Defendants Falsely Claimed People Would Learn Secrets for Making Money on Amazon
On March 23, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has charged a business opportunity scheme with falsely claiming that people who buy the defendants’ expensive “Amazing Wealth System” will learn “secrets for making money on Amazon” and likely earn thousands of dollars a month.
The defendants, AWS LLC, FBA Distributors LLC, FBA Stores LLC, Info Pros LLC, Online Auction Learning Center Inc. (Massachusetts), Online Auction Learning Center Inc. (Nevada), Christopher F. Bowser, Adam S. Bowser, and Jody Marshall, have been charged with violating the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Rule. According to the FTC’s complaint, the “Defendants’ earnings claims regarding the Amazing Wealth System are false or unsubstantiated,” and “[f]ew, if any, consumers who purchases Defendants’ Amazing Wealth System earn the income Defendants advertise.”
According to the FTC, the defendants, who have no affiliation with Amazon.com, have made false or unsubstantiated earnings claims, such as, “Get started on Amazon and Make $5,000-$10,000 in the next 30 days. . . even if you have never sold anything online before.” They charge from $995 to more than $35,000 for a purported exclusive “plug-and-play system” that allows consumers to create a profitable online business selling products on Amazon.com.
Many of the strategies and techniques included in the “system,” such as posting fake product reviews, are, according to the FTC, deceptive and violate Amazon.com’s rules. As a result, purchasers who deploy the defendants’ system often experience problems with their Amazon stores, including suspension and the loss of their ability to sell on Amazon.com. According to the FTC’s complaint:
Defendants lure consumers into purchasing expensive business opportunities with purported “secrets for making money on Amazon.’ They represent that purchasers are likely to “create financial freedom” and earn thousands of dollars a month by implementing Defendants “systems for success on Amazon.” Contrary to Defendants’ promises, most, if not virtually all, purchasers do not earn the advertised income. Moreover, many elements of Defendants’ “system” violate Amazon.com Inc. ‘s policies. As a result, purchasers who deploy Defendants’ “system” often experience problems with their Amazon stores, including suspension and the loss of their ability to sell on Amazon.com.
In perpetrating their scheme, Defendants have violated the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Rule by, among other things: (1) making false or unsubstantiated earnings claims; and (2) failing to furnish prospective purchasers with required disclosure documents.
The court has appointed a temporary receiver over the corporate defendants, barred the defendants from making deceptive marketing claims, and frozen their assets pending resolution of the FTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The FTC seeks to end the alleged illegal practices and obtain money for return to injured consumers.
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on March 14, 2018.