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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XV REGULATION OF TRADE
  • CHAPTER 93 REGULATION OF TRADE AND CERTAIN ENTERPRISES
  • Section 69 Definition; requirements

Section 69. (a) As used in this section the term “multi-level distribution company” shall mean any person, firm, corporation or other business entity which distributes for a valuable consideration, goods or services through independent agents, contractors or distributors, at different levels, wherein participants in the marketing program may recruit other participants, and wherein commissions, cross-commissions, bonuses, refunds, discounts, dividends or other considerations in the marketing program are or may be paid as a result of the sale of such goods and services or the recruitment, actions or performances of additional participants.

(b) Every multi-level distribution company shall provide in its contract of participation that such contract may be cancelled for any reason at any time by a participant upon notification in writing to the company of his election to cancel. If the participant has purchased products while the contract of participation was in effect, all unencumbered products in a resaleable condition then in the possession of the participant shall be repurchased. The repurchase shall be at a price of not less than ninety per cent of the original net cost to the participant returning such goods, taking into account any sales made by or through such participant prior to notification to the company of the election to cancel.

(c) No multi-level distribution company, nor any participant, shall require participants in its marketing program to purchase products or services or pay any other consideration in order to participate in the marketing program unless such products or services are in reasonable quantities and unless it agrees: (1) to repurchase all or part of any products which are unencumbered and in a resaleable condition at a price of not less than ninety per cent of the original net cost to the participant; (2) to repay not less than ninety per cent of the original net cost of any services purchased by the participant; or (3) to refund not less than ninety per cent of any other consideration paid by the participant in order to participate in the marketing program.

(d) No multi-level distribution company or participant in its marketing program shall: (1) operate or, directly or indirectly, participate in the operation of any multi-level marketing program wherein the financial gains to the participants are primarily dependent upon the continued, successive recruitment of other participants and where retail sales are not required as a condition precedent to realization of such financial gains; (2) offer to pay, pay or authorize the payment of any finder’s fee, bonus, refund, override, commission, cross-commission, dividend or other consideration to any participants in a multi-level marketing program solely for the solicitation or recruitment of other participants therein; (3) offer to pay, pay or authorize the payment of any finder’s fee, bonus, refund, override, commission, cross-commission, dividend or other consideration to any participants in a multi-level marketing program in connection with the sale of any product or service unless such participant performs a bona fide and essential supervisory, distributive, selling or soliciting function in the sale or delivery of such product or services to the ultimate consumer; or (4) offer to pay, pay or authorize the payment of any finder’s fee, bonus, refund, override, commission, cross-commission, dividend or other consideration to any participant where payment thereof is or would be dependent on the element of chance dominating over the skill or judgment of such participant, or where no amount of judgment or skill exercised by the participant has any appreciable effect upon any finder’s fee, bonus, refund, override, commission, cross-commission, dividend or other consideration which the participant may receive, or where the participant is without that degree of control over the operation of such plan as to enable him substantially to affect the amount of finder’s fee, bonus, refund, override, commission, cross-commission, dividend or other consideration which he may receive or be entitled to receive.

(e) Multi-level distribution companies shall not represent, directly or indirectly, that participants in a multi-level marketing program will earn or receive any stated gross or net amount, or represent in any manner, the past earnings of participants; provided, however, that a written or verbal description of the manner in which the marketing plan operates shall not, standing alone, constitute a representation of earnings, past or future. Multi-level distribution companies shall not represent, directly or indirectly, that additional distributors or sales personnel are easy to secure or retain, or that all or substantially all participants will succeed.

(f) Each multi-level distribution company numbering among its participants any resident of the commonwealth shall annually file with the attorney general a statement giving notice of this fact and designating the state secretary its agent for service of process for any alleged violation of this section.

(g) Any violation of the provisions of this section shall constitute an unlawful method, act or practice within the meaning of clause (a) of section two of chapter ninety-three A.