Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Resistance is not futile

Our childcare decided to come up with a new initiative. Instead of charging our credit card on a fortnightly basis or let parents pay at the childcare facility itself, all parents have been forced to provide direct debit orders from their savings account - and savings account only - where childcare fees are going to be charged on a fortnightly basis. Interestingly, the new scheme was described as a service improvement initiative, now commonly known to be a euphemism for being shafted up the ass.
No, I didn't like this initiative at all, and I wrote childcare a nice letter explaining why:
  1. I am unsure whether they have the legal right to force existing customers into a direct debit regime.
  2. Regardless of legalities, it is clearly unethical to force existing customers to a direct debit policy and to deprive them of a payment method (credit card) that was accepted before. I see it as unethical because parents are captive audience: if we do not like the new policy we cannot go and place our children at alternative childcare centers in short notice.
  3. For unclear reasons childcare does not charge us by the same amount each fortnight. We therefore have a problem anticipating how much money we need to place in our savings account; our credit ratings is at stake if we get it wrong.
  4. As part of the policy change, childcare promised to let us know how much they are going to charge us a day in advance through a note left at the childcare center. As we do not visit childcare on a daily basis, and as we tend to miss many childcare days (due to sickness or going away), there is added risk we will not know how much money we are going to be charged with. Again, our credit rating is at stake.
Following ongoing protests on my side, as well as childcare doing everything wrong and failing to follow their own promises, I was finally allowed to go back to credit card payment. However, I was asked to keep this away from other parents. Since we hardly talk to other parents at the center I thought I'd better post it on the Internet.
To the majority that has nothing to do with our childcare center the message is even simpler: we do not need to accept bad service wrapped up in a nice layer of bullshit as a foregone conclusion. By making simple protests we can improve this world we live in. Don't shut up!

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