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Report: #54890

Complaint Review: Specialty Merchandise Corporation - SMC - Mark Schwartz - CHATSWOTH California

  • Submitted: Tue, April 29, 2003
  • Updated: Wed, March 21, 2012
  • Reported By: Somewhere Arkansas
  • Specialty Merchandise Corporation - SMC - Mark Schwartz
    9401 DE SOTO AVE
    CHATSWOTH, California

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After careful research and investigation I would recommend that you treat SMC like a modelling agency.

You would never give a modelling agency money just because they promised you that you would be a super star model would you?

The common Model scam arguments for cash upfront are, processing fees, pictures, training, orientation, a listing etc etc etc...

A true modelling agency makes money by sending you out on contracts and keeping a percentage of what they collect on those jobs.

The modelling scam is an old one. So beware!

Think of it this way, If SMC claims great success then why in the world would they need money from you? If your going to be the one out there selling products that they sell to YOU, arent they making a huge profit with thousands of sales people?

So why do they need these membership fees? Have you EVER, EVER, heard of a Legitimate wholesaler charging a membership fee for the privilege of pruchasing their products?
PLEEEEEEASE! I think NOT! At least not in this world.

I have included all of my investigative information below including pictures of some of the players at SMC. Hopefully I can post them here.

Anyhow, the best lies are always surrounded by a kernel of truth. So of course if SMC charges you a fee for whatever reason, even though they should not, they can always claim that the payment was for the materials they sent you. Because they have the right to sell
whatever they want at whatever price they want. So beware.

As soon as you order a kit and supply payment in any fashion you not only enter a verbal agreement for the materials but you provide evidence of this contract through a paper trail left by your payment.

This is why SMC NEVER, EVER, EVER sends out a kit without first recieving your first payment or you could legally claim that the item was not ordered and you could then keep it free of charge. This is what the LAW says about unsolicited products!

SMC can say that there is a 30 day money back guarantee, but unless you have it in writing from SMC there is nothing you can do if they refuse to give you back your money.

They can even tell you about the guarantee over the phone but when it comes to court time and proving it, thats a totally different story.

I have reviewed a number of different sites with forums discussing SMC and there is a common theme in all the arguments I have read.

In order of popularity:

*Shipping charges are outrageous
*Products are often out of stock
*Never saw the website I paid for
*Can never get ahold of anyone at SMC
*They never reply to my emails
*Unprofessional telephone conduct
*Products are shoddy and low quality
*Shipping takes too long despite 24 to 48 hour promise
*SMC does not live up to it's 30 day guarantee
*SMC kept taking money from my account even though I cancelled
*I never did talk to a personal assistant who could help me
*Even the new catalogs are out of date when I get them
*Everyone recognizes the catalog so they know where the products are coming from
*SMC reported my failure to pay to the credit bureau even though I cancelled
*SMC was NEVER helpful to me at anytime
*Why does SMC always want money from me
*SMC is a hard company to deal with

Interestingly, SMC claims to build you a website, (At a price of course), but
I have only been able to uncover 8 potentially legitimate customer websites. I have
listed them below.

For a company bragging about building you a website and then only 8 of them showing up in my investigation seems kind of strange.


Although, SMC does seem to be good at promoting themselves on the web as is
evidenced by the pure number of websites they themselves own and operate.


9457 DeSoto Ave
Chatsworth, CA 91311


After a little digging I discovered two key players in the SMC realm:

Mark Schwartz - President and CEO, Specialty Merchandise Corporation.(1 Picture)
Kerry Cox, creative director for SMC. (2 pictures included)

The following information was obtained through some common avenues available on
the web regarding SMC's domain interests on the net.



Domain Name: SMC4ME.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
WU, JOE (JW17195) jwu@SMCORP.COM ********(Who's Joe Wu?)********
818.998.3300 (FAX) 818.998.2635

Record expires on 17-Mar-2004.
Record created on 17-Mar-1999.
Database last updated on 29-Apr-2003 02:15:32 EDT.

Domain servers in listed order:

********(Take note of the DNS below "DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM")********

2020 West Denver St


Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
2020 West Denver St
479-996-6622 fax: 479-996-7310

Record expires on 22-Feb-2004.
Record created on 22-Feb-2000.
Database last updated on 29-Apr-2003 02:34:52 EDT.

Domain servers in listed order:

***(SAME DNS as SMC's above but different company name!? "DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM")***


Now here is an interesting DOMAIN anomaly!
Take note of the URL or web address below, ("") yet it's registered to:
A GenerationZ Company, LLC - 3215 West Lawrence St. Ste A, Appleton, WI 54914!?
Whats going on here?

Not to mention that it's registered with a Canadian registry company
called ("Tucows Inc. based in Toronto, Canada!")

A GenerationZ Company, LLC
3215 West Lawrence St. Ste A
Appleton, WI 54914

Domain name: SELLSMC.COM

Administrative Contact:
Sell, SMC
3215 West Lawrence St. Ste A
Appleton, WI 54914
Technical Contact:
Sell, SMC
3215 West Lawrence St. Ste A
Appleton, WI 54914

Registration Service Provider:
A GenerationZ Company, LLC
This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords,
DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 24-Dec-2002.
Record expires on 17-Jun-2003.
Record Created on 17-Jun-2002.

Domain servers in listed order:

I found this ad for a website search engine submission labourer during
my search. Look! I also found an elusive SMC Email address with this one!

This makes me wonder is perhaps Mr.Schwartz's email address is
and Mr.Kerry Cox's email could be:


Search Engine Optimization Specialist - Specialty Merchandise -
Chatsworth, CA

Specialty Merchandise Corporation is currently in looking for a SEO Specialist. Working in our Web Building Department, you will assist our members by optimizing their e-commerce sites for SE submissions. Must have knowledge and experience with SE's and SEO, be able to analyze web pages for HTML errors, Hard Code HTML, CSS, Meta Tags, Title Tags, Key Words, Doorway pages, information pages, and gateway pages. Knowledge of
JavaScript and Photoshop. Contact

Looks as though SMC is preparing to or has already purchased significant realestate
in California! Read on below.


Specialty Merchandise Corporation Transaction:

In a separate transaction, SMC, an import distribution company, signed a five-year lease for a 607,000-square-foot distribution warehouse at Kaiser Commerce Center.
SMC has an option to purchase the building upon completion, which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2002.

Michael Alvarado, also of Allen Matkins Orange County office, was the lead lawyer on the SMC deal.

Specialty Merchandise Corporation was represented by Tony Bouza, Esq.

Did you know that Mr.Schwartz was the President of a Foundation as well?
Read on then, read on!

The program will also announce the winners in the UCSB Professional Business Writing Awards for student business plans. The prize money is donated by Mark Schwartz, a UCSB alumnus and president of
Specialty Merchandise, and the Scheinfeld Family Foundation.

This concludes my investigation of SMC based on consumer complaints and the information I could find about it.

In general it seems to be a company to be wary of. I wouldn't touch it! Not with a ten foot pole. I would rather be shooting racoons in my back yard than dealing with this one.

I mean you have to admit, it is kind of strange that a company which claims to make so much money needs yours as well? Perhaps this means that you won't make alot of money after all because SMC wants THEIR guarantee that printing all these materials should
not cost them anything either!

Think about it! If I sell widgets and I claim that my widgets are the best in the world and that they sell like hot cakes why would I charge you for the priviledge of selling them if I know I'm going to make a fortune anyway?

ALL THE RED LIGHTS ARE GOING OFF HERE! Bosley or no bosley. This information is undeniable.

I urge you to make your own decision based on this information.

Somewhere, Arkansas

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Specialty Merchandise Corp. SMC

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/29/2003 04:02 AM 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 General Comment

Selling SMC

AUTHOR: J.R. - (United States of America)

I will make this short, I have been with SMC for fifteen years. I have made money when I worked it hard. If you do nothing thats how much you will make. I have never had one problem in all those years. Merchandise has been good, yes all made in China but it all is made there. Shipping have always been fast.
I think most of the people who are unhappy thought they could sign up and get rich. Like any business you have to work hard.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

I was once an SMC member

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

I was once an SMC member. I may be again in the future. As far as the intro fee, wholesalers do charge when you buy from them. I worked for a major company that would only allow you to order from them if you placed a $70,000 stock order. The products sold from .69 to $12 dollars. However, we would turn people down all the time. We only wanted certain dealers, only. As far as people recognizing the catalog, SMC should go more toward that and let people recognized exclusive items. Not made in china, wall mart type, but a high end gift line. You dont not buy a new car because the dealer is selling it to you and not the manufacture or importer.

The only real problem I see with SMC is reading their terms of service. It seems to say that you can only use their ad copy for products on your web site that you have bought for resale.

Rule number 10 from their website: You may only copy or use designated SMC product descriptions, product photographs and .jpg files on your website to advertise products you purchased from SMC for sale to your customers, and not in any other manner or for any other purpose. You may not delegate or authorize any other person do so, whether on your behalf or otherwise.

SMC is supposed to be about drop shipping??? You dont need to stock a product in order to sell it. If you had to buy the product first, then SMC is not the way to go because their prices are to high. I remember a flashlight that SMC had for $4.95 member cost. Other wholesale companies had it for $1.95. Yes, it was the same. If you have to buy the products first then get a digital camera and buy from anywhere else. The only thing that sets SMC aside is their drop shipping and catalogs and training. Yes, you will pay more for that type of service but its worth it. As far as products priced to high for resale, business is about doing business. You must go out and knock on doors to get sales.

I have made no money with SMC. But I have not tried.

I have been in sales for over eight years and I never had a product that sold itself, ever. When I was selling cable door to door in Detroit, they gave us 200 names and wanted us to close 15. When I was selling Data products, we would contact 100 people a day hoping to set up 2 appointments where we might close a sale. Many will say, I have not made any money on SMC. But did you call on 100 people today. I know SMC wants you to believe you can just show a catalog and get orders but nothing is that easy. Every company I have ever worked for claimed you can make money just by showing the marketing material. Ive come to call it the sales guy VS the marketing guy delusion. The marketing guy is in his office thinking his job is safe because he things he has the greatest of products. However, the sales guy is calling on all the customers being laughed at and showed all the disadvantages. The sales guy keeps going because if he doesnt close sales, he loses his job quickly. The marketing guy plays video games in his office up until he gets a pick slip waking him up to reality as him and 30 other people hit the unemployment line.

People buy from people. Can you build up a long term business selling products? Yes, look at wal mart. Once it was just a small store where someone had a plane. Before that it was a person with out a store who had a plan. With SMC they give you products to sell, however, you must bring the plan. Remember, people buy from people they like and what they want, not want they need.

sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company your comments on this policy are welcome! CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

If your worried about getting ripped off (TRY THIS)!!!

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

This venture is alot cheaper and you don't need inventory of any kind. Check it out. It works!

Open Your Own Internet Shopping Mall for just $79.99 a year

Now you can own an Internet Shopping Portal for just $79.99 a year, where others pay thousands if not hundreds of thousands for their web sites to be created and maintained. There are no contracts to sign and no obligations.

Other sites out there makes it easy to open your own store with the domain name of your choice. You can choose any domain from our list for your store web address. Upon completion of the signup process your store will be created instantly under the domain of your choice.

If you would like to suggest your own domain for your store we will register for you at no charge. In this case you will be provided with temporary URL address until the domain name is registered and configured for your store. This process usually takes 3-5 business days.

sorry, allowing you to give a competitors name would instigate others to just file against their competition, to only come back later to suggest their company your comments on this policy are welcome! CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.
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#4 Consumer Comment

I will give it a try I have been ripped off in the past

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

I found this web site while trying to find an 800 number for SMC. I paid the SMC fee off about a year ago. I have never worked the program but I would like to try now. I have been ripped off in the past by other such companies that offer "to good to be true" scheems. When I find the phone number to customer service, I am going to try and "get the ball rolling". If, after three months, nothing good or something good comes out of it, I will be back to tell.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Dont call somthing a rip off that isnt one

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

Dear orignal poster, I am with SMC and I find nothing about a rip off, unless you are just lazy and dont know how to sell the product, in which case you just ripped your self off. An upfront fee is usually a red flag and I too was hesitant about joining at first, but my brother had been with them before. And get this, he had to stop due to circumstances in his life at the time and they didnt make him pay the remaining fees he owed on his membership (he opted for monthly installments) Would a rip off or a scam had let him stop paying just because he wanted out.. I think not. These people have been around before the big boom of internet scams. They are legit.

Yeah their ecommerce prices are a bit out there but thats why you go and set up your own site or open an ebay store and sell through that. I'm not making it rich quick with them and I dont expect to. Those that think they are a scam are those that are looking to make somthing for nothing.

And as for those other sites you found in your carful investigations....those are not owned by SMC. They are named similar to SMC to draw people to them. Those are the scams. Its clear that what you consider to be a careful investigation is nothing more than a google search. My advise. Stop bashing a good service and only post rip offs here. Good day to your sir..
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#6 Consumer Comment

SMC- You can make money

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

Dear Sirs,
When I got involed with SMC,I didn't do all that was suggested in there programs for making money and was slow getting started with them,That was my fault.

when you make $5000.00 dollars in sales all of the membership package fees are refunded to you in full.

There is NO time limit in doing this. Yes it is true that there website service is pricy but there are several hosting services out there that offer the potential for building a great website to sell SMC products at far cheaper prices.Also I am getting involed with another individual who is going to post products on my site.

By having my own site I can do this and there is no complaints from SMC for doing this as long as the products are in good taste, which they are. SMC'S membership support has been exccellant in my opinion.I have never had a problem contacting them. Yes some of there products are not always availible for order, but the way to resolve that is to check an items statis before you order it! And SMC has made that very easy to do that on there website. And takes very little time to do so! My orders have arrived to me and my customers in I feel what is very reasonable timely fashion, with no damage and very well packaged.

My coach was very helpfull in getting me started and making suggestions on helping me to sell there products. I don't forsee getting rich but I do forsee making enough money and have so far to pay my car payments and have extra money spend on my grandchildren. And have a great deal of fun with this program. SMC can and does work,but it is a program that you have to work hard at to make it work!! On my website we do offer to sell products at wholesale prices to all who want to buy and charge no membership fees to do so !! And do anticipate this pratice to generate sales.

Remember the old saying "You Have To Spend Money To Make Money" SMC is true of that. Thank you.
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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds

To Those members that say they are happy

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

You are right the products are good and when you sell them at a home party or out of the catalogue you can get good results. But I was reading and I noticed that nobody mentioned haveing an eCommerce website (and eCommerce means a website that can accept credit cards not the free promo site that you got with your membership. Why is that? is it because when you called in to see how much it would cost you found out that it would run you around $2700 for a full line store?

I was one of the top sales reps for SMC Promotions for well over 2 years and I can tell you that after being on the inside and seeing peoples life savings sucked from them finally got to me. I probably sold a couple of you and got you all pumped up on the amazing FAST TRACK pack! And when you got it you probably said WHAT THE F@#K! If you have time to talk and show catalogues to people then yes you can made a good second income. But if you are like most people out there you want to be a part of the new age of internet business.

E-Merchant Club has an over priced product that is way outdated and sets people up to FAIL. Do some research, there are plenty of companies out their that tend to SMC Members needs of an affordable eCommerce store and that actually can help you make money online

Hope This Helps a few people save some money.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Been with SMC for 3 years...

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

I have been with SMC for 3 years. I have had no problems in any areas. I take the catalogs to work and they in turn show them to their friends. I usually make about $500 in profit every month.

I have only received one broken item... which was replaced quickly and easily. Out of stock items are sometimes a problem.

Overall, I am glad I decided to pay my $200 membership fee in the begginning. I have since received that money back after surpassing $5,000 in sales.
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#9 Consumer Suggestion

Listen to the Infomercial Carefully

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

I contacted SMC and ultimately declined to involve myself in their business for the following reasons, some things to consider are:
1. you are selling an idea(having most likely not seen product IRL), and outsourcing your products via dropshipping from them, which leaves you at the mercy of whoever is processing/ordering/shipping.
2.They feed you hype to get you interested and/or excited, this alone leads to bad judgement.
3.The whole downpayment thing is a red flag, as well as the additional hidden costs.
4. i got 3 phone calls and asked each time for my "information Package" i was promised and never received it. They kept pushing to sign me up.
5.Anyone can profit in any business with enough effort, this is part of the infomercial but only as a "footnote".
6.they are selling a product(s) and intend to make money, if you bite, they profit even if you don't (the american way). it is set up so if you are lazy they win either way.
7. they make it sound easier than it really is. It is geared to "get rich quick" personality types.

This is my point, they tell you what you want to hear and spend alot of time doing it, they tell you what you need to know but downplay it to get you to bite, like fishing (come get the worm but watch out for the hook) ultimately you are one of many selling the same thing in a flooded market, and chances of success are low if you are a get rich quick type, before you spend your money do ALL of the research,don't jump in, if you are pressured HANG UP! Ask intelligent questions. I asked questions, hung up once, and ultimately declined to participate because the information was misleading. remember it took Bill Gates about 20 years to go from penniless con man to the richest man on planet earth.
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#10 Consumer Comment

I'm OK with SMC

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

My hubby and I have been with SMC for a couple of years now, and have not had problems with them. I've never had problems when calling them, have always been able to get someone and get some sort of answer. It might not have been what I WANTED to hear, or the operator may have had a accent, but I got what I needed.

My orders have always gotten to me in a wonderful time period. Just this Chirstmas, I had two orders (one ground shipped and one express) and got both of them sooner than they estimated (key word there--estimated)the week OF Christmas.
I've also had good response to damaged items. All I had to do was call them and tell them, and I was shipped a replacement

The shipping is high, but blame the shipping companies, they controll those charges.

While we havent gotten rich from the company, we havent tried that hard, but we've sold stuff and made up more than our membership fee in just good prices on gifts.
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#11 Consumer Comment


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

To Whom It May Concern: 11/26/2004

I have been knowing SMC Corp.since 1980,and when I first started they request a initiation fee, and then a small fee each year after that to cover shipping and handling for twice a year when catalog are sent out.

I think that this charges are very reasonably compare to putting up a business and do the printing yourself,do research for a hot item to sell,etc.


I think that before destroying a business or somebody reputation with our actions,and words yes because something was not done the way we expect to be,we should think before act. Remember no one is perfect and we all make mistakes on one end or the other only our Lord JESUS CHRIST is perfect.

I have no regrets about paying my fees and I would recomend SMC to anyone that wants to make extra money and possible put up a business.GOD BLESS SMC AND ALL THEIR STAFF
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#12 Consumer Comment

To the Idiot who responded to my investigation

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

At the bottom of this investigation report you will find a rebuttal by an Idiot who was obviously bothered by my initial investigation!

If this report bothered you so much you should not have replied with your obvious contempt.

A negative reply such as yours only strengthens the facts and information in my initial investigation.

If this did in fact bother you so much there must be alot of truth in the facts I have outlined herein!

Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors. I wish you all the best and much success in your future. HeeHee! LOL!
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#13 UPDATE Employee

The Somewhere, Arkansas Idiot

AUTHOR: Mark Sr - (U.S.A.)

The problem with the net is that anyone with a keyboard and a connection can write anything they wish, and people think its the bible. and SMCForums is NOT owned by Specialty Merchandise Corporation and never will be, they are owned by A GenerationZ Company.

Anyone who writes a post such as those who did on the RipOff report and makes a mistake such as that, after stating " After careful research and investigation " should have his internet and keyboard taken away.

General Manager
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#14 Consumer Comment


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

I have been a part of SMC for 3 years now. I have always been able to contact someone by phone and have always been helped with my needs. Whenever I have placed an order I've always received it within 2 weeks. Nothing has ever been broken and my customers and myself have always been very happy with our purchased products.

I felt that the initial fee you pay to have the price benefits was steep but now seeing how much money that I save just from just purchasing gifts, it's well worth it. I have not made a huge amount of money or become rich with SMC but that's my fault. I don't persue this as it should be to do that. I have however made an extra few hundred dollars anytime I've brought my magazines to work or any other gathering. The potential to make at least extra money is there!

They do seem to have items on back order everytime I've called but, they always tell you it's on back order and when to expect it in so you can order it and let your customer know. All in all I've been very happy with the service, products, savings, and extra money that I have made whenever I've desired to do so.
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