Friday, May 28, 2004

More on the Link Between IPG Imports Ltd and DS-Max

Searching for 'IPG Imports Ltd' in the Yahoo! UK and Ireland search engine results in several listings for IPG Imports Ltd, including two locations in London and one in Kent. Interstingly enough, the Kent location has it's own website, and those doubting the connection between IPG Imports Ltd and the DS-Max system can click here for further enlightenment.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

More Cult Influences

1. The group is focused on a living charismatic leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
2. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
3. The group is preoccupied with making money.
4. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
5. Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group or its leader(s).
6. The group's leadership dictates – sometimes in great detail – how members should think, act, and feel.
7. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).
8. The group has a polarized, "we-they" mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.
9. The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, clergy with mainstream denominations).
10. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means (for example: collecting money for bogus charities) that members would have considered unethical before joining.
11. The group's leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to
control them.
12. Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with
family, friends, and personal pre-group goals and interests.
13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

The DS-Max Experience in Ohio

Here's another tale which can be linked to from here.

"Like most everyone else here, I too answered the vague ad that promised a wonderful advertising/marketing management-training program. Like everyone here, I was mislead- whether everyone here has realized it or not.

Having just moved to a new state, and looking for something different than what I had previously done, I answered the ad. I was excited at the prospect of learning a new business, and found the people in the office to be very pleasant. I was not disillusioned at what I would be doing.

I grasped the concept that it would be door-to-door, but like so many others thought it was just the first step of many towards achieving the goal of your own office- and then some. However, I did see others who entered the process at the same time who were not as fortunate, and had no idea what they were getting into.

They were not business savvy, and were confused at what was being told to them- but were too interested in the promise of all that money to come to ask what was really going on. Being the daughter of a President of a Fortune 100 company, I did ask questions. Looking back, I am surprised they even accepted me. I guess another warm body was needed that day.

The office was called Competitive Concepts Inc, and it was based out of Middleburg Heights, Oh (which is a suburb of Cleveland) and run by a man named Mark- who had come out from Chicago and was a product of the Kernan-Damanski-Holmes line. The office was nice enough as were the people, but I knew there was more to it than they were letting on. I won't bore everyone with the details of how I was hired.

I think by now the practices of DS Max and its children are well know. I did the 12-hour day, the three interviews, and I was "lucky" (as I was told) enough to be one of the two applicants chosen to be hired- the next day. So I came back, and to my surprise saw almost everyone interviewing the day before back for work (the only people not in attendance were those that decided once they got home it wasn't for them. (I guess the customary phone call from their leader to make sure they would be back didn't work!)

I went through the first day orientation. I was told what I could and could not say, wear, and how to act. I was "Juiced" when introduced to everyone, and honestly it reminded me of the movie "Requiem for a Dream". For those of you who don't know, it's about various addictions. What a coincidence, since this company is addicted to lies, scams, and anything to make a quick buck at anyone's expense.

The atmosphere also reminded me of "Boiler Room", and when I mentioned this, the people around me got very quiet. I was later told not to say that again (especially around a day of O.)

So I did the pitch circles. I learned the history, and how the money works, how to work the numbers. The whole time I was looking around at the wealth of potential that was throwing it away. These were nice people, but misguided. I was lucky to go in knowing what to expect- but I shouldn't have had to be "lucky". You should know what you are in for at any job. That's just good business practice, and a way to retain your employees.

I went out on my three retrain days. Honestly, it seemed a little pointless and redundant (I'm a fast learner), but I guess in retrospect it was their way of getting cheap labor. I got to ring the bell every day. I did a Saturday half day in a pouring rain (only day I did not ring the bell). But still I was not discouraged.

On my first day I got my bonus. I rang the bell and saw how sinister the business can be. Everyone who didn't ring the bell glared at me with hatred- hatred, because I succeeded where they did not. Competition is good, but this company forces people to compete so much that people wind up hating each other- which does not make for a happy work environment, no matter how much up beat music you play. Of course nothing was said directly, because that would spoil the image of one big happy family. But I was still determined to succeed, because that is how I was raised- to try your hardest and do it. To not give up.

But the next day, I had to stop. My leader drove me to my area, dropped me off and drove off. I was in an unfamiliar area that was secluded, and there was a ton of snow on the ground, but I got to work. The first couple of houses I went to there was no one home. Then I got to a house with a middle-aged in a bathrobe. I pitched, and he said yes. I was standing just inside the door (which I hold been trained to do) filling out the form when he came back with his checkbook. I started to explain the fine print of the campaign (which you do after you get them interested in it, and more than once cost the sale- but I was not about to be dishonest to anyone) when he grabbed me and started fondling me. Being a strong girl (three older brothers) I broke away and ran as fast as I could. I dropped my crib sheet and the form I had been filling out, but somehow managed to grab the merchandise (which is a good thing because I feel sure I would have been charged for the merch otherwise.) After a safe distance, I walked to the nearest gas station (about a mile) the whole time looking over my shoulder to be sure he was not coming after me.

It was then I saw my leader, driving down the road. She looked confused when she saw me, but when she saw the tears I think she knew what was going on. I got to the gas station as she did, and she asked me what happened. Being in a state of shock, all I wanted to do was call someone to get me out of there. (It is frowned upon to make your leader drive you back, since then they lose a half of the day.) She let me use her cell phone and I got a hold of my father, who thankfully was in town that day and not away on business. He was P***ED, and rightfully so. How would you feel if it were your daughter, sister, girlfriend, or wife? What if it happened to your mother?

My father came to get me, and the whole time the leader questioned me over and over as to what occurred. She called the owner for damage control. I told her I was done, that I didn't need a job where I was attacked, and that was it. She actually tried to talk me into staying. She was a nice girl, BUT COME ON! She told me that this had never happened before in the whole company (don't buy it), that it didn't happen. But I am proof that it does and it did. My father arrived, and I left knowing that this poor girl who relocated from Wisconsin was actually brainwashed enough in this company to not believe what happened, even though she could see the tears and how upsetting it was to me. I left the merch with her, and my car at the office. My brother got it later for me so I wouldn't have to go back there. That is the last I saw or heard from anyone in the company. They can call me every night to make sure I will be there the next day, but not to see if I am ok after being attacked.

I talked with my father and his lawyers about getting the police involved, but unfortunately by the time I could bring myself to go back, I couldn't remember which house it was (and I had dropped the crib sheet)- they are the cookie cutter houses that all look the same. Unfortunately, I could not do anything to the jerk that attacked me. But I can tell my story about the people who put me in that position. By myself, with no means of transportation, no way to contact anyone, and no way to defend myself.

The good news is the week after this incident I got a much better job. I am the executive administrative assistant to the president of a company. I work the 9-5 that people seem to complain about (better than the 12+ hours a day at DS MAX) but only have to work once or twice a week when my boss is in town (he has five other offices he travels between) and yet still get paid for 40 hours. I make ten times what most people at DS Max make (even the exaggerated figures we have all heard about). I have excellent insurance (covered more than $25,000 for the birth of my daughter- didn't pay a penny), which covers my husband, my baby, and myself. I got time of to get married and later have her. Wouldn't have gotten any of that with DS Max. Benefits are nice, and without them- I mean any benefits, it's like you are a slave.

I could go on forever about the things that were said and done by this company. But it's not too different from what everyone else has to say. To anyone who wants to slam me by saying I wasn't tough enough, or good enough to make it, I say this: I was making it. I was tough. But no one should have to put up with what I did to make a buck. Which is about what I made when you figure out my expenses versus what I actually made. But I can't feel sorry for myself, because as horrible as it was, I came out on top.

I do however feel sorry for the people I met in the company. I saw people move a thousand miles away from their homes, quit college, live five in an apartment- all to be broke at the end of the week. But they keep living the dream, and sinking more and more into debt. If you think it's worth it, it's your life and you live it how you want. But I offer this as a cautionary tale to others. What would have happened had I not been strong enough to fight and get away? What would have happened had I then stayed with the company? The answer to both questions is the same... Nothing good.

A side note- the office I work for has since closed. I guess the business wasn't as profitable as the owner led all the applicants to believe. I'm not surprised.

Jennifer
Strongsville, Ohio
U.S.A."

IPG Imports Ltd Recruitment in Great Britain

It has been brought to our attention that IPG Imports Ltd is advertising on several British recruitment websites, including this following example which is taken from jobsin.co.uk. Of course, notice that there is nothing to give the slightest hint that the job involves door-to-door sales, nothing that indicates that you will most likely end up being out of pocket through having to spend your own money on the pathetic training days and road trips so hilariously classed here as 'travel opportunities', and nothing to give the unsuspecting graduate cause to think that these empty, bogus promises are nothing but empty rhetoric designed to sucker the unsuspecting into flogging cheap crap around housing schemes and high streets all across the country.

The worrying aspect of IPG Imports Ltd's recruitment campaign is that the opportunities do indeed, from the outset, appear fantastic. What new graduate, perhaps struggling to find suitable employment, wouldn't help but be tempted by the rubbish being sprouted below? What unsuspecting applicant wouldn't help but be taken in by the exciting prospects being pro-offered here?

We advise anyone tempted to apply for this position to scan through our blog, to read through the stories of other contributers who thought that this opportunity seemed 'too good to be true', and, even if they do decide to go ahead and apply, to remember what they read here and pause to consider, if perhaps IPG Imports Ltd aren't really what they say they are.

"IPG Imports LTD is recruiting for ambitious goal orientated individuals, who can contribute, and support the level of growth we are anticipating in the next 12 months.

IPG Imports has had conciderable sucess in the development and implementation of marketing campaigns in the consumer products field. We have increased our clients market share and brand awareness through our ability to target new tiers of distribution, and focus campaigns according to our clients needs.

The resulting demands of our new and existing clients has created a focus on the training and development of individuals who can become the new leaders for our business in the future.

IPG Imports is prepared to cross-train sucessful candidates in every sector towards a management level. Areas include:

Promotional Marketing, Sales, Man Management, Customer Services, PR, Legal , Financial and Administration, Project Management.

No Experience is necessary as full training is provided. Fast track progression and travel opportunities are available for the right candidate."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Cult Influences?

The following is abridged from DS-Max: The Aftermath, and the fully essay can be found here. More information on the cult influences used in the process of recruiting and management will follow here as and when they become available.

"This essay is based on my own experince and some things that I have read, and these have largely been on the subject on cult recruitment and reguardless of if you perceive DS-Max as a cult or not I believe they were still of some relevence. The most noteworthy of these is What Messages Are Behind Todays Cults? by Phillip G. Zimbardo and can be viewed here.

I have listed criteria that make recruitment to DS-Max more likely:

1) Being in a transitional phase of your life.
2) Open mindedness
3) Good manners
4) Ambition
5) Genuine problems concerning employment possibilities in the area in which you're in


1) Being In A Transition Phase Of Your Life

In the London office I was in nearly everyone was a foreigner. There were more people from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa there, than there were English people, and I'm referring to the antipodean countries individually not as a collective group. I do remember that with a cult group likely recruitment candidates are likely to be going through a transitional phase of their lives and this includes moving to a new area. I think that's pretty applicable with DS-Max. For me it plugged me straight into a social pipeline of seemingly positive people, all very supportive and nearly all of us having something in common, that we were miles away from home). We were also miles away from our friends and family who might have been influential in our decision. When I left the Cobra group I knew almost no one outside it, as I'd been new to London when I joined, and with it taking over your life the way it does, had not engaged with people outside the company, or had time to pursue any of my recreational interests which would have given me people with a non DS Max agenda to talk to.

Other things that could consitute a transitional phase of life could be coming out of a long term relationship or being layed off or fired from a job you've had for a long time. I don't think the first of these is so applicable but any event that leaves you searching for new areas of not only financial but emotional support leaves you pretty open. Someone who is a bit lost, made to question their worth (maybe because they got fired or their partner left them), or just plain lonely is going to be more susceptable, in my opinion. I remember going out knocking on doors and thinking "This is kind of screwy, and I don't know about this commission thing" but I just liked the guys I went out and merched with. We were all of similar ages and all from the Southern hemisphere. Then there's that final interview. I don't know who did yours but for me it was a young crew manager about to be promoted to Asst. Manager, more importantly they were a). Female and b). attractive. So after fear of lossing me a bit she said "you know what? I think you're exactly the kind of person were looking for, we would like to start working here on Monday, I think a person of your qualities will go a long way here...." she was smiling the kind of smile that could melt a glacier. Then not only did she shake my hand, but she gave a little celebratory hug (how fiendish cunning is that?!). I had this warm feeling that started in my toes and spread all the way up my body. Then she called in my trainer to tell him the good news. He was really happy for me as well, and I pretty much put my skepticism on hold and starting thinking that I must be someone pretty special to have such an enthusiastic acceptance into this company with it's gruelling interview procedure. Anyone in a transitional phase has got to be more susceptable to all that ego stroking and seeming positivity that goes on. You need compliments and friends and if something has happened to you recently which puts those in short supply, I guess it's human nature to take them were you can find them.


2) Open Mindedness

I don't believe that keeping a closed mind is a good thing, unless you've got an interview with DS-Max or someone is trying to recruit you into a cult. A closed minded person won't try new things or be open to the new and unusual and DS-Max has got to have one of the wierdness and most unusual interviewing proceedures and ways of operating of any business in a civilized country. Even if someone with a closed mind does make it back to the office, what the hell are they going to make of a bunch of people in suits standing around in a circle clapping, cheering and high fiving each other whilst people take turns at ringing a friggin bell? Yes, they're going to sod off. An open minded person will still think it's odd (I know I did) but I still wanted to give ita chance, thus creating an opportunity for me to be immersed in the DS-Max environment and all that goes with it.


3) Good Manners

I think good manners have a lot to do with keeping you in, during the early stages. It just seems like bad manners not to come back to your second interview if you've said you will. It seems rude not to give things a shot when your trainers put all that work into you. Remember in the early stages you think they are all bending over backwards to give you, the new guy, a job or a fantastic opportunity and they have put a lot of time into you. Even before your Ob day finishes. To throw back this opportunity in their face seems like bad manners especially when they are all so keen about what they do. It also seems like an inderect insult to openly display too much scepticism about something other people seem to have so much enthusiasm for and belief in.

4) Ambition

The opportunies that DS-Max promotes will not appeal to your average waster. They will hold the interest of a person with some drive. If your personal ambition is to stay at home and jack off as much as possible how the hell is DS-Max going be able to use your hot spots to make you want to stay in the company?

5) Genuine problems concerning employment possibilities in the area in which you're in

Cults often appear to meet needs to being catered for by traditional religion or society. If there really is a lack of employment pooortunities in your area or jobs that pay crap wages then it's a lot easier for DS-Max to promote itself as your financial saviour. How well do you think DS-Max would do in a city with an a shortage of workers where getting a fantastic job with a really good wage was easy?

In short a person with a good network of friends outside the company, no ambition or manners and a closed mind ain't likely to make it through the Observation Day. They're going to say "Sod this! It's crap. I'm going to bugger off home and smoke pot with my friends!"

Peekay"

DS-Max Discussion Board

Much of the credit for the testimonials and the information on this blog needs to go to the group DS-Max: The Aftermath, which can be linked to from here. Despite focusing primarily on the American experience, this board does contain numerous tales and examples from employees of IPG Imports Ltd, in addition to documenting the links between DS-Max in the United States and IPG Imports Ltd in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

DS-Max in Los Angeles, California

"I was in DS-Max for years. I should have quit a while ago. I kept on thinking that I would get promoted. It never happened. DS-Max seems nice but it just uses people.

You get brainwashed into believing that if you work hard and believe in your self and the marketing system that you will be financially independant. You pay for your own transportation, food, lodging on roadtrips and taxes. You pay new reps out of your own pocket when you train them. There are many days when you make no money.

They had me sell travel packages that turned out to be illegitimate. I was used as a vehicle to rip people off. It makes me sick. I started to hear complaints from customers about validity of trips. I would ask the managers if they were legitimate. I was assured that they were and then they were not. My immediate managers were all good people. I think that they must have been assured that the packages would be honored. This happened with 3 different campaigns.

Managers make money at the expense of leaders. Leaders train and pay new people out of their pocket. The amount of times I would spend a day with someone - work on their pitch, get to know them, quiz them - pay them some or ALL of the daily earnings - to not have them show up again. Leaders do this because they believe that if they follow the management plan, they will become a manager and attain financial independance. Very few make it. Very many suffer considerable financial loss for trying.

In a way I'm relieved I'm not promoted now. I would not have taken time to look at the consequences of DS-Max. I would be an owner that would promote a business that in the long run, is financially devastating for the vast majority of people who want to try it out - especially leaders.

I would urge my sales crew to promote products that might rip people off. I would preach opportunity to people that I knew that few if any might attain.

xjuice
Los Angeles, California"

Naming and Shaming

More stories of how IPG Imports Ltd continue to distort the truth and manipulate their employees with bogus promises of financial success and faststream management opportunities will follow soon. In the meantime, perhaps it could be useful to name and shame those individuals responsible for peddling such rubbish and for attempting to legitimise the myth that is seeing many deluded youngsters continue to hawk their rubbish around housing schemes, high streets and small businesses for less than minimum wage.

So, without further ado, step forward Tim Kennedy, registered owner of IPG Imports Ltd at 84 Miller Street, Glasgow. Tim, if you want to step up and defend yourself, please contact us through this blog and we'll be happy to publish any rebuttal or reply you might care to offer.

The smart ones are those who are strung along throughout the interview process and their day of observation, ditching the company as soon as they realise what's going on. The deluded ones are those who continue under the false impression that a couple of months hard graft is all that's needed to see them through to a £60k salary, company car and endless opportunities for life in the fast lane. The guilty ones are those who attempt to legitimise this scam when they really should know better.

DS-Max and IPG Imports Ltd

If there is anyone who wants to search out the connection between IPG Imports Ltd in Scotland and in Great Britain, and the American company DS-Max, then a good point of reference can be found here. Generally, however, the names IPG Imports Ltd and DS-Max can be taken as one and the same for the purpose of internet research, the only distinction being that IPG Imports Ltd is but one name that the DS-Max system operates under in Great Britain.

Here's a tale of a poor chap who started in the London office.

"Last week I read a vaguely-worded ad in a local London paper for "15 highly motivated individuals with outstanding communications skills; Graduates welcome". I need a job fairly urgently right now so I contacted IPG Imports Ltd, which I now believe to be a UK local name for DS-Max and I was interviewed that same afternoon at their office near London Bridge station, techno music blasting loudly out in the reception area. This is a DS-Max warning - right? We were given a well-rehearsed speech about an unprecedented expansion rate - the fool-if-you-miss-it faststream management scheme with offices opening all over Europe – the 19 year old manager who was going off next week to open an exciting new branch in Madrid. Nothing really concerning what the job involved, mind, although they did seem to be a bit interested in my language skills. A few days later I duly attended what I now know to be the standard 'Day of Observation', witnessing two people in suits hawk shoddy goods to mostly reluctant garage mechanics, café proprietors and receptionists in a London suburb (not really what I had been led to expect from the ad or interview). Out of sheer curiosity I kept going for the whole 8 hours in the heat and filled in the requisite questionnaire on returning. However I demurred about the '3rd Interview', saying I had not realized the extent of the hours expected and that I would have to at least sleep on it. Well, I smelt a rat on the day (vaguely thinking pyramid selling) and having now read some of the many angry and painful testimonials here I certainly won't be contacting them again! I'm only sorry to have read some of the dire experiences of people who have posted here, but who at least had the courage to eventually extricate themselves from this cultish and exploitative set-up.

One point of interest/concern though: what prevented me from finding quick information using Google was the trading name 'IPG Imports Ltd'. Nowhere could I find this connected with the name DS-Max or Cobra apart from on a random link to an ex-employee's online CV. However, I am now 100% sure this is the same shoddy organisation wearing a different hat. I guess they keep duping people by constantly re-branding. But it does seem unfortunate in the extreme that there is at present no general awareness in the UK of the true identity of 'IPG Imports Ltd', to enable people to access this website and other well documented abuses perpetrated by the mother company. The 'IPG Imports Ltd' name also seem to regularly feature, worryingly, on recent bulletins from a number of reputable university career websites here in the UK, luring the unwary in."

More on IPG Imports Ltd in Scotland

Thanks again to The Rip-Off Report for this one.

"Firstly I'd like to thank this site otherwise i would have started work today at 7.30am for IPG Imports Ltd - sorry DS-Max - or is it Cydor? You'll appreciate if you have read this far that it's very hard to tell.

Whether your aware or not, this company has now reached Scotland. It has three units in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow (and some in Dublin Ireland and England) the latter being where I went for my interview.

I should have known earlier but it wasn't until i was half way through the day that i realised something was amiss. The girl I was with, a trainee representative, was just far to perky (although that's not a crime). When I asked her questions the answers were rehearsed, she kept quoting phrases I learned in high school in team building classes, and plenty of American slang which didn't suit her course Glasweigan accent.

I was forced to walk miles B2B watching her sales pitch to dismayed people behind shop counters. It wasn't long before it hit me that this was a scam. She kept suggesting to consumers that the products she was selling was on behalf of well known companies such as Boots, Toys R Us and Armani and i was actually quite disgusted and had a good mind to speak out.

Why didn't I? well the reason was I didn't know where I was. She was driving to towns in the middle of nowhere, I would have left there and then if I had saw a bus station or train station but it was not an option so I kept my mouth shut and observed.

Now the thing that really annoys me that it's quite easy to get sucked in. Before I checked this website, I was talking to my boyfriend that same evening trying to justify the system, arguing that it may work, that hey, I might be earning 60k in 8 months (which is what i was told). I found myself trying to justify the day I had rather than admit I'd been duped.

The real pity is the girl I was working with really thinks she'll be a manager in three months. She really thinks she'll retire in 10 years and while she pays for her meals, petrol, insurance fields trip to Dublin in the summer etc, she is not aware that she is earning less than minimum wage. I worked out that i would earn £4.16 per hour if I was to believe I'd get £250 for 60hrs work. Even the manager Mike, at the end of the day told me that I could possibly earn £250 per wk. POSSIBLY what does that mean? It means I wont even get £250 a week! I'd earn more at McDonalds! I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with working at McDonalds though.

Well you'll be glad to know I'm spending this Monday morning doing something more usefull than lugging a body bag full of questionable goods round towns and villages in the middle of nowhere for less than minimum wage for 12 hours.

I called the girl I was working with what I had learned, she responded as I knew she would with pre-rehearsed answers so I texted her this web address and told her if she belives the law of averages (1 in 10) then she hasn't got a hope in hell of being a manager, and if she does she'll be sacrificing herself as an individual, she'll be a clone, drone, moan, moan!

I aslo contacted every newspaper in Scotland, have given them this site also, and told them of my experience. I also contacted the recruitment pages where I saw the advert, told them my story and asked them not to advertise for this company anymore.

Been busy, I hear you say, well thats not all.... I also called Boots, Toys R Us, etc, and told each of them individually that they may have a case for false advertising, that their brand name is being used questionably.

Finally I am adding my story to this page. Now I'm not scared of hard work, I'm not lazy, workshy or uneducated. They will try and put you down, make out it's your fault and that your missing out, you're the loser. Don't trust it! It's not a case that you couldn't stick it out, it's a case that you're not easily fooled.

I would like to urge more people to complain about this kind of thing/company, I have never witnessed it before and was until now unaware it even happened here (or anywhere else for that matter). But Scotland will find out about it. Hopefully the papers will put a story together and hopefully that girl's parents and friends will read it and warn her and others before she/they get in too deep.

Melanie
Glasgow
United Kingdom"

IPG Imports Ltd in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee

Here's a breif tale of a girl who started at the IPG Imports Ltd office in Glasgow earlier this year. This can be found in full by following this link here.

"I recently saw an advert on a job website offering 'Management Opportunities' and experience in 'Marketing, HR, Finance and Management' and earnings of £300 per week. This job sounded fantastic! I phoned the company up and spoke to a nice woman who asked what I was currently doing and invited me in for an interview.

The interview was quick and involved a chat with the manager, Tim, discussing what I wanted out of a job and where I wanted to be in 10 years time. He explained very little about the job only saying that I would get experience in Marketing, Finance, HR and Management. Still the job sounded good, I was a little suspicious of the fact that he wasn't explaining what I would actually be doing, but it still sounded good. He said he was impressed with me and wanted to invite me back for an assessment day.

The Assessment Day involved me turning up at their offices at 0930, filling out a questionnaire and watching the company video - the first time I heard the name DS-Max. It was the usual corporate speech, how wonderful we are, how much our clients think of us etc etc. I was then introduced to my 'Trainer' and told we'd be going out of the office for the rest of the day. So my trainer, me and two new starts at the job piled into the trainers car, (her own car, she pays petrol, running costs etc and doesn't see anything wrong with that?!)and set off for an Industrial area on the South Side of Glasgow.

I couldn't believe it when my worst nightmare came true - we were going around business' selling absolute rubbish! 'Looney Tunes' colouring in books, world time clocks and manicure sets - the guys were practically forcing people to buy - it was so embarrassing.

The new starts at the job were so keen, they kept saying 'it's a fantastic job', 'it really suits me' and 'it's what I've always wanted to do'! I couldn't believe it - they'd been brain washed already! How could anyone think this was a good and normal job - it was awful.

The long day out eventually ended at about half past 6 when we headed back to the office. I was offered the job later on and decided not to accept it - thank God. The money and long term prospects sound fantastic - will they ever appear? at what cost would I take a job like that? The long hours mean no social life, and no friends, the poor money means you're tied to work - no money or time to do anything else.

BE AWARE! IPG Imports in Glasgow have offices throughout the UK and are constantly growing - DO NOT BE FOOLED.

Hannah
Scotland
United Kingdom"

First Meetings and Impressions

Does this sound familiar?

More information here.

"The all-important lifeâs blood of an office is recruiting. This is a door to door sweatshop sales job. Turn over rate is high. You need a constant supply to survive. The owner will put ads in a few different forms of media. It is usually the main local paper, local university and college noticeboards, and then one or two side publications. The ads will be vague. They will mention something like management opportunity, new locations, customer service, call here if you are not making at least $10 an hour. The ad will instruct them to call the office to set up an appointment and to ask for a specific individual.

When the applicants call and ask for a person, the administrator will know what ads they are responding too. By doing this the owner can decide if he wants to continue to finance a certain medium or if one type of add is working better in his market than others.

The administrator will now book them in for an interview. She will pretend to not know much at all about the position and claim that specific questions can only be answered by the manager. Can they come in today or tomorrow? She will write the time down.

When an applicant comes in for an interview she will have them sit and fill out some personal information and then give the info to the manager. To start off, the manager has the attitude that "You are looking for the job, and I have one, so what can you offer me?" The manager will now see them for a very quick interview. The manager will now explain a bit about what the company does. Only if pressed very, very hard might they admit that what they do is door to door sales. He will mention advertising and some of the great clients that DS-Max has like Disney, AT&T and the Yankees. He will ask the candidate some general questions. He needs to determine if this is the type of person that will ruin his leaders attitude if they decide later that they don't like what the company has to offer them -- or if this person might meld well with a certain leader in his office. This stage will barely last 5 or 10 minutes. If the manager thinks the person might be open minded and stick it out he will invite them for a full day interview called a day of observation. He will let the candidates know that it is a full day and that it is unpaid. He will usually tell them to wear comfortable shoes. If the candidate starts to ask a barrage of tough questions and the manager feels like he is in too much of a defense mode -- he will not invite them back. It is better that a candidate go off on the manager in private than to have a leader have his day ruined by an irate job candidate. The candidates that get invited back for a second interview are told to show up about when the morning meeting will finish in the morning, to look professional, keep an open mind, be prepared for a full work day and to wear comfortable shoes."

Introduction to IPG Imports Ltd

The following information can be found here.

"DS-Max is a supplier. It gets clients and goods to sell for its member offices. Thousands of offices around the world compose the member offices. A member office is an independent corporation that is set up to sell Ds-max products. DS-Max is a global operation that has offices in most countries throughout the world. In the US alone there are hundreds of such offices. Such independently run corporations remove DS-Max from liability. The vast majority of people effected by DS-Max -- never really actually worked for it; the majority that claim to have worked with DS-Max -- actually worked for an independent corporation licensed to sell DS-Max products.

There are two other companies talked about a lot. Granton Marketing and Cydcor. They are Listers. A lister is an advertising company that finds clients for another. Granton deals primarily with the advertising division and Cydcor with the communications. Although these companies work closely with DS-Max -- and in some cases have the same people in each one -- they are separate entities.

There are four main divisions of DS-Max. Clearance, Advertising, Roses and Communications. Each division is separate. In a given office you might find a few different divisions run by different people or by the same person. Now I will explain them.

The clearance division sells products like toys, books, organizers, bags, key chains, pens, small TVâs, and lots more. This is the oldest and largest division of the company. DS-Max has entire factories in the Far East that make cheap products. Since they deal with a lot of volume, they get good prices. These products are shipped to different offices and sold door to door.

The Advertising division sells coupons. They contract with restaurants, golf courses, autobody shops, hotels and many other types of business. You pay say 25 dollars for a certificate and you get 30 buy one get one free pizzaâs at pizza hut, or 4 free oil changes and discounts on auto parts or buy one get one free golf. All divisions sell door to door -- but the advertising division is the one where it is primarily almost all residential door to door, where as the others is all mostly business to business. The primary company that finds the clients for this division is Granton Marketing. A percentage of each sale goes to them.

The roses division sells -- you guessed it -- roses! They order large quantities of Roses from growers at whole sale prices and sell them business to business. A guy will sell a dozen roses for $13 dollars. He commission is $3 and he will ask for a tip because he works on commission. They can usually at least get an extra 5 to 10 dollars. Even after the tip it is still a great deal.

Communications is the other main one. They are spin offs of communications and are pretty much run the same way. Cydcor is the lister. This division has products like ATT, Sprint, Visa, MasterCard, CSI, DTV, Optus and many others. This is the only division where you do not collect money on the spot. You get people to sign up for services, i.e. long distance or a credit card, the application is turned in and then you get paid a few weeks later.

To summarize, the chain of DS-Max I will give an example. An independently run corporation is set up in a given market. This corporation gets all its products from Ds-max and or cydcor and or granton Marketing. The owner of this corporation will be part of one of the divisions. The owner will pay DS-Max for the merchandise it sells and for some legal and administrative fees and pay his own rent and advertising bills. The owner will run his office according to DS-Max principles and guidelines use DS-Max propaganda and are in contact with DS-Max quite often. This person will put out ads for people to sell his merchandise. In all the divisions save communications, the recruits will be independent contractors. Communication reps will be commissioned employees. So if Joey, a new rep is selling AT&T and he signs up a customer, he will, as an independent contractor for AT&T, gained AT&T a client, by using the product of his office, which is supplied by DS-Max (but not part of it) and DS-Max got the client by using Cydcor as the lister."

Introduction to IPG Imports Ltd and DS-Max

"Months of just scraping by on the edge of poverty. Not being paid. Going on a road trip for a company where I have to pay for the hotel room? Why is this person being paid cash daily? Why is my sister giving half of her money away to new employees -- shouldn't that be the responsibility of the company? Why does my friend live in squalor with 10 people that he works with? Why did Bob turn away from his family when they tried to talk some sense into him? You are going to move across the country with a company and they won't foot ANY of the relocation costs?

What kind of outfit is this? How can it be so big? I've never heard of it before!

Sound familiar?"


The author of this information asked to have his or her name withheld, but the author accumulated this information through personal experience. Here is the conclusion:

"I suffered a lot to be able to pass on what I know to you. When I finished with DS-Max I had $80 in my pocket, was $16000 in debt, had a repossed car and not a place to stay. This was after four years of dedidation to the business. Furthermore, there are many more like me who will never write. I am just one person. I can tell only so many people. More people should know what DS-Max, Cydcor, IPG Imports Ltd and Granton Marketing are doing to people."

This is an attempt to create a resource on DS-Max and her British sister company, IGP Imports Ltd. The blog will continue to evolve as I am able to link to more information. Much of the information here is available from other sources, and any enquiries relating to these postings should be directed to the administrators who run and maintain those specific pages. I am, of course, willing to publish any rebuttal or clarify any information should anyone wish to get in contact with me. Please do also get in contact if you wish to be named as the author or intellectual owner of any statement or article cited in this blog, or if you wish any information or article credited to yourself to be removed from these pages.

This blog should be intended as a reference point only, and no statement, approval or condemnation is to be insinuated towards DS-Max, IPG Imports Ltd, or any other named company. I am not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information contained henceforth.

The above posting can be linked to from here.