Archive for June, 2010

PostHeaderIcon So, You Are Unhappy with Your Maid Agency?

It’s been a while since I write a post, and I do apologize if I didn’t response to your comments or emails. This is more like a hobby/passion blog, so I only write when I have a little bit of time. After all, like you, I am a full-time home maker and office worker. It’s busy, busy, busy…

I received an email from a reader about her maid agency (which is casetrusted) who cheated on the bio-data and provided poor services to her. The matter was brought up to CASE, and after a mediation session, she was still unable to get her money back. She was then advised by CASE to bring the matter up to the small claims tribunal.

While I do not have the full details to the case - it is always a case by case basis when there are disputes - I will attempt to give some guidelines or ideas as to how anyone with disputes with their maid agency can resolve the issue.

Needless to say, the first thing you must do is “prevention”. While there are many accredited agencies, there are still “bad eggs” in the basket. What really, really counts is the culture of the company. And, it always invariably starts at the top.

This, again, is a very hard thing to judge. But, you can always start by avoiding agencies who have bad feedbacks on the Internet. Again, bear in mind that people tend to “bash” agencies up when things didn’t work out. So, do read what you find with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, if the agency you have chosen wasn’t “bashed up”, then your chance should be a little bit better.

Invariably, you will find that agencies which were “bashed up” have refused to refund their customers. That is why people spread bad news about them. Generally, people will let matter rest if they get their refund. For me, I have better things to do than to blog bad things about these agencies if they have returned my money to me.

While avoiding bad agencies is a way to start, you should also consider the agencies with outstanding (not just good), but outstanding feedbacks. Like my agency ;-)  My boss’ policy has always been “no unhappy customers”. Even during my course for my MOM certificate, the MOM officer also told us to simply give the money back if your employers are unhappy. This will solve many problems for MOM, the employers and the agencies.

So, you see, it is always the agency boss and the company’s culture that will have an impact on whether you will get your money back. This, I must say is very, very difficult to see when you visit a maid agency even if it is recommended by your friends.

Coming back to my reader’s issue, I am actually quite surprised that she was unable to get her money back because ALL Casetrust agencies have a standard contract whereby the agency has to refund any unused maid’s loan. She should be able to get this portion back.

If she is talking about the agency fee and insurance premium, then those are different matters.

Let’s talk about the insurance premium first. Generally, if you return a maid within a 6 month’s period, there will be some pro-rata refund from the insurance company.

As for the agency fee, it is difficult to say. After all, the agency has already done the work for you even though it is not up to your expectation. It is like having a sales person making your customers unhappy, but you still have to pay him his monthly pay. But, you can always build a case for it and “fight it out” in CASE or small claims tribunal.

It’s been my experience that if our maids do not work out with our clients even after subsequent attempts to counsel them and find replacements, my boss is extremely happy to give a full refund of the agency fee and the unused maid’s loan. The maid insurance is pro-rated from the insurance company. That will solve the problem for everyone. Unfortunately, not all agencies think the same way. (By the way, I am not trying to sell my agency, it’s just a remark.)

What if all else fails? What else can you do to get your money back?

If you have complained to MOM, CASE and bring the matter up to the small claims tribunal, then, I think that you have basically exhausted all avenues. But, if you wish to push the case further, consult a lawyer on the case and see if you can “fight it out” in court or explore other alternatives.

In conclusion, I can only say that you will have to choose your agency carefully, not only in terms of good maids, but also consider whether the agency is likely to refund you. After all, the agency may have good maids, but not all maids may work out for everybody. As such, it is important that the company is not “money hungry” and is willing to give you a full refund. Perhaps, someone religious? But then again, you can read what is happening to charitable organizations in the news…

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