The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Au Pair Care — Horrendous Business Practices
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Let me start by stating that it is important to note that an au pair is NOT a nanny - I discovered this the hard way. Also, I will assume my experience is an anomaly. Unfortunately, I was sold a bag of goods by the local Philadelphia Director, who told me everything that I needed to hear relative to my childcare needs after a disappointing experience with a nanny. "This program is different", and "You will not get that with us", were frequent comments I heard during the interview. So, I paid the $7, 500 agency fee after her sales pitch, and slowly learned over the forthcoming months what I mistake this was.
First, the girls are told that this is a cultural exchange program. That is a key reason how they get them here. This is fine, but to me, as a single parent, there should be much more emphasis on the childcare aspects of things. I did not see that with my experience. The girls are also relatively young, inexperienced, and not too mature at times. Most of the time, the girls are interested and focused on their next social gathering with the other local au pairs. In my experience, I had an au pair that did nothing unless told, no initiative whatsoever. She was also sloppy and unorganized and did not have the driving experience that was specified in her profile on the site.
My biggest complaint is that the agency Director would be in communication with her to see how things were going, and get a very one-sided view on things without my input. I would then get follow-up calls from the Director accusing me of overworking the au pair, not giving her enough free time, etc. I thought this was totally unprofessional, and more importantly, totally inaccurate. If she worked 30 hours a week, that was a lot! And she can work up to 45 hours a week. And to be accused by the Director of over-working her on more than one occassion, I was annoyed to say the least.
My au-pair contract was for 12-months. I decided at the 6-month mark that I would not extend her since this program is not for me - this was my option. Well, this got back to the Director, and now it seems the au pair wants to be placed in another family because she wants to be extended for another 6 months, and I will be left without childcare for the remaining two months. Talk about an inconvenience and unprofessionalism!! And, this is after the au pair just took her 2 weeks paid vacation, and I extended her the courtesy of keeping her on for another 6 months. So, my complaint is that I am paying for an au pair for 12 months, and I am getting 10 months of service, and overpaid on her vacation time as well. Oh, I get a two-month "credit" for services - not a monetary refund.
So, as the old addage goes - you get what you pay for!!! From a business standpoint, this company needs to be closer to the families that are paying their bills, not the au pairs. And NEVER, EVER accuse a family of 'over-working' an au pair without speaking with them firsthand. This is just unacceptable.
I am sure there are families out there that have had positive experiences with AuPairCare, but this was not true in my case. I think most families with children need a true "nanny", to help out around the house, and not a young adult looking for a cultural exchange, hanging out at clubs, and oh, happens to take care of some of the childcare responsibilities secondarily...