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unwittingly in middle of my cleaners family drama - help!

(19 Posts)
becstarlitsea Mon 21-Sep-09 09:45:28

So we had a lovely cleaner, S, through an agency, who was with us for three years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and while she recovered she asked if we would have the sister of her daughter-in-law to cover for her, which we agreed to, and E came to clean for us. While S was ill, we sent presents and notes etc.. S recovered and when E went on holiday S came to clean for us a couple of times. This continued for two more years.

Then we decided to stop paying the agency we got the cleaner through because we'd had no reason to contact them in 5 years and were paying them £200 per year. This involved lying to the agency (not proud of this) and saying that we no longer needed a cleaner. E continued to clean for us and we paid her an increased wage as we were no longer paying the agency.

Then this week E told us that she has childcare issues and therefore could we have someone she knows, B, to cover for her for a few months, and then have her back afterwards. I said 'sure' and assumed that S was ill, unavailable, or didn't want to do it.

Then this morning S turned up in tears, saying that E had told her we didn't want her to come and clean for us, that we didn't like her, and that's why E wasn't asking her to cover while she wasn't working for us. S said that we are her 'soul family' and that she is heartbroken that she isn't working for us any more.

I told S that I would tell E I'd like S to cover for her instead, and to leave her keys. S says she doesn't want E to come back, S wants to work for us from now on, and is totally pissed off with E. I said 'okay' - she was in floods of tears and I just couldn't bear it.

I can foresee hysterical recriminations all round. Everyone involved except me & DH are Romanian and speak very basic English so complex discussions aren't possible and the potential for misunderstanding is vast. Hands are waved, tears are shed, emotions seem to be running very high. If the agency are told that we had a cleaner and stopped paying them we'll have to pay them a huge amount of money (more than DH and I have earned so far this year).

E is a slightly better cleaner than S, but S is lovely and was incredibly kind when I was pg and had hyperemesis and adores my son.

Is there any way out of this? Besides moving to outer Mongolia and hiding under a bush? Am posting on AIBU as I want forthright answers.

Mybox Mon 21-Sep-09 09:49:41

Sounds complicated - would say that none of them clean for you & you find someone else.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Mon 21-Sep-09 09:54:00

Same as what Mybox said.

DoingTheBestICan Mon 21-Sep-09 09:54:55

I agree with Mybox,it just sounds like things will get more & more complicated.

I would try & find another cleaner.

Good luck.

PrincessToadstool Mon 21-Sep-09 09:56:44

God, what drama. Get rid of them all. Make sure you get all your keys back. The agency fees cover insurance so a bit of a risk as well as breaching your contract with them.

PrincessToadstool Mon 21-Sep-09 09:57:31

Actually I think it is really shit that you lied to the agency. Really shit. Find your own damn cleaner.

RTKangaMummy Mon 21-Sep-09 10:04:11

why not try to find someone who can speak romanaian and english so they can translate so it will be easier for everyone to understand what everyone else is saying

Hassled Mon 21-Sep-09 10:07:26

Stick with S. She was there first and she sounds lovely. Plus, E lied to her. Why would the agency find out about any of this?

MamaG Mon 21-Sep-09 10:07:48

Thing is, if she tells them all to bog off, they might tell the agency.

Think an interpreter is the answer.

Morloth Mon 21-Sep-09 10:09:38

They all go, having a cleaner is supposed to relieve stress not cause it.

You shouldn't have broken the contract with the agency though, now you have no protection/contract.

kylesmybaby Mon 21-Sep-09 10:16:36

i am sure E will probably tell the agency. unless she is still working for them and then she cant tell them as she will be putting herself in it.

can see why you lied to the agency though. might be easier to get rid of all of them tbh.

becstarlitsea Mon 21-Sep-09 10:25:14

True, shouldn't have broken contract with the agency. But the agency made it clear that they would never insure us against any loss/damage/lawsuit/theft so we never had any insurance via them. The only contact we had with them in 5 years was when my card payment bounced because I'd had my wallet nicked & forgotten to tell agency new card details, so they threatened to send debt collectors round (the payment was one month late and they hadn't notified us by letter or anything before threatening this). If they'd done anything for us in the past five years I wouldn't have lied to them. But I shouldn't have lied all the same, and I'm really not proud of that. And it was stupid as it's left us open to a huge payment.

I am thinking of telling both of them that we can't afford a cleaner any more - which is true, we haven't been able to afford a cleaner for ages, but we couldn't bear to put them out of work during such lean times. But I feel awful about doing that as well - they are both good cleaners and will both be heartbroken not to work for us any more, and they are bound to both continue saying to each other that 'becstarlitsea always loved me best' which is apparently what's been going on, and I expect they will still be turning up on my doorstep crying.

MamaG Mon 21-Sep-09 10:32:11

If you can't afford a cleaner, then stop fannying about and let them both go. Sorry, but being a wuss isn't going to sort this situation out! Sounds like your get out clause without causing too much upset and if htey keep saying that to each other just let them!

kylesmybaby Mon 21-Sep-09 11:05:40

yes that sounds a good idea - to tell them both you cant afford any of them. then at least your not favouring one of the other. good luck. let us know.

becstarlitsea Mon 21-Sep-09 13:45:38

It's the only answer isn't it? This is so-o-o-o not what I need right now - I'm a bit of an emotional wreck. My mum, who I'm really close to, is seriously ill and I'm half out of my mind with worry about her, my best friend announced she doesn't want to be my friend any more because I'm too 'immersed in being a mum' but has now forgiven me, and agreed to have dinner 'to talk things through' - another emotional scene-in-waiting. Drama, drama, everywhere, nor anyone to listen to MINE [stamps foot]! (Which actually means 'thanks for listening' smile)

I'll update you all tomorrow, if I haven't been crippled by an ancient romanian gypsy curse.

Hando Mon 21-Sep-09 13:53:41

OP. You have already become waaay to involved in my eyes.

Let them all go, find a new cleaner.

You seriously think the agency are going to charge you more than yours and your DH's salary for the year for pinching one of their cleaners? I very much doubt they would be able to force you to pay anything.

Your cleaner saying you are her "soul family" sounds odd to me. She seems lovely but why should you have the stress of her family disputes.

slowreadingprogress Mon 21-Sep-09 14:24:57

I think you have to all take the consequences of your actions on the chin. Your original cleaner should not have 'poached' clients eg you, from the agency, she should have remained cleaning for you on the basis she was employed and you should have kept your cleaner/agency on a basic, professional footing. So you've both acted a bit 'underhanded' and this is the result. Personally I would stop with them all and start afresh again with a different agency.

becstarlitsea Mon 21-Sep-09 15:34:32

Hando - my DH and I have only paid ourselves £500 so far this year and have been living off savings - no salaries as we're self-employed and business has been very very bad. It would be great if they can't force us to pay anything as we're struggling enough as it is.

I think you're right slowreadingprogress that I've basically created some bad karma here. I am usually scrupulously honest, and on the rare occasions I have lied, it has always, always, come back and bitten me hard on the bottom, if only in the form of remorse...

becstarlitsea Wed 23-Sep-09 09:08:43

Update as promised - we don't have a cleaner any more. E was lovely, apologised that we were disturbed yesterday, thanked me for everything, refused to accept a month's pay - I managed to press a week's pay on her with great difficulty - and she left her keys. S kept listening to what I said on the phone then repeating 'So I come clean Friday, yes?' In the end I had to get DH on the phone to her as I think I sounded far too nice. DH was pissed off with the whole saga by this point so he told her 'no, don't come again' in no uncertain terms. If I hear from the agency I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm not answering the door in case I get S in floods of tears again - I've got so much work to do today and really need to check on my mum who is in hospital now...

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