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    Feb 24, 2015

    Tuition agency gets e-mail 'threats' after posting blacklist

    A TUITION agency here claims that it received some 50 e-mail threats in the months after it began blacklisting its errant tutors online.

    The agency, called MyTuitionClub, posted the names and partial contact details of five blacklisted tutors on its website in September.

    Also included were the reasons why they were on the blacklist, such as how some of the tutors did not turn up for tuition sessions, reported evening daily Shin Min Daily News yesterday.

    The agency had done this in an attempt to raise standards of tutors, said a spokesman.

    But within a few months of posting the blacklist, a coordinator at the agency, Eileen Tan, received almost 50 e-mail messages that were allegedly threatening in nature.

    These included e-mail messages that accused MyTuitionClub of cheating, as well as warnings to other people not to engage the agency's services.

    "I even received a few calls to the agency in which the callers scolded me and told me to go and die," said Ms Tan, 27.

    Set up in 2006, MyTuitionClub helps connect tutors with parents looking to find tutors for their children. The agency has nearly 20,000 students and parents as clients.

    According to the information that Shin Min got, a number of e-mail messages had accused the tuition agency of being dishonest.

    Another MyTuitionClub coordinator, Desmond Wong, told My Paper that the unknown senders of the e-mail messages also threatened to bad-mouth the agency, telling it "to be careful".

    According to Ms Tan, the tuition agency has blacklisted 50 to 80 tutors in the past five to eight years, but the list had not been published online, Shin Min reported.

    She said that tutors are added to the blacklist only after much consideration and they do not respond despite being sent many e-mail messages.

    Ms Tan is in contact with union members on the possibility of putting in place tighter controls in the tuition industry, so as to raise the quality of tutors.

    On the advice of its lawyer, the agency also sent e-mail messages to other players in the tuition industry to clear the air on the statements made against MyTuitionClub. The agency also said that it would take legal action against offensive statements.

    Mr Wong said that besides the details of errant tutors, there were "problematic parents" on the blackllist as well, although the latter are rare.

    Parents are added to the blacklist when they refuse to pay tuition fees despite repeated reminders. The current blacklist does not have any parents on it as the list is renewed annually, so last year's list of parents are no longer on it, Mr Wong said.

    He did not know of other tuition centres which post a blacklist of tutors and parents.

    One blacklisted tutor told Shin Min that she was innocent. She claimed that she missed a tuition session because she was on medical leave. The tutor said she personally informed the student's parents, apologised and arranged for another tuition date.

    But she said the agency overlooked this and requested that she pay compensation, threatening to put her on the blacklist if she did not. However, Ms Tan refuted the tutor's explanation and told My Paper that she had refused to produce any official medical certificate.

    The tutor has since lodged a complaint with the authorities, as her details were made public.