An Upstate company is advertising to fill salaried jobs, but former employees say the company isn’t hiring for real positions.
New job applicants 7 News spoke with say they come in each week filling out their social security number, drivers license and other private information.
They say they hope Gateway Management will offer them the $30,000 dollar a year salaried job posted on job search sites like Indeed.
Aydrian Ballenger applied for a position and he warns job candidates to be aware of what they’re really getting into.
“In the second interview he didn’t tell us what we would be doing, and it was an eye opener once I got day one on the job and figured out what we were doing,” said Ballenger.
He says he was sent to the streets to sell these perfume and colognes in public places like gas stations.
“It was just strict cash. If you sell a bottle of perfume for $25, you receIved $5. As long as they have $20 of profit, you got the remainder.”
7News asked Jerry Petties, the owner of Gateway Management why he believes his job postings are accurate.
“I tell them about the salary that is available to them. I let them know what the position entails, and that’s the end of it,” he said.
But 7News Anchor Diane Lee asked, “And yet, you have no salaried employees and haven’t for 2 years though, right?”
Petties responded, “The salary is available to them, but they have to complete the training.”
He added that the training program lasts six to eight weeks. However when questioned further, he admitted that no one has been hired from the training for a salaried position in the two years that Gateway Management has existed.
“No one has actually made it to that point as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Trainees say they were taken to places like the parking lot of a Quick Trip and told to sell the goods. The QT corporate office told 7News that’s not allowed. And Upstate cities say, you also have to have a permit to sell on the streets.
“It’s highly illegal, it’s soliciting. He didn’t have a permit,” said Ballenger.
Petties insists he does instruct trainees to ask permission before selling on a company’s property.
Still, the Better Business Bureau, which gives Gateway an “F” rating, says the complaints they have received are concerning.
“The consumers that have come to us are alleging that even when directly asked what they’ll be doing and what the company does sell, the management pushed them off and said oh, you’ll just find out later, rather than detailing out the true description of the job,” said Courtney Beaty with the BBB of the Upstate.
It’s important to note that the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation tells us that an employer is not required to fill a job that’s posted, but you do have to pay someone for the time they work.
Gateway Management gets around any wage requirement by classifying these trainees as independent contractors.
We asked Petties, “You’re going to have people who hear this and know that you haven’t hired any employees and say, it’s a scam. What do you say to those people?”
He responded with: “I say to those people, um, that’s you’re reality,”
Ballenger, the former employee, says he wishes he was given all the facts, since he turned down other offers and has had to start all over in his job search.
“The way they take advantage of people is terrible,” said Ballenger.
We also reached out to Scentura (the wholesale company that makes the perfumes) and asked them about complaints of similar distributors throughout the country which have the same job postings and training techniques.
They provided us with the same statement they have given to the Better Business Bureau:
“Scentura Creations only sells products to independent distributors. They are not involved with the way the product is sold. One method used by the independent distributors to recruit salespeople is the placement of classified advertisements in the employment section under the heading of “Management”. Potential employees should understand these advertised openings are typically sales positions in which fragrances must be sold by working as an independent salesperson. As a matter of general information, a seller is not an actual employee of the distributor and therefore would be responsible for securing the proper business licenses before selling and would also be responsible for paying all applicable taxes to the various governmental agencies. Do not rely on verbal promises and get all details regarding an employment opportunity in writing. In some cases, this could be considered a multi-level marketing opportunity.”