Multi-level marketing and pyramid selling

Sections 55 and 55.1 of the Competition Act are criminal provisions addressing multi-level marketing and pyramid selling. Section 55 prohibits operators or participants in a multi-level marketing plan from making representations relating to compensation without fair, reasonable and timely disclosure of the amount of compensation received or likely to be received by typical participants in the plan. Section 55.1 of the Act provides that a multi-level marketing plan that includes either compensation for recruitment, required purchases as a condition of participation, inventory loading, or the lack of a buy-back guarantee on reasonable commercial terms, constitutes a prohibited "scheme of pyramid selling".

Any person who contravenes section 55 or 55.1 is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to $200,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year on summary conviction, or to fines in the discretion of the court and/or imprisonment up to five years upon indictment.

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