MADISON, Conn., June 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Direct Selling Association (DSA), the national trade association for multi-level marketing companies, honors 22 companies that purportedly “serve as examples of direct selling at its best” at its national conference in Phoenix, Arizona tonight. However, an investigation by ad watchdog, truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) has revealed that numerous award winners are engaged in false and deceptive advertising by using unsubstantiated health and/or income claims in marketing their business opportunities and are, in fact, violating the DSA’s own code of ethics. Other members of the industry group, both past and present, have faced accusations of operating illegal pyramid schemes, including conference sponsors Herbalife and Stream Energy.
In what appears to be par for the course, from 2012 to 2015, the DSA presented awards to companies (and their distributors) which were actively engaged in false and deceptive marketing, according to TINA.org’s analysis. In a recent high-profile example, Vemma Nutrition Company, an Arizona-based supplement and energy drink company that was declared a product-based pyramid scheme by the FTC in 2015, was lauded by the industry group in 2013 while actively violating an FTC consent order by marketing its mangosteen products with illegal health claims.