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 email@example.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.
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.
I walked by this DS-Max/Innovage type salesguy…
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.
Neither CPSC nor DS-MAX U.S.A. Inc. is aware of any injuries with the toy trucks.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.