• Report: #865450

Complaint Review: Graceful Hands

  • Submitted: Sun, April 08, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, January 03, 2013

  • Reported By: Robert — Seattle Washington United States of America
Graceful Hands
3645 Marketplace Blve., Suite 130, East Point, GA Atlanta, Georgia United States of America

Graceful Hands Maurice McLain Magazine sales masquerading as charity Atlanta, Georgia

*Consumer Comment: similar story

*Consumer Comment: Seemed Like a Nice Guy

*Consumer Comment: very genuine man who i wish thai I had given $ to

*UPDATE Employee: Official Reply to Graceful Hands Report

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I was approached at home by a young man wearing a white shirt, black pants and tie -- he at first appeared to be a missionary of some kind. When I answered the door he launched into a pitch about selling magazines for the charity "Graceful Hands", which he claimed was helping him and other young adults from "the hard inner city life" make a better life for themselves through magazine sales. It was a strange speech and I kept interrupting asking questions, but he had a difficult time answering off-message questions like "where is the charity based" and "where can I find more information online."

He was very focused on the magazine sales and told me that if I bought a package of 3 subscriptions he'd be allowed to go home for the evening -- which was a bit disturbing in itself. When I said I didn't need magazines he suggested that I donate them to local charities. When I asked him for the amount for the subscriptions, he said "186.00 for the package of 3" -- totally nuts. I told him that I'd be willing to give him a small donation of 25.00 via check just because he was working hard, and he gave me a receipt from an organization called "Graceful Hands".

The web site for this organization is gracefulhands.org, which is the only information about this entity available anywhere online. The site itself appears to have been thrown together quickly and has only some basic generic information, although it does have the name of the founder -- Maurice McClain. Researching Maurice McClain led to discovering that this man also runs a notorious scam operation called Ultimate Unity Inc, which appears to recruit vulnerable youth into a traveling sales program where they're taken from city to city doing exactly what Graceful Hands appeared to be doing in my neighborhood.

Very bad feeling about this organization and even more disconcerted upon learning that the founder, Maruice McClain, might be exploiting vulnerable youth. Given the total lack of information about Graceful Hands anywhere online and the connection to Ultimate Unity Inc., I'm planning to file a police report to alert local authorities that these people are active in my area.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/08/2012 12:22 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Graceful-Hands/Atlanta-Georgia-31141/Graceful-Hands-Maurice-McLain-Magazine-sales-masquerading-as-charity-Atlanta-Georgia-865450. 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 Consumer Comment

similar story

AUTHOR: Martin - ()

I had the near exact experience as the person who wrote the Graceful Hands report. I am near Cleveland, Ohio. Nice enough guy I tried to be respectful of. He gave me the story of his terrible past and this opportunity for redemption he was seeking. I listened a long time. I asked a bunch of questions. He stopped his speech when he saw I was taking out my wallet. He barely said another word while I oferred him a twenty dollar bill. He grabbed it and gave me a receipt and said his name was Jerry Chaney. I thought it was a funny choice to beg as a way to redeem oneself, and after investigating the company, I would say there seems to be something fishy about the whole thing. It just didn't feel right. Worst of all, these are the kind of things that make people just say no to everyone, even the deserving ones. You just can't know who is for real these days. There was no mention of magazines. I would have said no right away. I just wanted to help, but really wonder what I did.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Seemed Like a Nice Guy

AUTHOR: Guy on the Street - (United States of America)

I just had a very nice young African American man come to my door collecting donations for Graceful Hands, the charitable side for this organization.  As I understand the organization's response, they have both a for-profit wing that allows troubled young, inner-city adults to sell magazine subscriptions, as well as a charitable wing that allows them to collect donations in the organization's name.  

Overall, he presented the organization and himself very well,  and I was moved to give them a small donation promising to look into the charity's work and decide if I would be interested in becoming a more involved supporter/donor.  

From what the young man said, the organization seems to be giving him and others a helping hand through difficult times and I'm eager to support such work (even though it seems to be a church-based Christian organization -- since I consider myself a secular humanist and do not personally believe in any sort of super-natural super-Being -- but do very much believe in a moral imperative to help my fellow human beings in any legitimate way I can).  

Of course, I'm about to do a little more research online and try to figure out if I taken advantage of (been there, done that --lol).  Or, was I right in my assessment of this young man and the organization he represents?  Time will tell, I suppose. 

The little I have read seems to suggest that perhaps the founder of the organization might be taking advantage of young people like the man who knocked at my door -- raising half the money for him and his organization.  

In the end, who knows?!  I would have been happy to just help this young man all by himself.  But, since he's gone to the trouble to affiliate himself with an organization that he honestly at least SEEMS he trusts, I'm happy they at least split the money.

If on the other hand, it turns out that they are both what was represented, I certainly wish them both tbe best luck possible!  
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#3 Consumer Comment

very genuine man who i wish thai I had given $ to

AUTHOR: nieve female - (United States of America)

Today a very nice and well dressed African American man came to my door.  I had a good feeling about him, so I let him in.  He sat and talked to me for quite a while, maybe 30 minutes.  This man, when I look back, was genuine and sincere.

He showed me where someone had shot him once, finally.  He told me all about the program and how much he wishes to be a mentor after gathearing so many points from so many sales.  He honestly had so much to tell me, because I made him aware that I was going to have to check things out before buying anything.

I looked in the computer and saw how the prices of the magazines are so much less than what he had to offer.  He explained how half of the money goes to him, upon his sale.  He also informed me of the people who he saw walk into the program and how they changed.

I looked up the organization for which he worked.  Under scams, there was an address very close to the address on his paper.  It was not the same adress, yet very close to the one written on the top of this pad of papers which he showed me.

You see, I tend to trust people and I wish to belive that strangers are honest and true.  People have warned me over and constantly not to trust so much or I will be taken advantage of.  Scared, I looked up the same company mentioned earlier.  I saw the complaint reported.

I wish that I had given the man more credit.  I decided that I would give him a check directed just to him.  I told him how I belived in him, i just did not know about the organization for which he wroked.  He was such a good man.

Looking back, I really wish that I had paid the high cost of the magazine and taken a risk.  Just today I was wishing that I gave more financially to organizations.  I do not know that I did right or wrong.

I had called my father to ask him his opinion, right in front of the man.  Dad was not home.  I called the guy who I am dating and he told me to buy a subscription for a magazine that I wished for.  He did not have time to even read magazines, he let me know.

The man left my home, happy to be in the rain, for it is raining.  I had insisted that he take an umbrella.  I was honestly scared that he was also being taken advantage of by a company.  

The man is not here anymore, yet my memory is.  I can say "no" to people in New York who try and get me to buy things or go into clubs.  I can say "no" to pushy sales people.  Looking back, I do belive that this man was genuine.  

I just hope that he does not get in trouble for taking all his time with me.  He returned the umbrella before he was picked up.  I liked everything that he said and I wished to support him.  

I also did not believe that I had the amounts of money to spend on the books, magazines or the other thing that he sold.

Late on tonight, my father told me not to buy from door to door salesmen.  I wish that people could be trusted.   I wish that the other door to door salesmen had not acted dishonestly, leaving me in doubt of this man.  
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#4 UPDATE Employee

Official Reply to Graceful Hands Report

AUTHOR: Graceful Hands Rep. - (United States of America)

Dear Robert,

We are disappointed to hear of your unfortunate encounter with one of our agents who obviously did not communicate well with you our position regarding our direct sales training business organization Urban Development Solutions and our not for profit arm - Graceful Hands.

Graceful Hands is a new not-for profit formed to help support direct sales agents working on 100% commission with basic needs like housing, food, grooming, work clothing and social services such as career development and life skills management until they are able to maintain a sustainable
income. Our 501(c)3 tax exemption status application with the IRS which allows us to collect taxdeductible donations is in the pending manager review status. Our documented pending letter is being processed (and mailed to us within 30 days of this posting) and we have been given permission to collect small donations at this stage. Because we are in our infancy, there is little
information to be found on the internet yet regarding Graceful Hands. We are working to generate funds on our own before we are qualified to seek grants and sponsorship.

We strive to help young adults from the inner city and train them on proper communication skills. Unfortunately, sometimes there is an individual that may misrepresent what they are taught and exhibit traits that are not reflective of our organizations practices. If the agent you met was
having difficulty answering your questions, he should have presented you with the
documentation in his credential folder that better explains our mission and position. The sales of the magazines enable him to generate a sales income and Graceful Hands allows him to accept donations on behalf of the organization that will help with the implementation of basic needs and social support services.

Your post reads as if he confused the two which led to your discomfort. We would have been happy to explain the actual process to you had you called our toll free number or e-mailed us with your concerns. Our daily morning sales meetings are also open to the general public and we would have liked to have extended you an invitation to attend had you contacted us.

However, we do thank you for bringing this incident to our attention so we can enforce our guidelines and prevent further occurrences with all parties involved. Had you given more details identifying the individual or again, made direct contact with us, we could have reprimanded him directly. As for the other complaints you discovered, it is sometimes a difficult task to try and help at risk" individuals no matter how stringent our training may be because of their propensity to disobey structure. Unfortunately, some people attribute their surface level experiences in the field as the rule of the thumb for our organization without any direct due diligence and air their grievance in public without giving our principals an opportunity to properly address the situation.

That public grievance is then taken as fact without due process and unfairly convicts us in the court of public opinion. The recent incident with the White Houses Secret Service Staff is a prime example shows that counter culture activities take place among people regardless of their education and background, but it is not reflective of the training they received.

Please refer to our (Urban Development Solutions) A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau in our home state of Indiana here. http://www.bbb.org/eastern-michigan/business-reviews/magazine-sales/urban-development-solutions-inc-in-grosse-pointe-mi-45000580.

To verify Graceful Hands Inc. status with the IRS, please call them at 1-877-829-5500.

Feel free to contact us for further details below.
Graceful Hands Inc.
3645 Marketplace Blvd. Suite# 130
Atlanta, GA 30344-5748

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