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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2 Responses to “Singapore maid agency scams?”

  • Merryl says:

    Hi there.. really appreciate the time and effort on the community service to provide advice and insights. Your contribution truly provides some form of clarity / direction for baffled and/or victimized employers to move forward. Thank you in advance!

    Quick summary of my background story and query.

    1) Approached XXXX Agency early Feb 2017, (my fault for not conducting thorough research via MOM and urgency for making a haste decision), at Far East Shopping Centre. I was in need of a second FDW to bear the load with my current FDW (who’s worked with me for 9 consecutive years since my first born), as I recently delivered my third child.

    2) At the said agency, I was recommended a transfer maid (Let’s call her TM), whom I interviewed and found comfortable at that point in time. The pressure to “secure” her was even more apparent, as I had to return back to work soon. Moreover, I was gullible enough to entrust in their judgement and sales talk. Paid service fee and placement fee amounting some $1700 in a couple of days and received her over by mid Feb 2017.

    3) A week into employment, and there were some differing expectations between TM and I. Upon consulting the agent, and sharing my displeasure over her attitude, I was advised to replace her. TM had also expressed to the Agency that she wanted out. This happened over the weekend.

    4) Herein lies the problem - I was subsequently given only 1 replacement option the very next weekday (which I did not immediately accept). The agency emphasized that I had to make my decision fast (on the same day) as their hand-picked quality FDWs “moved very fast”.

    5) I did not want to be hasty this time, and probed for a wider selection pool, to which the Agent (also the partner and Director of the Agency) expressed that they did not want to service me further - i.e. terminating the service agreement with no refund / compensation whatsoever. I was asked to return the unsatisfactory TM to their agency, and I should engage services of other agencies instead.

    6) Now, on to the service agreement signed by FDW, Agency and myself… it clearly stipulates that the Employer is entitled to UNLIMITED replacements within 12 months period at an admin fee of $300 per case… I was willing to pay the $300 admin fee for a suitable replacement, but was rendered horrible dis-service by the Agency.

    7) I have also come to realize from MOM’s website now, that the said Agency is newly established - with less than 1 year of credibility. Looking at the set-up, it is run by a pair of husband-wife. I have yet to share in detail how I was rudely mistreated as the discussion got emotional. I was also challenged to “go ahead and escalate my case”.

    6) Nonetheless, I am at wit’s ends now. The good news however, is a change of heart / mind by the transfer maid. She has sought for another chance, and we seemingly worked things out amicably (for the time being) to continue her work with us.

    7) I am concerned however, that if push comes to shove within this period of 1 year, she might “pull her stunts” and I might find myself in a dire situation again.

    8) Henceforth, would you be able to provide some understanding / advice if
    a) I should bring this up with CASE? (i.e. ensuring that the agency fulfills the 1 year service period to find me a suitable replacement?)
    or
    b) if I should pursue a “full or partial refund of service fee” since the Agency had initiated a termination of service contract.

    9) Any word of advice how we can resolve the dispute amicably (and work out conditions to my advantage) without getting legal bodies involved? From a practical standpoint, I could just continue the employment of the TM… but should it not work out mid-way, I would have technically wasted time and monetary resource for nothing.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks much again.

  • admin says:

    Hi,
    Sorry for the late reply.

    It is good that the TM has changed her mind. Hopefully things will work out just fine. In case you have further trouble, you can approach CASE for help. CASE is likely to follow what is written in your contract with the agency to resolve the issue. During the mediation, the mediators will advise you what to do, if the need ever arises. Hopefully, there is no need to go to CASE.

    Since the helper is now working with you again, there is no reason to get any refund from the agency. Unless, there is a need for replacement and they refuse to service you, then you can request for a partial refund. Or, if they still refuse, then you should approach CASE for help.

    Hope this helps. All the best.

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