Romanians bilked by self-employment scam

BBC News - Romanian workers reveal true cost of beauty

This is a story about Romanian workers who were tricked into coming to the UK to sell cosmetics on a “commission-only”, “self-employed” basis. This involved selling the products in a department store and being paid only for what they sold, not for the time they spent trying to sell them. The result was that on some days, the workers might receive only £4 for the whole day. However, they were also charged above market rates for accommodation, which one worker has described as “very dirty”.

The brand, “Ever Since”, is a ‘luxury’ brand and the products contain minerals sourced from the Dead Sea. Here is the website of the company that runs their website. Yep, they’re Israeli. (I didn’t realise this when I first noticed this story.) I wonder what the name “Ever Since” actually refers to? Not a name you’d readily think of when trying to come up with a name for cosmetics. It has a sort of ring a bit like “time immemorial”.

Regardless of Ever Since’s origins, self-employment is a common scam and it’s an easy way for companies to get around responsibilities of handling employees’ tax and National Insurance and even paying them a decent wage. It’s one thing to use commission-only and self-employment when someone is out of supervision and when it’s up to them to go out and drum up business, but quite another when someone is working eight hours a day in a department store.

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