- Report: #77549
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corporation)
SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corporation)9447 De Soto Avenue Chatsworth, California U.S.A.
SMC - Specialty Merchandise Corporation ripoff lying deceptive overpriced oversaturated market Chatsworth California
*Consumer Comment: Try to get help against SMC
*Consumer Comment: Scam, Ripoff, or just plain Unethical Business, SMC is all of the above
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: SMC is not so bad
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Firstly I would like to contact about the contact information for SMC. Upon the regular website, there is none listed except a toll free number. I attempted to get some information from the BBB, but their site is not putting up the "SMC" file now. Odd, isn't it?
I resorted to doing a who is on the domain of smcorp.com. This was hysterical. The administrative contact is:
WU, JOE (JW17195) jwu@SMCORP.COM
9401 DE SOTO AVE
CHATSWORTH, CA 91311-4920
818.998.3300 fax: 818.998.2635
The technical contact is:
chang, paul (PCK107) paul@SMCORP.COM
9401 DeSoto Ave
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 998-3300 fax: 123 123 1234
What I find strange is the fact they put a fax number for the first contact, but a stupid 123 series for their fax number? Why is it that you cannot find any of this contact information on their website? Heck, I don't even recall an email address. Nothing more than a form to fill out to order your package.
On to my complaint about SMC.
I signed up for SMC about a year ago. As most, I saw the commercial at the wee hours of the morning. I requested the free information. After I received the free information, I eventually signed up for the $25.00 offer.
Through talks, I was coaxed in to signing up for the lifetime membership. Supposedly a one time fee of $400.00 and something dollars. I had checked with the BBB and they seemed to have a good record. Another factor was how long they had been in business. I found this out from the corporate database search at the State of California website. That site confirmed how long they had been in business.
Problems started to arise when I requested my "free" website. They had put my personal name and address on the site. I had told them to not do anything because I had planned on getting a business license and a P.O. box just for my business. Well, when I called to get the information changed, I was told they could do so for only $25.00. I told them that was a rip-off. I didn't need their stupid free site. I was already in the process of setting up my own site (no reason to pay something to do I am well capable of doing myself).
My next issue was the fact that I was told I had "FTP" access. NOT! I'm sorry, but I don't consider connecting to FTP via http (or https) to be a real FTP connection. This was a problem because I wanted to download the images. Having DSL at the time, it would be quicker to simply download the image folders and sort stuff out myself than having to click on image, then click save, then wait for it to download, and over and over.
Another issue was tech support. Their online tech support is the worst. The ONLY use for online tech support is IF you have a website through them. 9/10, if your question does not pertain to such, you are told to call customer support.
As for the pricing of the merchant system and website, it is outrageous. I could see paying somewhere near that amount (but below the amount they request) if my site would be "custom" designed. Once again, I have a difference in terms as to what they call things. I do NOT consider a template-based website where the only thing that is edited is basic text (my name/company info, etc) to be a "custom designed" website. I was also told that anytime I needed changes (change in company info and such), I had to pay $25.00 per incident. That is a rip-off. I can do such changes in Notepad in less than two minutes and have it uploaded in no time. Why would I want to pay for a site I don't even have full control over?
I was not happy with the fact that items were frequently "discontinued." How can you give someone a catalog and have numerous items discontinued not even months after the catalog has been issued? Speaking of that matter, I think that it's a rip-off that you had to manually search for "discontinued" items. They tried to make that some sort of incentive to get their overpriced web host/design package.
Finally, they contacted me for non-payment. I told them I was unsatisfied with their service (all and even more of what was mentioned above). I sent them a letter requesting to have my account canceled. I never did hear from them (personally) again. My next contact was a collection agency contacting me. If that was not unprofessional, then I don't know what is.
The collection agency said I could pay out my contract. I then asked "When I pay out this contract for the lesser amount, will my account be reactivated?" I was told "no." I then asked, "Why would I pay for something I could not use?"
They tried the old "breach of contract" game. Fortunately I remember reading on the SMC website that they were going to charge an annual fee to those with "lifetime" memberships. The fee would be much smaller, but nonetheless, a fee. Technically, that is a breach of contract. I was told originally that with the lifetime membership, I would have to pay no more membership fees.
I did file a complaint with the BBB. I am in the process of filing a complaint with the FTC and Attorney General of California. The Attorney General of California sure will be hearing from me a lot soon.
My advice is for people to stay away from this company. If you read other reports about SMC, you will see people mention the market being over saturated with their products. This is true. Check E-bay out. You will find SMC products all over the place.
If you want your own home business selling such items and are thinking of using SMC, please check out other wholesalers online FIRST. There are tons of wholesalers out there whom will sell to you with NO "membership" fees. The only catch is you usually have to show them a copy of your business license and you tax/reseller license.
In Louisiana, such paperwork is not hard at all to get. You pay for your business license ($15.00 last time I checked). Filing for state and local tax license, there is no fee. Check with your local city hall for this information. The small amount of time it takes for this is well worth it if you are serious about opening a business.
Morgan City, Louisiana
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/20/2004 03:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/SMC-Specialty-Merchandise-Corporation/Chatsworth-California-91311-4920/SMC-Specialty-Merchandise-Corporation-ripoff-lying-deceptive-overpriced-oversaturated-ma-77549. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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