Jump to content


Photo

Query on lesson cancellations and contracts


  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#1 JD5

JD5

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 87 posts
  • Member: 895274
    Joined: 16-April 16
  • South East

Posted 18 May 2017 - 22:03

I wonder if I could put a general question to you teachers (and any others, of course):

 

1) Student goes to new (piano) teacher and teacher agrees to give a block of 4 weekly lessons to see how things progress.

2) Student pays teacher for all the lessons in advance.

3) After 2 lessons the student decides this is not the teacher that he wants and gives notice that he wants to leave straight away (ie only having 2 lessons).

4) But according to the teachers terms and conditions (which student has agreed to) a "notice to discontinue tuition is required in lieu of fees prior to 4 lessons remaining."

5) But also in the terms and conditions the teacher "reserves the right to cease to offer tuition without notice."

 

So it would appear that if the student stops after 2 lessons then he cannot ask for a refund BUT the teacher may stop tuition at any time (I assume that if the teacher stops tuition after the 2nd lesson then a refund of 2 lesson will be payable.)

Is this correct ?  As the teacher can discontinue at any time, why can't the student ?  Is the student entitled to a refund of 2 lessons as he only has had 2 and paid for 4?

 

Thanks for any comments....


  • 0

#2 Cyrilla

Cyrilla

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13918 posts
  • Member: 99
    Joined: 09-November 03
  • Croydon, South London/Surrey

Posted 18 May 2017 - 22:13

The bottom line is that you agreed to the teacher's terms and conditions.

 

:)


  • 5

#3 jpiano

jpiano

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1895 posts
  • Member: 1270
    Joined: 03-May 04

Posted 18 May 2017 - 22:17

In one way it's clear enough in that you agreed to the terms from the beginning so I can't see a problem really with them. But I am confused about the giving notice bit- if you've just booked a month of lessons then I'm unclear how much notice you'd be expected to give. Could you not just finish the month? Even though you've decided they're not the teacher for you, there's probably something you can take from the experience. Or is it so horrendous you don't want to go back?

 

I wonder if the clause about the teacher having the right to discontinue may be just a precaution in case they had serious problems with a pupil that made continuing impossible? On the one occasion I stopped teaching somebody because the working relationship with the parent had become intolerable, I didn't give notice but I returned the fee for  2 lessons they'd pre-paid with a letter stating that tuition would now cease.

 

Sorry to hear it's not worked out with new teacher by the way  but hope you don't let it put you off and that next one goes better!


  • 1

#4 mel2

mel2

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4192 posts
  • Member: 6928
    Joined: 15-May 06
  • East Yorkshire

Posted 18 May 2017 - 22:55

Teacher wins both ways.
Teacher is holding out for gullible customers -I wouldn't go near him/her.
  • 1

#5 BabyGrand

BabyGrand

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 598 posts
  • Member: 144315
    Joined: 27-October 10
  • UK

Posted 18 May 2017 - 22:56

Why would you be entitled to a refund?  You paid for four lessons.  Your teacher is willing to give you four lessons.  If you change your mind, that is not the teacher's fault.  The same would apply if you booked a block of painting / exercise / photography classes, or a month's gymn membership, etc etc.  If you've paid for a month and change your mind part-way through, they won't return your money.  Why should piano lessons be any different?  Plus, even if the terms were unfair (which I don't think they are at all - in fact the language you've quoted sounds like the ISM contract to me), if you didn't like them, you shouldn't have signed the contract.  

 

If anything, as I see it, your teacher is losing out.  Four weeks' notice would give them four weeks of payment to allow them time to find another student to replace the one who's leaving, so they are not losing income.  In this situation, your teacher will actually only have two weeks to find someone before they start to lose money.  If they refunded you, their income would be down straight away.  Imagine if a few students did that in the same month?  Oops, now they can't afford to pay the gas this month....  For myself, anyway, that is why I have a notice period.  

 

Apologies as I realise this is coming across as a rather brusque reply - I promise I do not mean it in any unkind way, I'm just too tired to be eloquent!  I hope you are able to find a teacher who is right for you.   :)   And I would second the suggestion that you take up the remaining two lessons - may as well try to get something out of them.  


  • 6

#6 BabyGrand

BabyGrand

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 598 posts
  • Member: 144315
    Joined: 27-October 10
  • UK

Posted 18 May 2017 - 22:56

Teacher wins both ways.
Teacher is holding out for gullible customers -I wouldn't go near him/her.

 

Seriously?!   :blink:   

 

As long as the teacher would give a refund if they were the ones to cancel (which I assume they would), I can't see that they have done anything wrong at all.   :unsure:


  • 5

#7 mel2

mel2

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4192 posts
  • Member: 6928
    Joined: 15-May 06
  • East Yorkshire

Posted 18 May 2017 - 23:07

Teacher wins both ways.
Teacher is holding out for gullible customers -I wouldn't go near him/her.

 
Seriously?!   :blink:

Yes.
The teacher reserves the right to tell student to go forth after a single lesson if they wish; that could amount to a nice little earner after a few times.
And he/she hasn't 'lost' a student - this is a trial period. If they don't want to risk not being paid for one week then fine, but don't call it a trial period.
  • 1

#8 BabyGrand

BabyGrand

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 598 posts
  • Member: 144315
    Joined: 27-October 10
  • UK

Posted 18 May 2017 - 23:20

 

 

Teacher wins both ways.
Teacher is holding out for gullible customers -I wouldn't go near him/her.

 
Seriously?!   :blink:

Yes.
The teacher reserves the right to tell student to go forth after a single lesson if they wish; that could amount to a nice little earner after a few times.
And he/she hasn't 'lost' a student - this is a trial period. If they don't want to risk not being paid for one week then fine, but don't call it a trial period.

 

 

How is it a nice little earner if they refund the student for the remaining lessons??   :blink:

 

I can't see that there is any motive for a teacher to offer a trial period, teach one lesson, stop just for kicks, and then give the rest of the money back.  What would be the point?!  

 

As jpiano says, I'd imagine the teacher in question has included that clause just in case of the worst case scenario - if you have a rude/violent/creepy etc etc new pupil and need to be able to stop lessons straight away and not have to let them into your house again the next week.  In general, if a teacher starts a new pupil, it's because they want to keep them!!  

 

The person who cancelled in this instance was the student.  I feel like you cast all sorts of aspersions on this poor teacher (who, for all we know, could be reading this - it could even be a forum member!) when all they've done is start a new student who has then decided to quit (and then wished they hadn't paid for a block of lessons).  Or, at least, that's as much as we know....  


  • 4

#9 mel2

mel2

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4192 posts
  • Member: 6928
    Joined: 15-May 06
  • East Yorkshire

Posted 18 May 2017 - 23:36

I would have no objection at all if the teacher refunded the fee for the remaining lessons, having decided they didn't want to teach this person. The terms as described give the teacher the right to collect a fee for 4 lessons and then teach only one. That is what could be the nice earner.

My own policy for an introductory period is a minimum of 4 lessons (PAYG with no obligation for either party to continue if we don't suit each other) at a slightly higher rate than the student will pay if they decide to continue. After the introductory period they can then opt to buy a bundle of 5 lessons at a slightly reduced rate but no refunds, or remain PAYG at the higher rate.
  • 0

#10 BabyGrand

BabyGrand

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 598 posts
  • Member: 144315
    Joined: 27-October 10
  • UK

Posted 18 May 2017 - 23:43

Ok....that's not how I took those terms at all.  They reserved the right to terminate tuition without giving prior notice (whereas the student is required to give notice) - that is what is being questioned by the OP.  The OP themselves assumed  - as do I - that the teacher would refund any remaining lessons if they were the ones to stop lessons.  What the OP was asking was why they had to give notice of stopping, but the teacher didn't.  

 

ETA: Definitely the teacher should refund if they terminate - I think actually this teacher in question would do that (there's nothing in those terms to suggest they wouldn't and obviously we haven't seen the full contract).  I do also think it's acceptable for the teacher to say the student needs to give notice (or pay fees in lieu of notice), but they themselves don't have to give notice.  Again, it doesn't say they won't give notice even, just that they don't have to.  So in a difficult situation (either personal or due to the student), they are not forced to teach lessons against their will.  They should, however, offer a refund for lessons not given, whether they give notice or not.  

 

Hopefully that clarifies where I'm coming from a bit!  


  • 2

#11 BadStrad

BadStrad

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3292 posts
  • Member: 88756
    Joined: 28-January 10

Posted 19 May 2017 - 00:44

I don't find the "notice to discontinue tuition is required in lieu of fees prior to 4 lessons remaining." bit very clear. I sort of think it means the already paid for four lessons are not refundable if the pupil cancels mid way, but I did wonder if it meant a month's notice was required Ie the pupil needs to pay another two weeks worth of fees if they cancel mid month.

The quoted text makes no mention of whether or not the teacher will offer a refund if they terminate lessons, so it can't be assumed they would but they might *at their discretion*.

But, as Cyrilla says, the bottom line is if you agreed to the terms and conditions? then you have to suck it up and walk away gracefully. Few people would be posting about trying to get a refund from a gym where they paid a year's membership up front then didn't bother going. Why should a music teacher have to make refunds for lessons not taken?
  • 3

#12 Lucid

Lucid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 807 posts
  • Member: 23721
    Joined: 25-January 08
  • UK

Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:46

Technically anyone who uses contracts or terms and conditions now needs to give new students a 2 week cooling off period. If the student decides to discontinue lessons within that period then they are not expected to lose out on any money they've paid in advance.

 

Lucid :)


  • 1

#13 BabyGrand

BabyGrand

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 598 posts
  • Member: 144315
    Joined: 27-October 10
  • UK

Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:54

Technically anyone who uses contracts or terms and conditions now needs to give new students a 2 week cooling off period. If the student decides to discontinue lessons within that period then they are not expected to lose out on any money they've paid in advance.

 

Lucid :)

 

Yes - that's why I made my trial period 2 weeks.   ;)


  • 0

#14 mel2

mel2

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4192 posts
  • Member: 6928
    Joined: 15-May 06
  • East Yorkshire

Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:11

I think it would take the wit of a lawyer well-versed in contracts to untangle #4 -no matter how many times I read it I can't make sense of it, but it doesn't seem to bode well for the student.

The comparison with swimming lessons or some other course does not really hold up because they do not (IME) offer trial/taster sessions.
  • 1

#15 ten left thumbs

ten left thumbs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Member: 454622
    Joined: 09-May 12

Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:31

That's a general question? Sounds oddly specific to me.

 

We can't really know the situation without all the details - some things are quoted, but not a whole contract, and we don't even know if a contract was signed.

 

For me, with a new student, I would do exactly as this teacher - I would ask for 4 lessons payment upfront. Then give the lessons. If the student doesn't want to come to all lessons, I would not refund.

 

If a potential student were to ask if a refund would be available after 2 lessons, I would probably withdraw the offer to teach them. 

 

I don't like being messed around, it's just not worth it. 


  • 1