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Can I ask for a refund?

Q: Some time ago I booked a private tuition course for which I paid a €250 deposit. I recently paid the remaining balance, which amounted to another €425. I started attending the course but due to personal reasons I am unable to continue it.

I would like to know if I am entitled to a refund of the lessons I will not attend? When I made such a request to the course organiser, she rejected my claim and only offered me a number of free lessons on another course. If I accept this offer, I will need to pay for a number of lessons. The problem is that I do not know if I will be able to attend this second course. What are my rights?

A: When consumers are unable to honour a sales agreement they have committed to, legally, they are not entitled to claim a refund of the money paid. Such refunds may only be claimed if the sales agreement provides for the cancellation of the booking and also stipulates that the client may claim a refund. Hence, since in your case there is no such agreement for a refund you are not legally entitled to make such a claim.

In such cases, consumers may only try and reach a voluntary understanding with the seller. Unfortunately, if no agreement is reached, the Office for Consumer Affairs within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority cannot intervene.

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