My wife just received (through zip recruiter) notice of an opportunity for an inbound call center position as an independent contractor.

The company claims to service "several multi-million dollar clients", each with their own training and certification requirements.

So far, so good, but the notice had two provisions that set my alarm bells going.

  1. An unspecified "training fee":

    For each Client Certification training that you attend, there is a training fee that goes directly to the client

  2. A monthly "administration fee":

    There is also a platform usage/Admin bi-weekly fee of $49.75 once you have completed training and are in production.

What are the standard industry practices for independent contractors?

Right now, we're planning on running away from this "opportunity" (on the suspicion of it being a scam) unless someone here lets me know that this is more or less standard.

  • 19
    I think I'd run fast and far. You don't pay someone for the pleasure of working for them, money goes the other way.
    – bluegreen
    Jul 24, 2017 at 15:43
  • 1
    Usually when you work the company pays you. This opportunity has the worker paying the company. Obvious scam.
    – Joe S
    Jul 24, 2017 at 15:43
  • 6
    100% Scam. They are just waiting for people to sign up and pay some ridiculous fees. Jul 24, 2017 at 16:08
  • 1
    Run don't walk electric avenue
    – paparazzo
    Jul 24, 2017 at 18:12

3 Answers 3



If you search workplace.SE you will find lots of examples of people asking about this exact type of scam.

After these fees then there are suddenly new, 'administrative' fees. Then there is some sort of final 'registration' or some other nonsense. Then the job disappears and you never hear from them again and your money is gone.

I'm not saying that this is definitely a scam, but it walks, talks, and smells like one.


If anybody ever asks you to pay for work, instead of the other way round, then it is a scam. No exception. Following this rule, it is a scam.

Since this kind of scam exploits or tries to exploit people who really have no money and are desperate for a job, there is a special part of hell reserved for those people. Where they have to pay for the cost of heating.


Even if we ignore the high likelihood that this is a version of a common scam based around a non-existent job offer, the fact remains that the costs of doing business should be shouldered by the company. If a company wants to send its employee to a conference or have him attend a training event, they have an ethical (though usually not a legal!) obligation to pay them for that time and cover their expenses, within reason. If a new employee has to sign up with an industry organization and that involves a 50$ fee, the employer should cover that. It's entirely unreasonable to push business expenses off to the employees.

Which is not to say that this doesn't happen! There are plenty of terrible companies out there who do charge business expenses through to their employees. In most US states this is usually legally above board, assuming that the minimum salary is respected. But it's a terrible practice. Alison Green touches on a version of this here and even she calls it "craziness".

But all that being said, the facts you've given us here are all clear indicators that you're dealing with a scam.

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