As students move toward life in the real world, they begin to worry about finding suitable jobs.
One company that seems to attract college students and graduates is Vector Marketing, a company that sells Cutco kitchen knife sets.
Students Against Vector Exploitation and former Vector employees said Vector is a fraudulent company set out to deceive students and college graduates.
Chad Hasselius, public relations spokesman for SAVE and former Vector worker, said Vector has been deceiving students for years through advertisements, stating they offer customer service and sales work in housewares and sporting goods without no door-to-door sales or telemarketing.
“It was in training that I found out I had to call people up and solicit sale pitch appointments, even though (Vector) said ‘no telemarketing,'” Hasselius said. “I was dead set against telemarketing, as I find it intrusive, and I never came back, especially after knowing I’d been lied to several times.”
Vector workers are hired as independent contractors, making them ineligible for minimum wage and pay for training or meetings, Hasselius said.
Lauren Katz, who was also a former Vector worker, has co-founded SAVE to try and protect students from “losing their time and money.”
SAVE’s Web site has an anti-Vector petition with almost 3,000 signatures from other students who want to work with SAVE’s campaign, Hasselius said.
Katz filed a complaint with the New York Department of Labor to gain compensation for her training and working hours. Katz said she received a letter from Vector that they did not acknowledge any wrongdoing, and she could not seek further legal action.
Katz said Vector eventually compensated her but told her it was for “unresolved matters.”
In an article published in the Cornell Daily Sun, Sarah Andrus, director of academic programs and spokeswoman for Vector, said Katz never filed a suit against Vector.
Andrus also said, “in cases where there is no wrongdoing on (Vector’s) part, (Vector) will sometimes provide a small amount in compensation because someone was disgruntled.”
Lauren Jasin, a sophomore special education major at Eastern, said several friends of hers worked for Vector and felt it was a scam.
“During the interview, (my friend) basically knew she was being ripped off,” Jasin said. “(Other friends) have worked for Vector and failed and said it was basically a waste of time.”
Hasselius said other former Vector workers told him of different “misleading tactics” and “tricks” they had to use to sell both Vector and its product.
“A receptionist for Vector said she was told to use misleading tactics such as rustling papers on the phone to make it sound like she was looking for a time she could squeeze (callers) in for an interview,” Hasselius said. “She was also told to tell people she couldn’t answer questions when she really could.”
Hasselius also said a former Vector manager was told to use tricks to recruit “guppies” to sell the knives.
“(The manager) was told to use psychological tricks, vague ads, loud music and to flaunt rejection applications in order to sell the job to as many people in as fast amount of time as possible,” Hasselius said.
Calls to the President and CEO of Sales for Vector’s East headquarters, which is based in New Jersey and calls to other Vector officials were not returned Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
Linda Moore, director of Eastern’s Career Services, said she has had several students work for Vector.
“I have not had one student complain about Vector, not one,” Moore said.
Moore believes in order to be successful with Vector, students need to have good sales skills, the ability to handle rejection and have a high level of confidence.