I had few driving lessons with a BSM Driving instructor ,I have a full driving lessons but haven't been driving for couple of years.I only had 2 lessons and I went back to driving by myself,that's all thanks to my driving instructor she has been great,the best one and made me feel really confident and relaxed when I was in the car.I would highly recommend her she has been always on time and even went with me for a drive around with my car and didn't even charge me.
I booked a lesson on the BSM website and paid by debit card. The instructor never showed up and didn't even bother to call us to cancel. After phoning the company, they explained me the online offer wasn't available in my area and that they would refund the money paid, but they did not apologize. They never refunded me, despite contacting them several times over the phone and through e-mails. I would never deal with that company again.
They seem to be focussed on verbal explanations rather than 'practical' driving, which is the whole point of joining a driving school in the first place.
I had booked 10 hours and cancelled the booking after 4 useless hours. I have been driving for 7 years (in India and 1 yr in the UK) and all I needed was to get to the DSA standard. But here, I was told that I would need atleast 20-25 hours to do that. In fact, in my 4 hours I hardly drove for 2 hours. Rest of the time I was being tutored on some theory about what to do and what not. Instead of practicing all that, my instructor just kept talking about it.
I asked the instructor to plan out the lessons so that we could cover everything in the 10 hours but the straight reply was 'its not possible. we will cover as much as we can and then you will need to book further lessons because I like to do everything systematically'. The oh so systematic instructor did not focus on the test, she was teaching me some general UK driving, half of which was probably for complete beginners.
My test was a month away and she was convinced its too early and we will need to shift it to a later date. And just for information, I booked lessons with another school, much much cheaper, again 10 hours, got proper practical driving experience, got my test preponed by 15 days and passed yesterday with zero faults! If it was for BSM, I would still be 'learning driving'. And I dont think BSM could have done better than 'pass with zero faults'! Yes you read it right - zero faults, a clean sheet is what I had.
Please save yourself the money and look around your area for other schools. There are a lot better ones out there. Dont go by the brand name. Since they are a established brand, I guess they no longer care about the quality. (This review is based on my experience in Wembley, Greater London)
I had my first lesson about 18 months ago with BSM and I can not find one positive thing to say.
The instructor was completely ignorant, turned up 40 minutes late, when I asked he said his sat nav took him the wrong way. I laughed in his face.
For the whole hour lesson (50 minutes actually, even though they state you get the full hour) he made me drive around a Tesco delivery car park going round in circles dodging crates. I did not pay £45 for 50 minutes to play bumper cars with crates in a car park.
Straight after the lesson I called BSM to say how unhappy I was and that I didn't wish to continue with them.
Anyone looking for a driving school I advise you go for a much smaller local driving school as they tend to be more focused on their pupils. Do not fall in the trap of booking bulk lessons and paying a fortune all in one go and then finding out the instructor they give you is an absolute moron. Pay for one introductory lesson, see how you get on with the instructor and then decide.
==Ready, steady, let's do this==
Rewind, approximately one year (give or take a few months). I am early thirties and looking to drive at last. The delay is due to an ongoing lack of funds, but through the generosity of a close family member I am finally able to take the plunge. I do some tactical internet research to way up my options, I'm looking for competitive rates essentially and when I stumble upon BSM I think I've found a winner. At £20 per lesson (when you book a block of ten or more) it was by far the best offer I had found. I booked ten for starters, with a veiw to booking a further five or more depending on how things went.
==A site for sore eyes==
The BSM website is incredibly professionally laid out and easy to navigate. You are immediately greeted with a victorious background, people jumping up and down in celebration; presumably they have just passed their test thanks to BSM. They're quick to fire in a testimonial with yet another happy chappy clasping at their pass certificate and singing the almighty praises of driving school itself. It looks attractive, and you find yourself instantly engaged. The site is keen to exploit the company's reign as the oldest driving school in the business, over a hundred years to be exact; this cements the impression of a finely tuned business that you would be forgiven for thinking, 'must' be exceptional in order for them to have stood the test of time. In all, it's a very presentable website.
==A stable begining==
Signing up was an effortless affair. When I rang the helpline/head office, the woman that I spoke to was very polite and quickly got the ball rolling. I received my 'lesson plan' (they call it a lesson plan which I think is a little misleading as it nothing more than a schedule) within seven days that stated all the times and dates for the full block of ten lessons. This was actually very helpful as they gave me the opportunity to swap any ahead of the schedule. I found one that needed a change and they and promptly altered the date.
My first couple of lessons were both positive and information enriched. Although my instructor was late for both corresponding lessons, what he lacked in time keeping he more than made up for in professionalism. I had conquered the basics and was now on the roads learning my 'lefts'.
Lesson three we spent the duration of the lesson turning 'right', which began the arrival of some small level of frustration on my part. I didn't really get the point in dedicating an entire hour to a simple 'right turn', three times and I had mastered it, but I figured that he had been teaching me well up until this point so perhaps I was just being a little bit 'eager beaver'.
==Eager beaver vs Reluctant teacher==
Lesson four and guess what? My instructor was late and we spent another lesson learning to......yep you've guessed it, turn right. So another week on, you can imagine that I was less than impressed with a lesson plan that my instructor had mapped out as, dedicated to turning both right and left only this time alternately. May be I was jumping the gun, I still wasn't sure, but it was at this point that I began to wonder if my lessons were being a fraction 'drawn out'. During the course of this lesson I noted that my instructor seemed hell bent on talking about anything and everything that didn't have to do with learning to drive which set the stage for the majority of lessons to come, and so I found myself unaware of basic 'musts' like repeatedly checking mirrors etc. In addition to that, I also found that the radio gradually increased in volume as each week passed. I often found my instructor interacting more with the radio, than actually tutoring with me any level of ethusiasm. A good example of this was circling a roundabout for the sixth time before he finally noticed that I was in first gear "you'd get failed for that, you have to be in second when you pull away" (something that I should have been made aware of from the outset).
With the following lesson in tow my frustration had increased with a switch in the instructors car, a frustration that wasn't helped by a full 15 minutes of him moaning about how difficult this new car was to handle (the car was an upgrade from BSM), add to that an entire lesson devoted to familiarising me with it, no fresh learning transpired. Although the car was very good (something undoubtedly positive about BSM), the clutch was hyper sensitive and so it stalled very easily.
Around lesson six and seven, I once again found myself having to push for something more challenging. My instructor finally decieded to move us into unfamiliar territory (up until now we had circled one very small area over and over), each time, the radio had increased in volume. I did well to drive the distance that I had and all may have stayed well, had it not been for 'quiz time' on my instructors favourite radio station. I found him so engaged by the radio quiz that he constantly shouted out the answers or asked me if I knew any, at one point he managed to lapse my concentration to such a degree that we nearly went straight into the back of an oncoming queue of traffic, he didn't even notice until the last split second before forcing us to a sudden stop just centimetres from the car in front. You would think that he'd have taken heed and slipped into a more commanding role after such a narrow escape, but no, lesson eight; he pulled out his newspaper and had himself a good old read (I can't help but laugh on reflection).
The next lesson my instructor didn't even arrive; I waited over an hour before ringing BSM to find out what on earth was going on. The woman that I spoke to told me that she would find out and call me straight back. Five hours later and she still hadn't called, so I phoned again and was told simply that "He forgot" and thus a rearranged lesson was promptly made. Four days later (waiting for my rearranged lesson) I found myself again waiting another hour for my 'no show' Instructor, yet again I rang the expensive helpline number. I was told straight away that "he has cancelled all his lessons due to frosty weather conditions", on this occasion I attempted to assert myself a little, and politely stated my disappointment with not being informed. Contrary to the same womans helpful tone when all was fairly rosey, I now had the snappy toned response "The instructors are all self employed, it's not our responsibility to inform YOU about YOUR lesson it's between you and your instructor, we are just the go between so if you have a problem with your lessons you need to take it up with him." And of course this begins to highlight the complacency of the company as a whole, blame shifting, dismissing responsibility and generally offering no real customer care once money has exchanged hands.
You'll unlikely be unstaggered to hear that the next arranged appointment came and went with another 'no show', you'll be even less surprised to hear that I found myself once again on the blower to the expensive unhelpful helpline, and I need not even bother to give you the fresh excuse given. This time, although straight to the point and unapologetic they didn't fob me off. I was offered one free lesson or a brand new instructor, not much of a consolation when you take into account that by now I should have been on lesson nine and I was not only far behind through the lack of a credible teacher, but also, now nearly three weeks out of practice. I stupidly took the one free lesson when really I should have been off to a higher authority.
Lesson nine and my instructor couldn't have acted sorrier, blaming two of the missed lessons on poor communication from head office (aka unhelpful helpline) apparently they hadn't informed him of the lessons, a familiar pattern of blame shifting? I didn't care anymore; I just wanted to get the most out of what had been an incredibly poor experience, and lesson ten, I felt much the same. These lessons actually turned out to be quite useful and fairly professional which was a relif, though I was clearly not at the point that I should have been at by now.
==Customer care? Customer what?==
Now I was due an a 'lesson eleven', that courtesy free one, but three hours before the lesson was due to take place I received a phone call from the woman that I had phoned so frequently before. Her opening line; she had just called to remind me of my lesson (strange because she had never called to remind me before) and then came the BUT "you have been flagged up on our database as not having paid for today's lesson, you need to pay in full in order for the lesson to take place, as it is company policy that you pay upfront", just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, sure enough they do. I reminded her that I had spoken to her the week prior and that 'this' was supposed to be free; she shrugged it off and claimed that my previous lesson (one I had already paid for as part of the block of ten) had been the free one, debate continued.
The truth is whoever was right it didn't really matter, I hadn't even had the lesson and if this lesson was indeed due payment then they had booked me a chargeable lesson without my consent. I couldn't have paid her in the three hours notice that she had given me anyway because my partner had taken my card to work, when I attemped to explained this to her I encountered quite an unbelievable response "Well you NEED to phone your partner at work and get him to either drop the card home to you, or get him to phone us directly with the details. This HAS to be paid by today", I was so shocked I told her I'd ring her back later. My partner, equally as shocked advised me to ring her back, cancel and just have done with it. Finally, I was seeing sense. You'd think at this point I could just make the call and that would be that but they weren't quite finished yet. I opened up the conversation by telling her how I had felt let down by the service and that she had no right to demand I call my partner at work, "I want to cancel the lesson and have nothing more to do with the company" (a little pat on the back for finally plucking the courage to stand my ground).
After every hour I had spent waiting around for my 'no show' instructor, she then had the nerve to hit me with another hypocritical, company policy "You can cancel by all means, but you WILL be charged for the lesson in full and will incur an additional charge because it is company policy that your cancelation MUST be made at least 48 hours prior to your lesson", unbelievable! I reminded her of the three no show lessons and the endless expensive phone calls. I reminded her of the blame she shifted toward the instructor for the lack of a phone call to let me know my lessons had been cancelled and I also took the opportunity to remind her of a little something above her company policy called LAW (at last I was on a complaining roll).
==An avoidant complainer finally gets complaining==
The fact is, when you go to a company like BSM and money exchanges hands; you enter into a contract, one that obligates the company to you and vice versa. So it doesn't matter whether they think your instructor is God's gift or totally incompetent, it's their responsibility to deal with him not yours (the contract is with them and not the instructor). I honestly believe that the 'complacency' and 'blame shifting' behaviours of the staff have opened up some serious cracks with the BSM business ethos as a whole. A quick Google search and you'll soon discover an archive of endless negative reviews that all seem to share a pattern of mirrored complaints, complaints that span over several years. I also found it impossible to ever speak to anyone in authority and I was point blank refused this request on two separate occasions.
When companies are able to just take your money without the people in them feeling as though they have to account for their problematic systems, is it any wonder that they may soon become lazy and nonchalant? Taking this attitude and applying it to a workforce of those that are predominantly self employed can suddenly spell out a customer care disaster, after all, it is surely more in the instructors interest to have a larger quantity of lessons booked, than it is to offer a lesser number of quality lessons, fewer lessons equals lesser pay. Problems will enevitably arise in any business but it's the way in which they are dealt with what really makes the difference between a good company or a bad one. BSM just don't deal with complaints as they sometimes should, which is evident in the way that I was often rudely spoken to or snubbed. With this in mind, I dared her to send me the bill for the interest of a trading standards letter that I might compile at a later date. She barked that she would before slamming the phone down on me. Suffice to say, I never received a bill and if that isn't telling then I really don't know what is.
I failed my driving test 8 or 9 times around twenty years ago. I thought I would join BSM via a relative of an instructor. The first lesson was cancelled the night before, fair enough the lesson was rescheduled and was free of charge. Of the two hour lesson around two thirds was talking, which I thought was very likely standard proceedure for a first lesson. The Second lesson was cancelled on the very date of the lesson. The Second lesson was rescheduled and again, there was a lot of talk and we finished really early. My third lesson has been cancelled for Friday and it is now time to go with another school. I am very disappointed.
I paid £800 for a package from bsm including 30 hours of lessons and they are after more money off me! I was not satisfied with they way they were teaching me and dreaded every lesson, they never really took me over manoeuvres which has resulted in me needing more lessons as my 30 hours are up, also my driving instructor left bsm 5 lessons before I was finished and therefore my next 5 lessons were wasted just showing my new instructor what I can and can't do! I am not ready for my test but because I paid in a package they have my test money and won't let me take it until I am ready! They are the worst!!!!
I called the BSM to complain about an instructor who had allowed a pupil to undercut me and force me into oncoming traffic. I was put on hold for 34 minutes and my call handled in about a minute... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..They do not advertise this, but their 0845 number is in fact a premium rate number set at the maximum 0.49p per minute. It was only later when I investigated an unusual phone bill, I discovered I was charged £15 pounds for complaining to a company I had no need of goods or services from. Furthermore, because I called from a mobile, it wasn't covered in my pre-pay contract - be warned!
I have taken up BSM Driving Classes in Erdington, Birmingham. I signed up for 10 classes online. After calling and after 2 weeks finally got a reply with an instuctor. The 1st class went very well.
From the next class my Instructor never turned up on time and every time he cancelled it without even informing before hand. Every time I had call him atleast 2-3 times just to find out why he wasnt there for the class. My instructor even answers calls during my class and even talks to his friends he meets on the road. When asked fro an extra ride to compensate for it he says I will take another hr & you will be charged for it.
Finally after 7 classes I was frustrated, asked BSM for another instructor, after calling them 4 times I finally got a reply saying a new instructor was available who would be there at the appointed time. But this new instructor never turned up. Finally after making another 3 frustrating calls I finally managed to cancel it. They didnt mention about the £10 refund charges as & said I would be given £59.85 (For 3 classes) as a refund which would be sent across in 28days. Got my cheque today & received only £49.85. When asked they kept repeating the same sentence like trained robots. Refund policy. Crap!!!!
Who will refund my telephone charges to these guys... & the amount of frustration & strain they cause. They forced me to cancel my classes by their incompetences.
BSM is a CRAP ORGANISATION BENT ON RIPPING YOU OFF YOUR MONEY.
Like the previous reviewer ju, I changed my mind about a lesson, I gave them the two day notice required however I was told was told to wait 28 working days for my refund. Up to 7 working days for a miniscule amount which mine was (£69) and that the charge would incur an admin fee of £10. Lo and behold nearly 2 months after they took my money (it came out of my account less than 24 hours later) I still haven't got my refund. I found out that those so called 'admins' did not process my first request for a refund and have finally put it through their system 2 weeks ago. I keep getting excuses about bank holidays and 'the bank' causing these issues which I told them wasn't good enough. People kept telling me they would get back to me about the situation but never did 'because the finance department haven't got back to them'. I said to them could I just have the damn lesson now because I've had enough of waiting an they said no! Called up their customer services department and the bloke on the phone couldn't wait to get rid of me like all their staff when it comes to complaints.
My advise to anyone in this situation, just take those lessons and be shot of them. They're an absolute waste of time and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. They used to have little offices which were great but because you are not face to face with these people at the call centre they won't do much. They've lost alot of great instructors, I would suggest you go to an independent driving school because chance are the people running them are previous Bsm or AA instructors.
I paid well over £250 for some lessons. I was waiting for my provisional to come through plus the instructor booked then went on the sick. That was last month. I changed my mind last week and thought I'd learn with some one cheaper.
I rang BSM and told them I had changed my mind and would like a refund. Apparently, BSM don't give refunds at all unless you have past your driving test. Therefore, take lessons or lose all the money. I said that couldn't be correct. The call centre person put me on hold twice to double check. She has arranged a lesson for monday morning with the instructor who is on the sick!!!
I got completely frustrated. Put the phone down, without getting anywhere. I wish I had read some reviews on BSM before I paid. Lesson learned. Does anyone have any advice on refunds from BSM?
Please DO NOT use BSM. I should have read all the bad reviews on them before booking online my 5 hours of driving lessons. I didn't think twice to do so because thinking it is a national chain, they must be respected and deliver a good service, right? SO WRONG. Here is my timeline:
Wednesday night: Paid online for 5 hours of driving lessons (to start the following Monday), payment confirmed by email. However, there is no further information after this (who will contact me? what happens next?). In fact, I had to CHASE them to get further info, as you will see.
Thursday and Friday: Called again, told to wait for my order to move up the queue. Was assured that this process was normal as it could take up to 72 hours for someone to get back to me to confirm dates. Okay...
Saturday: Called again because the first day I had requested, Monday, was looming, and I still had no lessons confirmed. I was told to be patient as the order was still in the queue.
1st call at 10am - Given another number to contact that did not even exist: 01454 658 316
2nd call at 11am - Told that my order was received and the Baker Street branch (London) was going to be emailed and to contact me to set up my lessons.
3rd call at 1pm - Called and was told the Baker Street branch is closed and that they would try to contact another branch for me.
4th call at 1pm- Called and asked for a refund. I was told this was only possible within 48 hours of my booking date when terms and conditions allow within and up to 7 days and I reminded this to the gentleman I talked to! I asked for the manager to call me back. Still waiting.
I NEVER, ever take my time to write reviews, no matter how good or how bad a service is. But this is OUTRAGEOUS and if I can save some people, even just one person, money and the headache of dealing with incompetent fools, then the time it has taken me to type this will have been worth it.
I was obliged to give this rating one star otherwise the review would have not been submitted. It deserves 0 stars.
Take your money. In my case only £20 for a special 'offer' advertised at their website - but then say they can't provide the service, when you ask for a refund they say there is a £10 admin fee! When you say that is not on, they say contact customer service - but give you a dud email address so your emails bounce! How is BSM still in business? Does anyone have the address for the Chairman's office? He should read this column.ADVICE - use another company. If you try to use BSM, pay with credit card - and if there are any problems (to be expected) raise a dispute with your credit card.
I would NOT recommend this driving school to anyone. It is expensive, they mess you about, you cannot get through on the telephone, they cancel tests etc. at the last minute and they just don't know what they're doing! There are plenty of driving schools so go for another one as this is not worth the hassle!!!
I took driving lessons last year, my first try at them. I was nervous and excited. Like ALL new drivers I made mistakes at first. i had NEVER passed an exam before, but studied for my Theory test from early morning until night nearly every day. After 6 weeks I went for my theory test. I passed both with a really great score. I was thrilled at this. 2 weeks later my Instructor who I thought I got on well with, went shopping during my 2 hour lesson. He even left the keys in the car (I thought this was illegal) i gave up taking lessons shortly after this. also how can they give you the full 1 hour or 2 hour lessons when they have to make another time. I always finished at least 15-20 minutes before the end. He also took/made phone calls from his mobile while I was driving. I never reported him in case I took other lessons with someone he might know and I'd be known as a "troublemaker". The trust never came back and I hope someone else doesn't get the problems I experienced with BSM. They are in it to make money, and even If you did complain they would say the driver is not part of their company, you should take any complaints up with him. But why would you complain to the person who has your ability to go forward for a test in his hands. Take care everyone. happy driving..