‘Company’ disappears after collecting money for uniform for call centre jobs in Jamaica

(Jamaica Observer) A group of seven young adults have complained to the Jamaica Observer that weeks after attending interviews and paying money for uniforms to secure jobs at a call centre they are now unable to contact the ‘company’.

Members of the group, who all requested anonymity, said they have become desperate so and decided to visit the newspaper’s head office to bring public attention to their plight.

One the young men in the group said he saw an advertisement on social media, which was also placed in another newspaper, and so he decided to take a chance as he saw it as an opportunity to get a well-needed job.

“I did an interview in January, was told that I was successful but was required to pay a $5,500 uniform fee so that I could begin working with the company,” he said.

“I was also told that a down payment could be made (for uniform) and that I would be contacted with a start date. They said training would be for two days each week, depending on the batch that I was placed in, and a stipend of $12,000 would be paid for the training period,” said the young man.

A young woman in the group said she applied to the company after receiving “a very vague e-mail” from the company. She said that the e-mail made her doubtful, but her desire to get a job led her to attend the interview at an office on Balmoral Avenue in Kingston.

“During the interview I was asked why I wanted to work with the company, how I would sell a phone, and how I would deal with a situation where an angry customer was involved,” she stated. She also told the Observer that a copies of her ID, tax registration number and National Insurance Scheme card were made.

Upon learning that she was required to pay for uniforms she requested that the money be deducted from her first pay cheque. However, her request was shut down and was she was told that she had to pay for the uniform before she could even begin working.

Another young woman said that she was introduced to the company through a friend. She went in without any previous application, was interviewed on the same day and immediately ‘hired’.

“I was interviewed with another female and I found it (interview) strange and unprofessional, but I went along with it,” she said. The interviewer asked me: “Where are you from? Who you live with?” and “What else me supposed to ask you again?”

She said she was eventually told that she was hired but needed to pay a fee for the uniform.

She was then instructed to come in to the office last Tuesday, February 19, but when she did just that she encountered an empty office covered with newspapers.

She told the Observer that for her first training session the set-up was similar to that of a school. She got spelling and vocabulary activities to complete and was even given homework.

Another young man in the group said he was also interviewed and was informed that he was successful. He, too, was instructed to pay for the uniform. Last Tuesday, he went to a training session and he said it was almost like he was in school again. He said persons shared with him that they were training for two weeks but did not receive a stipend, and this too, to him, was odd.

In his interview he said that he was asked his mother’s name and to also give the nickname he was called at home.

“This was really strange to me, but I really wanted the job, so I just stuck with it. Also, seeing other persons there helped to soothe my mind to an extent,” he said.

Another female said she heard about the job through a friend.

“I went in and gave in my résumé and passport size pictures. A picture of my documents was taken with a phone and I was told, ‘You nafi badda go thru nuh interview process. Jus make a down payment for the uniform and you good to go.’”

She said she was so desperate that she didn’t question it much. She said she was added to a Whatsapp group with the other individuals who got through to work at the call centre.

“After a while people were becoming more and more suspicious, and it seems as if word got around to the persons in charge, and that was when they began to remove all the members from the Whatsapp group and also removed her display picture,” she told the Observer.

“I decided to go to the building and was met by a man whose face was mostly covered. He told me that training was put on pause. I tried to request a refund and was told that was not possible. I haven’t been able to get through to them since,” she exclaimed.

Efforts made by the Observer to contact the individuals in charge of the company have been futile.

It was not clear if the matter has been reported to the police.

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