Note: All stated below are potential theories or conclusion based on my experience.
One: I worked for KCNC.Inc which is a distributor for Kirby. I would not find out that I actually worked for KCNC.Inc and Mark Leng, until after I no longer worked for KCNC and Mark Leng anymore. This is because Mr. Leng represented to myself and all the other employees that we actually worked for Kirby. Which was a lie.
Two: Mr. Leng stipulated that I would be in business for myself as a "independant contractor" for Kirby. This was a lie. I would actually work for Mr. Lengs Corp. called KCNC.Inc as an independent contractor and be in business for myself. He explained all the benefits for being an "independant Contractor.
Three: His staff had me sign a ?independent contractor? contract. In which he would not really allow me to read and used pressure to have me sign. Then when I wanted a copy of the contract, he said that the copy machine was broken. I was surprised that no one had a copy of their contract and that Mr. Leng and KCNC.Inc. potentially were avoiding any of the so called independent contractors from ever having a copy. Until this day I and others I know do not have a copy of the contract.
Four: KCNC.Inc. required:
a. That I work certain hours
b. Be present for certain meeting as his main place of business
c. be driven around in KCNC.Inc vans to sell vacuums
d. gave other ?independent contractors? titles and promotions.
e. provided alcohol for ?independent contractors? under age
f. required us to pay taxes on each vacuum sold. Unclear if it was his profit tax on the sale or taxes for myself. I
would guess that because I am ?independent contractor? it was my money potentially pay his profit tax.
Potential Employment Scam:
Here is how it potentially works.
One: Kirby names people like Mr. Leng ?distributors? and requires that distributors such as Mr. Leng have a business license. Kirby writes the contract up with Mr. Leng calling him a ?distributor? to avoid being called a Franchise. Saving Mr. Leng and Kirby thousands of dollars as well as totally protecting Kirby in any law suite brought by KCNC.Inc. employees.
Two: Mr. Leng becomes incorporated as a means to receive the ?corporate veil: Protecting himself from being personally sued. Another words, if you sue, you have to sue the corporation KCNC.Inc. Which probably does not have very much money in it because Mr. Leng pays himself a healthy sum. Always keeping KCNC.Inc looking as if it has no money. Worse case scenario for Mr. Leng and KCNC is that he can always have KCNC file bankruptcy and dissolve the corporation to avoid having to pay out on any potential law suit.
Two: He only uses people he can call ?independent contractors? instead of hiring ?employees?. This way KCNC.Inc does not have to pay employee taxes, workman's comp., state fund ect. In reality, he wants you to become an ?independent contractor? to lesson his liability as well as save money by not having to pay expenses he would have to pay on an ?employee? such as ?employee taxes?, ?Workman's Comp? and other things that he must provide for an employee. As an independent contractor, he is really responsible for providing nothing. All while making it seem like he is helping you out by putting you in business for yourself. They usually like to hire young kids around 21 because they are easy to potentially exploit.
Here Is the Potential Problem: The IRS defines on its page the following must be done to qualify as a independent contractor: In part it sates: (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html)
?Who is an Independent Contractor?
A general rule is that you, the payer, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work done by an independent contractor, and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.?
However, Mr. Leng and KCNC.Inc required:
One: We work certain hours
Two: Report for meetings
Three: Ride around in his Van to sell the vacuums while be overlooked by a ?Manager?
Four: As well as other things that clearly defined us as employees.
Basically this is a potentially unfair, fraudulent and misleading business practice to defraud the IRS, the state and the employee. Which in short is illegal. Mr. Leng and KCNC.Inc not only potentially lies and misleads his independant contractors (or better defined by his actions ?employees?) but completely exploits them to avoid having to pay taxes. He potentially wants to call us ?Independent Contractors? to avoid having to pay taxes and workman's comp. and other expenses. At the same time he wants to have power over us as employees. Telling us that he can fire us and promoting some independent contractors ect.
It is my belief that Kirby promotes the ?distributors? into exploiting their employees all while they remain protected by the contract they have with the distributor. It is simple as this:
Kirby: Avoids looking like a franchise to avoid costs. Avoids having the responsibility of the calling the KCNC.Inc. employees or independent contractors as a means to protect themselves from potential law suits. Putting it all on the distributor.
KCNC: Avoid paying employee taxes, workman's comp and other various employee expenses to not only maximize its profit, but lesson it liability and feed on the dreams and hopes of the young kids it brings into the company.
Kirby potentially exploits the ?distributor? and the Distributor (which there are many) potentially exploit the employees. In which they are employees because the law has defined that in reality KCNC Inc. treated us like employees across the board. Rendering their ?independent contractors? contract totally worthless and putting KCNC in breach of contract with the Independent Contractor in the end. Not to mention potentially fraudulently reporting to the IRS that they are independent contractors when they are actually employees.
This is what I experienced at KCNC
One: Sexual harassment. Because I am a gay women, they would make horrible comments to me about how they wanted to get me into bed to turn me straight ect.
Two: Used intimidation to scare me into asking no questions or reporting anything
Three: Threatened to fire me if I did not work the hours they set forth or show up for the meetings they required. Which you can not do with an ?independent contractor?
Four: Would not let me read or have a copy of the contract they pressured me into signing.
Five: Gave me potential false promises of making more money
Six: Potentially took out their profit taxes out of my check on the sale of each vacuum.
Seven: There was male independent contractor who bragged that he was having sex with the women clients who bought Kirby. KCNC representatives and Mark Leng thought it was funny.
Eight: They required that we come to their facility to sing ?Kirby songs? before we went out. I believe this was nothing other than chanting and part of the Kirby and the distributors way using potential brain washing tactics by having us say the same thing over and over as a means of brining us under their total control.
It is my opinion that any competent attorney could pick apart Kirby's contract with the distributor and expose that they are doing a poor job of trying to make the distributors look like a franchise. As well as pick apart the ?independent contractor? contract and actions of the distributors to show that they are potentially blurring the lines between ?independent contractor? and ?employee? and are in violation of the law. That is if the attorney can get his hands on the contract itself. I say this because I do not know of one of the many ?independent contractors? who have a copy of their contract, as well as KCNC reluctant to release it. There are also many former Kirby employees/independent contractors (whatever you want to call us) that would testify to everything I have said here. Including myself. I would be willing to testify for the IRS, workman's comp. or any class action suit. This has class action suit written all over it.
In Conclusion, it is time someone with integrity do something and put and make Kirby and it's distributors accountable for their actions. We need to protect other future victims of this scam. Mr. Leng and his company feed on the dreams an hopes of people. While exploiting them for his own financial gain.
I am hoping there is an attorney out there that has integrity and is interested at helping me put a stop to this kind of potentially fraudulent, irregular, unfair and illegal business practice from Mr. Leng from happening in the future. I am willing to do my part to make this world a better place. Are you willing to do yours now?
San Jose, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Kirby Vacuum