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Have they now provided you with a copy of their terms and conditions? If so, please can you upload it on here so that I can take a look?
Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.
Many thanks for your patience. Whilst you will likely lose the deposit, the issue is mainly to do with the term’s fees they are pursuing you for as a result of the alleged failure to give sufficient notice to withdraw your child.
Whilst a term’s fees are common in these scenarios, you can always argue that you were not issued with the terms and conditions requiring that until after the event had passed. So whilst you are prepared to accept that the deposit will be lost and they can use that to cover any losses, you should not be held liable for the term’s notice they are expecting as you simply had no contractual obligation to abide by that, as no formal terms of business were issued to you. Had you been issued with such terms, you would have known what was contractually expected of you and timed the notice or withdrawal differently.
Just be aware though that there is nothing stopping them from taking this to court and it is their prerogative to do this. It means you will have to do your best to defend the claim and use the above argument. Assuming he total amount claimed is less than £10,000 it means it will go in the Small Claims Court where the risks are not that high and even if you lose you will only be liable for the amount sought but not the school’s legal fees.
Does this answer your query?
1. They cannot claim legal costs for pursuing a claim but if they have engaged debt collectors for example and win, they can add these to the total claim. However, each side pays their own legal fees in the Small Claims Court even if they win
2. Yes, that is correct and they also have a duty to mitigate their losses as soon as it became obvious that they would suffer any (from the point you advised of cancellation) and that would ideally mean finding a replacement pupil
3. Not really, it is their responsibility to provide you with the terms they want to apply in your business relationship with them, not your duty to ask for them. Failure to provide any will backfire on them, not on you.
4. The key is that they cannot just penalise you, they must only pursue you for such costs as are deemed fair and reasonable in the circumstances, considering the genuine pre-estimate of losses incurred and also considering what they have done to try and mitigate these
If you made an offer and you specifically made it conditional on it being in full and final settlement and it is then accepted by them by being banked, then that is when they will be giving up their rights to take it any further. You can also ask them for proof of costs incurred before you consider this any further as you need to make sure you are only paying for reasonable costs and not being penalised. If you do claim, they will need to supply proof of the costs incurred and also the mitigating steps they have taken to try and reduce/avoid these, which can include evidence that the space was filled. You do not have to give any specific arguments away yet, this can happen further in the process if it gets that far