I have placed several sources of information/contacts that may be utilized to review the FTC guidelines on truth in advertising and a method to complain about SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club at the end of this document. I hope this helps. The following is a summary of my observations of the dishonest and fraudulent business practices of the SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club:
SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club do not have general public contact telephone numbers or email addresses with which to contact them directly. SMC Corporation's physical address is a P.O. Box.
SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club provides no method of Internet website tracking (The number of people that have visited your website, etc.). You have absolutely no idea How many people have visited your website today, in the past week, month or year.
Do not pay money to the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club that you do not honestly owe, or it WILL be gone without a trace. Their process is designed to KEEP YOUR MONEY.
SMC will not allow the use of Pay Pal Pro. Pay Pal Pro is for all intents and purposes a gateway (With very reasonable charges). eMerchant Club charges $395.00 to set up your gateway. You may set up your own gateway absolutely FREE (By simply contacting a Gateway company on the internet or by phone).
eMerchant Club charges hundreds of dollars for search engine optimization. This simply requires submitting your website to the various search engines. You may submit your website address to all of the search engines absolutely FREE. This will of course be a total waste of time because the SMC Corporation/eMerchant Club website (Provided to you by them) is a replicated website. Search engines despise replicated sites.
A typical gateway will cost around $40.00 to $50.00 per month (If you sell absolutely nothing, this will be there minimum charge). The price quickly goes up if actual products are sold.
If you decide to sell SMC items at swap meets or flee markets, you will find 3 or 4 (or more) other people selling the exact same merchandise from SMC (at a greatly reduced price).
It will be very difficult (or impossible) to sell SMC merchandise to businesses at wholesale. Think about it, SMC has flooded the market with their products through their ongoing "mass marketing" campaign of infomercials, emails and ads of every form. If a business wishes to sell SMC products to their customers (For some reason), would they not have the ability to go directly to SMC themselves and pay member cost?
Most, if not all of the SMC products are made in China; I especially love the Harley Davidson coffee mug with "Made in China" stamped on the bottom (that would get you killed at any Harley Davidson Rally!).
When conducting business with the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club, and you are conveying something of importance, ensure that you have a witness listening on another line (Wife, Friend, Mother, etc), and after the initial call, verify the information by a follow-up phone call.
SMC tapes all telephone conversations and you will find that tapes that support their position are found with ease, however, tapes that support your position "do not exist".
Ensure that the battery for your telephone is completely charged prior to a call to SMC support. You will find that a 45-minute to a one-hour telephone wait will be common during the Christmas season (This is of course the time that you will require the most support and you will listen to SMC promotions the entire time you are waiting...NOT music).
The shipping costs from SMC are very high and each order will be charged a $3.00 service fee (Hugh cut in any potential profit).
You will not have a person to complain to at the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club if you have a complaint (about anything). You will be relegated to an interface provided by these companies for ALL communications with these companies.
The SMC Corporation will assign each person a "Business Coach". This person's primary function is to "sell" you as much SMC materials as possible (Catalogs, gift cards, SMC products or the new "flavor of the week"). This "coaching" is purely based on the amount of money that you are prepared to spend with SMC. You will find and be subject to every dirty trick in the book when dealing with an SMC Business Coach.
You will find that whenever an SMC Representative has lied to you, it will always be your fault, because you misunderstood or you miss-communicated the situation.
The SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club do not have "opt-in", they only have "opt-out" (if you find out in time). You will automatically be opted-in to pay for upgrades to your website and other hidden charges.
If the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club takes money from you for any reason that you do not understand, IMMEDIATELY contact your Bank or Charge Card Provider to contest the charges. Attempting to retrieve your money by "going through the system" at SMC or eMerchant Club is a total waste of time! Their entire system is based on KEEPING YOUR MONEY. Let your Bank handle it and this wills FORCE the SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club to be more ethical and responsible in the future.
If you decide to try SMC as a business, please do yourself and everyone else concerned a favor and report both of these companies to the FTC, States Attorney General and the BBB afterwards. Something may be done about this if enough complaints are registered with these organizations.
The eMerchant Club website that you will be given by SMC is a replicated site. Search engines despise replicated websites and pay little or no attention to them. The websites are all identical and are set up so that updating may easily be performed by eMerchant Club. This places you at a Hugh disadvantage from the start.
You MUST be VERY proficient with computer hardware and software as well as the Internet in order to succeed at the "internet marketing" portion.
You will have to pay for an SMTP server provider to send your email advertising out through, or hire an email distribution company to send them out for you. The SMC Corporation/eMerchant Club will not allow members to use their SMTP severs to send out advertising.
The SMC Corporation's portrayal of "it's so simple" is of course a total lie (Extreme fraud). SMC should be honest and tell the general public that YOU MAY make SOME money at hosting house parties or selling to friends (Until your friendships end).
The high tech approach is out of the question unless you wish to hire professional companies to perform this work for every aspect of your "At Home" business (Unless you can do this yourself). This would end up costing in the ten's of thousands of dollars range. The companies that perform many of these services may also be on the fraud alert list themselves, check all companies out completely before using them!
The SMC/eMerchant Club website that you will be given will have the look of a website from the early 1990's.
The Site Manager (The utility that you will modify your website with) is a text-based interface that is Reminiscent of the late 1980's.
The eMerchant Club Rep will have no idea what you are talking about if your question involves something more complicated than How do I log on? Where do I find my orders? Etc. You will be on your own.
BEWARE of drop-shipping companies that offer free websites in general, they are setup to make money for THEMSELVES, not you (This rule does not only apply to SMC/eMerchant Club).
SMC Corporation/eMerchant Club had a little over 41,000 websites under their control some 6 to 8 months ago (On DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM in May or June of 2008).
The total number of domains (websites) on the eMerchant Club server DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM has dropped to 28,389 as of January 10th 2009.
UPDATE: On 01-29-2009 DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM (eMerchant Clubs DNS server for the SMC Corporation) has 28,215 Domains (websites).
SMC Corporation/eMerchant Club has roughly 13,000 less websites now on DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM server than 6 to 8 months ago.
This will give you an idea of the tremendous ATTRITION RATE for the SMC Corporation/eMerchant Club member websites. This may also explain the reason that the SMC Infomercials have suddenly reappeared (January of 2009).
Read the SMC Corporation/eMerchant Club TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY from the bottom to the top of the document (they place the important points at the bottom assuming that you will have burned out by then).
SMC Corporation actually ended up on it's own fraud alert list (They took themselves off immediately after an SMC employee discovered this)!
In conclusion, I have listed several resources that you may wish to utilize if you feel that the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club has misrepresented any or all of the information that they provided to you in order to entice you to buy their product(s) or service(s).
Please follow this link (Or copy/paste it into your browser's URL window) to view the Federal Trade Commissions Guidelines on Truth in Advertising FAQ:
Please send an email to: --> email@example.com <-- if you have questions, comments, concerns or information that you feel is relevant to your experiences with the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club. (This information will be used to compile a database of SMC Corporation and eMerchant Club Complaints).
For all complaints concerning the SMC Corporation or eMerchant Club. You may write a letter and mail it to:
Department of Consumer Affairs of the State of California
400 "R" Street, Suite 1080
Sacramento , CA 95814
Telephone: (916) 445-1254.