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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11633
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I am trying to get a refund from an online school in the uk,

Customer Question

I am trying to get a refund from an online school in the uk, but I am not getting joy because they insist that they do not offer refunds as per their terms and conditions
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I live in Zambia
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have written e-mails to them to see if they can refund me even part of the tuition fees
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: When enrolling, it was very clear enrollment fees were non-refundable, but tuition, nothing was indicated in plain sight
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 11 days ago.

Hi, this is Jim, thank you for the question - I will resolve this for you.

Sorry to hear of the issue. The school should not be charging you for a service which they cannot offer. The essential term to the contract you have with them is that you pay them - and in return they provide the tuition.

If one of these essential terms is not able to be carried out, in this case due to an external event being the pandemic, you can demand a refund even if their terms say "non refundable". This is because a contact can be terminated if "frustration" occurs, meaning performance of the contractual terms is impossible - due to the pandemic for example.

If the pandemic is not the reason why you want to cancel, then the contract will be scrutinised if you took them to court over this. If the non-refund terms only apply to enrolment fees then fine - the court would say the non-refund does not then apply to the tuition fees. As an ambiguous contract is generally resolved in favour of a consumer, being yourself.

If the school disputes this, threaten them with a report to Trading Standards (tel: 0808(###) ###-####. You can use the attached letter to try and get your money back - if you had to use the UK courts, you need either a UK residential address in order to receive court documents, or you need to use a UK law firm to act for you.

I hope this helps and answers the question - please feel free to ask me anything else.

Have a good day,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 11 days ago.

Hi, I’m just checking to see if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or address anything else for you.

Many thanks,
Jim

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
sir, the answer was insightful. I just need to know how I can lodge this through a small claims court being a non-resident.Because I was not satisfied with schools response concerning my issue.What actually happened is, when I enrolled, the reason I gave for enrolling was school closure in my country due to COVID-19.So when schools opened back in my country at the beginning of September, the kids needed to go back to their usual school; that two weeks into the online school's term.I then asked to advise their refund procedure through a parent liaison via mail and all I got was an email concerning "Updated" Terms and Conditions; the reply for the liaison person only came way later.After further engagement and escalation within their hierarchy, all they keep telling me is they are sorry they cannot refund based on their Terms and Conditions - of which nothing of "non-refund" appears on their fees page.In their last response, that's where the business manager mentioned that they hire based on the number of students and pay other costs accordingly.Which for me, was very strange, hence my seeking advise to take it further so that I can possibly get advantageous closure.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 11 days ago.

Hi, if you are not in the UK, you would need to use a friend or family member's address in the UK to pursue the small claim, or you would need a law firm to do it for you. The following companies could do that for you if you do not know anyone in the UK whose address you could use :

  1. http://ww.catalystlaw.co.uk
  2. https://www.lindermyers.co.uk/for-you/dispute-resolution/small-claims-court/
  3. https://www.cavershamsolicitors.co.uk/business-legal-services/litigation-department/small-claims/
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Many thanks. Let me check with them and see how best I can be helped.Thank you once more.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 11 days ago.

No problem, thanks

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Dear Sir, following our discussion yesterday, and further "research", would it be prudent for me to follow the Small Claims court route (considering the amount involved and legal fees like to be incurred)? or their are other ways I can get help.
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
sorry I meant to say likely not like
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 10 days ago.

Yes, the small claims route is fine - if you are not in the UK though you would need a law firm to do this, or you would need access to a UK address.