Report: #935112

Complaint Review: THG of NY, Brenda Bernal, Sydetra, Raf Diaz, Elanna Stein, Credico Cydcor

  • Submitted: Thu, August 30, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, May 09, 2013
  • Reported By: Janet — New York New York United States of America
  • THG of NY, Brenda Bernal, Sydetra, Raf Diaz, Elanna Stein, Credico Cydcor
    690 8th Ave. 5 Floor
    New York, New York
    United States of America

THG of NY, Brenda Bernal, Sydetra, Raf Diaz, Elanna Stein, Credico Cydcor THG of NY, Sydetra, Brenda Bernal, The Henry Group of New York, THG of New York, Polaris, EQM, EQ Marketing, Polaris, New York Business Partners, Alpha Global Marketing, Northstar Consulting, 7Marketi ultilevel marketing scheme, pyramid scheme, independent contractor New York, New York

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Update on Similar Companies

*General Comment: This company works under a new name

*UPDATE Employee ..inside information: WHITE LABEL

*Consumer Suggestion: Read my post

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Helpful Hint

*Consumer Suggestion: Scams

*Author of original report: THG of New York City, The Henry Group, THG of NYC, THG of NY, Brenda Bernal, Sydetra, Credico, Cydcor, Raf Diaz

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" aka "THG of NY" 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" aka "THG".

* The Company is Constantly changing names to escape bad reviews online and connive unsuspecting job seekers into accepting employment.

The Henry Group aka THG of NY 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.

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 08/30/2012 09:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/thg-of-ny-brenda-bernal-sydetra-raf-diaz-elanna-stein-credico-cydcor/new-york-new-york-10036/thg-of-ny-brenda-bernal-sydetra-raf-diaz-elanna-stein-credico-cydcor-thg-of-ny-syde-935112. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author
6Consumer
0Employee/Owner

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Update on Similar Companies

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (USA)

First of all, thank you so much for posting this. I really hope it will help people avoid wasting their time in applying to such companies. 

Second of all, update on the names of offices. The place I worked was located near Penn Station and contained the offices called Haywire, Top Tier Manhattan, Criterion Worldwide, Loop It NYC. One of these offices (not sure which one) was formerly known as AGM Manhattan

This message, however, is mostly dedicated to those who have already taken the job, and who only now are starting to do their research. To those people: don't be ashamed. I did the exact same mistakes and from them I learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life. If you aren't sure or aren't convinced about working for one of these companies, here is a list of things to think about. 

1. Ask for a copy of your contract. If you work for a shady company like the ones listed in this article, chances are they haven't given you a SIGNED copy of your contract. Don't feel intimidated to ask for one. Any legitimate company provides two copies of a contract to both parties involved. If they tell you "oh yeah we'll give it to you next week" and keep coming up with excuses or send you a picture of an unsigned one, that should be another red flag. 

2. Ask for the exact pay structure. When I started the job, I came in thinking we were getting paid a base plus commission, and that the base increased as you got promoted. Truth is, even when you get promoted to corporate trainer or "team leader", you are paid the same way, that is, 100% commission. They tell you you should be working harder than what you were as an Account Executive and "ringing the bell" every day, even though you're also training and interviewing other people. Don't agree? They'll yell something along the lines of "I don't want to hear excuses!" and tell everyone in the office that you "lost your attitude". That's called using simple peer pressure to make you feel bad about yourself, nothing else. But hey, who cares about money and making a living right? The true honor is getting your name read out in the morning when you made a lot sales (and the manager of the office makes passive money). 

3. Went on a road trip? Everyone wants to go on one of those right? Work even longer hours, make even more sales. To you, it may seem like your opportunity to make more money. So why do they make you pay for food? My first road trip, travel expenses and a really pathetic motel in a dangerous area of the places we'd been were paid for. For my second road trip, they told me I was going to have to start paying since I had been promoted to corporate trainer. Need I remind you I wasn't making more money than as an account executive. If the manger can go on yacht trips, live in the best parts of the city, buy Rolex watches, why can't he/she pay for some pathetic accomodation for his/her employees?

4. Were you asked to rate the company on a jobs site? I most certainly was. And if you haven't, don't be suprised when the day comes. They don't exactly tell you in your face "write a positive review for us". At that point, they expect you to already be sold about the position you have. They do tell you to review all the other offices in the building as well even though you don't work there. 

5. Asked to take out an "observation"? Seems like an honor. Until you are told not to answer any of their questions regarding pay structure, and until you are told to lie to them about how they will be getting a raise. Again, you don't lie to them upfront about getting a raise. You just write down the numbers for them on a notepad and tell them it's an "average". Seeing is believing, right? Oh, and the only goal of "observations" is actually pretty simple, no matter how complicated and professional they try to make it sound: get them to start. How? Sell them the job. Did you ever notice that the techniques for recruiting are the same as your sales pitch? 

6. Are you based in Manhattan, but spend you weeks on the streets in Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey? Ever wondered why? Because you need permits to be on the streets of Manhattan, considering the fact they are usually a lot more crowded than the adjacent boroughs and cities. Sounds like our manager doesn't want to pay for those permits. Or he/she doesn't have the money in the first place and probably lives with 4,5 or 6 other employees or managers of the organization.

7. Ever seen anyone get fired? Heck, some weeks you'll see that half of the office is empty. Don't worry, the people who left deserved to, and it doesn't really matter because everyone is 100% replacable, like the wipes on a Swiffer mop. I suggest you keep an eye out for people in the office who do get fired. Some actually do because they did something inappropriate like swearing to customers. Others quit because a) they're being overworked, bankrupt, have had no time with family or their significant other (they'll tell you that's not important since you can retire all of them in the space of a few years... that's a straight up lie), b) they figured out something is wrong. One of my friends decided to quit and told me beforehand about it. Once he left the office, the manager announced to everyone that he had to fire "that person" because they "lost their attitude", when really he left of his own volition. But hey, seeing is believing right?

8. But... I'll be having my own office right? Fell for that one too. I thought I was going to be a true entrepreneur and begin my own marketing company. Lies, lies, lies. An entrepreneur by nature goes against the established rules, creates and innovates. You're basically doing the complete opposite. "Follow the systems" am I right? There's nothing entrepreneurial about working in such direct sales, or even in such direct sales offices. Know that you're entering a kind of cult, where if you dont abide by the rules, you'll get fired. Look up the "Devil Corp" and YouTube the "Sweatshop of Wall St". Though (thank goodness) I never got to the position of manager, the YouTube video shows the account of one woman that did. They promise you either the client or the location, right? Truth is they'll pressure you into doing what they want, choosing the client that they want, and sending you where they need you, and they'll make it feel like it's in your best interests to do so, so that you can develop and grow faster... and retire the rest of your generations (hyperbole). Really you'll just be exanding the pyramid and helping those at the top make more money while you continue to suffer, or eventually become a part of the top. If you're all into scamming others and growing your own office of scammers, I won't be the person stopping you. Someone else might be though.

9. Stop and think. You're working insane hours. You're asked to tell your "observations" about the specific work times, but how many times have you had to come in early, stay later? They'll make you feel bad about it, and that the manager is "giving up his/her time to train you" so that you can retire yourself and your parents sooner or later, just so you'll stop thinking about how you're being paid close to or underneath minimum wage for 70+ hours a week of direct street sales in not-so-great quarters. Perhaps even think "I'm so lucky my boss is giving up his/her time just to help me out!" while you're just wasting the bit of time you could have relaxing with family and friends (you know, the other important stuff). Just so you know, you'll make A LOT more working at a Starbucks, where you'll work for set shifts, and have plenty of AC, heating, and roof to shelter you from losing your attitude. 

10. So is this even legal? Unfortunately, if you signed the contract, yes it is. Which is why they probably made you sign it the first day, when technically you should be allowed to review it at home, with the help of a lawyer if you wanted to. As I mentioned, you're likely being hired as a private contractor, allowing the "company", actually part of a larger organization comprised of Credico, Cydcor, etc., to avoid having to pay you minimum wage. If not, then they're doing something actually illegal. If you've been there long enough, don't be surprised by the fact that the company name will change at some point so that they can't be found and can have fresh starts on job websites to lure people in. 

11. Still not convinced? Look up your manager's LinkedIn profile. Any mention of the company? That's the biggest thing that got me. If the managers are so proud and confident in the legitimacy of what they've created, why hide it? Look up the website. How complete is it really? Do they list the clients they work with (some of them do)? Do they mention street sales at all? But most importantly, do they mention the manager's name and his contact information? Is there a popup that immediately appears and asks you to sign up? All things to think about. 

Hope this helps you people who are feeling ripped off. If you feel angry, you should be. I was certainly angry writing this, and I quit a while ago already. What I found sad was that there were plenty of really good people working at these companies, and are being trained to lie to people's face. I have nothing but respect for people who do street or door-to-door sales, but the managers/leaders really need to be honest about what they're getting their employees into.

Again, here are the names of the offices in the building I worked in: Haywire, Criterion Worldwide, Top Tier Manhattan, Loop It NYC. These offices were all located near Penn Station. One former name I found while researching was AGM Manhattan. As I said they change their names ever so often.

All the best and be careful out there. Will post this other places as well.  

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#2 General Comment

This company works under a new name

AUTHOR: Adrienne Bedeau - (USA)

I have recently been interviewed by this company and was offered a possition. Luckily, I did some extensive research before going to my training session and did not show up. The company is now woking under the name WUG marketing, but everything seems to be working as you described. Elana Diaz is still attached to the company. 

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#3 UPDATE Employee ..inside information

WHITE LABEL

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (USA)

They have moved to somewhere in mid town NYC and go under the name WHITE LABEL. These people just can't get enough!

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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Read my post

AUTHOR: armintamz - ()

Check out my post about Troy International or any of the companies affiliated with them (Polaris, The Henry Group, EQM, EQ New York, Worldwide Marketing, The BBB Conglomerate and Noble Solution). I've done extensive research and found out that all these companies DO the same thing, OPERATED by the same people, and LOCATED in the same building. They change names when they know people caught on.

Read my post here: http://tamzarianarmin2.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/troy-international-deceptive-practices-questionable-history/

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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Helpful Hint

AUTHOR: NatK - (United States of America)

Please update your title (if possible), or add somewhere in your rebuttal or post the newer names of this company. This will help future consumers to find your report.

See my post for the most recent names: http://www.ripoffreport.com/hudson-marketing-sol/multi-level-marketing/new-york-new-york-da0ae.htm  Ex's: Hudson Marketing Solutions, Black Ops, EQM


Thank you kindly!
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Scams

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.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/worklife/07/15/cb.avoid.job.scams/

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_scams#mw-mf-search

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobsearchscams/qt/scamexamples.htm

http://www.scamdex.com/employment-index.php

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/jobs-hunting-scams.shtml

http://www.rileyguide.com/scams.html
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#7 Author of original report

THG of New York City, The Henry Group, THG of NYC, THG of NY, Brenda Bernal, Sydetra, Credico, Cydcor, Raf Diaz

AUTHOR: Jane - (United States of America)

It's actually THG of New York City. 
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