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Commisioned in Mississippi

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  • Commisioned in Mississippi

    I worked for a small boat dealership in south Mississippi and when I signed on, I was going to be the only salesman there. When the boating season finally got underway I had two nice commission checks with only 6 to 8 boat sales per month. The numbers I was seeing were on par for what the owner of the company said I should make according to his pay plan, and I was happy with this. The next month I doubled the output with about a dozen boats and my commision check was less than the previous months.(alot less) When I ask the owner what happened to my commissions he would get real defensive, and angry, and not want to talk about it. In fact he would leave the dealership and not return for a couple of days. With no where to turn for answers I asked the book keeper (against his rules) if she could tell me what the deal was. After a few try's, she reluctantly told me he was "padding the cost". (adding to the cost of the boats) Causing my commission structure to be way off. Being the only salesman for this company I have no way to compare my commissions with someone else, and the book keeper is the only witness to what was done. She may lose her job if she speaks out and I don't want that to happen. Any suggestions for what I should do to get back the money that has been taken from me?
    Last edited by nooch10; 07-10-2007, 07:05 PM. Reason: not finished

  • #2
    I'm not sure I follow what he is doing. If you aren't being paid according to the written commission plan, you can take the document to a lawyer for review or file a claim for unpaid wages with the DOL.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      I'm with Elle, I'm a little lost so it's difficult to help you. Can you explain what you mean by:

      "she reluctantly told me he was "padding the cost". (adding to the cost of the boats) Causing my commission structure to be way off."

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      • #4
        in other words he is adding other fees, etc to the cost of the boat in order to show less profit, therefore having to pay less commission.

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        • #5
          If those other feees are deducted from the cost of the boat and those other fees are legitimate (as in actually being paid by the buyer for the amount paid by the buyer), it is legal. If he is lying about there being fees or the fees are say $100 but he is using $500 to base commissions off of, then you have a claim with the DOL and or breach of contract (assuming there is one).
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            What he is doing is changing how much money the company has invested in each new boat to close the gap on the profit. He did this during the peak of the boat selling season. By adding to the cost of the boats it technically shows less profit. (the bulk of my pay is based on the profit) While adding to the cost of the boat, he is not changing the selling price, which shows we are taking a loss on each sold unit. (even when getting full asking price) Resulting in my commissions being calculated on a much lower scale. He did this without my knowledge and gets very defensive when I want answers. This went on for over two months and he never made any attempt to adjust pricing and never tried to resolve my pay issue. (he pretty much told me if I didn't like it, not to let the door hit me on the way out) The boat selling season is winding down and he has made his money, but left me with chump change and alot of questions. I want to take it to the Mississippi Labor Board but I can't find any info on the state web site. If someone has a phone number I would definately appreciate it.

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            • #7
              I started working there in Jan. 07'. When I started, the pricing for all of the boats was already set up. Like I said earlier my pay was on par with what I was promised. Begining in May when boat selling was at it's peak is when he decided to add on to the cost of each boat, and not make any adjustments to asking price. To be honest I think he may be running a scam. Not just to me but maybe to show a loss for other reasons. I just happened to get caught up in it.

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              • #8
                Jackson Area Office
                US Dept. of Labor
                ESA Wage & Hour Division
                McCoy Federal Building
                100 West Capitol Street, Ste. 608
                Jackson, MS 39269

                Phone:
                1-866-4-USWAGE
                (1-866-487-9243)


                Daniel White
                Asst. District Director
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                • #9
                  Thank you so much ElleMD I certainly appreciate the help.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Elle - I was going to do that myself.

                    Nooch - it's tough for us to say without seeing your commission plan and the actual numbers. It can't hurt to call them and see what they say.

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                    • #11
                      Certainly file a wage claim if you wish but at some point the only cure for a dishonest employer is to be elsewhere. A smart employer would simply create a new compensation policy on a go forward basis.
                      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                      • #12
                        And an even smarter employer wouldn't be breaking the law by "padding" anything. When this type of shady work is done not only did the salesman loose out on commision but the owner is evading paying taxes on his profits. This is ILLEGAL in all 50 states. Tax evasion is a federal crime punishable by time in prision. Likely the salesman is going to have one heck of time proving this shady character "padded" anyting, as he likely has all his bases covered or he is dumber than mud.

                        Won't be surpirsed to have the bookkeeper deny she has any knowledge of the padding. She has most likely been treatened by the owner as being guilty of abetting in his crime by having knowledge of his padding and not disclosing it.

                        Let us know how you turn out.

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                        • #13
                          I'm calling the labor board today. I may call the IRS too. I can't really prove anything on the tax evasion side of it, but the IRS may be interested in what he has going on there. I have witnessed a couple of shady incidents they may want to hear about. I certainly appreciate all the input from everyone. I'll keep you all posted on any developements as they happen. Thanks again.

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                          • #14
                            You may contact the US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Div as suggested here-above, however, I do not think they can help you. If you have been paid above the federal minimum wage of $5.15 for all your worked hrs, there has been no minimum wage violation. And as a commission sales worker you are-may be exempt form the federal overtime laws, hence no violation either of the FLSAct. Your contract with the employer is not enforceable under the FLSAct. Unless there is a state law, I do not believe that the federal DOL can help any.
                            ========================================

                            "A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'" (Author unknown)

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                            • #15
                              Update

                              The Mississippi wage and hour board finally returned my call today. After speaking with one of the represenatives it seems there is nothing I can do about my situation. He told me in a commission based position, my pay plan can be changed at any time at the discretion of the owner. He said it was unfortunate it was handled in such an unprofesional way, but he has that right. He told me all he has to say is he changed my rate of pay due to changing business conditions.
                              It doesn't seem fair but what can you do? At least I got out before he could take advantage of me even more. I guess next boating season he will find another ****** and do it to them. If you have no morals or a conscience, it's a pretty good plan. Make the salesman feel good early in the season where he will work extremely hard during the peak, and then stick it to him to maximize profits. Hopefully he will quit so you don't have to pay him a base salary, and end of year bonus during the slow winter months. It's a good plan until people catch on.

                              Comment

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