Service from correspondence college lacking

Zaidee Durrell battled for months with Damelin Correspondence College (DCC) to get a refund of R8 500 for a course, “Corporate Forensic Investigating”, she had signed up for, because she was unhappy with the service.

“I signed up with DCC in September 2015. My husband paid my tuition fees in full, which cost us R8 500. My textbooks arrived by courier and when I opened my package and saw all these textbooks I didn’t know where to start. In one of them, I saw an email address where you could ask for help.

“Two days after I emailed DCC, I received a message with a list attached with all my subjects – but it didn’t tell me how or where to start with this course,” the Retreat woman said.

“I eventually figured it out and started reading the book I needed for my first assignment which I emailed to them. But I had no feedback which I thought was very unprofessional,” Ms Durrell said.

“And I still haven’t had any feedback. I then continued to the next book but got stuck. I emailed again asking for help and not a soul responded. I then went onto Damelin’s website and asked to speak to a career consultant. But no one responded,” said Ms Durrell, who contacted Renee Parker, the sales agent to tell her how unhappy she had been and that she wanted her money back.

Ms Durrell also asked to be put into contact with other students who were doing the forensic course but she was told they don’t give out personal details. “Which I found strange as there is a question on the application form asking if they can share your details with other students.

“Clearly I signed up with the wrong college. No one responds to my emails or telephone calls.”

DCC, though, did tell Ms Durrell that the cancellation committee has approved her request to cancel the course but there was a 25% cancellation fee and she would have to return the study materials before the refund was processed and it may take up to 90 days before she got her money back.

However, Ms Durrell wasn’t happy with the cancellation fee and told them so. And it took much longer than 90 days to get her refund.

“I cancelled my course as I was not happy with the service I was getting.

“I don’t think 25% is a reasonable cancellation fee. Nowhere does it say how much your cancellation fees are and on your application form it states that once you sign up you’ll be put in contact with other students doing your course. That didn’t happen and nobody responded to my first assignment which I sent in August 2015,” Ms Durrell told DCC on February 12, this year.

“I don’t understand why I must pay that money as your people are clearly not giving a proper service to their clients and your staff are not doing their work. Nobody wants to help. How can one do a course where no one helps you. I want a refund,” she told the DDC.

“Now my question is: can you help me?”

It didn’t take long and customer services manager, Shane Shaw, said he would investigate.

“We would like to thank you for bringing Ms Durrell’s concerns to our attention and we sincerely regret that Ms Durrell’s experience with DCC has not met with her expectations. The service described is not that which we endeavour to offer to all of our students,” he said.

“Ms Durrell’s assignment was resulted (marked), but as the cancellation was already being processed, it would not have been returned to her. The refund has not yet been paid, as we have not yet received the study materials we sent to her, which is one of the conditions of the cancellation agreement

“While we are still not in receipt of the study material, in the interests of customer service, the refund will be paid within 14 days. The administrative fee charges is not considered to be excessive, considering that valuable input (but no-one responded to Ms Durrell) which has been provided to the student, which once learned, cannot be ‘given back’. The fees charged are comparable to other colleges,” Mr Shaw said a few days ago.

Ms Durrell confirmed that she received her refund, R6 200, from Damelin Correspondence College. “Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it,” she said.