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Anyone been overcharged especially by Asquith Court?

28 replies

edam · 06/01/2005 14:21

Am fuming about this but will try to keep it brief. Ds's nursery, part of the Asquith Court chain, has been overcharging me ever since he started - nearly a year now. They have failed to credit childcare vouchers to my account and have been deducting the full monthly charge on direct debit! Currently owed over £1,000.

Complete failure to deal with this when I drew it to their attention - ds's nursery staff are helpful but appear to be battling an appalling HQ which can't be bothered to sort this out.

I know it has also affected at least one other parent and wonder if anyone else out there has any experience of nurseries overcharging? And what happened?

OP posts:
Marina · 06/01/2005 14:27

Very sorry to hear this edam, not least because dd is at an Asquith Court nursery which we are very happy with generally. Will be on the lookout in the future to check we are not overcharged when she becomes eligible for the vouchers.
Hope you get some positive feedback soon and a resolution with them quickly.

edam · 06/01/2005 15:02

Thanks Marina - the vouchers are the ones you get through your employer, not related to child's age. You can decide to take part of your pay in vouchers, so you don't pay NI on that element. Next April it becomes an even better deal as it's free of tax.
The quality of childcare is absolutely fine, it's the financial side that is outrageous.

OP posts:
edam · 06/01/2005 15:09

Thanks Marina - the vouchers are the ones you get through your employer, not related to child's age. You can decide to take part of your pay in vouchers, so you don't pay NI on that element. Next April it becomes an even better deal as it's free of tax.
The quality of childcare is absolutely fine, it's the financial side that is outrageous.

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Marina · 06/01/2005 15:10

Oh, I see. Am conducting long campaign of attrition against incredibly wealthy but tight employer to introduce these, nice to know they might not even be properly used if my campaign ever succeeds. How V. annoying for you Edam.

Mo2 · 06/01/2005 15:13

Edam - sorry to hear you are having this problem. We've had children at Asuith Court over the last 5 years and have been very happy with them, however there IS a difference between the local nursery staff and the AC head office.
That said, on the one occasion I had a serious concern about an issue (not billing related) I phoned the Head Office and insisted I spoke to the Operations Director to lodge a complaint. Within 24 hours wheels were in motion, area manager arranged to meet me at our nusery and everything was sorted out.
Call the head office and ask to speak to the Finance Manager.....

edam · 06/01/2005 15:49

that's the feeling I get about HQ Mo2, think they hide behind carers - after all, how assertive can a parent be with the front-line child carers who you know adore your ds and who you know aren't actually responsible for this mess?

OP posts:
Mo2 · 06/01/2005 16:22

Agree Edam - and it may not be the local nursery's fault - ours has all it's invocing done from central HQ. That said, I shouldn't complain - we're still getting a 10% sibling discount for DS2.... and DS1 left 5 months ago !

edam · 06/01/2005 16:33

Yeah, it's HQ that's at fault over the money. Can I have your problem, please?

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twiglett · 06/01/2005 16:59

I would take it as high as I could .. Managing Director / Finance Director

I would draft a letter telling them that you expect full repayment PLUS interest within 2 weeks .. giving date that you expect that payment to be made

Tell them you are happy with the care but this is tantamount to stealing

Send it recorded delivery .. .request named person to telephone you within 48 hours to confirm that this will be actioned

Then follow it up with a phone call

(my only qualification for offering this information is that I am a stroppy cow from hell )

edam · 06/01/2005 20:10

Thanks Twiglett

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bubble99 · 13/01/2005 23:55

Hi, Our DS was at an Asquith Court for one year. We were not credited with childcare vouchers either. I spoke to the manager who said there had been a 'mix up', that we had signed for three sessions instead of the maximum allowed five sessions in vouchers ( a session is worth 2and a half hours each day). This arose because our son attended for three full days a week. The government pays for two and a half hours per day, if your child is in state nursery school, then two and a half hours is a full session - if using private the sessions can be used against full days. Am I making sense!?
The manager told me that because a mistake had been made on the form we had effectively lost the extra two sessions funding. What she failed to mention was that this form is filled in termly. I contacted the LEA finance office who confirmed that a cheque had been paid to Asquith for the second terms vouchers. We had missed the full payment for the autumn term when he started , but Asquith had claimed for five sessions for him for the spring term AND HAD NOT DEDUCTED THIS FROM OUR ACCOUNT. This has happened to at least two other families that we know.
Agree generally that frontline staff are ok. The food however was abysmal. White bread cheese sandwich, hula hoops and a donut for tea anyone?

Blu · 14/01/2005 00:06

The Asquith DS has started at are being slow coming up with our form, so we are still paying the unsubsidised rate.
So, for the gvt subsidy, if DS is there 4 full days, can we claim for subsidy against 5 2.5 hour sessions?

bubble99 · 14/01/2005 09:10

As far as I know Blu, yes, you shuld be able to claim the full five sessions for your son attending for 4 full days. Our local education finance office confirmed that we could and I don't see why the policy would vary regionally. Nurserey vouchers are paid to the childcare provider termly as follows:

£1200 per year
which works out at £400 per 12 week term (terms are worked out on the state system)
which works out at £100 per month

So, Asquith should be deducting £100 per month from your bill. At some point during each term Asquith are claiming voucher payments for all eligible children in the nursery. This form is sent to the local Education Authority finance office (tel number for your area should be online). The finance office then issues a cheque to Asquith which is a lump sum cheque for all the children's vouchers and it is then down to Asquith to make sure this money is passed on to you. I phoned the LEA finance office and they were very helpful. Do not be fobbed off by the nursery about this. Good luck.

bubble99 · 14/01/2005 09:14

£1200 is the full annual amount for 5 X 2.5 hour sessions per week where we live in SW London/Surrey borders, I don't know if the value of vouchers varies regionally

bubble99 · 14/01/2005 09:16

£1200 is the full annual amount for 5 X 2.5 hour sessions per week where we live in SW London/Surrey borders, I don't know if the value of vouchers varies regionally

bubble99 · 14/01/2005 09:17

Woops, posted twice.

batters · 14/01/2005 09:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blondiemum · 16/01/2005 18:23

Excuse my ignorance but what are these childcare vouchers?? Is everyone entitled to them or are they income based or does it depend on your childs' age??

edam · 16/01/2005 18:39

I'm glad this thread has been revived... because I've had a bit of a result! Sent Head Office a stinking letter, cc'd to Trading Standards, telling them I'd cancelled my direct debit for January as that seemed to be the only way I could reclaim (some) of my money and would pay half-fees in Feb to reclaim the rest.
Had a very, very apologetic letter agreeing that it was completely unacceptable, promising that they have changed the way they credit vouchers (not that they were crediting them at all previously, as far as I could see), enclosing a cheque for the balance (ie what I hadn't reclaimed through not paying in January) direct debit) and offering me £250 as recompense for my time and trouble! I think that was the amount I'd demanded, based on overdraft charges, lost interest on savings and my time (charged as my day job would be), but I didn't actually expect them to say yes! Hurrah!
Anyone else being messed around by them, COMPLAIN to HO and demand £250!

Blondiemum, there are two ways you can get vouchers - some employers take part in a Government scheme where you can take part of your pay in vouchers, free of National Insurance (and, from April, of tax too). The other is for children aged three and over, I think, where the Government pays for a certain number of 'free' sessions a week but don't know how that works as my ds is only 18 months.

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honeypot01 · 26/05/2005 00:37

Anyones children at Asquith Court in Bush Hill Park, Enfield?

bubble99 · 26/05/2005 20:18

No honeypot01 but I grew up in Bush Hill Park in the 60's/70's. It used to be like Camberwick Green, has it changed?

honeypot01 · 27/05/2005 17:24

Camberwick Green?? nice residential area, just wondered if any other mums from there were here

dropinthe · 27/05/2005 17:51

I'm pretty happy with Asquith although agree about the food side of things-don't think they have seen Jamies Dinners! Our fees were supposed to go down with effect from April but didnt start until May-gone down by £100.00 per month-I just took it as red that this was right but I think I may have to enquire why it didnt start on time.
Result re £250.00!

honeypot01 · 27/05/2005 23:07

The deduction starts the term after their 3rd bday. isnt there a half term in April, not too sure? If so guess May is right.

Im not too impressed with the food either, i asked staff at my nursery abouty the food after watching Jamies dinners as they have smiley faces a lot , they were very defensive and said how they're oven cooked, not fried. If i ask anything like that they're always on the defense. Anybody else find this?

honeypot01 · 27/05/2005 23:08

i was also told that the children need smiley faces as part of their diet _ what are they on!!!

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