In our recent audit of income and expenditure I highlighted to S that, though we were currently paying more than the mortgage per month to the nursery, that amount would go down as E has dropped to attending only 1 1/2 days a week. The problem was that she dropped down in July.
S, when he picked her up one day in July, asked the staff if they could let us know what the new fees would be so we could adjust the standing order. And then he asked again. On the third time of asking he was told that the manager did that sort of thing and she was on holiday for six weeks. So we waited. I didn’t know what to do with the standing order so left it – I didn’t want to stop paying in case that jeopardised our relationship with the nursery. When the summer holiday was over we asked again and received a note on a post it that told us to adjust our payments down to £355 per month. That wasn’t adjusting down by any stretch. Of course I couldn’t remember the exact date that E dropped down a day – we had S’s change of shift but knew there was some overlap between that because of the notice we had to give the nursery.
I decided I wanted a written record of the fees with a breakdown that listed the amount we’d already paid and the rest of the year’s fees. We also get vouchers with my work so I wasn’t sure the note took those into account. The email address we first tried bounced back. The following day we looked again at their website to find that they’d changed the email address. We sent an enquiry. We’re very polite. No reply until we got home to find a letter, also polite, from the nursery.
She gave us the date E stopped doing 2 1/2 days (it didn’t tally with my calculations…) and then said “You have got ahead of yourselves…” like we were some crazy irresponsible types just paying out whatever we wanted. It turns out that because we’ve overpaid for a while, our fees until January 2014 will be £28.25 per month. I don’t know whether to rejoice or cry. They’re quick enough to tell us when they put the fees up by 7% but why we have to go to all this trouble to get a straight answer when we want to pay less, I don’t know. And I feel like an idiot for putting up with it so long but I didn’t really know what else to do. I was concerned about what happened if we stopped paying until we got an answer. But if I took a six week holiday I’m pretty sure someone would be covering for me; why these people can’t work something out I don’t know.
As it happens, I’m pretty sure that we’re about to have a change of circumstances that means that E may have to spend more time in nursery and we have to go through the whole thing all over again…