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Refund of deposits - anyone else had problems?

(18 Posts)
MOSagain Fri 21-Sep-12 14:17:50

I am beyond angry now. I paid a deposit when DD started at her school years ago which was due to be refunded when she left. She left following GCSEs in June and I'd expected to get it back then.

In July I contacted the school who said I'd get it back in the form of a cheque during the summmer. Fine, I took this to be during August some time before the new term started. So, I waited and waited and waited.

I have now emailed 4 times and been ignored and DH and I have phoned 3 times between us and keep getting fobbed off. The first week of term it was 'a new computer system, playing up, slight delay'. Then 'someone's dad died so a delay'. Then it was 'waiting for cheques to be printed'.

During one of the calls the woman I spoke to, a few days after the new term started, said that they were just getting the fees in for that term so would be able to refund shortly. I took this to mean that the deposits that all parents paid, instead of being held in an account which I was I assumed would happen, had been spent and they needed the new terms fees in order to refund everyone.

I think I've been more than patient and am on the verge of issuing a claim in the small claims Court.

Just interested to see if anyone else has had this sort of problem?

goinggetstough Fri 21-Sep-12 15:53:48

It definitely sounds as if you are being given the run around. At the end of prep school we got our deposit back in August. Although the actual amount we got back was very small as extras came out of it. At one senior school again we had it back by August. However at my other DS's school our extras were taken by direct debit at the beginning of September so if there had been a deposit to return it possibly wouldn't have come until then.
I think they don't return it immediately so they can double check that they have billed you for everything you owe. However, they have had ample time to do this in your case so I hope you get it sorted soon without having to resort to the small claims court.

MOSagain Fri 21-Sep-12 16:03:24

They took a separate deposit last spring for any extras such as exam entry fees and have worked out final figures and refunded the very small amount left on that, it is just the initial deposit. In my case it is (only) £500 but for some parents it would have been in the region of £2,000. They have confirmed that the full amount of £500 is due back but are just delaying and delaying paying it for no valid reason.

I have to suspect they are in financial difficulties. I told them last Monday if I hadn't received it by the end of the week I was going to the small claims court on Monday and even emailed the headmaster yesterday to confirm that and he has also ignored my email. angry

goinggetstough Fri 21-Sep-12 22:20:40

That definitely sounds like they have a cash flow problem! I have never heard about a school taking an extra deposit for exam fees etc that is what the initial deposit covers if they are in their final year. I hope you hear from the headmaster soon....

glaurung Fri 21-Sep-12 23:05:59

It sounds very much as if they are in financial difficulties to me too, good luck and be glad your dd is no longer there.

Mutteroo Sat 22-Sep-12 09:06:39

Ouch!

Speaking as one whose daughter was at a school that folded, the warning signs are there! Not even they demanded funds up front to pay for exams though & as they merged with another school, I got my deposit back fairly quickly after she left. DS's school sent his deposit back in August. Maybe check out the school's financial situation as this may help consolidate your small claims plans?

MsAverage Sat 22-Sep-12 19:48:43

I would write a letter to the HT, mentioning numerous calls and emails. If there is no response in a week's time - a second one, mentioning the first letter and promising small claims court if deposit not returned in 7 days. This should put you in front of the queue for deposits returns. If it does not - the letters will be evidence that you put substantial efforts to resolve the issue in non-court way before submitting a claim.

MOSagain Sat 22-Sep-12 19:53:42

I sent an email to the headmaster on Thursday and of course this was also ignored. I have mentioned the numerous emails (all ignored) and the various phone calls and empty promises. I made it clear in my phone call last Monday that I would take them to the small claims Court if I had not received the money by Monday and also set this out in the letter to the HT.

There is a clear chain of correspondance to show I have attempted to recover my money.

MsAverage Sat 22-Sep-12 20:01:12

Well, from this point I do not see any further way but claim. You can do that online, I believe.

What did they answer by telephone when you tell about the court? Were there any promises with exact dates? I never accept "next week" or "the nearest cheque run", there must be always a date.

bevelino Sat 22-Sep-12 21:37:28

I agree with everyone else and the school appear to have cash flow problems. I would write to them advising that unless you receive the funds within 7 days Court proceedings will follow. If the school are in financial trouble they are unlikely to want the matter broadcasted publicly in a Court hearing and hopefully they will see sense and return your money.

MOSagain Sun 23-Sep-12 08:29:08

I have already told them twice that if I do not have the cheque by tomorrow morning I am taking them to Court. They are clearly taking the piss and so I'm going to follow through and issue in the small claims court.
Will look at doing it online, wasn't aware you could do that.
Am also very tempted to name and shame on a separate thread on here. I have recommended them to many MNers over the years and I know quite a few MNers have children there and have a right to know that there aer potentially problems.

catwoo Sun 23-Sep-12 22:25:22

Go on to money claim online.Fill the forms in, print them off and send them to the school (you can do this without submitting and paying for the case).the school clearly has cash flow problems and will pay the most aggressively demanding parents first.make sure that's you!

DogsCock Mon 24-Sep-12 14:36:04

Ours says the deposit will be taken off the final terms fees, which sounds a better idea, but I have to wait and see if that actually happens!

MOSagain Mon 24-Sep-12 16:09:31

Update. Just as I was rushing around like a loon getting all my copies of letters/notes of phone calls to start small claims process I got an email saying 'the cheque is in the post'! hmm that old chestnut. We shall see!

DogsCock Mon 24-Sep-12 16:13:24

oh thats good, hopefully it really is. Have you checked with other parents to see if they have had deposits back?

MOSagain Wed 26-Sep-12 01:03:21

Don't know any of the other parents as DD was a boarder as I was living abroad for most of the time she was there.

Thankfully, cheque arrived today. Now just need to see if it bounces!

goinggetstough Wed 26-Sep-12 10:50:11

Glad to hear you received the cheque - hope you have no more problems! It is sad that this will be your memory of your DD's school as I remember previously that you were pleased with it.

I hope your DD is enjoying her new school/college?

MOSagain Wed 26-Sep-12 13:58:00

Thanks goinggetstrough. Yes, it is a real shame that things have ended like this and I can only believe that there are other unhappy parents too.

DD is loving her new college thanks although with the weather today I think she might be regretting her choice which now involves a 20 mins walk, train, then 10 minute walk instead of running from her boarding house into the school wink

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