What is the Business Opportunity Rule?

The Business Opportunity Rule applies to commercial arrangements where a seller solicits a prospective buyer to enter into a new business, the prospective purchaser makes a required payment, and the seller – expressly or by implication – makes certain kinds of claims.  Examples of what’s covered by the Rule include work-at-home opportunities like envelope stuffing or craft assembly where the seller offers to buy back merchandise from the bizopp buyer.  Also covered: opportunities where a seller says it will help the buyer set up or run the business – for example, by providing the buyer with customers, accounts, or locations to sell products or services.

Basic Responsibilities:

If a transaction falls within the Rule, a seller has three key legal responsibilities:

  1. You have to give the buyer a one-page Disclosure Document. And you have to provide this document seven days before the prospective buyer signs a contract or pays any money for the business opportunity.
  2. If you make an earnings claim, you have to give the prospective buyer a separate document that says across the top “EARNINGS CLAIM STATEMENT REQUIRED BY LAW.”
  3. You have to comply with general truth-in-advertising principles, including avoiding deceptive practices. The Rule spells out a list of some “dos” and “don’ts.”