• Report: #1056114
Complaint Review:

Smart-Circle International/Luminanace Marketing

  • Submitted: Mon, June 03, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, June 03, 2013

  • Reported By: DTV Nation — South Dakota
Smart-Circle International/Luminanace Marketing
19511 Pauling Foothill Ranch, California 92610 Van Nuys, California USA

Smart-Circle International/Luminanace Marketing NEW Pyramid Scheme in Disguise, formally known Multi-Level Marketing Van Nuys California

*UPDATE Employee: I wish I read this before three weeks ago.

*UPDATE Employee ..inside information: Oh BooHoo Someones Butt hurt.

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To the current employees, future employees and whoever is considering working for smart circle please take one second to read this.

Few things you should know about the company itself:

  • -Smart Circle OR...
  • -Granton Marketing, Now Smart Circle, Aka DS-Max, Cydcor
  • -They pay BBB (Better Business Bureau)
  • -Change names frequently and establish a network of affiliates disconnected but still a financial contributor to the parent company Cydcor.
  • -The name was given by Larry Tenebaum (Larry T) and is derived from his children Cydney & Cortney.
  • -They operate hundreds of offices in every major city but avoid legal action by setting them up as separate entities.
  • -Smart Circle International, LLC. is NOT BBB Accredited. Can be found on
  • (http://losangeles.bbb.org/find-business reviews/name/smart+circle+international/)
  • -Phone number to check:
  • (703)276-0100

Pyramid Scheme in Disguise (I'll Explain)

Multi Level Marketing (MLM)

MLM assumes infinite expansion in a finite market. It also assumes relatively virgin markets. As a business model, MLM is therefore inherently flawed, fraudulent, and unprofitable except for a few at or near the top of a pyramid of participants. It is also extremely viral and predatory, preying on the most vulnerable among us.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. To build your business, are you required to recruit people into any kind of down the line?
  2. Would you as a new recruit, by permitted and even encouraged to recruit other participants, who would in turn be encouraged to recruit still others, and they still more, etc. - from whom you could collect commissions and /or bonuses on what they sell?
  • · Recruiting is emphasized and talked about in each and every Thursday phone conference.
  • · “Now is the time to recruit” “Some of the most successful people in the business today were recruited at this time, in this month”
  • · Only, the same thing was said 3 months ago, and 3 months prior to that. Is it always the best time to recruit?
  • · Ever wondered why there are always interviews? The lobby always seems full with fresh, anxious faces ready to be recruited constantly by the owner and his/her “manager”
  • · Team leaders form their own team, ENCOURAGED continuously but never ask reps to bring in people who they feel could better their team once leaders.
  • · It is said to you from the very first interview, that once a owner you would have to recruit fresh faces in hopes of one day finding the “next big thing” and building a team of leaders and reps of your own.
  • · These teams of leaders and reps are whom who collect commission from or bonuses, whether working for the same office or they have been “sent out”

Does a participant (distributor, consultant, representative, etc.) advance one's position (and potential income) in a hierarchy of multiple levels of participants by recruiting other "distributors" under him/her, who in turn advance by recruiting distributors under them, etc.? Sales volume, rather than by appointment made?

  • · As a rep you are told that once you have proved yourself on the field you will be promoted to "leadership". Usually a careful study of the compensation plan will reveal that the system is weighted heavily in favor of recruiting down the line – and the reward for recruiting a large amount of reps and team leaders has a greater reward rather then selling products in the field.
  • · If you are told as a rep that you must recruit to be successful, or if the pay plan's primary rewards are for building a team down the line, it should be considered a recruiting MLM, and an unprofitable chain selling scheme except for those at or near the top. (Larry T)

Even though there is no cost to be hired for the program, are there minimum volume requirements that must be met in order to advance to higher levels in the hierarchy or to receive greater commissions bonuses at some level?

  • A minimum of 4 applications is required from reps each week. In other words, if a rep fails to meet this requirement they will be paid for the hours they have worked for the week.
  • In order for a rep to move to leadership position he/she must “high roll” (Put in more applications then anyone else) in the office.
  • Once a team leader you will need to make “top 10” in the country for numerous months in order to be promoted out into your own office.

Compensation plans of MLMs: lead to extreme inequality in payout (money paid by the company) to representatives (Claw-back).

Company payout is distributed to a few at the expense of a multitude of "losers." Often these "losers" will invest considerable amounts of time and money and then quit, blaming themselves.

  • Multi-level marketing (Smart Circle) wages:
  • Do not pay employees for over time.
  1. If you make your sales at the employee’s business, then you are a nonexempt employee. If, on the other hand, you make your sales at the customer's home or business, then you are an exempt employee.
  2. If you were a nonexempt employee, then you should have been paid the minimum wage for the first forty hours you worked each week. You should also have been paid time and a half for any hours beyond forty that you worked in that week. 
  • The hours you spent in the office prior to being assigned your location are NOT paid for.
    • The pep rallies that are held every day before going out in the field are NOT PAID FOR. Although you are required to spend a minimum of one hour a day listening to “success” stories and “working on your pitch”
    • You are told you get paid for gas.
      • The miles you drive do NOT match the amount of miles you are being compensated for.
      • Often asked to give other employees rides to the store and home.
      • How are team leaders that preach to us endlessly about the opportunity and the amount of money they earn, cannot afford a car?

To put the pay in perspective:

The lavish trip that your trainer talks about, to Dallas and other places that are (all paid for) are NOT. That is part of your clawback and WILL HAVE TO PAY THAT BACK.

40+ hours of work (no overtime pay)

If you do not sell the minimum amount of apps during the week

After Clawback, tax and including your gas money you are paid at MOST $300

That’s $7.50 an hour, below minimum wage

You have spend on average $50-$60 on gas, travelling to the office, then to you’re assigned BestBuy then home. Often being asked to take co-workers home.


I calculated the amount of miles driven and the amount I got paid for

I drove each day:

  • 18 Miles to main office
  • 12 Miles to Best buy
  • 30 Miles from best buy to Home
  • TOTAL: 360 Miles

Now I get an average of 22 miles per gallon on the highway, which is good.

At $4.00 a gallon even, current gas price ($4.39)

The cost of me traveling 360 miles a week, at a average of 22 miles per gallon (which does NOT include streets and other factors is 18.4 as shown in my car)

COST: 360.0 miles (579.3 km) road trip will cost about 65.45 in fuel, based on an efficiency of 22.00 miles per gallon and a total fuel volume of 16.36 gallons. (Your fuel cost per mile will be about 0.18.)

Amount Spend: $65.45

Amount Paid: $20

Subtracting how much on average you spend on GAS alone, not taking account of food etc..

NOT accounting the numerous times you are asked to take other employees home.

An employee makes $220 a week

Divided by the hours 40+ (I have worked on numerous occasions 50 hours a week)

Pay per hour:  $5.50/hour

Now the counterargument would be that if you were able to sale enough apps a week you should not worry about getting paid “minimum wage”

Why this argument is completely false?

  • As a rep you are placed in extremely slow Best Buys
  • Traffic in such stores on average in weekdays is about 40 people a day
  • Out of those 40 people:
    • People who cannot afford DirecTV
    • People who already have DTV
    • People who cant have satellites in their apartment
    • People who are paying a better price then what you are offering
    • People who want to bundle
    • DTV does not offer INTERNET, PHONE and HOME SECURITY.
    • Previous DTV customer who have switched to different service provider.
    • Customers that are grandfathered in current provider
    • Customers who are still UNDER CONTRACT with current provider
    • Who do not want to un-bundle, costing them more for their INTERNET AND PHONE prices.
    • Do NOT want cable TV access all their shows on the Internet.
    • Do NOT want to run their credit. (In order to get DTV a first time customer must run their credit and provide us their social security)
    • People who do NOT have good credit or credit at all and come back as (HIGH RISK)
    • Then you have people who are simply not interested, and are in a hurry

IF you sign up a customer with DTV:

  • You are paid 2 weeks after the installation date, which can be up to a month away and an additioanal 2 weeks after that.
  • Customer can call and cancel at anytime and you will not get paid
  • DTV could not install because there was no line of sight (Apartment and HOUSES)
  • Simply changed their mind

Attention Customers: You are told that the prices you are paying for your phone and Internet will remain the same, THIS IS A LIE.

You are told not to call and cancel your current service provider until after installation, this is ONLY so they get paid and now you are stuck with INCREASED Internet and phone prices because you are out of the bundle.


To conclude, this message is current employees who are brained washed into false promises, taken advantage of, worked long rigorous hours for unfair wages, given up other opportunities in order to pursue this SCAM. Pyramid schemes and now multi-level marketing have claimed many victims in a ruthless effort to gain money. While the BBB and everyone else stands aside and watches it happen and that makes sense, because the same people who are supposed to stand up and do something about this are the people who have come up with a corrupt, yet sophisticated system and those are the same people who pay BBB and others to keep their mouth shut. Simply writing this will not change anything, but awareness and education will hopefully put an end to this scam. IN a company where you are told, “not to think” just “follow instructions” I see no potential. Convincing kids to drop out of college, tricking people who just graduated and want to enter the work force with the “opportunity of a life time”, brain washing employees each and everyday that education is not of importance and no job out there gives you an opportunity like this one and having NOTHING to show for it, is sickening to me. I’ve seen employees with enormous amount of talent that have wasted 2 years still chasing a false promise. So with this, I hope i have stopped at least 1 Person from working here. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/03/2013 06:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/smart-circle-internationalluminanace-marketing/van-nuys-california-91406/smart-circle-internationalluminanace-marketing-new-pyramid-scheme-in-disguise-formall-1056114. 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 Employee

I wish I read this before three weeks ago.

AUTHOR: Kay - (U.S.A.)

I currently work for Smart Circle. I just started with them a little over two weeks ago. For starters, every day starts with driving into an office for what I feel is an unnecessary "morning meeting". The product we are focused on in my office are free cell phones for those receiving certain government benefits. Mind you, the office that I have to drive to for my morning meeting is an hour away. Then I still have to drive to the store where we set up to give away the phones and then drive home. In total I'm driving more than 2 hours a day and I figure that right now even with the lower gas prices I still have the potential to spend about $70/week on gas. Compensation with this company is either $8 or the number of "green" sign-ups you get in a week x $12/per sign-up (whichever is greater). But in order to start making $12/per sign-up you have to be issued by rep ID number by the "government". Well I'm going into my fourth week next week; have yet to be receive a paycheck or a rep ID number (which means that my efforts are making someone else money right now) yet and I was just informed yesterday that though we get paid on a weekly basis I am only going to be paid for the few hours that I worked my first week on today's paycheck. I will not receive a full paycheck until next week (mind you that next week will be my 4th week working for this company). I'm glad that you describe this as an MLM because that is in fact exactly what it is. I'm really, really skeptical about returning even though I really need a job.

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#2 UPDATE Employee ..inside information

Oh BooHoo Someones Butt hurt.

AUTHOR: kenny - ()

I have worked for smart circle for just about a year. I am 19 and came from working at mc Donalds I found out. Successs wasn't in college, I'm simply NOT cut out for college , they never once steered me away from college. Yes you work 6 days a week 10-5 and get paid $10-$12 a hour . 

Depending on your owner "office" your experience May very


I'm in a top 15 office in the 4-5 store category . I work best buy daily and have built my store from number 300+ all the way to number 80 for best buy directv sales that's good!I write 6apps average and receive about $470 net pay WEEKLY

IM ONLY 19 in making 470 a week where is this a scam ? Elaborate too me because you SUCKED and had NO ambition to do sales that the rest of society should suffer? From missing out on a opportunity ? And directv is THE BEST tv service SO HOW IS IT A SCAM to convert someone from COMCAST at 150 a month JUST for tv to DIRECTV for 60 the first year 100 the second WE are upfront about the 2nd year increase !!!! If you Were not that explains why they fired your non ambition aditude what a neg ball 


Il defend smart circle no matter what .what a opportunity and job I have to stand in the ac and talk to people and make 500 a week up to 900 and have a high chance at promotion#!! hope you have fun flipping burgers with your bachelors degree lol


Mean while the whole office laughs at you as we cash are checks btw I drive 10 miles a day it's called commuting. !!!! 

But find your OWN path hope 

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