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SMC - Specialty Merchandise Corp. / Fraudulent Business Practices

1 NC, United States Review updated:

My impression of SMC. I have read many of the complaints posted on this site. I agree with many of them (if not all of them). I have lost around $18, 000.00 during my "SMC experience" (In a years time, I have not made one penny on this enterprise, nor have I made one sale). SMC would most likely explain that I have failed at this because I am a loser. My advice to you would be, don't add your name to this VERY LONG list of losers. I feel that I have received a PHD in determining a scam when I see one. I look at the positives of this experience. I tend to be a creature of observation. I have attempted to list my observations of SMC below:
1) SMC will not allow the use of PayPal Pro. PayPal Pro is for all intents and purposes a gateway
(with very reasonable charges). SMC "supplies" their "own" gateway company and of course, receives payment from this company for referrals. A typical gateway will cost around $40.00 to $50.00 per month (If you sell absolutely nothing). The price quickly goes up if actual products are sold. If you decide to sell SMC items at swap meets or flee markets, you will find 3 or 4 (or more) selling the exact same merchandise from SMS (at a greatly reduced price). Most, if not all of the products are made in China, I especially love the Harley Davidson coffee mug with "Made in China" stamped on the bottom (that would get you killed at any Harley Davidson You will find that all of the "hugh success" stories that SMC portrays are individuals that are groomed and given unlimited support (SMC has to have marketing hero's to present to the general public to entice new victims, right?) Given the fact that SMC is conducting faudulent business practices across states lines, I am amazed that the Federal Goverment has not become involved (Of course, SMC may have written this into there "terms and conditions" as well. Time will tell).
2) When dealing with SMC personnel, always remain calm (no matter how angry you may become). SMC keeps a log on every "client" and each time you call SMC support (or emerchant club support), the rep will review "your file" to determine how best to "handle" you. If you are conveying something of importance, ensure that you have a witness listening on another line (Wife, Friend, Mother, etc), and after the initial call, verify the information by a followup phone call. SMC tapes all conversations and you will find that tapes that support their position are found with ease, however, tapes that support your position "do not exist". The SMC Rep will attempt to end your call as quickly as possible (you will normally hang up without resolution of your issue or still be confused about what your issue was exactly...this will always be your fault). Ensure that the battery for your phone is completely charged prior to a call to SMC support. You will find that a 45 minute to a one hour telephone wait will be common during the Christmas season (This is of course the time that you will require the most support). By the time that a rep finally comes on the line, you will have forgotten why you even called. The shipping costs from SMC are very high (hugh cut in any potential profit). You will not have a person to complain to at SMC if you have a complaint (about anything). Attempt to find an SMC public phone number. Good luck, there are none). SMC is very secretive, in my opinion they should change their initials to CIA.
SMS thrivies on confusion. By the time you have "figured" everything out, you will be thousnads of dollars in debt. The biggest ploy is to sell you a "Gift Card" website. Then it starts to dawn on
you that YOU CANNOT SELL ANYTHING on your website unless the person purchasing the item has one of SMC's gift cards that you have already purchased from SMC (As many as they can convince you to buy). Wait a minutes, SMC to the rescue! They will then tell you that "you" were confused, however, they can get you into a state of the art, full blown, wonderful, incredible ecommerce website! And it will only cost you an additional $2000.00 (AND they will throw in thousands of dollars of stuff that are worth absolutely nothing, oh, and you have to do it RIGHT NOW or they cannot guarantee all the neat stuff they're offering...if you hang-up now you lose a chance of a lifetime)! Those people at SMC and emerchant Club are such wonderful people! Kidding of course. It's a hugh con-game and it WILL cost you a lot of money!
3) SMC will assign each person a "coach". This persons primary function is to "sell" you as much
SMC materials as possible (Catalogs, giftcards, SMC products or the new "flavor of the week". This
"coaching" is purely based on the amount of money that you are prepared to part with (In my case
around $18, 000.00). I was treated like "gold" until I attempted to balk about the incredible
expenses involved. It seemed as though "I had become a problem" at that point. If you have decided upon the $29.95 "special" with SMC, also decide that you will receive absolutely no support what so ever (Or anything else for that matter). Whenever you have been lied to by an SMC Rep, it will always be your fault, because you misunderstood or you miscommunicated the situation. Get use to this or you will go crazy.
4) Beware of SMC's "automatic payments" I had the fortune to discover that in October of 2008 I
would be "automatically opted-in" to a $200.00 payment to SMC for a website upgrade. This upgrade consisted of absolutely nothing of value (A few more useless templates and a few functions that I would not use anyway). I called to cancel and of course, this information was not properly entered (or was not entered at all) and SMC debited my account for $200.00. I contested this charge with my Bank and it was eventually taken off after approximately two weeks of my money being placed "on-hold". SMC does not have "opt-in", they only have "opt-out" (if you find out in time). I am reporting SMC/emerchant club to the FTC, the States Autorney General and the BBB (the BBB is useless if the company "pays" their "yearly fee" to be a member, however, it will still be documented one additional place). Always remember one thing, if you are talking to someone at SMC or emerchant Club, chances are very good that you are either being lied to or you are being conned. If you decide to try SMC as a business, please do yourself and everyone else concerned a favor and report both companies to the FTC, States Attorney and the BBB afterwards. Something may be done about this if enough complaints are registered with these organizations.
5) The SMC website. First of all, you MUST be VERY proficient with computer hardware and software as well as the internet in order to succeed just at this portion of the "internet marketing". You must be familiar with HTML ad generation, mass marketing via email (plan on spending thousands of dollars for just this portion of internet marketing). I had 20 years of computer experience from IBM when I added an ecommerce site. I had no problem performing the required tasks, however, I often wondered how others with much less experience could possily manage "just this part" of the internet marketing. There are so many softwares that were required to accomplish the internet marketing portion that I will not list all of them here (a few, autoreponders, graphics programs, email list management software, inventory program, etc). SMC's portrayal of "it's so simple" is of course an out and out lie (Extreme fraud). You will recognize an SMC site when you see it. They have postage stamp size images (that may be made larger by clicking on them if the customer is computer literate). There are a limited number of templates that may be used for your site and all of these templates are very plain in my opinion (Looks like they are from the early 1990's). You can find websites that offer an entire ecommerce site (with all required functions, e.g. shopping cart, database and other support functions for a fully functional ecommerce site) and these sites cost absolutely NOTHING! You have to build the site yourself, however, you will have TOTAL control of the site (With SMC, you have very little control of your site) These sites also have 4 to 5 times more high quality templates to choose from than that of SMC. You will pay thousands of dollars for an SMC website (plus ongoing monthly and yearly charges).
6) SMC has (at last check) a little over 341, 000 websites under their control (If you would like to
see for yourself, do a "WHOIS" on your website and it will show you the current number). Logic would say that a company as small as SMC is incapable of adequately managing this enormous amount of sites. You will also notice that you will violate your terms of conditions if you associate your business with SMC (interesting). The terms also state that you may not sue SMC. You must enter into arbitration in Los Angeles California (at your own expense) if you have a "disagreement" with SMC. If you decide to persue an SMC business, read THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY from the bottom to the top of the document (they place the important things at the bottom assuming that you will have burned out by then).
In conclusion, I have written this document to give the general public my personal insights about my experience with the SMC Corporation. Each individual must decide for themselves if this would be the right decision for them. In my opinion, this is not a get rich quick's more like a get poor quick scheme. I had the money to chase this ghost. If you have a family to consider, I would highly discourage this endeavor. Remember what the infamous P.T. Barnum stated..."There's a sucker born every minute", don't be one of those "suckers". Please research all available information concerning the SMC Corporation prior to making a decision and DO NOT make a snap decision based on information that you may obtain from SMC. SMC actually ended up on it's own fraud alert list! God bless you and may you live a long and happy life.

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  • Bi
      14th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    Thanks for posting this. I called just to get the information package and all of a sudden i was being pressured into purchasing straight away. I could tell he was just reading from a list of things to say and really didnt care what i had to say. Even when i was talking to him he still kept on reading. He wouldnt answer any of my questions or concerns, he kept on reverting right back to what he was "supposed" to say. I was so frusterated that the lack of care and consideration for my question was not there. SO when he asked me a question i told him he had to answer all my questions first...he paused and said well sir let me tell you about this new promotion we have here. if you pay 24.95 you we will get you a free 300 dollar this point i put the phone down and told him to let me know when he was done...then he asked me a another question...I SNAPPED!!!

    Thats my experience.

  • Ka
      1st of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes





  • Su
      20th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    PLEASE let me know of any lawsuits against this company.
    I want to get on board!
    This company is such a scam. TOM BOSLEY, YOU ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    About $1600.00 later...
    No website to be found. No answers to my mailings, AND...NO sales.

    I am so saddened. Broke, and left with nothing.

  • Te
      3rd of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I'm in on the class action . You can reach me by email here Thanks Eric

  • Al
      5th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    Whoa.. some of you so recently began with the crooks, and already gave them so much?! Heck, I fell for it way back around 2000 -- back then they had you pay them $400 to enroll; and was it the same in later years for you? I never lost nearly as much as some of you (but not counting eBay listing fees, etc). But if there is ever a class action, and I can get even half of my money back out of it, then I'd be happy! Yes, they certainly are a scam ([censor]) bunch, and should be ashamed of themselves to solely be in the business of doing what they do...taking hard working and honest fellow American's money, and only to peddle their Cheap Chinese Worthless Crap on them!

  • Jo
      5th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I was involved with SMC 1999-2002 and some of the products quality was not that good. I did work with the products of good quality and did fair with them. Smc can be good or bad it all depends on the individual. I learned from the SMC experience and moved on to dealing directly with high quality manufactures.

  • Sm
      19th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    My Fiance' and I, too, are victims of the SMC scam! Originally, they made it all sound so easy and so profitable if we just put in some "time and effort". They quickly talked, as most sales people do, and even though we had our reservations about the whole thing, convinced us to put down my bank card information and convinced us that we needed to pay $39.99 a month for the membership for several months and then the annual fee of $39.99 thereafter for lifetime membership; they also convinced us we needed to pay $29.99 a month for "our own website store" and they would do all the work, all we had to do was pick a business name and put it on the site. They failed to tell us that no one could go to the site and purchase without a "gift card" unless we paid at least $1500 for the e-merchant version of the website, even with a credit card or bank card with visa or mastercard. We thought it might be worth a try and they assured us we could cancel at any time with no further payment required. We arranged for automatic withdraw to come out of my bank every month for both, then we ended up changing the card number we were using to another account after 1 month. We assumed all was well and we would be just fine with this arrangement. We placed only 1 order through them by phone, because we tried it online and it would not allow us to make purchase, and that was it. We didn't have the time or the finances to order big or get an inventory yet so we just thought we would use it for a little extra money at first when we got a chance to offer to people, etc. My fiance' and I were very busy working and doing other things and rarely checked our accounts as we knew exactly what was going in them and what was supposed to be coming out of them. We never got any kind of overdraft notices nor did we get any complaints from SMC so we thought all was just fine...until the 90 day trial period was over. Then suddenly we got a collections notice in the mail claiming we had to pay them $400+ for the complete membership as there had been no payments made to the account. We were of course shocked that months had gone by and not a letter nor phone call of any sort had been attempted to notify us that payments were not going through. Well we don't just have $400+ like that and they tried to convince us if we sent them $228., they would open a new membership for us and wipe out the debt. We didn't fall for that and thank goodness have not been taken for any more money. We have decided to pay out the bad debt and sent them a money order for $25 with promise to pay each month until paid off entirely, even though we cannot even use the membership as it is canceled, I guess we are still obligated to pay it since the trial period is over and we CANNOT cancel at any time. Well, I guess they received the payment and called my fiance yesterday and told him that $25 was not going to do it and they were going to "proceed with action" against us. We only placed one order and paid huge shipping costs but used a visa debit that was charged right away and cleared. Didn't even really use the membership but now we are not only in debt $400+, but are receiving threats and they are damaging our credit. THANKS SMC FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO LET YOU STICK IT TO US WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE!!!

  • No
      7th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    count me in on the class action if anyone gets anything going... this company screwed me and my family for thousands of dollars, and ontop of that sent us damaged merchandise promised to replace it we sent the merchandise back as they requested and then they NEVER sent us new merchandise in exchange ontop of that they had a agent or COACH as they call it literally call us idiots for not buying the website package and we know how to program on our own and said we were building our own website SMC then told us we was not allowed to use any product information or pictures on our own site unless we purchased their cookie cutter website first and those of you who know the internet SEARCH ENGINES HATE THOSE TYpes of sites not only that but those sites make you look like every other john doe and you look like a fly by night business... I have a massive experience in marketing and sales and have ran several million dollar empires for other individuals since the SMC downfall but I will give you some advice do your research on top selling products find out the manufactures and deal directly.. SMC makes a profit on everything you buy just by doing the same exact thing put your head together study and research and find your own products out there and get REAL TRUE WHOLESALE and stop giving money to those thieves called SMC... if you haven't joined them yet then RUN RUN RUN FOR THE HILLS and STAY AWAY from these con artist... TOM im ashamed you would represent a company like this but I guess the HAPPY DAYS of life became GREED FILLED and you became a true actor and decided to play the role of a father figure who will con people into becoming his "children" in the SMC scam kinda sucks but thanks tom for helping so many of us no longe rhave happy days because of misleading us into a company who ripped us off and took all our hard earned money and basically laughed at us while doing it... CAN SOMEONE SAY AMEN TO EVERYTHING I JUST SAID... if you get a class action going FEEL FREE to email me would love to be on the list of victims so we can shut this scam company down before they mislead hundreds if not thousands of more hard working americans who just want to survive and support their families..


  • Me
      30th of Nov, 2011
    0 Votes

    I love how people think they can actually do something like bring a corporation down, get the hell down from that cloud you live in, especially that nomorehappydays dude, if you decided to go to SMC thinking you will get money that easy, please c'mon, easy money does not exist, if you put effort and you are good at what you are trying to do, then you do well, if you hope for them to work for you, c'mon and hey if you have no money, do not be trying to get a business on your own, that is just ###ed.

  • Lo
      27th of Jun, 2012
    +1 Votes

    I have been a member of SMC, now Smart Living, since 1989 and just renewed it again for another year. I did not go into this thinking I would become rich. It was a way to get some extra money to help with the household expenses. I have not had any of the bad experiences stated above. Customer Service personnel have always been courteous. I did not get a "coach" nor have I ever been pressured into purchasing anything I did not want. I averaged about $300.00 per month in additional income. I purchased mailing lists and mailed catalogs in the beginning. I left catalogs at local retail outlets providing the owners with a percentage of sales generated from their stores - each order blank was specially coded. The owners collected the orders and I paid them their commissions before I placed the order. I went door to door hanging catalogs from doorknobs. I held yard sales. I purchased klits ot items in bulk and went to flea markets sometimes on the weekends. I built three websites in 2002 and ran them myself for 7 years not using SMC's ecommerce program. I monitored the "in stock" reports for each item on my websites and either removed them or noted that the item was out-of-stock if it was to be reordered by SMC. Someone placed an order - I ordered the merchandise from SMC and it was drop-shipped to the customer with my return address on it. Sales were fine, not great, but I made a small profit every year. I didn't become a millionaire doing it, nor did I spend $18, 000.00 in any given period. I can't fathom anyone spending that kind of money blindly. In actuality, since 1989, I have never lost money with this company and I only had to refund money to 5 people - once because they didn't like it and the other times becaue the items arrived damaged. I got into Amway and a vitamin company and lost my shirt, but Smart Living has been good to me. I haven't done much with it the past several years, but will again start a website later this year and get back into the swing of things. I suggest anyone who goes into this have an open mind and not go into it expecting to become extremely wealthy. Soime people make a living from Smart Living - others do it for extra change - and others don't give it any effort and just sit back and complain when nothing sells.

  • Dj
      19th of Apr, 2013
    0 Votes

    I got taken by this company for 3-4 thousand dollars, why don't some one start a law suit to get our money back and shut down this type of operation! i like to know?

  • Cm
      12th of Apr, 2016
    0 Votes

    Everyone has different circumstances whether financial, emotional, difficult life issues, etc. for having a problem with a new venture. I will offer one bit of advice to anyone thinking about trying a new business venture. Before you pay ANY money to ANYONE or ANY COMPANY, investigate them first and then if you decide to try it, spend only the absolute minimum of money required to get started. "Looking at the whole picture" had it right. They went into it small and built it up and did not try to go beyond their means. They made sure that the business could PAY for itself. That way they did not lose any money and actually, came out a little ahead. I am very sorry that those people spent so much of their money and did not manage the venture well. I understand the frustration. I hope they will know that, when they decide to try some other business venture, (and I know they will because they have an entrepreneurial spirit), they will learn from their mistakes with the SMC venture.

    I myself have tried SMC business models in the past and, frankly, I enjoyed the experience. My lifestyle at the time did not allow for my continuing with it to the degree it needed for better financial rewards. But I did make a little money and I enjoyed, tremendously, the experience of selling very nice gift products to people. I thought it was great fun. I think one of the best ways to get started with this company is by buying enough items to have a nice little table set up at your local flea market. Be a regular vendor there and you will learn the ropes quickly and have fun. Go in small and grow gradually. Set your dreams high but your goals realistically small so you can achieve each small goal one at a time and grow and learn.

  • Ar
      15th of Apr, 2016
    0 Votes

    It appears all of you have lost the ability to string together coherent, logical thoughts. if SMC is such a scam then why have they been around for 50 years? Using that same reasoning, Avon must be the biggest scam of all, right? Please feel free to insert any other company that's been around that long. As to the 20 year IBM employee, what possible position could you have held there that long, only to lose $18000 to a company wholesaling cheap imported merchandise? Also, maybe you could use that impressive experience to proofread what you write before you submit it - I mean, come on, that was painful to read. For those that lost equal or larger sums, how long did it take before you finally said no? I also opened a wholesaling business through SMC, and after a year, it failed. It wasn't because i lost large sums of money chasing down fantastical pipe dreams offered up with ridiculous success stories. It was the same reason many businesses fail, I was under-capitalized without a diversified supply chain. Therefore, my low margin of 33% failed to produce enough income when faced with 30% out of stock ratios from my supplier (SMC) during the busiest time of the year from August through November. Funny, but I don't recall a single instance where SMC sent thugs to my door to force me to buy into some internet scheme, when i knew that there were much more efficient ways to create an e-commerce web site from companies right in my own community. You always have the control in this kind of venture. You simply use SMC as one of many sources in your supply chain. That is how you run a successful business. Use your knowledge and the knowledge of successful people you know and trust in order to create a detailed and realistic business plan. It takes hard work and sacrifice to build a successful business, so why would you try and short cut that by listening to the advice of an obvious pitch man simply trying to make a sale? I'll tell you why, because of impatience and a lack of willingness to put in the required work. That is why get-rich-quick schemes are always destined to fail. Wake up and try taking some responsibility for your own poor decisions. None of you can say you weren't complicit in not doing the due diligence to research the decisions you made before jumping in with both feet simply on the assurance of a salesman telling you the water was fine.

  • It
      17th of Aug, 2018
    0 Votes

    I started with this company back when my son was in diapers. It was about 1993 or 1994 when I started a flea market business and did very well. I was making about $500 per weekend. I had no issues whatsoever. I stopped the business because I got involved with real estate and was studying and learning how to invest in properties. I thought it was a great way to make extra money, and it was.

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