Retailer-turned-educator revises some of its claims, eliminates others
A New Model
Fresh-faced entrepreneurs looking to sock away extra cash or launch their own businesses have found Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program quite attractive. Amazon’s fulfillment system is legendary, and the company allows small business owners to piggyback on that system.
Entrepreneurs create their product—or purchase product in bulk for retail prices—and then hand over storage and fulfillment to the experts at Amazon. The retailing giant then “picks, packs, ships, and provides customer service” on behalf of the small business.
FBA Stores, a Weymouth, MA-based company, promises to help those new businesspeople. Started by brothers Chris and Adam Bowser, the company originally served as an outlet for the pair to sell products on sites like Amazon and eBay. But, as the company rather breathlessly claims, they recently reached a saturation point. “Over the past 17 years together, Adam and I have sold Millions of Dollars [sic] in product through the internet,” Chris writes on the company website. “But we have reached a point in our business where there is no way we can sell enough product for the demand that exists on Amazon alone!” Having found no more room to grow, the company decided to offer seminars and other educational programs to help entrepreneurs stake out their fortunes through FBA channels. The results, they say, can be life-changing.
Claims like these are what inspired an anonymous competitor to report the company to the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ESRP), an investigatory arm of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Both online and in print, FBA Stores seemed to assert that money-making was almost inevitable once the student took the Bowsers’ courses. After examining FBA Store’s claims, the ESRP concluded that some of the company’s marketing be retooled or eliminated altogether.
Once the investigation started, the company told the ESRP that it was currently reviewing earnings claims in its marketing, and was planning on removing all such claims shortly. In light of this promise, the ESRP moved ahead to address other claims. The group recommended that FBA Stores properly disclose the costs of running an FBA business, and revise its claim that “All you have to do is join the membership, pay attention, list products on Amazon and Get [sic] paid.” The ESRP let certain other claims stand, and FBA Stores promised to “adhere to all recommendations made by ERSP in its Final Decision.”