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  • Report: #1064349

Complaint Review: Active Synergy, Inc.

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  • Submitted: Wed, July 03, 2013
  • Updated: Tue, May 13, 2014

  • Reported By: Magnus M — 80128 Colorado
Active Synergy, Inc.
12100 E Iliff Ave; Building A Ste 100 Aurora , Colorado USA

Active Synergy, Inc. AKA Cydcor, Active Synergy Deceptive hiring techniques, cult-like psychological bullying Aurora Colorado

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Active Synergy - a hack-job, exploitative Comcast Business Class "marketing" Contractor - Shame on BOTH of Them!

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This is to notify potential employees of Active Synergy, Inc., that this company is not what it seems on the surface. It is a subsidiary of Cydcor – an infamous multi-level sales firm. Their hiring process is deceptive, their tactics unethical, and the entire organization's atmosphere is very cult-like. To exemplify this, I'll take you through my process of hiring, "training" for one day, and subsequently leaving the organization:

I recently graduated from a legitimate tier-one university, and searched for jobs in communications. Active Synergy, Inc. had an advertisement on CareerBuilder with the title "Business Communications Manager." Naturally, this makes sense. I submitted an app on Sunday, and received a call back on Monday morning (red flag #1). I scheduled an interview for the next morning, and upon walking into the office, I found myself impressed with the professionalism of the employees (everything from demeanor to level of dress) and quality of the office. Everything seemed legit. 

The interviewer brought up that this is a commissioned sales role, contradicting the job description (red flag #2). However, as it was presented as a marketing firm (anyone who has studied business knows sales and marketing are NOT the same thing - the only "marketing" Active Synergy does is multi-level), and he emphasized "base pay" and "business-to-business" sales, it seemed like a legitimate job opportunity. He also emphasized the management training program, which seemed to rationalize the long hours 8a-6p (more on this later, too). I assumed, given the hours and that the sales were only from 11-5, that it was a legit marketing firm that did real marketing analysis. They emphasized that they were working for Comcast, which is a delibrate misrepresentation.

That night I received a follow-up call which was sort of bizarre in nature (red flag #3). It started with "Unfortunately we are unable to offer all our interviewees employment, however you have been selected for a follow-up interview" - I chalk this up to the psychological techniques that they use on their employees to make it seem like this is a "fear of loss" opportunity. (Their associates themselves are victims of the very marketing tools they’re taught to employ.) Indeed, the only reason why I went in for a follow-up interview and a day of training was because ASI's workforce consisted of all (young, recent) college graduates.

The second day interview was mostly ("lap doors") - this made it seem to me, since the 'account executive' had already talked to these businesses, that they had already set up an "appointment" with the sales rep. This kept me on for another day. 

The next day was revealing. Talking to the associates, I could see some of them were already brainwashed, or were in the process of being brainwashed by this company. One associate said he was apprehensive, until the Manager, Cole, basically described their multi-level marketing strategy - essentially a barely legal pyramid scheme that allows the higher ups to make copious amounts of money on their subordinates' hard work. (This works because ASI’s turnover rate is ridiculous: every day I went in, there were 8-10 new interviewees, strange for a firm of maybe 20 people.)

Another associate that was hired along with me said to me, “I was apprehensive … until Cole said "you’re all overqualified for door-to-door sales, but this is different.” Later that day in training the manager asked everyone his or her goals. I was expecting legitimate and realistic short-term goals, what I heard were ridiculously grandiose expectations – multi-millionaire things. One of the ‘leaders’ told me that “after I learned the structure of the company, I’d realize how possible this is.” All the "training" seemed to encompass a common objective – you have to work your ass off to get rich, so do it even when it seems like this job is ridiculous (red flag 4).

Active Synergy seems like a legit business, only with some shady practices and deceptive behavior. I’m sure it's possible get rich if you stick with the program - although this is easily disputed in that it's such a bloated market - and if door-to-door sales works for your self-actualization. The problem is, your money is going to someone else, and your success is essentially dictated by how many people you hire. But sales is a finite entity. The problem with this type of marketing is that the company can’t grow forever, and there always has to be someone at the bottom, and there always have to be buyers. There are competitors, too. It doesn’t work, economically speaking.

This business is not a cult, but I say this business is cult-like because of the culture that encompasses it. Nothing that they do is technically illegal (soliciting in no-solicit establishments is iffy). Everything in your life is tied into this firm: it almost becomes your family with the ridiculous hours, “team nights,” and overall structure of the company. Every pitch, every objection is scripted down to the last detail. I don’t understand how this type of marketing works when a person says “I’m not interested” and you’re supposed to employ “goldfish theory” – that is, continue your sales pitch as if it didn’t happen.

This might work 1 in 100 times, which might increase sales in an insignificant way, but it's a terrible way to treat customers, isn't comensurate with relationship-building, and makes for an overall crappy life for anyone with any kind of a conscience What this tells me is that the higher ups in the “pyramid” are more concerned with getting their residual commission, rather than cultivating real customer relations. Personally, I couldn’t be able to live with myself doing this job. 

This is what ultimately turned me off: soliciting in no-solicit areas, associates bragging about being escorted out of buildings by security (and corporate-sponsored training on how to bypass security), and just a general lack of respect for others' personal space and business. Basically, you are trained to become a jerk… in fact, my trainer pitched to a pastor at a church who was in the middle of welcoming congregants into a funeral. When I told him I thought this was inappropriate, he said “you’re just afraid to work.”

I’m not saying that this job is a complete scam. Although the fact that you have to stay on for two weeks to turn a paycheck is very sketchy. If you are the type of person who can take risks on relationships, don’t really care about respectful human intercommunication, and if you don’t care about self-actualization… then perhaps this job is for you. But for people looking for a real job, want to climb the ladder the legitimate way and pay your dues, then you should question why this company resorts to deceptive hiring practice to attract employees. 


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/03/2013 11:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Active-Synergy-Inc/Aurora-Colorado-80014/Active-Synergy-Inc-AKA-Cydcor-Active-Synergy-Deceptive-hiring-techniques-cult-like-ps-1064349. 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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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Active Synergy - a hack-job, exploitative Comcast Business Class "marketing" Contractor - Shame on BOTH of Them!

AUTHOR: E.G - ()

As I read this whole review, I couldn't help but nod the entired time with what was said.

You were absolutely spot on; everything from the manipulation and taking advantage of naive recent college grads, to the cult-like behavior of the popularity contest of an environment, to the sheer pathetic attempts to loosely train novice kids with no prior backgrounds to sell business to business services, Which was Contracted through Comcast business class at the time, to the absolute disregard of common-sense ettiquete of customer service and salesmanship with business tennants in the territory that they were assigned to work. The turnover rate there was attrocious. 1/10 people only make it probably 2-3 months -tops. What's worse is there complicated, confusing pay/commission schedule that you had to sign mutiple disclosures on -agreeing to all kinds of rights being waived. THAT was the biggest red flag of all, looking back. It's as if, they want to try as hard as possible NOT to pay people. Seems to be a theme in Colorado these days, with the "at-will" employment victimized state we've allowed ourselves to become - that's another issue that I won't go in alltogether.

I don't know who to be more angry at - Comcast, for allowing this complete amateur act to tarnish their reputation or the people at Cycor/Active Synergy to actually model a business plan around the philosophies and practices they employed.

As a formed Comcast employee who was laid off just months before this happened, in the summer of 2012, I had direct experience doing this exact kind of work, which was going door to door, soliciting comcast business and residential products and services - except, I was well trained by corporate, well supplied and properly given the right support to make the adequate impressions on the customers as I was serviing. Not to mention, I was paid well and had good benefits and a well-thought out strategy on how I was working the field.

When I interviewed, I Was completely fooled into thinking this opporunity was something other than what it really was.

I knew something was up and wrong witht he picture when I realized I was the oldest one there, by several years, and that only a small handful of the gullible other people were wearing mis-matched clothing, or wrinkled suits and completely had little or not experience wearing professional clothing - and that the dress code in the office was a professional only - suits preferred environment, but for a 100% commission environment - which I Was okay with becuase my confidence level and experience set was much higher than all the others around me, and I knew I'd turn some sales very soon. But I was wrong that I would have that chance. I was preparied to devote 8-6pm, gallons of gas a day driving all over the place, wearing my nice suits to make income for myself.

I was assuming, that from the get-go, that I would be some kind of management or trainer, because of my extensive training. But, no, I was paired up with the 22 year old who'd only worked in restaurants and pizzaerias his adult career and I Was supposed to shadow and assist him while I "Trained" for 3-4 business days. I was then told, that i'm placed amongst the bottom of all the other recruits and that in time, my "leadership" could be known with how much I achieve. Only production could merit leadership, with zero consideration to your job-history background, experience, and or Age as well -which I had 8 years of experience, 4 yr degree, and 3 yrs of Comcast experience in the exact same role - I was adamant that I should have been valued more than that.

During that training time over the first week, of about 4 days, it was purely an observational experienceand I was asked to tag along and watch n learn. only by day 3&4 would be be pitching in and doing the sales set up/pitches and closes, and THAT commission would be somehow/somewhat split from the person that I was to be shadowing.

REALLY? I work for free, AND pitch and close your deal, and I might be entitled to some of the commission that the other guy is going to make?? GTFO! seriously??

So I talked talked the branch-managing owner "Cole" (who'd so smoothly talked and mislead me into this mess) into kicking me loose a day or so early and for me to take a hot territory where I would have had the best statistical chances at getting somethings going - that was DTC parkway area, since I knew that territory well and saw lots of opportunities there. I went there and I worked each floor and each unit, but with no luck. I was eventually lead out of the buildings by superintendents and security. During that whole days of beating the turf, I found out that I was put into a situation that I was competing against corporate Comcast Business class account execs who were there just 3-4 days earlier. I looks like a dumbass, and made Comcast seem absolutely unorganized and all over the place. I rolled with the turn of events. I was pissed because I had wasted an entire for nothing, spinning my wheels on a territory that was NOT logisitcally planned out and was competing against corporate - against a Woman from business class who'd left all her business cards there.NO WAY could the most seasoned non-corporated contractor compete in this scenario, regardless how "good" you were. That was a clear indication that the territories and leads provide were absolutely Shit, and hand-me-downs from Corporate - which Comcast does with ALL their door to door contracts on both residential and business. That it why there are contractors working this roles - because corporate employees cannot secure deals in those territories - let's see if the w4 contractors making 100% commission can close those deals AFTER the corporate had tried for weeks and for many passes/attempts. Not to mention that corporate has their mileage reimbursed and an base wage, to cover the high amount of failure that comes with this business.

What was worse, no mileage reimbursement, no business expenses, no hourly wage, nothing.  What was most agnering was that there was no business cards, no collateral/fliers to be left, and all we have was basice pricing sheet and very simple sheet (with 3 boxes on it that a kindergardener looked like they designed) that we were used in means of being used as our only presentations material being used. And that's how we quoted prices and discounts, only by handwriting something down - scribbling on that in front of the client, and leaving the nothing in hand when you walk away with. No pricing brochures, nothing. WAs the Cheapest, most ghetto representation of a sales jobs I've seen.

What was hardest to overcome was that we were mandated that we'd close the business that day ont he first stop, and not even have abusiness card to hand off to the people. And we were supposed to use these canned, high pressure pitches that clearly did not work when you try to close a vp of a multi million dollar company who had accounts with telecommunications that cost $2-3k a month and you offer them a $450 "solution". Especially when you're a 23yr old kid with no working world experience trying to pitch an affluent business owner. Bad mix-match combination.

The whole thing was a bad idea and a shameful act by Comcast for allowing this BS operation to exist.

Worse is the tactics employed by this company to lure, brainwash, and exploit hardworking, hopeful college grads, just looking for a real oppoertunity to do something with their lives, especially in this Eff-up economy, that leaves almost no opportunity to this age group but only with low paying jobs. I was particularly in a vulnerable state, because I was needing work and income myself and was willing to put myself throught this, even though my intuition said don't do it!

I did anyways.

Additionally, I took it upon myself to provide my leadership abilities and give feedback during the group huddles to "Train" and provide additional iinformation about the products and services we were promoting, that the company was not. Things like "we've updated the fiber optic cables in the buildings" is what they were taught to say to the prospects - FALSE - I had to correct everyone in there and say it's the fiber optics in the ground, in the neighborhoods - Comcast does NOT run fiber in buildings or along the poles outside. It's only the delivery system underground in which is used. So told them to make corrections like, "the area was just updated with fiber optics, and Business class services are now in the area" - NOT  your building NOW has fiber running in it!".

IT was details like that that was so pathetically novice and unprofessional. But then again, what do you expect from an operation that is structured on a top down hierarchy of income and commissions based structures?

What really pissed me off was that after a week of having spent 55 hours devoted to that operation with the severe let down they put me through, I asked to be compensated for my efforts, time, energy  but was not allowed to be becasue I didn't last there for two weeks.So after I was told that I'd get no money for the 55 hours I endured. It was 55 hours and not jsut 40 because at the end of each night in the field between 5-6pm we HAD to come all the way back to the office AND participate in a giant group peprally where everyone had to clap hands and smile and group cheers with running in circles giving each other high fives - as a mood enhancing activity to promote positive atmosphere - regardless if you had a BS, eventless day - you were forces to pretend you were excited and happy for everyone else who made a sale. That was the cult-like behavior that they worked hard on promoting.

So after being told that I wasn't going to be paid, I contacted several lawyers who would have been happy to settle this in a court room, ebcasue they would have had their fees covered through the devision of labor - which they could sue for as well, but I took it to the division of labor itself, filed a claim and had them compensate me for my minimum wage that I was expecting to get IF I lasted 2 weeks their. I got a check in the mail for my $250 about 4 weeks later when Cole woke up and realized, some of us aren't Effing around when we call him out on his unethical, shady business practices. You can fool most people, but becareful WHO you try to fool - not me.

 

In ALL it's a learning lesson for everyone - there IS no quick money that comes without hard work. Sometimes brutally hard work will leave YOU victimized. Keep a balance. If it's seemingly too hard to beleive, that it's most likely untrue.

AND NEVER-EVER work with anyone who talks you into the notion that "your opportunities are endless, and so are you paychecks". ANyone who dangles that 6-figure income opportunity infront of you, is most likely lying to you, because they are exaggerating on the BEST-case scenarios.

I'll take a guarenteed 55,000  of projected/expected income of concrete estimated numbers rather than that " our top performers earn 6-figure incomes" which I have yet to see anyone, with any work, with a 100% commission job making that kind of money

 

 

 

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