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Parents That Won't Pay


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I have 7 parents that have walked away with out paying 3 from last July that I have been chasing for a year. So finally after being shouted at on the phone and told "take me to court" from this mother I have done that gone through the small claims court. Very easy to do really pleased until this morning when I get the letter back from the court saying she has admitted she owes the money and will pay me back 0.01p per month!!!!!!!!! I've now got to go back and dispute the payment DERRRRRR

I am so annoyed that the Court system allows people to do this it makes a mockery of the courts. Doesn't stop this mother having more children that she can't pay for but aqllows her to walk away with out paying.

Sorry to rant but don't know whether to laugh or cry. As though they are the only ones that have money problems. I'm sure she can affor to go to the pub and take her child to Judo every week but can't pay me for a service already taken!!!!!!!

URGHHHHHHHHH

 

I could scream.

 

So unfair still it will have a knock on affest on my paretns next year. They either pay upfront or don't bring their kids.

After 11 years of trying to be understanding I've had enough.

 

Steph

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I feel for you truly.

 

When we started private nursery sessions and afterschool club we made it totally clear that no one was alloowed to go more than 1 week behind.

IE have children in all week and pay at end of week.

 

Or they had the option to pay upfront.

 

I didn't want part of my job to be about chasing folks for money!

 

It has worked really well overall, and one parent who had "forgotten" they owed afterschool was not allowed to book her child in until she paid what she owed.

 

It sounds harsh but as I said I don't want to become a money chaser!

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Guest colechin

Sorry to hear your news.

 

It can be very frustrating when parents 'duck and dive' in settling their payments. I had one parent that came up with all different excuses and even had here friends or older daughter bring her child in to Nursery while she sat in the car, so she didn't have to face me.

 

I was always polite towards her because I knew of the benefit the child would have in attending our Nursery, and this far outwayed the possibilities of her not coming. I also budget each year a percentage for unpaid bills.

 

All the staff at our Nursery agree that the children come first and we have so much that we can offer to each child. But, on the offer hand we can not afford to pay our staff as much as we would hope.

 

Keep your chin up.

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What an awful experience - I really feel for you.

 

It is and always has been - payment in advance for us - still have to 'chase' at times - but has never got 'out of hand' (hope I'm not tempting fate here)!

 

Sending you a huge virtual hug.

Sunnyday

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Our parents have to pay in advance and are fined £20 for late payments and late pick ups. We are a charity and run on a very line between staying afloat and going under, we also offer affordable childcare.

I have to look at it from a business point of few and I agree that the chidlren come firat but if we are not tough enough to take payments from everyone then we will go under and then all the children will lose out. You wouldn't walk out of a shop without paying, would you? :o ALthough I just caught someone shoplifting in my lunchbreak and pointed them out to the staff in the shop, don't want to have to pay more for my lunch because of shop liffters and parents would probably feel the same if they knew I was puttin gprices up to cover those who don't pay.

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pay me back 0.01p per month!!!!!!!!! I've now got to go back and dispute the payment DERRRRRR

I am so annoyed that the Court system allows people to do this it makes a mockery of the courts.

 

 

You're right - I'd be really annoyed too, It seems a waste of everyone's time, doesn't it. Chin up, I just hope they don't declare bankruptcy next or your tenth of a penny will be written off. :o

 

Good luck with your dispute - have you any idea how long it will take? I've never done anything like that before and fingers crossed I hope I never will. As others do, we ask for payment up front and remind them at the end of the week if they've not paid.

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yes thats the next thing she has put on the form filing for bankruptcy.

I always used to get parents to pay weekly but then went over to a monthly system and that has been the failing of some parents. still as I said all will change in a couple of weeks time. will let you all know what happens with the online court.

thanks for all your support felt so tired today have sent the afternoon dozing still feel better now, going to tackle the online court system to see what has to be done next

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we too have this problem - it seems parents dont understand / care that it could mean the end of childcare if everyone did the same.

perhaps we need to go onto the weekly pay system - but you then spend so much time chasing parents who dont want to pay - these are worse - i know some parents cant afford to pay but they usually come in and make arrangements to do this over a longer time.

the trouble is once they are funded you cannot refuse the child a place -although you can refuse to up their sessions -and these parents then just breeze in and out as though nothing is wrong.

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Although I ask ours to pay in advance, and they sign a contract to this effect, I do offer different ways for them to do it. Some pay when they bring heir child (paying just for that session) others pay at the start of the week (or as already mentioned, the end of the week, which is piflicating, but I allow it just for one week!) others pay at the start of the month, half term or term and I have a few who pay directly into the Preschool bank account by direct debit

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Although I ask ours to pay in advance, and they sign a contract to this effect, I do offer different ways for them to do it. Some pay when they bring heir child (paying just for that session) others pay at the start of the week (or as already mentioned, the end of the week, which is piflicating, but I allow it just for one week!) others pay at the start of the month, half term or term and I have a few who pay directly into the Preschool bank account by direct debit

So now I'm thinking I am really mean.........

 

Fees are paid half-termly in advance - I will, if someone is having a 'struggle' let that go for up to two weeks - but then that's it :o

 

If you allow parents to pay at the beginning of each session - what happens if they don't show up for a session or two?

 

We are such a small group and make very little profit - therefore I always feel the need to stay on top of payments - as I said just mean :(xD:(

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No not mean. Different things work for different places. We charge two payments over the term unless parents wish to negotiate a different system but they have to stick to it. We rarely offer pay as you come as some would not pay if they were off for a morning but we cannot afford that.

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We tell parents that we "reserve the right to charge for sessions not taken" In practice this means that if they tell us in advance of their child's session that they'll be absent we can often fill that place with another child. If they don't bother letting us know, they pay as the session was kept available for their child.

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Oh Steph I would be seething!!!!

my husband had the same thing happen to him he fitted a whole house with double glazing and then the person refused to pay went to small claims court and was offered £5 a month. it pushed him out of business and he had to go and get another job, I wonder if small claims court realise the knock on impact they have by allowing people to get away with this, many years ago people would go to prison for getting into debt!

 

your not alone in having parents leave without paying and Ive had a few over the years walk out owing money and its annoying know that parents seem to have the money to smoke and drink send their kids wearing designer clothes but not to pay their debts?!?!?

 

we let parents pay regularly to suit their means provided they keep a regular payment pattern up most pay weekly all debts must be settled by the end of each half term or the childs place is cancelled (though I dont do it the threat is enough to keep most parents on their toes)

 

for the majority of parents this works there may be an odd session here and there that needs chasing but at the moment I only have one parent who is a bad payer but she is a mother of three under 5's with another one on the way and I feel that she needs all the help she can get she pays a bit at a time when she has got it which is better than nothing at all so I dont cancel the childs place, and every so often I give her a letter to let her know how much she owes I dont imagine I will ever see all of it but as long as I can get a regular "something" towards it Im prepared to turn a blind eye and let her child stay.

 

we cannt really afford to turn a blind eye but if the child didnt attend we would still have to pay the staff and there is no more children on the waiting list to fill the space. the only thing this child is actually costing us is the snack she eats.

 

I hope you manage to sort out your problems Steph or at least dont get yourselft too upset about this parent if the problem cannt be solved to your liking then you'll have to let it go and try not to waste any of your energy on it (easier said than done!)

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I could scream.

I can well understand that - how frustrating. I hope you get it sorted soon!

 

In the meantime I've moved this into Nursery settings management issues in the Nursery, Pre-school and Playgroup area of the Forum.

 

Maz

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I would ask the question-could you go to Tesco's or Sainsbury's and put your weekly shop in the trolley and not pay for it? No you couldn't. So the same applies to child care. What you have you have to pay for.

And just remember, if you take them to small claims court even though they are paying you a pathetic amount of money they have got a very bad credit rating for at least five years.

Linda

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l have more than 5 parents who have left without paying, in total it is well over £2,000, which is really annoying, if you think of what you can do with that money. A parent had the audacity to tell me that the money she owns the nursery does not mean that the staff would not be paid, one also said he has just started a small business and things are a bit difficult at the moment, the cheek.

 

l am seriously thinking of setting up a data base of non paying parents, a form of sharing information where names of parents who left nurseries without paying would be registered, this would prevent them from building up debts and moving the child to another nursery, the only time their names would be removed is when they go back to the nursery they owned and pay up. Do you think this will work, and would their be an interest. This would be nationwide.

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l have more than 5 parents who have left without paying, in total it is well over £2,000, which is really annoying, if you think of what you can do with that money. A parent had the audacity to tell me that the money she owns the nursery does not mean that the staff would not be paid, one also said he has just started a small business and things are a bit difficult at the moment, the cheek.

 

l am seriously thinking of setting up a data base of non paying parents, a form of sharing information where names of parents who left nurseries without paying would be registered, this would prevent them from building up debts and moving the child to another nursery, the only time their names would be removed is when they go back to the nursery they owned and pay up. Do you think this will work, and would their be an interest. This would be nationwide.

 

Sounds a great idea - but I am sure you wouldn't be allowed to do it.

 

We also have several poor payers and spend quite a bit of time chasing. At the moment parents can pay termly, half termly, monthly or weekly in advance - most pay weekly. On Monday night I send home debter letters for all those who have not paid for that week - not in envelopes and handed directly to parent with verbal reminder. This has helped to make most people pay on time. We also text reminders mid-afternoon.

 

We only let parents get 2 weeks in arrears (after being taken for a ride!) and then refuse further paid day care sessions. We run the After School Club too and operate the same system - this year was the first with all this year's debts cleared at the end of the year. As we are part of a school, we send debts to the council debt recovery service and they aleays write off the debts since they are small in comparison to council tax, rent etc Some parents have come back and requested further sessions once the debt has been written off but we refuse them school club or daycare sessions until they have cleared the debt. This gives us another 7 years to claim the debt or refuse extra services - makes us feel better!

 

One parent went to Ctizens Advice and is supposedly paying £1 a month, we have seen £3 in 2 years, she will still be paying when her child is in high school!

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So sorry to hear about your none payers - I usually take quite a strict "no arrears" stance but very occasionally I show the odd ounce of compassion and it never ever pays. This year I had one who pleaded poverty when she went into arrears by a few weeks so I renegotiated sessions and let her off the backlog - as thanks she ran up another lot of arrears and then disappeared never to be seen again.

 

Have now decided that I am not ever ever going to be nice or kind hearted again (to the parents - the children know I'm a dragon) - can't afford to be.

 

New mantra will be no pay no stay.

 

Sorry for the children etc. but if we do not stay afloat then no one keeps a place!!

 

Sue

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After years of hearing every excuse in the book and having losts thousands over the years after being fobbed off by the excuses from next tuesday it is pay up or leave. I am sick of running a nursery with parents thinking they can do what they want. Why they cannot be taken to court for fraud by the Inland Revenue is beyond me. The money should come in the form of a voucher which the nursery redeems not spent on holidays/clothes/going out. Nursery fees seem strangely not one of the things parents think they should be paying.

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Perhaps Sadie is referring to parents who qualify for the childcare element of working tax credit - if that's the case the parents receive money direct (the amount depends on parental income and fees) which is meant to be used to pay towards fees!

 

Once the tax credit is paid some parents do not maintain their child's place or change the amount of sessions or just don't pay - because the provider doesn't know who is getting tax credits there is no way of alterting HMRC to the abuse of the system.

 

On the odd occassion providers get a call or a form to fill out from MRC to confirm whether or not a child is attending the setting and if so what the attendance arrangements are.

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I have had one of those phonecalls - the parent was claiming her son with us full time when in fact he had left us some 6 months previously, and when he HAD attended it had only been for 3 afternoons a week!

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If the parent is working, you can claim through the small claims court an 'attachment of earnings'. You will need to know where they work in order to fill out the form for the court.

 

If there are two sets of parents working, make sure you put both of them down otherwise they will only count one parents wage. I got £50.00 a month out of a parent who owed £2000, but they have to pay it as it goes straight from their wages to the courts, and to be honest it was more a 'got you' feeling rather than let them walk away.

 

The government needs to make it easier for businesses to sue individual people for money owed. The council soon take you to court if you owe £10.00 for council tax, or business to business can get money easily.

 

Too many parents are walking away without paying. I try and be flexible to accomodate parents because of the area I work in but it just doesn't pay to be kind.....

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in my experience there always seems to be enough in the kitty for booze and fags - paying nursery fees is way down the priority list. what does it teach their children about building up debt? no wonder there's a credit crunch...

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This makes me SO mad for you all!

 

The NCMA recommends that childminders take payments in advance to prevent this situation occuring and suggests never letting arrears of more than 1 week build up.

 

I've twice had parents who were slow payers - money reluctantly handed over at the weekend rather than Monday morning. I wrote to them pointing out they were in breach of our contract which COULD mean the contract was invalid and therefore my public liabilty insurance COULD be invalid in the event of an accident/incident!!

 

This approach was suggested by another parent who was a claims manager for the company who underwrote my insurance. His advice was that breach of contract was a grey area and it WAS possible that it COULD be used as a reason to refuse a claim.

 

It was obviously enough to "spook" these parents into paying. Fees then arrived promptly :o

 

Nona

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Where children are accessing hours over and above the early education funding entitlement getting money up front isn't too much of an issue but I have been struggling with the concept of payment in advance and even taking a deposit as we are a sessional group offering 2.5 hour blocks (at least until next year!).

 

My understanding is that places for children who qualify for EEF are meant to be free "at the point of entry" which would suggest no up front fees for those parents whose children use only their EEF entitlement.

 

My LA suggested asking for 4 weeks up front but could not then suggest how to make accessing EEF "free at point of entry".

 

I don't want a two tier system where there is a deposit or advanced fees for some and not others as it would be a nightmare to administer and then when do you give a deposit/fees up front back - when they qualify for EEF or when they leave??????

 

This year I am asking for a booking deposit and even then I'm not 100% convinced that this is not some kind of breach however as I mentioned before I'm fed up with being Mr Nice Guy!

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Sue, we ask for a deposit when parents accept a place. This is then 'held' until their last half term with us, providing they have fulfilled their part of the contract i.e. half terms notice and no fees owing. We are open for 3 hours per day with 2.5 of these funded. It was just too complicated to charge and retain the deposit to those that weren't eligible for funding and very unfair. I checked with our EY's and they said as long as we are returning the deposit to those that were funded then we could do this. To be honest the deposit is only £30, so not much of a deterrent but it is at least better then nothing if someone is messing you around.

Like you I am fed up with being Mr Nice Guy and am determined not to do any favours (financial or otherwise) this year for any parents as whenever we do it always comes back to bite us in the you know what!

 

Meant to say, I dont think you can charge a booking deposit unless you are giving it back BUT do know of at least 2 private daycare that do so, one is just for putting your childs name on their waiting list but dont know the full details and am not sure how they can do this.

Edited by lynned55
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Thanks for that Lynned55

 

Our deposit is also taken when parent wants a place and is refundable at the end of their last term with us so hopefully all above board (although it still doesn't make it free at point of entry). Like you am taking no prisoners this year. Because we are going to be running back to back 2.5 hours sessions I am also going to be enforcing a late fee £5.00/half hour or part thereof (extortionate deliberately to deter) as in the past when we were 3.5 hours parents accessing 2.5 hours thought it was ok to have extra half hour here and there because we were there anyway for those children staying!!

 

We are back on Monday and are giving all parents a copy of the fees policy with late fee info.

 

Just need to hang tough for the next year and breath lots of flames and smoke :o

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I am also going to be enforcing a late fee £5.00/half hour or part thereof (extortionate deliberately to deter)

I know settings that charge £5 for 15 minutes, Sue! Incidentally I read somewhere that settings who started charging a late fee found that parents became later, seeing the 'fine' as an extension of their fees and so they didn't worry to get back in time for collection.

 

I'll be interested to see what your experience is! Good luck - don't set anything on fire when you're practicing your fire breathing will you?

 

Maz

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Thanks for that Maz

 

I thought £5 for each half hour was extortionate - maybe it should be by the minute!!!!!

 

Perhaps there's some merit in looking for a second hand clocking in out machine (showing age now) on ebay!

 

Will keep you posted on how it goes.

 

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