Vector Marketing, a multi-tier subsidiary of Cutco Cutlery, is offering students and recent graduates an employment opportunity that appears far too good to be true. The letter, which is titled “Cape Cod Branch Headquarters,” presents an enticing offer for students looking to earn some additional income.
“You do not need experience to work with us. However, you must be 17 years or older, and some conditions do apply,” according to the email.
The letter, which was received by an Island teen, does not describe the position being offered, even in the most basic terms. The pay is advertised as “$18.50 base-appt,” an intriguing entry-level salary for any young student.
But what service is the student being compensated for?
According to the Vector website, the company sells cutlery using a multilevel marketing strategy, also known as a pyramid scheme. Students are employed as independent contractors and are paid a commission for each set of knives they sell.
The email encourages students to apply for the position “regardless of the length of your summer break, your current work or class schedule, or previous work experience.”
After clicking on the link and providing personal information including first and last name, email and cell phone number, the prospective employee is prompted to sign up for an interview.
According to a review on indeed.com, a popular job review website, Vector forces fledgling employees to purchase an expensive set of knives as a startup kit. The company has also been known to “lack transparency and blatantly lie to its employees,” according to another review.
Vector has also been involved in multiple class and collection action lawsuits, including one in 2016 when 10 Vector employees sued the company for unpaid services. According to the U.S. District Court case document titled Woods v. Vector Marketing, the company did not adequately compensate prospective employees for a three-day training period.
The nonpayment of the 10 employees in training violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which states that employees must be paid at least minimum wage during periods of orientation or training.
According to the Impact Litigation Journal website, Vector ended up forking over $6.7 million in reimbursement fees for the approximately 4,500 other employees who had been
denied sufficient compensation.
All attempts to speak with a representative from Vector Marketing were unsuccessful.