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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71147
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am aDriving Instructor of many years experience and am dealing

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I am aDriving Instructor of many years experience and am dealing with my first customer complaint. I have tried to solve this with the customer through email as she does not wish any direct contact with me. She is demanding half of the paid fee back as she says that I did not do my job and made her feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.
She paid a fee of £279 for 20 hours of tuition of which I have delivered 16 hours. This lady has requires a refund of £139.50.
She has 4 hours outstanding but had cancelled 9 hours at short notice. As per the terms and conditions which signed on lesson one there should be 24hours notice of cancellation otherwise lessons are chargeable. The total owed to me for cancellations is the 4 outstanding lessons plus 5 hours at £23 (£115).
I have notified this to the lady and have offered the difference of the two amounts i.e her request for £139.50 minus late cancellation charges of £115 leaving a refund of £24.50.
I have been forwarded a letter now where she is demanding the £139.50 within 7 days otherwise she will contact DVSA. This course of action could harm or even end my career.
Do I just refund?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What is she actually alleging you did?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It may be easier for you to read the original complaint letter plus replies.
She says I acted unprofessionally in my teaching and my conduct. She says I moaned about being tired and kept taking to her when she needed to concentrate. She also says that many of my comments were inappropriate. I use a joke with punch line to calm pupils where I mention that I was offered sex for lessons but didn't take it up as I needed the money. This is and has always been a fabrication. I also offered to allow her small child to accompany us on lessons in a car seat as we were having problems booking lessons as she could not get a sitter. She said this was not good as she would not be able to concentrate..she also says that my use of certain words on text messages was inappropriate. I regularly use words such as: babes. Sweetheart. Beautiful. Darling. Hun etc in text messages and day to day speech. She also alleges that I did not teach her correctly. And feels that she should have progressed further in the time taken. There is more but too much to list. Nothing of this complaint was ever notified to me before I received the complaint details from the company that I teach for.
Is there truth in any of that?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The words on text messages I did and have used. I have ceased using these words since the complaint although I have never had any complaints before and indeed other pupils use them to me. I did use the fabricated story yes and have admitted as much and offered my unreserved apologies. She says that she felt vulnerable when with me. I did teach her to the same standards and using the same techniques that I use with all of my other pupils. Any pupils progress is relative to the pupil. I can't say that none of this happened as it did. I did send a reply to the lady where I listed my answers To her allegations. She replied with a request for a 50% refund. I'm starting to think that it may just be best for me to pay the money requested. But I don't want it to seem like a back down and I don't want it coming back to me in the future.

Yes, and obviously she is just using this nonsense as an excuse.
The question is whether you want to fight it.
From a legal point of view, she has no claim to the refund unless your teaching fell below the standard required. All the others are the usual point scoring twaddle that you get from people who like to be victims.
The problem is whether you are willing to risk a complaint. We both know what professional bodies are like. They see no humour in anything and they completely ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of others who deal with you enjoy things of that nature and present no complaint. In truth, I think its quite unlikely that they would actually act against you for any other reason than a failing in your teaching standards. The other complaints would just lead to some twaddle about that type of language being inappropriate.
If you want it to go away then you can just pay in full but then you run the risk she will complain anyway. There are unreasonable people about and she is clearly one of them.
If you are prepared to fight it then refuse because a court will not make you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Knowing how the DVSA work it may just be best for me to pay the requested amount. If I do pay could I request a signed document stating that the payment is an end to the complaint?

Yes, you can but that will not stop her making complaints. You can just ask her to sign to say that it is in full and final settlement and that may deter her but if she does make complaints then the fact that she has signed this will not prevent them from considering it.

The trouble with complaints to professional bodies is that they never get anywhere but they make us waste our time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much for you assistance. as I have no funds available for legal representation I think I will just have to pay up and hope for the best.

Once again, many thanks

No problem and all the best.

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