Schools given £50 bonus for handing out leaflets locking parents into debt

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Schools receive a £50 bonus if they hand out leaflets to parents about supplementary tuition with Exemplar Education, the BBC* reveals.

But parents who sign up for on-line lessons with the firm find they’ve locked themselves in to a finance deal with repayments totalling up to £7k.

Parents claimed the representative who visited them at home told them they could cancel at any time.  This turned out not be true because the parents signed a loan agreement to pay for the entire cost of the materials.  This was made clear on the forms the parents signed.

Unfortunately, parents didn’t realise the significance of what they were signing as these comments on MoneySavingExpert and Mumsnet show.

Exemplar Education claims it’s a ‘dormant company’

Company House records show Exemplar Education filed accounts for a ‘dormant company’ last year.  It says:

The company has not traded during the year or the preceding financial period.  During this time the company received no income and incurred no expenditure…’

Exemplar Education’s trading name is EBS Systems Limited

The tiny print at the bottom of the firm’s website says Exemplar Education is the trading name of EBS Systems Limited which is regulated by the Financial Conducts Authority.  It says it’s a ‘credit broker not a lender’. 

 EBS Systems Limited reported losses for the year ending 31 August 2018 of £6.647.563 and net current liabilities of £6,206,778.

Linked company SSC Holdings (UK) Limited now in administration

The accounts direct readers to the ‘accounts of SSC Holding (UK) Limited’ for ‘a more detailed explanation on the operational performance of the business.’  Companies House shows SSC Holdings (UK) Limited is now in administration.   This mean it’s become insolvent.

The founder of Exemplar Education is Anthony Lee.  He appears on Exemplar Education’s website giving his ‘top tips on how to differentiate your business’. 

He is also director of EBS Systems and SSC Holdings as well as several other companies including 3J Finance Limited and the Student Support Centre, featured in a Telegraph article which warned ‘Firm offers home learning DVDs to parents using letters signed by their child's head teacher.’

Schools risk reputation damage when seemingly endorsing such products

Parents trust their schools. They want to do the best for their children and may think resources such as these are being endorsed by their school.  But signing up could suck them into a long-term financial commitment which they can’t afford.

Schools should take care before seeming to endorse any product to their parents.  The £50 bonus won’t compensate for lost trust.

*BBC Inside Out West downloadable here for 29 days from 3 February.

The Times covered Exemplar’s financial woes last month

 

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