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
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 potential earnings and profits prospective distributors could realize;
the substance and success of their location assistance program;
the number of ORION distributorships established in any given geographic
that the testimonials of “successful” distributors represent the typical
experience of ORION distributors; and
that some of the comments by distributors were unsolicited and uncompensated.
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.
such references are engaged in distributing ORION's snack and beverage
products on a full time or part time basis at the time of such referral;
ORION instructs all references that any specific information regarding
their actual sales, income, ability to locate vending machines, or the
quality of those locations, shall be limited to their operation and to
refrain from making any representation regarding the results that the prospective
purchaser may achieve; and
ORION makes periodic reviews to verify that the information provided by
the references complies with the order.
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.