Ad Alert

Tori Belle Cosmetics

Beauty MLM's outsized earnings claims face increasing scrutiny.

Tori Belle, an MLM that sells magnetic eyeliner and eyelashes, among other beauty and cosmetics products, is becoming a magnet for regulators.

Last week the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council referred the MLM to the FTC after it failed to substantively respond to the self-regulatory group’s inquiry regarding the company’s use of unsubstantiated earnings claims to market its business opportunity. The referral comes almost two years after the FTC sent Tori Belle a notice of penalty offenses concerning deceptive income claims in October 2021.

The earnings claims at issue appeared in distributor posts on Facebook and YouTube, the DSSRC said. They included:

  • “Honestly, weather [sic] you just want to feed your lash addiction on a discount, want to get a bill paid each month, or are looking for a full-on supplemental or replacement income- it is all do-able!”
  • “Who wants a free vacation?! I can’t believe this, guys. These magnetic lashes have been flying off the shelves so much that I earned a free trip to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico! And in just under 4 months.”
  • “[F]inancial freedom.”
  • “Now is a great time to have a second income or to create a full time business.”
  • “Compensation Plan; [05:28] If you were to sell $3,000 worth of product…you would earn $1,200 in commission…the sky’s the limit.”
  • “[H]ow about we transform you[r] bank account with a second income stream. Join me and let me show you how to have fun while building an empire…Earn Bonus incentives such as bonus pay & travel credits… Let me help you with that car note, mortgage or tuition! It’s your choice. #multiplestreamsofincome.”

“As stated in DSSRC’s Guidance on Earnings Claims for the Direct Selling Industry, some words and phrases commonly used in earnings claims can carry a particularly high risk of being misleading to consumers,” the DSSRC said, adding:

Such words and phrases include claims such as “financial freedom,” “full-time income,” “replacement income,” “residual income,” and “career-level income.” Furthermore, earnings claims must be substantiated and representative of a level of earnings that can be generally expected by salesforce members.

While Tori Belle claims on its website that it pays “some of the highest commissions in the business,” the MLM has not published an income disclosure statement with the actual earnings of its distributors, found. (Spoiler: Most people who join legitimate MLMs make little or no money, and some even lose money.)

Before going silent, Tori Belle argued that the dates on the distributor posts had been altered and that the posts were actually more than three years old. The DSSRC did not find this argument very convincing, noting that even if the posts are old and the distributors are no longer active with the company, the posts are still available to the public.

As such, the DSSRC said, Tori Belle must make a “bona fide, good faith effort” to have them discontinued. But according to the DSSRC, the company failed to demonstrate that it had made any effort to have the posts taken down.

During its review of the Tori Belle website, found some additional red flags, including:

  • It’s not just distributors making outsized earnings claims. On the page to sign up to become a distributor, Tori Belle claims that distributors (or affiliates as the company calls them) can earn more than $250,000 in bonuses and over $10,000 in payments for mentoring other distributors.
  • To become a distributor you need to sign a form saying you have read and agree to the policies and procedures. But for some users, the small box with the policies and procedures is cut off on the right side and there’s no option to scroll right, make the box larger or open it in a new window.
  • There are two forms on the sign-up page: one for adults and one for teens ages 14 to 17. That’s right, Tori Belle is targeting minors (who, by the way, have certain restrictions on when, where and how long they can work).

Find more of our coverage on MLMs’ income claims here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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