The following is an email exchange depicting jus ONE of several ways in which this sham of an operation works. To set the scene - My ISP's signal dropped, knocking my modem offline for 3 hours during which were scheduled 6 lessons. They expected verification of my claim for being offline in the course of instructing a lesson. My earnings were docked for missing those lessons and the following day's lessons.
I sent a screen capture of the incident and immediately contacted 51Talk via skype as soon as things unfolded, and provided to them my ISP account info should they choose to speak with the ISP to receive official verification of my claim from a company representative.
Please see the attached documentation.
Sorry teacher but contacting your Internet service provider is not part of our role anymore. Once you have the proof send it here and we'll have the request for penalty adjustment to our fees team for validation. Thanks.
Sean - AA Support
I sent a screen capture the billing statement from my ISP issuing me a credit during the outage.
Via a chat page:
Chat transcript from date 02/19/2017
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:31:40): Sean:
Please see the attached as verification of my appeal for absence on 2/17/17. The attachment reflects credit to my account for the Internet outage on 2-17-17. Will this document suffice? Also note that my classes from 2-17-17 onward were to have been cancelled. It appears that they were not cancelled.
Sean - AA Support (10:32:33): Hi teacher Charlie, i'm Sean and I'll be assisting you today.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:33:00): ok
Sean - AA Support (10:36:56): Sorry teacher but a written correspondence coming from your internet service provider. I'm afraid that a discrepancy from your billing would not be considered by our fees team. Send your internet service provider a formal letter/email for a request of the proof that there was an outage that affected your lesson. Thank you.
Sean - AA Support (10:37:08): Sorry teacher but a written correspondence coming from your internet service provider is required*
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:41:56): Sean, I will again try. However, please consider the following: Has it ever occurred to you that someone like me who would go to the lengths ai have gone must be telling the truth? Liars or dishonest people are, by their nature, lazy and would not pursue a matter like this with vigor. There is nothing to "lose face" about as far as my perspective. When a matter goes on for the time that this has, one has to invoke their sense of discernment and humanity and let those qualities be their guide rather than absolute adherence to formalities whose logic lacks any sense of humanity.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:47:39): Are yiu still there?
Sean - AA Support (10:47:42): I do get your point, yes you are right we could see your effort in doing a follow up to straigthen out this matter. Sadly, as much as we'd like to be sentimental with our teachers effort or track record perse, process wise it would not be possible since the protocol would always end up looking for a solid proof before having to decide whether the request is plausible or not.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:54:38): If my efforts do not manifest plausibility, then nothing will. In essence, my efforts and submissions are to date, being dismissed as being invalid, therefore my word is not being given credit. Don't equate sentimentality your own judgement and ability to arrive at conclusions on the basis of your own intellect. Entities that lack the capacity to practice discernment using intellect and adhere to structures must either adapt or revise those structures that otherwise restrain their leadership from exercising independent thought.
Sean - AA Support (10:56:46): Our apologies, but this is not about giving credit. This is 51talk making sure that there are no gray areas when it comes to disputes. This is to make sure that the proof required for a dispute is purely black and white. If there's none then it's a no go, if there's one then it's up for validation. For now there's no valid proof yet we could get from you that's the reason we can't send a request for an adjustment. Whenever you have the letter/email from your internet service provider just send it here so we could move to the next step. Thank you.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:58:09): Again, I will try. However, my classes were to have been cancelled. That's what I was told would happen. They have not been cancelled. Penalties continue to accrue.
Sean - AA Support (11:02:41): Yes, you're page has been locked but all you still need to attend all your booked classes since there are no means for us to close/cancel or have you requested for the remaining classes to be marked absent?
Sean - AA Support (11:04:30): Teacher, please know that it's already the end of our shift and the office is closing now. Just make sure to send the requested requirement for your dispute so we could handle it correctly. Is there anything else I could assist you with?
NA - Charlie Joseph (11:04:58): I spoke with a representative about this incident and indicated that until the matter was resolved, my future lessons should be reassigned to another teacher. I was told that this would be done.
NA - Charlie Joseph (11:05:25): No. May your evening be a good one.
I emailed to 51Talk a letter from my ISP supporting my claim. 51Talk's response:
Hi Teacher Charlie,
Good day. We do not remove penalties due to ISP issue since it was an error on your end, not a system issue.
As an NYSE-listed company, 51Talk expects all its teachers to be prepared to conduct booked lessons at all times. Thus, please ensure that you have a backup for both your power and internet. We are sorry to inform you that your penalty disputes have been declined by HBT Fees.
Thank you for your utmost understanding.
My final reply:
You must be insane, "Terrence"!
I've read the reviews about 51Talk and this scenario, but didn't choose to believe them. I wanted to extend the benefit of the doubt.
It's so disgraceful, dishonorable and shameful of your "company" to expect independent contractors to have a backup generator and their own backup ISP "handy" for just such an occurrence.
Even after being told that what I provided is what would be needed, to see that it really didn't matter anyway... your company is a sham; nothing but deceitful.
You, Terrence, should be embarrassed to be working for a company with such low standards. The company is probably disrespecting your humanity and deceiving you as well. You just haven't awakened to that possibility yet.
Some day I hope that you will realize just how deceitful your employer is. If you already know this, then you are just as despicable as the company leadership is.
DO NOT dare to thank me for my "utmost understanding". It hasn't been given to you. You, and your explanation aren't deserving of my understanding.
Now, go home after work, look your loved ones in the eye and say to the, "I did my job with integrity and value placed on excellence." If you really mean that, you truly are brainwashed. If you don't mean it, you're a hypocrite!
In this day and age of social media and networking, rest assured that news travels far and wide quickly.
Keep the ill-gotten money. You must need it far more than do I. Consider it a pity-offering to you and to your illusion of a company with a noble mission.