|Received:||7/7/2006 4:15:53 PM|
|Subject:||Business Opportunity Rule|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 437|
Comments:I am an Independent Consultant with Everyday Celebrations, or Celebrations by Lillian Vernon. One of my children is special needs, and as such requires special food supplements and therapies that cost a fortune. Most of the time, this is all an out of pocket expense because even the best insurance will not pay for much. I chose to utilize the Direct Selling model and to start a business utilizing a reputable Direct Sales company. I have opportunities that I could not ever hope for within a “9-5” office job, and my special child doesn’t have to be left within an institution. However, today I found out that the FTC is trying to crack down on fraudulent organizations that prey upon consumers in our country At first I applauded the effort, it's one that is long overdue. However, in looking over the proposed goals in the Business Opportunity Rule I am disappointed. Direct selling in and of itself is hardly a great evil. Having sales teams, and sales associates is common practice in large retail stores, and it's a practice that works within direct selling as well. While I am more than aware that there are companies that have shady practices and take advantage of their customers, it is unfair to cast all Direct Sellers in this negative light. To put a seven-day Waiting Period Rule on direct sellers will automatically make companies look like they have something to be ashamed of. We aren’t selling weapons of mass destruction, or even handguns! The Waiting Rule will cause customers to have to put up with unnecessary delays, and cause a burden to companies and their consultants in the record keeping part of their business. No business can afford this type of punishment, especially when one considers deadlines and sales events. It will cause customers to think the company has done something wrong, when they haven’t’. The Proposed Litigation Reporting Rule doesn't distinguish between winning and losing lawsuits. There are far too many consumers that are just itching to litigate as well, and no agency exists to police them. Once again, this will make customers think the company is fraudulent or questionable when they may very well never have had a losing lawsuit. The Proposed References Rule is impractical at best. Not all companies have been around long enough to even have 10 consultants near them! This Rule will increase the likelihood of identity theft and raise other safety issues. I can personally appreciate the FTC's goals, I am a consumer as well as a representative for a Direct Sales company. When considering changing laws to protect consumers, the FTC needs to consider that not every consumer likes to run out to their local retailer for all their purchases. It’s time consuming and usually more expensive and quite a hassle. Not every consumer likes to shop on the Internet either, and a direct sales associate provides a “face” for a consumer to see and sample products for them to actually see and touch. Direct Sales provides a legitimate option for consumers when the chosen company has integrity. Many are honest legitimate companies that have wonderful unique products. It is unfair to lump all Direct Sellers into a group, as it would be denouncing the direct sales market as a whole. I am thrilled that the FTC is considering legislation that would protect consumers, but I am a better consumer as an independent consultant for my company. I offer beautiful products, and an opportunity for other stay at home moms to do the same, and I make money to pay the therapists that work with my daughter. Please don’t take opportunities for mom’s like me, and make it next to impossible to succeed. Any ruling you make on the company I represent will affect their consultants as well. Please find a way to protect consumers, and those of us that utilize the direct sales model as a way to help our families.