Report: #918459

Complaint Review: The Henry Group, Brenda Bernal

  • Submitted: Fri, July 27, 2012
  • Updated: Tue, February 05, 2013
  • Reported By: Jane — New York New York United States of America
  • The Henry Group, Brenda Bernal
    690 8th Ave.
    New York, New York
    United States of America

The Henry Group, Brenda Bernal, Polaris, EQ Charity, Worldwide Marketing Consultants, New York Business Partners, Black Ops, Northstar Consulting, Credico multilevel marketing scheme, pyramid scheme, independent contractor New York, New York

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Healthcare, wages, etc.

*Author of original report: how i knew about the company

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: More info?

*General Comment: Scams

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Having always worked for legitimate companies... I had no idea scams like "The Henry Group" existed when I applied for the job.  In retrospect, there were a million red flags which should have told me to keep my old job where I had benefits and made an hourly wage, and that I should have run like hell from "The Henry Group".

The Henry Group is owned and operated by Brenda Bernal.  She is an illiterate woman who was promoted to management in this multi-level marketing scheme by Elana Stein (formerly of Polaris now renamed EQ Charity).  The Henry Group presents itself as an entry level training program to promote you to management running your own marketing company.  This is complete crap.  The job is 100% commission door-to-door sales.  You are expected to work from 11:30 am until 9:00 pm every day knocking on doors in selling energy for the extremely sketchy company Direct Energy. [continued below]....

For the first four weeks you work you do not receive a paycheck.  You sign away all your rights with an "independent contractor agreement" which basically indicates that you are self employed, that you will not be compensated for any of the hours you work and you are all on your own if someone decides to sue you or something for trespassing in an attempt to sell them energy.  You are paid on a 10-99 which means that you are responsible for all of your own taxes and not entitled to minimum wage or unemployment.  Brenda couldn't afford to pay you minimum wage anyway, because she doesn't make any money either.

When hired, you will be promised that in 6 months you will build your own team and be promoted to assistant manager at which point you will double the amount of commissions you make and begin "saving" to open your own office.  In reality... it takes at least a year to be promoted to assistant manager if you manage to last that long.  No one in Brenda's office has ever been promoted to assistant manager.  To be an assistant manager you have to have a "team" which requires scamming more people to come work for free for this despicable company.

They will tell you that you make 500-800 dollars a week as "Corporate Trainer" which is the second "level" or position on your road to "management".  However, most employees make $350 a week if they are lucky.  None of them can afford to pay their taxes or live by themselves and most are barely scraping by.  Brenda claims to make 80,000 dollars a year, but she is constantly overdrawn on her bank account and lives with 5 other people on 135th st.  

The only people making money in this business are Elana Stein and Raf Diaz who will soon be married.  When an assistant manager becomes manager, the "promoting owner" receives a $20,000 bonus (herein lies the pyramid scheme).

Whatever you do... do not work for this company or any of the other companies operating out of 690 8th Ave.  They are all scams.  You will be expected to work 60 hours a week on straight commission... when it comes time to get paid you will be told that for some inexplicable reason or another your accounts have been cancelled.  Many people work for a week or two only to quit and never receive a paycheck.  As an "independent contractor" you are responsible for your phone and travel expenses which will be major as you have to make all the calls yourself and travel all over the city going door to door selling energy.  

If you need to take a day off or call out sick you will be penalized and not given interviews (thereby making it even harder for you to theoretically get promoted because without interviews you cannot build your team).  You have to be at work every day at 11:30 am for leaders meetings.  You have to come back to the office every night for "PM Atmosphere".  You have to work Saturdays even if you close 40 accounts because "your guys" (people you are training) have to be there.  This makes you an employee not an independent contractor.  

The average person works at the Henry Group for around a week.  Interviews leave in the middle of their "Day of Observation" all the time.  No one ever gets promoted.  If you want to work like a slave for sub-minimum wage.  Who is Henry?  Brenda's Pug.  The company is named after her dog.  Don't work here.  You could make more money begging on the subway.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/27/2012 12:56 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Healthcare, wages, etc.

AUTHOR: shopaholic - ()

First of all, I apologize that you went through this experience.  I've told you in person too.

It's no excuse, I must say I was new at the company, and the way I explained things may not have been correct.  I have a high level of integrity, and I would never knowingly lie to people.  

Healthcare: She didn't even need to wait for Assistant Manager, I could've helped her with healthcare then and there with the resources we did have.  For whatever reason, these small businesses don't take healthcare out of each check.  I was too stupid to remember that she asked about health, and didn't bother to ask as we moved forward. 

The owner of this company is no longer in business, and there's reasons why.

I agree no one should be making fewer than $400 / week.  

My apologies if we were ever not being legitimate; it's a small business run by people who didn't know what it took to run a company.  I didn't know about all the issues.  If I had known I would've taken other actions.

We certainly could've paid someone before our initial pay period of four weeks.

It was an opportunity, and to be successful, the person would've needed to correct all the mistakes made by Brenda.  Had I known the correct course of action, I would've done this myself.

Direct Energy is a reputable company, and the reason accounts may not have been paid is because the representative did not explain something correctly, and it came as a surprise to the customer.  Not that the customer didn't want it, it's just by misunderstanding something it could annoy someone.  Direct Energy does require people to renew to keep the low rate, so it takes the customer being on top of this.

We never promised anyone savings, but depending on the bill, and future usage many people do save money.  We appreciated having people work for us that did have integrity not to sign up people where it may raise their bill.  

Note, if you're on a 10-99, I would work out an action plan with your employer and your accountant.  I did pay major taxes at the end of the year.

In this model, people have been promoted in 11 weeks with all the prior knowledge, 5 months, 6 months, 7 months.  There are many examples.  

This particular company was not the best at saving money, she definitely made decent money.

The promoting owner's bonuses only come if the office is doing well.  If they're doing well, the promoting owner does recieve more, if not doing well, the promoting owner makes less.  

Meanwhile, none of that money comes from the new office.  The new office doesn't loose money because the promoting owner is taking it.  It's the same as working at a bank or any other marketing firm  If the job is done well, people are bonused.  If the promoting owner was a great coach, they deserve compensation for their coaching time.  They are teaching other managers how to increase their business volume.

Each owner is responsible for provideing the same opportunity that they recieved.  One reason why this office is no longer in business.

There are many laws about 1099 that weren't understood by this company.  I certainly would've been a bit more understanding.  No one desreves to feel like they are a slave or begging.  

There are benefits to working for a small company.  If the owner's experience isn't high, be prepared for mistakes.  I like this, because that's how I learn what works and doesn't work.  

There's certain expenses that shouldn't be cut, and managers don't always realize what's an investment vs. a cost.

Here's an article about small vs. big companies.

If you're reading this and have any questions about the two different opinions here, I'd be glad to provide further information.  This job isn't for everyone, or not always the right time for everyone, and it's not easy.  The people that have enough game to make it through their own growth and development in entry level have been doing really well.  I've seen enough successes and failures to see the reasons behind them.

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#2 Author of original report

how i knew about the company

AUTHOR: Jane - (United States of America)

FYI company is now known as HUDSON MARKETING SOLUTIONS!  Well, I was able to write such an accurate and detailed report because I had the misfortune of working there for a few months.  I wouldn't generally consider myself to be a dumb person.  I went to a prestigious prep school and the same college as the devil incarnate better know as Elana Stein (maybe now Elana Stein-Diaz).  When Lee Tyler took me on my day of observation he lied through his teeth about everything including the fact that I would "become eligible for benefits after I was promoted to assistant manager after six months" what a load of crap that was.  To get promoted to assistant manager you have to turn in to a lying sack of s**t like your predecessors and convince otherwise capable people to either leave well paying jobs with normal benefits (like I was DUMB enough to do) or convince recent college grads that there is no better option out there than for them to go door-to-door for a living.  Lying to people wasn't really for me, and I wasn't a big fan of making 200 dollars a week (before taxes).  Now I can assure you that some moron from the "business" will retaliate that I wasn't working hard enough... but I have had over a million dollars in sales everywhere I have ever worked... I dress impeccably, and unlike Raf and Brenda, I speak proper English. People trust me and are willing to buy what I am selling.  However, I have a conscience and ripping of poor people so that I could (maybe) make a buck (I say "maybe" because you don't get paid for half your sales for one b.s. reason or another was not something that I was comfortable with.  They REALLY DIDN"T WANT TO LOOSE ME... I was constantly asked to tell my day of observations where I went to school and my credentials... instead I often told them to get lost unless they were desperate for a job and basically unemployable elsewhere.  You were supposed to wait until lunch to breakdown the company for them... we usually did this over breakfast as to not waste people's time.  The company is crap.  The net 80k a year if they are lucky, managers take home around 30/35 for a 60 hour work week which is spent LYING to people desperate for jobs.  If you want to live like that, more power to you.  But it's a shitty life and I didn't want any part of it.  I now have a "real job" with benefits, sick time, bonus structure, and I am a manager.  However, unlike at "whatever the hell they are calling themselves now" I am not responsible for my rent or office expenses because I work for a corporation, and they take care of all that stuff for me.  At THG/Polaris there was a sign reminding us to keep the bathroom clean and to flush.  Where I work now we have these people called cleaning ladies.  They keep everything looking spiffy, and they too have benefits and make above minimum wage.  
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

More info?

AUTHOR: NatK - (United States of America)

I wish it were possible to contact you for more info. It's interesting that you know all these specific things about who lives in her home and the dog's name... even the picture. If you could please do an update as to HOW you got the inside scoop, I'd really appreciate it! But I know for a FACT it's true... (unfortunately)
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#4 General Comment


AUTHOR: shopaholic - (United States of America)

6 points for your career...

1. Don't pre-judge.  Some places seem like its too good to be true, maybe not everyone makes it big.  If it takes hard work, and offers free training, it may be good just to build a resume.  Give it a shot, don't pay money or sign a contract that you have to stay or sign up your friends.  In a skeptical society, you want to be careful, don't write off something that could be what you're looking for just because it says, "no experience necessary".  Ask questions, while you may need people skills, work ethic, and integrity, many companies will teach marketing or sales, etc.

2. Others Make a percentage of what would be yours.  Also called multi-level marketing or a pyramid.

3. You pay for training.  While many companies need you to be licensed to represent them.  Know the difference between paying to join, paying to be licensed, or being paid and learning.

4. Get rich quick without hard work, student mentality, & integrity.  If it requires nothing from you, it will return nothing.

5. Do they interview or train in person or over the phone.  While it may not be a scam.  If you're doing everything over the phone, they don't care enough about your success to meet you.

6. Use professional sources to learn about scams.
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