Last April of 2001, I had to end employment from my current job in
the wake of the computer industry crash so I re-applied at West
Teleservices in Hampton, VA. I was rehired by West as a Teleservices Representative
(TSR) to work on the Direct Line call floor. Knowing the conditions
of the Direct Line floor with it's vandalized graffittied (sp?)
cubicles, broken headphones, non-working computers, high-school
employees who do not know how to act in a working environment, I had
originally applied for the Microsoft line in hopes in doing some
type of technical work and the co-workers in that line group are in
a separate call room and act more mature. However, unfortunately,
the interviewer told me that the Microsoft line group would be
available to me only after I had worked Direct for 3 months since their were no current open positions. I thought to myself, I could suffer on the call floor Direct line for three months and so I took the TSR position.
Everything for the last 3 weeks went smoothly, I passed the new hire program and passed the OJT test in one day and Quality Assurance (QA) gave me close to a perfect score on all my monitored phone calls. Then on the 4th week as an employee, disaster struck. As I went to clock in, the timeclock would not accept my badge. So I went
to the Podium and told them I could not login.
The podium manager checked my badge number and just at that time, the call floor manager, Donald Lawson, walked up and asked me what my name was, then he said, "You have been suspended ... go check your mailbox". I thought to
myself, "Suspended? For what?" So anxiously I checked my mailbox and there was a letter from him, the call floor manager, that stated I was suspended until I had a meeting with him ... which was basically about 3-4 days suspension.
I walked back to him and asked what I was being suspended for ... he would not tell me because he said he could not discuss matters like this among other employees because
it was "confidential". I had been saving money to get $800 worth of repairs done on my car's brake system because the whole system needed to be replaced, plus other bills and now I had lost four days of pay which I could not afford, so needless to say, I was aggravated.
I went to the meeting on whatever day it was in which I had to look for him because he was not even at his desk at the time of the appointment so it got delayed for an hour. He pulls out some papers with some highlighted dates and some names and began telling me that I and two other employees had conspired together to "rip-off" the
Spectrum system to where I got paid for hours that I did not actually work.
He handed me the names and I told him I did not know
these people. I know better than to make "friends" at West; I like to come, do my work and then leave. IN fact, I knew no one at West, not even the manager for my section. I did what I was suppose to do and then left. I explained to him numerous times that I did not know these people and that I did not conspire to get paid for non-worked hours. In short, he was saying I was embezzling from the company, which was a major offence.
So he said he was going to issue me a PIN and put me on probationary period and if it happened again I was fired. I told him, its a problem with your system, I am not guilty of anything, I just signed up for my hours and somehow your system has a bug in it. Then he told me that the Spectrum has a 3 second period where when an employee signs up for shifts, basically the system sits in limbo, your changed shift information is neither saved nor confirmed, so if someone attempts to sign up for hours
that I have already technically taken, they can still sign up for those hours but what will happen is it will go on my schedule to work those hours.
BUT if someone else signs up for them too within the 3 second window, say if they are at another Spectrum kiosk on the other side of the building, then we both get the schedule when only one of us was suppose to get it. He said if my name showed up once, it would not have been an issue, but my name showed up three times but when I looked at the paper he had, I told him that of course they are here three times ... THEY ARE ONLY A SECOND APART!!!
I told him that the hours I signed up for were the only ones in the Spectrum so if I am at a computer and the other two people were at another Spectrum on the network and we are all looking at the same screen, and we are all selecting the shifts within the 3 second window, then all three of us are going to get the shift. I told him
that is a problem with YOUR system, not me, so how can I be punished for YOU ALL's mistake.
He wanted to end the discussion then because he knew I was right. I am a computer technician so I know how
software works and I know there is a glitch in their Spectrum system ONLY because he told me there was a glitch in the program. How would the average TSR know about the 3 second period in which the computer does not save your shift? There is no way any West employee would
know about it. So after this heated meeting, he reinstated me so I could work and he tried to make me sign a paper saying that basically I was guilty of what happened and issued me a PIN.
I refused to sign it because I was not guilty of that. I demanded to have a meeting with the other two people who he said I conspired with but he refused, he said it was "confidential". Oh please, spare me the James Bond. How are they just going to accuse people of embezzlement and not have a full trial? For all I know, those other
two employees may not have existed at all. Does he think I am stupid or something?
After that discussion, I immediately got back to work because I wanted to make my money so I could leave that God-forsaken place. At first I was cool about working there, but after being falsely accused, I did not want to work there anymore. I then setup an appointment with the Human Resources and he was about as much of a joke as the call center manager was. I explained the situation and
got no where. He just sat there smiling the whole time like this was a joke and he was not taking this seriously. He just blew me off as well when I said I wanted to have a meeting with the two other people he said I was "guilty" of doing this with. I got no retribution in pay and was getting no where fast. So I took my complaint to the EEOC.
I did not know how to file this to the EEOC. I did not know if it should go in as a discrimination, a complaint of working conditions or whatever. So, I just put it in as disrimination because employees of West know that the majority of West employees are minorities and I felt that West was taking us as a joke and taking advantage of this fact. Well, the EEOC kicked it back to me and said it could not be filed as a discrimination charge because most of the employees are Black.
At that point, I just gave up and let West win on this one because I could see it was going to be a long and hard process. I worked 13 hours a day, everyday after that just to get the money to get my car fixed and then I put in my two weeks and got the heck out of there.
Majority of West employees at the Hampton facility are Black and either high school or freshmans in college, so naturally, they don't know their rights, and don't even care as long as they get a paycheck every two weeks. So many problems go overlooked or not reported. In the light of my ordeal, I began making friends at West and found out that there were many problems that should not be going on at a working facility. I talked with a Black handicapped woman in a wheelchair on one of my lunch breaks and she told me her story of how the handicapped bathroom is not properly equipped.
She said the bars on the walls over the toilet were too far apart so when she tried to position herself, she either fell out her chair or could had a hard time. She said that she had asked security to help her and they declined. I asked if she reported that, she said "no" and I told her well it does no good telling me, you should repport things like that. Her reply was that she did not want to go through the hassle and plus she cannot find another job like this where she could sit and work.
Unfortunately, it is this lack of taking the time by the minorities, in which I am guilty of as well, which unfortunately works at West's advantage.
And the bad thing is that West not only screws over its employees, but also screws over customers who call in for many of the products here on this board such as ABSlide, SMC, Making Money w/ Don Lapree, 30 Minute Money System, those hair removal products, miricle ion bracelets, etc. And I feel ashamed to see that I worked for a company which seems like sparks alot of rip-off reports; how bad the services actually are; I had no idea the products were THIS bad.
And the employees KNOW they are gimmicks yet, West condones the "assistance" of these gimmicks because it brings profits so it might as well be treated as an "accessory to the crime". When I worked for West in 1996, it did not have many branches, now I go to their web site and it has dozens. That's just to show you how profitable they are getting; they even opened a call center in India! So they are planning to take this gimmick con art world wide! They and all these companies here have to be stopped.
Anyway, I'm ramblin. Sorry for it being so long but I had to get this off my chest.
Sunnyvale, California Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on West Telemarketing/West Teleservices