Agency must return fee to employer after maid runs away

By Ng Ai Fern

KUCHING, Malaysia - An employer, whose maid ran away after working just five days, took the maid agency to a consumer claims tribunal to get her RM6,500 (S$2,635) in agency fee back.

On Friday, Consumer Claims Tribunal president Datuk Lawrence Thien ruled that the non-refundable' agency fee for a runaway maid was an unfair contract term and ordered the agency to return RM5,700 to Bernardine Yun, 68, after deducting 10% as costs and RM30 salary a day for five days.

"People must get value for money. Even though the agency had no intention of making the maid run away, when you collect money, you must give service," Thien said.

Yun said she had paid RM6,500 in agency fees and about RM1,000 in government processing fees.

She said she was also asked to pay an additional RM2,000 upfront as six-month salary for the maid but she refused, agreeing only to pay RM30 a day during the one-week trial period.

The maid from Jakarta, known as Ai Nuraisyah, 30, reported to work on April 28. When Yun woke up on May 2, the maid was missing.

"I called the agency but they scolded me for not looking after the maid properly. What am I suppose to do, lock or chain the maid?"

"She has no money nor passport, how can she run away? But they (the agent) had my address."

Yun said she then lodged a police report.

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