Is Alpine Access A Scam?


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If you've been in this industry long enough or read a number of my reviews you'll start noticing that when a company is successful others will “bite off” them. In non-urban terms that means copying someone else. My daughter is in that annoying phase right now and it's driving me crazy but I digress. In the past, I've reviewed a few Virtual Call Center companies which include VIP Desk and Arise.com

As expected there were varying opinions on both companies. But at the end of the day I concluded that the two companies were legitimate and viable options for people with Customer Service skills. Depending on your needs one was better than the other. Well I like giving people a lot of choices when possible. So if neither company rubbed you the right way, maybe Alpine Access might be another viable option.

What is Alpine Access.com?

This is a Denver (about as alpine as we have in the USA) company who claims to be a pioneer in the virtual call center business. It seems to me that the mid 1990's is when this whole outsourcing phenom got all started in everything, so I don't know so much about the pioneer thing. For those who have not read the previous posts on Arise.com and VIPDesk, a virtual call center is the person sitting at home in their sweats and a T-shirt who professionally answer the 1-800 call you make to customer service number conveniently found on TV commercials, your bill, and/or your favorite shopping websites. They are the folks who answer product questions, solve ordering issues, deal with billing issues, help you with returns, make reservations, and all that stuff. You might want to think twice the next time you go the nasty route with these folks. Maybe they can tell you how they get their job. Just a thought.

Alpine is different because….

– This time we are talking about a job. You are not an independent contractor, when you get hired, you work for them. That means, well, you know, they pay you to work, and so they have to take out the taxes to keep Uncle Sam happy. It also means you get paid by the hour and not by “productive minutes” with customers. You do not have to have a separate bank account or incorporate yourself or any of that legal Work At Home Taxes headaches.

– They offer health,vision and dental benefits to anyone working 20 hours per week or higher after you put 30 days in and matching 401(k) after one year. Do not start jumping for joy here, you can expect these will be minimal levels and you may have to pay for some additional coverage. That is pretty common with this level of pay. Hey, something is better than nothing, right?

– You do not have to pay for training. The training procedures are rigorous, as these Fortune 500 companies that use outsourcing for their customer service expect professionals who speak well, can spell and write complete sentences and have good judgment. (I'm out of the running for this one.) At Alpine Access University, you register for a class, and then with a group of others, you go through a virtual classroom training together. Yep, you get to interact with the other class members and the teacher. You will learn about the Alpine Access, you learn about the virtual call center business and then you dig in and learn all of the specifics about the specific industry you are training for. There will be tests along the way you must pass. You will practice with real customers with the instructors critique before completing the course. Some time each day is spent in the “homeroom” what they call their virtual classroom, (yes it sounded corny to me too) and others will be with independent assignments. Once you pass the class, you get a phone interview and if everything works out, you will be offered a job.

Let's talk about the money…

The pay for these jobs is $9 an hour, and occasionally you find people making $10-$12. It might depend on the minimum wage in your state and the business you train for. But the reality is, that is what you get paid. I found lots of grumbling about the pay rate for this company and really any virtual call center, but the bottom line is that is what the pay scale is industry wide, like it or not. One thing is you will probably not get a raise, unless you are promoted within the company to be a team leader or coach or trainer or something, which could be just like most promotions I ever had in the business world, a Tylenol Promotion, (more headaches than the extra money is worth.)

You get paid every two weeks, direct deposit to your bank. Unlike other places you will know what is coming in, since it does not depend on the number of calls you get. Do the math you work 6 hour shift a $9 ($54) for 5 days ( $270) minus taxes will make it around $200/week while sitting at home, no gas, no parking, no fancy clothes, and you get two hours of your day back in wasted commute time.

When and how much can I work?

You must work at least four hours a day, 5 days a week. You have to work at least 20 hours a week and you must work one weekend day. That part is non-negotiable. They do not have overnight shifts Most shifts run between 6-8 hours. Although there are a variety of time slots, expect mainly afternoon and evenings. The coveted morning hours are first come to the long time employees so don't even bother asking for those times. Alpine Access official hours of operation are 6am-midnight (Mountain Time) which for you time zone challenged folks means 8am-10pm Eastern. (Don't worry I am too and had to look it up. lol)

Are there any fees?

Well this is a job not a home based business so there shouldn't be. But if you want to get technical, you need a PC (no Mac's) with Windows XP, Vista or 7, Internet Explorer, a high speed Internet connection, (no wireless) a land-line phone with a cord, (no wireless) and a headset with a microphone that can filter some noise. Those would be considered basics and many people already have everything but the headset. However if you don't have all that stuff, then consider it a cost you must incur. I think the headset with microphone most people would need to purchase but it isn't really that expensive if you buy it online at a place like Amazon. That being said it's still a cost but nothing crazy that makes me think this is a scam. It makes sense given the job.

But then they zing you for a $45 for a criminal background/credit check. I hate when certain online companies do this. When I worked offline in Corporate America and they ran their criminal check on me but I didn't have to pay for it. So for the life of me I don't know why this cost is passed down to the workers of certain online based companies.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that they screen folks out because I don't want anyone that has been convicted of identify theft with access to my credit card or personal information. It's a necessary legal precaution to cover everyone's tail. The credit check on the other hand I'm torn about. I know some people have made poor choices with their credit. But I don't necessarily think it means they can't be a competent worker. But alas it doesn't matter what I think. Just know it's part of the screening process and something they expect you to pay for.

Can I do this if I live outside the USA?

Here is word for word what Alpine Access website says, “If you can provide legal documentation proving you are eligible for employment in the U.S., you may apply. Please note that Alpine Access participates in E-Verify and work eligibility status is confirmed through the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Cons

Of course there are some cons since no work at home-based opportunity is without flaws. I would not be doing my job for you if I did not point them out. So here are the few major consistent complaints about this company. Take them with a grain of salt.

-Apparently there aren't many options to get a raise. My thing is if you go to all the trouble of training people, why not do more to keep them around for the long haul? These complaints go way back before the downturn in economy, so it seems to be a long standing issue. But I guess knowing there are literally thousands of people that they can tap into to replace a disgruntle worker makes it easier to have such a crappy policy.

– The second issue that raised a red flag for me was the required credit check. As I said earlier, I think sometimes people make poor mistakes with their credit but I don't think it means they can't perform a job. You have to consider the economy has crapped out. A lot of people who were financially responsible have fallen on tough times and thus had their credit affected adversely but are probably qualified to the job nonetheless. With this type of check they may not even be considered.

– There can be problems with communication with team leaders. From what I can tell, the people who are happy with this job have a great team leader who works with them each shift, and the unhappy ones have leaders who do not give as much help, are too bossy or they deal with a lot of turnover on their team. This is mainly due to promotions within the company and the complaint is it seems to happen frequently. These issues makes me wonder if there is the same level of intense training for the supervisory roles as they make those talking with customers go through. Promoting from within is a good sign, but promoting too quickly, or weak supervision of the supervisors can be a problem. We all know how frustrating it is to deal with a supervisor who is quick to tell you your faults, and never help you out and twists it all to make you look bad. You are stuck with no place really to turn.

– Another common complaint is that there is no paid vacation. Things like paid vacations are a perk not a requirement for companies and people seem to forget that. Perks like that are totally at the discretion of the hiring company. Furthermore you're getting so many other benefits from working from home, it sort offsets the lack of paid vacations. As long as you're not being penalized for taking days off, I don't think this complaint is really a big deal.

– The last con I don't think is often mentioned but I found interesting to me is that the percentage of people who actually get hired and work for the company compared to the number of applicants is about 2%. That's some daunting numbers for would be employees. You really need to be a shinning star for this company to hire you. This may scare away some people. But to me it says this company is picky, and will not just let any old “bloke” off the street in (I'm trying to meet my quota of using slang from other countries in. lol).

How To Apply?

If you're still reading this then it's safe to assume the cons didn't turn you off. So here's what you need to do to get started. Please note the application process will take about 7 to 10 days and is pretty much conducted online. Their training center is call Alpine Access University ( AAU). When you first go to sign up, you will be given an Admissions account to this university. They communicate with you at every step of the way to let you know what to expect next. It all starts on the home page of their website and you click on the link that says you want to “join their team of customer care professionals.”

Step 1-They will confirm that you meet the requirements for the technical side of things, which is all spelled out int the Qualifications section on the website, and I mentioned earlier, the computer, phone, headsets etc.

Step 2-You open an admission account at AAU and get your profile completed and some other odd details.

Step 3 -Take the Capability and Commitment Course online and get your application essay written. The course included videos, and interactive exercises as well as other resources.

Step 4- Complete a Skills Exam. This is literally a simulation exercise, to show that you can do this job. So it is not only about the accuracy of the information you give out, but also on the spot judgments, and how you process and respond to the situations that are thrown your way.

Step 5- If you make it this far, then you get a phone interview where you can ask all your questions and learn more about which positions they have available. When your skill set matches the programs they have available, you should receive a job offer.

Step 6 Then you go through all the background checks, drug an credit checks we talked about earlier.

Once you get hired, there will be more Alpine Access training in your specific call center job.

That's pretty much the steps from what I can tell. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Click here if you want to give it a shot.

Conclusion:

So I have to say Apline Access appears to be a legitimate job, without many of the “pitfalls” of being a independent contractor, that others complain about in other virtual call center operations. However work at home seekers need to get real and remember you can't really expect all the offline benefits from an online job. The online businesses know you are saving on transportation, clothing, and food costs are cut, so they do not get factored in. That being said, I see no justification for not including a merit and loyalty raise, so if that is true, shame on them. But I still think it's worth a shot. But view it as a stepping stone that you can use for another job or opportunity that may have more the pay and benefits you want.

At the end of the day as I have said a million times, I don't know of one work at home company that everyone loves. There will always be a con or complaint. You need to be wary of the “Look in the Mirror” primpers and puffers that make it seem like their opportunity tops all others because they're full of it and may try to convince you that you've been “hired” by the next Donald Trump. The reality is you need to take all I've told you and mix it up in your head and come out with a decision that is right for you. As always, I relish the input I get from the loyal subscribers who have some relevant, not cry baby input about their experience with this company. So feel free to chime in. If I got any of the information “twisted”, please feel free to correct me to help your fellow work at home seekers out.

121 thoughts on “Is Alpine Access A Scam?”

  1. Hi! Will my credit really make me not get a job through them? I received an offer letter and then they ran my credit and the results say “decisional.” Does that mean I will possibly not get the job? I am just curious and really want this job! It’s my dream job to work from home. Thank you for your help!

    Reply
  2. From reading some of the comments and the article, since the article has been written I think Alpine Access has updated the way they run things. For example, the interview process now consists of going to their site, choosing a position you want to be interviewed for, you get to choose the day and time of the interview, you must get screen shots of your computer system, the Ping of speed, etc. and upload those atleast an hour before the interview, If you don’t then you will get denied access (I was denied the first time I set up an interview.)

    There are 3 questions you must answer on a sheet of paper or something so it is ready. In the interview they go over the aspects of the job and there are multiple polls that everyone must answer. If you answer no to one of the polls because you are unable to do whatever it is, they will ask you to leave. At the end they give you 10 minutes to type in your answers to the 3 questions. The person then randomly calls on people to answer one of the questions. Once answered they will send you to one of two rooms, Acceptance or Denial. Once in acceptance you officially have the job and must complete the requirements for the job (Background check (Which is free), fingerprinting (Which is free), drug test (They pay for), computer system, headset, etc) Once those are done you must sign up for training. Training is paid. You receive I think it is 8.75 or so. (Once out of training you receive 9$ or minimum wage if it is higher.)

    There are different positions to the company, the one I am hired with I work Monday through Friday. Before you even start your checklist of things that need to be done, you must choose a shift to work once training is completed. I believe she said the first 4 weeks after training will be PT then you will move to FT. So I got to choose my own hours and chose 11:30-3:30. Meanwhile training is going to be 11-7 (my time) Monday through Friday. You can NOT miss a day or take a day off 8-12 weeks post training as that time is the ‘On the job training’.

    So far this is the only legitimate company to work for online I have found. Things I look for are;

    1. Do they pay hourly? (I’m not big on the whole independent contractor)

    2. Does it cost me anything and if there are costs do THEY pay for it? (In this case they paid for the drug test and I didn’t have to pay for the background check.

    Every company will have cons, every company will have complaints.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the update Anjulina.
      I’m always preaching that every company has complaints or issues. It doesn’t mean they are a scam but its just good to be aware of the issues so you can decide if it’s right for you or not.
      I have no doubts it is a legit company. Just be mindful just because a company charges a fee doesn’t make it a scam. Some companies you are joining are home business opportunities and nearly all businesses have some type of start up cost to get your business off the ground so that’s expected. Some companies specialize in training you to have skills that will help you make money with your own business or for a career. So there are a lot of times when paying a fee is reasonable. The blanket advice that anything that charges a fee is a scam is such nonsense. People just need to always do their research and never assume. Because there are some nasty scams that never charge a fee that can steal your identity or land you in jail. And if people blindly follow the advice that only scams charge fees then folks will probably fall for some of these other sneak scams.

      In any case, thanks again for the feedback.

  3. OMG! I am so happy to see that Alpine Access has come this far is still offering great employment opportunities and top notch service to companies. I am one of the original employees from the late 90s thru about 2004.
    As a team leader under AmyLynn B, I worked with Cathy T and others, we became close office friends even thru the virtual office. I looked forward to our annual picnics and monthly meetings at head office. 1800Flowers, Discovery Channel amongst others were such joys work for. If I may brag, everyone wanted me on their project.
    Well life happened and I had to move away. I could go on and on… Great company!!

    Reply
  4. Hi I’ve been working for this company since 06/2014. It is a great company to work for. You don’t have to pay them anything. (at least I didn’t have to pay for drug screen/background check) I get guaranteed 40 hours a week and great overtime opportunities . The staff is great and are very understanding with work schedules after you’ve worked for the company for a few months. They offer a payroll card for pay every two weeks. Health insurance is offered as well. I really love the paid time off earnings.(to confirm: yes you can request PTO 2 weeks in advance) I’ve done it twice. I would definitely recommend this company to anyone who has outstanding customer service skills, quick to learn, can obtain a labtop or pc for (training and most positions supply you with a computer ) and a monitor is required, a wired home phone, high speed internet, usb headset and a headset with jack(pink/green plugs) . If you can get these items with no problem you should apply. If you don’t have a car or cant afford a babysitter. Feel free to apply, its no scam —

    Reply
  5. Hello Eddie,
    Your article was very helpful. I am still going through the interview process, as a matter of fact after waiting a 20 minutes for my interview, I refreshed my screen thinking that something must be wrong, only to find out that my request to enter has been denied. I have to say that I am not impressed by this company. The application process was EXTREMELY long. I have not tried any other work from home call center jobs but I will look into the ones you suggested to Stephanie. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Glad it was useful Christina,

      There are definitely a lot of other call center options so that should never be a problem to find. Thanks for chiming in.

      Eddy with a Y. 😉

  6. I have been working for Alpine for about two months now and I’m already up for promotion at the end of February. I do work for a program that does NOT have to work any weekend days, so both of those are myths. I didn’t have to take any tests at all. I applied and two days later I got a request to do an interview, which was through a chat room with other applicants, where the only thing they asked was if you were able to acquire the headset and computer requirements. If you could, you were then offered a job. I didn’t have to go through with a drug test but they did require a background check that i had to pay for but only after they offered me a job. I love it there…the pay does suck but I’ve worked in a brick and mortar call center and got paid less. I do also agree that they are very strict on metrics but like i said before mine have been fantastic and I am up for promotion only after my first 3 months because my experience level is that of their seasoned agents. I recommened Alpine to anyone that have the dedication of working from home!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s always great to hear when companies make improvements. So thanks for updating us. There is no doubt that Alpine Access is a legit company. It’s just not right for everyone and that can be said about any work at home company.

      Thanks again!

  7. I just got hired at this company and have already started training. I did not have to buy a thing besides a headset, they sent all the equipment that was needed (besides a monitor) I did not have to go through a credit check, but did go through a background check (which I didn’t have to pay for). You do in a sense get paid for vacation but it is on every check (just like alot of companies these days) The raises are not a big deal as you can apply for different positions, there is a loyality program and also bonuses in different ways (money, playstations etc…) so either some information is not correct or they have made the necessary changes to make the company better. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jodie,

      Thanks for sharing your recent experience with the company. A lot of things can change over time and it sounds like some of it has changed for the better.

      I’d love to hear back from you in a few months when you’ve been there a while and the honeymoon period is over. Either way I appreciate you chiming in!

    • Jodie, I am confused at them sending you the equipment but in the requirements it clearly states you need to have a computer, etc..

  8. I have to add my opinion to your article because I am very upset with what has happened to me. I was offered employment with alpine the end of October, my training was to begin dec 2nd. I was so excited, I had worked for a call center that had went out of business 6 months prior and as a single mother of 4 I needed this job. I promptly paid the $45 fee, passed my background check, was given a list of the things I would need. I was told my computer was not fast enough so I went and purchased a refurbished computer for the job. Making sure it met all of the requirements. Phone line was installed, paperwork all sent in, everything was good to go. I was given all my log in info and passwords and so on. One week before I was to start I receive an email informing me that my operating system (vista) was not compatible with the client I would be working for…. This was the first mention of me having to have windows 7, but ok, I’ve come this far, so I purchase windows 7. It’s thanksgiving Thursday, I am to begin work the following Monday, I’ve got my day care all arranged and my office set up ready to go… And then I receive an email stating that they have over anticipated their hiring needs and basically hired too many people so that I would not be able to attend training. I honestly sat down and cried.

    Reply
  9. I am currently employed at alpine and agree w/ most that it has it ups and downs, as do most jobs. In regards to the credit check, bad credit wont necessarilly ban you from getting hired. If you have 3 defaults on your credit, that is what hurts you. Medical debt isnt counted against you either.
    You also dont have to pay for ANYTHING until they gurantee employment.
    Not sure where the info on raises and promotions is coming from, but you have to work on your hired program for 1 year before you can switch or get a raise. This is a big knock for the company w/ me. I had 10+ years of customer service, still started at $9 an hr, and cant get a raise for a year. It should be based on the individual, but unfortunatly it isn’t.
    Also, if you’re hired, be ready, b/c they are sticklers on metrics. They arent afraid of letting someone go if their stats arent up to par. The good thing is, they do work w/ you and give you time to improve.
    My only disagreement w/ the blog is you will not save money on food working from home, trust me on that! It does take a lot of self discipline to work from home. Its a common misconception that its easier to work from home, but you are pretty much locked down to your desk during the shift except for breaks, lunches, etc. Same work, just no commute. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  10. I just visited the site to look into applying to do this kind of work. (A friend of mine worked for them and she said it was a good gig for her-single mom to toddler triplets) According to the website, they have incorporated a paid vacation option as a loyalty benefit. Every time you work 3000 hours, you receive a “tenured pay raise.” 335 hours in 12 weeks gets you either 2 1/2 paid days off or the equivalent in extra pay. Not sure if those days can be banked to make a week-long vacation, but that’s one question I’d ask if given the opportunity for an official interview. Sounds like they are morphing to accommodate at least some of the complaints you mentioned.

    Reply
    • The Tech issues pay policy has been changed, it is now in favor of the employee if a reboot is needed and such…whoo hooo

    • I currently work for Alpine Access and the paid time off is not what it is cracked up to be. Like most other companies you have to ask for it 2 weeks or more in advance. Here is the problem, they only release the schedules a week in advance so you will never get approved for the paid time off.
      One other thing that people should know that are thinking about applying with them is, they are plagued with tech issues on the operating system that you have to work on and they will find any way at all to keep from paying for the time that you spend trying to fix the issues.

  11. I currently work for Alpine on the XBox program-it is a tough hiring process-however you are representing the top companies so they MUST be critical in the hiring process based on the client needs. The shifts are a little inconvienent-but you also have the option to give away and/or pickup shifts. The pay may not be top pay-but show up when scheduled, take the OT when offered and it is well worth the difference. No gas, car repairs, time in traffic, clothes to buy (heck-I work in pjs most every day). There is opportunity for advancement-just like every job you have to stand out, stepup, and do what you are being asked to do. Ive worked for Alpine for over a year-Bonus pay is avail just for working when you are scheduled-and you can get those days off you want/need-just have to ask 14 days in advance. Emergencies are handled on a case by case basis-just like any other “real job”-So if you can make the cut-it is a good job-

    Reply
    • I work for AA and you only have to pay the 45.00 if you are offered a position. So, 2% of aplicants are offered a position. Once you have accepted the offer you must pay the fee within 48 hours. This is not paid directly to AA but to the third party that cunducts the background and credit checks. From the first interview you are told about this fee and what you need to pass the checks.

  12. I have to comment on your comment:

    “The last con I don’t think is often mentioned but I found interesting to me is that the percentage of people who actually get hired and work for the company compared to the number of applicants is about 2%. That’s some daunting numbers for would be employees. You really need to be a shinning star for this company to hire you.”

    If only 2% get hired, then what about the other 98% who pays them $45.00 a pop for a so called
    credit/criminal check?   We don’t  know that  it actually  costs that much or that they actually do  the check.   That’s  $4410.00 in their pockets.      Think about it.   What do you think???

    Reply
  13. I was wondering when AA gives you options to choose your work hours, the hours they show you (8am to 5pm or 2 to 10pm for example), are they asking for mst or est?

    Reply
  14. From researching their web site just now, it appears one can earn either extra money or paid time off if one works a full 40 hours for all 12 weeks in a “measurement period” – guess that qualifies as vacation time earned. They also offer tenured pay raises and performance bonuses, though they don’t disclose the details until one is hired!

    Reply
  15. Thank you for the thorough review. I am glad that I read your blog posting and the comments before I bothered applying. I know my credit rating is on the lower end of the spectrum! So it was fantastic to know ahead of time based on the blog and comments that it was not a good fit for me. That said, I am currently working at home as a customer service call center agent with another company, it has its perks and its disadvantages that is for sure, but always looking at what else is out there! Thanks again for the information.  

    Reply
    • Might have to do with some of the local laws that they may not find business friendly. It’s not that unusual. There are other companies that won’t operate in certain states.

    • That is true! I almost got hired for Asurion to work at home (you know the cell phone insurance company that AT&T and others use) but when they found out I live in Illinois they told me they can not go any further with the interview process which sucks because it was a real work at home job.

  16. Thanks for your candidness..This is my first time on your blog,but i am impressed. What is your highest recommended Work at home job? I have a full time job. I just   want a second income stream where i am guaranteed to get paid at the highest possible rate.

    Reply
  17. English is still a requirement and will always be. But you have to keep in mind that some jobs will always require more than the basics. If you want to stay competitive you have to learn to adapt. There was a time you didn’t need to know how to use the computer but now it’s a requirement and computers are a whole different language to a lot of people. So you either adapt and gain the skills that are in demand or don’t and miss out on opportunities. That’s life and will always be that way. With that said, there are enough legitimate companies online that if you don’t fit one, just move on to the next one. Alpine Access isn’t the only fish in the sea. We’ve covered more like it: http://www.workathomenoscams.com/recommendations

    Complaining and being disenchanted won’t help you get a job. Adapting and changing your attitude will. I know you can experience the success you deserve if you do!

    Reply
  18. My major, major issue with the application process is as follows: I got to the “Review Jobs” part of the application and once I picked what I wanted there were two questions, one being “Can you verify that you can fluently speak english and spanish. HELLO, this an english speaking country and Im getting tired of not being hired by a company in an ENGLISH speaking  country because I dont speak SPANISH in an ENGLISH based country. WTF? WTH ever happened to being able to speak ENGLISH in AMERICA?

    Reply