Charging for tutoring lessons that we cancelled well before the scheduled tutoring date.
We were originally instructed by ***** ********, Center Director that if our daughter ******* ****** was unable to attend a tutoring session, then so long as we notified the center in advance of the scheduled session, we would not be penalized. However, if we failed to notify them, then we would be charged for the session, even if our daughter was unable to attend. We therefore made sure we notified the center all 5 times she was unable to attend a pre-scheduled session.
Upon notifying the Center on February 3rd that we were terminating the tutoring thru their school, we were told they would issue a refund check for the unused sessions and mail the check out on February 6th. After not receiving the check, I then contacted them 3 separate times, and was finally issued a refund on March 11th. Upon receiving the refund, it appeared less than expected so I requested a record of accounting of the refund which they did not provide, until I specifically requested a copy of the Financial Record of our account. Upon review of the accounting, they gave us credit for 2 of the sessions which my daughter had been absent, because she had done make up sessions for both those absences. However, we were still charged for the 3 remaining sessions which she never made up, despite giving the advance notice as instructed by the Director.
After inquiring about the 3 charges, Mr ******** referred us to the General Enrollment Agreement, where it states that the missed sessions that are not made up will not be refunded. We feel we were misled by his original statement that only sessions that we do not notify the center in advance of an absence will be charged against us.
We feel it is highly deceptive to tell a client of only of only one way which you will be charged for absence, when there is another way, buried mid paragraph in the General Enrollment Agreement.
Furthermore, the Center never attempted to notify us after the absences that we were in danger of being charged for any sessions not made up, and we were never given any monthly statements or any kind of accounting or updates which would have given us an advance notice that their policy is to charge us for absences which were not made up. By notifying the center in advance that our daughter would be absent, the center was able to cancel the tutor, and not pay the tutor for those sessions, yet they proceeded to keep our all of our money for the sessions without ongoing notifiation.
Requesting the $414 refunded to us for the 3 sessions we are being charged for that never occurred.
We went over the General Enrollment Agreement twice (Oct 2, 2014 and Dec 12, 2015) with the parent in question. We not only had the parent sign the General Enrollment Agreement acknowledging the policy for absents and make-ups, we had the parent also initial where the absents and make-ups is actually disclosed. Listed below is the worded that the parents agreed to follow.
"We do not offer refunds for Exam Prep Programs instructional hours that are unused after the scheduled exam date."
This is very clear and is the normal practice in our industry. Most exam prep companies will not even allow any make ups that are missed. We at least provide the opportunity to do the make ups. But as our contract indicates (signed and initialed by the parent), make ups our not refunded.
We have to do this since we only work with the student one to one. If the student can not attend then we can not use the teacher for another student the time slot is lost to us.
Sat prep companies do not offer make-ups as refunds. This has to be done in our industry.
The customer brought their child to Huntington to get a higher score on their ACT. They came in at a 26 and scored a "30" on the actual ACT. A four point increase!
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I have come to believe that my family and I were set up by Huntington and it's procedures to fall into this tuition forfeiture trap. Buried in their 1,100 word, one page, fine print General Enrollment Agreement they have their escape clause, which they know that 98% of all their clients will never read.
They do not have the enrollment agreement on their website, so it cannot be reviewed before hand. The Huntington website also makes no reference to this non-refundable missed session policy.
The Director does not provide a copy of the enrollment agreement at the initial meeting, so the parent has no opportunity to take it home to thoroughly read thru it.
At the sign up meeting, the Director purposefully meets with the families, and appears to thoroughly cover the entire program, knowing that the more comprehensive his review, the less likely the family is to stop down the meeting to read and re-read the enrollment agreement prior to signing up. After the meeting we were not provided a copy of the signed enrollment agreement, and I was able to obtain a copy only after we had terminated the sessions, and subsequently I requested a copy due to the billing irregularities.
In the meeting, he made sure to discuss the policy that if no advance notice is given for an absence, then the session will be charged in full. This is reasonably explained that without prior notice, the teacher will be sitting there waiting on the student, causing a waste of time and money to pay for the teacher. It is also explained that by giving prior notice, the school can notify the teacher of the cancelation, saving time and money for all. Makes perfect sense. What is conveniently left out of the discussion is reference to what I like to now refer to as the "Cash Cow" clause in the agreement. Buried nine sentences into the fifth paragraph of the General Enrollment Agreement is the clause that unmade-up sessions will be charge in full. This is a Cash Cow for the school, since they get to charge in full for a session they did not have to fulfill. Minimum expenses, maximum profit equals a Cash Cow for the school. In contrast, when I am going to miss a doctor appointment, if I notify the doctor's office 48 hours in advance, I am charged nothing. If I fail to notify them in advance, I incur a nominal missed appointment fee of $25-$50, depending on the doctor. The doctor does not charge me the full cost of an appointment which never occurred...
Furthermore, the Director insisted the course must be paid for in full before the sessions begin. I thought this to be odd at the time, but now see that it enables them to silently charge us for the lost sessions without having to disclose any of the charges along the way. If we had been paying monthly, they would have been forced to disclose (via monthly statements) the charges for the sessions which never transpired as we paid for sessions along the way. However, by collecting in full up front, they are able to avoid generating any monthly statements and thereby avoid ongoing disclosure. Very deceptive. In addition, the General Enrollment Agreement mentions that tuition can be paid monthly, in complete contradiction to what the Director told us. Very, very deceptive.
The school gave no notification that the tuition was in danger of being forfeit after we notified them in advance of our daughter not being able to attend a session. When we called in to let them know of an impending absence, if their intent were truly forthright, they would have told us when we were on the phone with them that we would have 2 weeks to schedule a makeup session. Had they failed to mention this to us once or twice, I might understand, but we made five separate impending absence notifications to them, and not once did they attempt any such notice of possible forfeiture of tuition for unmade up sessions.
Furthermore, our daughter attended sessions at the school for several months, and we were never provided any kind of statement of account that would have given us any indication that we were being charged for sessions that never occurred. We never received any other ongoing notification regarding this issue by mail, email, phone call or even a verbal reminder or note given to our daughter when she was at the school for a session. In stark contrast, if my daughter misses a single class at Coppell High School, I am contacted within hours by the high school via telephone, text AND email. Huntington, makes no attempt at any of these, and why should they, by virtue of the Cash Cow profits they have set themselves up to receive...
Even when I initially picked up the refund check (I waited over a month to get, and still only received because of several follow-ups asking about the status of the refund), Huntington still did not initially give me the summary statement of account, which might reveal their Cash Cow hidden charges. Only after I insisted on the statement did they eventually provide me with the statement (which is what ultimately allowed me to uncover what they were up to).
Huntington's lack of discussion of this policy in our meetings, burying of the Cash Cow clause in the middle of the agreement, failure to disclose this policy on their website, failure to provide the General Enrollment Agreement in advance for review or to provide us a copy of the agreement at signing, lack of any ongoing notification of pending forfeiture of tuition, lack of any attempt to update us on the undisclosed charges and lack of any ongoing account summary or voluntary final account summary appears to be an intentionally deceptive system and set of practices designed to hide their Cash Cow from the families they deal with.
Attached are copies of the General Enrollment Agreement and Statement of Account which I obtained only after specifically requesting both from Huntington.
Final Consumer Response