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Selling Cutco Knives: Is it a Scam? | Product Defects

Posted on behalf of Greg Coleman Law on Feb 26, 2013 in Defective Product

Over the past few years, there has been a bit of controversy regarding the sales of Cutco knives.  There is no argument over the quality of the product itself; however, many have expressed concern over Cutco's decision to hand its sales over to a company called Vector Marketing.  

The bottom line is that selling Cutco knives for Vector Marketing is not necessarily a scam. After all, its workers are being paid for their work to sell a product to potential customers. Still, former employees have taken to the internet to express their grievances, with many claiming that the job treads a very thin line between being a scam and a legitimate employment opportunity.  There have been allegations of misleading information regarding earning potential and compensation, vague information about the sales process, and issues with the aggressive and misleading recruitment process:

Recruitment Process: Vector advertises that sales representatives will make from anywhere between $15 to $18.  Jobs are hard to come by in this economy, and that kind of money is appetizing, especially to college students.  After an initial group interview, candidates are selected for individual interviews, and then, if selected, attend a mandatory three-day training session.  After the training session, they are then required to purchase, out of pocket, a sample kit for approximately $200.  None of this information is revealed up front. 

Sales: According to some former Vector employees, after completing this process, sales representatives are asked to supply their sales manager with a list of family members and friends to be targeted for sales.  Some reports state that at least 50 names are required.  The sales reps are not given any leads by Vector, but are instead required to extract leads from targeted clients.  They are told to ask for 10 names of people to contact under the guise of a scholarship, which is essentially a potential offer for free knives.

Pay: Vectors salespeople are compensated not hourly, as probably anticipated, but by appointment.  For each appointment the salesperson schedules and attends, they are paid the rate they were offered in the beginning, most typically $15.  If the sales pitch is successful, the salesperson does not receive the flat rate, but rather a 10-20% commission on the sale.  The more appointments a salesperson can set up, the more money they'll make.  Earning potential is completely in the hands of the salesperson, which is misleading given the minimal information they are given up front about the position.

So is selling Cutco knives a legitimate job opportunity? One former Vector employee put it best - there is potential to make money selling Cutco knives, as long as youre good on the phone and interested in selling to family and friends. Those who have been solicited by Vector should be aware, however, that the company has faced legal action, which echoed some of the concerns described above. The case was ultimately settled, with Vector sales representatives included in the suit receiving compensation for their time and efforts during the initial recruitment phases. My firm filed the suit, the allegations of which are further discussed on my website.

While the company did not explicitly admit liability or wrongdoing, the fact that Vector settled with its salespeople gives hope to employees in other states who may have been deceived by the company. 

Author Bio: Louis Marlin is a partner and co-founder of Marlin Saltzman LLP, a firm which handles class action suits, mass torts, and catastrophic injury cases.  With over 40 years of litigation experience, he has been nationally ranked as a member of the Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys.

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