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Charging student for missed tuition session

(80 Posts)
RangeTesKopeks Sat 28-May-16 20:01:28

Hi everyone,

This is a bit of a WWYD situation, so I'd be really grateful for any advice you might have please smile

I work as a tutor, and have been teaching French to a girl for a couple of months now, but fairly infrequently (we manage to fit in around a session a month).

At the start of May, the girl's parents had provisionally arranged for her to have a tuition session with me this morning.

I travel to the family's house for the tuition, and when I got there I rang the doorbell a couple of times but got no answer. I waited for a few more minutes and realised their car wasn't in the drive, so I rang the house phone. I could hear it ringing but no one answered. I also tried a mobile number for the family, and again got no answer so I left a message on the landline and mobile.

The family got in touch a couple of hours ago to say they were really sorry but were out at the time of the lesson. They said they'd tried to send me a text earlier this week to cancel today's lesson but that they've only just realised that the text didn't send.

I have a 24 hour cancellation policy, so if my students cancel without 24 hours' notice or don't turn up to my lessons, I charge them for the lesson.

Considering the family tried to send me a text message to cancel the lesson today, WIBU to charge them for the lesson?

ilovesooty Sat 28-May-16 20:03:10

Do you believe that they tried to text?

ohnoppp Sat 28-May-16 20:03:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PurpleDaisies Sat 28-May-16 20:03:59

I occasionally charge for missed session but only if they have a history of taking the mickey. I usually think it's better to keep the goodwill. You wouldn't be unreasonable to charge if they were aware of your policy.

chicaguapa Sat 28-May-16 20:04:34

I think that because they could tell that you didn't get the text cancelling the lesson, your cancellation policy applies and you should charge them.

You even turned up at the house. If perhaps the text had arrived before you left, ie less than 24 hrs, you could have waived the charge. But not if no one was there when you arrived.

Abetes Sat 28-May-16 20:05:11

You should charge them.

Scarydinosaurs Sat 28-May-16 20:05:20

You never acknowledged their cancellation- therefore it doesn't count.

I would say to them: this is my cancellation policy, I didn't receive your text and never acknowledged the cancellation- therefore the full amount of £30.

ilovesooty Sat 28-May-16 20:06:02

I'd charge them, especially as you turned up for the session.

Cocochoco Sat 28-May-16 20:06:30

I'd charge them half, just as a gesture of goodwill

Microserf80 Sat 28-May-16 20:08:08

You say 'provisionally arranged', in my mind this means no confirmed booking so no cancellation fee can apply

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Sat 28-May-16 20:10:39

You probably should charge them - she won't last as a tutee anyway if she/ her parents constantly re arrange and she has only managed one session a month (so you've only taught her 2 or 3 times presumably)?

For a regular weekly tutee I'd waive the charge for the good will, but tutees who mess you about constantly and right from the off aren't worth it (unless they pay significantly above your usual rate for the privilege of messing you about and basically keeping you on a retainer perhaps).

elQuintoConyo Sat 28-May-16 20:12:33

Charge them. Otherwise they'll take the puss and if it happens again you'll be kicking yourself.

How provisionally was provisionally? Was it in both of your diaries? Did you/they need to confirm it 24hrs before class?

You could chalk it up to experience. And I organise my classes through whatsapp, fewer chances of flakeyness.

Nothing more grrrr-inducing than knocking on the door of an empty house angry


Floggingmolly Sat 28-May-16 20:13:49

Of course charge them. That it was a provisional arrangement is a red herring; they've admitted that they both attempted to cancel and realised that they in fact, didn't cancel.

DebCee Sat 28-May-16 20:18:23

Maybe say you would normally charge full price but as a gesture of goodwill you will charge half this time?

RangeTesKopeks Sat 28-May-16 20:19:07

Thanks so much for all of your replies everyone! smile

I'm finding it difficult to decide whether to charge them or not mainly because of the 'provisonal' arrangement. Although, when the family told me today that their cancellation text didn't send, it makes me think that they should then be the ones to fully confirm whether or not they would like the session to go ahead. When the provisional booking was made, I texted back the same day to say that I would be available.

AIBU to think that although it is a provisional arrangement, it's still an arrangement proposed by the family and it's therefore their responsibility to confirm to me whether or not they will be attending the lesson?

It's the 'provisonal' wording that's making me so indecisive about what to do confused

witsender Sat 28-May-16 20:20:08

You say provisional, that implies to me that confirmation was required from both sides.

TiredOfSleep Sat 28-May-16 20:24:53

Charge them half for the inconvenience and don't turn up again unless they confirm the booking.

PurpleDaisies Sat 28-May-16 20:25:13

AIBU to think that although it is a provisional arrangement, it's still an arrangement proposed by the family and it's therefore their responsibility to confirm to me whether or not they will be attending the lesson?

If you only said you were available at a certain time it sounds more like they were supposed to confirm that they wanted you to come. I think that's not a booking so I wouldn't charge but I would make my displeasure at being messed about clear.

That's a really tough one-it depends whether you said you'd come unless you heard otherwise or if it was the opposite!

Floggingmolly Sat 28-May-16 20:26:27

Not really. Op confirmed she'd be available, the onus was the on the parents to have given reasonable notice that they'd decided against it; not let op turn up to an empty house.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Sat 28-May-16 20:29:48

The reason I am always reluctant to tutor (it isn't my main job) is that you invest as much or more effort in communicating with some parents by phone/ email/ text / WhatsApp as you do in the actual tutoring. There is also an ironic tendency for the most high maintenance parents who constantly re arrange and want a running email discussion on their child multiple times a week despite sessions only being weekly, to be theoneswho try to haggle your rates down because they've heard of some teenager offering tuition more cheaply, and get out of paying if they just forget a fully 100% confirmed session etc.

TBH the arrangement you describe would have me deciding between charging her in full or ending the arrangement altogether - it doesn't sound worth your while.

PurpleDaisies Sat 28-May-16 20:36:33

I'm not sure I agree molly-if I'd told someone I was available I wouldn't assume I had a booking until they replied saying they wanted me to come then and I'd confirm the day before to make sure. Without seeing the texts it's hard to know.

I totally agree with schwabisch-she sounds like a pain and not a great loss if she looked for someone else.

LobsterQuadrille Sat 28-May-16 20:44:08

I think you should charge them. It was a provisional booking, meaning that you had reserved the time for them in your schedule. The fact that they realised they needed to cancel means that in their minds it was an actual booking; having heard nothing from them, you thought the same and turned up at their house.

Frrrrrrippery Sat 28-May-16 20:48:07

They should pay the full session but how about charging for half the lesson as a compromise?

RangeTesKopeks Sat 28-May-16 20:59:02

Thank you so much everyone smile really appreciate all of your help and suggestions!

Finally sent over a reply to family's previous message. My reply was along the lines of:

Thanks for your text. I have a 24 hour cancellation policy, and as I didn't have prior notice of today's cancellation, I will be charging full price for this morning. Hope this is okay.

Gahh I hate writing messages like this. Never quite know how to word them confused

The 24 hour cancellation policy is something that my students are aware of - I let them know as soon as I start with them, and it's confirmed in writing on everywhere that I've advertised the tuition.

Oh god sorry to ask so many questions - does anyone have any advice for next steps? Should I email the family and attach an invoice to the message? Or wait for them to reply to me before doing anything else? Worried I'm going to piss them off :/

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-May-16 20:59:28

"The text didn't send" and stayed unsent all week hmm
I'd charge them the full amount: It was their responsibility to make sure their cancellation was sent properly if it ever existed-
With one lesson a month, they don't sound like clients you need worry about keeping - and it'll probably be your fault she's not making the expected brilliant progress.

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