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Heavenly au pairs(8 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
Hi there, I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience of this agency that they are willing to share?? Thanks
The main agency in Scandinavia STS use them, and friends use them and have had good experiences.
We used Heavenly for our first au pair experience and while the candidate profiles were generally good, their fees are higher than market and complicated (many different tiers, extra for Dutch/Swedish, extra for drivers, extra for mini-mother's help, different for length of time, etc.) and their T&Cs on refunds/when things go wrong evident of a broken business model.
Their mini-mother's help fees are rip-off (£700+). There is no difference between the mini-mother's help and au pair candidates they send through yet they charge £200 more for mini-mother's help. The mini-mother's help profiles they sent through even said au pair application. While we were happy to pay more for qualified mini-mother's help with more experience the profiles we received were au pairs. Finally we paid the au pair fee (£510) as it was clear the girl we were getting was an au pair, not mini-mother's help.
However, the issues didn't stop there. The au pair had mental health issues and left us after 35 days because she was homesick, needed her parents and seemed depressed. She gave less than a weeks notice (despite contract saying she had to give more) and had to leave as was crying every afternoon. This was despite the fact that the week before having to leave she kept saying we were the best family ever. So we were left without help and had to increase our childcare costs paying babysitters and significantly impacting our getting to/from work routines.
As we had gone past the 28 days "free" replacement period, Heavenly did not offer any refund of the fee. Just a discount on the next search. They didn't find any suitable candidates so we ended up paying £510 for an au pair that stayed 5 weeks, just enough time for us to train her and then she left.
The team at Heavenly were nice but their fees and T&Cs are not transparent, too high and leave the host family with all the risk if something goes wrong with the au pair.
Needless to say we will never use them again.
Hi folks. The owner of this agency wanted to offer a reply to the above post, which we felt was fair enough. Here's what they had to say:
"We were greatly saddened that the placement did not work out for you and that the au pair you chose out of the many we offered you was unfortunately the one who chose to leave.
We hold to our terms & conditions and do not lower our high standards at any point. As soon as you informed us your au pair wished to leave, we confirmed the search for a FREE replacement candidate.
We kept you updated regularly. We discussed that to find candidates who can start in March is more challenging as there are far fewer au pairs available. The search was made more difficult by searching for a native German speaker. German speaking au pairs applying now generally cannot start before July/ Aug. Despite this, we offered you a lovely German au pair as a Free replacement, but after your interview she sadly chose a different family.
We offered you other very good au pairs of other nationalities who could start immediately, as we continued the free search for your Free replacement.
As you know from our many phone calls & emails the entire team has been working hard for you ever since you informed us your au pair would be leaving you.
You refer to our fees, terms & conditions. We are as clear as we possibly can be on our fees, t's & c's. If at any point you did not understand them, we would have been happy to explain! Everything is written clearly in easy to understand language, as it is in no one's interest to start work on a misunderstanding. If ever any part/sentence is unclear to anyone we would like to be informed so that we can rectify.
We would never wish to start work for someone who was not comfortable with the terms we abide by. Our on-line family registration cannot be submitted without the client ticking that they have read, understood & agree to our t's & c's and are happy to proceed.
Our au pair fee is £510 but only £425 is fee, the rest is VAT which we by law need to charge. For all the checks, interviewing and free replacement facility, we believe this is excellent value for money to find one's childcare.
95% of our clients & candidates are very or extremely happy with our service.
Occasionally a placement will fail. We have full understanding for families in these circumstances and we pull out all the stops to find an excellent replacement as soon as possible.
All our fees (incl. of VAT), & refund policy are clearly defined on our website for complete clarity.
We do not offer refunds in the 1st instance, instead we offer Free replacements, which our clients understand. We DO offer refunds where we are unable to present candidates as part of our Free replacement policy. We offered you many candidates but you decided on an au pair you found yourselves. We at that point offered you a large discount off the next au pair search.
Re. mini-mother's help; we as an agency were concerned there might be days when your au pair had sole care of your baby. Therefore we explained that a mini-MH might be better, as many of our mini mother's help candidates have baby experience.
For more experienced candidates we charge a higher fee.
We keep all our fees in line with other leading au pair agencies, despite the extra work undertaken by Heavenly. Interviewing each candidate on the families' behalf takes considerable time, as does collating & checking the many references and different documents we send for each & every candidate (full applic. form, police check, medical check, checked childcare refs & character ref, ID/passport etc)
We also only put forward candidates who have already seen the family profile and asked to apply, as opposed to other way round like other agencies. We believe this is vital in saving the family's time.
We wish you the best of luck with your future au pairs. Fortunately failed au pair placement are unusual, as 93-97% work very well, so the likelihood is that you will not have this misfortune again, however, we will remain saddened that we were not able to please you."
Thanks for your response.
The fact remains that we paid £510 for an au pair that stayed 5 weeks. I trained her and she left.
I have no complaints regarding the team at heavenly. They were always nice and professional.
My problem is with your business model, fees and no refunds for an "unfortunate" and rare situation like ours.
I now feel ripped off and will never use your agency again.
We have been using them for 4 years and have been very happy, lots of our friends use them too. The team have understood what we were looking for and put forward good candidates each time. When we once had an initial issue with one of our au pairs they were quick to help and the problem was resolved. I don't think the fees are difficult to understand and I think they are about the same as other agencies. Really happy with them and would definitely use them again!
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