This article needs to be updated.(October 2016)
|Headquarters||Olean, New York, US|
Vector Marketing is the domestic sales arm of Cutco Corporation, an Olean, New York based cutlery manufacturer and multi-level marketing organization. Vector Marketing Corporation is the company’s sales division. ALCAS Corporation is the parent company.
Vector Marketing Corporation and Cutco Cutlery Corporation are wholly owned subsidiaries of Cutco Corporation. The firm originated in a joint venture between Alcoa and Case Cutlery known as Alcas Corporation. It completed a factory in Olean, New York in 1947, and shipped first set of Cutco Cutlery that year. In 1974, Alcoa purchased Case Cutlery's share of Alcas.
In 1982 members of Alcas management purchased the firm in a management buyout, and in 1985 they acquired Vector Marketing, originally an independent distributor of Cutco Cutlery. In 2009, Alcas changed its name to Cutco Corporation, with Vector its domestic sales subsidiary. The company remains privately held, and is a major employer in Cattaraugus County, New York.
As of 2011, Vector has more than 200 offices throughout the U.S. and contracts about 60,000 student workers each year to perform entry-level sales work.
Vector Marketing is a direct sales company that builds its sales force through advertising via newspapers, direct marketing, word-of-mouth, posted advertisements, letters and various media on the internet. They recruit sales representatives from high schools and college campuses in the United States and Canada, sometimes through misrepresentation of affiliation with the school. Students are employed as independent contractors to sell Cutco products (mainly kitchen knives) to customers, typically their friends and family members, via one-on-one demonstrations.
Some of Vector's former independent contractors have accused Vector Marketing of deceptive business practices. The firm frequently advertises in newspapers and on fliers posted on bulletin boards at college campuses, but seldom do those advertisements explain the nature of the job.
In addition to vague job descriptions, Vector Marketing's compensation policies are often criticized. Vector Marketing previously required sales representatives to make a refundable security deposit to procure a set of knives for demonstrations. However the practices have changed and representatives are no longer required to make a security deposit. They are loaned knives as well as given some as prizes for their "Fast Start" sales achievements. Students who work for Vector Marketing as independent contractors are not reimbursed for transportation expenses and other common business expenses while working, or for the time they spend at training sessions.
Vector Marketing has been sued several times. In 2003, a recruit who was successful in a lawsuit against Vector for failing to adhere to labor laws in New York, co-founded a group, Students Against Vector Exploitation (SAVE). In 2008, Alicia Harris filed a federal class action lawsuit against Vector. Harris alleged that Vector violated California and federal labor law by failing to pay adequate wages and illegally coercing employees into patronizing the company. The case, Harris v. Vector Marketing Corporation, is pending a final settlement approval for US$13 million before Judge Edward M. Chen. Vector was sued in 1990 by the Arizona Attorney General. In 1994, Wisconsin ordered Vector to stop providing dishonest information to recruits. Arizona and Vector agreed to a settlement that punctuated a series of state actions against Vector's Tucson manager that spanned seven years. Vector agreed not to misrepresent its compensation system as part of the settlement.[dubious ]
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