They came up with an online tutor for one subject and, for another subject, someone about whom they told me nothing except that I'd get a call.
Message left by this tutor - rang agency to find out more before returning call and had a bizarre conversation. Agent knew very little after this person - was unable to tell me if they were qualified in the subject - or that qualifications had been verified when this person registered with them quite a while ago ('things were different then'). This tutor hasn't, it appears, taught other than done tutoring for this agency and in a range of subjects - sciences to humanities. Now well past retirement. No idea if they have grasp of the subject or knowledge of the curriculum. Was told a CV would cost me an additional £5.00 - but I guess wouldn't yield any useful info and another £5 on top of hefty registration fee?!
FT are very expensive - £39.00 per hour plus travel. Or have we been unlucky this time?
Personally as someone who tutors I would say avoid online agencies as the quality is extremely variable. The best tutors come through word of mouth recommendations and I also think those currently teaching or recently retired are best. I'm in the NW and standard fee is £30 ph for A-level chemistry.
Try tutor pages, but you will have to check up everything directly with any tutor you contact but tutors should be happy to talk to you about their training/expertise and may be able to provide testimonials from other parents. I'm appalled at the attitude of the agency!
I've had successful tutor through ' top tutors'. £25 per hour plus £5 travel and I'm in London. Word of mouth is the best way though. At AS/A level your child should be able to gauge if they're any good. Although you'll only waste one lesson if no good.
I would second First Tutors-you can see everything about the tutors and use the site to message them before you decide to pay to get their contact details. I'm registered on there and have found it very useful as prospective tutees can see exactly what I do and don't offer.
I'm up north and charge £25 for GCSE and £30 for A level btw.
I have done some tutoring work for Fleet Tutors in the past. I am surprised by your experience, tbh. When I registered with them I had to send them all my certificates, they followed up the references I gave and I had a phone interview where they asked about e.g. knowledge of the national curriculum, different exam boards etc etc.
I don't know how much they charge tutees per hour as I've never been involved in that side of things, but what they pay tutors is a good deal less than £39 per hour. That said, I think going through an agency should offer advantages over contacting the tutor directly such as quality control etc and that is what you pay extra for.
I do work independently of them too and charge similarly to Antionette (also up north).
Obviously I don't know everything about how they work, but I wonder whether you just had bad luck this time, I've found them very organised and efficient to work for.
<<Disclaimer - I'm not advertising for them, just giving my personal views and experiences>>.