Singapore maid agency scams is a strong title for this page. But, it’s something that you and your maid should watch out for.

Here’s an overview of what’s covered here. More will be added as I come across them.

New - * Have you been stepped all over the face as an employer? (see below)

  1. Fake overseas jobs
  2. “Compulsory” employment
  3. Customer multiplier effect

* Have you been stepped all over the face as an employer?

Of all the scams I’ve come across, this is the worst of the lot. In fact,  I wouldn’t have known about it if not for a customer telling me about it and my doing some research online.

You MUST guard against this. This, can also occur together with Scam #3.

I understand that some agencies’ true market is NOT Singapore. But, they are supplying maids to employers in Singapore so that they can re-sell them to other countries like Hong Kong and Saudi as “ex-Singapore”, where they can re-sell them at a higher price, and still collect money from Singaporean employers in the first round.

Can you see how they step on your face? It doesn’t matter to them that the maids do not work out with you. They will happily take the girl back, stamp “ex-Singapore” on them, say that Singaporean employers are fussy and what-not and pack them off to Hong Kong or Saudi and sell them again.

First off, they make you train the maids for them. Secondly, they take you for a fool and collect thousands of dollars from you. And, when you ask for a replacement, they will give it to you - yes, you guess it, so that they can stamp “ex-Singapore” on the second girl and pack her off again.

Now, you have another reason why the maids coming to Singapore are not as high quality as in the past. The agencies’ true market is not Singapore in the first place. Singapore is just a “stamping” ground to re-sell the maids elsewhere.

So, how can you prevent this from happening to you?

Again, it is extremely hard to discern such agencies from the honest ones because nobody walks around telling you that they are crooks!

A few common sense approach would be to ensure that the agency does not supply to other countries which means that their main market has to be Singapore.

Secondly, ensure that the agency comes highly recommended and has been known for its integrity and has many testimonials from happy customers.

Thirdly, I don’t wish to name names, but I understand that there are some pretty well-known agencies who engage in this practice. To what extent, this is true, I am not too sure. But, do pay attention to this possibility.

1. Fake overseas jobs

This is something that I learnt from talking to experienced maids who are looking for a job overseas.

What happens is that these unscrupulous agencies charge them $500 for registration to work in countries like Hong Kong, Canada, Norway or Spain. The truth is that, there are actually no jobs there.

A few days after registration, the agency will follow up with the girl saying that they have found a job for the girl, and the girl has to pay another $1,500 to confirm the position.

After paying the agency, the agency will “keep quiet” for a while as if busy with processing the job. Soon after, they will tell the girl that the overseas employer has decided not to employ the girl.

When the girl asked for a refund, the agency will say that there is no refund because the money has been spent trying to find the job for the girl.

So, warn your maid to be wary of these agencies.

2. “Compulsory” employment

What happens is that an employer was “forced” to take a maid because an application has been done with the MOM even though the employer hasn’t confirmed the employment of the maid.

In their bid to make a sale (especially during this recession), some agencies may hastily make an application before you even confirm your choice. Here’s how they do it.

Since you’re going to get a maid, they will ask you to sign the forms first so that they can do a speedy application.

DO NOT sign anything until you’ve made your choice.

You see, had you signed the forms, you cannot dispute anything the agency has done. The MOM is a “black and white” organization. If it’s signed, it must be true.

So, beware.

3. Customer multiplier effect

If you’re a seasoned employer with many replacement cases, you will probably have witnessed the power of the “customer multiplier effect. ” This was also covered in the Singapore maid agency recommendation page..

Here’s how some agencies make lots of money from you.

You see, when a maid doesn’t work out with you, you’ll have to find a replacement. The agency gets to charge the replacement maid maid’s loan. The first maid that you “fire” will be charged a transfer fee. The agency earns 2 times over on your problem, and that is assuming that they don’t charge for replacements.

Let’s say, your replacement maid doesn’t work out. You’ll have to get a third maid. The agency can charge the third maid a maid’s loan and charge the second maid a transfer fee, and so on, and so forth. Here, the agency earns 4 times over with the same customer.

So, can you see how by having you as a customer with replacement problems, the agency gets to multiply their income many times over? This, obviously is bad news for us as consumers.

But, there are still a few ways to deal with this:

1. Observe what is the intention of the agency. For agencies who intend to “multiply you out”, they will just “throw” any candidates to you, and ask you to take your pick.

The honest agencies will probably ask you for your needs and shortlist candidates who are close to your needs. It will be good if they document down your needs instead of just asking you verbally. After all, how much can you remember without writing things down?

Needless to say, even if the honest agencies bother to match you up with the right maid, it may not work out. However, their intention has been trying to match you with the right girl from the outset, and NOT to “multiply you out”.  It is important to observe this intention of the agencies.

2. Ask for the employment history of the candidates. Forget the 1 or 2 lines “work in Jakarta 2 years”. You want the full details. What did they do on a daily basis, how many transfers did they have, are there any reference letters from previous employers? Can you even interview their previous employers about them?

3.  Interview the candidates over the phone or Skype. Evaluate their level of English. Do they sound like they don’t understand what you’re asking? Don’t count on the interview to be fruitful unless you’re interviewing girls from “English speaking” countries.

4.  Ask their training centre teacher about their strengths and weaknesses. It may not be very useful since they will probably say that the girl is good, but it will at least give you some indication whether they are good with babies, or in cooking, etc.

 Mail this post