Submission Number: 563691-00035
Received: 3/4/2013 2:40:18 PM
Commenter: Jon Taylor
Organization: Consumer Awareness Institute
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: 16 CFR Part 429; Rule Concerning Cooling-Off Period For Sales Made At Homes Or At Certain Other Locations; FTC File No. P087109
Attachments: No Attachments
Quoting from the FTC announcement regarding the rule concerning “Cooling-Off Period For Sales Made At Homes Or At Certain Other Locations”:
“The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. “
Taken literally, the FTC will do what it can to protect consumers from such practices. Raising the threshold amount for the Cooling Off Period (COP) will weaken, rather than strengthen that objective.
The COP Rule, as it stands, becomes even more important, given the FTC’s caving to the demands of the Direct Selling Association(DSA) in the recently enacted Business Opportunity Rule (BOR). That rulemaking proceeding was corrupted by a powerful DSA/MLM lobby to exempt multi-level marketing (MLM) companies from having to disclose information that would help consumers make wise decisions when targeted by an MLM’s endless chains of recruitment.
After extensive research, I wrote a 200-page report titled “REGULATORY CAPTURE: The FTC’s Flawed Business Opportunity Rule,” which gave a detailed account of how the FTC has come under the influence of the DSA/MLM lobby to the point of facilitating its objectives – over the interests of consumers. I printed and bound copies for FTC officials and submitted them with a personal letter and a copy of my 400-page book “The Case for and against Multi-level Marketing.” The book was the result of 18 years of research and worldwide feedback and analyses of approximately 500 MLMs – all based on the deceptive income claims and (where available) average income reports of the companies themselves.
At considerable expense, I printed, bound, and mailed these books and reports to Jon Liebowitz and other top officials in charge of consumer protection. All I received in response was a form letter, such as anyone might receive who filed a complaint.
My research was also reported to FTC staff in several comments during the BOR rulemaking. None of the data or company claims were manufactured, but all the data and information used in my reports were published or released by the companies themselves. The methodology and calculations were validated by five financial experts – a CPA, an actuary, a statistician, a certified financial planner, and an asset evaluator. In spite of all this, the research was dismissed by the FTC staff with the comment “The FTC does not accept the research of Jon Taylor.” (comment in an email obtained through a Freedom of Information request) .
So much for consumer protection at the FTC.
My point is that it is my hope that the FTC will act in the interests of consumers – unlike in the case of BOR - by keeping the COP threshold at the $25 level. Please don’t again allow the DSA/MLM lobby to “capture” the agency on this issue by giving them what they want.
Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D.
Consumer Awareness Institute
Research-based web site – mlm-thetruth.com (from which the above book and report can be downloaded free of charge)