…and I’ve found myself using my blog for personal reasons again.
Just to be clear from the start, this blog is no criticism of the Green Party.
A few weeks ago I accepted some work doing some fliering for a company called RedWiz, who guarantee
“…a fast, reliable and professional service with fully trained staff to meet your requirements. We operate 6 days a week from Mon-Fri 8am to 8pm for distribution.”
The fliers I was asked to deliver were for The Green Party, and were about the upcoming local referendum here in Brighton & Hove. RedWiz appear to be established in London, and claimed to be new to Brighton. They posted some adverts (which have since been removed) for leaflet distributors on Gumtree and despite the incredibly low rate of £32 per 1000 leaflets on offer (on a self-employed basis), as I had no work, no home and no income (I’m still waiting to hear whether I’m entitled to JSA) I emailed to enquire. It was 9pm on Monday 10 February 2014, and within ten minutes I received a phone call from a lady called Beth. She explained that the leaflets needed distributing by the end of the week, and that she would drop the fliers round to my partner’s house the following day and email me details of the area that needed to be covered. So far, so good. Beth also explained that they use GPS tracking software to provide a report to the customer. The software, when activated on your mobile phone, produces a map your journey. Unfortunately none of the software they used was compatible with my BlackBerry. Not a problem, she said. They needed delivering anyway.
The fliers were delivered the next day (Tuesday), and I was given a map of the area they wanted me to cover, including Hollingdean, Stanmer Park and Coldean. It wasn’t ideal. They were a bit spread out in places, but I sat down that evening and worked out my route for the following day.
Wednesday came and the weather was horrendous. I took the car out to my start point and sat inside it for half an hour, before deciding that I would do the deliveries tomorrow instead. Aside from the fact I would have been drenched to my pants within 15 minutes, I figured that it was probably more important that the leaflets were delivered in a readable state too. I called the number that I had been given to communicate with the office, and left a voice mail saying that I would do the deliveries tomorrow (Thursday) instead. After all, they needed delivering by the end of the week.
At 9pm that evening I received a text message asking me how the deliveries had gone. I replied saying that I had not done any deliveries, and I would be doing them tomorrow. I received a reply saying that they would send someone to help me. Then just after midnight, I received a further text message with the details of the person who would be working with me. I was asked to meet Dave (not his real name) at London Road station, which wasn’t ideal.
The next morning (Thursday) I called Dave to arrange a more appropriate meeting place. He was grateful for the call because he had not been given my contact details. We talked about the best way to tackle the route, and it soon became obvious that we were talking about different routes. Dave had been given a map of streets in Kemp Town, Hanover and Queen’s Park. No wonder I was confused.
Thankfully, I logged on to my emails before leaving the house, where I found a new map waiting for me. Not idea, given that I’d already spent an hour planning my route. The map was at least the same as Dave’s, so we arranged between us for Dave to print off two copies and we would meet at 10.30am near Queen’s Park to plan our route. At 11.30am I received a text asking me to download another piece of GPS tracking software, but this again was not available on my BlackBerry.
In printing off the list of streets, it became clear that we had been given all streets beginning with the letters P-Z within a certain area. This made no sense at all. It meant that we had huge long walks between streets, and this ate into time that could have been spent delivering fliers. To compound our misery, occasionally we would see the fliers in letterboxes, suggesting that someone had already delivered in that area.
A job that should have taken us four hours ended up taking eight hours. We started at 10.30am and we returned to the car at 6.30pm.
I called the mobile number and spoke with Ferai, the proprietor of RedWiz, and explained the situation. She was grateful that I had taken the time to call and explain all the challenges that we had faced, and asked me to put them all into an email for her. She asked if I would be interested in helping them work through these problems, and suggested that they would need team leaders soon. I said I’d be happy help while I am still looking for work. Ferai said she would call me at 10am the next morning to discuss this. Ferai also assured me that we would be compensated for our time, as they make sure that they never pay less than minimum wage.
I sent the email, and close to midnight I received a text from Ferai expressing her “utmost appreciation for the time you have taken to give this feedback”. I also sent an email containing my bank details.
10am on Friday came. No call. I text her to remind her that I had a meeting at 12pm and that she would need to call soon. No response.
On Monday 17 February I received an email containing a statement which indicated that I would be paid £78 on Friday 21 February 2014.
At 8.26am on that day I received the following text message:
All wages will be issued automatically at 5pm. If we haven’t yet received your bank details please send them through today. We want to thank everyone who worked on this campaign. If there are any corrections regarding pay you will also be notified today. Kind Regards on behalf of RedWiz
This was then followed up by another text at 5pm:
Good afternoon all, all wage payments have now been issued. Please allow upto 2 hours for funds to clear depending on who you bank with. Please note some banks take 1 working day to clear funds, please be aware of this as today is Friday in that instance the next working day is Monday. Thank you all once again on behalf of RedWiz
I didn’t think any more of it until I received a text from Dave on Monday 24 February:
Hey man, Dave here, did you get payed yet? Me an another guy i know who also done one day that same week still haven’t been payed? Ive emailed them and tryed to call but kno reply so far (sic)
I checked my bank balance and no, I hadn’t been paid. I figured that 24 working hours still hadn’t passed, so said I’d chase it up on Tuesday 25 February. Then at 11am on that Tuesday I received the following text message:
Good morning, it has come to our attention that some of the leaflet distributors have not yet received payment. This has effected a few of our London and Brighton distributors. If this has effected you can you please send an email through to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible with your full name and banking details so we can look into this and ensure everyone has their payment today. We apologise for difficulties this may have causes. King regards RedWiz
I immediately sent them an email as requested, but received no reply, and no payment.
On Friday I emailed them again. On Saturday I received a bounce-back. Alarm bells started to ring. I text them on Saturday. I received no reply. I am now unable to get hold of Dave too, so I have no idea whether he has been paid or not. I tried to call RedWiz yesterday on both the phone number they provided us with, and their main number. Both went straight through to voice mail. I even called the Green Party to find out if they had alternative contact details, but their office was closed so I left a voice mail. Just to be clear – in no way am I criticising the Green Party – I just thought they might like to know what one of their suppliers gets up to.
Then I spotted the online chat facility on the RedWiz website.
I posed as a potential new customer. I had a brief online conversation with Ferai, and she said she would call me. In less than five minutes I received a call from Beth. I immediately confessed who I was, calmly explained my reasons for doing so, and asked when I could expect to be paid. Beth explained that it would be Ferai that I would need to speak to. I asked that Beth ask Ferai to call me back, but I have heard nothing.
So, as RedWiz do not appear to want to talk to me, I thought I’d ask them some questions publicly:
- When am I going to be paid?
- How many other people are still awaiting their wages?
- How many other desperate, vulnerable people did you take advantage of?
- Why won’t you talk to me?
- Do you treat all of your suppliers this way?
- Why were you able to respond to a potential new customer so quickly, yet I am still awaiting an answer one week on?
- Do you break the promises you keep to customers, or is it just staff that you think are expendable?
You have my email address, and I would also welcome your response here if you want to reply publicly.
I look forward to hearing from you.