DRIVING SCHOOL SCAMS

None of the information on this page refers specifically to any school these are just general points to look out for, whoever you choose to learn with.

The price is always the first question asked! 

  • Prices The average price for a one hour driving lesson around the UK at the moment seems to be between £20 and £27

  • If a lesson price is substantially cheaper than average you should be very wary - why are they so cheap?

  • Some driving schools charge extra for evening/weekend lessons.

  • The school should give you prior notices of any price increases.

  • If you are taking longer lessons (e.g. 90 minutes or 2 hours) you should pay less than the hourly rate.

  • Don’t pay double the 1 hour price for a 2 hour lesson!

  • 2 hours lesson are better value for money and within the average concentrate and actively levels for new drives.

  • 3 or 4 hour lessons are good only if you can concentrate and actively learn for the full hours of the lesson.

  • Some schools include break times within your lesson time. {Your instructor should ask you if you wish to have a break} 

  • 1 hour lessons are often too short. You will need time to get to the training area for the subject you are covering although a good instructor

  •  will make sure that it is constructive, your actual “new learning” may well be only 30 minutes (half) of your lesson.


My prices are fixed for as long as you’re with me.

 

Paying in advance can save you money however... 

 

           Some driving schools have cancellation charges hidden in their term and conditions policy's.

  • Some driving school do not give refunds (they keep the deposit you paid) and may charged you a  fee if you wish to stop having lessons with them. 

  • Some driving schools require a minimum of 48 hours prior notices if you wish to cancel or reschedule a lesson.

  • If the required notice is not given they will charged you the full price of lesson as if taken and may also charge you a cancellation fee. 

 

To date I have not charged for lessons not taken, most learners look forwards to their lessons and will reschedule rather than cancel a lesson.

 

Many learners choose to learn with the well advertise driving schools, believing they will have the best instructors! 

  •  All driving instructors are self employed.   

  • Driving instructors rent their car and the logo from the school thus helping the driving school cover  advertising costs.  

  • Good advertising attracts learners and instructors who do not have to rely on recommendations and reputation.

  • If their instructors are so good why are they paying the driving school to get them pupils? 

 

Customary complaints: 

 

I have heard some horrendous stories, the most common complaints are... 

  • Instructors dragging out lessons

  • Short lessons! 

  • Not processing!   

  • Delaying Theory Test!

  • Picking up next pupil!

Common reply to complaints from big driving schools...

All our instructors are self employed and we cannot be held responsible for their actions, you need to complain directly to your instructor.

 

Remember, you are the customer and paying to learn to drive. 

  • Your driving instructors should make the most of your lesson time.

  • Teach you to drive on a variety of roads in different conditions with confidence. 

  • You should have their full-attention throughout the lesson.

  • They shouldn’t shout or make you feel uncomfortable in any way.

  • If you are unhappy with your driving lesson or driving instructor, try and discuss it diplomatically to resolve any issues. 

  • If nothing changes, it may be the right time to find a new driving instructor.  

 

Approved Licensed Instructors 

  • Potential Driving Instructors (PDI) with a 6 months trainee driving instructors license, approved by the DVS

  • A trainee license helps PDI’s gain experience instructing pupils so they can prepare for their part 3 test.

  • Sometimes a trainee Instructor can be more experienced and better than a new fully qualified instructor!

  • Some instructors only practice with other instructors and examiners before passing exams thus no experience with real leaner’s

  • PDI’s must passed all 3 qualifying tests the majority fail the part 3 test.   

  • If you are training with a trainee driving instructor that fails their part 3 test you will be given a new instructor.

  • A lot of the big driving schools with PDI’s call then "Approved Licensed instructors"

  • Trainee instructors (PDI) will have a pink badge in the window.  

 

When I was a trainee, to make up for my lack of experience I offered everyone a discount, the driving school I was with weren’t happy but I thought it was fair especially as the lessons were expensive.  

 

Advance Driving Instructor (ADI) 

  •  Fully qualified Advance  Driving Instructor, license approved by the DVSA

  • Advance Driving Instructors will have a green badge in the window.

  • ADI’s must take a test of ‘continued ability and fitness to give instruction’ - commonly known as a standards check.

  • ADI’s can be removed from the ADI register if they don’t attend the standards check when requested to do so.

  • ADI’s are  graded on standards check  A – High standard of instruction B – Satisfactory  C – fail

  • DVSA and the driving instruction industry have an agreed voluntary code of practice which most ADI’s sign up to.

 

Pass Rates

  •  "Pass rates" means number of pupils that pass with the driving school or instructor – Pupils may have taken numerous tests before passing test.

  •  "First time pass rate" means number of pupils that passed first time -  Pupils may have had over 60 hours of lesson before passing test. 

 

Car: 

  • Dual controls are essential for driving instructors because without them no insurance company will insure them.

  • It is against the law and seriously dangerous for you if your instructor does not have dual controls

  •  If the instructor regularly needs to touch the controls or steering wheel to avoid accidents - the instructor is at fault not the leaner.

  • A good driving instructor will not want to use the controls at all, and won’t need to

  • As far the car is concerned go with what you like - be aware that an instructor with a "cool" car may charge more to cover costs of the car. 

  • The best feature of the car should be the driving instructor,

 

Introductory offers

 

First Lesson Free

  • A great way for the instructor to encourage you to book with them.  

  • Your free lesson will include...

  • Licence and eyesight checks a long explanations of the schools track record etc. and paper work (term-conditions) to sign.

  • Remember no one is going to give you anything for free without it benefiting them.  

 

Many schools offer 4 lessons for £40, 10 lessons for £99 etc. often this means...

  • Your pay £40 for your first 2 hour driving lesson and they will give you free lessons after a set number of lessons. 

  • Your pay for expensive driving lessons in between and if you leave them they keep the deposit you paid.

  • Sometimes the offer only applies if you per-paid block booking for 10 or more lessons.

  • Some driving schools will refuse to give you a refund or change of instructor.

  • Sometimes the offers only apply to complete beginners.

  • Some schools want you to call them about their discounts/offers because they have sales persons waiting to take your money.

Free theory training

  • Some are designed to take weeks to finish and delay you taking your theory thus delays driving test and more lessons. 

  • All driving instructors will help you, if you ask us questions about road signs we are not going to charge you extra!

  • Most driving schools offer links to free practice tests. Usually listed under useful links.  


 

Drive on your first lesson, the problem with this claim is every student is an individual! 

  • Some pupils need a lot of encouragement before they have the confidence to drive a short distance.

  • Some need no encouragement and will have the confidence to drive for most of the lesson.

  • Your instructor should explain the cock pit drill and controls of the car before letting you drive the car.

  • Some instructors trying to impress have put their students in to situations that they aren’t ready to handle.

  • Your lessons should be stress-free and enjoyable and at a pace that suits your ability.


 

Free 2nd tests,  not always as free as it seems...

  • If you fail your first driving  test with some driving schools you have to pay for another 10 hours before booking your next driving test.

  • If you needed 10 more hours of driving lessons why were you taking your driving test? 

  • Another trick is that you need to take a minimum number of hours, usually 50 or more, before your 1st test to qualify .

  • That means to get your "free" test worth £62. you will have paid for more  driving lessons then you needed. 


 

Hidden charges

 

Some schools have lots of charges hidden away in their term and conditions such as...

  • Test day fee of up  to £100 due on the day of your test  - Standard fee on test day is price of 2 hour lesson which includes 1 hour lesson and use of car.

  • Damages to car fee? - A good driving instructor will not charge pupils for damages which are cover by their instructor’s insurance company.

  • Fee's for leaving the school and or no refunds on lessons not taken (Some schools will have paid their instructor the money paid) 

  • Fee's for rescheduling lessons up to £10 – most driving instructor’s will need at least  24 hours notices.

  • Driving  lesson price can increase, the school should give you prior notices of any price increases.

  • Charge Extra for evening/weekend lessons. 

  • Fee for booking theory and/or practical driving test – which you can book online via the official DVSA website GOV.UK

  • A theory test costs £31 and the car practical driving test normally costs £62 Unofficial websites may charge more. 

  •  

I do not have any hidden charges, what you see is what you get and my prices are fixed for as long as you’re with me.

 

Testimonials 

 

Personally I don’t believe in testimonials for the following reasons...

  • They are so easy to fake that they should not be taken as any guide to how good the instructor is

  • Lots of driving schools have pages of phony testimonials and photos

  • Anyone can stand by the school car holding a pass certificate- including family and friends.

  • Some even use photos from other driving schools -  some schools not all, use photo shop 

  • Many of the testimonials are written by the driving instructors themselves.

  • The big schools have lots of instructors therefore more photos of people holding pass certificate advertising the school.

 

The majority of my pupils come to me because of recommendations from people they know and trust sometimes via Face book  or Twitter. 

I welcome your feedback on testimonials and would add photos if anyone passing with me requested I do so. 

 

How  to choose a good driving instructor

  • Ask your friends and family to recommend a driving instructor or driving school. 

  • Compare at least two or three driving instructors/driving schools before you make a final decision.

  • Make sure you talk to the driving instructor directly and not just their salesperson. 

 

Remember, the driving instructor may be working, leave them your name and number and they will call back.  

 

Check list:

  •  Do they teach in your local area? For example, near your home, work or college

  •  Is the driving instructor available at times to suit you?  For example, after work and weekends.

  •  If you are particularly short or tall, than you may want to ask if the car is suitable for your needs.7

  •  Have you a preference for a male or female instructor?

  • If you’re eager to pass your test, make sure your driving instructor understands your expectations and you both agree a realistic plan.

  • How much dose the driving instructor charge (remember cheapest isn’t always the best)

  • How much dose the driving instructor charge for evening and weekends lessons?

  • Does the driving instructor offer a discount for block bookings?

  • If block bookings - what is the driving instructor/school policy on refunds? 

  • What is the driving instructor/school policy if you cancel/reschedule a driving lesson?

  •  What is the driving instructor/school policy on booking theory/ practical test (some schools charge a booking fee)

  • What is the driving instructor/school fee for use of car on test day? (some schools charge up to £100 for used of car for test)

  • Are any additional study aids included in the price? (some schools charge you for study aids and mock lesson)

  • Dose the driving instructor pick-up other students during a lesson?  (This could impact on your lesson time and divert the instructors attention)

     

Finding the right driving school can make all the difference;

I am happy to help with any aspect of driving tuition and would happily explain the syllabus or any concerns you may have for  further advice or friendly informal chat leave me a message or give me a call after 9pm Fortunately for me, I am often busy giving lessons to take day time calls.