Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Beyond a joke?

Grrrrrrr!!! AAAArrrgggh. Etc.

I know cancellations are part and parcel of choosing to have mostly private students, but this one pretty much takes the biscuit. Let me explain....

- Last Tuesday, Student A called to cancel that evening's class and also to cancel tonight's class - at 7pm. She said she would let me know by Sunday if that was going to change.
- Nothing heard by Sunday.
- Monday, Students B&C who I teach from 4 til 6 on a Tuesday, ask if there's any chance I can teach them later.
- I say, this week, that's fine as my 7pm class has been cancelled. I move Students B&C to 5 til 7.
- I email Student A on Monday evening out of courtesy to thank her for giving me advance notice of her cancellation, as it has meant that I can accommodate Students B&C's request to have class later.
- Student A emails back to say that she REALLY REALLY needs to reinstate the 7pm class because she has a delegation of people coming for work this weekend and will have to speak English to them, so needs the practice.
- Being the nice person I am (doormat?), I email students B&C and ask if I can move them back to 4 til 6, so I can reinstate 7pm class with Student A.
- They, very kindly, agree.
- Tuesday, 4-6, I am teaching Students B&C. I'm aware that my mobile is frantically vibrating in my bag and finally give in and look at it.
- At 5.45, 75 minutes before class is due to start, Student A has texted/rung to say she's very busy at work and can't have class!

So I basically messed Students B&C around for NOTHING! It's infuriating. It's made worse by the fact that Student A paid me upfront for 20 classes and we're still only on class 15, after nearly 6 months, due to regular cancellations. I didn't have a cancellation policy with her, unfortunately, so the money just keeps rolling over until I've finally managed to give her 20 classes. At the rate I'm going, I'll have retired or moved back to the UK before we've completed! I can't ditch her, and I'm trying to be accommodating so she doesn't ditch me, because if we stop having class, I'll effectively owe her for 5 classes and would have to refund the money which, needless to say, I don't have!

Right, time to breathe and get a large drink, I think.

PS - If you want to leave a comment, please visit http://emsr2d2.blogspot.com and leave the comment on the actual blog. Otherwise, it looks like no-one's reading it, or commenting, which makes me sad. And you wouldn't like me when I'm sad!


  1. Sorry to say it but knowing Spaniards attitude to cancelling, the cancellation policy would have been my first task.

    Get firm - stop allowing them to dictate, they can change something once, then if they cancel again not your problem.
    You are not 'friends' this is a job, and your livelihood.

    I would write up that policy right now and add in as an amendment to the current agreement based on issues.

  2. Duly noted! Am learning. Though am meant to be teaching!

  3. And for sure, any cancelation less than 24 hours before the lesson time, means they still pay for the lesson. They won't do it again!

  4. As you know, I spent several years developing and implementing training contracts around the world. Send me a copy of your contract and I will make some suggestions for improvements.

    Cancellation/Re-schedule policies are great but you need a balance between getting the client commitment (by paying up front) and...
    a) them not screwing up your life (and beer drinking time) by cancelling sessions (effectively extending the life of the contract.
    b) stopping you from earning TWICE (one because they cancelled and two when the re-scheduled lesson takes place)

    Probably need a time period by which the pre-paid "credit" must be used (or the contract expires and you get to keep the money).

    Get the strength of the contract in writing 'cos then you can always negotiate a settlement, when YOU feel you need to.


    P.S. A contract is a legally binding document on the weaker party. The trick is not to be that weaker party.