Learndirect are unfit for service

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354Slattery's review of Learn Direct

★☆☆☆☆

“Learndirect are unfit for service”

Written on: 12/12/2021 by 354Slattery (1 review written)

I started an Access to HE course in 2021. I studied their Course Handbook thoroughly (as it was a task in one of the first assignments). The handbook stated that Tutors would respond to our emails within 72 hours. During my first and second assignment I had to wait for up to 12 days to hear from a Tutor. During that time I had needed to commence three subsequent units (and their assignments) while waiting. The handbook stated that Tutors would never change within the unit. My tutor changed twice and it was very clear they were not communicating with one another (I kept records of the email chain for evidence).

I left within a month - after the 14-day period - because all of these problems emerged after the 14-days. Ever since they have hounded and harrassed me for payment. Their continued claim is "The 14 days have elapsed" but this is ludicrous, as it suggests that if they fail you after then, it's just too bad.

I journalled every stage of my experience and sent this to the then operations mananger who promised to investigate. A few months later, I was still hounded by Learndirect for payment (even though I had left and found the same course with my local college) and asked the operations manager where he was in the process. He told me that he'd not heard of my case. I reminded him by sending him the email he had sent me a few months earlier, promising to investigate. I then wrote a letter to the operations manager in order to formalise the process. Not once did he apologise for his oversight, neither did he accept any responsibility for Learndirect's failure to deliver according to their Service Level Agreement outlined in their own course handbook.

A few months later he had left Learndirect and I was still hounded for payments. Following this period, a very sympathetic member of the Learndirect helpdesk divulged that in Autumn/Winter 2020 (the season in which I started) that the company had gone through a massive administrative and IT overhaul and replaced a lot of tutors and other staff. While I could appreciate that was a hectic time for them, this does not excuse Learndirect from providing the agreed level of service to fee-paying customers who are working towards a clear schedule to complete their course.

I followed correct correspondence procedure (as advised by Consumer Rights), asking Learndirect to accept their fault and breach of contract or to enter an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme. I wrote three letters. They ignored the offer for formal disupute resolution. The only reason I didn't pursue legal action was because I'm now studying part-time, working part-time, my wife is pregnant and the baby is due soon. I simply would not have the head-space to pursue it. So the only way to stop them harrassing me (it's been over a year) was to give them the £1,200 they wished to take.

Thankfully consumer rights are not affected and even after paying them you have 6 years in which to take legal action.

Perhaps by giving Learndirect a one star review, someone reading this might think that I'm just getting my own back and exaggerating. Perhaps a reader may even assure themselves that there are plenty of 5 star reviews. But every single individual that decides to undertake a learning path has often taken some great risks and made significant sacrifices and investments (some affecting income and family schedules) in order to reach their learning goals. Letting one of those people down due to poor delivery and service, failing to apoligise and then harrassing them as a result until they have to pay to make it stop, is much more than just a significant failure and breach of trust.

Before I joined the course, Learndirect were very friendly and assured me that they were capable and supportive. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

In the last letter I received from the current operations manager in December 2021, the failure to deliver the service level agreement was acknolwedged by them in writing, and yet with no apology and absolutely no acknowledgement that this was of any significance.

The true test of a company's care for their customers is how it responds when they fail their customers. From this experience, it would be very difficult for me to say that I believe Learndirect care about students.

All I would say is please think carefully before starting a course with them. They really do sound lovely on the safe side of the 14 day initial trial period. But if anyone reading this is still deliberating before choosing a learning provider, I'd encourage you to pursue your local college. Following the pandemic, many local colleges are now making greater use of online teaching in a much better and much more reliable way than Learndirect. Also, do your research and read what the press has had to say about Learndirect.

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