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Complaint about nursery - Who can you complain to?(12 Posts)
Looking for any help/advice peeps may have on this...
My daughter started school in Sept '14 but initially I intended to use her nursery for wrap around care. My boss thankfully allowed me to start doing school drop-offs and kiddo now does after school club so we no longer needed the nursery. I gave the required terms' notice and requested they use the deposit against my final bills - the deposit was a hefty £920 and the bills for the autumn term were well under that amount. Despite having an email on record from them saying you could do this it was a battle to get them to.
Anyway, the Autumn term finishes so I ask them to refund the balance of the deposit. The manager (who I've had a number of run-ins with about false charges or incorrect bill and I believe to be a complete charlatan if I'm brutally honest). After many email chasers they eventually do but for a lower amount than expected. I now challenged this repeatedly since January but am getting continuous "we are looking into this" emails.
I could try to take them to small claims but would prefer not to if I can avoid it.
Is there any official body I can make a complaint to?
If you've exhausted the nursery's own complaints procedures then you can contact OFSTED I think, if the owner is definitely in the wrong. That won't get any money back though, so I suspect the small claims court might be the only option there.
Unfortunately ofsted will not get involved with and contractual/finance issues. I would write to them giving a cut off date for the refund or you will be starting small claims proceedings.
Yes as above, OFSTED won't be interested.
Urgh. Its such a pain.....thank you though.
Who owns it ? Do you need to give a full term's notice and did you do so in time ie before autumn term began?
You could contact your local council. If the nursery accepts funding, whether or not your daughter was in receipt of it, there will be someone at the council who oversees that nurseries etc who get council funding are properly run. I'm sorry but I can't remember what the job title is but education services I think would be where to start.
You could send them a "letter before claim", telling them that you will start small claims procedures if the don't pay by x date. That usually kicks people into action... Small claims really isn't that complicated and can be done online.
Its privately run but does receive funding (in fact one of my earlier disputes with them was their misrepresenting how the 15 free hours were calculated in my bills) and I gave the full term's required notice. They are just either really poor bookkeepers or are intentionally poor bookkeepers. I often had to check my invoices and request they correct them, including the first ones which is where the dispute is stemming from - part of me thinks because we live in an affluent area she does this on purpose and hopes people wont check their bills.
Will look into the local counsel and see if there is such a contact. I'm sure you're right on that...
I've hinted at going to small claims but the response I received was "I've been in hospital so will look into this on my return". Previous emails have been on similar lines "The bookkeeper's mother is sick so I don't want to disturb her"...I'm waiting for a "the dog ate my homework" response to my latest chaser.
I've done the small claims before against an old landlord but am worried I don't have enough supporting docs.
Firstly, keep all information written down.
Do you know who their insurers are? If not you should be able to find out, it's usually displayed in office area. Give them a call, I don't know if they will help you but they may be the ticket to making your complaint more official without you paying for it.
If they can't help you, I would try local council and early years dept. Again they may not see this as their issue as it's over money and not welfare of the child but they may be able to point you in right direction.
Finally if this fails you small court may be the only choice.
Update! Trawled through my old emails and their website. Finally found an invoice that related to the amount and certain damning information on their website which backs up how much they must have been holding and by when they should have refunded it. Sent her a fairly legally sounding email last night demanding payment no later than COB today and ta-dah.... money in my account! I think based on the invoice and the details I sent it was more than clear to her that I was prepping (with a very strong case) to take her to the small claims court. Thanks for your help everyone!
As an aside, I did contact the local LEA about complaints and they advised that the nursery must have official complaints policies in place that I would have been required to go through (available either on their website or from the nursery itself).