Caribbean Auto Mart F.Y.I. Bad News
I was hired by Caribbean Auto Mart as a Master Auto Tech in Dec. '09. I placed my house on the market in N.J. in Jan. of 2010. I immediately started packing and prepared to move. A couple of months passed and the house was showing however there were no offers. I contacted them and told the service manager I was not going to make the March 1st deadline. She told me to stay in touch and let her know what progress I was making if any. A couple of weeks later, I spoke to her and she wanted to know if I could leave before the house sold. She offered more money so that I could afford to pay my mortgage in N.J. and living expenses on STT. Unfortunately it wasn't enough so back to square one. Come Aug, I find out that the homeowners policy won't cover a loss if the house is not owner occupied. Now I'm being held hostage by my own house. They new I had a house to sell from day one and although no one could predict when it would sell, they knew it was now becoming a problem. Now it's Oct. 2010 and I send an e mail to her saying i'm not going to make it before the house sells and to do whatever she has to do. I don't get a reply. Shortly after that, I find a "loophole" in the insurance problem. If It remains a residence like I'm a snow bird it will be covered. Now I'm really disapointed. Too late I've already sent the e mail. So, with that, I plan a trip to STT 2nd week in Dec. One week R&R and visit her to see what's going on. Two meetings later I find that they didn't receive my e mail and it's one big mis-understanding. I return home a week later and start moving forward. This is where it get's interesting. Two phone calls to Vanessa the 1st week this January I tell her I'm making preparations to leave. I also tell her I have someone to rent my house. I'll have to sign a lease and take it off the market for a year but at least I'll be able to leave. Now I make shipping arrangements and get quotes for my tools which Vanessa tells me the company is going to pay for as part of the relocation package. Now I find out they don't accept credit cards which is the companies method of payment. Apparently none of them do because it's too easy for the client to rip them off after the cargo arrives. They will accept a wire transfer however. Now Vanessa gets a quote from Tropical Shipping but they will not insure the shipment. They don't even offer insurance according to Vanessa. That's a problem because who's going to ship $30,000.00 worth of tools without insurance. NOT ME. Then she tries to get me to lie on the S.E.D. and state the tools are only worth $2500.00 because according to her, I won't be able to get them on the island if the declared value is higher than that. After 3 weeks of back and forth nonsense with her now the deal is dead. After a year of beating my head against the wall trying to make the move, the deal tanks because of something as trivial as insurance on my tools. After a year of listening to her sob stories about how they can't get any one reliable to work for them or how people leave without notice she pulls this Mickey Mouse crap. After a year of hearing her tell me how people say they are making the move and don't show up at the last minute she pulls this bulls__t. So the next time you go to Caribbean Auto Mart and you car sits there because no one knows how to diagnose it, mis diagnoses it and it costs you money go right to Vanessa and say thank you. It kinda makes you wonder why she has so many problems finding and keeping good help.
The saddest part is having to rescue people who fall for those tactics and end up in slavery. One friend came down, with the promise of expense reimbursement, while her employer pulled a bait-and-switch, and she ended up thinking she had to work off the cost of her move. Her church ended up intervening, but...damn. She was stupid, sure, but slavery is still slavery.
She wasn't stupid, she trusted them. Like I did at first. When they tried to get me to lie on the shipper export document about the value of the tools I then realized something was up. What could they gain by doing that? Maybe they steal tools and sell them in South America.
Right you are, initially her trust was noble. The stupid bit was paying them (him, actually) back for the shipping expenses she incurred after he promised to cover (in the advertisement, no less!) as part of the deal.
Anyway, I'm glad you brought this up here publicly so that folks who think to search here can learn some of the shenanigans that go on before they commit.
Or stay there and ' Tango ' with the people in NJ who have your same attitude.!!!! -- Since this was desribed as lasting over 14 months - which is when you said you started packing?? --- [ and I am sure there were some negotiations ] -- it sounds like it was an employer finally running out of patience on some one who says yes but doesn't ever commit and DO IT - of course because of 'loopholes' - you were willing to lie to that insurance company about your house but not to another one about tools??
In that length of time you could have sent these oh so valuable tools down one by one - mail/// fed ex or any number of Insured Shippers -- We don't need employees that bad down here believe me ----- there are any number of competent young people on all the islands who Caribbean Auto could train and send to certified GM, Honda, Ford etc. courses and have built in loyalty from an employee and not some stateside whiner who probably won't like it here anyway.
I don't understand. Tropical is far from being the only shipper. I'm sure one of the other would have insured it. But shipping insurance does not usually reimburse the full amount.
These are all things that you should have looked into and not just trusted the employer. Employer/Employee relations often don't work out here. How many people here have the same employer they started with on island? The crappy employers are always hiring. It gets your foot in the door but after you network you usually find something much better. Better to move yourself down and find your own fit.
I don't understand why the tools could not get insured. People ship expensive things to the islands ALL the time.
I can only image the amount of frustration you felt was ALSO felt by your potential employer. The car business down here isn't lucrative enough to pay a premium for stateside mechanics, moving expenses, and expensive insurance to boot.
Perhaps you've dodged a bullet.
Sorry it didn't work out for you, but I'm still a little confused. Seems to me if they wanted you, and you wanted the job, it would have happened. Plenty of people ship things more expensive than $2500 everyday, and I imagine most are insured. I haven't done it personally, so I can't really say for sure.
If I may use this opportunity to point out.....PLEASE, when writing a lengthy, detailed post, use paragraphs! This particular story is hard enough to follow, and with it all running together, easy for people to mis-understand.:S
Sorry for your experience, but this is exactly why most businesses on-island will not consider you for employment until you are standing in front of the employer. Sounds as if you strung the business along for almost a year. And the one time you were on-island, you partied for a week before contacting them.
IMO there is plenty of blame to go around.
If they have so many competent people on the island to train why are they seeking help all over the U.S. mainland?
They knew the house had to be sold first. They knew from the first conversation Sept. '09 it may cause a delay. They had plenty of opportunities to tell me they could not wait any longer over the last 14 months.
As far as telling my insurance co. I was just leaving for 9 months so I could make things easier for everyone is far different than lying on a federal tax document. Any one who is willing to do something like that raise your hand!
I gave them several options for shipping. I contacted at least 9 shipping companies and none of them would accept a credit card from C.A.M. They insisted on using Tropical. I even offered to pay up front to use a shipper that would insure my tools and they refused. They must have an account with them or something. But, they would not insure the shipment according to Vanessa. Anyone willing to risk $30,000.00 worth of your belongings for someone like C.A.M. raise your hands.
Linda J, I was on the island twice. They weren't strung along. They knew the deal with the house all along.
Neil, They told me 2 other guys shipped their tools with tropical and didn't have a problem. When I asked Vanessa who would take responsibility if there was a loss she dodged the question and became evasive. Just because I haven't had an accident in 15 years I still have car insurance.
P.S. To all the other smart asses. My certs. are not in question here. They waited on their own. No one twisted their arm to wait all this time. You don't have to be a master at anything to figure out you don't ship $30,000.00 worth of tools without insurance. That's how I make my living. No tools, no work. Why they did what they did is unclear. All I wanted to do is ship my tools with insurance. I gave them several options. They refused all of them. I would have been there already. THEY INSISTED THEY HAD TO USE TROPICAL!
Exit Zero, last but not least. Aren't you giving me an attitude? Can you say hypocrite? I'll just bet you would have put your living on the line. RIGHT!
I agree with him. What gives them the right to force him to ship with some one that doesn't even offer insurance. They fact that they were willing to wait for a year must say something about his abilities and is irrelevant. I wouldn't have shipped my things either. Why didn't they accept his offer when he said he would hire his own shipper and pay up front.
And what gives any of you the right to question his integrity? What's his status as a mechanic have to do with it. He didn't want to risk losing all his things. Is that sooo hard to understand? If anything you should be questioning the employers motives. Why couldn't they pay by wire transfer so he could use some one else?
Highlander, baiting people on internet forums is a sport, especially on this board. If you respond, they've won.
There are many, many cases like yours where a St Croix business seeks to lure stateside talent and then screw them over somehow once they get here. Consider yourself lucky. A company like CAM does this because locals are too smart to fall for their tricks. There is a well-equipped auto mechanic department at the vocational school here, yet CAM is soliciting stateside mechanics? It's not hard to figure out.
There are also many examples, several cited on this board, of CAM's ineptitude and douche-bagery. The facts speak for themselves. Good luck to you.
How did he get scammed though? He says they knew the deal, but the fact is if you took a year and half to take a job it's not going to be firm at all and you should HAVE A BACK UP PLAN. Any mechanic or contractor needs his tools to perform his or her trade. Tools are not cheap and can keep you from getting and doing jobs. If it was my livelihood, and I wanted to be here I would have shipped them down myself.
I see in no way that they scammed him. Sounds like as soon as he was ready to move ahead he no patience for AutoMart after they waited so long for him to come. And if there is one huge thing you need to live here it's PATIENCE. It's nice when people help you out down here but never ever count on it till you see it.
I know the poster thinks he's being attacked and perhaps he was by at least one or two, but most of the posters are just trying to tell you it's tough down here. You have to be a lot harder then you were stateside. Look at how the govt is run here. Business are just as bad, I've see so many crazy crazy things down here. And most of us expect car dealerships to be crooked, but you have a crooked dealership on a crooked island, well I think you understand my math. If you want to live here nothing is stopping you from doing it yourself.
It's beautiful here but it's not paradise.
If you still want to come, read this board like a book and really prepare yourself.
You can hardly blame the company for REFUSING to use another shipper. A company this big probably already have contracts in place. Nor can you blame them for waiting any longer, it seems they gave you a more than reasonable time frame to make the move.
There is a motto that the VI Tourism Board has. When you get off the plane you see a poster on the wall that says something like "you are here, and thousands wish they were". If you had wanted to move bad enough, you could have found a way.
The only real wrongs I see here are her telling you to lie on the form, which if she is so easy to suggest that, the company should be investigated right away for possible past importation infractions and you holding a position up that someone else would have jumped on right away.
Wow! Good one Gymrat. I don't ever remember getting a paycheck without being hired first and working for it. The fact that a year went by is irrelevant. They could have pulled the plug at any time but they chose to wait. They were told at one point by me to hire some one else because I was having difficulty making the move. They still chose to wait. I gave them enough options to ship with some one that would at least provide insurance. I offered to pay up front and asked if they could reimberse me etc. They refused.
The bottom line is this: They wanted me to risk $30,000.00 + of tools and equipment so they could use a shipper that would accept their method of payment. They said they could only pay by credit card. All the shippers I spoke to will not accept credit cards because it's too easy for the recipient to dispute the charges when the cargo arrives at the destination. So why would CAM insist on using a credit card only?