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Not paying for late cancellation


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#1 Flowerpot

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 11:03

I have an adult student who had to cancel a lesson last week due to her son having a high temperature. Her lesson starts at 11.30am and I got a message at 7.30am. Her son also has a lesson which is also postponed.

She transferred over the money for her and her son's lessons this month, and had deducted the money for the lessons cancelled in the previous month. I sent her a message back saying that I usually charge for lessons missed at short notice (she knows this, she has my T&C and has agreed to them), so could she please either add them to next month or send a separate payment.

She sent me back a long email about how "As a mother" I should understand that sometimes children get sick, and that I hadn't replied to her email to postpone her lesson so she assumed it was ok. I didn't reply because she regularly cancels lessons, and she knows the score, perhaps in hindsight I ought to have replied but this isn't the first time it's happened and she usually pays.

I'm annoyed, because I don't enjoy teaching her either - she's a pain in the neck, and hasn't progressed at all in a year and I'm completely at a loss for what to do next with her, because I feel like I've tried everything. I've made so many exceptions for her, like I barely took any maternity leave because she was panicking about her children and their forthcoming exams, and she often cancels lessons (not at short notice) and I've recently took her son back on as a student.
 
I was planning on just excusing her on this one occasion (because I really don't like getting into fights) but explaining that as a mother and a businesswoman she should understand that I have childcare costs and that I have a waiting list, and that I'm much more flexible than other teachers. 

Thoughts?


 


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#2 mel2

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 11:12

I was planning on just excusing her on this one occasion (because I really don't like getting into fights) but explaining that as a mother and a businesswoman she should understand that I have childcare costs and that I have a waiting list, and that I'm much more flexible than other teachers. 

Thoughts?


 

 

I think you have the answer there (apart from excusing her). I wouldn't bang on about the childcare costs but would mention your waiting list and your past record of flexibility.

Probably won't be pleasant but it doesn't sound as though you would miss her.

Good luck.


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#3 dumdidum

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 11:27

Gosh that 'as a mother' is below the belt! How rude not to pay - I couldn't imagine doing this to my teacher. Poorly children come with the territory of being a parent and sometimes you have to suck it up and miss out. No reason why you should though :angry2:


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#4 Splog

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 11:28

 

I was planning on just excusing her on this one occasion (because I really don't like getting into fights) but explaining that as a mother and a businesswoman she should understand that I have childcare costs and that I have a waiting list, and that I'm much more flexible than other teachers. 

Thoughts?


 

 

I think you have the answer there (apart from excusing her). I wouldn't bang on about the childcare costs but would mention your waiting list and your past record of flexibility.

Probably won't be pleasant but it doesn't sound as though you would miss her.

Good luck.

 

Yup. I agree with that. You have stated it very well. The childcare costs are important if you have paid for childcare at the time when she has a lesson, as then you are out of pocket. If you really are ok with excusing her, then say that on this occasion you will overlook it but in the future all cancellations have to be paid for. Then if she tries it again, you can stop teaching her with impunity.

 

My school parents all accept that with the way the timetable is, I can't reimburse for missed lessons. The only exception is one child who has known health problems. (I don't mind missed lessons at home because I can use the time in other ways.)


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#5 cel

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:11

For the parent to amend your invoice to reflect her cancelled lessons is a bit of a cheek.  I am a parent and a piano teacher and I know that if I pay for a terms worth of swimming lessons up front, I don't get a refund on the sessions that we miss due to illness and that applies for most clubs where I pay upfront.   If I get a cancellation due to ill health, I expect 24hrs notice (I don't always get that) and I will try to arrange the lesson at another time in the week or at the end of term or do the odd one in the holiday, but if that isn't achievable the parents usually forfeit the lesson.  Sometimes I will note a credit for the lesson on the next terms invoice but that is with my discretion depending how much I have been inconvenienced.  You clearly state your notice period in your  T & C which she has signed up to so she shouldn't have an issue.

 

I would also  tell her that your monthly outgoings/expenses is budgeted against your expected income and if she keeps cancelling you are out of pocket.  Also you could also say that somebody else could have had utilised that time slot.

 

Have you a waiting list?  I would slip that in to the conversation as you really don't need to be messed around!!!


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#6 hammer action

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:15

*Groan*  Every now and then (but thankfully not too often) someone like this comes along.  She sounds incredibly rude, she's affecting your income, she's making no progress, you don't enjoy teaching her and you've inconvenienced yourself for her by cutting short your maternity leave (wow, that's quite a sacrifice) so i'd terminate the lessons if it was me, then rejoice in the fact you never have to teach her again. 

 

In my parting words, I'd be very tempted to tell her how surprised you are at her lack of progress, but maybe it's best to just forget it.....  :muahaha:


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#7 Maizie

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:38

The "as a mother" card is a naughty one to pull.  I'd want to reply something like "As a responsible adult, I know that I need to pay people for the time for which I have employed them - whether I make use of that time or not".  But I'd probably be more diplomatic in the real world.


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#8 BabyGrand

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:45

I agree with the others that you should stick to your guns.  She says you should understand her situation; why doesn't she feel a need to understand yours?  I always feel bad when someone cancels at short notice due to something like sickness, because I do sympathise and know they can't help it, and it's easy to start to feel we should be more lenient.  However, I have noticed that all the 'decent' folk out there simply get in touch and let me know, and wouldn't dream of asking not to have to pay.  In fact, they are usually very apologetic for cancelling at such short notice, despite the genuine reason.  Last year one pupil was a no-show because their parents forgot about the lesson, and the parents felt so bad that they sent me a big bunch of flowers to apologise - in addition to paying for the lesson without question.  

 

All this tells me that when someone takes umbridge, the issue is not me or my Ts & Cs, but their own bad attitude.  It's a very selfish outlook to feel that they should not need to suffer any inconvenience, but it's fine for you to do so.  At best, they've not thought it through and realised that you will be out of pocket etc; at worst they are just taking advantage.  This lady agreed to your Ts and Cs, so she doesn't have a right to complain now when you apply them - and I suspect she knows that, she's just trying to make you feel guilty so that she can get her own way.  As long as your Ts and Cs are fair (which I assume they are), the only people who will take issue are the people you are better off without.  


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#9 Norway

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:58

I move on people like this as I would have to pretend to like them in future and my acting isn't that good!


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#10 Sylva

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 13:27

Yes, really annoying. I've just taken on a new adult beginner, and she had her initial free lesson. The next week, no show, and I couldn't reach her on the phone. I emailed and texted her, and got a text back the next day that her mother had been taken ill and she couldn't contact me. Fair enough, I give the benefit of the doubt. Then yesterday evening, no show again. I try to ring, and send a diplomatic yet rather peeved text. She texts back, saying that she's been caught up at work, and can make it in ten minutes, is that ok? Erm no, because your lesson will be over in fifteen minutes. I feel like sacking her, but am going to give her one final chance next week. I'm expecting payment for the two no shows, but who knows if I'll get it?

Sorry to hijack your post. I think your student is probably in the last chance saloon now, I would definitely point out the waiting list. If she isn't progressing and is continually difficult you'd be better off without.
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#11 The Great Sosso

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 13:43

Sylva, I have had an adult like yours - came to the first lesson then routinely forgot or missed lessons due to family illness.  Eventually, she decided she just wasn't at the right stage in her life to take on weekly lessons and she terminated.  I was so relieved as I had been worrying how to tackle the issues of her absolutely shocking foul language and the fact that she chewed gum throughout the one lesson she actually came to.

 

I didn't get payment but it wasn't too much of a problem as the lessons were to be during school hours (so no childcare costs and I was able to use the time at home profitably enough).


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#12 Bagpuss

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 14:39

Stick to your guns and keep it as emotionless as possible.

 

Breaking the T&C is breaking the T&C.  End of.

 

Currently-Chasing-One-Myself-Bag x


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#13 hammer action

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 14:40

Unless you can tell your mortgage company that they're going to get less this month because someone else's child was ill, you don't need to feel even faintly guilty about asserting your terms and conditions.

 

Excellently put.  :agree:


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#14 LizzieT

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 15:35

I'm annoyed, because I don't enjoy teaching her either - she's a pain in the neck, and hasn't progressed at all in a year and I'm completely at a loss for what to do next with her, because I feel like I've tried everything.

 

I think this is as big an issue as the unpaid fee.  Putting the two together, perhaps it is time to terminate lessons? 


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#15 Doodle

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 20:00

I agree with everyone - you shouldn't feel bad as you have been messed about and she's broken your T&Cs.  Just adding my support 


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