Is this proposed business transaction a scam?
August 27, 2013 8:17 PM Subscribe
My sister was contacted by a Texas company to perform cleaning services for recently vacated, corporate-provided apartments. These apartments are in a capital city in Western Canada - this is where she and I live. While there is more inside, in a nutshell, my question is: why is a Texas company hiring an inexperienced new one-woman cleaning business for this, instead of a local cleaning chain? Because it's a scam, right? Please help me figure this out.
These are moving-out kinds of cleanings - preparing the suites for new workers I suppose. The previous residents are supposed to have done a clean up themselves before my sister arrives. They are going to pay her $45 per suite (for one hour of cleaning, supposedly). My sister does not care that suites might take longer. She needs the money. She'll do 18 suites in one building and 30 in another, over the course of three or so days.
Things that give me and my family the jeebies:
Big red flag: The company wanted her to photocopy and fax them a of her ID (driver's license). When she asked them, they said that she could black out everything except her picture, name and address. She figures an identity cannot be stolen with such little information. Me, I don't know.
The owner of the buildings seems local to Canada and seems legit. They have a 1-800 number posted for interested renters. Why wouldn't the owners of the building arrange for the cleaning? Wouldn't that make more sense? It would at least make me more comfortable.
The Texas company does not have a website; it has a FaceBook page with 7 likes and a linked-in account. My sister has only ever talked to company representatives on the phone.
The Texas company wants before and after pics (this seems fine). They will send a cheque in the mail after the work is done. This does not quite feel fine. Although, how else could they do it?
My sister never said anything about a contract. If there was one, which country/state/province jurisdiction would it fall under?
She is going to meet a Texas-company representative on-site immediately before the cleaning. They are going to provide the keys. Why wouldn't the building managers just provide the keys if this is perfectly legit?
What's going on here, and what is the worst case senario? If the worst is that they are going to pay her too little for the actual volume of work she ends up doing (picture apartment smeared with excrement, I don't know)? If so, she doesn't care. But is she facing not getting paid at all, or worse, identity theft?