Business Opportunity Rule #522418-12505

Submission Number:
Taina Hoffman
Initiative Name:
Business Opportunity Rule
Taina Armstrong Hoffman Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant July 17, 2006 Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing this letter because I am concerned about the proposed Business Opportunity Rule R511993. I believe that in its present form, it could prevent me from continuing as a Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant. I understand that part of the FTC's responsibilities is to protect the public from "unfair and deceptive acts or practices," yet some of the sections in the proposed rule will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for me to sell Tastefully Simple products and grow my business. I have been a Tastefully Simple Consultant for 1 1/2 years. Originally, I became a consultant with my company because I felt the products were exceptional and I wanted to work from home, so that I could raise my son rather than putting him in daycare and letting someone else get that precious quality time with him.My family is benefitting tremenously from my direct selling business. The future of my family is dependent on the stability of the direct selling industry. On of the most confusing and burdensome sections of the proposed rule is the seven-day waiting period to enroll new consultants.Tastefully Simple's sales kit only costs $170.00. People buy TVs, cars, and other items that cost much more and they do not have to wait seven days. This waiting period gives the impression that there might be something wrong with the company or the compensation plan. I also think this seven-day waiting period is unnecessary, because Tastefully Simple already has a 90% buyback policy for all products including sales kits purchased by a salesperson within the last twelve months. Under this waiting period requirement, I will need to keep very detailed records when I first speak to someone about Tastefully Simple and will then need to send in many reports to my company headquarters. The proposed rule also calls for the release of any information regarding lawsuits involving misrepresentation, or unfair or deceptive practices. It does not matter if the company was found innocent. Today, anyone or any company can be sued for almost anything. It does not make sense to me that I would have to disclose these lawsuits unless Tastefully Simple is found guilty. Otherwise, Tastefully Simple and I are put at an unfair advantage even though we done nothing wrong. Finally, the proposed rule requires the disclosure of a minimum of 10 prior purchasers nearest to the prospective purchaser. I am glad to provide references, but in this day of identity theft, I am very uncomfortable giving out the personal information of individuals (without their approval) to strangers. Also, giving away this information could damage the business relationship of the references who may be involved in other companies or businesses including those of competitors. In order to get the list of the 10 prior purchasers, I will need to send the address of the prospective purchaser to Tastefully Simple headquarters and then wait for the list. I also think the following sentence required by the proposed rule will prevent many people from wanting to sign up as a salesperson - "If you buy a business opportunity from the seller, your contact information can be disclosed in the future to other buyers." People are very concerned about their privacy and identity theft. They will be reluctant to share their personal information with individuals like myself. I am just trying to make an honest living for myself and my family. Have all your values gone out the window? I think immigrants and crooks have more opportunities to make a living in this country than stay-at-home moms like myself do. Don't you trust grown adults to make any decisions for themselves? Sincerely, Taina Armstrong Hoffman Team Manager Independent Consultant, Tastefully Simple