Awful experience, aggressive & flakey instructors

★★★★☆
4.3 / 5
83% of users recommend this
  • Value For Money

georgem29's review of RED Driving School

★☆☆☆☆

“Awful experience, aggressive and flakey instructors”

Written on: 19/09/2020 by georgem29 (1 review written)

The only reason I would recommend this driving school is if you were looking for unreliable, unfriendly and occasionally hostile instructors. They say that people only leave feedback if they've had a bad experience, but when my experience was this bad, I can't help but leave feedback as I don't want anyone else to go through this. If you would like to know why they are known as Dread Driving School amongst other driving schools, carry on reading.
I started learning with these guys in November last year. After the initial instructor cancelled, I was assigned another instructor with whom I had managed to have a few lessons. I explained in the consultation call that I wasn't a beginner, and I had 20 hours previously with another school, but I had stopped as I had moved and didn't manage to start back up until that point. After completing about 6 hours of the lesson, the instructor had me book in for the test as he was reasonably confident I would be ready by the beginning of February.
Midway through December, I had noticed that one of my lessons was cancelled and I messaged the instructor to book some lessons, so I didn't have massive gaps in knowledge. I also wanted to start revisiting the manoeuvres as we hadn't done these yet. I had no reply from him for about a week. I then messaged him the following week. I noticed that he had read the messages but was ignoring my texts. After this had gone on for about two weeks, I rang the school asking why he wasn't replying. The adviser explained that they weren't sure as there was no note of why my messages weren't being answered.
At this point, I asked for another instructor as I was due to have a test in under a month. I was assigned, my third instructor. By the time I was able to get a lesson scheduled in with a new instructor it had been an entire month due to his availability. I explained the situation with the previous instructor, and he was baffled that I hadn't started any manoeuvres yet. We started practising them in the new car. He had explained to me that as I was driving in Mini Cooper previously and switched to a Renault Megane (which is a considerably larger car), I was having trouble controlling it. As this was the case, I would be likely not to be able to pass by February as originally planned. Which at the time was a fair point to make, and I was more than happy to push the test date back.
As this was mentioned in my first lesson with the new instructor, I decided to make a formal complaint with RED customer services about the previous instructor for essentially wasting my time and money. After sending email through, I received a call from a representative asking me about the situation, and I explained in a great deal what had happened. The only resolution I wanted was that I was refunded my 8 hours as a credit to put towards my future lessons with RED. The representative said that he would investigate further and be in touch with me within the week.
On the second call, I was told the instructor was following a curriculum and that occasionally they can choose what they had taught be depending on my experience. The representative then let on that the instructor was on holiday and hence why he wasn't replying to my messages. Bearing in mind that I hadn't been told up until this point that he was on holiday I was furious. I asked him why the instructor had me booked in for a test when he was planning on not being around for a month. The representative didn't have an answer and sided with the instructor as he refused to return the money to the school. It was like no one had valued my time or money that I had invested with them. As I got nowhere this representative, I decided to let things be and to get on with my lessons. I didn't have much time to fuss around with this as I work full time and study part-time too.
I had my first test scheduled in March and I ended up failing the test. The instructor was positive as I only had one serious fail and about 3 minors. He had agreed on booking the test in relatively soon after that and even offered like a week of lessons prior to the test. So I asked work to book me off for that specific week and paid for some more lessons. When it actually came to scheduling the week of lessons, he had told me that he can no longer book the whole week as he had made plans with his family since we had spoken. So I agreed to have the lessons scattered over the month as that was the only way he could make it work. I had completed another 4 hours with him and I had scheduled multiple lessons the week before the second test.
In the week before the test I had received some emails saying that lessons for that following week have been cancelled by Red’s head office including my test day. I texted him immediately asking if he was ok and why the lessons had been cancelled that day as I was at work and couldn't ring anyone at that point. I had received no reply and the message was left on seen and read. I rang RED and I was told the instructor had resigned from there and haven't given a reason why. I explained the day they had cancelled was on my test date and I needed another instructor with a similar car. I was then told that their standard car for lessons was a Mini Cooper and they didn't have anyone else with a similar car. I asked them why they allowed this instructor was allowed to use his own car if the standard across the company was a Mini, to which I was met with a comment which didn't address my question. I was also told on that call if the new instructor didn't think I was ready for the test he could refuse to drive me to the test centre.
As you can see this was the breaking point for me and I requested a refund of the remainder that was left in my account and explained I would like to no longer like their services. For any sane person, they would have pulled all their money when the initial instructor didn’t show up or when I was told that over the phone. I'm a very patient person, it takes a lot to annoy me, as you can see I let this ordeal go on for about 8 months before I decided to take my money elsewhere. This is quite possibly the worst customer service I experienced, and it's almost like they don't realise they provide a service and they have a duty of responsibility to their customers. They definitely did not take my needs or complaints seriously.
Update: I found the second instructor, on social media and have found that he is still employed with RED Driving school. 

  • Yes

    Passed test -

  • Cardiff

    Area/state/cities covered

  • Value For Money

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