• Report: #438131

Complaint Review: U.S First Choice Energy / First Choice Power

  • Submitted: Fri, March 27, 2009
  • Updated: Wed, April 08, 2009

  • Reported By:Pantego Texas
U.S First Choice Energy / First Choice Power
2203 Commerce St Dallas, Texas U.S.A.

U.S First Energy / First Choice Power. Scamming Employees How First Choice screws employees over. Dallas Texas

*UPDATE Employee: Paul B doesnt mention that I am his cousin and is now working for competitor

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I am a 21 year old college student who was living in Chicago in 2008, when I received an offer from Ania Kuna to come down to Dallas Texas to work for an energy company, where she promised that I would be very successful and good at what I do and make millions. She also promised to pay for my hotel and find me an apartment to get settled in. I came down to Texas on very short notice, I had less than 24 hours from the time I found out to get down here for training. I drove from Chicago to Dallas for 15 hours, and barely made it on time for training, which I have been up for 36 hours prior to the training class. My arrival to Dallas was absolutely dreadful, which already made me reconsider the move.

After arriving at Ania's condo in downtown Dallas, I drove with Ania in the same car to the office. She did not tell me what the place even looked like so I had the idea that since it was such a big company I would be working in one of the tall buildings. When we pulled up to this small little shack-like building on the outskirts of downtown and I ask where we were and she told me that were at the "office", which made me think "if this is a multi billion dollar corporation, then why are they operating out of a dump".And nowhere on the building was there a sign saying U.S. First Energy.

I was lead to believe that I was going to be trained by the "great" Micheal Jarmana himself, which I was. Me and about 25 other people who were dragged down to Texas from all over the United States. Typically, a training class consists of training material, something like edcating people about the company, what they do, how they do it, what the company's expectations are of you as a sales rep,etc. Basic company knowledge in other words, which this company did absolutely none of these listed above.

What really happened in training was a whole bunch of guys standing up in front of the class, swearing and making derogative comments to each other in front of everyone. They never once explained what this company does. The entire first day of training was them explaining where they blow all of their company profits away, such as the Hugh Hefner suite in Las Vegas, pissed away 40,000 dollars on renting it for a night, and over a million dollars to organize the party. And how the company spent a few million dollars just to make a party bus called the "Shagadelica 2.0". Also just under a million dollars on fouth dimension sound system speakers. Mike Jarmana also talked about how he has connections with NASA and how he has a reserved spot on a space shuttle for him and his affiliates to take a trip to space. He also mentioned his connections he has with the U.S Governemt, which we spent a few hours just on that subject which once again has nothing to do with the company.

Later on that day they had their top sales reps talk to the class on how they became rich and what they had to do to become a successful salesperson which still didn't explain anything about the company, except the fact that they were doing door to door sales. Towards the late afternoon, we started practicing a written script of what we were to say when we go door to door, concluding the first day of training which I thought was a complete joke.

At the end of that day I spoke with Ania and asked her if its real since I was already having doubts about this company, and she told me that I shouldn't be asking these kinds of questions and if I am then maybe I should rethink why i'm here. Because of that statement she did not allow me to complete the next two days of training, because she thought I had a bad attitude and I was questioning her judgement.

My second day I was thrown into the "field", where I would be shadowing a co-worker who was an illegal immigrant, which I also thought was very suspicious. I spent the first week shadowing this guy Elder Augilar. At no point did I ever fill out an application, hand in a resume, have an interview, or have them confirm my identity, such as my social security, driver's liscence, citizenship, drug screen, background check, etc. And I know for a fact, that every legit buisness conducts the above listed items. If they were to conduct a background check on everyone, I can say at least 90% of the employees would be gone because of immigration status, convictions, drugs, and felonies. Their way of recruiting sales associates is picking up random people. Like a fellow co-worker of mine told me, Jake Steiner approached him at the gym, and told him to come into work immediatley the next morning.

For my first week and a half, I did not have my sales badge, which meant that I could not sell contracts because I was not in their system as a sales rep. As of this time I realized and I was told that it was a commission-only job. They also told me that I would not be compensated for ANYTHING. Which meant, no pay for training, time spent in the office, and travel expenses, which I thought was a load of b******t. I spent at least $1500 on gas alone, out of my pocket, and drove about 100-200 miles a day by car. When I asked them about what was the deal with that, they said I have to sell contracts to make money to pay for it. Now if you thought that was bad enough, on the weekends they would make us take trips far away and stay for 2-3 days at a crappy motel, which they threatened us if we did not meet a certain quota, that we would have to pay for it out of our pockets. I spent two weeks working 7 days a week for about 12-16 hours a day with zero compensation for anything.

The "field" work was the worst part of their scheme. When we rang the doorbell, the customer already knew what was going on. We were treated very warmly by residents with friendly threats such as "f**k you", "go to hell", "get out of here before I call the police" which we actually had the police called on us a few times for soliciting and were almost arrested. The police said we needed soliciting permits, and when we called the company to tell them we were kicked out of a city, they told us to go to another city and start hitting up houses up there and be more stealthy and not worry about the permits.

When I asked about my first check, they told me it would be about 3-4 weeks.Finally, when I did receive my check for my first week of sales, I made only $200(5 closed deals). It gets better. I deposited my check, like any other check, which 4 days later I get a letter from the bank that the check bounced because of insufficient funds in the company's account. Let's not forget it is a multi billion dollar corporation. When I brought this ordeal up to Jake Steiner, he made it clear that i'm a dumbass and I don't know what i'm talking about even thought I had the certified letter from the bank in my hand. He told me the company does have the funds but for security purposes they don't keep all the money available, which was another load of b******t, because whenever you write a check, you should have that money available in an account to cover it. It took me a month just to get that first check back. The biggest check I ever received was $240 for one week and the smallest was $40 for 1 week. So I made $40 f***ing dollars for about 100 hours of work I put in.

At this time I spent almost two weeks in a hotel, which Ania promised to pay for. Which cost me just under $1000 out of my pocket. It gets better, me and a co worker had all our information stolen out of our hotel room, which really caused a problem since I had my liscence stolen and I had to drive to the office everyday, and from the office to the "field" which was about 30 min to an hour away.Besides having to study the script and memorize it every free moment we had, they would make us study at home and forcing us to read books that would apparently help us become better sales people and having a spiritually positive attitude towards everything, but every book was related to religion. They also threatened to fire me because I wasn't happy 24 hours a day, and they said you have to be happy if you want to work for this company. By this time I was getting really fed up, and was nearly on the verge of quitting.

Everyday there would be area leaders that would give us territory that we were supposed to go work. One day we had to take care of an issue with our apartment manager, since Ania promised to help us with our housing until we get situated in Texas. Her promise fell through and we were 2 days late on rent. Which we had to discuss with the leasing manager, making us an hour late to work. By the time we got to the office, it was empty. I talked to Ania and she told me to call the team leaders, find out where they are and meet them somewhere. Which none of the team leaders were answering their phones. When I told her no one was picking up, she stupidly said "call them". That day we had to find our own territory, which we're not supposed to do, and work the area. After that, the company didn't respond to us for a week. By the time they called me, I already quit. They refused to give me, and two other co workers that were living with me our paycheks, until we wrote the letter of apology. A day after they told us to write the letter, they fired all three of us. Which we all already basically quit by then. The best part of that is that Jake Steiner, the regional representative, fired us over the phone. He disclosed to me information about two other co workers, which it is unlawful to disclose any information about another co worker. He told me to tell them they were fired. And then told one of the guys that was fired, that he was just kidding and to come back to work to be successful and to move out immediatly because I was apparently a bad influence since I questioned the company too much. They called me "cancer" and said I was spreading to other employees. He told this employee that he would force this "cancer" to move back to Chicago.

So for almost a month and a half we were forced to sell contracts, and unknowingly lie about the electricity rate and plans and the hidden fees the customer didn't know about, and would end up paying more then they really should.

The only people that are succesful at this company are morons who got brainwashed.

Paul B
Pantego, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/27/2009 04:48 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/US-First-Choice-Energy-First-Choice-Power/Dallas-Texas-75201/US-First-Energy-First-Choice-Power-Scamming-Employees-How-First-Choice-screws-employee-438131. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Paul B doesnt mention that I am his cousin and is now working for competitor

AUTHOR: Us First Energy - (U.S.A.)

My name is Ania, I am the one that the Paul talks about in his complaint. From reading it the first thing you might think is what kind of business does Michael J really do? That is the intent of the article to defame him and to get him to fire me. Why does he not mention that I am his cousin? Why does he not mention that he was never contracted for U. S First Energy? Its because he is working for a competitor that is trying to steal our contract with FCP.

How do I know this? Well the complaint is written as if it's just some random hire that was duped, manipulated and exploited. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. Paul is my little cousin. He doesn't mention that because it would make him bias in his complaint.

Paul is my cousin from Chicago that had been unemployed for months and desperately begged me for a job. There was never any offers or guarantees that he was hired, he came down to apply for a position. There was no agreement for expense to be covered or compensated. In fact I loaned him a large amount of money, to get him on his feet, which was never paid back. Paul dropped out of college a year ago. He has horrible grammar, didn't do well in school and has a lot of trouble getting along with others. I was trying to do a favor for his mother and get him away from a lot of bad kids that he was hanging out with back in Chicago.
Paul was NEVER contracted with U.S First Energy at ANY time, was a different company, TFE. All agent agreement forms and documents are on file for Paul. He went thru all standard and necessary trainings. Also, thought he could USE the fact that I, his cousin, have worked with the company for over 2.5 years and am now a manager as a way to land himself management position. Paul was just barely qualified for the entry level position.

Paul would not show or call to for days. He showed up 3 hours late for appointments, with no phone call, expecting a manger would be waiting around for him. After a week of not showing up, Jake, listened to his life story of medication use for his bipolar disorder. Jake, offered to help him not just with business side of life, but personally to get his life together. After receiving another chance, he was a no show no call for a week. Showed up a week later, on pay day, asking to overlook his mistake. The checks were not able to be cashed simple because as he mentioned he lost his ID, and had no other form of verification for a bank to open an account or even cash the check.

He is BI-POLAR and needs constant medication. What was I thinking? I just wanted to help my family and never thought in my wildest dreams that Paul would get so bad.
As far as how he knew about a company in Dallas from Chicago was simply thru his mother, my aunt. I flew my mother to Dallas for my birthday to visit. Brought my mother to the office, where she was welcomed by all the employees as if we were all family. After my mom was given a tour of the 3 level 14,000 sq ft facility in the middle of downtown Dallas, she was in tears and crying of joy because her only daughter was given and working for an opportunity of a lifetime.

Michael J when finding out my mom was in town and it was my birthday, invited my mom and I to his home for ice cream, mind you this is the CEO of the company. Later that day my mom and I, and a group of 6 friends went out for a birthday dinner. Although Mike was unable to attend physically because he is so busy working 24-7, he never forgets what is important. He still found a way to make it the best and most memorable night for my mom and I, and called the restaurant to pay for the entire tab.

Make no mistake, as successful and great in all of his businesses and ventures, Michael is the most humble of all men.

How do I know Mike? I was introduced to Mike by a friend. Mike found me, within a couple of minutes said I need to interview you some time. There is something special about you. In the last two years there hasn't been a day when I haven't thought about how lucky I am to have met this guy. He has helped and trained me personally to get to the top. Because of him I now have a very important role in one of his companies: great salary, benefits, travel lots and love my job. He is a dream employer and the greatest loving, honest human being I have ever met. He has the outmost respect and understanding for ALL of his employees.

And he does this for 1000's of people. ALL THE TIME. You'll see him walk into the office with a taxi driver he really liked and say this is my friend Tom. I think he's better than a taxi driver. Let's put him through training and give him a chance then he'll invite the guy over to dinner at his house and cook for him while practicing his sales presentation with him. What CEO does that? Mike does this every day. It's what he loves. He once flew 30 people expense paid to South Beach to thank them for their work during Hurricane Katrina. He does this kind of stuff all the time.

And his is so good at what he does it leaves everyone saying WOW. He pays for everything and is out of this world generous. It's impossible to buy him anything because he's already paid for it before the thought comes in your brain. He says that he doesn't owe a soul in the world money, never needed financing, has lived up to every contract he's ever signed, never been sued and never sued anybody. He does business the way it should be done, honestly. And all of his companies run the same way. Does he screw up? He says all the time. But he apologizes for it and tries to do better the next time.

As for how good he is in his business- he is the pioneer and at its peak. There are others that are very good too and they're either his business partners or he's a friend of them. They respect each other. His companies have acquired over 2 MILLION energy customers, and each year for his clients, who are the who's who of energy companies, (FCP is an example), he represents revenue streams, which are in the hundreds of millions of dollars to billions.

This is fact. There is no smoke and mirrors. He has the best reputation in the business because of his results.

So why was this letter written? There were a few people that acted like friends of Mike's who, unbeknownst to him, were trying to steal everything that Mike and his partners had built and leave him with nothing. If you've been in business we all know the type.

They are a little more sophisticated though. They employ some computer hackers that are very good; can get on your laptops, phones, etc. They used Mike to train their people (Mike is the best sales trainer in energy marketing in North America bar none), took hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, stole/ recruited his people, hacked all of his computers which may have contained his personal photos diaries, sent private investigators after him to try to catch him doing something which even looked wrong, ANYTHING SO THEY COULD STEAL HIS COMPANY AND CONTRACTS.

How much better is he than everyone else? Think of this business like advertising. Most companies in his space are small boiler room type of groups with an average shelf life of a year. Undercapitalized and maybe they get some small deal with an advertiser that generates enough work for 30 people for 3 months in a single market. It's a tough business to make it to the top in. Mike's contracts are the large national deals that are multi-year at the top dollar and sometime give him equity stakes in some very valuable companies. His sales groups bring nine and ten digits revenue increases to his clients. His people have the best training, trips all over the country, fly in top sales trainers and elite business leaders to speak to his agents. He has his own sales TV channel that he uses to reach out and connect his sales groups all over the country. They are the Mercedes- Benz of companies in the space. There is no one else close.

Don't just listen to me. Everyone that personally knows Mike will tell you the same. His companies are in a league of his own. As are the clients he represents.

So why was this letter written? After my aunt contacted Paul, with disappointment and embarrassment, he admitted he had help writing the report, Paul went to work for this unscrupulous competitor. They actually target all of our rejects because they don't know how to train people internally (it is very hard. What we do in 30 days usually takes others 1 year.)

It was obvious he was desperate and easily manipulated by another company, a competitor which is trying to take us down, the offer was just enough for him to turn on his own family. Paul's own mother has cried for a week, and offered to fly from Chicago to apologize in person. The whole family is embarrassed.

They thought they could take a shot at Mike without it being traced back to them. They don't want Mike spilling their secrets to the world. Mike told me that if he was to disclose what he knows, including emails, no one would ever want to talk with them or any of their associates because the stuff they do is bad, bad business. But Mike prefers to focus on positive stuff and told me instead to handle this email because he has better things to do with his time like smile and laugh.

After finding out of this unfortunate report that my cousin made of me, Mike was the first to comfort me. I called him crying saying Oh my god you are going to fire me when you read this horrible article that my cousin wrote about me, you and the company. He was more concern about me and my family's reaction to all the false and unfortunate accusations than to take a personal offense.

He said, First off, how bad can it be? We don't do anything bad. Sure we're aggressive but we're really good people. Maybe at some of our functions I'll dress up like Peter Pan or do some ridiculously silly costume stuff but we film all sorts of goofy stuff for my online sales channel. Secondly, I am not going to fire you no matter what. You give me 100% everyday and I adore you for it. Where we're going there are going to be more and more people talking crap about us. In the last 15 years every single thing that has been written about me is good except for maybe one article. Being in my business that is next to impossible. If I was a dirty competitor they don't have any way to beat me fairly so they have to try to do crap like this. And lastly, I am having a great time at my friend's party so I am not going to sweat the small stuff and go back to having fun. Use this as a chance to work on your sense of humor.

When he finally read it he called me and said, I know who's directed your cousin to write this. It's obvious. Your cousin couldn't write a single paragraph correctly. As for the swearing stuff, yeah I swear once in a while and I do love that Shagadelica bus of mine, I talk about it all the time. The rest is real evil though. Listen, give you cousin a call. I know the guy who's manipulating him. The poor kid doesn't have a chance. If you want, as a favor to your family, I'll try to straighten him out. But the way, I know these people are trying to steal my deal with FCP. That's really going to blow up in their face. Take care and write the response.

Also don't include your cousin's last name in our response to that all of his future employers don't hear about his mental illness unless he wants to continue trying to hurt us frivolously.

As for our customers, they do know they are buying long term energy contracts to protect themselves from energy price volatility. EVERY CUSTOMER COMPLETES A RECORDED CALL CONFIRMING THEY UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE BUYING. In addition, a follow up quality call to ensure every agent explained everything exactly and did a good job. In customer surveys customers give us an average satisfaction rating of 9 out 10.

P.S. Be careful in the initial complaint to NOT click on the hot buttons (like space shuttle). These could download spy ware on to your computer. These people have done that before.
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