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 Post subject: regulation of tutors?
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 31, 2013 3:56 pm
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I was just wandering if anyone knows if there are specific associations where we can pass on complaints about tutors/tuition companies. I have just had the unpleasant experience of trying to ask for my reservation fee of well over £200 back after reviewing matters and the attitude of the company (even though my daughter has not started the course). The website is not clear with regards to important issues but my main point for this posting is that the husband (of husband/wife team) used unacceptable expletive language (f****** b****r) towards the end of a phone conversation. On challenging him as to what would justify the use of such language, his response that I wasn't listening to him and it was okay for him to swear in such a manner. This reasoning is obviously unbelievable and certainly does not justify the inappropriate language used. The whole tone of the conversation with the wife and husband was quite aloof, patronizing and belittling. They also had great pleasure in putting other tuition companies down. Any views would be welcome.
pgp


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8206
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi pgp, and welcome!

I am sorry you have had such a difficult experience.

I am afraid that there is no regulation of the tutoring industry, although there is a very recent proposal to create a professional body that would give reputable tutors accreditation that could be withdrawn for this sort of conduct.

If you would like to send me a PM (Private Message - button on the LH side at the bottom of this post) with further details of the person/company you were dealing with I will see if they ring any bells with our team.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:32 pm
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It might help to get your money back to tell them you are going to post an online review of their services, also a solicitors letter threatening small claims court might be obtained for a small fee - that can work wonders. Look them up on Companies House (sorry am no expert but this is really out of order!)

I'm not sure what online review service to suggest- something like TripAdviser but for tutors? TutorAdvisor is born! Thanks eleven-plus forum! Just kidding, but seriously TripAdviser really scares hotels.


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 5:21 pm 
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Did you pay your deposit as part of an online purchase? If so you should be protected by internet selling regs. What terms and conditions did you agree to when you paid the deposit? I would have thought it unlikely that you are not entitled to the return of the deposit if you are cancelling sufficiently early.


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
silverysea wrote:
It might help to get your money back to tell them you are going to post an online review of their services

Not on here, I'm afraid. The laws of libel are pretty powerful. We will do what we can to help behind the scenes though, and we can always ban certain names so they cannot be posted on the Forum in future - that denies such people the oxygen of publicity, at least on here.

Quote:
Look them up on Companies House

Very, very few 11+ tutoring companies are Registered Companies.

Quote:
Did you pay your deposit as part of an online purchase? If so you should be protected by internet selling regs.

This is, I'm afraid, unlikely. The legal framework is the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, and I have recently had a slightly bruising encounter with it. :(

You are in a very grey area with the provision of a service such as tutoring under the DSRs. You would need to have cancelled your original agreement with the tutor within 7 days for the DSRs to apply anyway, and it sounds to me as though the gap has been rather longer than that.

Quote:
What terms and conditions did you agree to when you paid the deposit? I would have thought it unlikely that you are not entitled to the return of the deposit if you are cancelling sufficiently early.

Sadly, I wouldn't count on it. People like this rarely offer refunds in any circumstances.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 am
Posts: 438
Sally-Anne wrote:

Quote:
Did you pay your deposit as part of an online purchase? If so you should be protected by internet selling regs.

This is, I'm afraid, unlikely. The legal framework is the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, and I have recently had a slightly bruising encounter with it. :(



The 7-day cooling off period, or right to refund can sometimes be extended if the company didn't state clearly, in writing, what their returns policy and more importantly, what the time-frame for "returns" or refunds is concerned. If they don't state it, then this from the Citizens' Advice Bureau explains it very clearly:

"If the seller has failed to comply with the requirements to provide information, Distance Selling Regulations mean that your right to cancel doesn’t end until seven working days from the day after the seller does comply.

This is up to a maximum of three months and seven working days from when you placed your order. "



For non-tangible goods, it may be different. You have to put your cancellation in writing, unless the seller has stated that it may be done by telephone, or in person.

Here's a useful link to the Office of Fair Trading's guide

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/busine ... oft913.pdf

And the government one:

https://www.gov.uk/online-and-distance- ... businesses

I would be very wary on online reviews - I always remember the advice I was given back in 1997, when discussion forums were really getting going.... "you own your own words". One should always be very careful that what one says cannot be used as evidence for a case for libel.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8206
Location: Buckinghamshire
bravado wrote:
Here's a useful link to the Office of Fair Trading's guide

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/busine ... oft913.pdf

The self-same one I have been reading almost daily for the last month! :lol:

It will depend on the timing, and it may also depend on how the contract was concluded in the first instance - it may have been face-to-face, but we just don't know until pgp returns.

Quote:
I would be very wary on online reviews - I always remember the advice I was given back in 1997, when discussion forums were really getting going.... "you own your own words". One should always be very careful that what one says cannot be used as evidence for a case for libel.

Indeed. Just because you are using an alias, it does not protect you (or us) from a libel suit. In the event of a Police investigation we can be required to hand over any and all information that we hold about an individual; most people are very easy to track from their online "footprint".


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:30 am 
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Joined: Fri May 31, 2013 3:56 pm
Posts: 5
Many thanks for the replies and suggestions. Due to the nature of the subject, it is difficult to give more details. However, I am pleased to hear that there are plans in place to set up some sort of association/regulatory body even though it should have been established many years ago. The chap responsible for the swearing obviously was aware of the lack of such a body, hence was happy to come out with such language knowing he had nobody to answer to. I have contacted Sally-Anne via PM with more details. Look forward to any more views or experiences.
pgp


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:12 pm
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A threat of going to small claims court usually works as they won't want a bad debt/record of action against them. And the good thing is that it is free to file a claim and a very cheap process - you don't need a solicitor. A friend was owed £200 by a fridge repair firm last week (engineer left without fixing the applicance) and she threatened similar action when they refused to refund her and were rude. But they refunded her immediately when she said she would resort to litigation. You could also go to the press - the defence for a newspaper or website against a libel/defamation action is truth and fair comment and it sounds as as though you meet both criteria both in your case.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:28 am
Posts: 438
crashtestdummy wrote:
A threat of going to small claims court usually works as they won't want a bad debt/record of action against them. And the good thing is that it is free to file a claim and a very cheap process - you don't need a solicitor. A friend was owed £200 by a fridge repair firm last week (engineer left without fixing the applicance) and she threatened similar action when they refused to refund her and were rude. But they refunded her immediately when she said she would resort to litigation. You could also go to the press - the defence for a newspaper or website against a libel/defamation action is truth and fair comment and it sounds as as though you meet both criteria both in your case.


As far as I know, it's not free to file a claim in the Small Claims Court. It used to be in the region of £35, which if course, you can attempt to claim back from the other party, if you win.

Here's the details:

https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for ... court-fees


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