Long wait to have fees refunded

Alastair Bullock of Ravensmead registered for a course in draughtsmanship at Intec College, St George’s Mall, on March 28 2016 and paid R17 931 via EFT the same day.

But Alastair had a change of heart and decided to register at a different institution so he went back on April 8 2016 to deregister and he filled in and signed all the documents.

When he hadn’t received his refund by June 9, he went to Intec’s other office in Martin Hammerschlag Way.

“After waiting in the reception for 30 minutes I was assisted by a man and a woman who told me there would be a penalty fee. When they gave me the deregistration papers I noticed they intended to hold back R14 344.80,” Alastair said.

“When I asked the two employees for their details they refused to give them to me, turned around and disappeared down a corridor.

“They were very unprofessional and interviewed me at reception and even though there was no one around it was in a public area. Until now (December 12), I am still waiting for a response from Intec,” he said.

Shane Shaw, customer service manager at Educor, which owns Intec, confirmed that Alastair was not happy with the outcome of the deregistration review (the penalty fee) and his father was advised to appeal.

“Mr Bullock’s father did not appeal so the account remained active. But in the interests of customer service we contacted the student’s father and processed his appeal without the required documentation, and have amended the charges to an admin fee only. He has confirmed his satisfaction with both the communication and the result and the refund will be processed,” Mr Shaw said.

Alastair said he did receive an email from Shakier Achmat, call centre manager, that an admin fee of R350 would be deducted and the balance would be refunded.

“My dad spoke to Mr Achmat on December 13 and he asked for my latest stamped bank statement, a certified copy of my ID and said it would take about three months for the funds to reflect in my account.

“My dad told him it was unacceptable to wait for the refund as Intec got their fee immediately and he wanted to arrange a meeting with Mr Achmat to get confirmation in writing. But he could not contact him.

“Intec had moved to Century City. Eventually we had a meeting with Mr Achmat who told me that he would make arrangements for my money to be refunded within two weeks but I’ve been waiting for a month already,” said Alastair, who emailed Mr Achmat again and the automatic reply said he would be back on January 16.

Then on January 20 this year, Mr Achmat sent Alastair an email saying the payment could only be done this week and that he would give him feedback on Tuesday (January 24) “which is today but I still haven’t received anything from him”.

“Mr Achmat didn’t live up to his promise that the money will be paid to me within two weeks so I don’t have any faith that it will be paid this week either.

“I really don’t know what else I can do as I desperately need the money.”

In my view, Mr Achmat has been singularly unhelpful and he could have briefed his support team to act on his behalf.

So back I went to Mr Shaw who got things moving and on January 26, almost eight months after Alastair started the deregistration process, he got an email confirming that R14 344.80 had been deposited into his bank account. But there was no explanation why it took so long or an apology from Mr Achmat.

“I have received a refund of
R17 581.

“I am so pleased with what you have done for me and I thank you for all your time and effort. I really appreciate it because if it wasn’t for you I would probably still have been waiting for my money,” Alastair said.

However, Mr Shaw said the refund appeal was finalised on December 16. “Mr Bullock sent us the documentation after December 28. As indicated previously, all refunds have a 90-day waiting period once finalised.

“However, Mr Bullock’s refund was expedited and paid within four weeks of receipt of final documentation,” he said.