• Report: #571479
Complaint Review:

Self Starters Inc

  • Submitted: Thu, February 18, 2010
  • Updated: Sun, May 18, 2014

  • Reported By: Daniel — Jacksonville Florida United States of America
Self Starters Inc
7021 E. 197th St Bradenton, Florida United States of America

Self Starters Inc - Ultimate Unity, Inc. Magazine/Book sales charity SCAM Bradenton, Florida

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Human Traffickers

*Consumer Comment: Positive transaction

*Consumer Comment: But please explain the high costs

*Consumer Comment: I don't think it is a scam

*UPDATE Employee: Self starters inc-ultimate unity.magazine/books

*UPDATE Employee: Ultimate Unity is a processing center, not a sales crew

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Their salesperson came to my door today purporting to be from a non-profit organization that helped people build (like himself) their life and job skills.  I support several local charities and mistakenly believed them to be a legitimate charity.  I proceeded to purchase a product (which had a ridiculous $15 handling fee associated with it).

After reading the receipt I receive, I realized that I'd been duped.  It is not a charity in any sense of the word and the receipt specifically states that their salespeople are expressly prohibited from stating such.

I immediately tried to investigate them further and found that Ultimate Unity, Inc. is just the latest name for a series of door-to-door magazine companies that have used the same address and phone number.  (Try Googling the address on the back of the receipt:  8557 W. U.S. HWY 20 W)

The organization Self Starters, Inc. is anything but a non-profit charity.  It is run out of a home valued in the upper-six-figures and survives by preying on vulnerable youth.  It is a complete scam.  It is not a house for sale (as previous RipoffReports have stated).  It is owned by a Kayon Lee Ellis which matches the name on the contact page of Self Starters, Inc shown as kellis@selfstartersinc.com.

You can find details of the property at the address by looking at the Manatee County Property Appraiser's website and looking up parcel ID # 331202002


Or by using the address on the back of the receipt.

I have replaced the sign on my door that states "NO SOLICITORS" and will call the police and chase them out of my neighborhood if anyone attempts to sell magazines here again.  I've never bought them before but apparently this salesman had a silver tongue and I was having a bad day.  Boy do I feel like a sucker.

I have canceled (by fax and phone call) my order via the customer service number on the receipt.  If you have purchased anything from them, I highly advise you to call the number 219-809-5732 and cancel your order immediately.  You can, without a doubt, find the same product for far less elsewhere.  You are not helping any charity or non-profit organization, despite what the snake-oil salesman might have told you.

Jacksonville, FL

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/18/2010 03:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/self-starters-inc/bradenton-florida-34211/self-starters-inc-ultimate-unity-inc-magazinebook-sales-charity-scam-bradenton-flori-571479. 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 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Human Traffickers

AUTHOR: Karen - ()

I too was given the same uplifting story from a young pregant woman.  I understood it as to be a non-profit, and was a program to help young adults get a leg up in the world.  I could only afford a $20 donation, and told her to select the magazine.  She showed the next evening with the real story.  She was told they are not allowed to take donations, and would not receive credit for the sale, nor receive a commision.  She had the same problem with a woman down the street that wrote the word donation on the check, and they would not accept it,  She had started in a recovery program in Chicago, with this group, and then bused down to Houston, kept in a motel, and dropped off on the streets for 12 - 14 hours a day to sell magazines.  If they did not meet their quota, they did not eat and were threatened to be thrown out onto the streets if they quit.  We found her a recovery program shelter that was legitimate that agreed to take her in and got her off the streets.  If you are approached by any of these young people, know it is not their fault and see if they are willing to accept help.  Right now they are indentured servants stuck in a cycle of fear.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Positive transaction

AUTHOR: Mac - ()

Like many others on this string, I also was recently engaged by a member of the Self Starts Inc sales team. The gentleman who came to my house was very positive, fun to talk to, and represented SSI very professionaly. He was upfront with me that his sales commission was 50% of the subscription cost. I'm a business man myself, and I'm fully aware that I could have gone on-line and procurred the magazine at a much cheaper price. In my paricular encounter, I tried to donate the cost of a subscription due to my positive engagement. He quickly said that this wasn't allowed and it was at this time that he informed me that his commission was 50%. Full disclosure: he did try to "up-sale" me a three year subscription....but I would classify this as being a good salesman. Great young man who I pray will continue to be a positive member of his community.

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#3 Consumer Comment

But please explain the high costs

AUTHOR: Sally - (United States of America)

I agree that this seems a legitimate company with an important mission.  I had a professional, albeit at times awkward interaction with the sales rep that was in my neighborhood yesterday.  My concern, is the fact that subscriptions start at 2-years, rather than a 1-year option (which was not readily revealed at the outset of the sales pitch).  Nor was the $15 processing fee revealed until late in the transaction.  The magazine that I purchased goes for $17 direct from the publisher, and I could only buy a 2-year subscription, which totalled $50 through Self Starters, which makes for a $16 mark-up, plus the $15 processing fee!  I would appreciate if Ms. Ellis would explain how the mark-up and processing fee is used?  This seems like a lot of additional money on top of the magazine cost (plus the magazine I purchased is offering a $14 special right now for an annual subscription).  I'm all for supporting a good business and cause, but I think the explanation on the Self Starters website home page, regarding how proceeds are used, needs to be more specific, to justify the significant mark-up.  Non-profits (which I know Self Starters is not) use pie-charts to show the percentage of money that goes into administration costs.   I think this might help Self Starters customers better understand why there is such a significant mark-up, and increase their willingness perhaps, to pay said mark-up.
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#4 Consumer Comment

I don't think it is a scam

AUTHOR: Kirk - (United States of America)

I just had a visit from a young woman from Self-Starter and the discussion was similar to all the others on this site.  But I do not feel deceived but encouraged.  The young lady said "it is not a donation or a charity".   She also explained that the program is a way for her to earn sales commissions, i.e., earn a living.  There is no shame in someone learning to sell door to door and there is no shame in them learning to have enough self-esteem to be totally honest about their own situation if it helps them make sales.   All salespeople are trained to use emotional connection, and everyone knows that in America, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is a winning story, especially when it is true.  I applaud the young lady and applaud the people training them.  They may not sell forever, but I do not see much difference from them learning to do that versus them doing door to door sales for cable television (I used to hire and train people as a General Manager at one of the largest cable companies).  We always taught the sales people to personalize the discussion and try to create empathy.   Same happens for car salesmen and even technology salespeople.   In addition, I go to a lot of trade shows and the skills that these kids learn are not much different than the skills that I see of people working the trade show exhibition booths. 

So, anyone who is critical of the "feel good" aspects must not have tried to work with hard to reach youth before.  They are very very difficult to motivate and it is very difficult to change their demeanor, work habits, and ability to communicate.  

I bear no grudge if an entrepreneur has come up with a way to run a business while also helping people along the way who fuel the business.  Every entrepreneur makes money from the people that sell.  This is a good business and a good deed at the same time.  Based on an extended conversation with the young lady, I decided to check up on the Internet and have found nothing that convinces me there is anything wrong here.  Great work and I wish this program much success.
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#5 UPDATE Employee

Self starters inc-ultimate unity.magazine/books

AUTHOR: selfstarers,inc.a florida corporati - (United States of America)

To Daniel and other customers:

First i would like to apologize to you and any other customers that were allegedly mis led by one of our sales representatives.

Self Starters,Inc.is not a non profit organization;this is stated in the fine print on the receipt.Clearly,the sales representatives are prohibited from stating such.It is unfair that you stated that the company is a scam because one untrueful sales person allegedly misrepresented the company by stating that Self Starters,Inc is a non profit organization when we,in fact are a for profit organization.

We have people that have been in the door to door business for over 25 years.This business has made a impact on our lives.This is our livelihood,it is how we support ourselves and our families.

Contrary to the report,we do have a list called the "MAKE A DIFFERENCE LIST".This list contains 12 different magazines that,when purchased,a portion of the proceeds goes to five different charities.We do not accept any donations.Sales representatives are prohibited from making statements that imply that the company is a charitable or that it is a non profit .If you feel that any of our representative have misinformed you,please  contact our customer service department as soon as possible.

The processing fee has increased over the past 10 years due to increase in the cost of living,just as the price of everything has in increased.The prices of gas and postage have increased and we must send your orders from your state to the processing center located in Indiana.Ultimate Unity,Inc.is the processing center but is an entirely separate entity from Self Starters,Inc.

As far as geographic locations go,Self Starters,Inc.aways keeps a mobile office as we are constantly traveling.The processing center that processes our orders is located in Indiana and does not show correctly on Google maps.Not all information you find on the Internet is correct.As this is the 21st century and over 50% of people have office space in their homes,so do I.As you can now see we have several ways that you can contact us in regards to refunds,complaints/compliments or positive feed back on the sales representatives.

Please visit our website@www.selfstartersinc.com

Respectfully submitted,

Ms Ellis

Self Starters,Inc.


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#6 UPDATE Employee

Ultimate Unity is a processing center, not a sales crew

AUTHOR: Ultimate Unity - (United States of America)

To Daniel and all other involved or concerned parties:

Ultimate Unity is a processing center and not a sales company. We simply process the subscription orders that sales crews send to us. We are housed in the same facility once occupied by sales crews, but again we only provided the order processing service. Our information is noted on your receipt as a contact after the transaction is complete.

It is unfortunate that you had this experience, but it is unfair to indicate us as a party to this situation when we have no involvement in the sales transaction at your door.

Please see out website www.uunity.biz for details of our operations.

Thank you.

Ultimate Unity Inc.
Customer Care
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