Plunder The Inner Workings Of The DS-MAX Sales Cult

Plunder The Inner Workings Of The DS-MAX Sales Cult

Now is your chance to find out what really goes inside the strange and shady world of the DS-MAX/Cydcor/Innovage multi-level-marketing sales cults. Luke St. Germaine, who last shared with us an excerpt from a book he’s working on about his experiences, has agreed to let Consumerist readers interview him. Put your questions in the comments or email them to ben@consumerist.com and let’s find out the straight scoop. For the backstory on what DS-MAX is all about, Eric Wolfram’s List of Known Scams gives a very comprehensive overview, and you can also check out these posts from our archive. [More]

I Escaped The DS-MAX Multi-Level-Marketing Sales Cult

I Escaped The DS-MAX Multi-Level-Marketing Sales Cult

Luke St. Germaine worked his way up the ladder of Cydcor, a spinoff of the notorious multi-level-marketing outfit DS-MAX, d/b/a Innovage aka Granton Marketing, from sales grunt to running his own office, until he saw the true face of the sales cult and got out the game. Exclusive to Consumerist, this is an excerpt from a novel he wrote about his experience. [More]

The Best Sales Line Ever

The Best Sales Line Ever

I walked by this DS-Max/Innovage type salesguy…

4 Typical DS-MAX MLM Scam Job Ads Found On Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder And Jobster

4 Typical DS-MAX MLM Scam Job Ads Found On Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder And Jobster

Using the names of companies accused of being DS-Max (now known as Innovage) subsidiaries/affiliates on Ripoffreport and a list on DS-Max The Aftermath, I did a search of Monster, Hot Jobs, and other job sites to pick out real ads that are out there and should be avoided.

How To Spot A DS-MAX Style MLM Scam Job Ad

How To Spot A DS-MAX Style MLM Scam Job Ad

Here are some of the qualities of a “business” operating under DS-MAX (now known as Innovage, though the same company owns both trademarks...) principles, an organization responsible for many complaints alleging scams, fraud, and general employee deprivation in a “sales-cult” atmosphere. [More]

CPSC Recalls DS-MAX-Made Toy Trucks For Choking Hazard

Neither CPSC nor DS-MAX U.S.A. Inc. is aware of any injuries with the toy trucks.

Nu-Life Owns The Trademarks For Innovage AND DS-MAX

Nu-Life Owns The Trademarks For Innovage AND DS-MAX

Nu-Life, the company so mad at us about “adversely” affecting its DS-MAX trademark, saying that old DS-MAX became Innovage and Nu-Life has nothing to do with the actions of old DS-MAX or new Innovage… [More]

Man Escapes Working For DS-MAX-esque Charity Scam, Lives To Blogs His Tale

Man Escapes Working For DS-MAX-esque Charity Scam, Lives To Blogs His Tale

A reader who used to work for Quantum Marketing, one of the “Aftermax” companies, (the term for companies that old DS-MAX (now known as Innovage) spawned), wrote several posts describing how his company scammed people who thought they were donating money to D.A.R.E.

DS-MAX Tries To Shut Down Our IDT-Energy Investigation

DS-MAX Tries To Shut Down Our IDT-Energy Investigation

UPDATE: Nu-Life Owns The Trademarks For Innovage AND DS-MAX

While reporting the results of our undercover investigation into IDT-Energy through one of their marketing outfits, a battle waged in the background between us and the current owners of the DS-MAX trademark.

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Confession

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Confession

After only three days with Midtown Promotions, I could already tell that I’d wait weeks, maybe months or a full year before coming upon hard evidence of fraud, if I found any evidence at all. After leaving James and Doreen in the Bronx, I took the afternoon off and went to work on these diaries.

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Meltdown

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Meltdown

From the moment I met up with James, and Doreen, who was going our way, things began to fall apart. Eric told me to follow James, not Carl, who was going solo. I was to listen to James’ instructions, follow his example, and go to wherever he decided we should spend the day. Today was Mt. Vernon, NY, almost 90 minutes from the offices of Midtown Promotions.

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Meeting

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Meeting

Before the morning meeting started, I left my man-purse on a set of boxes right by the blackboard, with the microphone discreetly poking out of the pocket.

13 Confession Of A Former DS-MAX Manager

13 Confession Of A Former DS-MAX Manager

This is almost everything you need know about DS-MAX (now known as Innovage), the super-shady multi-level-marketing group whose business practices seems to have inspired the Midtown Promotions office we’re looking into. It’s culled from an excellent post over at DS-MAX: The Aftermath:

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: Let's Get Juiced

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: Let's Get Juiced

I staggered into Midtown Promotions at 10am on Wednesday. Seeing as how people were only trickling in for the morning meeting, the receptionist and another office assistant gave me some papers to fill out and sign. (Note: all spelling errors/typos are as they appeared…)

Door To Door Energy Resellers Fail To Deliver Promised Savings

The NY Post ran a good article looking into whether the savings promised by door-to-door energy resale reps like IDT Energy ever really materialize for subscribers:

“I’ve had complaints from residents, as well as small businesses, who have unwittingly switched to a different energy provider and seen their bills go through the roof,” said City Councilman John Liu (D-Queens).

One Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, IDT customer – a bartender who gave her name as Carmel – said her electric bill jumped from $40 to $70, and she is anxious to cancel.

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Day Of O

Consumerist Undercover At IDT Energy: The Day Of O

I sat in the offices of Midtown Promotions, watching the receptionist field calls from job prospects, still surprised at having been one of those callers not even twenty-four hours prior.

Why Most People In Multi-Level-Marketing Schemes Lose Money

Why Most People In Multi-Level-Marketing Schemes Lose Money

This chart shows how a typical Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) operation sustains itself by ripping off the entry-level salespeople. Most of each of sales commission flows upwards, or to the “uplinks.” Additionally, there may be entry costs, like Cutco reps who have to buy their $150 demo kit.

Reader Lured Into 2 Different DS-MAX Interviews Via Monster.com Job Listings

Reader Lured Into 2 Different DS-MAX Interviews Via Monster.com Job Listings

Morris had an encounter with two different DS-MAX type places last December when he was looking for a job. In both instances, he was lured in through postings on Monster.com advertising entry-level marketing full-time jobs with full benefits.