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Is this normal?

(5 Posts)
vladthedisorganised Thu 10-Dec-15 11:52:11

New to all this so please be gentle..

DD is 5. She was desperate to do ballet class for ages, I agreed to sign her up for a local class and asked if she could try a taster session. This was fine and she loved it. The taster session took place just before half term and at the end I had to pay for the whole term upfront, buy the uniform and sign a contract (which I'd not seen before) before leaving the building. It was a bit more pressurised than I'd expected - I'd thought we'd at least be able to go home and pay from there, but there it is.

DD did a few classes and got tired of it. After much cajoling, I agreed that she would finish the term, but not go back the next term. I told the ballet school about this and was told that unless notice is given before the half term point, the full term's fees had to be paid in advance for the next full term 'in lieu of notice' even if DD isn't going back.

The snag being that DD's taster class took place at the half term point, so unless I'd cancelled her attendance for the next term before she tried it out, I would always end up paying for two terms. Of course, I'm embarrassed that I didn't challenge the agreement at the time, and I know it's my "fault" for agreeing it in the first place (as well for not insisting that DD stick to ballet lessons for another half term - dragging her along for the remainder of this one was bad enough).

However, I'm now wondering if these are normal conditions for activities like this one? If so, I don't think we'll be doing any more for a while!

Scarydinosaurs Thu 10-Dec-15 12:22:55

Every EC we've done allow a taster session and thinking time to sign up. Apart from swimming lessons.

MajesticWhine Thu 10-Dec-15 12:34:22

That is a bit unusual and heavy handed in my opinion. At DD's ballet it was much more relaxed. You paid for a term a couple of weeks before the end of the previous term. No contracts or anything. Just a few gentle email reminders asking you to reenrol. Her swimming is a bit more bureaucratic, but certainly not with a notice period. If we don't renew for the next term, then that's it, no payments are due. You could pay up and put it down to experience. I would probably try to reach a compromise if I was you. Maybe half a term? Could you offer to put flyers round at school or something in exchange for a deal?

howabout Thu 10-Dec-15 14:37:45

This is very heavy handed. The 3 local ballet schools I have researched locally allow free taster session and then look over the paperwork before signing on. Their T&C are all different but all have annual enrolment to make sure they have all the correct information on the child for health and safety etc.
School 1 has a monthly standing order which you can cancel within a month.
School 2 has pay as you go with discount cards for advance payment or multiple classes.
School 3 has pay 4 weekly in advance.

In all cases regular attendance is a requirement.

My DD's gymnastics is paid termly in advance but it is about 25% less per class and there is no rolling obligation.

In your position I would not pay out for term 2 and walk away. I think they would have great difficulty in enforcing their contract even if it were financially or reputationally worth their while to do so. If your area is like mine there will be lots of other options.

LIZS Thu 10-Dec-15 14:41:53

We have to give a full term's notice. Tbh you may as well take up the lessons next term and then stop.

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