ED Magedson – Founder
CRST Van Expedited, Inc.3930 16th Ave. SW Cedar Rapids, Iowa United States of America
At the beginning of this year, I went looking for work since I just recently moved back to my in-law's house. I have put in several applications everywhere, and no one was hiring. Everyone was on a "hiring freeze."
Anyway, I started checking into other possibilities, and found a truck company that was hiring. However, the representative of that company said that they could not hire me unless I went to a truck driving school, (paid for out of my own pocket). On this note, I started checking around for a school that took other payment arrangements, and happened to have found one that did. However, the catch was this: I had to either get the local workforce commission to either pay for the school since I had just recently moved ("dislocated worker") or sign a contract for a truck company stating that I would work for them for so many months in exchange for the company paying for the schooling/training. Well, after having seen so many people go for the same thing that I was, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get the "dislocated worker" help from the local workforce commission. So the only other alternative that I had was to take the contract option.
There were 3 companies to work for, each having a different contract with different sets of rules/regulations, payment schedules, and more. The shortest contract term available was with a particular truck company, CRST Van Expedited, Inc. The contract with them was an 8-month contract. According to the contract, as long as I worked as a company driver, the company would have paid back $3, 950.00 (for the school), by pulling out of my check $40.00 each pay period (which was weekly) "until the entire sum advanced by CRST for the payment of such expense items are paid in full" (C-1 Truck Driving School/CRST Contract page 3 of 4).
However, "if during the initial 8-month term of my employment either a> I breach the 'Driver Employment Contract' or b> my employment is terminated for due cause, then I will owe and immediately must pay to CRST the following sum: $3, 950.00, plus any advancement by CRST on my behalf for my DOT physical and drug screen, etc, that I have not yet repaid via deductions from weekly pay pursuant to this section, PLUS interest commencing as of the first day of employment under the 'Driver Employment Contract' at a rate equal to the lesser of 1.5% per month or the maximum rate permitted by applicable federal and state usury" (C-1 Truck Driving School/CRST Contract page 3 of 4). This, I didn't think was bad, so I had agreed, and signed the contract so that I could begin working.
Well, everything started went good while I was in school training. Once I got to the CRST yard in Oklahoma City, OK, things went down hill the first time. I could not pass their "physical test" which consisted of climbing into a half-opened trailer with only your hands and feet (three-point system). I could not do this for I was not built up like a guy. (I am a big woman.) No one at the school told me about this new regime that the company was passing onto everyone, so I was no where near prepared for it. Least to say, I was sent home with no pay due to the above mentioned.
Once I told the training school of what happened, the director could not believe his ears. We immediately began a rigorous work-out for me in order to pass the "physical test." It took me two weeks to build up for that, and during this time, I was still sitting at home without any income coming in. (That much hurt!) Once everyone thought that I was ready, I was sent back up to Oklahoma City, Ok to the CRST yard to repeat the orientation. I passed everything the second time.
I was well on my way to becoming a truck driver, or at least so I thought. The company had assigned a company trainer to train me as a company driver. Well, I was shown the basics of being a truck driver, but I wasn't shown everything. My next co-driver had to show me a whole lot more in order to make it. I reported this to the company about my trainer, and how my co-driver had to make up the difference. The company didn't do a single thing. I lasted about 2 weeks with that driver, and ended up getting another one. This driver didn't have to teach me hardly anything other than I had to keep pushing myself on driving if we wanted to make the unrealistic company deadlines. One example of an unrealistic deadline is: a person picks up a load from a company in New Hampshire with a gross vehicle total weight of about 77, 549 pounds at 07:00am Monday. CRST wanted to have the load delivered to the same company branch in Washington within 36 hours, (non-stop). Another example would be any loads out of Oklahoma City, Ok to Los Angeles, CA were to be delivered within 24 hours, (non-stop). With deadlines like these, driving on thick ice and snow up in the mountains was very dangerous and reckless. My co-driver and I had to drive over 40mph just to keep up with the deadline in conditions like that. Least to say, my co-driver and I ended up splitting up because of my views like that.
I was sent home again without any income coming in because by this time, I was told that my husband had entered into the same contract as I have, and would be released soon. He came home, enjoyed his time off with me, and we headed back to the CRST truck yard in Oklahoma City, OK as a team.
Everything went fine for the longest time, until about June. Before my husband and I had went back out for our term in June, we had completed an expensive process in order for us to have the haz-mat endorsement put onto our license since CRST required most/all drivers to have it. It came to our surprise to see the company let us sit more times than usual after we have told them about the "haz-mat" expenses. We were not happy at all about the "sitting" part because of the fact that we had no other income coming in so that we could make it on out on the road. Second, we were told by several people who work for CRST that the company had so much freight, the company didn't have enough drivers to move it all. We kept wondering "what are we going to do to make it out here," and "where on earth is all of the freight??"
With those questions in mind, "sitting" (not making any money) quite frequently, having problems at home, my husband and I had resigned from our positions as truck drivers at the beginning of July. As a "punishment," CRST had kept our last two checks (each) in order to pay the remaining balance (of which they should have been paying on ever since we started our employment with the company. More on this later.) We couldn't stand all of the bull that CRST was trying to give us. Of course, it wasn't only the "sitting" and no freight, but most of my checks were paying for the tolls and any necessities, (example: expensive load locks *2, some parking fees, etc), that we needed in order to get freight from one place to the other. I always had to fight in order to get my money back for these even though I have sent in the receipts for everything like I was trained to do. Like right now, I am still waiting on CRST to pay me back for the toll fee that I had to pay in Pennsylvania. We felt like we shouldn't have to ask for our money back, nor should we have been charged extra for asking for toll money in advance.
Anyway, after a while at home, I was finally able to check our pay check stubs online and download them to my "personal space." It was at this time that I have noticed that CRST has not been doing what they have stated in the contract that my husband and I have signed. They haven't been withdrawing the $40.00 per pay period in order to pay back the school ever since we started our employment with them. When I had brought this up to my husband, and all of our family tree, no one could believe what they were hearing. CRST had breached their own contract before my husband and I had resigned. Therefore, once I had proven the facts, everyone, including me, felt like we should not have to: pay back the full amount, should lawfully get each of our two checks back, and my toll fee that I had to pay out of my own pocket. Also, we both feel like it shouldn't be right for CRST to report the "imagined" amount left owing to the training school on each of our credit report.
To add more scandalistic schemes to the plot, here recently, CRST has contacted my husband and me about wanting the payment up front or for us to come back to work for them until our 8-month term is up. Since CRST hasn't been withdrawing the $40.00 out of each our checks to pay the school back, what are they going to do when our term is up (that is if we were to go back to work for them)?? Are they going to keep all that we make at the end of the term in order to get all of their money back? Another thing, as I have mentioned before about the company wanting the payment upfront, the recent letter from CRST has stated that either my husband and I pay the remaining balance up front, or to make payments with a 18% interest rate on top of the payments.
"...plus interest commencing as of the first day of employment under the 'Driver Employment Contract' at a rate equal to the lesser of 1.5% per month or the maximum rate permitted by applicable federal and state usury laws" (C-1 Truck Driving School/CRST Contract page 3 of 4).
Okay, with all of this in mind, Iowa has an interest rate of 12% maximum while in Texas, a judge in a civil case had charged a person with 18% interest rate. Also, in Texas, every case that goes to court dealing with interest rate is rated on a case by case situation. The judge makes the rulings on the amount at which the interest rate may be set at.
Also, if CRST is trying to pursue my husband and I under the Texas guidelines, then we feel like we are entitled to getting our two checks back (each) since it is a State law stating similar to this: "...Texas has a payday statute which requires employers to pay wages owed within 6 days for a terminated employee, and by the next scheduled pay period for employees who leave the company. If an employee is not paid on a scheduled payday, the employer is required to pay the employee on another business day on the employee's request. Wage claims must be filed with the Texas Workforce Commission within 180 days after the wages became due for payment" (Steven Eugene Clark at http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/under-tx-employment-law-can-employer-withhold-payc-7038.html posted: over 2 years ago).
My husband and I are in search of a lawyer as we speak to help us with this case. (The wronged will be punished by law while the right will walk proudly, standing by law and order.)
(Personally, if I knew what kind of mess that I was getting into when I was needing a job, I wouldn't have signed up with CRST Van Expedited, Inc, or any other truck companies for I have been told that all of them are like this one.)
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/03/2010 01:13 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/crst-van-expedited-inc/cedar-rapids-iowa-52406/crst-van-expedited-inc-truck-companys-scamming-interest-cedar-rapids-iowa-628630. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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