Balford Lindsey is the most abrasive and rude man I have ever met. The only reason his business flourishes is because of his low rates.
He had the times wrong for my daughter's first in car lesson and showed up at her school an hour early. He phoned my husband at home freaking out that he had been at the school waiting for her and she hadn't shown up. My husband explained that he was there an hour too early for her lesson. When my daughter came out all nervous about her first lesson, he started yelling at her for being late which she wasn't.
She was immediately put behind the wheel of the car for a two hour "lesson" and was given very little instruction. He just yelled at her for all her mistakes but never actually told her how to correct them. Eventually my daughter snapped and told him to stop yelling at her because he was making her more nervous to which he replied that he wasn't yelling. Throughout the lesson, he took several personal and business phone calls, yelling on the phone while reaching over and grabbing the steering wheel to correct her lane positioning. He displays road rage and actually reached over her to honk the horn at another driver.
The second lesson went pretty much the same as the first lesson with him using his cell phone and yelling at my daughter. I initially thought that perhaps she was just being over anxious and that this man who has taught many students had to be a lot more patient than she was giving him credit for. After her second lesson, she came home crying and said she never wanted to get in a car with him again.
She phoned to book her next lesson, she asked the woman on the phone if it was possible to switch to the female instructor because she found Balford to be very intimidating. The woman told her that once she started lessons, she had to stick with the same instructor and told her not to let him intimidate her. I reviewed the one sheet of information that was provided and nowhere did it have this rule. I called the school and made the same request.
I was very polite, just said that they're personalities clashed and that I was sure he was a good instructor but that I thought she would do better with the female instructor. Again I was told "the rule" and when I mentioned that it didn't say that anywhere on the list she passed the phone to Balford. Immediately he started yelling into the phone about how it was his school and I was going to listen to him, blah, blah, blah. I told him I had paid a lot of money for this course to which he quickly replied that he didn't care how much I paid, he was the owner, those are his rules and that was that.
I remained totally calm, and let him yell in my ear about how she wasn't listening to him, how she wouldn't stop when coming to a stop sign when he told her, etc. I had to hold the phone a foot from my ear he was yelling so loud. My husband could clearly hear every word from another floor of the house. Finally he stopped and I asked if I was allowed to speak now. As soon as I started talking he would start yelling over me. He would try to anticipate what I was going to say and start yelling back. This went on a couple of times so finally I decided that the next time I started to speak I wouldn't let him interrupt and would just keep talking louder over him until I had finished what I wanted to say. When I did this, he said he could see where my daughter got it from and told me he wouldn't listen to me anymore and hung up.
It was apparent that he had me over a barrel so I called back and spoke to the woman again. I told her basically that he was giving me no choice so I would allow her to try one more lesson with him and would expect that he would act like an adult, be patient and treat her properly. After 45 minutes, my daughter texted me to let me know that he had ended the lesson and was driving her home.
I waited outside for him to pull up. He stopped on the other side of the street with his window up. I walked over and he just ignored me. I told my daughter not to shut the door until he put the window down to talk to me. I asked if he was going to talk to me and he put the window down. Immediately he started yelling. When I asked him not to yell, as usual he said he wasn't yelling.
I calmly asked what had happened and told my daughter not to interrupt. He goes on about her not stopping when he wanted her to at a stop sign, about her taking too long to switch lanes and when she did the way wasn't clear and he had to pull the wheel to stop her. He starts to tell me how they were approaching a red light and he was telling her to stop and she wasn't stopping. He took this as threatening behaviour and accused her of trying to run a red light on purpose. At this point he asked her IF SHE WAS STUPID OR SOMETHING. As soon as he said that, my daughter snapped and used a few choice words to describe his skills as an instructor. He threatened to make her pull over and he would just drive her home so that is exactly what she did.
I allowed him to yell all of the above events to me while my neighbours all gathered on their porches to hear the man who "wasn't yelling". I am 100% sure that my daughter isn't the first young driver he has had who didn't stop at the right times, or made right turns to wide, etc. He is the instructor and this is his job. As soon as I began speaking to him, he listened for all of 30 seconds and then rolled up his window and drove off. He is refusing to give her any more lesson (not that I would make my daughter suffer another lesson with him) and he will not refund any of the $390 that I paid. He stills owes her 5 hours of lessons. I guess it would dent his male ego to allow her to switch to the female driver.
Now, everytime he picks up a student at her school, he asks if they know her and the first 15 minutes of their lesson is listening to the story of my daughter and he proudly tells them how he's not going to refund her money.
Another one of her friends was taking a lesson with him. Balford told him to switch lanes to get around a bus. This boy looked and saw that a car was coming up in the lane beside him so he was waiting for the lane to be clear. Balford kept insisting that he had to switch lanes and that he was taking too long. The boy told him that a car was coming up beside him and Balford told him he had plenty of time. Apprehensively the boy started to switch lanes and Balford grabbed the wheel and pulled him back asking what he was doing because there was a car coming. The confused boy told him he didn't want to switch lanes at that point but that he had insisted. Balford, the trained driving instructor responded, "don't always listen to what I say, I'm going to try to trick you". Wow. This man is an adult in a position of authority and he's doing stuff like that.
As far as I'm concerned, once he has the cash he couldn't really care less whether you finish the course. He says he advertises that he specializes in teaching people with anxieties but then switches the story to people with ADHD. I questioned whether he actually knew the difference between anxiety disorder and ADHD because the teaching approach would be totally different. Yelling at someone with anxieties is not the way to teach.
Spend the extra cash and send your kids to someone who actually knows what they are doing and acts professionally not some fly by night chancer who started up a driving school business because it's easy money. He has these kids driving him around to do his personal errands i.e. dry cleaners, Tim Horton stops, etc.