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Company Leaves Perfume Peddlers Feeling Betrayed

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 – updated: 5:14 pm EDT July 20, 2004

They may have approached you in a parking lot, selling designer perfume knock-offs. But it's the perfume peddlers themselves who many times feel betrayed.

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Shelby Sillen had spotted a job ad that read, "Managers ... first time okay, for sales distribution center."

"I went expecting a management job and they did nothing but lie to me," says Sillen.

At an office for EOE Management, on Forest City Road, she got the job as manager.

"They promised us that we would be making $30,000 a year," she says.

Action 9 intern Jessica Salitsky heard that when she was hired. Then, the first day, the new "managers" were told they had to "survive" boot camp, selling perfume to learn the business.

"Within four weeks, what were you going to have?" Action 9's Todd Ulrich asks Salitsky.

"Our own location. There were going to be two managers and we were going to manage 10 to 15 sales people," she says.

But first they were independent contractors, selling perfume eight hours a day to strangers on the street. There was no paycheck, but they could make a few bucks profit on each bottle sold, if they could sell the perfume for more than $20.

Eventually, recruits like Sillen realized they were being hustled as free labor.

"They're pimping you, basically. They have you out on the corner making money for them," she says.

It's the same kind of tactics Action 9 first uncovered eight years ago. Then, the company was Transworld Creations, owned by David Babb, who advertised for $35,000 "managers." Two years ago, published reports had David Babb running the same operation in Missouri.

Today in Central Florida, it's EOE Management, and recruits like Shelby Sillen claim they were trained to lie and tell people they just left a perfume show and had to sell at cost.

"You're lying to these people. You were never at a perfume show. This is what they taught you in training," Sillen explains.

When another woman from EOE approached us, while we were undercover, to make a sale, suddenly the perfume "knock-offs" were the actual designer fragrances.

"And this is really Jean Paul?" Ulrich asks.

"Yes, the true ode de perfume. The oil based," the salesperson replies.

Consumers got hustled in parking lots and no job seekers that we talked to ever got paychecks as managers.

Michelle Andrews runs EOE Management. So does "Monica," who won't disclose her last name.

They refused to speak with Channel 9.

EOE Management was opened by Kendall Management in Casselberry. It too runs ads for managers, then sends you out to sell perfume.

All the companies sell perfume made by Scentura Creations in Atlanta, which says it has nothing to do with the way its independent contractors do business.

No one we talked to who responded to the ad was actually hired. Instead, they were trained to set up another office to run ads for managers, who will actually sell perfume in parking lots.

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