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Employment Agency Scam?

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cyberzzz
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Employment Agency Scam?

Postby cyberzzz » Sun, 29 Dec 2013 8:50 pm

Hi everyone,

Recently I engaged help from an employment agency in hopes of finding a job in Singapore. They made me pay several fees. Firstly a admin processing fee of $39. Secondly a marketing fee of $130 and Lastly when they told me that they had found a company for me and in order to do an S pass application I had to pay a registration fee of $750.

Few weeks later I called them to check on the status of my application and they said that my application was rejected by mom and that all the cash I paid would be forfeited.

Is it legal for them to charge me to many fees? Or does the law says otherwise? Am I able to get back any refunds at all?

Thanks in advance :D

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 29 Dec 2013 9:27 pm

Is your name Ben Dover? Cause you might just as well. Sure you could, but without reading the fine print on what you signed, I'm pretty sure you would be wasting your time. Local agencies are not allowed to charge a job seeker placement fees here so they get creative and use other terms that are not included in the term 'recruitment fee'.

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Postby cyberzzz » Sun, 29 Dec 2013 9:35 pm

I'm not Ben Dover. Is there any authorities that I can seek help from? Or can anything else be done? I'm at my wits end here.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:22 pm

You can try the small claims tribunal, but frankly I don't hold too much hope as they are well versed in staying within the law (barely - technically). The best thing you can do is learn from it.

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Postby Beeroclock » Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:29 pm

Maybe you can try report to CASE ?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:54 pm

Won't work. I was in the business for a long time before becoming the HR & Finance Mgr of the SME I am currently working for. In all probability, they were going to temp him to some company. So they charged him an application fee to process the S pass (lots of companies will also act as middlemen for the employer and fill out application forms on their behalf). Therefore the agency charges the job seeker for "form filling". They have provided the service requested, therefore the charges are non-refundable as the service was for making the application. there is, obviously, no way that they can "guarantee" success. The S pass was rejected, but you still have the pay them the processing fees if they signed on the dotted line as that service was provided. Should the application been successful, the job seeker would have signed a contract with the employer and the agency would charge the client a recruitment fee.

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Postby ecureilx » Mon, 30 Dec 2013 10:34 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote: ... .


And 39 + 150 is not a lot of amount, heck, even the 750 isn't much ;)



SMS: his name is NOT BEN DOVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 30 Dec 2013 10:57 am

ecureilx wrote:SMS: his name is NOT BEN DOVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If he's not Ben Dover, perhaps he is Phil MacCaverty?

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Postby ecureilx » Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:17 am

JR8 wrote:
ecureilx wrote:SMS: his name is NOT BEN DOVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If he's not Ben Dover, perhaps he is Phil MacCaverty?


ah, that one ? maybe .. maybe .. :)

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Postby Beeroclock » Mon, 30 Dec 2013 5:31 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Won't work. I was in the business for a long time before becoming the HR & Finance Mgr of the SME I am currently working for. In all probability, they were going to temp him to some company. So they charged him an application fee to process the S pass (lots of companies will also act as middlemen for the employer and fill out application forms on their behalf). Therefore the agency charges the job seeker for "form filling". They have provided the service requested, therefore the charges are non-refundable as the service was for making the application. there is, obviously, no way that they can "guarantee" success. The S pass was rejected, but you still have the pay them the processing fees if they signed on the dotted line as that service was provided. Should the application been successful, the job seeker would have signed a contract with the employer and the agency would charge the client a recruitment fee.

Ah I see. I had the impression from the title "scam" that it was completely bogus as in they took the money and did nothing. Still seems a nasty practice especially for genuine unemployed folks needing to find something (as opposed to job hoppers), to extract money from the jobless in such ways.

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Postby ecureilx » Mon, 30 Dec 2013 10:49 pm

Beeroclock wrote:Ah I see. I had the impression from the title "scam" that it was completely bogus as in they took the money and did nothing. Still seems a nasty practice especially for genuine unemployed folks needing to find something (as opposed to job hoppers), to extract money from the jobless in such ways.


willing buyer willing seller

walk around International plaza and many agencies just seem to be making rental payments just on registration fees. lol

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:34 pm

Guess where my old agency's address was....... :lol:

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Postby Beeroclock » Tue, 31 Dec 2013 12:02 am

ecureilx wrote:willing buyer willing seller


True, although I've said the same previously, and been rebutted that contracts need to be reasonable, and serve the core intention/purpose, to be enforceable. If you recall when we debated the tenant early lease break issue, your thinking seemed quite the opposite there.... I would have pegged you as more of a consumer advocate.

Granted that OP has likely been naive/gullible, but it can happen to the best of us and I also get the impression he has been ripped off / gradually lured in by progressively larger fees, so I remain sympathetic that he might find a way to get some of his money back. It seems unreasonable to charge $900+ for form filing if that's all they did. I still reckon reporting to CASE might be worth a try, I know some businesses can be quite afraid of any such attention and might offer a settlement to avoid it. Also if CASE get enough complaints they might take action to raise awareness and/or regulate against these practices.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 31 Dec 2013 6:52 am

The practice has been going on for at least 15 years that I've been in the business. Occasionally an agency will be taken to task by the MOM but they are usually agencies dealing with FDW only. The rest? well, that's why the charges are broken down into two or three different tranches. All are within the law, The only thing than cannot be charged "specifically" to the job seeker is the recruitment fee itself, which IS spelled out specifically. You have to remember where you are. ;-) Caveat Emptor

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Postby ecureilx » Tue, 31 Dec 2013 11:14 am

Beeroclock wrote:True, although I've said the same previously, and been rebutted that contracts need to be reasonable, and serve the core intention/purpose, to be enforceable. If you recall when we debated the tenant early lease break issue, your thinking seemed quite the opposite there.... I would have pegged you as more of a consumer advocate.


Really ? I am not sure if I should be thrilled to have been identified as a Consumer advocate ?? :D I dread to admit I am not a consumer advocate ..

Beeroclock wrote:
Granted that OP has likely been naive/gullible, but it can happen to the best of us and I also get the impression he has been ripped off / gradually lured in by progressively larger fees, so I remain sympathetic that he might find a way to get some of his money back. It seems unreasonable to charge $900+ for form filing if that's all they did. I still reckon reporting to CASE might be worth a try, I know some businesses can be quite afraid of any such attention and might offer a settlement to avoid it. Also if CASE get enough complaints they might take action to raise awareness and/or regulate against these practices.


The issue is, out of the dozens of flights coming in from Asean countries, more than half the visitors are coming here looking for jobs, and there are micro-blogs for a few nationalities/communities- mainly of countries trying to everything to get the hell out of their country, all trying to tell them what is the best known way to ensure you land a job here fast, and last count, I could see atleast a few dozen, specialising in "EMPLOYMENT ADVICES" .. including how to fly under the radar for ICA purposes etc. etc. No, I can't understand most of the wording but I know what is there ..

That just shows how many are desperate to get jobs, so much so, a lot of SEA nationals are willing to forego upto 6 months pay, over a 2 year contract.

I am sure you knew this. If you didn't know this, you wouldn't understand my words "willing buyer willing seller.. "

So .. when you are running an agency, and have no intention of charging for placement, when you have candidates insisting on paying you, if you are a half inscrupulous businessman, why would you say no ?

For that matter, getting the money back ? I doubt it.

For example, how to get away with the charges ?

For example: Visa Fee says 60$, but when you go to pay, it is 240 $ = Visa fee 60 $, Notarization fee 60 $, Documentation fee 60 $, standardisation fee 60$. Now if an embassy can think of such innovative way to not keep their word on reciprocal fee of only 60 to the counterpart nationals, you think an agent who is seeming $$$ is not going to give similar breakdown ?

I am sure, for this case, the breakdown will be

Documentation charge
Filing charge
Document verification charge
Document validation charge
Document authentication charge
Employee Notification charge
job search charge
Resume presentation charge
Resume amendment charge / customisation charge
Postal fee
resume submission charge
employer's application form filling charge ..
Follow up charge

Want more ???

I hope you get the drift ..

BTW, for those who aren't in the know..

for FDWs there are lot of charges imposed on the FDWs, at the source countries, like the compulsory crash course in Mandarin, for those coming to Singapore, even though they may work for non-chinese employers, and even if Chinese, the maid is in for a bit of a rude shock when the employer's mother/father speak only Hokkein, and any crash course in Mandarin will not leave a lasting impressoin enough to allow the maid to remember the difference between Chuo and Chow ... and inflated price Medicals at the listed Medical centers, and an orientation on how to work with Foreigners / work in foreign countries .. (that seems to work as more than enough maids go mental when they see things aren't what they are taught in the course - by the trainers who never set foot in SG)

And a lawyer fee to verify the employment contract covers burial expenses, and repatriation .. and proper fees have been covered ..

Oh, if you don't engage an agent, the next available slot for Orientation is six months away. And agent can fast track it to .. tomorrow .. maybe ??

Somebody has to pay for this, and none of the employers want to pay for Mandarin, orientation etc - especially if the maid's employer is non-chinese .. for example .. and why would I want to pay for a medical taken at source country, when as an employer, I have to pay for a medical in Singapore as well ? hello ??

That is govt Sponsored "Placement Fee" for FDWs

No choice for FDWs, says me ..


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