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Parents and Guardians Forum>Daycare Didn't Return Deposit and Now Threatening Us
Canbo 04:47 PM 04-23-2020
Hello,

We are unable to get our deposit back from the daycare we sent our kid to. Our daughter was going to this daycare up until the COVID-19 started to happening. Then, like everyone, we stopped sending our kid to the daycare. Like everyone, we thought the situation was temporary and that our daughter would be back to the daycare at some point. However, on April 5, 2020, we emailed the daycare and told them we don't think it is possible that our child will be back in the daycare and we requested the deposit we paid to be refunded to us. We didn't hear anything for two weeks. We called the office and were told by the front desk associate that we should email the owner. We emailed the owner on Apr 22, 2020, and the same associate emailed us back saying that we cannot get a refund (I think they are using a common communication portal so anyone can respond to an email). In normal circumstances, after a notice given, this daycare uses the deposit to cover weekly fees. However, because we are not able to send our daughter to the daycare, this deposit is not used to cover our fees. And there is no policy explaining in a situation like this what would happen. Despite our efforts trying to reach the owner, we got no response. I was told today, Apr 23, 2020 if the owner wants, he can reply but we cannot force him to reply.

Just now, I received an email from the owner, he thinks I screamed at his staff. And he decided to give my account to the collection agency. I am not even sure what type of debt he is referring to. As far as I know, they own us a deposit and we always pay at the beginning of the week upfront.

I apologize for taking your time with this long message. I would like to hear where I can complain about this business? Who I can reach? Who does regulate daycares and their financial behaviors? Any advice or help will be appreciated.
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Michael 05:00 PM 04-23-2020
There is a lot to unpack in your post. Do you have a contract with this facility? It should cover explaining your deposit and how it would be used. Some businesses are not refunding because they did not make the decision to close but weíre mandated to do so by their states to temporarily close due to the crisis. That may allow them to hold or use your deposit. It is probably something you canít bring to small claims court until the restrictions to the virus are lifted. You are just going to have to wait it out until normalcy returns.
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Snowmom 05:35 PM 04-23-2020
You said "like everyone, we stopped sending our kid to daycare".
So, they were open?

If they were open, it was your choice to keep your child home. Your choice to leave too. You were still bound to the contract. A pandemic does not negate contract terms.

What does the contract terms say about your deposit?
Does it outline any refunds? Is it defined as "non-refundable"?
Are you required to pay for days you choose not to attend?
Are you required to give notice?
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Canbo 05:35 PM 04-23-2020
Thanks for the reply. There is a parent handbook. I am not sure about a contract but there was some registration process and I am pretty sure we signed some documents. This facility is still open by the way and a few weeks ago they emailed all parents that they will only serve parents who work in the essential businesses. So in this sense, it was not our choice not to send our kid to the daycare either. In a phone call just now, he talked to me and he was so angry. He referred to two unpaid weeks that we were on vacation last year (he says he waived these weeks last year but now he wants the money) and two more weeks of unpaid weeks because we didn't give notice. (we didn't see COVID-19 coming like this). He added that he never wants us back as a customer. Well, a stressful evening for something small. But I felt really offended. His email was a shorter version of this. I recorded our phone conversation and I have the emails. I am not sure if I can use them in court.
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Snowmom 05:41 PM 04-23-2020
Originally Posted by Canbo:
Thanks for the reply. There is a parent handbook. I am not sure about a contract but there was some registration process and I am pretty sure we signed some documents. This facility is still open by the way and a few weeks ago they emailed all parents that they will only serve parents who work in the essential businesses. So in this sense, it was not our choice not to send our kid to the daycare either. In a phone call just now, he talked to me and he was so angry. He referred to two unpaid weeks that we were on vacation last year (he says he waived these weeks last year but now he wants the money) and two more weeks of unpaid weeks because we didn't give notice. (we didn't see COVID-19 coming like this). He added that he never wants us back as a customer. Well, a stressful evening for something small. But I felt really offended. His email was a shorter version of this. I recorded our phone conversation and I have the emails. I am not sure if I can use them in court.
Ok, this puts a different spin on your legal options.
Is your state mandating that only essential workers can use daycare?
If not, you could win in a court of law because they broke the contract by refusing the agreed upon service. Unless there is specific verbiage in their contract that covers extended closures.
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Canbo 06:06 PM 04-23-2020
We received this message a on March 24:

"We are open as an essential service.
We are here to serve all our families whose jobs are considered as part of essential services"

In our household, mom is a housewife so her job is not considered as essential (ironic). And dad works from home and his job isn't considered as essential.

Based on the message we received we assumed they won't push us back to send out kid to the daycare. And literally we couldn't reach them for weeks. To figure out when we can get a refund. The owner blamed my husband saying that he knows the deposit is not refundable and we should have given a notice.

Now the owner blows out and talking about a collection agency, unpaid weeks due to not given notice, etc... His last statement doesn't want to answer phones and won't reply emails.
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Michael 06:10 PM 04-23-2020
Originally Posted by Canbo:
We received this message a on March 24:

"We are open as an essential service.
We are here to serve all our families whose jobs are considered as part of essential services"

In our household, mom is a housewife so her job is not considered as essential (ironic). And dad works from home and his job isn't considered as essential.

Based on the message we received we assumed they won't push us back to send out kid to the daycare. And literally we couldn't reach them for weeks. To figure out when we can get a refund. The owner blamed my husband saying that he knows the deposit is not refundable and we should have given a notice.

Now the owner blows out and talking about a collection agency, unpaid weeks due to not given notice, etc... His last statement doesn't want to answer phones and won't reply emails.
I think you will win in small claims. Help and relief during this crisis runs both ways. Keep your note and file.
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Blackcat31 06:14 AM 04-24-2020
Originally Posted by Canbo:
Just now, I received an email from the owner, he thinks I screamed at his staff. And he decided to give my account to the collection agency. I am not even sure what type of debt he is referring to. As far as I know, they own us a deposit and we always pay at the beginning of the week upfront.
Originally Posted by Canbo:
So in this sense, it was not our choice not to send our kid to the daycare either. In a phone call just now, he talked to me and he was so angry. He referred to two unpaid weeks that we were on vacation last year (he says he waived these weeks last year but now he wants the money) and two more weeks of unpaid weeks because we didn't give notice. (we didn't see COVID-19 coming like this). He added that he never wants us back as a customer. Well, a stressful evening for something small. But I felt really offended. His email was a shorter version of this. I recorded our phone conversation and I have the emails. I am not sure if I can use them in court.
I'd like to hear more about this anger on his part.
Why does he think you yelled at the staff?
It sounds like there is a bit more going on than what you've stated as I don't understand why he is so angry with you/your family and why he would react this way.

I would request written copies of the paperwork you signed (if you didn't save copies yourself) so you can read through them and see what they say in regards to waiving vacation fees etc. If the OWNER choose to waive them without discussion in regards to future fees, he can't come back and charge them now. However if you had some other agreement in place it could be different.

Also, where does the the owner get the impression your husband knows about/knew about any of this? Did your husband have a conversation with any of the staff about this?

I don't know what state you are in but please be aware that there are both federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to making recordings of telephone calls or without consent. In some state's it's perfectly legal but I don't know about use of those recordings in small claims court though.
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Cat Herder 08:54 AM 04-24-2020
In some contracts, the unpaid vacation time becomes payable if you terminate the contract before the 12 month period is up.

In most contracts, the deposit is nonrefundable and you are welcome to attend the last two weeks when the center re-opens.

The rest is simply an emotional response to stress and unnecessary.
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284878 03:07 PM 04-26-2020
Originally Posted by Canbo:
Thanks for the reply. There is a parent handbook. I am not sure about a contract but there was some registration process and I am pretty sure we signed some documents. This facility is still open by the way and a few weeks ago they emailed all parents that they will only serve parents who work in the essential businesses. So in this sense, it was not our choice not to send our kid to the daycare either. In a phone call just now, he talked to me and he was so angry. He referred to two unpaid weeks that we were on vacation last year (he says he waived these weeks last year but now he wants the money) and two more weeks of unpaid weeks because we didn't give notice. (we didn't see COVID-19 coming like this). He added that he never wants us back as a customer. Well, a stressful evening for something small. But I felt really offended. His email was a shorter version of this. I recorded our phone conversation and I have the emails. I am not sure if I can use them in court.
In my state daycares can only stay open if they are willing to care for essential workers and I had to tell all my clients that are not essential that they could not come. Two of three of the families had already decided not to send their children.

So again, this was not necessarily their decision to not serve you, it is most likely the state or health department or licensing. .

This is all new to them and you. They may not have something in there handbook (also known policy book or contract) but they may have other policy that combined can cover the current situation.

I have a medical leave policy that allows families to stay home and pay a discounted fee when off work for any medical reason. It does not list a pandemic specifically but when families started staying home before lock down, I referred them to my policy.

My suggestion is for you to read your policy book before you move forward.
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Canbo17 10:11 PM 05-05-2020
Thanks all for your replies. Here are some updates. The owner sent us a bill claiming unpaid fees from last year (at the time the management let us took two weeks of holiday), one week of vacation this year, and two weeks of post notice payment, although we cannot go to school.

What we have is a proof of
- auto credit payments from last year. This suggest that the daycare didn't charge us since they approved the holiday. It wasn't us missed a payment.
- an email conversation where they approved this year's holiday.
- an email conversation where we unenrolled. No fees mentioned.
- an email came from them that they can only serve essential worker families.
- other email conversations where they kept providing conflicting information.
- recorded phone conversation while he was threatening us to remove the post or he will take our account to collection agency.

The bill is due by next week. What do you all recommend? If we should take this to the small claim court, can we take it before we pay or we take it after we pay?

We Appreciate any feedback
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Michael 10:50 PM 05-05-2020
Pay and then file in small claims.
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sahm1225 02:33 PM 05-07-2020
Originally Posted by Canbo17:
Thanks all for your replies. Here are some updates. The owner sent us a bill claiming unpaid fees from last year (at the time the management let us took two weeks of holiday), one week of vacation this year, and two weeks of post notice payment, although we cannot go to school.

What we have is a proof of
- auto credit payments from last year. This suggest that the daycare didn't charge us since they approved the holiday. It wasn't us missed a payment.
- an email conversation where they approved this year's holiday.
- an email conversation where we unenrolled. No fees mentioned.
- an email came from them that they can only serve essential worker families.
- other email conversations where they kept providing conflicting information.
- recorded phone conversation while he was threatening us to remove the post or he will take our account to collection agency.

The bill is due by next week. What do you all recommend? If we should take this to the small claim court, can we take it before we pay or we take it after we pay?

We Appreciate any feedback

Remove what post?
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Snowmom 06:29 PM 05-08-2020
Originally Posted by Canbo17:
Thanks all for your replies. Here are some updates. The owner sent us a bill claiming unpaid fees from last year (at the time the management let us took two weeks of holiday), one week of vacation this year, and two weeks of post notice payment, although we cannot go to school.

What we have is a proof of
- auto credit payments from last year. This suggest that the daycare didn't charge us since they approved the holiday. It wasn't us missed a payment.
- an email conversation where they approved this year's holiday.
- an email conversation where we unenrolled. No fees mentioned.
- an email came from them that they can only serve essential worker families.
- other email conversations where they kept providing conflicting information.
- recorded phone conversation while he was threatening us to remove the post or he will take our account to collection agency.

The bill is due by next week. What do you all recommend? If we should take this to the small claim court, can we take it before we pay or we take it after we pay?

We Appreciate any feedback
I'm not following a lot of what you are saying here, but again, it's going to come down to what your contract says you are bound to.
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Josiegirl 03:48 AM 05-09-2020
Originally Posted by Snowmom:
I'm not following a lot of what you are saying here, but again, it's going to come down to what your contract says you are bound to.
My thoughts also, plus I don't see them as being professional about this....their anger and trying to reclaim pay that you say you didn't have to pay, such as vacations, etc. Is it in the contract that you DO pay for vacations? Do you have any documentation that they didn't require pay during those times?
TBH, it sounds like a mess that somebody official should deal with. Is it worth getting a lawyer? Or is it something that you just need to suck up, pay, and move forward, without letting your emotions guide you?
ETA: I do see where you have an email regarding this year's vacation where you don't have to pay. Any other emails along that line, such as from last year? And I'd probably stay silent about the phone conversation(Until absolutely needed) because I'm not sure if that's legal to record them unknowingly).
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Unregistered 06:06 PM 06-02-2020
We have the same problem. Our kidís preschool closed due to a shelter in place order. She is going to Kinder in August 2020. We do not see to have her go back to the preschool and requested our deposit to be refund. And the school said they would not refund and we can use tje credit for online learning which we do not want because we do not think online learning will work for a 4 year-old kid.

Per the agreement the deposit will be used toward the last month tuition nut now there is no last month for us.

We really do not know what to do too.
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Unregistered 04:31 AM 06-04-2020
No refunds
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Cat Herder 05:17 AM 06-04-2020
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
We have the same problem. Our kid’s preschool closed due to a shelter in place order. She is going to Kinder in August 2020. We do not see to have her go back to the preschool and requested our deposit to be refund. And the school said they would not refund and we can use tje credit for online learning which we do not want because we do not think online learning will work for a 4 year-old kid.

Per the agreement the deposit will be used toward the last month tuition nut now there is no last month for us.

We really do not know what to do too.
This was not something they planned for, either. They offered an educational alternative and are still working to meet your child's educational needs. 4-year-olds across the country are happily participating online and loving it. Legally, they are covered as a preschool. Most are now re-opening, so you will most likely be able to have your child attend again, soon, unless you already terminated your contract. Tuition is not based on attendance.
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284878 05:45 AM 06-05-2020
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
We have the same problem. Our kidís preschool closed due to a shelter in place order. She is going to Kinder in August 2020. We do not see to have her go back to the preschool and requested our deposit to be refund. And the school said they would not refund and we can use tje credit for online learning which we do not want because we do not think online learning will work for a 4 year-old kid.

Per the agreement the deposit will be used toward the last month tuition nut now there is no last month for us.

We really do not know what to do too.
I got my daughter a little used net book at 4 to prepare her for K because I knew that in K she would be using a computer for part of her education. Your child will most likely be using one in K too. So even if you don't take the preschool up on the offer, you yourself should be teaching your child the basics of using the computer before she starts K.
Her netbook came in handy this year for distance learning and will be used next year during distance learning days too.
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Tags:collecting payment, collection agency, communication, deposit - won't refund, management, read your contract
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