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Dream Jobs That Turn Out To Be Nightmares

(02/11/02) -- Each week you see ads in the paper offering high paying jobs that offer on-the-job training. But sometimes those dream jobs turn out to be a nightmare and you're left paying for it.

"They said they'd pay you $52,000 a year, and they're training. That's easy. Train me. I'll make that," Amanda Henderson told Action 9. She answerd an ad in the local paper for management, but soon she felt scammed.

"They don't tell you that you're going to go walking around the Walmart parking lot and ask people as they're getting in their cars to buy perfume," she explained.

Rebecca Baldwin responded to a similar ad and the pitch was the same. Company representatives explained that hands-on-experience was the only way to go. "Now you'll be managing a team that's going to be selling this imposter perfume. In order to manage a team to do that, you need to walk in their shoes." Rebeca recalled company representatives told her.

Walking in their shoes meant showing up in parking lots and gas stations. Both Amanda and Rebecca soon discovered their dream jobs were nothing more than peddling imposter perfumes by Scentura Creations -- right out of the trunk of their cars.

How does it happen? Our Action 9 team went undercover to find out. Action 9 Consumer Investigative Producer, Lawan Williams, answered an ad in the paper for an administrative assistant. She ended up at an Orlando company called E.M.O.

Day One - our producer is told there is no admin job, but there's a better opportunity to run her own office and make big bucks. But there is a small catch - first there's 8 weeks of training -- all at no pay. And that's not all. Our producer soon discovers, she's not the only candidate - there's 30 others applying.

First assignment, sell perfume to family and friends. Candidates are told if they can't sell to family who could they sell? The mission - prove you can sell and cut that 8 week training in half.

"The more you sold, the quicker you got out of training. Then you could get into your office and then you could make money," our producer reported. Candidates are told to get the product sold - even if it means blackmailing family and friends or simply buying the product themselves.

The next morning, the candidates collectively turned in orders for 68 bottles at $20 a bottle. And E.M.O. representatives were on hand to collect the cash -- all tax free and labor cheap.

That same week, our producer is paired with a trainer to learn the ropes fast. Back roads, even gas stations . . . trainers show us how easy they peddle phoney perfumes in parking lots -- far, far away from high paying office jobs.

Action 9's Consumer Investigative Reporter Todd Ulrich caught up with E.M.O. president, Lisa Piccione at her office. "Are you really hiring any managers for 30 to 50 thousand dollars. Do you tell your salespeople to lie?," Todd asked. Lisa Piccione had no comment.

But, to Rebecca Baldwin it was clear. She wasn't being "hired" to do anything, just tricked into peddling perfume. "They're taking advantage of you. They're using you and she's keeping the money," Rebecca concluded.

Now, Scentura Creations in Atlanta makes the perfume and supplies it to independent contractors like E.M.O. A Scentura spokesman says it's not responsible for the job ads or the way it's sold.

Remember, whenever unemployment rises, so do the number of risky job ads. Be careful with any company that requires unpaid training. Stay away from any job where you have to pay a fee first. And finally, always check out any company's record with the Better Business Bureau first.

And if there's confusion of whether you should be considered an employee or a contractor - check the IRS definitions of employees. If you feel you've been classified incorrectly you can file a complaint with the IRS and they will investigate.

 


 
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