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Study Course Issue - Do I have a case?


thetruth23
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Regrettably, over a year ago, I signed up to a life coaching course with The Coaching Academy.

 

They're not bad, but in my opinion they're not very good either - or something just doesn't seem to work for me. (Maybe I shouldn't have signed up in the first place, so in part it is my fault. It was also very well marketed!)

 

They had various 'limited-time' offers where you get discounted rates for if you book the courses early, and in the end I went for a 'Silver-Package'.

 

(bronze = 1 course @ 2297

silver = 2 courses @ 4497)

(rough figures! sorry, i can't remember the exact details just yet. - But the offers came with a bunch of extras too)

 

Anyhow, I was due to pay in installments but after experiencing the first course for a couple of months I decided it wasn't what I expected and requested to be downgraded onto the bronze package as i wasn't confident the other course choices I could have made would deliver what I was looking for. (they allowed me to choose one course first and later decide which second course I would like to go onto later)

 

I thought this wouldn't be a problem because I had only ever received course material for the 1st course! And I haven't costed them any money just by asking to be downgraded. (No actual money - just a possible sale i guess)

 

In the end i tried arguing my case to them, saying how dissatisfied I was with the current course, and how I hadn't even received any course materials for any other course i might choose, but they would not surrender the fact I was unhappy and would not offer me a refund for the remaining amount.

 

They tried pointing me to the terms and conditions which state I only have 7 days to ask for a refund and that I have a contract with them, but, the fact of the matter is (as far as i'm aware) I do not actually have a signed contract with them.

 

They claim i have a contract, and twice i have asked to see a signed contract. The first time they direct me to the T&C's again, and the second time they have just ignored.

 

A couple of months ago (and about 5 months after i had last spoken to them) I received a letter claiming the Academy tried contacting me regarding the outstanding fees (I had previously instructed my back not to pay the remaining £500 until this matter was resolved, and also asked for The Coaching Academy not to to charge further payments), and that 'despite various attempts to contact me they have been unsuccessful' and that they would inform a Debt Recovery agency if I did not respond.

 

Their 'unsuccessful attempts' were unfounded and so I responded by telling them so. I directed them to an email thread I had going with them from months back and again requested to see a copy of the contract but since then haven't heard anything.

 

It's been about a couple of months and the reason this is on my mind is because I got a random text message from C.A.R.S. asking me to call urgently. I later find out this is a debt collection agency but am still unware if these two are related.

 

So sorry to sound confusing. This is a longstanding and old issue and i'm just trying to refresh my memory on it all.

 

Does anyone think I have a case here to demand a refund?

 

Since sending me that letter a couple of months ago, and me subsequently responding by email, i haven't heard anything back from them. I sent the email to 4 different contacts I had of theirs.

 

As it stands - I would believe they would still want £500 from me, but I would actually still like a refund for the second course I haven't even taken yet. (effectively downgrading my original choice of a silver package to a bronze package.)

 

I hope I do have a case as I really am dissapointed with the level of service and the value I have recieved.

:D

CAG Newbie

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Two observations. THis far down the line, your contract would be confirmed as soon as you made a payment (any payment), as since the late 90's the electronic commerce rules were enabled to permit contracts to be entered into without an actual signature. As long as your bank transferred funds then they have a valid agreement with you.

 

As for the rest. you need to read into the exact wording of the terms and conditions concerning cancellation or revocation of course material aftewr the 7 days cancellation window. They may offer a breakout clause, or they may not offer anything. To succeed in getting your money back, you would have to prove that their contract was somehow unfair. From their point of view, you agreed to take two courses from them, then instructed your bank to stop paying without their agreement to modify your contractural agreement. So they have a greater chance of success than you would.

 

First thing is to check your credit file. Have they defaulted you? If so, did you agree to your dealings being disclosed in this way? This is the time when these negotiations are at their most critical.

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Hi Buzby,

 

I'm not familar with electronic commerce rules but doesn't this apply to goods and services bought and sold through the internet? Regardless, this is not the case here - if it makes any difference.

 

The T&C's only make reference to a 7day cooling off period but also talk about having to return course materials to obtain a refund.

 

I was just thinking because I haven't even received course materials for a second course if had grounds to request a refund.

 

I just feel hard done by, because the 2 day event you attend before purchasing a course promised much more than you're given.

 

In my opinion, its just a big [problem] preying on the many vulnerable who were probably out of work at the time. And 7 days is in no way enough time to evaluate a study course and determine if you want a refund!

 

*sigh* it's just underdelievered in a big way.

 

Maybe I should just blog about it all and hope no one else throws there money away by signing up. I'd be really surprised if the success rate of the students were in the majority.

 

Anyway, i'm not really staying on topic here, and more just blabbering on about things.

 

Here are a copy of the main points from the T&C's - I think its unfair - will that be enough to get my money back?!?

 

 

7. Our refunds policy

 

7.1 ) All deposits and course fees are non-refundable with the exception of the cooling-off period as per 7.2

 

7.2 ) If you cancel the Contract for any reason within the seven day cooling-off period referred to in clause 4.1 and return the Course materials we have sent you we will process the refund due to you as soon as possible and, in any case, within 30 days of the day you have given notice of your cancellation. In this case, we will refund the price of the Course in full. However, you will be responsible for the cost of returning the Course materials to us. After the 7 day cooling-off period there will be no refund on course fees and deposits.

 

7.3 ) We will usually refund any money received from you using the same method originally used by you to pay for your purchase

 

4. Consumer rights

 

4.1 ) If you are contracting as a consumer, you may cancel a Contract at any time within seven working days, beginning on the day after your payment. In this case, you will receive a full refund of the price paid for the Courses in accordance with our refunds policy set out in clause 7 below.

 

4.2 ) To cancel a Contract, you must inform us in writing. You must also return all Course materials immediately, in the same condition in which you received them, and at your own cost and risk. You have a legal obligation to take reasonable care of the Courses materials while they are in your possession. If you fail to comply with this obligation, we may have a right of action against you for compensation.

 

4.3 ) You may transfer to an alternative Course without charge, unless it is within two weeks of the original agreed Course date, in which event a transfer fee of £50 plus VAT per training day will be payable by you in advance of the new Course date.

 

4.4 ) The provisions of this clause 4 do not affect your statutory rights.

:D

CAG Newbie

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I think the bottom line is - I just don't want to pay for something I don't have! And something I don't want in the future!

 

I've paid for the first course i've taken, in full, and that's fine. I just want the money back i've paid for something I don't even have or want.

:D

CAG Newbie

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I think the bottom line is - I just don't want to pay for something I don't have! And something I don't want in the future!

 

I've paid for the first course i've taken, in full, and that's fine. I just want the money back i've paid for something I don't even have or want.

:D

CAG Newbie

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The electronic commerce rules are not exclusive, they opened the door fror a wholesale relaxation to aid all types of commercial activity. In their favour, you went to a familiarization event to answer your questions and help you make the decision to purchase. Having made this commitment, it is you who will be seen to be changing your binding agreement to take the course(es).

 

Because it will be seen as you reneging on a previously given acceptance, any waiver will be at the discretion of the course provider. Should they choose not to give one, you'll be bound by the pre-existing exit clauses.

 

If, at the original course orientation, you asked could you terminate without penalty after commencing payment got the course and theybagreed, you would have a case. If they answered no, or the question wasn't asked in the first place, they'll be on strong ground.

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Their terms and conditions are par for the course.

 

The right to cancel a contract under the Distance Selling Regulations excepts a service as soon as the performance of the contract has begun with the consumer's agreement.

 

It is possible under any circumstance to sue because of an outright breach of contract, or negligence, but were every instance of a bad service to be sued, you would never get to court, the queue would be so long.

 

:eek:

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The Distance Selling rules would apply to the first of a series of agreements (rather than the last) and so from there on, if the original booking was online.

 

This is covered by recital (10) of the EU Directive:

 

Whereas the same transaction comprising successive operations or a series of separate operations over a period of time may give rise to different legal descriptions depending on the law of the Member States; whereas the provisions of this Directive cannot be applied differently according to the law of the Member States, subject to their recourse to Article 14; whereas, to that end, there is therefore reason to consider that there must at least be compliance with the provisions of this Directive at the time of the first of a series of successive operations or the first of a series of separate operations over a period of time which may be considered as forming a whole, whether that operation or series of operations are the subject of a single contract or successive, separate contracts;
:cool:
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