The vast majority of driving instructors are honest, hard working individuals who have undergone many hours of training and tests that are required to teach driving for reward.
As with any business however, it’s primary function is to make money – some are more honest than others and a certain few might use methods that may be regarded as scams.
Driving Lesson Bundles
These are quite common and you may have seen them advertised; 5 lessons for £50, 10 lessons for £99 etc. At under £10 per lesson, you surely can’t go wrong right? These offers are essentially to lure you in, often with the small print hidden away somewhere, or in some cases, not there at all.
After all, a driving instructor cannot continue to operate on £10 per hour; vehicle running costs, travel time between lessons and advertising / franchise fees make this impossible. So in other words, the instructor is either broke and probably not very happy in their current position, or there’s a catch somewhere.
These deals aren’t necessarily scams, providing you are absolutely certain what you’re getting into. These are the typical ‘scams’ and with this information, it should help you to avoid them:
- It’s highly likely there’s a deposit to pay. If so, is any of this refundable if you change your mind for any reason?
- Is there a contract to sign? If so, is there a ‘get out’ policy? Be careful that you don’t sign yourself up to a large amount of lessons.
- If for whatever reason you do not get along with your instructor, is it possible to change?
- Don’t assume that the advertising word ‘lessons’ last for 60 minutes, it may be for less.
- For this deal to come into effect, these enticing cheap lesson bundles are usually staggered, for example you’ll get a cheap lesson to start, then have to pay for two full price lessons, then another cheap lesson etc. To take full advantage of the discounts, you’ll often have to take the full course with the company.
- To cover the cost of the cheap lessons, you may find that the cost of the full price lessons are over-priced.
- Another method for ‘making up the difference’ is highly over-priced car hire (the two hours when you take your test). It may be written into the contract that you must take this with the driving school.
- Or, another method is that four of these cheap lessons are used just prior to the driving test and where a specific amount of full price lessons must be taken else the last four cheap lessons will be forfeited.
- Other terms and conditions may apply such as a specific amount of full priced lessons required and there may be a limitation of time between each lesson.
What Should You Do?
As most of us know, you usually don’t get something for nothing, so ask about all the potential costs involved, including use of the car during test, add them up and compare them to other driving schools. Base it on around 30 hours of lessons (including the test) as many learners pass after this amount.
If this all sounds too confusing and complicated, simply look for a reputable driving instructor who charges an hourly flat rate without any contracts or confusing bundles and offers. You’ll probably find that there’s little difference in price and almost all driving schools offer discounts for block lesson bookings. See how to find a good driving school.