Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
flowermama

Cancellation policy - unreasonable?

Recommended Posts

flowermama

I had an appointment booked for a Wednesday. The Sunday prior, I was asked to cover someone at work on the Wednesday. I accepted and emailed my appointment provider on Sunday night to reschedule the appointment. At around 7am on Monday morning, I received the confirmation text for Wednesday's appointment (booked for mid-morning on the Wednesday). I replied 'no'. I later received an email saying that as I'd cancelled after they'd sent the confirmation text, I'd have to pay full fees for the appointment. I have a few issues with this: First, I had sent an email asking to reschedule the appointment prior to the text being sent. While this was on a Sunday and outside their business hours, the confirmation text they sent me was also outside their business hours. For a Wednesday appointment, if they're sending the confirmation text at 7am on a Monday then they're basically saying you have to cancel by 5pm on the Friday prior to avoid the cancellation fee . Second; I gave more than 48 business hours' notice which I think should be sufficient. Third, while it is in their terms and conditions that you'll incur fees if you cancel after the confirmation text is sent, they don't say that the text will be sent so far in advance of the appointment. I'm in two minds whether to suck it up and pay but not use them again, or argue the point that I did actually send an email with plenty of notice and prior to the confirmation text being sent. I know they received the email as the receptionist mentioned it in a voicemail that she left. The fee is $165 so a decent amount to be out of pocket! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
klr75
Posted (edited)

Call them back explain you thought you sent an email to change appointment and that would avoid the cancellation fee,  if they still  insist on you paying the fee, tell them you will pay and won't be making another appointment with them and you are disappointed in their cancellation policy.

Edited by klr75
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chicken Pie

Nah call them and explain, and frankly i would not pay

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
literally nobody

Nope id definitely not pay, you gave more than enough notice and Id point out to check their emails whilst they are at it. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mooples

I’d call and discuss it too. I think there needs to be some discretion with cancellation policies at the moment (I’m in Melbourne). You could be perfectly healthy on Monday but sick on Wednesday morning and at the moment no one would want someone with even the slightest sniffle at an appointment but I don’t think it’s fair to charge when people are trying to do the right thing by everyone. 

  • Like 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EsmeLennox

Not a chance in hell I’d pay that cancellation fee.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kreme

I would absolutely call. You have abided by their terms by sending the email. And I would not pay. I would also advise them that sending texts at 7am when they have this policy is very poor, they should give their clients the opportunity  to cancel during business hours. 
 

My son had an appointment with a strict 48 hr cancellation policy but he came down with a sore throat the day before so the fee was waived.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luci

You sent an email well before the confirmation text was sent, and you replied no to the confirmation text.  All of this occurred at least 2.5 days prior to the appointment time. I don't think you should have to pay. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
born.a.girl

I think they're unreasonable.  Just about anywhere I've dealt with, it's been 'we may charge you if it's within 24 hours of the appointment' and I can't remember receiving any texts that far out from an appointment, usually it's 24 hours before, but my memory may be wrong.

Given you sent the email, I'd just calmly tell them that you did actually let them know, and see what they say.

As per pps, any place I've been dealing with (physio, dentist etc) stress that if you feel at all unwell, please don't come, and obviously you're not automatically going to know that 48 hours beforehand. My phsyio quite rightly cancelled on us with a few hours notice as he woke with a sore throat.

Most people are just wanting people to do the right thing at the moment, rather than stand on principle.

Are there alternative providers for the service?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lou-bags

What is the point of the confirmation text if you can’t reply no to it? Weird.

I would not pay. Even if you’d cancelled on the Monday morning with/after the text. The 48 hours is an unreasonable no refund cancellation period to me. 

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flowermama

I've emailed pointing out I provided more than sufficient notice and that I don't feel the cancellation fee is applicable so I'll see what they say! Every other service I've used has a reasonable policy. I was trying to do the right thing by giving as much notice as possible, I think it's taking it a bit far saying you can't cancel after they send the text when they send their text out of business hours days before the actual appointment. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
literally nobody
59 minutes ago, klr75 said:

Call them back explain you thought you sent an email to change appointment and that would avoid the cancellation fee,  if they still  insist on you paying the fee, tell them you will pay and won't be making another appointment with them and you are disappointed in their cancellation policy.

But she shouldn’t have to pay for a service cancelled well in advance and for a service she did not get/use. Op shouldn’t have to get herself out of pocket, it’s $165. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MadMarchMasterchef

Can you try to negotiate another appointment rather than paying the cancellation fee?  

Legally I think you are in the right and they are in the wrong.  You gave 3 days notice. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flowermama
21 minutes ago, MadMarchMasterchef said:

Can you try to negotiate another appointment rather than paying the cancellation fee?  

Legally I think you are in the right and they are in the wrong.  You gave 3 days notice. 

When I emailed I asked to reschedule, not cancel, and gave them my availability. They still want me to pay the full cancellation fee as well as book a new appointment time. 

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TigerQueenofSheeba

Have you called them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Milly Molly Mandy

Thats crazy, especially how things are at the moment. If you had rung up the morning of the appointment and said you were sick they would have said you couldn't go.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
amdirel
1 hour ago, Lou-bags said:

What is the point of the confirmation text if you can’t reply no to it? Weird.

Totally agree! I thought that this was the whole idea of the text. It's not like you replied 'yes' and then cancelled. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luci
1 hour ago, Lou-bags said:

What is the point of the confirmation text if you can’t reply no to it? Weird.

I would not pay. Even if you’d cancelled on the Monday morning with/after the text. The 48 hours is an unreasonable no refund cancellation period to me. 

I was thinking the same thing! Why do they even bother to send it? Sounds like they don't care if you can make it or not, either way they expect you to pay. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CrankyM

I wonder if they are an NDIS provider. The 48 hour thing would make sense then. We have to give at a minimum 48 hours notice of cancellation of an appointment or still pay the full appointment fee. However, you emailed them Sunday and whoever coordinates the appointments should have seen that first thing Monday and cancelled the appointment making sure the fee was waived.

Though sometimes the automated systems can cause these issues. The SMS is often triggered by whatever parameters are input into the appointment system. It's not manually trigger, it's an automatic feature of most appointment bookings and yes, does often come outside of business hours. That doesn't actually mean anything. I would actually ring them, as depending on the email load they might not get to your email with any urgency.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
overlytired
2 hours ago, flowermama said:

I had an appointment booked for a Wednesday. The Sunday prior, I was asked to cover someone at work on the Wednesday. I accepted and emailed my appointment provider on Sunday night to reschedule the appointment. At around 7am on Monday morning, I received the confirmation text for Wednesday's appointment (booked for mid-morning on the Wednesday). I replied 'no'. I later received an email saying that as I'd cancelled after they'd sent the confirmation text, I'd have to pay full fees for the appointment. I have a few issues with this: First, I had sent an email asking to reschedule the appointment prior to the text being sent. While this was on a Sunday and outside their business hours, the confirmation text they sent me was also outside their business hours. For a Wednesday appointment, if they're sending the confirmation text at 7am on a Monday then they're basically saying you have to cancel by 5pm on the Friday prior to avoid the cancellation fee . Second; I gave more than 48 business hours' notice which I think should be sufficient. Third, while it is in their terms and conditions that you'll incur fees if you cancel after the confirmation text is sent, they don't say that the text will be sent so far in advance of the appointment. I'm in two minds whether to suck it up and pay but not use them again, or argue the point that I did actually send an email with plenty of notice and prior to the confirmation text being sent. I know they received the email as the receptionist mentioned it in a voicemail that she left. The fee is $165 so a decent amount to be out of pocket! 

What is the wording of the cancellation policy? Was the voicemail left before the confirmation e-mail sent? If yes, then they're out of line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flowermama
2 minutes ago, overlytired said:

What is the wording of the cancellation policy? Was the voicemail left before the confirmation e-mail sent? If yes, then they're out of line.

Basically it says that they reserve the right to bill a cancellation fee of 100% for appointments cancelled or rescheduled if the appointment can't be filled by another customer and if notice has been received after the text reminder was sent. I sent the email asking to reschedule Sunday night, got the text reminder at 7:30am Monday morning and they left me a voicemail later Monday morning. It's a private business, not an NDIS provider. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lou-bags

Do you have another service provider you can use? It's not a day spa/beauty therapy business by any chance is it? 

I'd phone and tell them no, I won't be paying the cancellation fee as it's unreasonable, but that also you have actually complied with their policy. Give them a chance to be reasonable, and if they are not I'd not use them again. 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Caitlin Happymeal

You gave three days notice. In writing, no less. So it's provable. They then expected you to not only reschedule, but also pay the cancelation? Nope. That's rich. They are in the wrong in my opinion. It's tough for small businesses at the moment, no doubt, but it's more that reasonable to say "hey, can we reschedule instead?" as they are still getting the business. But doing a cancelation fee too? That's double dipping in my book. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral

Don't pay the fee, you have complied with the policy. 

 

I don't think 48 hours notice is unreasonable if it's an industry in which the appointment would be difficult to fill at that notice. But if it IS unreasonable, that's something to negotiate at the time of signing off on the cancellation policy. 

But that's beside the point, because you complied with the policy. It's not about when they action it, it's about when you send it - if you've sent it more than 48 hours and before their text, they don't have a leg to stand on.

If they want to make it about working hours then they need to change the policy to something like "two full working days before the appointment". 

I would absolutely not pay, and would maybe write a formal complaint if they try to push it, addressing that they are not complying with their own cancellation policy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral
1 minute ago, Caitlin Happymeal said:

It's tough for small businesses at the moment, no doubt, but it's more that reasonable to say "hey, can we reschedule instead?" as they are still getting the business. But doing a cancelation fee too? That's double dipping in my book. 

The double dipping issue depends a bit on whether they are normally fully booked. I work with people who are fully booked weeks ahead, so a missed appointment is a definite net monetary loss as the rescheduled appointment would be taking a spot that would otherwise be reliably booked by someone else (or would require the practitioner to work extra hours). It's not about whether they would be getting the same money from YOU, but whether they would be losing money overall. 

In my case, I'm not fully booked, so a reschedule is win-win - no real net impact on me or them, so that's what we usually do. In that context I guess one could call it double dipping. But not in all cases. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...