Hello and welcome to Just Answer, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I am happy to assist with your question today.
Had your son actually started the school?
No we withdrew him from this school before starting
so in effect you accepted the offer on the basis of a published set of fees and were notified of an increase in fees a few weeks before the start date?
Yes, that is correct.
were you told there 'would' be a fee increase at the time you accepted the offer?
No, but the clause stated that the fees are reviewed annually
But no details or dates of annual fees review were stated
One of the clauses in the standard Terms and Conditions stated: Fees are reviewed annually and may increase from time to time. If parents receive less than a term's notice of fees increase, they may give the school written notice of withdrawal of the pupil within 21 days and will not be liable to pay fees in lieu of notice.
Ok I would stick to your guns here and say that you are not contractually liable to pay the fees. You have not been given a clause notice in accordance with the contract and therefore are not (in accordance with the contract) liable to pay the fees in lieu of notice in the event you withdraw your child.
Even if that were not in the contract you have accepted an offer based on the fees that were stated. It is not unreasonable for you to say that your offer was accepted on that basis, not on the basis of a 20% fee increase and are therefore withdrawing your offer.
You can state that the terms notice in those circumstances amounts to a penalty clause and you will defend it vigorously in the event they attempt to pursue the fees.
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