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Report: #273920

Complaint Review: The Cobra Group - Nationwide

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  • Reported By: London Other
  • The Cobra Group www.cobragroup.com Nationwide United Kingdom

The Cobra Group It sounds too good to be true and it is. Nationwide

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What follows is an account of my short time working for an affiliate of the Cobra group. My experiences were nowhere near as horrendous as some posted on here, but nevertheless questionable. I would urge any current or future Cobra employee to consider my comments carefully.

My story begins in a typical fashion; I was a student looking for Summer work and I spotted an advert in the local newspaper. I was literally desperate for money, so I emailed off my CV and waited for a response. It came very quickly; and I had an interview scheduled for the next day. It seemed a bit quick, but I didn't mind. I had an overdraft to pay off and I wanted to start as soon as possible.

My first interview went well, and of course I was invited back for an Obs day. It was only then that I realised that this job involved door-to-door sales. There had been no mention of this in the newspaper advert, or in my initial interview. It dawned on my why this was; most potential applicants would run a mile in the opposite direction. I was sent out with one of the MD's 'top guys', who never stopped extolling the virtues of the job for the entire afternoon. He also repeatedly told me how much money he had made in the short time he'd been in the company, presumably trying to impress me.

Back at the office, the MD had a meeting with his 'top guys', and called me and my fellow applicants into the office, one by one. We had been warned that there was only one position available, a claim which I seriously began to doubt when I started. There was, on average, two or three new guys starting every week. Positions were NOT limited. The aim was to engender competition between the applicants, and to make the successful ones feel special because they had been 'chosen.'

I had a watching day the next day, with a woman who was repeatedly the office high roller. She made eleven sales that day, so she didn't just ring the bell-she smashed it. It slowly dawned on me that she was the only person in the office who regularly made that volume of sales, and she had been that impressive since she started in the company. So, it seemed to me that her success was more a combination of hard work and raw talent, rather than Cobra's hallowed systems.

I was never a high roller and I didn't always ring the bell; I was a steady starter and my sales, until my last week, were usually consistent. I soon realised that I was never going to be rich doing this, but it didn't matter to me because this was only a temporary job.

Within my first few days, something struck me. I was told more than once, not to be negative and not to talk about anyone who didn't sign up. It would not help my sales or anyone elses'. Every single morning we were deafened by excrutiatingly loud dance music and some very hyped up colleagues. Everyone seemed permanantly to be on cloud nine. Those who consistently underperformed or even looked unhappy, would be ostracised by the rest of the office. Unlike some of the posts on here have detailed, it wasn't outright nastiness. We were just effectively encouraged to overlook them.

Sometimes, an FR or a leader would mysteriously disappear. If anyone asked where they were, they would receive the standard reply: 'The only people who matter are the ones here.' Mostly, workmates would just disappear without trace, never to be seen or heard of again. The turnover was incredible. My first leader suffered this fate, not long after I joined. That was one of my main concerns with Cobra and their affiliated companies; there seemed to be a distinct lack of compassion in the air.

Of course, Cobra employees are encouraged to register as self-employed. One thing that struck me is how much emphasis is put on how much money can be earnt in a single week compared to most other jobs. What many forget, however, is that average earnings in other job take into account the tax and National Insurance which has to be deducted. If you are self employed, this doesn't happen. And of course, being paid only commission, many FRs have no lifeline should they suffer any illness or injury that means they can not work on the field for a lengthly period of time. In my experience, many companies do not emphasise enough just how crucial it is to have some savings scheme or insurance in case the worst should happen.

Much is also made of the working hours; a later start means a lie in. However, this is not always the case. At stage two, a leader would be in the office at about ten o'clock, leave for the field at about one and not be back at the office until nine thirty at night. That is a long working day, and, if spread out over a week (not including Saturdays, which are 'optional') can often mean that an FR is working well over the legal weekly limit. If they are also going through a sales slump, they may also be making well under the minimum wage per hour.

On the other hand, being part of Cobra has taught me many positive lessons. I have become more confident, and I think, more resilient. I also miss quite a few of my colleagues, who were genuinely nice people. However, you should remember that this kind of job isn't for everyone. It is marketed as a surefire way to sucess for every single person who walks through the door, and it isn't. Some will make it, most won't. And for those who do make it to ownership, it's worth remembering that for every Cobra office alive and flourishing today, there are many more that failed. There are risks involved, as with every other business. As someone else has pointed out, Cobra isn't a job, it's a lifestyle. Walk into it with your eyes open.

Ella
London
United Kingdom

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/11/2007 12:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/the-cobra-group/nationwide/the-cobra-group-it-sounds-too-good-to-be-true-and-it-is-nationwide-273920. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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