SHERWOOD, Ark. – An update to a story that was covered before Christmas, where an Arkansas based telemarketing company closed its doors until further notice ahead of the Christmas holiday. Now the hotline with a recording from the heritage company pushing out a different message.
We talked with a handful of people who say they were heartbroken and frustrated when they found out they were temporarily without a job, and now they’re being encouraged to find new employment.
“It still even hurts to remember calling that number and remembering that,” former employee Johnathan Woods said.
Just 5 days before Christmas The Heritage Company in Sherwood temporarily shut down leaving several people like Johnathan Woods without a job. Many people were left confused and angry only hearing about the closure through rumors on Facebook or from a coworker.
“In all actuality some people are really hurt by this,” Woods said.
All employees were told to call a hotline number after the new years for an update. The hotline that they were told to call was just activated.
“It says, ‘Thank you for calling, we are sorry to inform you that it’s going to take us longer to fix the problem that we have,” Woods said. “So, we encourage everyone to seek further employment elsewhere. Take care of your families and have a happy new year.”
About two weeks ago the company put out a statement in part saying, “Approximately two months ago our heritage servers were attacked by malicious software that basically held us hostage for ransom and we were forced to pay the crooks.”
But Woods said he doesn’t quite believe it.
“Sometimes I wonder,” Woods said. “If this was an inside job or I wonder if all this was planned so their money for the year.”
Employee’s shared a video that was sent to employees in early October with a heartfelt speech about the company’s future, which is why so many employees tell me the news came as a shock. I tried reaching out to The Heritage Company directly but no answer.
Although Woods has already found a new job, he says he’s still worried about his former coworkers.
“It’s very sad,” Woods said. “I feel so sorry for everyone who took this job to heart.”
Woods said in all around 100 people worked at the Sherwood location, but offices were also shuttered in Searcy and Jonesboro.