A learner driver from Leeds said she was left feeling “gullible and stupid” after signing up with for lessons with a company that failed to deliver.
Holly Ridge handed over £355.95 to Drive Dynamics for a for an intensive driving course with practical test after seeing their cars in the city.
The firm, based in Bradford, promises to partner up learners with instructors within seven days of payment.
But when Miss Ridge found herself waiting for a call and struggling to get through to the customer service team, she discovered dozens of damning online reviews.
Disgruntled customers had branded the company a “cowboy scam” with “absolutely shocking practices”.
Miss Ridge, 26, said: “I was absolutely devastated. You feel so gullible and stupid for not looking into it more.”
After numerous phone calls and emails, she was contacted by an instructor. But having read about other people not getting lessons and wrangling with the company for refunds, she said she wanted her money back while she was still within the 14 day ‘cooling off’ period.
When a promised call from the company failed to materialise, Miss Ridge instead turned to her bank for help in recalling the funds.
A spokesman for Drive Dynamics said: “We are sorry that Holly was not contacted within the stated seven day period, and the difficulty she had in trying to contact is, for which we do apologise.”
He said the company was experiencing very high demand and, on occasions, it outstripped supply but more than 30 “affiliate” instructors had joined the books during a recent recruitment drive.
“Additionally, we are rolling out a new diary management system,” the spokesman said.
“Crucially, it gives us real time information on the take-up of lessons, meaning we are able to act swiftly, particularly if it looks like there are no foreseeable windows in an instructor’s diary. We are also moving to a payment system known in the industry as ‘cash in the car’, where the clients – and not us – pay the instructors when they take lessons. This is the preferred option for instructors.”