There are two principal circumstances in which refunds are permissible, but in all other circumstances, they are not. Please keep this fact in mind when deciding to commit to any course of study with me.
Circumstances in which refunds are permissible:
1. A sudden decision not to begin in the course, made after payment but before the course actually begins. If the student informs the tutor at least five calendar days in advance of the course's start date, the student may receive a full refund. This does not include a refund of any money spent for textbooks or other course-related materials. If the student informs the tutor 2-4 calendar days before the start of the course, the student will be entitled to a 50% refund. If the student informs the tutor that he/she is backing out only one calendar day before studies are to begin, the student may receive a 25% refund only.
a. On the 5th of the month, Fred registers for a French course with Kevin, paying Kevin $810 for twenty one-hour lessons. He and Kevin agree to begin French lessons on the 12th. On the 7th, however, Fred decides he can't or won't study French, so he informs Kevin of this by email. Kevin refunds Fred the entire $810. This is possible because the 7th is five calendar days before the 12th.
b. Same situation, but Fred delays until the 9th. In that event, Kevin refunds Fred only $405 via PayPal (keep in mind that PayPal deducts a small percentage from every transaction, so Fred will receive a tiny bit less than $405). The 9th is three calendar days before the 12th.
c. Same situation, but Fred foolishly delays until the 11th to tell Kevin he no longer wishes to study French. Kevin refunds Fred 25% of the $810, i.e., only $202.50. Kevin keeps the rest.
2. Sudden and extreme emergencies after lessons have begun. Emergencies are, occasionally, a fact of life. I consider the term to refer narrowly to something medical, and as a teacher in a public school or university would, I will require proof of the medical nature of the emergency: a doctor's note or an actual conversation with a bona fide medical professional. Suddenly going on vacation is not an emergency. The death of a relative is a more delicate matter, and I will treat the situation with the respect it deserves. (Besides, only people of very low character resort to the "Grandma's dying" ploy. If Grandma really is dying, I'll probably pick up the vibe from a student who is sincere.)
The amount of the refund will, of course, depend on the point at which the emergency occurs. If a person buys a 20-hour "package" and the emergency occurs at about the 15th hour of coursework, then the refund will be 25% of the original fee, since only 25% of the hours remains unused. Partial refunds (if, for example, one person in a group of 4 students has an emergency) will have to be negotiated.
NB: No refund will be for more than 50% of the original fee, so if the emergency occurs on Day One of our lessons, the student will get only 50% back. Please try not to be involved in any emergencies!
Final Note: A student who gets discouraged or feels unmotivated after beginning studies with me IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY REFUND. I will not budge on this point. The entire thrust of my refund policy is to make the student conscious that he or she is committing to something serious. Flagging motivation does not give the student the right to a refund. Utterances like "I'm bored and I want to quit" or "I want a different tutor" will not result in a refund of any kind. Once we commit to each other, we commit to each other. I hope this is clear.
SCHEDULE CHANGES AND CANCELLATIONS
When a student buys a certain number of tutoring hours (e.g., a 20-hour or 50-hour package), s/he has the right to expect me to begin the lesson promptly on the agreed-upon days, at the agreed-upon times, either in the student's home or via Skype. This same readiness is expected of the student (more on this below, in the Other Policies section). There may, however, be times when scheduled lessons will have to be cancelled and rescheduled-- for reasons related to weather, for example. In such cases, rescheduling is simply a matter of communicating with the tutor via cell phone voice/text or email. The tutor will have to check his calendar for the next available time slot (or both parties may agree simply to meet at their next scheduled lesson, with the understanding that the missed lesson will be made up at the very end).
Notification of schedule change or cancellation must happen at least 24 hours before the actual lesson time. If the cancellation is too sudden, the tutor will treat this as an "unexcused absence" and will deduct the requisite number of hours from the student's allotment. Example: a student studying for the GRE buys a 50-hour package; one weekend, the student contacts the tutor on the very day of his lesson to say that he's sick and needs to reschedule. The tutor says "OK," but informs the student that, since today's lesson would have been for 2 hours, the tutor is deducting 2 hours from the student's 50-hour package.
The point, obviously, is to be timely in informing the tutor of any schedule changes or cancellations. No one takes kindly to having their routine suddenly disturbed.
1. As mentioned above, the student(s) and the tutor have the right to expect each other to be prompt for their lessons. Mutual respect for each other's schedule is important.
2. Both parties, the tutor and the student(s), should practice courtesy and civility in their interactions with each other, and should deal with each other honestly.
3. Students should be prepared for their lessons, and should not fall behind. If the tutor assigns homework-- as is very likely-- students should complete this homework in a timely manner.
4. Students should understand that they may be quizzed at regular or irregular intervals, and that tutoring will involve plenty of review and reinforcement, not merely the covering of new material.
5. Students should feel free to contact the tutor via email with any study-related questions they might have; there's no extra charge for this interchange.
6. The tutor is also susceptible to emergencies and to other problems that may result in cancellation or refund. If, for example, the tutor is offered a million-dollar acting gig while in the middle of teaching a 10-week French program, the tutor will gladly refund the cost of the unused lesson hours. (Assume that negotiation will be necessary for determining refund amounts if the "fault" lies with the tutor.)
7. Aspects of the tutor/student relationship obviously can't be mapped out in detail here, so both parties, the tutor and the student(s), will endeavor to exercise common sense in dealing with any special situations that might arise.