FTC Action Halts A Large Deceptive Business Opportunity Scheme
The Federal Trade Commission 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.
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.
Contrary to the defendants’ promises, most, if not virtually all, purchasers do not earn the advertised income. Many of the strategies and techniques included in the “system,” such as posting fake product reviews, are 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.
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 defendants are 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. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Rule.
The Commission vote approving the complaint was 2-0. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on March 14, 2018.
This case was brought with the invaluable assistance of the Washington State Office of the Attorney General, Utah Division of Consumer Protection, Utah County Attorney’s Office (Bureau of Investigations), Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Lindon City Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, and Amazon.com, Inc.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.