Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The purpose of writing this blog is to share my exact experiences with the Zaken Corporation.

This company is known by other names: Tiran Zaken; www.JustPayHalf.com; www.ZakenCorp.biz; QuikSell Agent; His entire opportunity is described at: http://www.ultimatehomebizopp.com/

I wanted to find an honest, well-paying, home business opportunity to help make money for my family. I searched the Internet and home business opportunity magazines. I sent for lots of information (approximately 90 companies). I received the 22 page advertisement from Zaken and read it with great interest. It stated, "Would you invest $148.00 if you were guaranteed $4,280 (or more) within the next 30 days...or you pay nothing!" It's a business opportunity unlike anything you've ever seen or imagined! Even if you have no money to invest that's okay. You don't need any. I'm going to show you how you can start generating up to thousands a month, in your spare-time...with NO INVESTMENT...NO RISK!"

"I'm offering a one time, limited opportunity for 150 people to work with me, hand-in-hand for a period of one month. It's an unusual 30--day moneymaking experiment. And it begins in 2 weeks!"

"If you qualify, you will receive my new, simple, step-by-step, wealth-building plan that guarantees your success. You must pocket up to $4,280 (or more) in the next 30 days...or you pay nothing!

Sounds great! Doesn't it? I consider myself of above average intelligence. I am college educated with a master’s degree. I did well in the business world. I can honestly say that I have never screwed my fellow man intentionally. I want to believe people and see the best in them. I am gullible (at least from this experience) and perhaps, like most human beings, I want to have as much money as possible. It is my hope that you will learn from my experience with this particular company. I still want to see the best in people. I also want to help people and do my part in the world when I see they could potentially get taken advantage of. For this reason, it is my hope that you will proceed with caution when investigating Zaken or any Zaken-like opportunity.

Upon reading the 22 pages, I felt pressured to sign up with Zaken when I first read that this opportunity was only being offered to 150 people. I admit now, that is just a great marketing tactic. In my life experience, I have had many a real estate agent use this same tactic: "You must decide on this house today, I have two other couples scheduled to look at this house!" Still, I fell for this ploy. I contacted Zaken and asked for the "express shipping" they offered so I would not be left out of the 150 people. I asked the person taking my order if I was one of the 150 people. At first, I got the sense they didn't know what I was talking about, then they exclaimed, "Oh yes, of course!" I couldn't wait to find out how to start my very own home business!

In approximately 10 days (perhaps they missed my message that I wanted express ordering-though they charged me for it), I received a black notebook with the "golden" information on how to become extremely wealthy in “30 days.” I read each page as if I was starving, almost feeling those first dollars in my hand! The book had some good advice, but seemed outdated overall. It mentioned sending people letters, making cold calls-nothing about email or the Internet. It contained an actual script on what to say. I thought I'll just contact people by email because they are probably busy. What busy person wants to receive a cold call anyway, I thought. So I put Zaken’s script to work exactly as he described.

The object of the "game" is to locate closeout (also called surplus, stock, liquidation, etc.) merchandise that business owners desperately want to sell and Zaken will buy it. I could not believe if I located 100,000 dollar store items at 30 cents each, for example, Zaken would pay me 50% of my find. I searched the Internet and found closeouts everywhere. I wondered how I could lose at this opportunity.

I placed advertisements on a major world wide trade website (and found many other such sites). You could place 50 ads per day so I took full advantage of it. Before I knew it, I had 2,300 inquiries in a matter of days from people all over the world who wanted to sell their closeouts.

Even though I had potential sellers contact me from all over the world, I even had a few people from the United States contact me to unload their closeouts. A peculiar thing kept happening however. Some people in the states were asking me if I worked for Zaken or if I was a QuikSell agent. Of course I told them yes, because I am an honest person. What could I possibly have to hide? This is a legitimate business, right? The moment I told them I am associated with Zaken; they asked me to never contact them again!

I contacted Zaken and told them of these responses. I spoke with a Mr. David Brown. Mr. Zaken stated in his 22 page advertisement, and in the black book, that I could contact him directly for any question at all. I was even invited to drop in “anytime” to see that he is “a real person." Mr. Zaken was never available. Anyway, Mr. Brown identified himself of "one of several" of Mr. Zaken's personal assistants. He was so kind and professional on the phone; I instantly felt better and believed I was with the right company. I got off the phone not being able to contain myself to locate more closeouts and make that money! As a side note, ironically, as I have read postings of new Zaken recruits on various community websites, I find others are taken in by how “professional and nice” the Zaken people are on the phone. Isn’t it a shame that all it takes to be considered “legitimate” is that they are nice to us? Have we all lowered our standards?

I continued to contact Mr. Brown or other personal assistants for several weeks. It was only through trial and error that they told me, via an email that took them days to answer, that they indeed had a "coaching staff" to assist me with any questions. No one told me this for several weeks. The black book made no such mention of a "coaching staff" so this was information I just stumbled upon. I had many questions as the black book proved even more outdated than I originally imagined.

As the weeks followed, my 10-12 hour days had to expand as I accommodated all these inquiries. I even had to take down some of my electronic advertisements as I had more business than I could handle. It's funny, in Zaken's 22 page advertisement; it said I could do this home business in approximately 1 hour a week. I wondered how that was possible.

A frenzy started to form in my email box as more and more people inquired where they could get their closeouts sold. In order to get their items sold, as Zaken's black book instructed, I had to ask each potential seller to send 2-4 samples to Zaken. After Zaken received the sample, he would decide whether to buy it. I was told by the coaching staff that it would take 1-2 weeks for Zaken to decide to buy the item.

As 1-2 weeks passed, some closeout sellers became very impatient-and with good reason. First, I was told by Rosa it would take 1-2 weeks for a decision, and secondly, these were legitimate business people. They needed to get these items sold (or discard them and take a loss) so they could make room for their new merchandise.

I contacted the coaching staff to ask why it is taking longer than 2 weeks for a decision. I was told by Paula, "Oh, you were told the wrong information. It takes much longer." I never got an exact number from Paula as to how long-no matter how much I pressed for a firm number. I then went back to my potential customers and asked them to be patient, etc.

After 4 weeks, I contacted the coaching staff. I was told by Rosa, "We are looking for a buyer." In other words, Zaken does not buy it, they locate a buyer. For a fee of over $200.00 I could learn how to locate the buyers myself. I thought, why not, I can locate buyers faster than this. So I sent more money. I received a white notebook. This one was slightly more updated-it mentioned email. It had some interesting advice, like this: "Important Zaken Note: Word-of-mouth-whether by you, or better yet, other business people you've connected with-is the strongest tool you have in building new and return business. Make it work for you!" It had many wordy type tid-bits, but very little substance.

For those of you who are interested as to how to locate buyers for the closeouts you locate, Zaken's white book suggests you either (a) look in the yellow pages; (b) "Google" them; or (c) go to "The American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory (A.W.D.D.). This is a printed book apparently you can find in most large city libraries, or you can lay out more money and subscribe to this service. Zaken did not explain exactly who he goes to to get people to buy his closeouts. I was beginning to wonder if he, in fact, actually did locate people to buy anything (except his black book).

I started to get very nervous. I had many people in China asking me what happened to their stuff (it is very expensive to send even a small item to the U.S. with a tracking number). After 4 weeks they were becoming very nervous and I was the one who had to do the explaining. With the coaching staff giving me either different answers or no answers, it was entirely up to me to handle the very irritated potential sellers.

As the weeks went by, the Zaken staff was not very good about keeping me informed or “coaching” me, but they were like clock-work when it came to sending me new “opportunities” in the mail. Here is a list of some of those opportunities:
(1) Lifetime Directory Subscriber: for $498.00 (plus shipping, handling, and tax) you can receive an “unlimited supply” of resource directories. Each directory will “contain an exclusive, targeted list of over 500 of the country’s most active sellers of surplus merchandise.” As a “lifetime directory subscriber you will be entitled, immediately to a 70 % (before you were offered 50%) commission on all deals you sell through my leads.
(2) Bonus Plan: worth $129.00. It is yours for $7.00. It does not describe what the “bonus plan” is.
(3) Vacation: worth $390.00; yours “free” because, “without people like you acting as my merchandise finders, my business could simply not exist.” 3 days, 2 nights, 4 start hotel accommodations in your choice of 20 destination cities.
(4) Complete Duo-Color Business Stationery: Your cost $229.00 (including $20 for insurance and handling). The amount will be refunded in full upon your third sale (since you never complete the first sale, this is money gone). You will receive 1000 each of business cards, envelopes and letterhead. “If you act within 10 days, you will receive $30.00 off!”
(5) Postcards: “It is to our advantage that you start making money immediately. That’s why we make you this spectacular offer.” $200.00 for 2,000 postcards (plus add $40.00 for imprinting of your phone number). If you order 3,000 at $260.00 the imprinting of your phone number is free.
(6) Customized Website: Only $295.00 but only if you order within 5 days (if you order after 5 days it is $590.00 plus $9.95/monthly.
(7) Profit Sharing Plan: after you have ordered $662.00 of the above and send them an additional $925.00 plus $20.00 (shipping, handling, and tax) you can be part of Zaken’s “work less…earn more profit-sharing plan.” Upon joining this plan you will receive $100 for each new person that you sign on to the Zaken Plan. You will also receive a 10% commission on each of the items that new person locates (of course, Zaken has to buy this item). You must, of course, sign up in 10 days (more pressure tactics). Also, if you see these advertisements in magazines, you will see the Zaken address to send for the info. You will also see, “Department ABC123,” for example. That means the “profit sharing” sucker had to place advertisements at his/her own expense to get that $100.00 for everyone who signs on to the “marvelous opportunity.” I think it’s pure genius to entice others to pay for your advertising! So I’m sure someone out that is happy that I “fell” for their ad in “Home Business Magazine.” They may have received their $100.00 but will never share in 10% of my profits because after locating hundreds of items, having the sellers send 100’s of samples, not one item was “satisfactory” enough for Zaken to buy (or locate another retailer to buy).
(8) Others: There are other “opportunities” I have yet to receive, but that’s a lot of mail in only 3 months.

As I started to become more and more nervous that I had been “had,” I contacted 22 other QuikSell Zaken associates. Some were new like I was, yet still “drinking the Kool-Aid” (in other words, still believing every word Zaken put out there, while others, who had been at this gimmick for many months and years stated that Zaken NEVER bought any item they located. You may ask why were the ones that were at it for “years” still “at it.” Well, actually they were not; 100% of them decided very early on that this was not a legitimate opportunity and no longer wished to waste their time. Not only was their time wasted, but the sellers of the closeouts had been ripped of as well. One person I interviewed stated she saw her samples for sale on www.JustPayHalf.com. I have no way of verifying this. I only have her word. She had nothing to gain by lying to me so I choose to take her at her word.

Recently, I was in the neighborhood of the Zaken warehouse. In his initial mailing Zaken encourages you to “drop in.” “I invite you to visit and meet me personally when you are in the area.” I took Zaken up on that. The warehouse is located in an industrial park not far from Los Angeles. There was a warehouse, however, the boxes looked very old and I cannot even be sure if they were empty. Also, Zaken claims in his mailings to be an extremely wealthy man (that is if Tiran Zaken actually exists). The warehouse had extremely worn carpet and old furniture for the approximately 10 employees. What I found the most interesting was that in the hallways were millions of pieces of mail ready to go out-the same mailing I asked for 3 months ago. If he is only looking for 150 people, why millions of pieces of mail? Perhaps that is to replace the other people who become disgusted and give up on locating closeout items. Since Zaken is not actually buying the surplus items, he has to keep the money coming in somehow.
At this time, I have no more to write. I would appreciate any reactions to what I have written. If you are a Zaken or QuikSell associate and have a positive experience I would love to hear about it – I would however, like to see proof. After the experience I have had, sorry, but I cannot take you on your word. Show some evidence that you actually made money at this. Please email me at: TakenByZaken@Yahoo.com. I may post your email on this blog if you give me permission. I look forward to all responses.

UPDATE:  I composed the above in 2007.  Today is January 14, 2009.   I wrote to Katina Brazile, Manager of Customer Relations in August, 2008 over 10 letters asking for a refund.  Here is part of what I wrote: 

 "According to the initial Zaken marketing material I have in my posession, I have TWO YEARS to try the program.  It states I can expect to receive a FULL REFUND.  If you are unfamiliar with this statement, I will be happy to provide you with a copy.  The first page of your advertisemetn states that if I invest $148.00 I will be GUARANTEED $4,280 (or more) within the next 30 days.  The offer FURTHER STATES that if I work 2-4 hours per week I "will be earning an average of $3,000-$6,000 a week."  This, as we both know, did not happen.  Your guarantee did not come through, nor has it happened for the hundreds of people on-line who have shared their "Zaken" experience.  While your advertisement states that I will get a 100% money back guarantee if not satisfied in 30 days, your "2nd ROCK SOLID GUARANTEE" states that I am entitled to $250.00 back (not $148.00) after 2 FULL YEARS.  "After you examine my plan for 30 days from home, if you decide to keep it, you'll become PART OF MY WEALTH BUILDING TEAM.  If you're not thrilled with the amount of money you make (I made ZERO), I'm willing to refund your $148.00 and add another $102.00 for a total of $250.00 ANYTIME WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD!  That's right.  You have a TWO FULL YEARS to get your money back, plus $102.00 extra."  (By the way, Ms. Brazile, I never received a "valuable free gift" worth $129.00 for just replying.)"

The above is a partial excerpt of the letter I sent.  Her response was "We are having management check into it."  I only received responses after bugging the hell out of her.    After many heated written exchanges, the refund is still not forthcoming.  I am in the process of filing a small claims action.  In California Small Claims court one is not allowed to have an attorney argue your case for you so the outcome should be interesting.  I will keep my readers posted on the outcome.  

I would also like to say after this experience, that during my tour of the warehouse (that I mentioned above) I met Ms. Katina Brazile.  She was a pleasant, extremely overweight lady with a cherubic face.  She was extremely kind with an even more pleasant voice.  The lesson I learned is "don't judge a book by it's cover."  This kind "cherubic" fat person is not a woman of honor.  All we have in life is our good name.  She has disparaged hers (if that is her real name). After several exchanged letters, she threatened me when I told her I would mention her in my blog.  Slander is hard to argue when you have the truth on my side and she is a mere scam artist.  

I would also like to thank the many people who commented on this blog, and the even greater number of people who emailed me directly (TakenByZaken@Yahoo.com).  At least 10 people were honest enough to tell me that they either worked there or interviewed there.  They were told by the Zaken people to "just keep the prospective customers hanging on in this program as long as possible."  Some of you were even more kind by providing me with signed affidavits that will be part of my small claims suit.  

I cannot understand why Katina Brazile would not just give me a refund.  Why would a true scam artist want to expose their good name (and fat behind) in a court of law?  Here is her picture:  http://www.facebook.com/people/Katina-Brazile/516265737).    This photo is a few years old (and several pounds ago).  

Again, readers, I will keep you posted.  Thank you for all your kind words.  The purpose of this blog was to keep others from making my mistake.  I feel proud to know that this blog prevented over 1,300 people from making this mistake (and that's only counting the ones who contacted me! ).  If this blog helped you, I would appreciate hearing from you!

P.S.  "T. Ron Zaken," and "Tiran Zaken" do not exist.