In early April 2015 Rumah Bahasa Cinere Mall suddenly closed down just 2 months after opening. Between 300 and 400 students were cheated out of their course payments. Some of them lost up to $1000, scammed by Frendy Horas, Rumah Bahasa’s con-artist mastermind. This was Horas’s seventh and final school to close in Jakarta, and it was hoped that the Rumah Bahasa fiasco was finally over.
Alas, we have to report that there is also a school in Surabaya called Rumah Bahasa which also opened in 2014, just when Frendy Horas was in his scamming heyday. Are the two schools the same beast or is it just a huge coincidence? Is the Rumah Bahasa which has opened in Surabaya the same one which scammed 300-400 students out of their cash in Cinere (a suburb of Depok)?
The first exhibit is the schedule from Rumah Bahasa Surabaya, which offers a similar mix of languages to their Jakarta operations: English, French, German and Chinese. Another photo (further down) reveals a whiteboard covered with Korean hanguls, so it appears Korean is being offered as well. There are also Computer Studies classes on offer! The school name, the range of languages and the jack-of-all-trades approach are all exactly the same, so at first glance it seems very likely that the two schools are part of the same beast.
However, there is one interesting difference which indicates otherwise. The Rumah Bahasa Surabaya courses are being head inside Balai Pemuda, the office building belonging to the Walikota (the mayor) of Surabaya! She has even officiated at the opening of the school. In the photo below you can see a Rumah Bahasa Surabaya class being taught inside a room at Balai Pemuda. The large painting on the wall depicts a shark fighting with a crocodile, which is the official legend of the city of Surabaya. The chairs in the picture also bear the emblem of the Mayor of Surabaya!
Furthermore, the courses at Rumah Bahasa Surabaya are free, or at least they are subsidized by the city of Surabaya as well as some charitable organization from the United States. They boast that they have taught 3000 students for free at Rumah Bahasa Surabaya. Is it possible that the city of Surabaya is doing business with the thief from Cinere Mall? Or is it all just a tremendous coincidence? We would be happy for clarification at this point. Does anyone know if Frendy Horas is involved with Rumah Bahasa Surabaya? We would hate to see more people ripped off by this con-artist.