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Would I be U not to pay this?

(60 Posts)
blondieblonde Mon 09-Nov-15 20:51:22

We have a local very posh playgroup. I have sporadically inquired as to whether they have spare places and they always have said they were full until this September, when they emailed at last-minute notice saying did I want my DD (who is 3) to start. I accepted a few mornings per week and then heard nothing. Just before her start date we got an email, and I took her along on her first day. It was terrible -- her key worker was awful and it was just a really bad place. I stayed that first morning, and took her back the next day and also stayed. That second lunch time we decided it wasn't going to work and I emailed them to say so. We had, by this point, already paid them £150 of registration/deposit.

Now they have emailed us saying we have to pay for two terms worth of fees, which adds up to over £600. This was only ever a few mornings per week place and in mid-September I told them it wasn't going to work for us. How can they expect us to pay up until December?! Especially if they say they are always very oversubscribed, why don't they just give the place to someone else? Also it doesn't account for the fact that it should be free, given DD is 3, and they are charging us what it would cost to have put a 2 year old in, IYSWIM.

I feel very aggrieved by the threatening emails the playgroup is sending and do not want to pay. We had waited till DD was 3 so it would be free to have under 15 hours.

ZebraLovesKnitting Mon 09-Nov-15 20:53:37

Are the playgroup signed up to the 15 free hours thing? Just wondering if you've got your wires crossed?

NickNacks Mon 09-Nov-15 20:55:35

Well they won't be paid for those days by the borough. It's a full term or nothing (sort of- there's a headcount day that your dd won't be present for). Having said all that the £150 deposit should cover those sessions you used.

Mooey89 Mon 09-Nov-15 20:56:15

Were those mornings not the settling in sessions anyway? If you terminated after only two mornings you should be within some sort of cancellation policy and it seems very unfair for them to charge you for those sessions for a child who essentially didn't start with them.

MsVestibule Mon 09-Nov-15 20:57:04

No way would I be paying this! Did you tell them why you weren't returning? I'd be livid at losing £150, I certainly wouldn't be paying out more.

On a practical note, I think you should write (not email) to them explaining you will not be paying any more. I really can't imagine they'd take you to the small claims court over it. Out of interest, did you sign a contract?

CurlsLDN Mon 09-Nov-15 20:58:36

I expect that the nursery can't claim the 15 hours funding on behalf of a child who isn't there.

Did you sign a contract? What were the cancellation terms? Although I do really feel for you and I'm not sure whether it would be best to pay or not, it sounds a pretty standard notice period for a nursery - even though you weren't there for long

blondieblonde Mon 09-Nov-15 20:59:07

They say that paying the deposit counted as a contract. Yes it is signed up to the free hours scheme. Ok, maybe she wouldn't have been eligible for term 1 but certainly term 2. They are saying £600.

NickNacks Mon 09-Nov-15 21:00:44

But she's not eligible for term two either, if she's not attending, they won't be paid, if that's what you mean.

ZebraLovesKnitting Mon 09-Nov-15 21:02:05

When did she turn 3 then?

And exactly for how long are they charging you? I'm just confused because surely two terms would be until Easter, not December?

NickNacks Mon 09-Nov-15 21:04:20

Some settings call the half terms (1,2,3 etc) so 6 terms in an academic year.

blondieblonde Mon 09-Nov-15 21:04:47

But how unfair is that Nicknacks?! They are treating us as if she was there so pretty unfair we have to pay more than if she was actually there. At the moment I feel like MsVestibule.

She turned 3 in Oct. Term 1 is Sept/Oct and term 2 Nov/Dec apparently.

RubbleBubble00 Mon 09-Nov-15 21:05:52

Didn't you check the fees before paying the deposit?

Dungandbother Mon 09-Nov-15 21:06:04

You paid money but if there is no piece of paper you signed then there is no contract.

Are you sure about whether you signed anything in their office when you gave a deposit?

They sound like a day nursery childcare rather than a playgroup.

LIZS Mon 09-Nov-15 21:06:39

So she isn't yet qualifying for funding , it is the term after 3rd bday ie. January. If you signed a contract with the deposit it probably says a full term's notice is required.

NickNacks Mon 09-Nov-15 21:07:02

Ah ok. She's not funded by the 15 hours until January, so you've taken a paid spot at the pre school, not a funded place.

RubbleBubble00 Mon 09-Nov-15 21:07:39

Paying deposit usually means you have accepted place - did they tell u about the withdrawal notice? Two months is pretty standard around here

Dungandbother Mon 09-Nov-15 21:07:49

X post

Your free nursery hours won't start till Jan. It's the school term after third birthday (Sep/Jan/Apr)

But they should have clearly explained this to you.

ZebraLovesKnitting Mon 09-Nov-15 21:08:26

Oh, I see, half terms, sorry!

I don't know how that would work with the free funding though. Mine got it the term after they turned 3, so my Oct-birthday DS started free funding in January. Because that's what the local authority call a term. I think this term thing may be causing some confusion.

ZebraLovesKnitting Mon 09-Nov-15 21:11:04

So for four months' worth they're charging you £600? So £150 a month? That sounds about right?

camtt Mon 09-Nov-15 21:12:18

You need to check the information you were given before you paid the deposit. The cancellation policy should have been completely clear, and also the basis on which the place was made available - i.e. what kind of a space. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be paying. In fact I might argue it anyway as I tend to if something seems unreasonable.

Fairenuff Mon 09-Nov-15 21:22:27

There's no contact OP. Don't pay it.

serin Mon 09-Nov-15 21:22:35

I would maybe consider writing to them to explain what it is you are not happy with. You may have signed a contract but surely that is two sided? and conditional on them providing adequate care. If you were worried about her safety then would that be a reason to take her out without incurring further fees.

Can you elaborate on what made it "terrible"?

blondieblonde Mon 09-Nov-15 21:30:38

They didn't introduce my child to any of the other children or show her around, so she knew nobody's name and none of the layout.

Her key worker had only been there a few weeks and had her own extremely badly behaved son in her group of co-workees. So my daughter spent her snack time trying not to touch this woman's boiling hot coffee she had put down in front of her while the key worker screamed at her own son.

Really weird attitude to the kids, lots of kids upset throughout the day with no adults talking to them.


NoSquirrels Mon 09-Nov-15 21:41:18

I think the free hours/terms etc. is a red herring.

You paid a deposit and had 2 settling in sessions. You withdrew immediately it was clear it wouldn't be in the best interests of your child. You paid a deposit for this reason/situation - to hold the place until your child could start, at which point you become liable for the fess. You didn't sign a contract with terms and conditions relating to fees. I presume you had nothing in writing about cancellation policy etc.

I would not pay any more, and invite them to join me in the small claims court if they thought they would win. It will be more hassle than it's worth for them to do this, so I expect they'll let it go.

blondieblonde Mon 09-Nov-15 21:43:26

Thanks. Would it be bad if it did go to small claims? Could I end up having to pay more? Could it affect my credit rating?

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