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Institute of Children's Literature

Phone: (800) 243-9645 Fax: (203) 792-8406 View Additional Phone Numbers 93 Long Ridge Rd, West Redding, CT 06896 http://www.institutechildrenslit.com

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Description

Institute of Children's Literature offers a correspondence course designed to teach adults how to write and be published for children and teens. As a prerequisite to enrollment, prospective students are asked to complete and pass a Writing Aptitude Test. Students are allowed up to 24 months to complete an estimated 220 hours of in-course study time. Study time extensions and leaves of absence are available to students and the school provides for withdrawals and refunds in accordance with the terms explained in its enrollment form.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Institute of Children's Literature meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Institute of Children's Literature include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 6 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

6 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 1
Billing/Collection Issues 0
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 1
Problems with Product/Service 4
Total Closed Complaints 6

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Institute of Children's Literature
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

top
BBB file opened: June 01, 1975 Business started: 01/01/1969 Business started locally: 01/01/1969 Business incorporated: 11/28/1977 in CT
Type of Entity

Corporation

Business Management
Mr. Prescott Kelly, President
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Prescott Kelly, President
Business Category

Correspondence Schools School Information All Other Miscellaneous Schools and Instruction (NAICS: 611699)


Additional Locations

  • 93 Long Ridge Rd

    West Redding, CT 06896 (800) 243-9645 (203) 792-8600

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Additional Phone Numbers

  • (203) 792-8600(Phone)
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Complaint Detail(s)

7/28/2014 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I enrolled in a correspondence course with the Institute of Children's Literature. At the time I enrolled, I was promised that if I was not satisfied with the course upon it's completion, I would receive a full refund. The promise is made in writing. I was told most students finish the course in about two years, although no mention was made of that deadline as mandatory. During my time in the course I was forced to ask for a leave of absence for cataract surgery, a matter of some months, treatment for bi-polar depression, and later to leave town and assist with my Mother who was passing with Alzheimer's disease. At NO time did my requests for leave meet with any warning of lost time, or failure of completion. At this point my account for tuition was paid in full. Upon my return from settling my Mother's affairs, I contacted the school in response to an e-mail sent to me while I was away with my Mother. I explained my absence and lossand asked to resume my studies. I was told that while they were sorry for my loss they would not allow me to resume my work. Although I was paid in full, they explained I owed the money and my "bad behavior was well documented". I remember no mention of behavior at any time in my studies, or in the advertising or contract. I am being PREVENTED from finishing the course and denied my "100% refund guarantee upon completion if not satisfied" by virtue of the school's refusal to allow me to finish my course. Again no mention of a deadline for completion, nor a secret "bad behavior" clause in the advertisements or contract. Nor have I ever been warned of, or made aware of my "bad behavior" until now when I would obviously request my work to be allowed or a refund since the school's refusal to allow me to finish makes my course completion a fact, and an unsatisfactory one at that. This refusal to allow me to finish is simply designed to avoid a refund that was promised in all advertising and in our sales agreement.

Desired Settlement: Barring my being allowed to finish my work, which I assume would only be sham on the part of the school at this point, having been brought this complaint, I would like to be refunded my tuition, as promised. I was told I could request a refund at course completion. Since the school REFUSES to allow me to complete the course, they are in violation of our agreement, and should refund my tuition as promised.

Business Response:

*** ********* enrolled in our Writing for Children and Teenagers course on March 31, 2011.  Prior to enrolling we mailed him an enrollment package which provided *** ********* with an introduction to his instructor ******** *******, cost of the course, our refund/withdrawal policy, the approximate time it takes to complete the course, plus many more important facts about taking a course with us.

Our Confirmation of Enrollment states the following:  We attempt to cultivate a positive environment for our students and our staff and faculty.  So we ask our students to avoid any behavior that could be interpreted as abusive or threatening, and refrain from submitting lessons that could be interpreted as offensive or inappropriate for children’s literature.  We reserve the right to expel any student who doesn’t adhere to these standards, and the appropriate tuition refunds will be made.  In *** *********’s case a refund was not due to him.

I have included a copy of the Confirmation of Enrollment *** ********* received from us.  It outlines our Refund/Withdrawal policy and informs students that once enrolled over 540 days the full tuition amount is due to the school.  *** ********* was enrolled well over 1,000 days when he was withdrawn from the course this past March for lesson inactivity.  The course normally take 2 years to complete and we are flexible, but after many months of no contact a student does run the risk of being withdrawn.

We are not offering *** ********* the opportunity to resume his course with us based on his rude and nasty behavior during phone conversations with our Student Services department.  He called Student Services to take time off from the course in early 2013 due to eye surgery.  When his leave of absence was over he contacted us in June 2013 claiming he received no help from us or his instructor.  At this point *** ********* had completed four of the ten assignments.  He was unable explain what his concerns were.  We offered him the option of working with a different instructor, explained our money back guarantee and told him if he decided to withdraw we would close his account in good standing and look for no further tuition payments from him. He said he would call us back with his decision.

On July 24, 2013 *** ********* called again upset with a letter informing him his tuition payment was overdue and saying he never heard from us.  We explained we were waiting for his decision based on our June 12th conversation regarding the options we offered him.  At this point we offered him three specific instructors as transfer options and moved is payment due date ahead to August 1, 2013 to give him time to make a decision. 

On September 5th *** ********* called to make a tuition payment for August.  The counselor told him he owed for September too.  He reacted badly to being asked to pay for September’s tuition in addition to August’s and was verbally abusive to the counselor and threatened to drop the course, but did not do.

Later the same day *** ********* called back and again was extremely rude and nasty.  Again, we explained that we have been trying to help him by offering a new instructor and by moving his due date ahead to give him time to make a decision about a new instructor.  As of today we are still not clear why *** ********* was dissatisfied with the instruction and service he received from the school. 

In March 2014 *** *********’s student file was closed for lesson inactivity.  He sent a condescending email about his withdrawal and that it must be a mistake – even though he hadn’t sent a lesson since 2012.  His student file was reviewed and it was determined that based on his prior abusive behavior we would not offer him reinstatement.

 

Consumer Response:  
Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:  At no time in my relationship with the "school" was behavior mentioned.  Curiously it only comes up now.  When the school was still waiting to collect the rest of my tuition they were most solicitous.  In fact, I tried to terminate my student status in June and July of 2013, and received written assurances that they were only concerned with my success.  No mention of behavior.    The following letter is in response to my initial complaint on June 12, 2013.  By using a "secret"  excuse to bar me from finishing a course for which I paid in full, the school violates its' contract with me both in the spirit and letter.

******,

 

Thank you for your message. Sorry that you are unhappy with the course, but please be aware that the money back guarantee is available to graduates from the course who feel that they have not become better writers after receiving instruction on all the lessons. Please refer to the Confirmation of Enrollment form you received prior to enrolling.

 

Instructors do provide one on one instruction by reviewing the contents of your individual file, along with your current submission, separate from other students. However, if you are unhappy with your current instructor we can transfer you to a different one and you can resume by sending your lessons by email for quicker turn-around-time if you prefer. Also, keep in mind that if you have questions about your assignments, you can send a message to your instructor using the link in the student center. Instructors are available for responding and will usually respond in about one to two business days. If you would rather withdraw, I will close the file in good standing. Let us know how you would like to proceed.

 

*********

Student Services 

Rather, the file was not closed in good standing, nor is any mention made of behavior again.  It would seem behavior only became an issue at the end.  The following reply from the school makes no mention, as you will see.

 

Hello, again, ******,

It would be helpful to us if you could be specific about your concerns
with the course; as I review your file, I see that you've addressed
concerns about payments, but nothing specific about the course or your
instructor until the message we just received today. Rest assured
Student Services would have addressed any questions you had about the
program, because we are here to help. Please refer to my other message I
sent today and let us know how we can assist you. 

*********
Student Services 

-----Original Message-----
From: *****************************************
[mailto:*****************************************] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 2:23 AM
To: Student Services - Email #1
Subject: Student Services Message

PrefixLen........: 19
HttpRefer........:
http://www.institutechildrenslit.com/lessons/iclstudent.cgi?s=AWM%202497
&c=icl&p=student_center_comments.htm&n=1
HttpReqUri.......: /cgi-bin/mailform3.cgi
FormMailto.......: *****************************************
FormName.........: Student Services Message
FormRespLoc......: respcomments.htm
FormVersion......: 1.0
Name.............: ********** ******
Account..........: *** ****
EmailAddress.....: **************
Message..........: I just sent in a letter informing your "school" of my
                   resignation.  It has been a very unsatisfactory
relationship.
                    What makes it more so is the "faculty's" deafening
silence
                   to any negative input on the "product".
                   I feel taken.  Thank you for reminding me that there
is no
                   fool like an old fool.  But to prey on people's
dreams put a
                   step below a telemarketer for a scam charity.
                   
                   ***** *********
                   *******

Sincerely,

******* *********


Bearing in mind that I had already filled out a student survey expressing my disappointment with the course, the proper thing to do should have been obvious.  However more promises were made, or implied in the next letter, AGAIN WITH NO MENTION OF BEHAVIOR.

Business Response:

Since *** ********* paid $112.00 after he requested to withdraw from the course I will process a refund of the $112.00.  In September 2013 *** ********* called the school several times upset because he received letters asking for tuition payment.  His tone was hostile and he was extremely rude during these conversations.   We wanted to assist *** ********* with his writing needs and offered him the option to work with a different instructor, but he never took us up on our offer.  We were unable to discern exactly why *** ********* was unhappy with the course.  I will process his refund today.

Consumer Response:  
Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because: The school STILL refuses to address the initial complaint.  They state I was rude.  I suppose I could say they were rude and offer the same evidence, that being nothing.  They have refused to allow me to complete my studies, and have done so with the specious claim that I was "rude".  No proof can be offered, nor is politeness pertinent to the contract between us.  As I said, I am being excluded from my completion of the course on the basis of rudeness. 

The fact that the school has now offered a partial refund is further evidence of their admission of fault in the matter.  I expect a full refund, as completing the course at this point woul be impossible, with the school acting in bad faith.

Sincerely,

****** **********

12/19/2013 Problems with Product/Service
11/1/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I applied via online application to the Institute. The application said to wait 3 weeks so I did. Since I hadn't received a response, I contacted them via email. The response I got:Thanks for contacting us and for your interest in The Institute of Childrens Literature. Were sorry, but we are not evaluating the writing tests at this time. Our school is operating above capacity and all of our courses are full. We are in the process of removing the test from our website. Were sorry you were caught in the interim. We wish you well with your writing.I followed up by asking if applications would be read at a future date (ie should I keep applying) or if I didn't get accepted on merit and there was no response. To me, they are fraudulently advertising services. Their whole website is geared towards encouraging people to apply - it is not just based on online applications. If I didn't get accepted because it was not a worthy application in their opinion, fine. Just say so. However, I didn't even get a letter from a dept head or instructor. The email came because I requested a follow up and it came from a woman in information services. It's not clear what role she has in the evaluating process - but then, my application apparently didn't even get evaluated. Fraudulent advertising in my opinion.

Desired Settlement: I would like the Institute to respond with an announcement on their website that they are not currently accepting applications because they are at capacity and to give a deadline when applications will again be accepted, or give me a more in depth explanation why my application was not evaluated and explain when my work might be considered.

Business Response:

First, I would like to apologize to *** **** for not providing her with the most up-to-date information about the school’s current enrollment policies.

We will make changes to our website so prospective students do not complete an aptitude test before finding out we are not accepting them.  At this time, we are not accepting new students and are focusing on teaching our exiting students.  We do not expect to change this policy until next fall at the earliest. 

Consumer Response:  
Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******.  As long as the business follows through with the intent to change the website to show that they are not accepting enrollment within the time they specified, I find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.   Otherwise, if the website is not changed, it constitutes false advertising in my opinion.

Sincerely,

4/5/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Good afternoon,In response to the letter noted below, I have received a notice 'allowing' me to remain as a student IF I could submit my next assignment by April 10. 2013.Please believe me when I tell you, that I could not have been more disappointed or exasperated at what appears to me, to be the typical bureaucratic guidelines that paints us all with the same brush.I have poured my heart out to this 'institution' and all I get in return is a cold hard DATE. Why am I surprised, IS the question I should be asking myself and NOT, why are people so cold and unfeeling and wrapped up in rules?I am not ignorant enough to expect some sort of compassion or human element from a 'institute' however, you have been PAID for your services and I have been unable to conform to your guidelines, due to circumstances beyond my control. What I cannot comprehend, is that all I received in response to my heartfelt letter, noted below, is this:******, Thanks for your message. Your account was closed because the last time we heard from you was in August 2012; we sent you three emails regarding the late lesson since then and then a letter in January explaining that your account would be closed if we didnt receive a response from you. If you can submit your lesson by April 10 we will reactivate your account and you will resume with ******. Otherwise you are welcome to resume in the future, but there ****** be a reinstatement fee. Do you think you will be able to send your lesson by April 10? Take care,*********Student Services How am I supposed to respond to such a cold, heartless response as noted? Why is ********* responding to me, when I have been so personal and sincere? Perhaps your staff should be taking some courses regarding the 'human' element. I am appalled at the lack of personal attention that, as far as I'm concerned, should have been available to me. I have offered you personal, intimate information regarding my personal situation and all I get in return is this blatant, "too bad, so sad" response? Why would anyone want to be a part of this? I realize that dead lines are integral part of 'writing' for a living, but, as stated below, I work with deadlines every day of my life. I have just returned from taking care of my mother for several days, as other members of my family were incapable of doing so. I have been very ill and have missed some work and could ill afford to do so, but it was my mother that needed the help.I have reached out to this institute for the SAME kind of compassion and help, and what do I get? A pathetic, unfeeling, cold hearted response from someone who couldn't care less, if my mother was even alive, never mind taken care of. I have never felt so disappointed or disgruntled with a purchase, in my entire life.I have every intent of taking this issue to my lawyer and having him request a FULL refund of my monies. I am completely disheartened with this whole business of writing and your institution has only served to smash my dreams and NOT realize them. This whole situation has caused me inconsolable grief, disillusionment and considerable stress. NO response from my instructor, no response from ****, just a simple ridiculous little note that had the power to unhinge me, from *********. Who in the world is ********* and why is she handling this highly personal situation? Why on earth would I even endeavour to call "Student Services" for ANY reason, when all I could possibly anticipate, would be yet another line of impersonal bureaucratic rules and regulations.We can settle this now, by giving me an name and address to send BACK this material too and I will move on, without experiencing any further grief. OR, you can wait until you hear from my lawyer. I am incensed with this lack of compassion or consideration and I do not want any further dealings with this institution. I DO expect a refund; this whole experience has caused me undo stress and upset.As IF you care,****** CusackAW9939----- Original Message ----- From: ****** To: *****@InstituteChildrensLit.com Cc: ********* Sent: Monday, February 18, 2013 6:19 PMSubject: Re: We haven't received a lesson from youDear ****,I have appreciated your efforts, however, I was not able to offer you a date as to when I COULD get back to my writing and quite frankly, I have been up to my eyeballs in issues that I am dealing with, and here is an example of just a few:- my mother has been hospitalized several times due to her poor health; Parkinson's Disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and severe loss of memory;- my father's inability to cope as her caregiver and his refusal to accept help;- my parents live several hours from my home and my sister is having difficulty in dealing with the issues on her own;- two family interventions out of town so far, in order to get their affairs in order;- my part time position as a buyer, turning in to a full time position, with no respite in sight;- my inability to concentrate on writing when I have family members, theatre and work, pulling me in several directions;These are not excuses, this is my life right now and I don't see it changing until there is some resolution to dealing with our aging parents. This has been my focus lately. I am very upset that you have cancelled my student file, and if you DID advise me, I am afraid that I have not seen it. However, the Writer's Book Store did manage to send me a book that I did NOT order? How does that happen?I do intend on finishing my course; I just can't say when. My plate is full and I am very prone to depression, for which I take medicine. My last assignment had put me off, as it required me to write about a childhood memory; I do NOT have any that I wish to write about. I haven't resolved that issue as of yet and no, I did not bother to write to my instructor as I did not wish to expose my family skeletons. However, now I

Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: Refund I would like a more personal view of my student file and at this point, I am so disgruntled, I wish a FULL refund of monies paid to this institution. They have NOT been professional and I do not wish to deal with this upset any further.

Business Response: Business Response /* (1000, 5, 2013/03/26) */ Contact Name and Title: ************** Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX Contact Email: *****@writersinstituteinc.com I reviewed Ms. ******'s student record in response to her complaint. She was withdrawn from the course in February 2013 due to lesson inactivity. We did attempt to rectify Ms. ******'s complaint and our response can be found below. We did not receive a reply. There is no refund due to Ms. ******. We would certainly welcome her back to her studies at any time at no additional cost to her. From: Counselor Services Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:25 PM To: '******' Subject: RE: We haven't received a lesson from you AWV9939 Hello ******, Thank you for your reply. My sincere apologies for any concern our previous emails have caused. I am sorry you and your family are going through a difficult time, and I wish you only the best. Please be assured that Student Services is here to help, and I would like to offer you an option that might be of help. You mentioned that you might be able to send your next lesson in the summer. I would be happy to reopen your student status now and put you on a three or six month leave (to either July or October). Would this work for you? To help with your third lesson, I can suggest that you use another person's childhood memory and just inform your instructor that you did so. That would help you move forward with your lessons when you have the time to work on them. Please let me know if you would like me to reopen your file and put you on a leave of absence and if you have any other questions or concerns please don't hesitate to ask. Take care, Cheri Student Services ________________________________________ From: ****** mailto:*****@****.ca Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 4:38 PM To: ****** ****** Cc: Student Services - Email #1; ****** ***** Subject: Fw: We haven't received a lesson from you Importance: High Good afternoon, In response to the letter noted below, I have received a notice 'allowing' me to remain as a student IF I could submit my next assignment by April 10. 2013. Please believe me when I tell you, that I could not have been more disappointed or exasperated at what appears to me, to be the typical bureaucratic guidelines that paints us all with the same brush. I have poured my heart out to this 'institution' and all I get in return is a cold hard DATE. Why am I surprised, IS the question I should be asking myself and NOT, why are people so cold and unfeeling and wrapped up in rules? I am not ignorant enough to expect some sort of compassion or human element from a 'institute' however, you have been PAID for your services and I have been unable to conform to your guidelines, due to circumstances beyond my control. What I cannot comprehend, is that all I received in response to my heartfelt letter, noted below, is this: ******, Thanks for your message. Your account was closed because the last time we heard from you was in August 2012; we sent you three emails regarding the late lesson since then and then a letter in January explaining that your account would be closed if we didn't receive a response from you. If you can submit your lesson by April 10 we will reactivate your account and you will resume with ******. Otherwise you are welcome to resume in the future, but there ****** be a reinstatement fee. Do you think you will be able to send your lesson by April 10? Take care, ****** Student Services How am I supposed to respond to such a cold, heartless response as noted? Why is ****** responding to me, when I have been so personal and sincere? Perhaps your staff should be taking some courses regarding the 'human' element. I am appalled at the lack of personal attention that, as far as I'm concerned, should have been available to me. I have offered you personal, intimate information regarding my personal situation and all I get in return is this blatant, "too bad, so sad" response? Why would anyone want to be a part of this? I realize that dead lines are integral part of 'writing' for a living, but, as stated below, I work with deadlines every day of my life. I have just returned from taking care of my mother for several days, as other members of my family were incapable of doing so. I have been very ill and have missed some work and could ill afford to do so, but it was my mother that needed the help. I have reached out to this institute for the SAME kind of compassion and help, and what do I get? A pathetic, unfeeling, cold hearted response from someone who couldn't care less, if my mother was even alive, never mind taken care of. I have never felt so disappointed or disgruntled with a purchase, in my entire life. I have every intent of taking this issue to my lawyer and having him request a FULL refund of my monies. I am completely disheartened with this whole business of writing and your institution has only served to smash my dreams and NOT realize them. This whole situation has caused me inconsolable grief, disillusionment and considerable stress. NO response from my instructor, no response from ******, just a simple ridiculous little note that had the power to unhinge me, from ******. Who in the world is ****** and why is she handling this highly personal situation? Why on earth would I even endeavour to call "Student Services" for ANY reason, when all I could possibly anticipate, would be yet another line of impersonal bureaucratic rules and regulations. We can settle this now, by giving me an name and address to send BACK this material too and I will move on, without experiencing any further grief. OR, you can wait until you hear from my lawyer. I am incensed with this lack of compassion or consideration and I do not want any further dealings with this institution. I DO expect a refund; this whole experience has caused me undo stress and upset. As IF you care, ****** ****** AW9939 ----- Original Message ----- From: ****** To: *****@InstituteChildrensLit.com Cc: ****** Sent: Monday, February 18, 2013 6:19 PM Subject: Re: We haven't received a lesson from you Dear ******, I have appreciated your efforts, however, I was not able to offer you a date as to when I COULD get back to my writing and quite frankly, I have been up to my eyeballs in issues that I am dealing with, and here is an example of just a few: - my mother has been hospitalized several times due to her poor health; Parkinson's Disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and severe loss of memory; - my father's inability to cope as her caregiver and his refusal to accept help; - my parents live several hours from my home and my sister is having difficulty in dealing with the issues on her own; - two family interventions out of town so far, in order to get their affairs in order; - my part time position as a buyer, turning in to a full time position, with no respite in sight; - my inability to concentrate on writing when I have family members, theatre and work, pulling me in several directions; These are not excuses, this is my life right now and I don't see it changing until there is some resolution to dealing with our aging parents. This has been my focus lately. I am very upset that you have cancelled my student file, and if you DID advise me, I am afraid that I have not seen it. However, the Writer's Book Store did manage to send me a book that I did NOT order? How does that happen? I do intend on finishing my course; I just can't say when. My plate is full and I am very prone to depression, for which I take medicine. My last assignment had put me off, as it required me to write about a childhood memory; I do NOT have any that I wish to write about. I haven't resolved that issue as of yet and no, I did not bother to write to my instructor as I did not wish to expose my family skeletons. However, now I feel like I've been shunned and it comes down to my inability to respond in a more timely manner. I do NOT have a problem with deadlines in my everyday life, as a matter of fact, my day is FULL of them, especially at work and some at home. Maybe that is why I am having difficulties with this course. I am exhausted and when I do manage to have a free evening, the last thing I want to deal with, is yet another deadline. I am very disappointed, especially as I have paid all dues. You have your money; I want my course - it's that simple. Why is leaving me on the books so difficult? I didn't realize that there was a time limit and it was intimated that some people take years to finish this course. How am I any different? I hope that you will reconsider my position, but I cannot promise to submit anything before the end of the summer. I have positions to fill at work this summer and I don't know how my mother is going to fare. I would appreciate it if you could forward this note on to ******, as I don't even have time to try and find her email address, as I must run to a rehearsal and haven't even

11/27/2012 Problems with Product/Service
11/19/2012 Problems with Product/Service