Monday, April 09, 2007

Nova Corps Refund Policy Ruled Illegal

The Japanese Supreme Court dismissed Nova Corps appeal last Tuesday over two earlier lower court decisions regarding its refund policy for early course cancellation.
The Supreme Court ruled that its method of settling by using a higher unit price than when the contract was signed is illegal and violated the Specified Commerical Transaction Law.
The decision stems from proceedings brought by a former student who tried to cancel early and demanded a full refund for lessons he hadnt taken.The Supreme Court upheld the earlier decisions of the Tokyo District Court and High Court and finalized the first two rulings ordering the return of all the money demanded by the plaintiff.
Briefly,when new students sign up with Nova they purchase points that they use to take classes.One point is equal to a forty minute class.If students purchase in bulk, say 600 points, the cost per lesson is reduced to around 1,500 yen while purchasing only 25points works out at 4,000 yen a lesson.
However if the students cancel their contract early points used are calculated at a higher rate than the students initially agreed upon when signing up.The Supreme Courts ruling held that Nova's method of settling at a higher unit cost limits the freedom of students to cancel their contracts.
The Specified Commerical Transaction Law covers early cancellation in six business activities including language schools,beauty salons and matrimonal agencies.
Comments in the papers from various interest groups suggest that Nova may have to revise its tuition discount system as a result of the Supreme Courts decision.

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