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Not paying for late cancellation


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#16 violinlove

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 21:40

Sounds like she is taking a lend. You have had some good advice already - maybe think about terminating the lessons, she isn't worth the hassle.

I had one last week who phoned 15 mins before the lesson (she lives 5 mins away) and said, sorry she couldn't leave her children because they were feverish and the husband had been called away at short notice so couldn't stay with them. This week she turned up with this week's money and last week's - no quibbling, nothing. Just paid up and then got on with her lesson.

 

And the other cancellation from last week (actually a no-show who phoned a couple of days later) came today with 2 weeks money and then explained that she had just found out she has cancer and had to have chemo on the day of her piano lesson and the piano lesson had slipped her mind. She is going in for an operation in 3 weeks and wants to continue with the piano to keep her mind off it but can't guarantee to come each week - so we agreed that she would keep her slot (first thing on a morning) and either come or not come depending on what treatment she is having and how she feels and I won't expect payment for missed lessons while this is all going on. She is a great adult student and I want to help her in anyway I can.

 

But that is a whole different kettle of fish to people who mess about - I have had plenty of those and I have had to toughen up and I have parted company with those who thought they could just randomly cancel and not pay while I was sitting at home waiting for them and worrying about whether I would have enough money for the bills and food!


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#17 Rhoda Barfoot

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 22:06

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.

 

 

Hi Flowerpot,

 

What a horrible experience.  I understand that we don't always get to work with dream students and we're trying to make a living too, but please ask this woman to move on.  She's stressing you out and you can't even depend on the income.

 

Re maternity:  do you think this pupil will ever be the least bit grateful that you made that HUGE sacrifice for her?  (Did she even notice?)

 

ONWARDS!

 

Hold your head up high, you can do this!

 

:)


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#18 jpiano

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 22:08

Yes, like violinlove I've had adult students who have suffered a bereavement or serious longterm illness- sticking to Ts and Cs doesn't preclude me from using commonsense and compassion in situations like this. Agree with all the advice given. I've always had the same Ts and Cs- ie once booked and paid for it's non-refundable. Additionally, I would not now be in a position to tolerate serial re-arrangers in peak slots as I used to. I remember one student in particular who was a constant re-scheduler-  the huge proliferation of after-school activities that necessitated all this rearranging did nothing for her musical progress and she eventually quit lessons.


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#19 Flowerpot

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 23:00

I replied, was a bit lengthy but tried to keep as brief as possible - have explained to her that the T&C's are so that people can decide if I'm the right teacher for them, and that if they're unable to stick to them then they need to find another teacher. Decided not to let her off.

I hate these things! I'm sure I'm not the only one - I've just spent the better part of an evening, when I really should be enjoying family time, drafting up a stupid email to a stupid student. It just completely confuses me - I accidentally missed a lesson of my own today, which NEVER happens, and I was so appalled with myself although my teacher was very kind about it and offered to let me have a double lesson next week, but I'm probably still going to pay him for the missed lesson because I RESPECT HIM. It's as though people don't understand that in order to have a nice teaching relationship you have to respect boundaries that are clearly laid out. I'm not sure why she thinks that she's allowed a free one just because up until now she's always paid for cancelled lessons!!

Whenever she comes in for her lesson, my heart sinks a bit because she can't play anything. I'd love to say that's an exaggeration, but nothing has ever been learnt fluently, not even Lavenders Blue, and I just can't figure out why because I've never had this problem before with anyone. We work on things, and it gets to a certain point and we can never bring it up to the correct speed, she can only play very very slowly and regularly pauses at the bar lines (although, she does have a sense of rhythm, we do plenty of clapping exercises but for some reason she can't apply this to her playing). We began working on Coventry Carol from the easiest tune book of Christmas Carols leading up to Christmas 2013, and by Christmas 2014 she could only JUST play it, and it was still too slow really. 

I've tried absolutely everything with her, my opinion is that she's too controlling and anxious to let herself make any mistakes so she just clams up and refuses to let go and relax into the piece. She's incredibly negative despite my encouragement, and I have no idea why she hasn't given up. I don't know. But I waste an inordinate amount of energy on her and this was just the last straw!!
 


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#20 Scooby Doo

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 23:24

Let's hope she gets the message and goes away, but I really think you should finish with her anyway. She's a time-waster in every sense of the word, and you have better things to do with your precious time. Well done for sticking up for yourself. 


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#21 moondad

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 08:19

Another angle you can try:

"The option of an alternative slot to make up for cancellations is negotiable. The fees, however, are not."
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#22 Flowerpot

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 23:28

Well, after my firm but fair email she decided that she'd rather go elsewhere for lessons and said she wanted to go until half term but I said I would refund her for her lessons this month instead, as I didn't feel the remainder of our lessons would be very productive knowing that they'd be coming to an end.

Feels like a huge weight has been lifted, I won't be dreading Monday mornings anymore! Phew. Thank you for all the messages of support, am very glad I didn't let her off now!
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#23 BadStrad

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 23:38

Well done you on not being bullied by the woman. I hope any refund takes into account the money she owes you.

Hope you get a nice replacement pupil.
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#24 Chomp

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 07:12

Well done
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#25 Doodle

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 07:26

Feels like a huge weight has been lifted, I won't be dreading Monday mornings anymore! Phew. 

Well done you - I can feel your relief from here!


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#26 agricola

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 08:08

Well done -- and the energy you have put into resolving this will not be wasted because next time you have to deal with this sort of situation it will be much easier to put your foot down with a firm clump.


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#27 Allegro3355

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 08:58

I agree, stick to your guns. I often feel really bad about charging for lessons, but I treat it the same as private education. If you take a day off school or a day off uni because you're ill you can't expect a refund.

I have a very difficult situation at the moment which I would appreciate people's advice on:

One of my students has anorexia which her mum has told me about. Her mum has cancelled 2 out of the last 4 lessons and about 10 mins before the lesson. Would people charge or not??

I also have a waiting list and am wondering if she should take a break if it is too much and allow someone else to take the slot. Very complicated.
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#28 Norway

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 09:29

I agree, stick to your guns. I often feel really bad about charging for lessons, but I treat it the same as private education. If you take a day off school or a day off uni because you're ill you can't expect a refund.

I have a very difficult situation at the moment which I would appreciate people's advice on:

One of my students has anorexia which her mum has told me about. Her mum has cancelled 2 out of the last 4 lessons and about 10 mins before the lesson. Would people charge or not??

I also have a waiting list and am wondering if she should take a break if it is too much and allow someone else to take the slot. Very complicated.

What reason did she give for cancelling?


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#29 Allegro3355

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 10:27

Just that she was unwell.
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#30 BadStrad

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 11:05

Did the mother tell you that the anorexia would mean sudden and frequent "illnesses"?  Unless you specifically said that you would not charge for missed lessons then I would ask for the money.  Do you have T&Cs that they signed up to?  That would give you a stronger position, but you can always use the swimming pool analogy -  if you book a terms lessons you don't get refunds.  I always use the plumber - if you book a plumber then change your mind when they turn up you still get charged a call out fee.  People seem to *get* that. 

 

I can understand that you want to help the girl, but you're not running a charity.  Say you charge £25 for an hour's lesson - that's £100 for four lessons missed - enough to tax a small car.  Sometimes it helps to remember how the lesson income adds up.  :)


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