Wondersitter made hiring a babysitter as easy as going online, selecting a date and time, and hitting submit.
“As a parent, I work full time, you know there's times where your kid is sick and you need a sitter for something in particular. It was a great idea because you just put in the time you needed a sitter and you were almost guaranteed to get a sitter during that time period” said Dawn Gile.
Gile was a customer of the online service for four years, until she started hearing from some of the caregivers.
“Then I had a few sitters who had reached out to me and said that they hadn't gotten paid in months that they've stopped taking jobs but I was welcome to reach out to them directly to babysit,” said Gile.
She says she had no idea the sitters weren’t getting paid. Every time Gile hired someone, a set amount was deducted from the Wondersitter WonderDollars in her account that she purchased online.
“There would sometime be a delay, but it would always come through and then at some point that stopped happening. And then I sent a few emails asking about the payment, I wasn't getting responses, and I really have not heard from them or a suitable explanation as to why that's stopped,” said Avery Rain, one of Gile's regular sitters.
Rain said she’s owed just under $450 for the last six jobs she's taken, one dating back to February.
“There’s money still coming out and coming in to Wondersitter, but there's nothing coming back to the people doing the actual labor,” Rain said.
Gile has also requested a refund for her $200+ WonderDollar balance still in her account. Wondersitter never responded.
"So although it appears on their website that they have like 200 sitters, none are accepting any jobs ," said Gile.
The problem could be widespread. Wondersitter operates in around 13 cities around the country.
On Facebook, there's a group called ‘Sitters Unpaid by Wondersitter” where women in Baltimore, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland have posted that they've not received the money they're owed.
“You know a couple hundred dollars for one person is one thing, but a couple hundred dollars or more for 20-30 more people is really serious,” said Rain.
Wondersitter is headquartered in San Francisco. No one with the company immediately responded to ABC2’s request for comment.
On the Wondersitter website, the company promises sitters they’ll “make sure you are paid accordingly, and pay you ourselves when you are not.”
“You know, it's frustrating when you hear that there are these wonderful young ladies that are truly great with our girls, and it's frustrating to hear that they've been taken advantage of too,” Gile said.
Several sitters told ABC2’s Mallory Sofastaii that they’re owed anywhere from $200 - $1,000 and that they will be pursuing legal action.
A complaint has been filed with the Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division. Anyone having an issue with their employer is advised to file a wage complaint with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.