question:

I signed up to a morning course in graphic art for women. The course cost NIS 450 for 10 lessons. The first lesson took place in the evening (I later found out that the instructor works during the morning, and it seems she had no intention to teach a morning course) with me and two other teenagers attending. The instructor told us that another woman would be joining us next lesson.

That first evening I stayed for half a session. The next day, I called the instructor telling her that I would discontinue attending the course because of the time change. In addition, I am bothered by the fact that there are teenagers in the group. The course takes place in a disorganized closed balcony with no air conditioning. I feel that these conditions are inadequate, and from my past experience they are also unacceptable in graphic art courses. The instructor, in turn, told me that because of me she had started the course, requesting that I pay NIS100 (the cost of a private graphic art lesson) for the one session I had attended. I wasn’t told of this in advance, and I signed up to the course based on misinformation that she had given me (regarding time and participants). Am I obligated to pay her the NIS 100?

Answer:

If the course takes place in a time, place and with attendance of people other than what was understood originally or what is accepted, you are not obligated to pay more than NIS 22.50 (cost of a half a lesson) and you are not obligated to find someone to come instead of you.

One is allowed to cancel a deal when there turns out to be a significant difference in the circumstances, in a way which would make it acceptable to cancel. In your situation, it seems to me that the location of the course in a closed porch with no a/c sounds like a legitimate reason for cancelling. As to the difference of a women’s group or a teenage group, I’m not aware of any accepted practice.

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