KlearGear Apparently Healthier Than Ever, Announces Plans To Start F**cking Customers Through Amazon Fulfillment

from the the-fakest-of-paper-trails dept

In what may come as a surprise to no one, KlearGear's parent "company," Descoteaux Boutiques, has decided to rid itself of the toxic online retailer. But it's not because of horrible policies, nonexistent customer service or the $300,000 judgement against it. It's because KlearGear is so hot right now. (h/t to Techdirt reader Jeff Cohen.)

PARIS, Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- International giftware developer, distributor and retailer Descoteaux Boutiques (DBS) has completed negotiations for the sale of its remaining retail holdings Gift World and Kleargear at 5.3 times projected 2014 EBITDA.

DBS began divesting its retail assets in 2011 after reacquiring outstanding shares of stock from its largest creditors, exporter Shenzhen Technology Gifts and North American fulfillment contractor Chenal Brands, exchanged in a minority debt-for-equity swap with six creditors under a conciliation procedure in 2006. The sale of these final properties is expected to close within 90 days, during the final phase of DBS' restructuring.
Three brick-and-mortar Gift World shops located in France and the United Kingdom are not included in the deal and will cease operations in January 2015.
Earnings at 5.3 times projection, eh? Makes you wonder what the projection was. And as for "Gift World," these brick-and-mortar retail shops should be easily closed seeing as they don't seem to exist anywhere but in this press release.

KlearGear has apparently shrugged off the damage to its reputation and has big plans for the future.
Gadget and geek culture merchant Kleargear.com (http://www.kleargear.com), whose calendar 2014 revenue year-to-date has climbed 92% above the same period in 2013, will complete the transition of its North American fulfillment operations to Amazon Fulfillment in October when its contract with Chenal expires.

"We believe this move will help improve order fulfillment speed during the holiday shopping season by more than 30%," said CEO Christophe Monette. "Our transition to Amazon's wider, more robust fulfillment network will help us remain competitive and accommodate Kleargear's remarkable growth rate which accelerated in 2013 and has already exceeded our current year forecast."
Considering KlearGear's fulfillment speed has hovered near zero for most of its existence, a 30% boost isn't promising much. I consider this statement by the non-existent CEO to be about as worthless as anything else the company has claimed. I don't see KlearGear working with Amazon at any point ever, but if it does, it may soon find that the online giant has a very low tolerance for lousy retailers with abysmal customer service practices and policies.

There's more but it hardly matters. Supposedly employee displacement will be minimal. Descoteaux Boutiques credits its "North American outsourcing" for this, but my educated guess is that there aren't really any employees to displace.

A new phone number appears at the bottom of the press release [(646) 810-9268] which traces back to New York City, but it's as useless as any other phone number the company has provided. Callers are greeted with an opening spiel in French before being spoken to in English. Callers inquiring about Descoteaux's retail holdings (Gift World, KlearGear) are asked to press "1." Doing so results in the message "Invalid selection. Please try again."

The same goes for every other number on the keypad, except for 8, which dumps you into the company's directory (where no selection of numbers/letters will put you in touch with a person) and 9, which replays the message you just heard. After 3 or 4 invalid selections, the phone system says "Bye" and disconnects the call.

Callers are also invited to remain on the line for the next available operator, but after five seconds or so the call is disconnected with another recorded "Bye."

No company or person named in the press release (other than Lee Gersten) has much of an internet footprint, if they have anything at all. Any websites that exist are nearly static. Descoteaux Boutiques' site carries nothing but useless contact info and a link to this press release. (The link to the French version of the release doesn't work.)

Chenal Brands' retail holdings are fronted by this site.

Three of the four links on the page (About Us, Clients, Contact Us) link to this very page. "Expertise" leads to this set of hilarious claims.

And every bullet point links to… the same page you're already on.

Also of interest: KlearGear's former parent "company" Descoteaux Boutiques finally got around to registering a KlearGear trademark in April. The USPTO granted it in the first week of August. In the application, Descoteaux is listed as the owner of the mark with its supposed address in France, but lists a US zip code of 75013. This doesn't link back to any of KlearGear's other "addresses" (Michigan, Delaware, San Antonio, Texas) but instead to a Dallas, TX suburb -- probably the result of picking five digits at random rather than indicative of any physical presence. Update: As multiple comments point out, the postal code does appear to be a valid French postal code, rather than a US one.

No buyer is named in the press release and there's not a single claim in it that can be verified. The only conceivable reason this press release even exists is as a piss-poor effort to publicly distance Descoteaux from KlearGear. It's instant deniability. Descoteaux can't answer any questions about KlearGear because it "sold" it. It also distances it from J. Lee Gersten, the only principal in the debacle who seems to have any sort of a paper trail. ("In connection with the asset sale, DBS' head of North American retail operations, J. Lee Gersten, has left the company effective immediately.")

The story probably isn't over yet, but it looks like Descoteaux's already trying to write the ending… or at least, tear several pages out of the back.

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Filed Under: fulfillment, lee gersten, scams
Companies: amazon, chenal, descoteaux boutiques, gift world, kleargear

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  1. icon
    Hegesippe Espace (profile), 3 Sep 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Looks like Chenal Brands == KlearGear

    Funnny thing, I played a little with whois tools since I saw your comment.
    Said Megan Tolcher appears to be associated with a bunch of other domain names. However, from the ones I reversed from her @chenalco.com adddress, none seems to be of use, except those linked to chenals.com. Some are linked to a default "this domain is not is use" webpage, other don't.
    What is fun though is that :
    I pastebin'd the whois found at the bottom of it, in case they update it, which appears to be the previous one. And here we find again Megan Tolcher, this time with a descoteauxboutique email : http://pastebin.com/gbUHQutd
    So, Chenal == KlearGear == Descoteaux ?

    What we have is that some French company, Descoteaux Boutique SARL , seems to have poped into existence (despite the Descoteaux Boutique name being in use before, at least 2013/11, when the dboutiques.fr domain was registered) a little while ago (near April 2014, when the whois was last updated), for the sole purpose of clearing KlearGear (which is really just Megan Tolcher, again ?) from any possible liability.

    I checked the comments on some of the other posts regarding this particular case, and I am indeed not the first to have searched though the RCS for Descoteaux Boutiques without success. It was done, back in May '14. According to their page about being registered to the RSC, InfoGreffe say that no company (French company, that is) can exist without being registered (emporte présomption de l'existence de la personnalité juridique des sociétés), thus having a SIRET number (part of having a SIRET says a French company, then viewed as a moral and legal being (can be sued and is liable), can receive payements). (This is according to my recent reading about the matter and the few law classes I had a few years ago, which were basic stuff. French law can be a strange and not so logic thing)
    If they created the SARL for the sole purpose of avoiding the lawsuit, the registration should have been effective by now, however, it seems not to be.

    Chenal's website is indeed a joke. It cannot be viewed as a professional website. First, it is clear that it was "created" from a template (I did not bother to try and find the source). The very same GIF for pages load can be found on multiple websites with the same load method (use of browser history manipulation), with the same JS files loaded, and the same comment at the bottom of the page (-- coded by Cleric --). You can of course find more links on this website, by figuring out how the pages are named, which seems to be bogus pages, never filled. From an SEO point of view, their site have a value of null. It is laughable by any available means. (Please note it is note a complaint against websites created from templates, but there is a clever way, and a Chenal's way. While the site may appear good enough for what it stands for, it is a shame from an IT point of view. No company claiming to be so top notch on IT matters should EVER have a site THIS BAD : if they can't manage a simple static site, they cannot manage an e-commerce site AT ALL).

    My views on this after a little more research ?
    KlearGear is not even a real company, but acting on behalf of ???(1), while it shields off any legal matter by using a bunch of bogus companies / humans.
    And their are now sheilding themselves even more by selling themselves to ???(2) (possible linked to Shenzhen Technology Gifts ? I am not able to find any company named like so, but it appears that is should be Chinese), in order to drop the court ruling, which they claim should have been filed against Descoteaux. Moving the company under yet another country "protection" would appear to be a quite good idea for them, and a way better move that remaining under USA laws only, and destroying the Descoteaux company ("these final properties", "the final phase", that seems lethal to me) will nail the coffin of the previously refered to court ruling.

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