I am a fulltime tutor who is currently encountering issues with tuition fee payment from a parent and the tuition agency who provided the assignment. I have conducted a total of 15 lessons with his daughter. He has only paid a commission of 6 lessons to the tuition agency, and I have yet to receive a single cent for the remaining 9 lessons that I have conducted.
Summary of assignment details:
- 3 lessons/week, 2hrs/lesson. Payment is supposed to be made every 12 lessons.
- Father proclaims himself to be a "Singaporean expat" who is very busy.
- I have never met the father before because on the few occasions that he is at home, he is always in his room while tuition is conducted at the dining table.
- Father has never replied any of my calls/texts; I have to rely on the mother to pass messages to him.
- I tried calling + texting him to enquire about payment method on the 9th lesson. He ignored all my calls and texts but finally called me back after the 11th lesson when I asked the mother to speak to him on my behalf.
- He told me that instead of payment every 12 lessons, it would be easier to calculate all the lessons at one go and he can pay me at the end of Dec via internet bank transfer as it is more convenient. I agreed.
- In Dec, he started cancelling lessons via text message. In total he cancelled 9 lessons. Most of the lessons were cancelled shortly before they were scheduled to start (lesson starts at 2pm, he cancels at 1pm).
- On 22nd Dec, due to Christmas and New Year, he decided to cancel the rest of the lessons for Dec. He texted me at 1pm to cancel, again, an hour before the scheduled lesson at 2pm.
- Since lessons had been cancelled for the rest of the month, I texted him with the total fees and my bank account details on 22nd Dec.
- Having received no response, I texted him again on 23rd Dec asking if he had received my previous text. His response: "Yes received it, but I will pay you cash at the end of Jan."
- I thought it was very rude of him because if I had not texted him a second time, he probably wouldn't have bothered to tell me about paying in cash instead. Also, I felt uneasy about the delay in payment.
- I requested that it would be more convenient to get the payment for Nov and Dec first, citing accounting reasons. His response: "I have no iBanking. My wife has also just closed her bank accounts, so I can't transfer to you."
- I felt that this was a lousy excuse, since he was the one who had suggested payment via bank transfer in the first place, so I called him. This time I told him that I was uneasy about the delay in payment, and requested once again that the payment be settled for Nov and Dec.
- His response: "I am a businessman who builds relationships based on trust. If you can't trust me, we can terminate the assignment. Either you wait till Jan for the payment, or we terminate the tuition now."
- I agreed to terminate the assignment, and we made arrangements for me to go down personally to his place to collect the payment.
- 10 minutes later, I received a call from the tuition agency that had provided the assignment. Somehow, the father had called them and managed to convince them to settle the payment with me on his behalf. I was told not to go down to collect the payment.
- As of today, the agency has not responded to my enquiries as to the status of the payment. It has been over a week since my last lesson, and I have not received a single cent.
I would appreciate it if any parents/tutors who have encountered similar situations could provide advice as to which are the relevant authorities I should approach should I be unsuccessful in retrieving the tuition fees. Can I hold the tuition agency accountable if the father ends up not paying, since they were the ones who stopped me from going down to collect the fees personally? The father had already agreed to passing me the fees, so I felt that it was just another mode of delay on his part by calling the tuition agency and asking them to collect the fees for me instead. Also, the agency was paid their commission of 6 lessons prior to the start of the assignment, so they had no reason to collect my part of the payment.
Thank you for reading, and any help would be very much appreciated!
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