Akron BBB 
News and Alerts

BBB Warns About Business Opportunity Offer

The Better Business Bureau is warning would-be entrepreneurs about an offer that is circulating in the Akron area. Antares Corporation, doing business as Natural Choice-USA and ORION Products Corporation (collectively, ORION), are California companies which offer a vending machine business opportunity.

Mailings received in the Akron area invite prospects to a March seminar in Canton, Ohio. ORION claims this is “...one of the most amazing money-making opportunities you have ever seen.”

In 1996, ORION paid $1 million in consumer redress to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges of misrepresenting the potential earnings of prospective distributors and using shills as references. In the past, the FTC reports some distributors have paid over $60,000 for the business opportunity, relying on the firm's earnings claims of $2,800/yr. per snack machine and $5,000/yr. per beverage machine. Specifically, the FTC complaint alleged that the firm violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting, among other things:

The complaint also alleged that the references provided by ORION to potential distributors to substantiate their representations were not existing successful owners of the firms' vending machine business opportunities.

The order prohibited ORION from making false statements about potential earnings and the extent of location assistance. ORION was also prohibited from providing references to prospective purchasers unless:

The company was prohibited for three years from entering into any agreements that would prohibit present or former distributors from disclosing his or her experience with ORION to any prospective purchaser. ORION was also required to disclose to prospective distributors the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of five current distributors within the county nearest to where the prospective distributor is located.

The consent judgment was for settlement purposes only, and does not constitute an admission of guilt or violation of law.

The Colton, California Better Business Bureau has processed complaints alleging misrepresentation of profit potential and lack of support in placing machines. The firm responded by offering additional placement assistance or other assistance to enhance the marketability of products. Several complaints remain unresolved and customers were not always satisfied with the response.

The Better Business Bureau advises consumers considering any business opportunity to consider all aspects of the investment, especially the investment amount in comparison with profit potential. The BBB also encourages consumers to call the Ohio Attorney General's office at 800-282-0515 to request a copy of the Business Opportunity Purchaser Protection Act to ensure that the business making the offer is in compliance with all laws included in the Act.