The truth about so called "Guaranteed Pass" Intensive Driving Courses and "Money Back Guarantees"
To save you time in reading the rest of the blog - we don't offer them and we don't promote instructors or schools that publish this claim.
An indisputable fact: No driving instructor or driving school can guarantee a pupil a driving test pass - even if they say they can!
In recent years more driving schools appear to be using potentially misleading phrases in their marketing such as “guaranteed pass driving course” or “guaranteed driving test pass”. We came across yet another driving school yesterday boldly displaying on their website a "Guaranteed Pass" - when you dig deeper there are, of course, plenty of terms and conditions attached. Drilling down into the detail and following the numerous asterisks** it says "we cannot guarantee a driving test pass" No surprise there then.
So what is being guaranteed if it isn’t my pass?
Most likely you are paying a significant premium in your course price to have an additional test guaranteed or some extra driving lessons should you fail what you were mis-sold as a guaranteed pass course. You might also be guaranteed not to have to pay for your next test should you fail. The problem is, these courses are seriously misleading and are likely to cost you more. How else is the driving school going to pay for your extra lessons or tests if or when you fail?
It's likely that a typical "guaranteed pass" driving course could guarantee you one or some of the following:
- A significantly higher price for the course [quite often it will be a premium course price, a very high amount of lessons required of you - you'll probably have a few hoops to jump through]
- To pay for an extra test or a few more tests
- Offer you extra driving lessons if you fail [often subject to availability or we've even seen unlimited driving lessons]
- An expiry date - so a time limit of say 6 or 12 months on the offer before it reverts back to a "non guaranteed pass driving course"
What a "guaranteed pass" driving course can never offer you is:
- A guaranteed pass.
They are simply playing on your biggest fear...
These forms of marketing are playing on a common and understandable fear a new driver has - what if I fail my driving test?
Any course that appears to remove that fear is going to sound pretty attractive. That reassuring feeling of not being able to fail, of being guaranteed a driving test pass is enough to make many learner drivers part with serious chunks of their money.
We had an instructor recently that had no fails in a 2 year period working full time. All we could say to potential customers was that you have an extremely high chance of passing, but we cannot guarantee you a pass.
Do you really need to purchase an expensive security blanket with holes in it?
STOP and question what you are really getting. Most drivers pass first or second time anyway as the government statistics report.
In short a driving school could guarantee almost anything except for the one thing you really want, which is a guaranteed pass! These schemes seem to come under the rather enticing headings “guaranteed pass course” – so not strictly guaranteeing a driving test pass. No doubt there are some competent instructors out there that market this way and still get some results but it does beg the question - what level of transparency can I expect with this school? Or, if they knowingly attempt to lure potential customers in through misleading advertising, what else can I expect to be misinformed about?
What about guaranteed driving test dates?
Again, some surprises here!In order to book a practical driving test you must first pass your theory test. So, if you were booked on a 5 day intensive driving course or similar, how likely is it that you will find a practical test date, at the test centre of your choice towards the end of the course? With waiting times for practical driving tests being on average between 2 to 3 months – how is that going to happen? How are you going to be guaranteed a test date at the end of the course?
Slightly better news here as it is atleast a possibility. If you are lucky you might be able to pick up a cancellation test close to the time you want. If you only have a few days to find the cancellation, your chances are slim. You could use an app to help your search be more effective but in reality a week is not a long time to find your ideal cancellation time, app or no app.
Let’s get rid of the myth that driving schools have a preferential booking route. Nope, they have the same path as you – same website, same apps so why pay extra for this, particularly if nothing is guaranteed, yet again.
How should I go about booking an intensive driving course?
Our advice would be:
- Plan several months in advance. Ask yourself, over what length of time do I want to learn to drive – 1 week, 2 weeks, or more?
- Try and get your theory test passed early – well before your planned time for your intensive driving course – perhaps a college holiday or planned leave? You can book your theory test here.
- Search early for ideal practical test dates as soon as you have passed your theory – and book the test date yourself [£62.00 Feb 2018]
- Research some intensive driving course providers once you have a practical test date and reserve the time with them. Once again, book early if you can.
In summary, this way you will avoid the disappointment of not getting a suitable cancellation date or the test date you thought you were guaranteed.
Finally, do your research – remember a guaranteed pass intensive driving course does not exist so what exactly is being guaranteed, and is it worth the additional price? Read the terms and conditions!
Remember, driving schools that offer intensive driving courses or lessons and use this form of advertising do not have to be offering a poor quality service or training.
What about “money back” guarantees?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this guarantees all of your money back if you are not happy with the service or training.
Although a very kind and generous instructor could give you all of you money back, the chances are there will be plenty of conditions, such as:
- It only applies to your last driving lesson
- It only applies if you are taking a particular type of course
- It only applies if you claim within a short time period
- It only applies if you claim through a specific route
- It only applies if you are paying the full price for your lessons and not on a discounted course.
Unlike the grossly misleading “guaranteed driving course” claims, a “money back guarantee” can exist and can be honoured by driving schools.
Our warning is, not to assume it applies to the whole of your lessons or any course. Make sure you get answers and ask questions before you purchase.