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Old 11.01.2018, 18:32
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Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

We moved from Gemeinde A to Gemeinde B last July. Our kids were registered in the musikschule of Gemeinde A. They have a piano and a violin teacher. The Piano teacher decided to retire in the middle of the semester, and we were told there would be a new teacher taking over his position. However the new teacher never showed up.

We told their violin teacher that we would be moving out of the Gemeinde after this semester. She asked if we could stay at Gemeinde A and continue her lesson. My wife didn't know the music lessons are partially sponsored by the local Gemeinde and said yes. Then I told her the cost will increase significantly in that case, and that makes little sense for us because we'll have to take kids to the old Gemeinde regularly. It would make more sense we go to the new musikschule in Gemeinde B.

My wife then talked to violin teacher about that, and she also understood our situation and agreed to discontinue the violin lessons in the new semester. However, in the end of autumn semester, we received a 3,000Fr bill from musikschule of Gemeinde A. They claimed we quitted the lessons too late, so even we didn't attend any of the music lessons, we still have to pay the full tuition of non-resident price.

I wonder if I should just pay that bill or find a lawyer to resolute the dispute?
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Old 11.01.2018, 18:56
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

Before you contact a lawyer, take a look at your contract with the Musikschule. What does it say about cancellations?
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Old 11.01.2018, 20:04
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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We moved from Gemeinde A to Gemeinde B last July. Our kids were registered in the musikschule of Gemeinde A. They have a piano and a violin teacher. The Piano teacher decided to retire in the middle of the semester, and we were told there would be a new teacher taking over his position. However the new teacher never showed up.

We told their violin teacher that we would be moving out of the Gemeinde after this semester. She asked if we could stay at Gemeinde A and continue her lesson. My wife didn't know the music lessons are partially sponsored by the local Gemeinde and said yes. Then I told her the cost will increase significantly in that case, and that makes little sense for us because we'll have to take kids to the old Gemeinde regularly. It would make more sense we go to the new musikschule in Gemeinde B.

My wife then talked to violin teacher about that, and she also understood our situation and agreed to discontinue the violin lessons in the new semester. However, in the end of autumn semester, we received a 3,000Fr bill from musikschule of Gemeinde A. They claimed we quitted the lessons too late, so even we didn't attend any of the music lessons, we still have to pay the full tuition of non-resident price.

I wonder if I should just pay that bill or find a lawyer to resolute the dispute?
I will call this as being Switzerlanded - what was the notice period specifically? Verbal contract is still contract...?
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Old 11.01.2018, 22:57
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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I will call this as being Switzerlanded
Have never heard of something like this. The total owing is also weird (astronomical).
There must be something that we don't know about in the info. provided.
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Old 11.01.2018, 23:09
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

As others have said the bottom line is: did you follow the termination instructions in the contract or not? If not then there is not much a lawyer can do to help you and of course you will end up spending even more money...
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Old 11.01.2018, 23:25
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

Yes, this. Perhaps the lare sum included hire of an instrument?

Subsidies for music schools are all under threat in CH (as in UK btw) - and some schools/Conservatoires have to severely reduce staff and services- or even close.
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Old 12.01.2018, 00:24
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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Yes, this. Perhaps the lare sum included hire of an instrument?

Subsidies for music schools are all under threat in CH (as in UK btw) - and some schools/Conservatoires have to severely reduce staff and services- or even close.
Clearly teachers cost too much both in CH & the UK.
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Old 12.01.2018, 00:52
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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Have never heard of something like this. The total owing is also weird (astronomical).
There must be something that we don't know about in the info. provided.
It is a regular non-subsidized sum here for two kids with one instrument class (30min) per week each and one solfege class (45min) a week each, at a very good school. I think 2nd kid should have a discount but maybe not their area. Looks like a simple case of uncancelled contract. It would be the same without the solfege but maybe some admin cost for unpaid bill, etc.
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Old 12.01.2018, 08:20
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

I'm sure you do not need a lawyer for this situation.

Spake with the Musikschule A (you must speak with the Musikschulleiter) and explain the situation one time more. If you have time, go there and ask an appointment. I am sure, they will cancel your Creazy-bill for 3000CHF.

Musikschulen are oft very flexible with registration and deregistration.
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Old 12.01.2018, 08:53
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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Clearly teachers cost too much both in CH & the UK.
3000 CHF over 15 weeks, at least two kids, is 100CHF per lesson per child. Doesn't seem unreasonable, especially as the teacher is likely to be paid per lesson, rather than salaried.
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Old 12.01.2018, 09:07
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

Two things to consider which may help.

- if the piano teacher didn't show up, then the music school was in breach of contract before you

- if the price goes up significantly that would usually also trigger a break; did they clearly notify you of the change?

Your best bet may be to offer to pay the bill at the original rate, pointing out any mitigating points such as above.

And CC the head of the music school / head of the gemeinde finance department - you don't want to deal with a secretary with no power to make decisions anyway.
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Old 12.01.2018, 09:08
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

What is the bill for, what are the items and amounts?

There's no base to bill for piano lessons after the teacher retired. If anything the music school was in breach of contract afterwards. You should be able to use this as ammunition in your dispute. If the teacherless state lasted for an extended period of time (say more than a month) it's reasonable to argue that you have the same right and can cancel anytime, basically at will.

First thing is to talk to them, argue, and request written confirmation listing what was agreed upon.
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Old 12.01.2018, 11:37
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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Before you contact a lawyer, take a look at your contract with the Musikschule. What does it say about cancellations?
As far as I know there's no contract. We filled out a registration form years ago and there's only name, address, age of the kids and their preference for the lessons. Afterwards we don't need to fill out that form again for new semesters. I believe it's done by verbal communication between teachers and students.
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Old 12.01.2018, 11:39
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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As others have said the bottom line is: did you follow the termination instructions in the contract or not? If not then there is not much a lawyer can do to help you and of course you will end up spending even more money...
I don't think there's any contract. On the other hand, what will happen if I refuse to pay that tuition?
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Old 12.01.2018, 11:44
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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what will happen if I refuse to pay that tuition?
Betreibung.

Tom
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Old 12.01.2018, 11:49
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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What is the bill for, what are the items and amounts?

There's no base to bill for piano lessons after the teacher retired. If anything the music school was in breach of contract afterwards. You should be able to use this as ammunition in your dispute. If the teacherless state lasted for an extended period of time (say more than a month) it's reasonable to argue that you have the same right and can cancel anytime, basically at will.

First thing is to talk to them, argue, and request written confirmation listing what was agreed upon.
I tried talking to them but they only speak German and my German is really bad. The communication didn't go well so we use email instead. Is it wise to hire a lawyer for this?
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Old 12.01.2018, 11:50
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

Just go to the Musikschulleiter or/and secretary and ask or call them up. You can't really cancel with the music teacher without consent from Musikschulleitung.

When I went to have piano lessons four years ago at Musikschule Konservatorium Zürich, I had to consent to a certain amount of lessons and paid them beforehand. They asked me if I 'd like to renew and when I didn't, that was it. No hassle.
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Old 12.01.2018, 11:52
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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I tried talking to them but they only speak German and my German is really bad. The communication didn't go well so we use email instead. Is it wise to hire a lawyer for this?
Might be cheaper and a lot less hassle to get hold of someone who speaks the lingo and can argue your corner for you.

If you don't have a neighbour / fellow school parent that can help you, put up an ad on here on the promise of a couple of bottles of wine (or whatever you deem appropriate) and see if someone helps.
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Old 12.01.2018, 12:47
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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I don't think there's any contract. On the other hand, what will happen if I refuse to pay that tuition?
As you did business with them there is a contract. Welcome to the real world.

A contract does not have to be a piece of paper. It can also be verbal or even silent by conclusive actions.

But as you filled in an application form there is a written contract. The application form most likely referred to the general terms and conditions which should be applicable.

Here the application form from the Musikschule Freienbach which states at the very end that with signing the form you declare that you know and are bound to the general terms and conditions: http://www.freienbach.ch/documents/A...Grundstufe.pdf
And here the GTC: http://www.freienbach.ch/documents/AGB_MSF_2018.pdf

Same for the Musikschule in the other Pfäffikon in canton Zh:
https://www.mzol.ch/index.php?anmeldung-schuelerinnen-1

Both state that the schooling will continue if there is no cancelation in good time. This is very, very standard in Swiss contracts. Welcome to Switzerland.
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Old 12.01.2018, 13:44
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Re: Need lawyer to dispute a bill from Musikschule

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As far as I know there's no contract. We filled out a registration form years ago and there's only name, address, age of the kids and their preference for the lessons. Afterwards we don't need to fill out that form again for new semesters. I believe it's done by verbal communication between teachers and students.
Filling out that Registration Form is you signing the "contract". It binds you to the school's cancellation policy which is YOUR responsibility to know. As already suggested, speak to the Schulleitung directly. If you are in breach of the cancelllation policy, then don't come in guns blazing to the meeting as you are in a weak position. Maybe use the "piano teacher issue" as bargaining point to cut your losses in half.
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