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Nursery poor service - complaint, now court - advice please

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Hello,

 

We have had a terrible experience with a local children's nursery and I wanted some advice before I submit a case to the small claims court for a refund of our fees not used.

 

After researching various nurseries we chose this particular one which ticked all of the boxes for us.

A relative worked there, we were assured at the initial show around that communication with parents is key and a sheet is filled out daily containing all of the details of the day (food eaten, wet/soiled nappies/milk consumption/activities).

A key worker would be allocated so we could have a smooth settling in process.

Being new parents all of this was very important to us.

 

We felt happy with our decision, read through the policies and procedures which detailed the above and signed the contract along with paying the deposit.

 

Unfortunately none of this materialised when our child attended the nursery.

 

Two settling in sessions were held where we dropped our child off for 2 hour periods.

We did not meet the key worker nor did we receive the information sheets

- given it was for a short period we didn't question the report sheets

however we did question when we would meet the key worker.

 

The key worker allocated was on long term leave with no immediate date of return so the other workers would chip in and help.

We therefore did not have the chance to bond with a particular individual at the nursery.

I should mention this nursery has children of all ages mixed together in one room.

 

After this our child spent 2 full days at the nursery.

Both times we again did not meet the key worker,

communication was poor,

no report sheets provided and therefore at pick up no-one could give us details of what our child had eaten/drank/nappies changed etc.

 

This was not the service we were promised when we signed up.

 

We were feeling very uneasy and wanted reassurance so we asked for a meeting with the nursery manager.

 

The meeting got unnecessarily heated.

The manager felt attacked by our concerns and was very defensive.

It was confirmed that the production of the daily report communication cards had been halted for 2 weeks due to the hot weather

- something to this day which still baffles us.

This had not been communicated to parents.

Additionally the allocated key worker still had no return date.

 

At the meeting it was clear the relationship had broken down and the manager confirmed the nursery was not right for our child.

We followed up with an email later that day confirming our child would no longer be attending the nursery.

 

I should mention too that during all of this we received information from an ex worker there that safety standards were not being met (child to adult ratios),

poor hygiene was observed (feeding babies with same spoon at mealtimes).

 

This person has chosen to remain anonymous however a complaint may have been submitted to Ofsted by them

- something I am unable to confirm.

This information coupled with our experience clearly resulted in a loss of confidence in the nursery.

 

Monies

- we had paid over 500 pounds on what ended up just 2 days care (48 pounds per day).

We requested a refund due to the breach of contract as they did not deliver the service they agreed.

 

Within the contract they request one months notice and we would therefore not be entitled to any money back.

A goodwill offer of just 150 pounds was proposed to us which we reluctantly agreed.

When I have chased for the monies a week later they have responded confirming they have changed their minds and they will not be refunding any money to us.

 

Clearly frustrated I feel I have a case to pursue this however would like some advice.

 

Thank you in advance for your help on this.

Edited by dx100uk
spacing

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Lba letter and then court.

If what you Sa is true, you have a strong case

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Thank you. Would you suggest the letter be a final 'warning' as such?

 

What I say is true and they have confirmed in writing agreeing with the fundamentals... no report cards, no key worker etc.

 

However they believe we are at fault in all of this claiming 'separation issues' and I believe they will defend themselves.

 

We have since placed our child in a new nursery and the experience has been completely different.

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LBA is a final warning...and ask for a full refund..not just the £150.

 

Give them 7 days to comply or you will issue a claim.

 

Andy


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Thanks Andy. Is this LBA appropriate? I'm not sure whether or not to mention the safety and poor hygiene issues in this letter.

 

Letter before court claim

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Re: breach of contract by xxxxxx Ltd

 

I am writing in accordance with the Practice direction on Pre-Action Conduct with regards to the matters, detailed below, which have arisen between us.

 

xxxxxxx have failed to provide key aspects of the childcare service which they had contractually agreed to. These failings include:

 

Failure to provide daily communication report cards to parents

Failure to allocate a key worker

 

As a result of these matters I am entitled to and intend to claim the sum of £402.

 

I would like a reply as soon as possible so that I know you have received this letter. If you dispute my claim I can confirm that I would be agreeable to mediation and any other system of Alternative Dispute Resolution in order to avoid for this matter to be resolved by the courts.

 

If I do not receive a satisfactory response from you within 10 days of the date of this letter, I intend to issue proceedings against you in the county court without further notice. This may increase your liability for costs.

 

I refer you to the Practice Direction on pre-action conduct under the Civil Procedure Rules, and in particular to paragraph 4 which sets out the sanctions the court may impose if you fail to comply with the Practice Direction.

 

I look forward to your acknowledgement.

 

Yours faithfully

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We could do with some help from you.

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Andy - yes we signed a contract however their policies and procedures do not form part of their T's and C's of the contract (not sure if this would be fair or not)

 

Ethel - no I haven't yet, I am going to contact them this week. I've had to find another nursery at short notice as I have gone back to work full time (it has been very stressful for me)

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Their contract is poorly written, throughout it they refer to it as being 'the boring stuff' - probably should have rang alarm bells from the outset.

Edited by 123kc

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Hi Andy - yes I did sign a contract with them. Is my LBA sufficient?

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Andy - yes we signed a contract however their policies and procedures do not form part of their T's and C's of the contract (not sure if this would be fair or not)

 

Ethel - no I haven't yet, I am going to contact them this week. I've had to find another nursery at short notice as I have gone back to work full time (it has been very stressful for me)

 

So their T&Cs does not include .....?

 

"Failure to provide daily communication report cards to parents

Failure to allocate a key worker "


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Their T's and C's just contain details of when payment is due and what's due from us if we were to end the contract, the hours they are open etc. It doesn't contain details of how they will look after the children.

 

 

They have a separate document detailing their policies and procedures but this does not form part of their T's and C's of the contract.... if that makes sense?

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But surely that separate document forms part of their T&Cs of the agreement...as part of the services offered by the agreement.

 

Submit the LBA as is and see what response you get....now they realise this is getting serious.

 

Andy


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That's what I think - however the management there confirmed that their policies do not form part of the contract. I'm unfamiliar with contract law and his statements have made me doubt myself.

 

 

Thinking about it they could stop performing basic care requirements and expect not to be in breach of contract as this also is not covered in their T's and C's so his statement is ridiculous really.

 

 

I am reporting them to Ofsted today too so will keep you posted. Thanks again for the advice.

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A contract arises when an offer is made to one party, which is then accepted by another.There must be a clear intention on both sides to be bound by the terms of the agreement.

 

A promise does not become a legally binding contract unless the following three elements exist:

 

An agreement – which is created by the offer and acceptance of specific terms or obligations;

An intention to create legal relations and form an agreement which is enforceable by law and;

Consideration – where one party promises to do something in return for receiving a right, interest or benefit promised by the other party.

 

As per the link I provided above.


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Perfect.

 

 

Silly question should I send the letter recorded to ensure its delivered?

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Your choice...as long as you have proof of sent/delivery


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Hi all,

 

 

LBA sent and response from them confirmed this will be contested.

 

 

I have made a claim to the courts and have received a response today this will need to go to a hearing,

 

 

Does anyone have any advice? Feeling very daunted and anxious by the whole process.

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" I have made a claim to the courts and have received a response today this will need to go to a hearing, "

 

What date did you issue your claim ?

 

What are the particulars of claim ?

 

How do you know it will go to a hearing the defendant has 33 days to respond and submit a defence.


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Complaint issued on 18th September

 

 

I received an email from the Money Claims website saying this:

 

 

Defendants response:

 

 

xxxxxxxxxx has rejected your claim. You’ll have to go to a hearing to resolve it.

You need to complete a directions questionnaire form to tell us more about the claim.

Your claim will be cancelled if you don’t complete and return the form before 4pm on 14 October 2018.

 

 

I am able to see their response which contains false information.

 

 

I'm sorry what do you mean by particular's of the claim?

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So they are defending the claim...normal process and now it goes to allocation (Directions Questionnaire N180) which transfers the claim from Northampton to a local county court (yours if they are a Ltd Company/Business)

 

Standard procedure...particulars of claim are what you wrote as the reason for your claim ......the reasons you are suing them.


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Thanks Andy - here is an extract of the particulars:

 

 

When choosing a day nursery for our daughter, xxxxxx promised several services as part of the care they provide to families. These were verbally communicated to us at the initial show round and are contained within their company's policies and procedures. Based on the information received from them, we were happy with the services they offered, and we emailed xxxxxxx requesting a place for our daughter.

 

 

The relevant paperwork including the contract was signed and returned, along with paying the deposit of £306, securing our daughters' place. We also paid for the first months fee’s in advance costing £240.

 

 

Two of the key services they provide were not met on the four occasions our daughter attended the nursery. These services were:

 

 

1. A key person would be assigned (this is also an EYFS requirement applicable by law)

 

 

2. Daily report cards would be filled out containing details of what our daughter has eaten, nap times, how much milk she has drunk, a brief description of her activities Both services are of high importance to us as our daughter would have been attending the nursery 4 days per week. Having a key person would allow our then 10-month-old daughter to bond with a certain individual and the report cards would keep us adequately informed with what she had eaten and drank throughout the day.

 

 

An email received from xxxxx later confirmed ‘daily report cards can be suspended and or changed to a new system at any given time by the company without consultation with our clients’. This was not explained to us prior to signing the contract nor is this mentioned within their policies and procedures. If we were aware of this, we would have chosen a different childcare provider for our daughter.

 

 

Within my complaint I expand on the above and provide the timeline of events.

 

 

Their defence is that I was abusive which then terminated our contract immediately - which is not true. Their response states they have 2 witnesses to back up I was abusive but these were just the two members of staff we met to discuss our concerns.

 

 

Due to this I'm worried.

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Just chipping in here:

you should put up your claim in PDF format and also the defence in PDF format. It is essential that the people who are helping you here are fully informed and have the exact document in front of them.

 

Secondly, any published policies will be considered to be part of the contract in addition to terms and conditions. They are a series of related documents which inform the agreement which you have with the nursery. Make sure that you get screenshots of them all and you will eventually include them in your court bundle.

 

Thirdly, I would suggest that you send an FOIA request to OFSTED – you never know what other issues have been raised relating to this nursery and which could be helpful to you.


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Your worried that they defended the claim?

 

Its normally expected that a defence will be submitted whether it contains a valid/meaningful or truthful response is irrelevant at this stage...they will obviously defend.

 

Complete the N180 and state no to mediation yes to small claims track ....state your local county court and 1/2 witness...you and your better half if you both wish to give evidence.

 

The rest of the questions a re obvious tick boxes.

 

Use the following to complete it on screen...looks far more professional

 

https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?406099-LEGAL-N180-Directions-Questionnaire-(Small-Claims-Track)-**Correct-at-Sept-2016**

 

Run 3 copies...1 for court 1 for the defendants sols (assuming they are represented) and 1 for your file.

 

Post further when you receive the Notice of Allocation (n157) in response to the above.

 

 

Andy

 

 

Thread moved to General Legal Issues in view of the claim issued.


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Thank you so much for your help. Complete forum newbie.

 

 

I have attempted to attach the pdf files removing any personal details so hopefully it has worked.

 

 

The whole process is just making me feel extremely anxious even though we have done nothing wrong.

 

 

Thank you BankFodder for confirming their policies form part of their contract - I will raise a FOIA request with Ofsted.

 

 

Andy - by stating no to mediation am I not putting myself in a bad light with the courts?

 

 

Thanks again - all of the information here is really helping me. Just wish I was less worked up about it all.

Defendant.pdf

Reason for claim.pdf

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