Selling SRC.

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Increased consumer protection that will compliment law enforcement with the hallmarks of successful self-regulation.

Why do we need the DSSRC?

The DSA developed the DSSRC with the CBBB for several reasons, including:

  • Addressing marketplace conditions such as FTC actions, increased number of critics and increased risks arising from social media
  • To address real and perceived issues with direct selling
  • To help elevate the direct selling industry’s reputation
  • To respond to the FTC recommendation regarding strong self-regulation enforcement

Will the DSSRC apply to DSA members and non-members alike?

Yes, the DSSRC will apply to the entire direct selling industry, both DSA members and non-members.

Will DSA members have an advantage with the DSSRC?

DSA members’ compliance with the DSA Code of Ethics will help inform them of current standards and business ethics.

Will the DSA Code of Ethics program still be in place?

Yes, the DSA Code of Ethics program will be in place and will continue to maintain its code enforcement process for DSA members.

How will the DSSRC be different from the DSA Code of Ethics

The DSSRC will be 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 will have higher levels of transparency as to the results of the self-regulatory process and apply to non-members.

Why did DSA choose to partner with CBBB and the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC)?

The ASRC and CBBB are leaders in developing, managing and enforcing self-regulatory programs like the DSSRC for other industries including:

  • Council for Responsible Nutrition
  • Children’s Advertising Review Unit
  • Digital Advertising Alliance

Will the DSSRC change and adjust?

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.

What relationship will exist between the DSA and the DSSRC?

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.

What issues will the DSSRC review?

The DSSRC will review product claims and income representations by direct selling companies and their salesforce members.  

Will there be standards that the DSSRC will utilize to evaluate claims?

Yes, it is likely the standards for these core issues will be evaluated using a combination of standards contained in the DSA Code of Ethics and Better Business Bureau Code of Advertising. Many of the standards of these Codes are grounded in federal law regarding marketing and advertising.

Will my company’s plan be reviewed?

Yes, however, the frequency of the reviews of companies is still being determined.

What is the jurisdiction of the program?

The DSSRC will review 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.

How will a company know it is being reviewed?

The company will receive a letter from the DSSRC.

How will the DSSRC affect or apply to my company’s salesforce?

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.

Does participation in the DSSRC review process or the issuance of a DSSRC decision constitute a legal admission or finding?

No, the DSSRC procedures clearly state that participation is not an admission of anything and that decisions are not legal findings.

Will there be confidentiality aspects to the DSSRC program?

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.

Will the DSSRC program have fees?

Yes, competitive challenges will have a $10,000 fee with a 50 percent discount for DSA members. DSA members will have free access to the library of DSSRC decisions. Appeals will have a $5,000 fee for all participants.

Will DSA members have a voice in the DSSRC program?

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 the CBBB.

Where can I find more information in the DSSRC?

Please visit www.dsa.org or http://www.asrcreviews.org/ds-src-2/ for more information.

You can also refer to the following PDF: