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DPG -- insisting full payment of fees


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Hi,

 

Please can you advise? In March I had a couple of in depth conversations with a programme advisor for DPG - a company that offers training in HR. In these convos I covered much territory including what if I don't pass (they claim you won't or your money back), what if I lose my job and can't pay etc (they allow for mitigating circumstances).

 

One of my questions was 'what if I just decided to drop out because it wasn't for me/wasn't convenient at that point? Is it that you lose whatever money you've paid?' and I was told that is indeed the case. As a result of these calls I signed up for a 10 month course costing £4200 and I paid a deposit of almost £800. In return they sent me a mini iPad as a welcome gift. They provide no other materials other than access to the online training content.

 

Within days I had my life ripped apart. My fiancee, the love of my life, ran off with my best mate and I am in pieces. I've suffered insomnia, weight loss, violent outbursts,spontaneous bursting into tears, paranoia and truly feel I am losing my mind. Seriously, I am on the verge of cracking up.

 

I tried to struggle on, bury my head in the course to distract myself but it was no good. After just 4 hours use of the training programme I called to say I was leaving. The person on the phone asked for details and I broke down in tears on the phone as I told the whole story. To my surprise she said that as the 14 day cool off window has passed that I am liable for the full fee of the course. This is when I was expecting a sizeable refund of the £800 already paid!

 

At no point in my conversations with programme advisor who answered all my questions - who also took my payment - was there any mention of the 14 day cooling off period which I would like to think would be required as they are effectively distance sellers and their product was purchased over the phone.

 

She said mitigating circumstances may result in a 'partial decrease' and would speak to her boss. I told her that she's had £800 for just 3 weeks access to learning material and just 4 hours was used and that £800 is more than enough. I also said that charging the full fee is scandalous and immoral - not the way a HR-orientated company should operate. As they are a business I made the financial argument that they can keep the £800 as it will be a huge profit margin for them.

 

I was asked to put everything in an email so I did. The programme director replied, ingratiatingly sounding caring and concerned yet and offered the option to defer for the - get this - 'admin fee' of £495 or that I can leave altogether, at which point there is nothing he can do and the full fees must be paid in order to be "consistent and fair as a business". Annoyingly he then said that he can waive all fees if I provide medical documentation stating I cannot continue with the course - which means he can waive the fees if he so wishes! My life is in tatters! My social circle is gone as many knew what was going on behind my back and my so-called mate works in HR which means I have no desire to go that route anymore.

 

I pointed out that I feel trapped and cornered at a time I am most vulnerable (and about to go off work with stress) and that the only options he is leaving me with is to deteriorate further to the point where medical intervention is required (which is sadistic) . Pre-course they mentioned mitigating circumstances - isn't what I'm going through 'mitigating'?

 

He replied saying he understands and doesn't want to add to my stress (ha!) but that he wants to help me (really?) and be fair as a business (by charging £3500 for services not yet rendered).

 

 

Please help! This cannot be legal, surely? Companies are prevented from applying excessive parking charges because the amount demanded is disproportionate to the loss to their business. What is fair and reasonable about anything they are doing? What is fair and reasonable about basically saying "I can waive the fees if I want to.........but I'm not going to"?

Edited by Andyorch
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Here are his emails:

 

ONE

 

Thank you for the explanation below, I understand how difficult things must be for you at the moment and really appreciate your honesty.

 

There are a few options available:

· Defer the programme to Autumn 16 or Spring 17

(If you change location we could be flexible with this and alter your programme location)

 

· Withdraw from the programme (This might be hasty given your obvious desire to complete the qualification)

 

In regards to your situation, has this resulted in a medical condition?

If you could provide medical evidence from a doctor stating that you aren’t a position to complete the programme,

I would be happy to potentially waive the outstanding fees dependant on the option you choose.

 

As you say we are a business and need to follow our policies and procedures

to protect our interests but given the situation I would like to make a few suggestions.

 

 

If you were to defer for 6 months or even a year, the standard deferral fee would be £495+vat.

With medical evidence as stated above I would be happy to waive this fee and the money already spent

would be in credit on your account awaiting your return should you be able to in the future.

The outstanding fee for the programme would also be deferred and only payable when you return to study.

 

Would this be something of interest?

 

If not and you feel you can’t continue with the programme at all then we can withdraw you and I will be happy to waive the outstanding fee should the medical evidence be provided.

 

I would take your time and have a think about this as the HR qualification is obviously important to you and could still be completed further down the line when hopefully things are a bit easier for you.

 

 

TWO

 

I understand and appreciate what you are saying and have no desire at all to add to an already difficult time for you, but as an approved CIPD centre DPG has to implement fair processes for all learners, this covers keeping to a set procedure for dealing with each request for withdrawal.

 

Our withdrawal process is to request information/details on the reason for this (which you have done),

and then request proof/evidence to support the circumstances.

 

 

Without evidence I cannot waive a deferral fee or waive outstanding fees after a withdrawal.

This process is consistent for all of our participants on all of our programmes.

We review each situation individually and confidentially, but evidence in support is a pre-requisite in every case of mitigation we receive.

 

If you can provide the medical evidence (or maybe evidence of this affecting your working life) showing that there is proven reasoning why you cannot complete the programme,

then I will be happy to look at waiving the outstanding fees as this is obviously a very difficult time for you.

 

 

However, without this supporting evidence I would not be adhering to DPG CIPD agreed policy in waiving the fees in this situation.

 

I understand that this situation is adding to your stress but I hope that you can see that I am trying to help you here and keep to our requirement to remain consistent and fair as a business.

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Hello there. I'm sorry you're going through a tough time.

 

Have you talked to your GP about all of this? I would say that the first thing is to look after yourself and get some support if you can.

 

Hugs, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Is what they're doing legal? Surely you can't legal just because they have it in their terms & conditions? if that was the case then parking companies would still be able to charge hundreds and hundreds for clamped vehicles etc.

 

I don't see how they can charge full amount when I dropped out after just a couple of weeks of a 10 month course.

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I found this at https://

 

 

www.gov.uk/online-and-distance-selling-for-businesses/overview

 

 

Before an order is placed

 

All distance sellers must follow certain rules before and after an order is placed.

You must display information such as:

 

  • your business name and contact details
  • a description of your goods or services
  • the price, including all taxes
  • how a customer can pay
  • delivery arrangements, costs and how long goods will take to arrive
  • the minimum length of their contract
  • conditions for terminating contracts
  • information about the customer’s right to cancel within 14 days

At no point was I informed of my 14 day cool-off period.

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