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Monday, September 21, 2009

Review & Feedback: Unwind Centre School of Music

Unwind Centre (aka Unwind School of Music) is a reasonably reputed music institute having couple of branches in Chennai and Bangalore.Unwind Centre branches offer training on western music- vocal as well as instruments such as keyboard, guitar, drums etc.

Recently 5 of us (me and a friend, plus 3 other batch mates) joined Chennai Kilpauk branch of Unwind Centre to learn keyboard. The course was split over 6 months, in 3 modules each lasting 2 months, with one class of 1.5 hours duration per week. The fee was reasonable, at Rs. 200 registration + Rs 1700 per module.

It was nice to learn fundamentals of western music-it has much detailed notations and symbols compared to carnatic music. Module 1 went satisfactory, but soon after second module began we were subjected to unfair treatments. This post is a quick review of our observations and feedbacks and experiences.

Our agreed batch timing was Thursday 7.30PM to 9PM. Once module 2 began, after most of us paid the fee, Unwind Centre abruptly changed the timing to Sunday 5.30PM to 7PM, without taking us into confidence. This new timing was unacceptable to most of us, primarily because our weekend plans (out of city) will go for a toss (for next 4 months-not just once) if we’ve to stay in town during the weekend to attend Sunday evening class.

Expressing our discomfort about new timing, we asked for refund and are experiencing Unwind’s unprofessional ways of customer treatment. Mr. Prashanth, who handles Unwind Centre’s Kilpauk branch, tells us to come on a weekday to collect refund and when we go all the way to collect refund, tries to convince us to continue with the course/join some other course or join at some other branch later (whenever a batch gets started). When we insist that we want the promised refund now and we’ll think of other course/centre later, he changes his stand saying he is not authorized to refund and his director would call us next day. We ask for a written assurance that money will be refunded, for which he agrees to write it on backside of the cash receipt. Two minutes later, when asked to do so, he refuses again saying he is not authorized to promise like that. (They’re authorized to make as many oral promises as required so as to retain the money?) He also refuses to give contact details of his superiors but keeps repeating that his director would call us and they'd transfer money online.

We’re currently waiting for his “director” to call us, while exploring ways to escalate this. In brief we find Unwind School of Music guilty of following:

  • Abruptly changing batch timing without taking consent of customers
  • Refusing prompt refund of fee, even after agreeing to do so over phone
  • Wasting our time and money by false promise of refund and asking us to come to their office
  • Not giving contact details of superiors for follow up/escalation

Our other disappointments with Unwind Centre (I’d rename it Unfair Centre)

  • They could have provided module wise certificates as we clear test for each module, but they give it only at the end of full course.
  • Not letting students practice at the institute when no other batches are on (before taking your money they’ll say “You can come and practice anytime” and later insist that one should practice at home only (The lady who’d promised that we can practice quit Unwind Centre next week)
  • Not providing certain accessories (like keyboard foot switch, which is required to sustain sound) and asking students to buy it
  • Not maintaining all equipments in proper working condition (on most of the classes only 4 out of 5 keyboards were working)
  • Faculty wasting time on pretext of phone call, visitors, rain (while our classes were supposed to be from 7.30 to 9, most of the days it ran only from 8 to 8.45 or from 8.15 to 9)
  • Course material was in German language and it was in the form of pathetic photocopied sheets. We could only understand the symbol and not the text explanation in it. Also photocopying was done during class time, wasting several minutes for the same.

To be fair, couple of good points about Unwind Centre are as below:

  • Usually faculty there are good at the instruments they teach, and often perform at concerts once a while
  • Rates are reasonable
  • Having multiple branches (3 in Chennai- Adyar, Kilpauk & Anna Nagar, 2 in Bengaluru-Koramangala & ) : A possible flexibility to change course/branch etc (subject to feasibility , management discretion and applicable fees)
  • They organize concerts wherein their students sing/play to exhibit their talent (mostly in large groups-not solo and tickets will be priced Rs.200 upwards)
  • Usually batch size will be small enough so that faculty can give individual attention (does he gives is different)

Several people have built long term relationship with Unwind and may be ours is a rare incident. We often face payment related issues everywhere, but we had slightly higher expectation and professionalism from Unwind School of Music. While the general reputation of Unwind School of Music continues to be good, it would be better if they try to keep it up by showing some fair trade practices.

Also read: Random thoughts on Music * Raga Chintamani book review * Bad experience at Hotel Honeymoon Inn, Mussorie * Unwind Centre website *

Update: The director has called and has offered a refund. When and how exactly are yet to be worked out.

Update 2: After further follow ups and visits we finally got the money back

6 comments :

Mridula said...

Professionalism is hard to find.

Shraddha@theselfloveproject said...

may be your online expose' may make things better..

lets see..

Radhika Ganesan said...

why dont you threaten them to take some action...may be police (lolz...i know that's funny) or may be go to consumer court..though i am not sure if 'learning' falls under the category of commodity...

I have always had complains with these private coaching classes...be it music or car learning or NIIT....they are somtimes less disciplined !

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Radhika,
A friend knows owner of Unwind Centre and we'll try to bring this to the notice of that person. Waiting to see if they get back before that.

Shraddha,
let us see. At least future customers will exercise some caution

Mridula
Agree.

Trails of a Traveler said...

This is happening in every service related business. Even from a shoe repair shop (a showroom and not a street mender) to music..

I think we will have to show them that these people will be handled legally if they do not change their ways!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, most of the time proper escalation will help