Posts Tagged ‘singapore maid agency disputes’

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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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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