|Received:||7/14/2006 11:46:56 AM|
|Subject:||Business Opportunity Rule|
|Title:||Notice of Proposed Rulemaking|
|CFR Citation:||16 CFR Part 437|
Comments:I wanted to write to you because of my personal concern about a proposed Business Opportunity Rule R511993. I am deeply concerned about several aspects of this proposed rule in regards to my present and future livelihood. I am an independent consultant with Arbonne International – a 26 year old direct selling company. These areas of concern will make it very difficult if almost impossible for me to continue to sell Arbonne products and to sponsor others into a very legitimate direct selling business. My first concern is the 7 day waiting period to sign up new consultants section. This seems to be the most restrictive and confusing section in the proposed rule. This waiting period would potentially limit my ability to grow my business by leaving the impression that there was something wrong with the Arbonne opportunity. One of the main elements to my success in this business is being able to capture the enthusiasm that people have when they receive immediate results with using the Arbonne products. With Arbonne starter kits costing such a minimal amount, the waiting period will disrupt the ability of potential consultants to receive their chosen products in a timely manner. Also the added paperwork and detailed records that will be required to document dates and times of contacts with a prospective consultants and subsequent follow up contacts will add additional hours of work to an already full work schedule. The second thing that I don’t agree with is the rule that calls for the release of any information regarding lawsuits involving misrepresentation, or unfair or deceptive practices. In today’s environment, people file false lawsuits every day about anything and everything. This part of the proposed rule does not give any allowances if the company was found innocent. A lawsuit may incorrectly imply wrongdoing and it seems very unfair to disclose lawsuit information unless Arbonne has been found guilty of something. This casts an unfair light on any company no matter what the industry. My biggest fear is that I would unfairly be penalized, even though I did not do anything wrong, by releasing this type of information to all prospective consultants. Finally, the proposed rule requires the disclosure of a minimum of 10 prior Independent Consultants nearest to the prospective Consultant. I am glad to provide references. I am very uncomfortable giving out personal information about people without their permission or knowledge to others because identity theft is rampant in today’s world. Sharing this information with others could damage the business relationship of references with those involved in other companies or businesses, or provide an unfair advantage to competitors. In order to get the proposed list of 10 prior Independent Consultants, I would need to send the address of a prospect to the Arbonne corporate office in California and then wait for the list. The proposed rule also includes the language, “If you buy a business opportunity from the seller, your contact information can be disclosed in the future to other buyers” and prospects will be understandably concerned about their privacy. I would find it an invasion of privacy to disclose personal data for my business purposes. I have worked as an independent consultant with Arbonne International for over 2 years. The extra income that I have been able to bring into my family’s life has allowed me to be able to stay home instead of working as an RN, raise my children instead of someone else doing it, and continue to earn increasing income through my personal efforts each month instead of having a capped salary by working for someone else. I have also been truly amazed at the changes I have noticed in my personal life by facing the challenges within this industry. By working hard, I have gained increased skill levels in communicating with others, a self confidence that I have never had before, time management skills, extreme patience, and numerous others skill sets that have improved my life overall. It has also given me an experience in owning my own business that I could have never had otherwise. The best part of this is that my children and husband have seen my growth in all of these areas. My children are beginning to implement them into theirs lives at a much earlier age. By acquiring these skill sets it has given me a peace about my life. My becoming an Independent Consultant was influenced by the products my family loved and a need for additional income. Since beginning this business I have developed a team of over 700 Independent Consultants across the country (and growing daily). We are all using products that we love and some of us our helping our families enjoy better lives in the process. I do appreciate the FTC taking actions to protect consumers because I know there are fraudulent groups out there. The main problem with this ruling is that it affects and unfairly punishes legitimate direct selling businesses also. This new proposed ruling will have many detrimental (although unintentional) consequences. I know that your intent in this proposed ruling is to protect and because of that my hope is that you will also protect the millions of successful network marketers, like me, from the ramifications of such a restrictive proposed rule. Thank you for your time in reviewing this matter.