Save yourself the grief and go elsewhere...this company is misrepresenting their services and will scam you.
I recently went to register with Ian Garrett Canadian Academy of Vocal Music. I was excited about the possibility of taking lessons. When I called in they said the lessons were $35/half an hour and noted I would need to come in for an assessment. When I went in for an assessment I met Ian. Thereafter I met with DIane, the administrator of the school, who noted that there was a $100 fee for the assessment which I paid and she said that Ian wanted to work with me. She then began discussing the price of the lessons which were $100 per lesson for 50 weeks, amounting to $5000 a year. I said this was not what I had expected and was out of my budget. She then began discussing 10 lessons at $159/lesson, again this was not within my budget. After her majorly pressuring me and making condescending comments such as "what you can't afford to pay", I ended up signing up for the 10 lessons and paying half of it upfront in the amount of $800. Immediately after I left, I had a bad feeling and reached out in writing to say that I had made an error and really just wanted to go with $35/half an hour lessons given my goals and apply the amount I paid up front towards that. After all I really was not looking to be Shania Twain, I just wanted to take lessons for fun. I followed up with 3 phone calls the next day, none of which were returned. I finally managed to reach Diane that evening and she agreed that she would apply the $800 towards $35/half an hour lessons and arrange another instructor in this price range for the following week. I also followed up in writing to confirm our discussion so Ian would be made aware.
When I got there she had not arranged the instructor and noted that if I wanted to sign up for $35/half an hour I would need to be locked into 50 weeks of classes and fork out another $1200. She said she could not arrange an instructor until I signed a new contract. This was contrary to what she committed to on the phone. I noted that this is not what we had discussed and that I was not willing to pay anymore and just wanted to apply the money I had spent towards the classes at the price she noted initially. She became very argumentative and basically said take it or leave it, that if I wanted $15 lessons I could go elsewhere because Ian is the best. I said that I was not disputing Ian's skill level but that I just wanted what was committed. I said I do not like being misled and prefer that things are handled in a professional and transparent way. I said that I do not feel she is delivering what she committed so I want a full refund. She then proceeded to refuse to refund me saying that I signed a contract and that there are no refunds. I said I wanted to talk to Ian as I did not feel this was right.
I spoke to Ian and he agreed to honor the price and give me 20 lessons with a $35/half an hour instructor, so I agreed. When I went to sit down with Diane I noted that I wanted a copy of the new contract and confirmation in writing of the lessons. She agreed. As we went over the contract she was again pressuring me to sign. I stated I want to read what I am signing, she said "the contract doesn't matter". I said well I want to read it. There ended up being a couple of clauses I was not comfortable with, so I asked her questions on them. She spoke in a very rude and condescending tone like I should know the answer was pressuring me to sign. I refused to sign until I received clarity on these clauses. I asked her for a copy of the contract and she refused, I then said okay I want to copy down the clauses I am not clear on. She said you don't need that the contract does not matter. I found this to be very sketchy. I said no, I want to copy down the clauses so I can gain clarity from Ian before signing anything. I could tell she was visibly not happy I was copying them down. She said Ian would call me to clear it up and then she would schedule me in for a class. I followed in writing with an email to clarify the discussion and the questions I had to Ian so he had visibility.
The next day there was no news from Ian, so I followed up by email and placed a call. Diane picked up saying that he tried me. I noted there was no voicemail or call that I could see come in. She said he will call me back. Then an hour later she called me back stating that she spoke to Ian and that she could only offer me 10 lessons with Ian for the money I paid. I said this was not what we had discussed the day before and that I am not comfortable. She again had a take it or leave it approach and began telling me that I kept changing my mind. I noted I was not changing my mind but that they kept changing what they said they were going to offer me and that I don't understand how we got from yesterday to today. She proceeded to tell me I had personal issues and was very rude. I said I want my money back as this whole experience has been very negative and that she had been very unprofessional and not straight in her interactions and so I want nothing to do with the school. She refused and this is when I said I want to speak to Ian about the whole experience I have had and want my money back. She said he was busy at the moment in classes, I said that's fine he can call me anytime. Then within 15 minutes she called me back and said Ian said no refunds. I said I want to speak to Ian and have a discussion with him on my experience and the refund. She then proceeded to call me disabled and told me I had a mental disability. I was stunned at the complete audacity of how she spoke to me. She proceeded to ask me who I thought I was and if I understood English. She then proceeded to say that if I wanted to speak to Ian I would have to pay for his time. I said I want to speak to Ian and did not want to speak to her anymore. She noted that his time does not come free and that I would have to pay and she booked me in for 7:30pm on Thursday. I said I want to make it clear I am not coming for a lesson and only a discussion.
When I went into discuss with Ian I brought my sister in as I wanted a witness to the discussion. Ian refused to have any discussion with any witness present and would not even allow my sister to wait in his waiting room while we had a discussion in his studio. He began to get very aggressive and raised his voice stating she can't sit in the waiting room as it is private property, that he would not entertain a discussion unless she left. She said fine I will wait in the hallway (which was in an office building and he did not own) he again refused. He continued shouting that he refused to speak to me unless she waited in the car or it would be end of discussion. He proceeded to say that Diane has tried to work with me and that I am a grown woman and could have the discussion on my own. He said he refused to have the discussion, locked the door and that was it. He made it clear he does not want to give my money back. Clearly he's operating his business in an unethical way. I am utterly shocked that someone who has the qualifications to train Shania Twait would have Diane represent his school and then also behave in such an unprofessional manner. Clearly he has a lot to hide. I urge you to stay away from this school at all costs. This is why I tell my story so that others are not scammed as I was along with the others who have shared their story here.