Land Line Magazine, the OOIDA business trucking magazine, reported on the recent Dan Rather Reports TV Show in which I was invited to as a special speaker from the audience. In the article they wrote:
Rather turned to an audience member, Allen Smith, who has spent 30 years in the business. Smith claimed he has received thousands of responses on his site, askthetrucker.com, since the “Dan Rather Reports” episode aired featuring Wood. ( misquote)
“The schools are still taking their money. They’re wasting their time in the truck knowing that within a couple of weeks they’re going to be thrown out of the truck anyway,” Smith said.
Although I’m sure Land Line would never admit to receiving the volume of emails we have received from all of you since our site began, all of you CDL students and new drivers out there who have experienced these abuses you have shared with AskTheTrucker over the years, should consider also sharing your stories directly to OOIDA and their Land Line Magazine.
In fact, here is an email we just received a few hours ago from a gentleman who wanted to share his nightmare story of his Owner Operator Lease Purchase Program, which I have discussed many times. For Land Line Magazine and OOIDA . . . this is just another one of the thousands we have and continue to receive:
I have settled down a bit, so let me put things into perspective and give you some more info:
I am near the end of my 5th week with ********. I will get my 4th settlement statement tomorrow. I am a rookie driver – all my experience is these 5 weeks, plus ******** driver training program. My driver trainer was a lease op, he convinced me that I would make much more money as a lease op. I was convinced by many ******** people that leasing my truck would provide me more income, more flexibility in various aspects of the job. I got back to the yard, tested out, and one of the instructors talked to our group about leasing. He pulled me aside, and of course I had already made up my mind to do it…long story short, he gets $300 bonus for every one he can get to sign up. And I did so. It has turned into a nightmare. I was making more money ($330 a week) with Georgia unemployment than with this company.
My settlements so far during my short career have been: $755 for week 1, $305 for week 2, $56 for week 3, week 4 comes out tomorrow, and of course here I sit broke down from Sunday Nov. 8 to probably Sat. Nov. 14, so when I get the settlement for this week, it will be deeeeep in the hole no doubt. Those figures
are before taxes and Soc. Security, which I have to pay quarterly. I probably wont have to pay anything as I had worked in the corporate world in my old job for a half year in 2009. I have to drive 1800 to 1900 miles to “break even”.
I am told that ******** Trucking receives $30,000.00 from the US Govt. for every new driver it trains and puts on the road. At the same time, this company has a 120% turn over rate, and it’s because the lease ops are making the truck payments on a fleet of lemons (Cat C-15 engines with problematic Regen systems), and the Drivers (lease or company) are not getting enough miles to earn a living. What do you think, is it a scam? Or is aall of the trucking industry just like this?? This is a “$30,000 a head personnel factory” funded by our tax dollars.
Five weeks is not a very long time, perhaps it reduces the impact or legitimacy of this story, you know, here is a guy just whining or whatever, but to me it is very big… I did this as my answer to being laid off from the corporate world, my big career change, a new beginning.
I am planning to complete my 90 day obligation to ******* and then give my 2 weeks notice to break the truck lease. At least there is a 2 week walk away clause. Today is Nov. 12, and I have been broke down since Sunday Nov. 8th, and I have to continue making lease payments, pay my own hotel bill, and basically just wait until it is fixed. Yes I signed a contract, I knew what I was getting into, but I did not expect I would be issued a lemon. My truck had 238 thousnad miles on it – just broke in, they all said. They do offer a truck rental at *******, but I wont be down long enough for it to work out – it would be time to come back up here & get my truck after only say 1 run in the rental (from back at the yard in *******), and by the way, there are no rentals available right now anyway. I checked yesterday (Nov. 11). So, my truck will be issued to the next victim, and this puppy mill will continue to generate $30,000 government payments.
I guess I am a complete idiot. Trucking has turned into a nightmare in only 5 short weeks, I have gotten a real education. I think it is God trying to tell me something. I await some kind of sign from Him, or maybe its that simple: that he wants me to go home and not be a truck driver?? I know this has hurt my wife badly, and I am lonely as hell. What can I say? I can do this work, I know it, but I cannot survive at the abysmal level of income. If I had some other source of income, it would be OK to stick with it and learn the ropes, get the experience, and so on. I believe trucking has a chance to come back like the old days, I believe that is why the old veterans are hanging in and running on.
I cannot afford it.
If you can use any of this please do so. Bear in mind I still have to work with ****** for 4 more weeks or so to fulfill my 90 day obligation – that covers training expenses. They say they can charge me with it if I leave early.
Very Best Regards,
Hi ******** :
I’m really sorry this has happened to you and is the reason we are working so hard to expose these scams and abuses by the trucking industry, from those companies and schools which are allowed to operate in these abusive manners.
I don’t have to tell you that “yes” in many cases, these lease purchase plans are nothing more than scams. There are good companies out there with good lease programs. I cannot really say about the company you mentioned, but again, this lease purchase programs show to have an 87% failure rate.
They are simply designed for a driver’s failure by many companies. Understand, you ARE NOT AN IDIOT! Sounds like you are just another victim of the abuse and scams of the trucking industry that we are working to expose. I cannot verify the $30,000 you mention – that sounds very high to me – but I will look into it.
Industry leaders will always say that it’s YOUR fault … but trust me … it’s not. It’s their fault for allowing these scams and abuses to continue.
I’m sorry that once again, another newcomer to the industry who only wanted a new career and a way to support their family, has been victimized by this industry. We will keep fighting to expose the truth.
So here is ANOTHER story shared by one more victim of the scam and abuses of trucking. We maintain all emails within our system, so if OOIDA wants to say that I “claim” to receive . . . we will be glad to start posting more here on AskTheTrucker including the names of those trucking companies within the emails.
© 2009, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.