The Guardian have released a story about learners who are out of pocket due to Drive Dynamics stalling over lessons.
Searching through their postbag of letters from readers expressing a particular experience they’ve had, one was from woman named Nicole Dunn, who paid £111.50 up front for 10 lessons.
Once the payment was made she was told an instructor would contact her. No such call was made.
Two weeks went by without a word, so she decided to contact them.
“I was told that the individual assigned to me no longer worked for the company, and that they would pass my details on to another instructor who would contact me,” Dunn said.
She was then told by customer service that the instructor does in fact still work for the company and would be in contact. The instructor once again failed to get in contact.
Dunn, 21, from Sunderland, requested a refund, but was refused as she was outside the company’s 14-day cooling-off period. Later, she made another 14 calls requesting to speak to a manager, which never happened, and her attempts to make contact via the company’s web form also failed.
One year on and she is still yet to receive a lesson or her money back.
Dunn isn’t the only customer who has been left out of pocket by Drive Dynamics. The Observer featured a similar case involving the firm in April last year, where more than 100 would-be learners complained, all with the same problem. The promised lessons never took place. Neither person was issued with a refund.
Drive Dynamics is a franchise with a network of self-employed instructors who pay a monthly fee to use the name, plus a commission for each pupil referred to them. Learners find it appealing when sales staff make it aware that lessons can be swiftly arranged since a national shortage of qualified instructors means waiting lists at most driving schools are long.
Carly Brookfield, chief executive of the Driving Instructors Association, said: “Make sure you choose a fully qualified and licensed approved driving instructor (ADI). Some schools use trainees known as PDIs (provisional driving instructors) who have less experience.
“Check what grade they are. Driving instructors are assessed by the Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency every four years. Grade A signifies the top performers.”
Instructors are required to sign the ADI code of conduct, which governs all aspects of their business from teaching practices to financial management. Brookfield added, “Ask the trainer about their ongoing training. Continuing professional development is something good instructors invest in to update their skills and knowledge.
“It’s a worrying sign if they are not doing this.”
Click here to read the full story.