Why No Refunds Or Transfers?
Why I Don't Normally Offer Refunds Or Allow Transfers
If you sign up for one of my classes and then cancel, I don't normally offer a refund or allow you to transfer from one class to another. You may feel this is unfair and you may want to get angry with me.
Before you do, just hear me out.
First of all, the fact that I don't offer refunds or allow transfers is clearly stated, in plain English, at the end of the descriptions for all the training courses I run. Secondly, I remind you of these terms and conditions in the first email I send to you after you sign up. So it's not as if I hide these facts or keep them a secret.
But the main point is this: I did not choose these policies. I've been forced to adopt them.
When I first started organising public classes, way back in 2008, I did allow refunds and transfers. Guess what? Because people knew they could cancel/transfer without loss, they did so arbitrarily and for the flimsiest of reasons or no reason at all, sometimes just because they felt like it. This is not guesswork. Some people actually told me that this was the case: 'I've just decided to take it easy this weekend so I'll do it next week'... and stuff like that.
This caused massive headaches for me from an organisational point of view.
John cancels in March in says he'll do April instead. So there's one less place I sell for April, thinking that -- with John -- I'll have a full class. But then John cancels again, the day before the class when it's too late to get anyone else. So I've lost the revenue from one place. Multiply that problem ten-fold over a few months and you begin to see it from my point of view. It adds up to quite a bit of lost revenue and organisational complications.
Some people cancelled and said they'd 'come to the next one' three or four times in a row. There were some classes where I set off in the morning honestly not knowing whether I'd have 16 people or 5.
I don't make much money from the classes I run. I have venue hire costs to cover (try booking any half-decent training venue in central London and look at the prices). I also have to give the venue precise numbers for catering or refreshments, which are charged on a per head basis. Plus I have to prepare the correct number of sets of class notes and printing costs money. I could go on but I won't labour the point.
If I were running large classes with dozens of people, a few dropping out here and there wouldn't matter. But this isn't the case. I'm not famous, not a celebrity, not on TV. I'm a very small operator running classes that have about 12 people in them. If three or four people drop out, this makes a big difference and impacts on the next class, and the one after that.
Anyone can get hit by exceptionally unfortunate circumstances. I know this. It happens. But it's also the case that a given precentage of people (not all) don't seem to feel any need to be dependable. If they can cancel at the last minute without any penalty, they will -- for the flimsiest of reasons or just because they feel like it. I'm speaking from over a decade of experience of trying to run public classes.
So, it's the same old story: a few bad apples ruin the fun for everyone. I don't choose these policies. I have been forced to adopt them based on past experience.