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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 31300
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I paid advance fees for a home study course that I now wish

Customer Question

I paid advance fees for a home study course that I now wish to end. I paid over £1,000 for several modules as there was a perceived higher discount, I have started the first module however I have asked for a refund of the remaining modules and they have said I only had 14 days to get a refund, months have since past.
However they have not provided any of the study material for those modules, in fact they won't until I pass the first one. So really in my view they are just holding advance money for that time, it's not actually costing them anything.
I could understand and would not be looking for a refund if they had sent materials. Do I have a case for a small claims summons?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

Did you agree cancellation rights?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Not that I am aware of I have attached a copy of the agreement I had to confirm reading.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
A letter I got in March with the first part of the course says "Fees are not refundable after two weeks have elapsed from when you received your initial study package". I took this to mean the first module, which is fine I am not disputing payment of that.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Each of the modules can be purchased individually, I just took them all because I thought it was better value, in reality that was not the case.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
They also pointed me to this on their website, https://www.idealschools.co.uk/about-us/terms-and-conditions.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Here was my offer to them by email when they refused.Whilst I can understand your business reluctance to refund, the issue for me is that I have only begun level II and you have only spent time, effort and expense on that part of the course. I have advance paid for all other parts of the course and exams for which no time, effort or expense has been spent. Had you sent me all the study material for every other level that would have been different in my view.
You may consider I have registered on a level 4 course of study however you offer each individual module on your site, the level or content of the study does not change whether I buy an individual module or all modules at once. Together they offer the benefit of a perceived higher discount, nothing more.
I have checked your terms:
5. Fees are not refundable after two weeks have elapsed, but a transfer to another course of comparable value may be considered. Such a transfer may be subject to an administration fee, depending on how far you have progressed on the first course. (Where software has been supplied as part of the course, and the seal on this has been broken, no refunds will be considered for this particular item.)
My reasonable interpretation of the above is that course fee's are not refundable for those parts already started which is entirely reasonable. If I decided today that I did not want to continue studying before even completing level II then it would be entirely unreasonable that you would not refund the fee's for the parts of the course paid in advance that I did not want to study and you have yet to incurred any costs.Here is my suggestion.I paid you (being Ideal Schools) £1,141.55 on the 21st March 2016 via my personal credit card. From your site the window price for level II is £219 without discount, the exams are listed as £42.00. Total £261.00. Again I appreciate this has been my doing for that I would agree to a further £100 to handle your time and administration in this matter due to my error. I am offering the window price for the course in full knowledge that discounts of 15-20% are a more regular feature than not on your site with coupons across the web also.That would then leave a balance of £880.55 for you to return to me so I can pay it to my credit card.I feel this is entirely reasonable. My intention is not to fall out in any way with you, simply that you understand my position which as noted from a financial point of view won't support that balance on my card.I would therefore be grateful if you confirm as a final position whether you would agree to this or not.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

Sorry, you are on Scotland. I will opt out and move this to scots law for you.

Expert:  JGM replied 10 months ago.

I am a solicitor in Scotland. The terms you have posted relate to usage of the website, not the purchase of the courses. Can I see the contract for the purchase of the courses please.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The attachment was all I had to agree to before I paid the amount due, the link to their terms and conditions on the website is all they have given me to refer too. A letter with the first module course material only repeated what's on their website terms. I did not sign anything.