Just wanted to share my unpleasant experience engaging a CL (黄金凤) from PEM.
1) Very aggressive sales consultant: the sales consultant is extremely pushy. If you google, you will realize this is not an isolated case, PEM’s sales are famed to be very pushy. They will try very hard to upsell you the herbal package and post-natal massage package, in addition to the CL service, to the extend of making false promises (I will elaborate later on this)
2) The herbal package: I didn't do any research prior to the meeting with PEM sales consultant, however, based on the sales consultant’s promise of “ability to get full refund on all unused herbal packs”, I bought and paid for the herbal, which is priced at SGD 390. As some moms already pointed out, herbal provided by PEM is of very inferior quality and hugely overly priced. I saw a similar 28 days confinement package from Eu Yan Sang at SGD 268. PEM’s package is from an unknown TCM. You make your own call if PEM overcharges its herbal package. The worst part came when I tried to return about ¾ of the herbal package, upon the early termination of the CL service due to lousy service, bad attitude and dishonesty (I will elaborate later), PEM refused to do a pro-rata refund and only agreed to refund 100 dollars (after charging a 20 dollar “pick-up” fee), claiming that some of the herbal returned is expired and cannot be reused after their physician assessment. How ridiculous is that? I didn't even open 3 out of 4 packs of the herbal and all along stored them in the fridge as instructed. What do they mean by “expired”? Upon dispute, they also refused to provide any transparency on what are the herbal packets that are expired. At the end, they even totally went back on their own words saying that herbal package could not be refunded and they refunded me 100 dollars out of good will, and that there is no proof that their sales consultant made such promises.
3) Post-natal massage package: to be fair, the post-natal massage was the only package that we completed and we were rather satisfactory with the service delivered by the Malay masseur. Pricing was also in line with market. No complaints on that.
4) The confinement lady: well, I guess you really have to count on your luck for the kind of nannies you get. In my case, we were extremely unlucky. But before going into details, I would like to comment on general qualities of PEM’s nannies. Firstly, they are generally not experienced. The first profile they gave me, which I declined straight away, had only 3 years experience. The second profile, which I accepted, had 6 years experience and according to PEM this is one of their more experienced ones already. Considering many nannies out there have more than 10 years, if not decades, of experience, PEM’s nannies seem to be very inexperienced. With hindsight, I am not surprised. Given that PEM take a significant commission out of nanny’s salary, experienced nannies with good reputation would go on their own once they have a big enough clientele which would provide them a strong referral base. The nanny I got was 64 years old, illiterate and unable to read but that was fine. I was appalled, however, by the below:
a. Bad attitude: she will retort you with “you know how many babies I have looked after in the past few years?”, when you try to ask her to do certain things differently. SHE IS ALWAYS RIGHT! Well, as first time parents, I have to admit we are no experts. But we are no morons either and there is always google. I am not going into details, but her attitude definitely added stress to us rather than providing reassurance.
b. Lazy：we have a helper at home and she does all the household chores. The CL basically used my helper fully, making her do all the food preparation and most of the cooking too. The nanny in the very first day upon arrival, told us that she only cook 3 meals a a day, no afternoon tea, no supper, no desert and breakfast was always slices of bread with butter. She takes long afternoon naps, claiming that she couldn't rest well at night due to baby. In fact, she sleeps very well at night. There are a couple of times that I went in to check on the baby, baby was uneasy, almost crying but the nanny was sleeping like a baby, snoring!
c. Unhygienic: the nanny sweat like crazy! We stay on 22nd floor and it was super windy and she still sweat like crazy whenever she is moving around. She does wash her hands before handling the baby, but mostly with water only without using soap. I don't know if she cleans her hand at night after changing baby’s diaper and before feeding her, when we were not watching. My baby ended up with a tummy infection at 20 days of her life and she needs to be hospitalized – that's when I fired the CL. I am not saying she is confirmed the culprit, but highly possible, as she is the primary carer of my baby during that few weeks.
d. Dishonesty: this is the part that pissed me off most. She is dishonest. In order to make the baby sleep longer at night so that she can sleep longer, she always tried to feed baby with formula milk at night, despite we have ample BM stored in the fridge and we explicitly and repeatedly told her that we would like to exclusively BF the baby. She said ok, but she still fed baby with formula at night! Another dishonest act was during her last day after I decided to send her home. I was not thinking straight after my baby was admitted to hospital and counted my cash wrongly. I was supposed to give her 1900 as salary (on top of Ang Bao), but I counted 1950. She went into the room to count, for a good 10 min, and came out to say the amount was correct, and asked for a Ang Bao, which I did give. I only realized that I counted the wrong amount after she left. I was so sure because I counted 39 fifty dollar notes instead of 38, and I realized after I noticed 1 fifty dollar missing afterwards. I called PEM later on. When PEM asked the CL about it, she admitted, claiming that she didn't want to let my helper know her salary therefore never mentioned about additional 50 dollars I gave by mistake. What a joke!
Above is a fair recount of my experience with PEM recently. I would never engage this agency again in the future. You may want to learn from my experience and at least be careful before you engage their service!