In January 2006, my daughter received ballet lessons for her 6th birthday with Caulfield School of Dance. She attended the first few lessons, enjoyed them so we paid for the rest of the season, until June.
In August, she decided that she wanted to do tap dancing, as well as ballet so we signed her up for both classes. The school said we could pay by three cheques, or for a small discount we could just pay for the whole year at once, which we did. I seem to recall it was a difference of $15, out of the whole bill for $1,000.
In late October, just six weeks into the season she said that she wasn't enjoying it as much. This built up over the weeks and we couldn't get to the bottom of it so we talked to her instructor and school administrator in mid-November. They gave her some extra lessons to do at home, as she'd missed a couple of sessions due to illness, and gave her a bit more attention to help her.
Her unhappiness continued though and in early December we spoke to the school about the matter again and what the position on a refund was. They said that we'd get all of the money back for the unused lessons but we should keep going and seeing if she'll get over it. We made her a promise that we'd let her give up after Christmas if that's what she really wanted to do.
In the New Year, January 2007, it came back to Ballet night and she didn't want to go. We spoke to her and in the end agreed to pull her out as we felt we'd tried enough, made her a promise and had to go through with it. She wasn't enjoying it and there seemed to be no point in pushing it any further.
We told the school and asked for a refund. We were told there was a "no refund policy" after Christmas. Furthermore, we were then told (both myself and my wife) that we should bring her down to the school, regardless of her wishes and make her do it. We were also told that we should let our daughter make decisions for us and she gave me an example, "What will you do if she says she doesn't like math? Will you let her quit that?". Cori Caulfield then went on to tell us about a story of another little girl that wanted to quit but her Mum made her come, even dropping her off in tears some times, and that today she's grown into a very graceful dancer.
Needless to say, we stuck to our decision. I thought that if that's what ballet was all about, I'd rather not have my daughter turn into something like that.
After much negotiation, Cori eventually said that she'd sit down in June, work out what was due to us and give us a credit against future dance lessons.
We've never heard from the school since, lost $600 and will now have to recover the money through the court system. Buyer beware!!!
Coquitlam, British Columbia