Team DoubleClick Has It Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

What is with these virtual staffing agencies calling what they do virtual assistance?

What they do is farm out workers to companies and individuals who are their clients, not the worker’s.

That isn’t virtual assistance in any way, shape or form.

And they’ve got these people completely snowed. Hello, people! They aren’t your clients if they belong to someone else, if you’re punching someone else’s time clock, and you are reporting to and being supervised by someone else.

Sorry, but a virtual assistant is NOT a virtual employee.

Virtual employees are telecommuters, and they are subject to the same laws of the land as any other kind of employee (and which are pretty consistent throughout the U.S. and Canada to the U.K. and Australia).

You cannot employ workers without complying with employment laws and taxation. At least not legally. It’s called illegal misclassification of employees.

Not only that, but I think this company is totally full of shit. I think the numbers they purport to have are a big fat lie, and they change their story constantly. One minute its 10,000; in the very next breath its 50,000.

They are a staffing agency, just like any brick and mortar staffing agency. And those who work for staffing and temp agencies are employees of those agenices–not independent contractors or subcontractors. The IRS catches up with employers who misclassify workers sooner or later.

Many of their former workers have realized this as well. Some posts of interest:

http://www.measuredup.com/review/Contractor-vs.-Employee-2246

http://www.measuredup.com/review/Not-a-Team-Player-2256

http://www.measuredup.com/review/Team-Double-Click-Feedback-1962

http://team-double-click-reviews.measuredup.com/Complaint-do-not-waste-your-time-2224

(You’ll notice that as soon as the poor feedback started coming in, they’d send in their stooges to post ”glowing reviews” in an attempt to refute the complaints.)

On top of that, they say they have a stringent virtual assistant interview process. That’s really scary…

Just take a look at the comments on this post and you tell me if these people come across as competent, skilled and articulate. Most them can’t spell, punctuate properly or form a coherent sentence.

These are the people they are professing to be the best of the best in the virtual assistant industry?

Not even close! And that’s the thing that bothers me the most.

They do not represent virtual assistance; they don’t know what virtual assistance is.

Call yourself what you are (a virtual staffing agency) and stop confusing our marketplace. You are NOT a virtual assistant firm.

In the U.S., if you feel you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor and have been required to submit to supervision and other employer governances, but been deprived of usual and rightful employment benefits, including social security, medicare and other legally required employer contributions, all you have to do is complete and mail an IRS Form SS-8.

9 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    Great article. Thanks so much for sharing this information – very good to know.

    Amy

  2. Danielle, right as always! And fighting the good fight, too!

    You go girl!

  3. Teresa says:

    thank you for posting this! i have always felt like firms like that really give a twisted sense of what a professional virtual assistant, or virtual partner as i like to call it, really is. you’ve got great info and back it up with facts. thanks again.

  4. Brandon says:

    You are dead on, Danielle! I am the former webmaster for TDC (you’ll see my name or my wife’s name is listed as the author and designer on like 99% of TeamDoubleClick.com) and the current design you see on the site was done myself and my wife. I am back to work in a real job now and no longer have to listen to the ranting and downright rude and nasty comments from Gayle/Jim Buske (owners), or their pet Janice Clark (listed as “manager” so, ya know, wtf do you need a manager for if you have no employees???).

    Anyway, here are a couple of little tidbits for ya!

    So do you want to see how many “core” team members they actually have currently on staff? Go to https://secure.teamdoubleclick.com/clientsignup/agreement.asp and look at the list of names in the very first pull down on that page. If you subtract Gayle and Jim Buske, the total is currently 11. 11 workers to manage over 57,000 workers? BS. Wanna see the number on the ticker go up? Just fill out the form on registration page with any info you want (https://secure.teamdoubleclick.com/Registration/) and watch the number bump up after you click submit.

    These people are totally full of crap. Given the way they treat their employees (yes I said employees) and clients, it is highly unlikely that they will stay in business much longer.

    You are right again, though, in that just because you work from doesn’t mean that you are not an employee. Just because the company attempts to strong arm an individual into getting an EIN and signing a BS contract does not automatically make you a contractor. Even more so if TDC is, individually, your ONLY source of income.

    BTW, in case any of you former or current TDC employees are worried about it, the contract is NOT considered by the IRS when an SS8 is filed. I highly recommend any and all current and former TDC employees go ahead and file an SS8. If you are terminated, the employment security office CAN and will go after them for unemployement benefits on your behalf as well.

    They have already lost both bets for several employees already. My guess is that the State of Wisconsin coming after them was also a major factor in them moving from Wisconsin to Colorado, too.

    I could go and on with several misgivings about this company and, more especially, its owners, “managers” and supervisors but I am sure they would be threatening to sue me for tell too much of the truth. I could care less. They made quite a few idle threats (nasty ones at that) to contractors and clients as well in the time I was there but I never heard of one single lawsuit actually being filed. They are just full of crap and probably don’t have the cahonies to actually follow through with the threat (most likely it is a fear of a counter suit that should scare them the most).

    There ya go. My two cents about TDC from the former webmaster. My wife was a web designer but prior to that she worked in “HR” and as a VE (virtual employee) which really puzzled me why they called it that for so long (HR is usually for employees and “procurement” or something is usually used for contractors/vendors/etc).

    In any case, I would be willing to bet that when they see this comment on your site they will be pissed as hell. All I can say is “Oh well!”

    Any more questions about TDC? Feel free to email anytime.

  5. Good post – glad someone brought to light what they’re really about.

  6. Donna Caissie says:

    I’ve wondered for a couple of years now how TDC and other multi-va practices get away with flaunting both U.S. Labor Laws and IRS rules. The DOL and the IRS must be sleeping.

    Why don’t these former TDC contractors (i.e., employees) drop a dime on TDC with the DOL and IRS? If they don’t know how, I’d be happy to point them in the right direction.

    Donna

  7. VA says:

    Can you tell me more about the process of the SS8. I “contract” for the company in question now but am curious about this thread of emails. I don’t feel like a contractor with certain people’s feet up my butt all the time from this company I am frsutrated. What about the problem of a client wanting to “fire” me from their contract but rehire me the next day personally? Won’t I risk this lawsuit for the clause in the contract with them? Any advice please!

  8. Form SS8 is the “Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Withholding” form from the IRS.

    Here is the PDF: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf

    Businesses have a legal obligation to properly classify workers. If they are exerting a level of control over you that is indicative of an employer/employee relationship, willfully or not, they may be improperly classifying you as an independent contractor.

    This is solely the business owner’s responsibility and liability to correctly classify workers. So if you feel you have been misclassified, all you have to do is complete and submit form SS8 and the IRS will take care of the rest.

    You can read more about this topic here:
    http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Self-Employed-or-Employee

  9. JLR says:

    I looked at TDC when I was first starting out (only a couple months ago) and was immediately put off by their contract where they state that if a client bails without paying fees due and collections doesn’t work, the ‘Independent Contractor’ agrees to not only forfeit their portion of the fee but then pay whatever the client owed out of future earnings. I re-read that paragraph several times because I couldn’t believe they were actually trying to make a worker pay for a deadbeat client.

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