Perfect matches these days,however, come at too high a price. The policy of overcharging is a simple and well thought-out scheme by the tutor referral companies that introduce tutors to prospective students and vice-versa. First, ads are posted on the Internet and other forms of media, recruiting people who want to serve as tutors. Once the companies have a sufficient teacher database, ads are posted again, this time in an effort to attract students. Next, the students are linked with their choice of tutors. finally, fees are charged for these introductions, and the amount is substantial.
Though the usual commission fee is about 30 to 40 percent of the tutor"s first month"s salary, some companies ask for fees as high as 80 or even 100 percent. Supposing that a tutor"s salary is 300,000 won a month, the company"s earning would be at least 90,000 won. "They are only making a few phone calls to close the deal. I think the commission fees are exhorbitant," says Oh Gae-eul (French Language &Literature,3).
To compound this problem, the system of demanding commission fees has spread among students as well, making it even more difficult for them to find a tutoring job without paying the extra expense. Now, even when tutors "hand over" heir jobs to other tutors, they do so in return for a 20 to 30 percent commission fee.
The obvious alternative would be for tutors to find prospective students independently. But this is not as easy as it
sounds. In this market,advertising is everything.And since large tutor referral companies hold a near-monopoly in most advertising venues, they manage to attract the bulk of potential students and tutors. What travels by word of mouth, by comparison,offers a relatively restricted amount of opportunities.
This causes a serious problem,considering that most of the students who have a hard time finding tutoring jobs are those who come from areas outside Seoul and do not know anyone in the city. They may need the extra money from a tutoring job to cover their basic costs of living. The students are affected as well, since they too have to pay fees to the referral companies for being matched to a tutor. These added costs can make their already expensive lessons unaffordable.
Though many complaints on the matter have been reported to the Fair Trade Commission Center, the center fails to give a straight answer. As of
now, their only reply is that there is no existing regulation concerning university students" tutoring services. And from such a reply, one can easily deduce that the barter system is here to stay.
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