I conducted a group fitness class for a set amount of time. The participants paid in advance for 4 classes at a time. We cancelled a class due to inclement weather and one participant didn’t attend another class. This participant wants a refund for 2 classes. Should I eat the classes and refund her?, refund the class that was rained out? or not refund at all and just offer 2 make up classes?
What are your thoughts?
Hi Aaron: I have a class that I teach in sessions that run one right after the other. I do not typically refund or offer a make-up class for a student who misses one on their own. I offer a lower price for buying the whole session, and it is too hard to keep track of people who miss classes. On the other hand, if I have to miss teaching the class (and I guess inclement weather would be a similar situation), I would schedule a make-up class, but not offer a refund option. That has worked for me.
I assume it was an outdoor class, and inclement weather is always a possibility. Whenever I run 6-week courses, I always designate an extra day as a make-up day at the beginning. And I make it clear that after that, there is no refund.
Well, you did not do that, and so that’s a mute point right now. Ultimately, you want satisfied participants who will sign up with you again and happily refer you to others.
Personally, I would offer make up classes for the entire group and chalk it up as a learning experience. If that is not acceptable to the participants, I would refund.
When you run classes again, make the policy very clear at the beginning so that you won’t run into that dilemma again.
Hi Aaron. The answer to your question depends in great part on the clients’ EXPECTATIONS. What I mean by this is we as the trainer/organizer/instructor should have each of these ‘possibilities’ addressed and explained in whatever registration or sign-up forms we use. I always try to cover the most likely scenarios in my forms so that anyone registering knows what to expect upfront before anything happens. This will allow you to take the appropriate action when/if something like this happens, and it takes the ‘guess work’ out of it for the clients.
Assuming that your forms did not go into these issues, I would say it’s probably best to either reschedule or to offer a refund. I don’t think that you should keep the money unless you clearly spelled out a ‘no refund policy’ and what would happen in the case of inclement weather as part of their registration process.
I hope that this helps.
Aaron, this is a valuable opportunity for you to fix this glitch so it can never happen again. Unless you really want to make up that class to just her (I’m presuming she is the only one complaining about the weather day), give back the money on the weather day for sure (I would stand my ground if she no call/no showed you and class still went on with the other). If you believe refunding the money will keep this person as a client then offer them 2 sessions off of a new package and hope for some positive referrals to friends. This could have been worse but it wasn’t. Now, write a new contract that clearly states YOUR stance on these proceedings in the future and make sure all read and sign it.