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Employer to lock me up for breaking her lamp vase because I didn't have money to pay

(32 Posts)
Yiyecstgd Sun 07-Aug-16 12:40:32

Started working as a cleaner in a really huge house with rich owner's- the wife a full time mum. She says the whole house takes only 2 hours to thoroughly clean which I found was a lie since I couldn't even finish downstairs of the house in 3 hour's especially with her faulty hoover, the second day i was able to finish the ground floor before heading upstairs to hoover, while looking for a place to plug the hoover it tumbled over hitting her antique lamp vase and broke it, the lamp still worked but the vase was broken, I immediately called her mother in-law to the scene and apologised, she wasn't too mad just said I should tell whenever things like that occur, the wife got back and I told her and she said I had to pay for the whole lamp £120, I wasn't too pleased because I told her before starting the job I had nothing and hers was a 2hr work which I spent nearly 3 hrs doing, that was the £6.50 an hour, how do I pay that up? And knowing the hoover was faulty it's not rocket science it was bound to happen again, would I keep working for her all my life to keep replacing her misplaced antique? If it was that expensive why keep it in such a place?and since I broke only the vase why tell me to pay all the £120, well I was asked to pay ASAP else she'll call the police on me sending threatening texts i didn't have money to reply her so went on WhatsApp to reply, later that night my friend helped in clearing the debt and I never stepped my foot in her home again as I felt her actions where cruel. Did I do the right thing paying up or should I have taken it to court

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Sun 07-Aug-16 12:44:17

No you didn't have to pay it

You should've just left it! Her house contents insurance would pay it!

antiqueroadhoe Sun 07-Aug-16 12:45:37

Agree. She should claim on insurance.

ApocalypseSlough Sun 07-Aug-16 12:45:41

You did what you had to do to stop her harassing you, but no, it wouldn't have gone to court.
I'm glad you're not live in- I was concerned initially that you were a housekeeper.
Why don't you work through an agency- that's very low pay, the cleanser I know who work independently charge much higher than that so I don't see the advantage for you working independently for that money. If you were with an agency you'd have more realistic hours for the job and insurance.

SuckingEggs Sun 07-Aug-16 12:46:35

£6.50?! Thief. She's awful.

DoreenLethal Sun 07-Aug-16 12:49:10

Why not post this before you paid it rather than after? The responses will just make you feel bad that you did it.

For what it is worth, no I'd not have paid it.

m0therofdragons Sun 07-Aug-16 13:00:15

Probably not helpful but my cleaner is insured for any damage she does in people's homes. I thought that was fairly standard. It's not expensive but protects you. However I've never known a cleaner paid less than £10 an hour.

LIZS Sun 07-Aug-16 13:03:26

Sounds like you are bring exploited, in terms of wage and liability. Why are you doing 3 hours but only bring paid for 2? Are you booked through an agency?

Yiyecstgd Sun 07-Aug-16 13:26:06

I needed to know it's not just me or my friends who finds this cruel, I never told my mum about it, and I knew telling her meant more pressure on me as she holds me to a standard that I cannot meet of always being perfect, so would support the lady and would always bring it up to spite me, hence I had to pay before things might get out of control.

Stillunexpected Sun 07-Aug-16 13:37:40

This all sounds very strange. What age are you? To be honest, you sound very young and immature. If you are working as a cleaner, it is up to you to determine how much cleaning a customer wants, and then tell them how many hours it will take. Who decided on payment of £6.50 per hour? This is far too low for cleaning. You should be charging at least £10, maybe more, depending on where you live.

You absolutely should not have paid for the lamp, did you really think that the police would be interested in her story of a cleaner accidentally breaking something? I assume you are not going back there again?

Atenco Sun 07-Aug-16 13:40:23

Never accept such a low rate of pay again.

I'm a freelance translator and I have found that the people who are most likely to rip me off are the ones who offered me an abysmally low rate to start with.

Yiyecstgd Sun 07-Aug-16 13:46:45

Lol never! I only wanted to accumulate money for uni, and I'm 23

CremeBrulee Sun 07-Aug-16 13:47:17

Your hourly rate is far too low. I pay my cleaner £25 for 2.5 hours. I think that's very cheap and have told her she should charge more, especially as she does such a good job.

Anonymouses Sun 07-Aug-16 13:56:02

Your age is irrelevant. You need to go through an agency To protect yourself or do some research. You should be charging £10 an hour minimum and get some cheap liability insurance which would cover things like this.

Just because you are young doesn't mean it's right for you to be underpaid, overworked and exploited.

WorraLiberty Sun 07-Aug-16 14:01:19

Did you really think your employer could 'lock you up'??

Yiyecstgd Sun 07-Aug-16 14:03:49

Well I did think she could as people with money always had some power over the justice system, it's happened once in the family and wasn't willing to risk it again, it all happened just this Wednesday

Yiyecstgd Sun 07-Aug-16 14:06:44

Need I mention I'm black, not trying to play the race card but , it wasn't something I was willing to risk, learnt a huge lesson though, thanks for the response.

Stillunexpected Sun 07-Aug-16 14:07:07

Seriously? You are 23 and thought you could be "locked up" for accidentally breaking a vase? I don't care how much money this woman has, that isn't how it works.

When are you going to uni?

averylongtimeago Sun 07-Aug-16 14:09:38

Are you in the UK? Because no employer can have you looked up if you accidentally break something.
As others have said, sign up with an agency, get some liability insurance (it's not expensive) and charge the going rate.
Good cleaners are highly sought after ime so don't sell yourself too cheap!

WorraLiberty Sun 07-Aug-16 14:18:47

I'm trying to think of how many black people I know who have been locked up for accidentally breaking someone's lamp, while cleaning.

So far the count is 0.

Anyway, no you shouldn't have paid for it. Her home insurance should cover that.

At the very most, she could take you to a small claims court where as I'm sure you know, no-one can lock you up.

chocoLit Sun 07-Aug-16 14:19:39

Does your insurance cover it? Our cleaner has insurance for this purpose.

What age are you? That determines hourly rate but it still seems low

jelliebelly Sun 07-Aug-16 14:22:40

You need to find a different job. We pay our cleaner £11 an hour and she has her own insurance to cover this kind of thing.

CherryPicking Sun 07-Aug-16 14:27:30

She can't lock you up. Accidents happen, the police have better things to do.

Sillybillybonker Sun 07-Aug-16 14:29:25

This is weird. Why would you be locked up? Do you have a right to work in the UK? Did this woman have something else to threaten you with?

Yiyecstgd Sun 07-Aug-16 14:45:41

Of course I have the right to work here, no she didn't know anything about me other than what was on my C.V. it was my first time cleaning, saw the job on gumtree and just decided to apply and since £6.75 was the minimum wage I just assumed ugh I could just do it till I find something better as I have now though, as they say your worst mistake happens right before your good breakthrough or something like that. Thanks everyone.

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