Mary Kay is Trying to Restrict Consultants and Directors Even More

Looking for another sign that Mary Kay Cosmetics is in big trouble? I have one for you! They are creating situations in which they can “crack down” on sales directors and consultants.

A brand new “friend of Pink Truth” has come forward with this revelation. She’s a sales director, and recently she was selling a Section 2 item on eBay, and got a nasty-gram from Mary Kay Inc. You read that right… she was not selling a Mary Kay product. Just a “tool” that she had purchased from Mary Kay and wanted to get rid of.

But Mary Kay Inc. sent her a letter threatening to terminate her for selling this “sales aid” on eBay. Here’s part of what the letter said:

As you are aware Beauty Consultants and Sales Directors may not advertise Mary Kay products online for sale other than through their Mary Kay Personal Website. Listing Mary Kay products for sale on an online auction, online flea market, or other online outlet, constitutes a serious violation of the terms and conditions of your Independent Beauty Consultant Agreement and Independent Sales Director Agreement.

Wait! She was not selling “products” online, as I’ve mentioned above. Just a supply. But here’s the section of the sales director agreement they quoted to her:

5.3 To protect Sales Director’s Mary Kay business, the business of those Beauty Consultants in Sales Director’s Sales Unit and the Company from the risks of false, deceptive, misleading or unsubstantiated advertising claims or any unauthorized guarantees, warranties or representations, Sales Director agrees not to use Company’s trademarks or trade names in any type of advertising matter or literature (excluding sales literature and advertising formats supplied by Company for such purposes) without first obtaining Company’s written permission.

Could the listing on eBay be considered “advertising”? I suppose so. But then so could any flier that a consultant makes to announce an open house or sale. So could anything even indicating that you sell Mary Kay products. Sorry, but that’s not how trademark law works. Mary Kay can’t forbid you to utter or write their name if you’re just identifying the products you have for sale.

On the other hand, they can restrict you if you have a contract with them that prohibits this. They’ll say you agreed to it.

But what does it really say about the company’s desperation level when they’re trying to scare sales directors into not selling stupid supplies and sales aids to others? I have never seen anyone threatened for an eBay auction like this. Mary Kay is known to send out letters to those selling Section 1 products, but never just supplies.

What do you think about this? Is this a pathetic attempt by Mary Kay to put such a ridiculous hold on their sales force that sales and recruiting figures will turn around? That’s not usually how it works. When you’re punitive to your people, they don’t usually want to recruit more people and sell your opportunity. This act screams desperation to me. Mary Kay is trying to hold onto control any way they can.

Don’t let them. Terminate your agreements and leave the sinking ship before it’s too late. And if you want to sell on eBay, use our tips page to help you get started. Don’t be a pawn for a predatory pyramid scheme like Mary Kay Cosmetics.