I clicked online the "submit" button for SMC to send me information about the company. It's been around a long while, and Tom Bosley has been the spokesperson for years. I think the average person would take it in good faith of having followed Tom Bosley's having been spokeperson for SMC would feel this a good indicator that SMC could be a legitimate operation. I've seen information on line indicating it to be one of the best work-from-home businesses.
After years of intermittently pondering about the notion of doing business with SMC I submitted my contact information. I got a phone call from a lady who was well-spoken with great verbal communication skills. I told her that I didn't feel I should have to put money up to make money for a company which expected me to retail their products. She told me they would set up a website for me, waive the small start-up fee, and upon getting my information package in the mail I would contact my business coach, who would work with me for 3 months while getting my business going. She emphasized that once we got my "online business" set up that I could "make money while I slept", which would go straight into my bank account.
Sounded good to me. I would not be charged the small monthly fee until after I'd had my first phone consult with my business coach, which would take about 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, I had some extinguating circumstances and phoned SMC to extend the time before my first initial consult with no problem. I was told that whenever I was ready to do my first consult to get back with them and that I would not be charged until after my first phone consult. Sounded fair and reasonable.
Again, this agent over the phone was professional with a nice demeanor. I scheduled my first phone consult and the coach called me at the scheduled time. He asked me what my goals are; and I gave him a brief scenario. He spent the next 15 minutes on a sales pitch for me to purchase gift certificates to attract customers to my web site. I told him I live in the country, and have few connections with people whom I could hand out enough gift certificates.
My site consisted of items costing a maximun of $19.95, of mixed quality and attractiveness. My cost for each $10 gift card was $3.33, which I would get "points" for upon the customers' redeaming. Upon accessing my site I stressed that there "was not much there" for marketing. I told him I felt I needed more merchandise and a better way to advertise. He told me for hundreds of dollars (he named some dollar amounts of around $400 or so, I could have a site with the big catalog. I told him that right now I can't afford that, and I just need to make some money, at least until I can start building my business.
The coach was a fast-talker whose specific focus was selling me gift cards, which in my gut I felt was a poor risk, as the site was scanty and didn't offer much for merchandise. It was designed for sole purpose of luring the redemption of gift cards. The only way customers could access my site was if I gave them a number coded site written on the back of the gift cards. I saw very little chance for a profit margin or return customers.
I woke up the next morning feeling discouraged about the business venture I'd been led to feel delighted about. I decided that I would find a better way to market the big catalog items online. I decided "eBay." I surfed eBay and found that many people were selling through SMC. I broused for about an hour and found that the majority of the SMC products had Zero bids. There were a number of items with starting bids far above what the SMC member cost was, indicating to me that people were trying to get back any money they could on what they had invested to begin with, and obviously taking loses. The items on sale through eBay were photo clips of the products, just as in the catalog. I realized that the odds of my selling much on eBay was very competitive since there were many people selling the same exact products from SMC.
Additionally, the retail price listed in the catalog for most items was about double or more of what the average retail for what one would expect to pay.
Then I accidentally ran across ripoffreport.com and read the many complaints of people who'd actually invested lots of money and was thankful that I'd not put out any money, except the nonimal shipping cost of the package. I called my bank and learned that the first monthly service fee had been deducted before I'd actually had my first phone consult with my business coach. As much as I'd hoped this venture would be an opportunity for me to at least make some money at, I felt it best to cancel out, as my gut told me it was probably more of a risk than an actual opportunity to make money. I called SMC to cancel my membership and the agent over the phone was professional and courteous. I asked for a confirmation code, which she gave me. I explained my reasons and asked for my account to be credited for the first month's charge, which I felt fair and reasonable. She said she would credit my account.
I can't say that SMC is not a company that a person cannot succeed in making money at. In order to do it, you would likely need to put up a rather significant investment of at least a few hundred dollars. If you could somehow set up your own independent website and knew webbing, you might make some money. The average person is not that savvy at mastering such.
So all-in-all, no the SMC business as proposed to me was not what I'd been led to believe. I would advise anyone considering SMC to make sure you do some serious research and have a well-above-average marketing strategy before you invest your money; and good luck to all who venture with SMC.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Specialty Merchandise Corp. SMC