The George S. May International scam is elaborate scheme focused on small to medium sized businesses that have some difficulty making a profit or enough profit among other issues. The most important thing that GSM wants to know is how much money is in the client’s checking account. If there is not enough money in the checking account, the question is how much does the client have in securities or other quick to liquid assets. They then tailor a plan to take ALL of the client’s available money.
Everything is done legally and is therefore protected by law. The forms are long, detailed, and lawyer proof. The signatures are all in place before services are rendered or one cent is collected.
So, you may ask, “What is your problem? If it is all legal, why are you calling it a scam?”
The definition of the word scam, according to Webster’s dictionary, is a "deceptive act". See http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scam. This is how the term is used here. If a company has a practice of getting clients to sign a contract without completely informing and explaining verbally all of the zingers in the contract, it is deceptive. Please note: GSM works the scam from both ends. Employees are also scammed with long, detailed contracts and misleading pre-employment verbal explanations.
First of all, I want to make two things perfectly clear:
1. George S. May International has not always been a scam. In the beginning, from 1925 to some point in the last century, when it was actually controlled by Mr. May, I truly believe it was a legitimate operation run by a group of people who were concerned with the client’s business and not with the size of their checking account. One can tell this by the smiling happy faces in the very old photos (from the 1940’s and 1950’s) that line the halls at GSM. No one appears to be smiling at GSM any more.
2. I am not a disgruntled ex-employee. I left in good standing. I am an ex-employee who, I am ashamed to say, was a fully willing participant in the scam. In other words, I am guilty of working the scam with them. This website is part of my penitence for my participation.
If I tell you about the great deal I am offering, but do not discuss the true cost, then high pressure you into a contract, does that qualify as a “deceptive act”?
Judge for yourself
This is how it works.
Telephone Solicitor - There is the telephone call from the telemarketer. Their job is to get the field representative to stop by.
Field Representative - This sales person will talk the potential client into spending only about $350 (as of this writing) on a "comprehensive survey" of the client's business. This is just a ploy to get to the next level. The client is convinced at this point that $350 is all this whole thing will cost. No discussion is made about future charges. The survey is being sold as the solution to the clients problems. The customer is completely unaware that they are paying $350 to have an extremely high pressure sales person come in to their business. This is the person that they are going to turn over their business records to for examination.
Survey Representative -This is the high pressure sales representative. They find out all about the client's business with the first and foremost responsibility of discovering how much money is in the bank. Then they sternly and somberly warn the client that if GSM’s Management service team does not come out and fix things, the business will go under. Then comes the agreement (contract is a better word). This contract says that the client agrees to pay GSM $255 (as of this writing) per man hour. What it does not say is that the management service team will show up the next morning. The reason for this speed is to keep the client from having an opportunity to change his or her mind.
The formula for determining how many hours the client needs goes something like this…
Total money in the bank – traveling expenses for 3 people / $255
Example - if the client has $50,000 in the bank and the total traveling expenses for 3 people is about $5000 then $45,000 / $255 is approximately 175 hours.
$50,000 - $5000 = $45,000. $45,000 ÷ $255 = about 175 hours.
Management Service Team - The day after the client signs the “agreement”, the management service team shows up. The client was told that they could cancel any time, but they do not get a chance because this group shows up at 8:30 or 9:00 the next morning. Lead by a Project Director, the team seems to go right to work. The first order of business is to develop what is known as the “207 report form”. This is the form where they write down all of the client’s financial information and fax it to GSM for more “evaluation”. In other words, the question is, “How much more can GSM get out of this company?” On the second day, the Project director presents the first bill to the client. It is at this point that the client is told that a check is unacceptable. Funds must be bank wired. This bill can be any amount, but it works like this. Say there are three team members, one Project Director, and two Management Service Reps. In two days, three team members have worked a total of 60 man hours (10 hours per day per person) or $15,300 at $255 per hour. But like the old fashioned infomercial says, “But wait, there is more!” The client still has to pay for the expenses. For our example each person had a $350 airline ticket, $70 hotel room for two nights, $50 each for rental cars, and $38 per day for food. That brings another $2000 to the table. So we are up to $18,300 and only two days in.
3 people X 10 hours X 2 days = 60 hours.
60 X $255 = $15,300.
$350 Airfare for 1 person + $70 Hotel day 1 +$70 Hotel day 2 + $50 Rental Car day 1 + $50 Rental Car day 2 + $38 Food day 1 + $38 Food day 2 = $666 per person
$666 X 3 people = $2,000.
$15,300 + $2,000 = $18,300.
This is a conservative example. It can run much higher than this. GSM could bring in 4 or 5 people on the first day. The more people brought in on the first day the more the client can be billed on the second day.
Then there is the double-dipping that goes on. Let’s say that the three people in our example above were working at another client. Let’s call them Client A. When they leave Client A they will charge $350 X 3 or $1050 in out going airfare. Client B will also be billed $1050 for incoming airfare. I think you get the point. But, it is not over yet…
Bring in the lawyers - If the client wakes up and declares that the charges are absurd and they say they will not pay. GSM uses their battery of attorneys, waiting in the wings, to hold the client to the letter of the contract.
GSM says that this is not a scam, because the client was made aware of the charges in advance. I have been at opening conferences with clients. This information is not verbally communicated in advance in a manner where the client understands exactly what he or she is getting into. Remember our definition of “scam”? Is this a “deceptive act”? The conversation back in step Two should be a full disclosure of the process and an honest estimate of the total charges.
Sometimes, in spite of the scam elements, clients are helped. I know there were clients that I helped. But, is it worth the money clients are required to pay?
So what do you do if your business is in trouble?
There are many valuable resources out there to help you. Google “management consultant”. When you talk to a prospective service find out exactly what the charges will be to fix your issues. Legitimate companies tell you up front what the charges will be and ask for you to pay in advance. But, the charges are reasonable and doable.
So what if you need a job and you are desperate?
I don't have an answer for you but, GSM is not it.
If you are thinking of working for GSM, don't.
These people work the scam from both ends. GSM recruitment efforts are focused on people who hold MBA and BA degrees, who for whatever reason, is down on their luck. The recruiter makes all kinds of wild representations that are simply not true. Keep in mind that almost everyone who works for this company is paid on a commission basis including the recruiters. They will say just about anything to get you to fly out to Chicago for training, including paying for your airfare and hotel expense.
If someone offers you a diamond ring for a dime, chances are it is not worth a nickel.
If you ask about the turnover rate, the recruiter will most likely say, “About 40% because of the demands of the road.” Well, that is only partly true. I do not know with absolute certainty, this is a highly guarded secrete, but I would estimate that the one month turn over rate is more like 95% to 99%. The demands of the road are only the beginning of sorrows. Once most people are aware of the scam, they quit.
Then there is the way that GSM employees are talked to. The employee who is willing to be out on the road 100% of the time obviously has a financial problem. GSM takes advantage of this. The executives frequently talk down to employees and constantly threaten dismissal. Not a nice place to work.
Potential employees are told that they will make extra money if, on the very rare occasion, they will have to stay over a weekend. Sounds great, right? Well, one is lucky if they get home once a month. Also, one only gets paid if actually billing hours to the client. If one is setting in a hotel room, no pay is due. Potential employees are told that if one is “beached” (available, but without assignment), the pay is $500 per week. The truth is that if one is beached for two consecutive weeks the pay is $1000. So, no one is ever “beached” for two weeks. If one was on the “beach” this week and someone else was working this week, next week the first employee will be working and the other employee will be beached. The idea here is to never pay the “beached” money to the employee.
So, what if one works all week long, and the client does not pay? The employee does not get paid.
When an employee has had enough and quits, GSM may decline to pay for the last expense reimbursement that is owed to that employee.
One more thought.
The scam artists, matchstick men, con men, and other swindlers by any other name would say, “If they sign it, they deserve it.”
I say no. Just because a high pressure salesman gets a signature on a 5 or 6 page, single spaced, 8 point print, document, does not give a company the moral right to soak the poor imprudent client.
Now for the legal stuff - The author hereby grants use of all of the words on this website for use by any person or company or entity for any purpose. The statements contained in this website including the name of the website and representations are based on the author's personal experience. The author means no malice or harm towards George S. May International, its officers, employees, or clients. The intent is to relate the author's personal observations, in the spirit of the United States first amendment to its constitution. The information is presented "as is" and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including (but not limited to) warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. While the information provided is believed by the author to be accurate, it may include errors or inaccuracies.