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One of those T&Cs questions


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#31 tangoallegro

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 12:33

Just popping up to say how helpful threads like this one have been to me, helping me to stand firm and not move the boundaries for clients who don't see their lesson as a fixed appointment.  Well done Dorcas for keeping to your decision and not being swayed, even in the face of coercive behaviour.
 
I was recently asked for a refund on a lesson that was cancelled in favour of a holiday and said "no".  It felt great.  
 
It's tricky when you sometimes see parents about town, because you want to be thought well of and not get into any awkward situations, but on the other hand, if we bent over backwards for everyone who asked us to, we'd be miserable.
 
TGS X


If they aren’t embarrassed to ask then why should we be embarrassed to say no?
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#32 Dorcas

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 16:08

Reasonable point to make.  However, from personal experience, it is so easy to cave in, even if you know you should not.


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#33 lorraineliyanage

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 19:36

I offer a set number of lessons per half-term. It's up to them whether they want to come or not, but if they cancel, they don't get a refund. This is exactly the same rules of engagement for my daughter's extra-curricular activities. We had to miss three lessons (one group lesson, 2 individual lessons) last week due to a family bereavement and I didn't ask for the money back for those or even quibble over paying what I owed. 


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#34 susiejean

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 07:17

Reasonable point to make.  However, from personal experience, it is so easy to cave in, even if you know you should not.

One of my biggest problems is people paying by BACS. I've had a couple of occasions where people have paid the next 4 lessons up front and removed 1 because they are away on holiday. That's very difficult to ask for as you sometimes don't notice for a few weeks. 

I think it's easy to be tough when you have lots of pupils and a waiting list. Then you have the attitude of 'well stuff you then, someone else will fill your place', but when you can't afford to lose pupils, then you start being more accommodating than you really should. Sadly, I've been in that position for the last 7 years. 


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#35 ejw21

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 12:51

 

Reasonable point to make.  However, from personal experience, it is so easy to cave in, even if you know you should not.

One of my biggest problems is people paying by BACS. I've had a couple of occasions where people have paid the next 4 lessons up front and removed 1 because they are away on holiday. That's very difficult to ask for as you sometimes don't notice for a few weeks. 

I think it's easy to be tough when you have lots of pupils and a waiting list. Then you have the attitude of 'well stuff you then, someone else will fill your place', but when you can't afford to lose pupils, then you start being more accommodating than you really should. Sadly, I've been in that position for the last 7 years. 

 

That's a very interesting comment susiejean. I'm not a teacher, but I wonder how often this happens? And whether you could invoice them for the missed amount with a copy of your t&cs? 


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#36 jpiano

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 14:12

 

 

Reasonable point to make.  However, from personal experience, it is so easy to cave in, even if you know you should not.

One of my biggest problems is people paying by BACS. I've had a couple of occasions where people have paid the next 4 lessons up front and removed 1 because they are away on holiday. That's very difficult to ask for as you sometimes don't notice for a few weeks. 

I think it's easy to be tough when you have lots of pupils and a waiting list. Then you have the attitude of 'well stuff you then, someone else will fill your place', but when you can't afford to lose pupils, then you start being more accommodating than you really should. Sadly, I've been in that position for the last 7 years. 

 

That's a very interesting comment susiejean. I'm not a teacher, but I wonder how often this happens? And whether you could invoice them for the missed amount with a copy of your t&cs? 

 

I remember when I moved over to direct bank payments one niggly worry I had was keeping on top of payments, but I found that by using the same spreadsheet I use for cheques and cash which includes the invoice details and date they pay, it's no different from any other form of payment and any short amount gets picked up quickly. I've had the situation you describe susiejean and I contact them and ask them to forward the amount and remind them that all missed lessons are charged for. It's the thing in life i find that some people just don't think the rules apply to them!


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#37 Dorcas

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 15:31

It is a sad fact of life, that there will always be people who decide to see if you will notice if they ignore T&Cs.  They will usually answer if challenged, 'sorry, I never read them' or some such nonsense.  This is what usually happened to me, even with signed contracts, students or their families would simply state, 'I never knew that' or 'that was never explained to me' both of which were untrue.

 

I know exactly what Susiejean means about not feeling able to challenge those who chose not to comply, and spoiling it for me, and those who did.  If you feel vulnerable to students leaving, for whatever reason, applying your rules is never easy.  However, I have some good news for you, Susiejean, it is not necessarily difficult for the awkward squad!  Do go through your bank statements on a regular basis.  Immediately someone underpays you, ask them if they are having financial difficulties.  Embarrass them.  They deserve it.  Remind them that the full amount is payable, and it is your discretion to offer rescheduled lessons, or whatever your usual pattern is.  

 

 


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#38 magicfingers

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 19:34

I'm smiling at all the comments here.

 

I check my bank account every morning...

 

Dorcas...Love your last post. One of my favourites is when you go to the supermarket you have to pay. Your cannot tell the cashier that you will pay next week or you can only pay half or whatever.

 

Some of the excuses and lengths people go to avoid paying are unbelievable.

 

Susiejean - You really need to be on top of these payments. I would be sending an email with your terms attached reminding them that one week is outstanding. I got round the holiday scam by asking for 4 lessons advance notice!


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#39 susiejean

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 09:30

I'm smiling at all the comments here.

 

I check my bank account every morning...

 

Dorcas...Love your last post. One of my favourites is when you go to the supermarket you have to pay. Your cannot tell the cashier that you will pay next week or you can only pay half or whatever.

 

Some of the excuses and lengths people go to avoid paying are unbelievable.

 

Susiejean - You really need to be on top of these payments. I would be sending an email with your terms attached reminding them that one week is outstanding. I got round the holiday scam by asking for 4 lessons advance notice!

I do! I changed that year ago. I used to be PAYG but people would quit on the night. My T & C's state 12 weeks holidays a year and over that is chargeable. Very hard to enforce though. I'm in a reasonably rural area here. There are 3 established music schools within a 5 mile radius and countless teachers like me working on a small scale. If I kick up a fuss they'll just move on to another teacher. And yes, they will run out of teachers behaving like this, but from a personal point of view that doesn't keep my pupil quota up!


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#40 Dorcas

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:39

Susiejean, do your students pay in advance?  Do you ask for a deposit?  I found using a combination of paying per month in advance and asking for a 4 lesson deposit, really puts me in a much better position.  I too used to follow the PAYG method, and all to often people would cancel at short notice.  After that I tried contracts and paying per half-term in advance.  Again, I found people would stop, with no notice, and ignore any emails or texts.  The number of times people would claim that they did not know about the notice period beggared belief.  I once had somebody send me a cheque for my notice period, with a heartfelt apology for taking so long.  That was a really pleasant surprise.  Once, when using the PAYG method, a parent insisted I took payment for lesson cancelled due to the child's illness.  

 

I have thought about this, and think people are often embarrassed to say that they are stopping or going to another teacher.  I always emphasise to new students, I really do not mind if they move to another teacher, or decide the piano is not for them.  Anyway, I found holding a 4 lesson deposit, means if someone stops with no notice, I still have a month's worth of payment.  All lessons during term time are payable.  The only exception I make is for adults who can take their holidays during the school term, on the proviso that any missed lessons are made up during the summer holidays.  So far, with the adults, that works really well.

 

I do understand your dilemma, though, as I struggled with student number for a period of about 18 months.  Not sure if this had anything to do with it, but things improved once a completely untrue review was removed from one website.  My numbers have also really improved since I used Yell for advertising and for a new website.

 

In all honesty, most people are reasonable and fair.  Just the occasional bozo or complete gimboid.


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