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What Would You Do?


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I have a parent who has point blank refused to pay what he owes in fees and notice period costs.he took his child away from us because he found a cheaper setting, but gave no notice.He has signed our contract which clearly states we require one months notice in writing if a child's sessions are to change, or they are leaving the group.He's had two reminders which he's ignored.I saw him this morning, and gave him a reminder to pay, and he told me less than politely, what I can do with it, he has no intention of paying, AND.........................if I pursue the matter, he will tell Ofsted that his child was injured in our care and I did nothing about it, including letting him know!! I asked him why he'd do such a thing, when no accident has ever occurred and he just said he knows the system (he apparantly owns 2 nurseries in London) and if I have any sense, I'll back off rather than risk it. I told him I wouldn't be intimidated and he must pay up, or i shall deal with it through small claims court.......and he just said, Well, the courts will take my word over yours, so good luck!..........What would you do???

I telephoned Ofsted to ask their advice and a lovely lady has told me to note everything that was said, and she asked how long ago this child left us..........it was August, so she said, well, he's left it a long time to complain then..........don't worry. we'll keep a note here of what you've told us, and we can check against it if he complains.I'm just worried though, we can't prove anything, how could we?? But mud sticks and if a complaint is logged on our Ofsted file, parents get to see it so what to do?? :o

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These days A complaint only gets put on your ofsed report if any action has to be taken, It would be in your settings complaints file but with a letter saying no action , (recent problems unfounded allegation against me and no action so know!)

 

As you have logged this with Ofsed it is in your favour, particularly as he has not yet made the complaint (also had this a few years ago, parent complined 6 months after child left, Ofsed did not want to know once they realised timescale!)

 

If he makes the complaint after you take proceedings the delay will not look in his favour, and questions will be asked as to why he waited so long , the reason he waited for you to act first would be obvious.

 

record everything, witnress statements if there are any, copies of letters bills sent etc, copy of register for times child attended, anything to back you up no matter how trivial. Put all togehter in folder , so all evidence togehter should you need it.

 

when the parent complined about me it is a personal thing we think she has against me, no idea why, the complaint to Ofsed had no relation to what happened and after a 15 min chat with Inspector result was no action, now in our complaint file for parents to see , No action actually looks like a parents probelm as ther is nothing wrong with the childcatre or me!! But i was assured it will not appear on any ofsed reports.

 

Inge

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Inge, that's sound advice.

 

Narnia, don't worry, and don't let this nasty person intimidate you - he probably thinks his bullying tactics will scare you off. If he owns nurseries he will (or should)certainly realise the reality!

 

Don't forget to let us know what happens :)

 

Sue

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I agree with everything that has been said and would say don't be intimidated by someone who is obviously a bully - do waht you think is right. Having said that, look carefully into the small claims court process carefully before you embark on a claim - we tried to claim back some fees through this process and ended up paying the application charge and still getting nothing back from the parents, who disappeared into thin air!

Edited by DeborahF
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That's pretty well as bad as it gets narnia - lots of sympathy!

 

Although I have no experience in this, I hear small claims courts are pretty user friendly and cheap these days. I guess it depends how much you want to avoid letting him get away with it? If you decide not to do anything, be ruthless with yourself and refuse to think about him or the affair. Festering over something like that when you know you're not going to do anything just doubles the injury.

 

If you do decide to do something, just make sure you do as you've already been advised. You've got the reminders you've already sent him - make sure you keep copies of those. Write an account of your meeting with him and date and sign it (you should do this even if you're not going to pursue it, just in case he decides to put a complaint in anyway), and get a member of staff to cross sign it so the date is confirmed.

 

It might be worth leaving a claim for another month - as the ofsted woman said, he's leaving it pretty late if he wants it to have any credibility.

 

I seem to remember another topic from someone who had a parent who claimed to run two nurseries - this isn't the same lovely chap is it?

 

Good luck with it - let us know what you decide! :)

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Nasty but hang in there and don't lose sleep over it, he is obviously trying to scare monger and if really knew how the system worked would know the compplaint would look odd after a long delay!! This happened at my old setting, committee went through small claims court.

i know there was a small charge. They then put a cap on unpaid fees of £50 and then the child could not attend until fees paid. Not nice for the child but all parents pay promptly now (several didn't) and they haven't had any further probs.

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I think you have certainly handled the situation quite well so far, in the future I wouldn't have any 'conversations' with him unless witnesses are present. Any future correspondence to him regarding payments I would send by recorded delivery.

In the past I have started the small claims procedure and at the initial stages, before it went to court the parent paid up. If this person owns a business the last thing he needs is a bad credit rating through a court action, so faced with this he may pay up without the need to complete the small claims process.

 

ditto Steve, I remember reading a previous post about a bully owner of 2 nurseries. If it is the same person, I'd certainly hate to work in his nursery if this is the way he treats people. :o

 

Also very good advice from Steve in that if you decide not to pursue the matter, please try to forget and move on, otherwise it will fester and affect your well being, which is the very last thing any of us would want for you, and the last thing we would want to think that this festering 'man' had achieved. xD

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

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Oh awful Narnia! Part of me wants to stand up to this bully, call his bluff, send him a copy of your written record of your most recent conversation with him, and letting him know that you have contacted Ofsted yourself.

 

Part of me is more realistic, last year one parent sold us a story about her fees, and that they would be paid by Xmas (when they were due to finish with us) . They weren't of course, seems this parent was a serial non payer, despite several letters we had to write it off in the end as we didn't think we would get the money even if we went to the small claims court. Think it might have cost £27 to go to the small claims but might be wrong. Fees owing were around £90.

 

We changed our fees policy as a result and have become much more strict on payment of fees, even saying that a child cannot have use of additional services if money is not paid, which has worked.

 

We did have a parent owe us 1 weeks money at the end of the summer term, and not returning, so again we've lost that money but it could have been worse had we not insisted on weekly payment.

 

Not much good though, if the child no longer attends as you don't have much leverage. We don't have a notice period when somebody leaves.

 

It's very, very annoying but is it worth the problems it might cause?

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update!! Have received an email from this father, telling me that he has witnesses to our conversations...............all the staff from the group he is now sending his child to! (Of course, none of them ever sets foot in our group so this is nonsense and actually if I was them,i'd be pretty miffed if he was using me as a witness to anything!).......he also says I should know that this group has allowed him to have a trial period , even though they are claiming his NEG.What happens then, if he's not happy there would the grant have to be repaid for weeks not used?Can any group agree to do this...........I certainly wouldn't, for exactly that reason.

Edited by narnia
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Agree with above... not worth the worrying time, but i know from experience how this affects you even if you try not to let it! Just keep the records, and decide what to do next,

 

try to leave it for a day or so so you can get a different perspective, this may help, I was lucky with a committee to back me up totally, and other staff, student and parents as witnesses, but even without that Ofsted were very supportive and listened, understood what the problem was, but still cannot understand why the parent still has her child with us and has actually asked for more sessions! I still see her every day, and she really shows no remorse for upsetting everyone and everything thinking she was right even now!

 

Witness to what? you asking him to pay and him refusing, him threatening to tell ofsted , abusive behaviour, (The parent who accused me said she had witnesses, but when it came to it she had been abusive to them too so they just wanted to get away from her!)

 

As to NEG return , depends on area as to if you have to return it, we do but know others dont. otehr setting may not be aware of his poor payment history etc, but if he is just getting NEG hours will this really worry them!

 

 

 

Just off to put the Ofsted letter on noticeboard as recommended by Ofsted, No action so all parents can see it!

 

Inge

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Do you know the Leader manager of the group where he has gone. Maybe let them know what is going on and to be aware..If I remember correctlythe grant money has to be paid back by you to the LEA then you have to claim it back from the parent which I felt was always a difficult thing to do. I sympathise I have had to write off £200 last term for parents that you try to be nice to and then they throw it back in your face.

I had one family that the husband was made redundant according to the wife 5 times !!!!!and even though I told them they couldn't bring the child in only for the grant session she used to send the child in with other people so that she didn't have to talk to me.

this term I have one parent who would not pay gave every excuse imaginable, used to send the child in with every body else. and eventually I phone every emergency number I had for her to get some one to pick the child up because she was not allowed to stay to lunch. I'm affraid that in the end I took the child home but the mother eventually rang me and said she was bringing me money and why had I rung all the emergency numbers. one was her mother!!!!! god bless grandmothers.

She has now started to pay on time.

Have you looked into getting a solicitor to write a letter for you they do it for about £15 saying that they are going to procede to court if the money doesn't arrive by a certain date. It might show the bully that his tactics aren't going to work.

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Just off to put the Ofsted letter on noticeboard as recommended by Ofsted, No action so all parents can see it!

 

Inge

 

Inge - must be tempting to photocopy and distribute to every parent just to make sure they all see it :D . Failing that flashing fairy lights around the notice board!

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I agree with Inge, take a step back and seperate yourself as much as you can from the emotion / emotive feelings before acting.

Although I can see where steph is coming from about 'forewarning' the other setting manager, be careful, her allegience is with her 'new' customer, and no doubt he has spun a web of lies to her. If you discuss him to her and he finds out he can then accuse you of breaching confidential information etc, so best just keep clear of him in any capacity.

 

Like we do with all children ignore his bad behaviour and only deal with what you really need to deal with ie: getting fees paid.

 

Forget him for now and have a weekend thinking nice thoughts. :D

 

Peggy

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Agree keep confidentaility at all times .. focus on your needs not the threat or others who will now take on the problem!!

 

yes Deb fairys lights did spring to mind...I am away for this week so will not actually see her face when she sees it!!

 

Inge

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