Vector Marketing Scam? Yes It Is In My Opinion!
There have not been many business opportunities that I have personally been taken in by, but the Vector Marketing scam is one of them. I was a young person at the time looking for work and I found an ad in the newspaper for a $10 per hour sales position. They claimed to be interviewing people for the position. I scheduled an interview at a new office that had just opened in town.
When the interview began I found out that the sales position was selling Cutco knives and they had no job for me. I would be selling to my friends and family and the $10 per hour was actually $10 per sales appointment. My primary income would be based on commission and not hourly pay. They wanted me to buy a kit to sell the knives. I ended up walking out of the interview incredibly disappointed.
Cutco Cutlery and Vector Marketing are the manufacturing and sales arms of Cutco Corporation.
Vector Marketing is still around today. They are a little less deceptive in their ads than in the past. Here is an example of one of their current ads:
Vector Marketing targets students that are looking for work. They do not offer jobs. They are a direct sales marketing company. In my opinion, they are running a job scam. They give you the impression you are getting a job when in fact you are selling knives to your friends and family as an independent contractor.
They have a website called Work For Students – Best Jobs for College Students and here is how they describe what they offer:
Full Time and Part Time Work Available!
Vector has full and part time openings available immediately for college students, recent high school graduates, individuals needing extra income and others. No experience is required and all majors may apply. Schedules are flexible.
What do Vector Marketing independent contractors do?
They market Cutco products. They are responsible for scheduling their own appointments, conducting presentations, writing up orders, generating referrals, and turning in weekly reports.
Scheduling appointments is the hardest part of the position. You have to pick up the phone and call people you know or people that have been recommended to you by friends. It’s not always easy to reach people, and when you do reach and talk to people sometimes they’re not available when you’re hoping to see them or in some cases they’re simply not interested in seeing you. It’s a widely acknowledged fact among Vector independent contractors that telephone calling is the most challenging part of the position.
Your not getting paid per hour, so every hour that you spend out “in the field” looking for people who what to buy from you, you’re getting paid $0.
Here is one of the complaints made about them by a student:
I was desperate for money when I found the $15/base-appt sign in the middle of my college classroom, so I decided to apply to the position. I was called ten minutes after applying and was told to come in the next day at 3:45pm. I got there thinking it’s going to be a telemarketing job as that is what the assistant manager on the phone has told me. To make it shorter, I got the job after sitting through a two hour long interview where we had to take notes about the company, what year it was founded, and what they do by selling Cutco knives. Selling Cutco knives was the only thing that I and the rest of the applicants were told about the initial job. I got hired and was told that I needed to attend three, six-seven hour days of training. This was odd, but as stated before I was desperate for money so I didn’t want to say anything. I knew that I was going to quit after what I needed to get was paid for. The first training day we sat through our head manager just spilling things that had nothing to do with telemarketing Cutco knives, which I thought we were doing at the time. He talked about the basis of sales and was basically a six hour long lecture with only two 15 minute breaks. Again I left, and since I was so needy for money, thought nothing of it because it’s just a part of the job. What really opened my eyes was what our assignment was for the second day of training. On the second day of training I was informed that I needed to use my phone and contact people from my personal contacts in my own cell phone to sell Cutco Knives to. It was at this moment that my head manager tells us that we aren’t selling Cutco knives by telemarketing, but by door-to-door sales. We were also to go online and look up the contacts of old teachers and professors and people we were once associated with. I was again gullible and just did it because I was this desperate, and I pretended to call some of the people to get them off of my back. I went home and the job at Vector didn’t feel right and it was just shady. So I typed in Vector Marketing into Google and needless to say one of the first links that popped up was Vector Marketing Scam. I dug up more information and called my branch to inform them that I would be quitting regardless of my monetary issues because I needed to protect my former acquaintances and my family. I couldn’t get in contact with any of the managers nor did anyone answer the phone at the office. I didn’t go to the third day and I got multiple calls from the managers asking where I was and I informed them that I was quitting. Needless to say I only went into two training days and was told that training wasn’t paid for by the managers. I now have no job but am looking as I am only 20 years old and am fairly certain I can get one. But no matter what you need to do, beware this company! I cannot stress this enough. – Source classaction.org
Here is another person explaining their experience with Vector Marketing:
One of the things that has changed since I was exposed to Vector Marketing is they no longer require you to pay for your kit:
Vector no longer requires its reps to put a refundable deposit on the demo knife set. Once a Vector rep completes training, they’re loaned a CUTCO set that is valued at $425. If a Vector rep decides they don’t want to continue selling CUTCO knives, they just have to send it back. – Source vectormarketingscam.com
They loan it to you as long as you are actively selling at least once a month, if you fail to meet that requirement, you have 2 choices, give it back or buy it at a 80% off discount for about $90.
Vector Marketing has a page on their website dedicated to responding to the many scam claims made about them. Here is one of their responses:
Vector Marketing is not a pyramid scheme in any way, shape or form. Vector Marketing is the sales and marketing division of Cutco. Vector reps are not responsible for recruiting new reps or buying any sort of product or service. In fact, Vector reps are independent contractors and they set their own schedules and have the opportunity to control how much they earn through a guaranteed base pay and commissions earned on each sale. Vector Marketing is also not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. Success is not guaranteed and it may take hard-work and dedication in order to succeed as a Vector rep. – Source vectormarketing.com
Vector Marketing was sued for not paying their independent contractors for mandatory training:
Plaintiff William Woods sued in early 2014, claiming that Vector violated the FLSA as well as state labor laws by not paying trainees who underwent a mandatory three-day program. Vector salesmen can receive training online or in person; Woods’ case represents employees who attended the in-person version, according to the ruling.
Although trainees were barred from selling any Cutco knives during the training period, they were asked to make lists of potential customers and to schedule appointments with those people for demonstrations once the training was finished. Everyone who completed the training was eligible to become a Vector sales representative. – Source law360.com
Vector Marketing settled the lawsuit for $6.75 million in 2016.
Are you really an independent contractor with Vector Marketing?
The twenty common law factors of a perfect independent contractor relationship are:
- No Instructions. Independent contractors are not required to follow, nor are they furnished with, instructions to accomplish a job.
- No Training. Independent contractors typically do not receive training by the hiring firm. They use their own methods to accomplish the work.
- Others can be hired. Independent contractors are hired to provide a result and usually have the right to hire others to do the actual work.
- Independent contractor’s work not essential. A company’s success or continuation should not depend on the service of outside independent contractors. An example violating this would be a law firm which called their lawyers independent contractors.
- No time clock. Independent contractors set their own work hours.
- No permanent relationship. Usually independent contractors don’t have a continuing relationship with a hiring company. The relationship can be frequent, but it must be at irregular intervals, on call, or whenever work is available.
- Independent contractors control their own workers. Independent contractors shouldn’t hire, supervise, or pay assistants at the direction of the hiring company. If assistants are hired, it should be at the independent contractor’s sole discretion.
- Other jobs. Independent contractors should have enough time available to pursue other gainful work.
- Location. Independent contractors control where they work. If they work on the premises of the hiring company, it is not under that company’s direction or supervision.
- Order of work. Independent contractors determine the order and sequence in which they will perform their work.
- No interim reports. Independent contractors are hired for the final result only. They should not be asked for progress or interim reports.
- No hourly pay. Independent contractors are paid by the job, not by time. Payment by the job can include periodic payments based on a percentage of job completed. Payment can be based on the number of hours needed to do the job times a fixed hourly rate. Payment method should be determined before the job commences.
- Multiple Firms. Independent contractors often work for more than one firm at a time.
- Business expenses. Independent contractors are generally responsible for their own business expenses.
- Own tools. Independent contractors usually furnish their own tools. Some hiring firms have leased equipment to their independent contractors so that they could show the independent contractor had their own tools and an investment in their business. This strategy won’t work if the lease is for a nominal amount or can be voided by the hiring firm at will. The lease must be equivalent to what an independent business person could have obtained in the open market.
- Significant investment. Independent contractors should be able to perform their services without the hiring company’s facilities (equipment, office furniture, machinery, etc.). The independent contractor’s investment in his trade must be real, essential, and adequate.
- Services available to the public. Independent contractors make their services available to the general public by one or more of the following:
1) having an office and assistants;
2) having business signs;
3) having a business license;
4) listing their services in a business directory; or
5) advertising their services.
- Profit or Loss possibilities. Independent contractors should be able to make a profit or a loss. Employees can’t suffer a loss. Five circumstances show that a profit or loss is possible:
1) the independent contractor hires, directs, and pays assistants;
2) the independent contractor has his own office, equipment, materials, or facilities;
3) the independent contractor has continuing and recurring liabilities;
4) the independent contractor has agreed to perform specific jobs for prices agreed upon in advance; and
5) the independent contractor’s services affect his own business reputation.
- Can’t be fired. Independent contractors can’t be fired so long as they produce a result which meets the contract specifications.
- No compensation if the job isn’t done. Independent contractors are responsible for the satisfactory completion of a job or they may be legally obligated to compensate the hiring firm for failure to complete.
The following experience of a Vector Marketing “Independent Contractor” makes me question how independent you really are with them:
After my first two “training” appointments my boss started asking me why i wasn’t selling, and that “the knives pretty much sell themselves”. I didn’t know very many people in the city so I was having trouble setting up phone appointments. My manager insisted I tell people it was for training, despite my training period being up.
He also started asking me to “call him” during the last part of the demonstration (trying to sell the biggest set of knives) to ask for “manger specials”. We were told these specials beforehand, and the calling was just to trick the customer. He even asked us to pretend that we were talking to him “oh yeah? really we can do that! awesome” even if we just got his voice mail.
By this point I was getting uncomfortable with the whole experience. I then had friends starting to complain that despite telling Vector they were not interested they were getting phone calls over and over again. I went to talk to Vector, as it was my reputation on the line, and they said “I don’t know what you are talking about, we don’t call back if we aren’t given the impression people want to be”. I asked they take the names of the friends complaining off the list as I stood their, and they refused saying they couldn’t. This was the receptionist and the boss.
A little while later I talked to the manager and tried to leave my knives with him for the week period I had stipulated before that i would not be working or be able to be contacted. I asked that he not call me or anything. This was a time some family was going through legal troubles and i was house-sitting /babysitting while they went to court). He insisted I take the knives and set up demonstrations, explaining he didn’t want to have to fire me but it didn’t seem like I was putting in effort. I conceded I would give the demonstration to the family members I would see, but I was only going to give 1 demonstration and i would still like to not be contacted. – Source indeed.com
Vector Marketing Scam Conclusion
Does Vector Marketing offer the best jobs for college student? No. They don’t offer jobs. Vector Marketing offers a direct selling money making opportunity. In my opinion, they use a job scam to get students and others looking for work to join their direct selling money making opportunity. People looking for a job end up selling knives to their friends and family as an independent contractor. This leads to many complaints from people that feel that they have been taken advantage of. If you are looking for work and not a direct selling money making opportunity, the above is my warning to you about Vector Marketing.