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To tell the nursery to go sing for it?

(55 Posts)
Likeaheadlesschicken Thu 28-Jul-11 23:39:56

Evening all!

This weeks dilemma......... 

My DD is due to start nursery on Monday. We booked the place in February this year for three days per week. The deposit was paid immediately. We received no confirmation of her booking, however the cheque was cashed so I felt ok that it was sorted.

Fast forward to a month ago... Despite several friends being contacted about their DC's starting nursery and arranging stay and play sessions we didnt get contacted. So I called the nursery and initiated everything.

We have had two one hour stay and plays. As my working hours had not been confirmed I had not specified which three days were required. When I mentioned this last week I was told I had already been allocated days, but had not been informed of them. I was at this point given an enrolment form and handbook. 

Today I have discovered that I am unable to return to work as the position they have offered me is totally untenable and I have no
choice than to resign (whole other thread.....maybe tomorrows dilemma!)

I contacted the nursery to see what would happen, and I was told I would lose my deposit (£240) and would have to pay £1200 to them in lieu of notice.
I was not aware of this policy and having checked the documentation I was given when I first approached the nursery it was not mentioned. It has however been included in the new documentation I was given on Friday.

I don't actually want to withdraw DD from nursery as I think it would be good for her so proposed her having one day per week, to which I was told fine, but I would still lose my deposit and would have to pay £960.... One day in nursery is a stretch financially so there is no way in gods name I could afford three, or to pay the amounts they are suggesting. 

I asked to speak to the Manager but am still waiting for a call back.

So WWYD, do you believe I am liable for this money. The policy states the parents will be taken to court for non payment. 

My gut reaction is to tell them
to foxtrot ocsar, but previously to today I felt the nursery would be a fab place for my DD and I don't want CCJ's and the like hanging over me. 

ll31 Thu 28-Jul-11 23:44:11

no legal knowledge but seems v unreasonable if you are keeping child there 1 day anyway - ie varying hours not completely ending contract...

wherearemysocks Thu 28-Jul-11 23:45:36

Have you signed anything that states how much notice you would have to give or that you would have to pay in lieu of notice? If you've not then I would tell them to whistle.

readywithwellies Thu 28-Jul-11 23:46:50

Don't pay and complain re points made about lack of documentation and communication. Wait for letter from them asking for payment. If it comes then ring and say you cannot afford it, that you would be willing to pay <insert what you like> or they can take action against you. They may accept this. If they still persist pay up before it gets to court.

Flossbert Thu 28-Jul-11 23:50:29

Yabu - nurseries staff according to requirements. Just because your position has changed, their staffing bill will, for at least the next month, stay the same. It's like a tenant saying he can't pay his rent because he's lost his job - the landlord's mortgage still needs paying.

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 00:05:05

Thanks for the replies.

I signed and returned a form saying that I wished to enrol my child and that if I did not take up the place/changed start date/reduced days my deposit would be retained.

At no point was it mentioned verbally about notice periods and it was only included in the documentation I received on Friday of last week.

I don't really want to cause trouble at the nursery as I would like my DD to start and stay there and potentially DC2 (due in nov). However I don't feel I should be made to pay ridiculous sums of money either.

From what I can see the nursery won't have issues with ratios either way. My friend was able to extend to full time immediately as they has flexibilty in their ratios. This leads me to believe that they are already overstaffed pre my DD starting due to dwindling numbers.

thisisyesterday Fri 29-Jul-11 00:07:39

hmm well it's standard practice for there to be a notice period (normally one month) and for you to have to pay for that if you don't wish to use it

i have no idea where you would stand legally though if you hadn't been informed about it.
as you've signed stuff to officially enroll her I guess it would be your word against theirs that you hadn't seen this before?

might be worth talking to the CAB tomorrow? or consumer direct?

Garcia10 Fri 29-Jul-11 00:13:00

I'm surprised the notice period is only one month. At the two nurseries my daughter attended the notice was three months for each.

Agree with Flossbert - it isn't the nursery's fault that you no longer want the place. I think you should pay.

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 00:26:48

The notice period is three months. I also still want the place just on 1 day per week rather than three. I do see the nurserys point if view but do feel they should actually inform you of changes to policies, especially ones with potentially large financial ramifications, and get you to sign to say you agree. If your T&C's change from your bank they have to let you know, the same as any contractual changes at work, why should this be any different?

Elemis Fri 29-Jul-11 00:28:14

Can you afford to keep her in there for the length of the notice period?

Elemis Fri 29-Jul-11 00:29:02

I guess not if it's 3 months notice!

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 00:30:23

thisisyesterday I have got the old documentation which I received before I enroled without the notice periods mentioned in it. Do you think this will help as it proves I was unaware when I signed the enrolment form.

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 00:32:39

Hi Elemis I won't be working so can't afford £1400, at the present moment I cannot physically pay the money, even if I felt it was right to do so.

GloriousGoosebumps Fri 29-Jul-11 07:36:45

The nursery cannot claim that you are in breach of a contractual requirement to pay a notice period if they failed to inform you of that notice period prior to you signing the contract. They say otherwise but you have the paperwork they sent you as evidence and they didn’t tell you orally. It may be worthwhile speaking to your friends and seeing at what point they were told about the notice period. If their experience tally’s with yours then it strengthens your case. Certainly, there’s little point in the nursery attempting to sue you if you have paperwork which disproves their case, but, they’ll probably refuse to offer your children places at a later date.

TattyDevine Fri 29-Jul-11 07:45:05

If you haven't signed anything in terms of 3 months notice etc then there is no breach of contract - it would be unenforceable in a court so do NOT pay if it goes to court - let it go to court, and pay only if a court rules you should, which they wont without a contract.

If you want to retain a day then that is awkward but they should realise that there is no contract and they either lose you altogether or bow to your will. However, relationship wise it might be awkward so I think you would be best just withdrawing your daughter and starting fresh somewhere else.

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 08:00:21


I really feel I shouldn't have to pay, not just because I don't want to but because it was not communicated to me that I would be liable.

I am disappointed but I think unless this can be resolved amicably, as I haven't spoken to the actual Manager, just her assistant (the Manager hasn't called me back) I will have to lose my deposit and go somewhere else. It's a real shame as it is a great environment for my DD with a good local reputation, but this has left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

breatheslowly Fri 29-Jul-11 09:15:08

I appreciate that it isn't theoretically relevant, but how hard will they find it to fill the space? Is it over subscribed? 3 months sounds crazy.

CalmaLlamaDown Fri 29-Jul-11 09:45:43

Yabu to expect no penalty, nursery is a business with large overheads and you have only given them a couple of days notice of the changes. They are not a charity - imagine if they phoned you yesterday and said sorry plans have changed for monday and you did have to go to work, that would be unacceptable. That said I am sure if you go in and speak to the manager face to face you will find a compromise.

bubblesincoffee Fri 29-Jul-11 10:20:34

They definately have the right to keep your deposit. That's what it's for.

They have provided you with the place you asked for, it's you who is changing your requirements.

Most nurseries require a terms notice for changes, and that is fair enough.

It's not fair of you to complain that they are overstaffed, I personally don't believe that a nursery can give really good quality of care on the ratios the government says they have to have, and many parents will choose a nursey because they have high staff to child ratios.

LIZS Fri 29-Jul-11 10:29:59

Sorry I think they are correct and iit is very normal practice, if you signed a registration form you would have agreed to their t and c. If they are only demanding one month's payment instead of 3 in lieu of notice then you are getting off lightly especially since they won't easily fill the place over the summer. You could still use the place for August and then change the arrangement to one day. tbh I think you need to tread carefully in case you want to use them again if you find alternative employment.

ThierryHenryismyBoyfriend Fri 29-Jul-11 10:35:56

You have no case re the deposit as the form you signed stated that if you didn't take the place or reduced it then you would lose this.

I also agree with Calma, it's a business and for al you know they may have turned someone away for a place to accommodate your child.

Looks to be like because you've changed your mind you don't want to pay, sorry but I think you should pay. However, I think it's worthwhile speaking to the manager to see if this can be reduced in any way.

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 10:36:43

For what it's worth I feel I should mention again, they are n

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 10:43:57

Oops, sent it too soon. For the people that are commenting without reading my OP (and I don't mean to sound defensive) it is not the deposit I am questioning, it is more that they want me to pay three months fees in lieu of notice (£1200) when my Daughter hasnt even started, and I haven't signed anything confirming I accept these T&C's the forms I signed did not contain this information, this information was only given to me on Friday. I also did not complain about the ratios, I was answering another poster who said they would have to lay someone off.

breatheslowly Fri 29-Jul-11 10:45:31

If they have no evidence that you have signed up for 3 months notice, then I doubt that they could legally pursue you for it.

Likeaheadlesschicken Fri 29-Jul-11 10:49:13

I also haven't "changed my mind" as such I am now unable to return to work due to my flexible working request being turned down. I cannot physically go to work and pick up/drop off my DD within the time specified by the nursery. I have no family or alternative childcare. I am unable to arrange any childminder for before/after nursery in the timescale given (I.e by Monday) I would have been very happy to return to work and send my DD to this nursery. Although this is no fault of the nursery this situation is totally out of my control.

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