Archive for February, 2015

PostHeaderIcon Singapore maid agency scams?

I’ve 2 similar cases here which I think can help readers protect themselves from unscrupulous agencies. Based on my interactions with agencies, most of us are good people - really. We work for what we deserve just like you. Unfortunately there are the bad ones out there. You just have to know their tricks. Read this - Singapore maid agency scams and the 2 case studies below.

Case #1:

Hi,

First of all thanks for your initiative…and without any reason your blog wont come in google’s search list number 1….thanks again…

I am on EP and working here staying in S’pore for 3 years with a 3 yr old kid…recently we had taken a maid from XXX agency…2nd day we asked the maid to give a call to her husband so that her family will be relived….however after the call she told that her husband wants her to go back to her country….and the maid wanted to go back…we paid 3200 for her loan..and 1000$ for agency fee + other stuff…so we went to agency and could not find any other maid…the maid did not want to go back to agency as every time she changes employer, agency adds one more month of loan to her…however we could not find any replacement and agreed to keep the maid for 8 months to complete her loan…please note that the contract was for 2 years….

yesterday the maid ran away from home…my father and daughter were sleeping while she left with out taking her belongings…we called up agency and agency told she is with an organization called HOME…and she wants to go back to her country….after a lot of talk…we decided to file a police complaint….we never contacted HOME as to us the agency is the representative….

I realized that i must buy her return ticket…so i bought a ticket and tomorrow i am going to cancel her work permit…the agency wants to give us replacement but it will take almost 2 months to get a new maid…moreover for the new replacement maid we also need to pay 600$ more (insurance+300 POE phillipines + documentaion) etc…the agencies behavior is not good…though after lot of clash they agreed to return me back the loan amount 3K almost…but everytime they are saying that as per the rule they should not return me the maid’s loan but they are doing me a favor…i am not at all satisfied with their behavior…more over they are saying that to get the loan amount back i need to sign a form which says i am not going to complain about the agency….then i came to know that i can complain against the agency…

you see…the maid came on 6th december and left on 22nd…and within this time i lost 1000k…and the agency is not going to take responsibility of that…at the max they are ready to offer replacement which is going to take more than 2 months…

can you suggest me whether i can complain against the agency or not…its them who had brought the maid here…leave apart the maid…what to do with her…she does not even have money to go back home also….but the agency should be reasonable…

thank you gain…

It’s already more than 4 months. BUT the maid agency hasn’t returned a single cent of the $4,244.60 I paid to it after the FDW was transfered to a new employer! After only 17 days of “work”, FDW arrogantly “resigned”. I wondered why until I noticed that the maid agency happily transfered FDW elsewhere inorder to collect a new set of FEES from another employer. Meanwhile, the maid agency pretended that it is getting a “replacement” for me. After nearly 2 months of many excuses, no FDW came. I would be grateful if someone can help me. I came across many old folks who lost their hard earned monies to agencies but do not know how to voice their grievances. The helpless folks were not aware that the agencies have certain unscrupulous schemes to make money from just one FDW.

Case #2:

Hi,

My maid agent promised me he will arrange for maid in 3-6 days when i explained him my urgency for maid. But after i paid an advance amount of 1000 he keep on asking me to transfer 500 more dollars to buy flight ticket to maid o bring her here.

But even after i transferred the money there wasnt any response from him, and i am keep on chasing him for status.

when i ask him for purchased ticket he used to send some ticket but it is not a valid purchased ticket.

So frustrated with his attitude i cancelled work permit for maid and asked agent to return my whole money.

He said ok but he is not returning the money.

Can you please advise how to get back my money. I already lodged a complaint with CASE i dont know the timelines for the feedback given to them.

Please advise.

Regards.

=========== My thoughts ========

1. I’m sorry to read about the troubles you have with the 2 agencies. My belief is that this trouble can be prevented if you approach a reputable agency. With the MOM EA directory - you can check how long the agency has been in business, what percentage of their maids stay with their employers for at least 1 year, etc. I have an article on this - How to Find a Good Maid in Singapore Find one with a lot of positive feedback from employers.

2. It is very important to ask the agencies what they will do what things go wrong. Make sure they have it in the contract so that you can “take legal action” against them based on the contract.

3. Generally, it is to the disadvantage of the employer when the helper wants to go home. Here’s the rationale - it is because of you that the helper is working here in Singapore. So, if she wants to go home, it is your responsibility to pay for the air ticket. If the girl goes to HOME, you’re going to have a difficult case and it is best to pay for her air ticket and let her go home and let the matter rest. You don’t want to “fight” with anyone. Life’s too stressful for that.

4. You can always complain about the agencies to CASE or MOM or AEAs. The important thing is that you must have the black and white to prove your case - particularly the service contract you signed with the agency. That will state your rights as to refunds, replacements, guarantees, fees paid, etc. The MOM has a standard contract which all agencies are to used. The only difference in the contract is the different pricing, terms and conditions, and market practices of the agency. But, all must be within the guidelines of MOM.

5. So, what can you do when the maid refuses to work? And, the replacement maid is not coming any time soon? If the maid refuses to work, you can always ask the agency to do some counselling. It is always a good idea to try to keep the current worker if possible. Bear in mind that now we are having the new generation of “Internet savvy” Gen-Y girls. They are not as good an employee as the earlier batches of girls. That’s my opinion. And, if the replacement maid is not coming, you’ll have to check your agency contract on the timeline and what are your options.

6. Despite the contract and terms, it is always up to the agency to do the right thing. The better ones will be willing to meet you half way and both of you bear some of the costs. Sometimes, it is the helper that causes all the problems for everybody. They are just human and they change their minds quickly and can be very fickle-minded. If you know women, then you have an idea ;-)

Thank you for reading.

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PostHeaderIcon Advice on a case that went really wrong

My sympathy to this reader. I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone. If you meet an irresponsible agency, you’re really in for a tough time…

Hi,

I would really need some advise based on my current plight. I newly employed a maid, as I’m due to deliver in a few weeks time and have a 2 yr old toddler. I took an Indian maid of 3 yrs experience from a certain agency. After paying the full amount to the agency including 2 months of the maids salary upfront, It took almost 1.5 months for the maid to arrive although i was promised that it will only take 3 weeks at most. And that too after i made numerous calls to the agency to expedite on it. They told me that the maid child was sick and hence the delay. And when she finally arrived to spore she came to my house the very next day to commence work. She had a handphone with her.

I learned for her that she had paid the agency her 2 months salary of $800 for her flight and the agency fees. On her 1st day at work She was using her hand phone and was making calls without asking my permission when she hasnt even completed the task didn’t even She only had to cook for herself and took her dinner by 7.30 pm and went to bed by 9am. She had attitude problem and was choosy in her choice of food. She would rest about 2 hours in the day when she only woke up at 8.30am and wasn’t even given much housework to do. She would talk back at me when I told her how I wanted the job to be done. It was as though I was the employee and she was the boss. I gave up and called the agency while at work on the 5th day itself that I wanted a replacement maid. She told me that I would need to pay 1 month of salary for the. We maid and insurance money. On top of that I had to pay lodging of $25 per day for this maid untilHi,

I would really need some advise based on my current plight. I newly employed a maid, as I’m due to deliver in a few weeks time and have a 2 yr old toddler. I went through this maid agency and was given the biodata of an Indian maid with 3 yrs experience. After paying the full amount to the agency including 2 months of the maids salary upfront, It took almost 1.5 months for the maid to arrive although i was promised that it will only take 3 weeks at most. And that too after i made numerous calls to the agency to expedite on it. They told me that the maid child was sick and hence the delay. And when she finally arrived to spore she came to my house the very next day to commence work. She had a handphone with her.

I learned for her that she had paid the agency her 2 months salary of $800 for her flight and the agency fees. On her 1st day at work She was using her hand phone and was making calls without asking my permission when she hasnt even completed the task didn’t even She had nothing mic she finds a new employer. Later that very day after I came back from work after fetching back my toddler, she ran away as soon as went to bathe my toddler. After 3 hrs later the agency responded to my numerous missed calls and just told me that the maid had gone to her elder sis who is also a maid working here for 15 yrs. I didn’t even know what the maid stole from my house and how she managed to get the money to travel since she told me she didn’t has a single penny. The agency just told me to choose a biodata of another maid which they had emailed to me earlier that morning. They told me not to make any police report too. Since they were closed for the next 4 days and not responsive when I tried to reach at the personal mobile I had no choice but to wait in vain. Hence I did a check on the mom website of the maid’s employment history. To my

Horror I realised that the maid had only worked with her last employer for 10 months and she had switched more than 10 employers each never lasting for more than a month.. I was shocked that the biodata was falsified and I was told that the maid had a very reputable record and had took care of infant with her previous employer. I going down I person to the agency to seek clarifications on this. Till date the agency has not given my contractual paper which I signed and are not transparent. I would like to check on a few things:

1. Do I need to pay the salary upfront since I had already paid the agency 2 months of the salary, where they can just offset the amt from there?

2. I was told to pay the insurance for the new maid, else I would needed to pay the agency fees. Wouldnt there be a a partial refund of the Insurance fees for the runaway maid ?

3. Do I need to pay for the maids lodgings once she ran away on her own as I had intended to keep her till ingot the replacement. I have tillnow paid a total of 2200 to the agency for the package including the 2 months placement fees.

I really hope that you could advise me in this matter as I’m losing sleep over this and skipping meals when Im already due a a couple of weeks time with a very tough pregnancy..Thanks in advance

==== My thoughts ====

Please do not take this as legal advice or “the” way to solve the issue(s). They are for your consideration.

It is really tough to juggle pregnancy and getting a maid at the same time. I’ve had employers with similar issues with other agencies. Try to get your hubby or relative to help. I’ll answer your questions and at the same time provide “best practices” that consumers should have to protect themselves. Hope it’ll help future readers.

1. The maid’s salary paid upfront is generally the maid’s loan. It is supposed to be paid to the agency so that they can pay their overseas training centre or partners. It is also a “confirmation” that you’re employing that particular helper.

2. Generally,you’ll have to pay the insurance of the new maid first. Later on, the refund for the old maid will be given to you after the insurance company has been informed that the old maid is no longer with you. This may take a few weeks or 1-2 months, depending on the process of the company.

3. I don’t think you’ll have to pay for lodgings since the agency is not providing any lodging service. I suppose the previous helper is staying with the sister.

Here are further information that you should know:

1. The MOM has limited the money payable by the helper to the Singapore agency to 2 months of their salary for every 2 years’ of work here. If you’re paying this for the girl, you’re supposed to be able to deduct this from her salary. Whatever the girl pay to the overseas training center is between her and the center.

2. There is also a maid’s loan component which is payable to the overseas center. Again, this is deductible from the helper’s salary, and this money is supposed to be remitted by the Singapore agency to the overseas center. Agencies are not supposed to keep this money and as far as I understand, MOM will be checking the remittances.

3. My feeling is that the agency you’re dealing with is dishonest - they shouldn’t be asking you to pay the agency fee again if you don’t pay the insurance for the new girl. They are 2 separate issues. The insurance has to be paid for the new girl. The agency fee, if they have a guarantee for replacement of the girl, shouldn’t be charged at all for the replacement. That is the normal practice.

4. Since the earlier helper has been with you for only 5 days, the agency should not be asking you to “top up” with another 1 month. Any “top up” should be pro-rated to the time the girl was with you. But, that is only if the replacement helper is from overseas.

5. If the replacement helper is in Singapore, an employment history should be given to you. It was a good thing that you checked. The new girl’s employment history is very bad. I wouldn’t employ her.

6. I don’t know how you chose this agency. But, it is always a good idea to do a little research before engaging an agency. From my experience, whether an agency is “good” or not, is when a case really goes wrong like this case. A responsible agency will make it right no matter what.

Thank you for reading.

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