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liable for first month's fees nine months in advance - reasonable?

(5 Posts)
stella1w Mon 19-Sep-11 21:57:17

When I was three months pg I filled in a form which I thought was to go on a waiting list for a place for June 2012 (when I am due to return to work). I was handed a separate very complicated contract at the time but told not to worry about it.
I just got an email from the nursery asking for a 500 quid deposit.
So I pulled out the form I filled in and read it again carefully and it says that by signing the form I am liable for the first month's fees even if I choose not to send my child there. (It seems the five hundred quid deposit is only refundable once your child leaves the nursery). There is a lot of fine print on the reverse of the form which i now realise replicates the contract I was told to ignore.
The form I filled in had a space for the nursery to sign but they did not. And it's not dated.
Obviously I should have read the fine print, and the nursery can legally do what it likes, but is asking for such a large sum so far in advance reasonable?

dribbleface Tue 20-Sep-11 10:33:38

As a nursery manager it doesn't sound reasonable at all to me. We ask for a non refundable deposit when we offer and the parent accepts the place, usually about £200, this comes off the first months fees. If the parent want to later decline the place then they have to give notice in line with our contract which is 6 weeks, providing this does not overlap the start date no further fees would be payable, but the deposit lost.

You shouldn't be liable for a months fees just for going on the waiitng list, as as you have only just been asked for a deposit i assume they have only just offered a place.

Having said all that if they are offering you a definate place then it is not that unusual for nurseries to ask for a months fees to secure the place. If you want the place for definate it shouldn't be a problem?

Snowballed Tue 20-Sep-11 16:45:44

I had to pay £250 deposit (returned when DD left) and a months fees in advance when the place was offered. Those fees covered the first month dd was there. I think it's fairly standard practice.

HoneyPablo Wed 21-Sep-11 07:33:49

In effect they are holding the place for you. They could have somebody phoning in December who would want that place in January. If they have your deposit they know that you are almost certainly going to take the place in June. If they gave the place to the person in January the place would not be available for you in June.
It is a lot of money, but if the nursery is popular and full, then it may be the only way to secure a place.

The nursery will hold onto the deposit in case you go into arrears with your fees. Then return it when your child leaves.

fufulina Fri 30-Sep-11 09:02:09

I'm in London and had this, and to be honest, I think it's good business practice from the nursery's point of view. As Honey said - they are holding a place for you, and the first month's fees demonstrates a certain commitment from you that you are going to take up the place. I had to pay a month's fees in advance, plus a month's fees as deposit.

When DD leaves, I'll get the deposit back.

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