Smart Circle International
Newport Beach, California
United States - 92660
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I answered an ad for a customer service/marketing rep position. Little did I know it was a smart circle...
Please read!!! Please read!!!
I worked for smart circle for 3 years so im very familiar with the ends and outs of the company.
First of all, you will never apply for the actual company smart circle you will apply for one of their subsidiaries. The most telling sign that its one of their companies if it has "marketing" in the title but you've never heard of it but it sounds like the best opportunity on the planet thats them.
To but it simply your job will be selling directv in retail stores like costco, wal-mart, sams club, best buy etc.. I was a 21 year old fresh out of college kid and was sucked into the promise that I could make more money then I have ever dreamed of and that I could one day own my own business if I worked harder than I ever have. So I did. You will for minimum 6 days a week with approximately 55 hours a week yup that much. Now most employees will fail and get fired or quit. But some including myself will believe that these are the weak minded employees who lack vision and drive. So I continued on for a year and a half like this. All the while moving 3 times across the country helping people open their "markets" waiting for my chance. I personally hired and trained dozens of individuals and taught them how to sell and buy into this cult montra that I had and believed in.
Then it happened, I became an "owner" for 2 years I had been promised that the grass is greener once you become and owner and I soon found out it was far from the truth. I left everything I owned in iowa which is where I was living at the time and moved to california with nothing but a suitcase and 2 directv polo's. Soon I started realizing what a brainwashing scheme the entire thing was. You're supposed to be a business owner but you are required to get on conference calls everyday and they track if you are on the call or not. And if you miss enough calls they can pull your contracts with directv at any time. But when your on these calls they constantly train you on how to build better relationships with your employees and get them to do what you want while they think it was their idea. But still I stayed with this organization because I was so brainwashed I couldnt think of anything else.
But the money, at the height of my crews production we were making 12, 600 a week in 2 stores. Now that sounds fantastic right!?!?! Here's what they dont tell you. Number one you as the owner are not making that much money first of, you have to pay uncle sam taxes which will take a huge chunk of that. Second, you obviously have to pay your employees which is 2/3 of your total profit. Third, you have to pay for your "head office" account which a bank created for you based in canada that you cannot touch. Now that im out of it I realize this is their franchise fee's that they will keep of you quit or are let go. And the list goes on and on of things you have to pay for until finally at the end of the day you have maybe saved 400 after paying yourself maybe 600.00 before taxes for the week. Thats it. 600 this is what you have to show for working 60 plus hours a week, interviewing 5 days a week, managing your employees, getting on 4 conference calls a week and still going into the stores and selling yourself to make sure you make some kind of profit.
This went on for months with me treading water and barely keeping my business account from going negative. I began to ware down physically and began making mental mistakes like showing up late for interviews leaving the store before it closed things like that. I eventually lost my contracts because I accidentally started someone who did not have a completed background check. My fault completely taking fault for that. But what happened next crushed me.
My promoting owner who convinced me to move across the country who had spent years molding me and grooming me and gained my trust so I was willing to run through a wall for him, asked me to keep my employees working until they got someone else out there to take over. I of course agreed because this was someone I trusted deeply. I told him I dont think thats a good idea because I wasnt sure they would be profitable without me working. He eased my fears by saying if they are not profitable he will pay for them. I of course agreed. So after a month I compile a list of employees that didnt make money and sent it to him. He told me no worries it will be taken care of and thanks for the hard work.
I took some time off to gather myself from this exhausting job that I had and was considering going back for a "re-train" which to but it simply means starting all over again. But 2 months after we had the conversation about him paying for my people, I get a call from the labor board saying one of my employees filed a claim against me and I am being sued. I of course immediately called my former boss and he did not answer. Then I sent him a text telling him the situation asking him whats going on. He then tells me he's just not going to pay them. So a 268.00 check has turned into a 2500.00 settlement that I now have to pay this person and im sure the irs will be coming after me soon because they give you no instruction on how to properly shut down a business and im sure I did something wrong.
Furious, I called some of my friends that where still working in this owners office explaining the situation to them. They of course had been brainwashed like I was and didnt listen to me. I had heard for years now of bad complaints about smart circle for years but never from owners being screwed. Curious, I called some of the other owners in his organization that had also been let go and they gave me similar stories. Not to the extent of being sued but being dropped by the company no better than before they started. I called 5 former employees before I reached out to other former owners across the country who I had met on trips thoughout the years and they all gave me the same story.
It was then I realized that it was all a lie. Everything that I worked for all the sacrifices I had made had been for nothing. And that is the theme of this organization you'll work your tail off for nothing in the end. I wasnt a low level employee that worked at this company for 6 months I reached the highest level you can and im telling you its a scam. A pipe dream taught to young desperate for money college kids that are manipulated, brainwashed and used until there is nothing left.
I hope that I can be a cautionary tale for someone who has started working for a marketing company and just learned the company behind them is smart circle. Please read this and get out before you get too deep like I did.
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The sales rep at Sam's did not inform us that a third party is involved, if that was revealed to us WE would not have agreed. As it stands we were told a date for installation. On that day we received a call stating their truck had broken down 2 miles from our house. As a result we were moved to the back of the line and told we had to wait for four more days. My wife just had surgery and now we have no tv service as we foolishly cancelled or previous service. Calling Smart Circle was extremely frustrating as they had no help to offer. My decision was to cancel everything with Direct TV, never do business with Direct TV, file a complaint with Sam's and the BBB, and return to Charter.
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I don't know if this is the right place to add my complaint, but here it goes anyway: for anyone considering signing up for directtv through costco, please be advised that directtv does not do the service—all installations are done through the sub-contractor smart circle, which really is not very smart at all. All within 2 weeks after sign-up:
7 phone calls, 2 visits, 1 no show, several more calls and messages, but no answer to messages left, 1 "cannot help you". Also, main installer, jorge, was very difficult to understand; however, what we could understand was ridiculous. He was on the phone more talking to someone in spanish, as he tried to get instruction or information. Left a message with a heather at another number—no answer—no follow up call, as of this date. Then, I got the bright idea to contact directtv directly, and whoa, and behold, prayers were answered: a person, who understood the problems we were having, went through everything the original installers did, and as far as we know, we are on the way to happy tv viewing! Poor guy even went up to check the dish, undid and redid the whole thing because there was no sealant applied for water leakage, which was a big concern at this time. Can you see water leakage through the walls??? I wish I knew where else to complain to because that company is stupid, stupid, stupid!
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I bought a cirtificate (for mountain mikes pizza) from my workplace at a little expo put on by smart circle
I must tell you though that this was a terrible experience...!! Going into a place of business and trying to use the coupon and being turned down.. ; ((
Then in processing my refund I had to pay 75cents to send the thing back to get the refund.. So all in all I got embarrassed and lost 75 cents and got nothing in return..
In a situation like this I'd think you guys would include with the refund a new certificate to use for the pizza.. Kind-of a sorry.. we're trying to make it right for you..
BTW the manager called me back and said they will now honor the certificates, but of course I had to send mine back to get the refund...
I purchased a fan appreciaton coupon packet for $39.99. This appeared to be a very good deal, as I was told I was purchasing 4 free game tickets. Upon calling to verify how to order the tickets, I discovered that I had to purchase 2 tickets in order to get the 2 "free" game tickets - in other words, nothing is as the package was described to me. I'll never allow another Cardinal representative into my business again.
100% satisfaction guarantee means NOTHING ! What did my $39.99 give me?
(I posted this as a comment to someone else's Smart Circle complaint, but thought I'd start a new thread).
I just bought my Directv service through a Smart Circle rep (Drew) at Best Buy. I will start off by saying that Drew has been excellent throughout this whole ordeal. Now, I will warn people, that from the point of signing the contract in the Best Buy to the installation of the satellite, the Best Buy Smart Circle rep will be your middle-man point of contact with Directv for all issues. Need to change installation date/time? You must call the rep, who will then call installer scheduling (with Smart Circle), and then call you back. Want to make a slight change to programming before installation? Gotta call the rep. I tried calling Directv directly, but they did not have access to the installation schedule (the installers are contracted directly by Smart Circle) and if they changed my programming, the original contract for the Best Buy perks would then be null and void. This is the hassle factor you will have to deal with.
In my case, we signed up at the beginning of June. We went through weeks of installers cancelling and showing up at the wrong times. Each time, I had to call the Smart Circle rep at Best Buy (Drew), who would have to call someone else to sort things out. I also called once during this period to ask to add whole-home DVR to the installation. I don't fault Drew at all, but he initially didn't know anything about this service, and it took him a few days of back and forth phone calls to figure out they would have to send out a "special" installer, and thus another round of rescheduling. Drew was very apologetic and said he would get us extra Best Buy gift cards for all of the inconvenience.
Installation Day: The installer surveyed the roof and said there was only one place on the roof we could get a signal - right smack in the middle-front of the house, directly above the entrance. I asked him to please find another spot, but he said that was the only spot. Little did I know how large the HD slimline dishes are. He installed it while I was inside. Four hours later, after getting all of the inside equipment hooked up and working, he asked me to sign the work order saying work was complete. I wouldn't do it, as the on demand still wasn't working. He said he would have to run more cable for that, and that he was out of cable today (he may come back Monday). He went outside (I thought he was getting something), but next thing we knew he was driving off. My wife and I take a look at the satellite, and are mortified. I called Smart Circle immediately to voice my displeasure about the installation and the installer, and they pretty much ignored my complaint, and said that after installation it was out of their hands (even though they confirmed it was their contractor, not Directv's).
That night, we got 3 neighborhood complaints about the huge eyesore in the neighboorhood (we are in an HOA). Our next door neighbors are trying to sell their house, so you can imagine their reaction.
I called Smart Circle again two days later and asked them to send someone to either take down or find a better spot for our dish. They asked if I signed the work order, and I told them no. They told me they'd have a manager call me back within the hour. No call back. I tried calling them again with no success. I tried calling Directv, but they said I should be talking to Smart Circle, since it was them who did the install.
With the neighbors getting restless, about 6 days after the installation I called SatPro Atlanta to survey my roof. They found many other locations for the satellite! They couldn't believe the tech just installed it right by his ladder in front (probably just a lazy installer). They said it was one of the worst installations they had seen (as far as location goes). I had SatPro move the dish to the back of the house, out of site. Yes, there was the chance that Smart Circle may have eventually sent someone out to move my dish free of charge, but who knows if their tech would have given the same prognosis (or, worst case, they send the SAME tech out as before). I wasn't chancing it, and I didn't want to take any more time off of work.
It cost me $174 for the survey and moving the dish. Now I'm upset. I call Smart Circle a few more times. They say it is out of their hands and that I should call Directv. However, I know already where that gets me. And actually to their credit, Directv ended up giving me $10 off for 6 months on the premium stations to partially compensate me. But again, is takes only a small bite out of the $174, and this is Smart Circle's problem in my mind (though ultimately it is Directv's fault for contracting out to this crummy operation).
I had been calling Smart Circle without results. So now I've turned back to my Smart Circle Best Buy rep buddy, Drew. He has been nothing but helpful, but there is only so much he can do. He can't believe I've been treated the way I have, and he has filed a complaint on my behalf twice. I keep asking him, "What about the extra Best Buy gift cards you said you could get me"? He said it is up to the folks in the main office. I'm not very hopeful at this point.
Anyway, just wanted to tell my story so anyone considering this will know what to expect (and of course, your experience could go just as smoothly as justoneguy in the post above). I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, as it depends on your particular offer and how much hassle you are ready to deal with. The original offer gives me a $50 Best Buy gift card upon installation and another $300 gift card upon purchase of a TV. Was it worth it to me? No. Especially when you consider the TVs are a few hundred dollars cheaper at Brandsmart (here in Atlanta), thus offsetting the savings gained with the gift cards.
I will post again if Smart Circle actually respond to my complaint.
BBB Reliability Report for
Smart Circle International, LLC.
Smart Circle International, LLC. D 1
Company Rating D
Our opinion of what this rating means:
We have enough concerns about this company (for example, their offer, customer complaints, advertising, etc.) that we recommend caution in doing business with it.
I'm writing this as a warning to people like me who may have been wondering what exactly this company is about (since apparently they are new to my area). I can't say for sure if they are a scam or not, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that the company left me with a really creepy, bad feeling (especially once I read the complaints about Smart Circle.)
I saw the ad for a Sports/Entertainment marketing firm (Divine Edge, Inc.) on Craigslist.com. The ad seemed really spammy, scammy, and not all-together real, but when I saw it again on CareerBuilder.com and other job search sites, I figured it was legit. Let me just tell you people, go with your gut instinct. I'm sort of desperate for a job right now, so I figured, what the heck, I'll submit my resume and see what happens.
Well, a day later I got an email from the Human Resources person (who happens to be the sister of the office "manager" ) saying they are interested in interviewing me for the position. My first interview took all of 5-10 minutes, which was really quick I thought. "Tara" asked me a few basic questions about myself, my job goals, etc. and gave me a VERY brief description of the company. She said they market companies in ways that most companies don't think to use. She made it seem like having a billboard was a ridiculous idea. She also said that since they are a brand new office, they're looking to hire a lot of people and get people into higher management positions ASAP. She drew a nice little diagram that showed how I could move up to Assistant Manager within 6 months and onto Manager within 6-12 months. She told me to come back a week later for my second interview where I'd be spending the day with an Account Manager and they'd decide to hire me or not at the end of that day. At this point I still have no idea what this company does exactly, and there is nothing on the internet to help me out. Their website is very vague.
So a week later I show up to the office at 9:00 am and the receptionist has the same exact playlist of songs blaring from her laptop that she was playing at my first interview. I thought it was strange how not only were the EXACT SAME songs playing when I had come in the last time, but she was playing it a little too loud for an office environment. When certain calls would come in, I could not hear what she was saying over the phone, even though I was sitting about 3 feet away. However when she was talking to the UPS rep on the phone, I could clearly hear that. I'm 99% sure she was lowering her voice when talking to someone within the company.
About 10 minutes later, a group of about 15 people walk out of a door that led to who knows where and out of the office. My first thought was that even though this was a professional business, none of them gave off that professional vibe. A lot of them were very chipper too and greeted me and the other 2 interviewees waiting with odd enthusiasm. I'm connecting this with the brainwashing I've read about in other complaints. I've lived in the South for 5 years now, and I've never been greeted that much by a group of employees. Just really weird. So "Tara" pairs me up with "Joe", an account manager. "Joe" takes me and 2 guys (one who is still in training and the other is on his first day of work.) "Tom", who's on his first day, asks if he can drive his own car to where we're going, but "Joe" says no. I'm a little hesitant about getting in a car with 3 random dudes I don't know, but I went. No clue where we're going until "Joe" whips out his GPS and plugs in Dahlonega--which is about an hour away from the office. When I ask why we're going so far, "Joe" says he likes to take the harder territories because not a lot of people want them so that leaves more opportunity for him and his team. He keeps saying he wants to set "Tom" up for success (basically to make as much money as he can today.) So on the hour long ride, I bombard "Joe" with questions because I need to know what the hell this place does. I end up finding out that this company goes business to business selling discounted services for a low, low price. We were on a mission to sell the Atlanta Braves campaign. $40 for $300 worth of tickets. That seems fine and all but once we got to Dahlonega, "Joe" drops "Tom" off at some random Dairy Queen and tells him to start with that business and work his way throughout the little town. "Joe", "Bill" (the trainee), and I went to another area of town and literally walked to EVERY business in the area. We tried EVERY door even if the business looked closed. We parked in the parking lot of some random orthodontist and walked I'd say about a total of 3 miles in the area. Mind you, this was a 90 degree day, we're all in business professional attire, and I'm in 3 inch heels (no one told me what the hell they do so I'm expecting to just be in an office somewhere for an interview.) So we tried every business we saw...from a Papa Johns, a probation office, random medical plazas and all the offices inside, a hospital (which we got kicked out of), a Century 21 office...you name it, we stopped in. We did this from about 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with a short lunch at McDonalds. I have nothing against McDonalds either, but I was thinking, if there's opportunity to make $300-$500 a day, why are we eating at McDonalds? And yes, "Joe" said that the minimum brand new employees usually make is $100/day but most everyone makes at least $300. They do this by getting $10 commission off every $40 package they sell. By the end of the day, we had sold 13. Made a whopping $130 that I think was to be split between "Joe" and the trainee. "Tom" sold 7.
We ended up back at the office around 5:45 p.m. On the way back to the office, "Joe" taught me the 5 steps to a pitch and 8 steps to success because I'd be quizzed on it when we got back. They were all amazed that I could remember 5 words after 10 minutes. I was confused why they were making it such a big deal...is this really a company I want to work for if it's an amazing feat to remember 5 words? So apparently "Joe" gave me a great review and "Tara" offered me the position. Thank goodness I wasn't able to start Monday morning because it gave me time to research the company. Divine Edge, Inc. isn't on the BBB or Complaints Board websites, but I remembered hearing the Smart Circle name (who I believe is the company that manufactures the discount cards we were selling). Lo and behold, Smart Circle had a ton of complaints. I want to get Divine Edge out on this website in case anyone in my area happens to get caught up like I did.
A few other creepy similarities between what happened with Divine Edge and what I've read on these complaints:
-the word "juice": the trainer kept saying this over and over. He's from Boston, so I thought it was a Boston thing...apparently not.
-ridiculously loud music for a professional office
-everyone seems brainwashed ("Joe" gave the SAME EXACT pitch to EVERY single person we approached. I was sick of hearing him reference me as his "ninja bodyguard" after about the 3rd time. Ended up hearing it about 103 times.)
-the "atmosphere" room
-when we got back to the office, "Tom" had to yell "hey guys!" to which everyone else would yell "hey what?" and then he'd ring a bell
-Also, the office was painted horribly...fire-engine red walls with black doors and black trim, generic sports posters on the wall that said like "Do your best!" Shouldn't they have had posters up of like the Atlanta Braves?...considering the Braves are their clients??
Again, I can't really say this company is a scam, but the similarities to other companies with different names is too creepy, and I wanted to speak up. I hope anyone out there who sees their employment advertisement does some research first. This company doesn't give you any details. Just have to experience it for yourself.
I recently graduated from college and have been searching for a job in sales/marketing. I found an advertisement for an entry level sales associate on Career Builder for a company called Northwest Marketing Inc located in Bellevue, WA. I sent them my resume and received an immediate response from human resources wanting to know if I was available for an interview. I live in Montana so I told them I would need time to buy a plane ticket. I did my research on-line about the company and the website seemed pretty legitimate except there was no information about when the company started or exactly what they did other than very general information for a marketing firm. I decided to take a chance and was HORRIBLY disappointed! The interview lasted only ten minutes and there were no definitive answers as to what the job would entail. I was offered to come to a second interview the following day and I asked exactly what I would be doing before I would waste my time. I was told they do marketing for the Seattle Mariners and that they distribute coupon booklets for tickets. The first postion in the "program" is in entry level sales, then to become an account director, and finally the last "step" is to become a manager which she explained to me takes an individual about ten months to complete. I asked if this was a door to door operation to which the young woman responded it was business to business and I asked her to explain to me how walking around, going door to door, was business to business. She replied that the job was to go to businesses in different areas and try to sell the coupons to the individuals working and that even if I fail at selling the coupons it at least puts it in their minds that there is a Mariners game. I was pretty angry after realizing that I flew to Seattle for a total scam operation. Thank goodness that I have some friends in Seattle and was able to have a small vacation with them. I am writing this so that no one else will waste their time as I did.
Very Breifly, I purchased a card from someone walking into my office for a golf package. Sounded great! I went to use the card and the golf course wouldn't except the card. Not only did I not get to use the card I spent and exta $75 to pay for the round of golf I should have reccieved for free. I called and the customer service was understanding at first and agreed to send out another card for a different location in my area. The sent me another card for the same golf course who doesnt except them. I sat it aside knowing I've already wasted too much time on the matter. A few months latter I came accross the card once again in a pile of papers and decided to give them a call once again. This time the customer service was extremely rude and truned it around on me for waiting so long to call back. We were disconnected or so i thought before I was given any answer. I called back and got a hold of some ditsy sounding gal who sounded like she didn't even know where she was working. After a few questions yup you guessed it another disconnect, which is now obvious a hang up to avoid dealing with anyone. This is obviously Smart Circle's policy when it comes to any kind of confrontation. Just Hang up on the customer and hope they just go away. Well I hope that their business methods catch up with them and they go under sooner than later.
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