Knock off perfume sales jobs make big promises, may not deliver

Knock off perfume sales jobs make big promises, may not deliver

January 8, 2007

6 On Your Side Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Good paying jobs that don't require experience are hard to come by. But a new local company is advertising for employees to sell knock off perfumes and it sounds too good to be true.  

Perplex Management's ad says the company seeks fun minded young adults who thrive in a fast paced environment. You train for six weeks and within months, you could earn $1,000 a week. No experience is necessary. 

The company opened three months ago, working out of a building in South Knoxville.

Recently, "Dan" (who asked 6 On Your Side to conceal his identity) began his training at the office but he didn't like what he heard.

"What you do is, they give you a bottle of generic cologne or perfume and they tell you to sell it for $30," Dan says. He would sell knock off fragrances manufactured by a company called Scentura.

Dan found Perplex Management's ad on the Internet. As a 27-year-old college graduate, he was looking for something new. "They want people who have worked in the service industry, can come up to a stranger and try to sell them something."

Dan says at first, the promises sounded great. "You're going to open up your own branch. You're going to be a manager, have six to eight employees under you, guaranteed $30,000 a year."

But there have been problems with similar local companies in the past.

For instance, in 1997, 6 On Your Side met Tracey Stewart and Matt McGhee who were involved in similar sales positions with a different company, Southwest Communications.

Tracey and Matt sold designer fake fragrances for about $30 a bottle. The sales person kept $8.00. The company operators said their sales teams were independent agents. However, "They snowed us over good, snowed us over good," Matt said. "They just completely fooled us," Tracey said.

A short time after the story aired, the business closed.

In November 1999, Rob Shahan told 6 On Your Side how he became involved in selling knock-off perfume going door-to-door, even out of state. But he claimed the money earned was never paid.

At the time, Rob worked for Jack Cooper and Cooper Enterprises. Shortly after the story aired, Cooper closed his business.

Recently, 6 On Your Side looked for the manager at Perplex Management to find out about his business plan. We tried to ask Roland Purdy about the claims made in the want ad but he was reluctant to talk and finally closed the door.

People on the consumer web site refer to the Scentura's fake perfume sales business as a scam and a rip off.

Dan is already looking for another job opportunity. Still, "There's probably 20 to 30 other people my age, young adults in there, who are oblivious to what is going on."

Perplex Management is a legal business registered with Knox County in September 2006.

If it follows the pattern of similar companies, some people will make money. But in interviews with former salespeople, 6 On Your Side found it's tough to make $1,000 a week within a few months, as the want ads suggest.

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