Recently, I’ve seen a flurry of before and after photos from my direct sales friends, showing how their product has helped with weight loss, wrinkle removal, etc. I also just saw a post from someone on a company Facebook Page asking for a testimonial from other distributors for how their product helped cure a certain disease. Now some testimonials and photos are produced by the company, and that’s fine. But some are clearly produced by the distributor (in fact I’ve even seen posts asking for these from customers) and these can get distributors…and their companies…into some serious legal hot water.
So today I want to talk to you about customer testimonials and before/after photos online, and your responsibilities when it comes to them.
If you don’t want to read this whole thing, here’s the main point: If your company hasn’t produced it, DON’T POST IT.
Why? Because the FDA and FTC are very picky when it comes to publishing testimonials. In fact, distributors and their companies have collectively been fined millions of dollars for breaking the rules. And posting these things to social media sites counts as “publishing” in the eyes of the FDA and FTC.
And the rules, boiled down, are this: If you don’t have a scientific study that says that your results are typical for everyone in the population of a specific demographic, you can’t print it. In plain English, this means that if you don’t have a scientific study that says that your product will cure obesity in 40 year old women across the board, you can’t say it helped ANY 40 something woman with obesity. Bottom line: No study, no post. If your company DOES have that study, they have a testimonial or photos you can use. If they haven’t given you these, it means they don’t have a study (these cost millions of dollars) and you are NOT ALLOWED to post them.
The FDA says that you can’t claim that your products can diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, unless your product is classified as a drug (yours most likely isn’t). This includes things like obesity, wrinkles, and any disease you can name. I’ve written at length about this topic here: http://www.jenfongspeaks.com/youll-pay-millions-in-fines-if-you-violate-these-rules/
So what should you avoid saying? Things like:
- Product X helped me lose 20 pounds!
- You should see these amazing photos! My product removed all the red spots from my customer’s face.
- Product X removes wrinkles! Try it and look 10 years younger!
- If you’ve got (insert disease), try Product X. It’s helped many of my customers get rid of these symptoms once and for all!
- Product X grows hair! Check out these amazing photos of my client after only 5 weeks.
What else would you add?
The long and short of it is this: You cannot post before and after photos and customer testimonials related to cures/prevention, etc. without science to back it up. So people, listen up! I do NOT want you to get in trouble with the law. Stop posting these things!
Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you seen this type of post? What have you seen? Share in the comments below!
image credit: Katie Tegtmeyer