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Helper In Debt

  1. #1
    Swoon's Avatar
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    Helper In Debt

    Has anyone had an experience of a helper who owes money?

    We were recently contacted by a bank called Pacific East in World-wide House that lends to Philippinas who said our helper owes money on a loan and they can’t reach her. They called us as a last resort. Everytime they call her mobile, she hangs up on them. They are now planning to pass her file to the “Collectors” who will really come down on her and may “visit” her. I don’t want to be involved in her personal matter, will not pay for any debt that she personally incurred, and certainly don’t want anyone at our door. I've told the bank never to contact me again as it's not my business.

    Anyone encounter similar situation? Should I fire her before trouble comes knocking?

  2. #2
    shri's Avatar
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    Some random thoughts:

    - You're dealing with loan sharks and the fact that they've called you is an indication that they want you to know, that they know who you are and that you're involved, either implicitly or explicitly.

    The fact that they have called you indicates that they have made it your business.

    - How much is it worth for you to keep your helper on? Keep in mind that at the very least you're dealing with a known problem. A new helper could bring in a new set of problems.

    - Is her situation genuine? i.e. Is it a one time only deal or do you belive this is a chronic issue?

    - I know little about this, but have heard enough stories to know that this issue is fairly common amongst helpers who have phone bills and other loans that they cannot pay off.

    If its a one time only deal and the debt is a 4 figure problem, might be worth your while to get involved and fix it. Unfortunately with a lot of people this might be a sign of weakness and gives them some reassurance that you'll bail them out again.

    You really do not want collectors following your helper around as your kid is with her, you're not at home and you have no clue who the loan sharks deal with (they're not governed by normal banking regulations about calling people and visiting residences).

  3. #3
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    lavanda_fairy is offline Registered User
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    My advice is to fire her, it happened to my parents before, their first helper was in debt and one of her friends contact my parents and told them that (coz people from the bank go to her), and luckily it was before the helper go on her vacation (as she might not come back after), so my parents had no choice but to fire her. I heard that from the agency that a lot of helper get themselves in debt for some reasons... I know it's quite common among helpers but then again, you really don't want to deal with that sort of problem.
    Be prepared that once you get yourself involved in paying back for her, she might do it again.

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    Thanks for raising some really good points. I realize that I am indeed "involved" by default simply because "the bank" has told me about the money owed.

    One thing I know for sure though is that I refuse to bail out a debt incurred by a helper, no matter if it's $200 or $2000, out of principle. I feel that this is a mess that she created for herself and as a "responsible" adult, she needs to deal with it herself. Even though I think she's pretty good with our baby, I'd rather opt to let her go instead.

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    Anytime. :-)

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    ag1
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    We are in a similar situation with our helper. I got extremely annoyed about the whole thing (especially the phonecalls from the bank - they stopped once I threatened them with the police)and I admit my first reaction was to fire her on the spot, but we decided not to in the end.
    What we did was help her to arrange a more suitable repayment schedule with the bank which meant she wasnt in it above her head. So in the end it hasnt cost us a penny, we get to keep an excellent helper, and she's indebted to us for the help we've given her. That's the theory, anyway. Lets see how it works out. I see the payment receipts every month to make sure she's paying and we have made it clear that if any payments are missed, she will be dismissed immediately.
    We just felt that at least we had a handle on what her problems were. To take someone new on could be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire - I have heard so many horror stories about helpers.
    HOWEVER. I have to say that I do not work so I am at home and can keep an eye on things. If I was working and leaving her in charge of my child, my mindset would be completely different.
    Hope this throws a different light on things.

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    Seb's Dad is offline Registered User
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    I like ag1's approach as an interim step prior to terminating the helper.

    Hong Kong has loan sharking laws that in many cases the loans given to helpers exceed once late penalties are added into the equation (if not before!). You can use this as a leverage against the callers and as a way to set-up more realistic re-payment scheds. However, all this depends on the helper taking responsibility for the situation... if they hesitate or miss a payment... end of the road.

    We had a similar experience with a previous helper. What I discovered was an incredible degree of naivety and misunderstanding regarding loans, interest payments, credit record implications etc. We have new helpers starting next month and I plan to sit down with them to forewarn them of the dangers of loans to avoid a potential disaster.

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    ggrizzy is offline Registered User
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    i have had the same problem with my previous problem. i didn't fire her the first time it happened and in fact i bailed her out and worked out a repayment schedule with her to repay me. she promised never to borrow money again or act as guarantor for any of her friends. but that was only the start of the nightmare! she borrowed again and again even though i had warned her that if i ever found out, she would be dismissed immediately! i just couldn't handle the calls from the collectors so i found a new helper and fired my previous one on the day that my new helper arrived. (i have to work so i could not risk giving her notice in lieu of wages and leave her alone with my toddler at home!) in fact when my husband informed her to pack and leave, she was so calm i think she expected it. in any case, i would seriously advice getting a new helper as you don't know if any of their 'excuses/explanations/promises' are truthful!

    good luck....

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