My son went to the EF Munich school from June 2018 until August of 2019. While his experience there was good, he was asked to leave his guest family and given only two weeks notice to leave in mid-May of 2019. The very next day he told the Munich school, and as he would be enrolling in a German University in the fall and would need his own apartment he went and found one and vacated his EF lodging by June 1. Accordingly we both contacted EF seeking a refund for room and board we had paid for from June 1 to the end of August. After some initial push back, in which it was claimed he had not given sufficient notice. On 9/17/19 after about 10 attempts to contact him since mid June, on 9/17/19 Spencer Mott finally agreed to refund me $1220.31 (the cost of room and board from June through August. He also agreed to refund an additional $56.59. I was told this would be refunded to my credit card, and as my ex wife and I had both paid Stefan's tuition, she would need to call to give her consent that the payment go to me alone. After arranging all this I called his assistant Spencer's instructions and left my credit card information. And… nothing happened. I followed up checking my credit card statement 3-4 weeks later, saw I had no refund, and on November 14, 2019 I contacted William Cavanagh, who Spencer had said was his boss. William apologized for the problem and promised me that a check would be cut as soon as possible, on the next Wednesday, which would have been November 20. It is now December 4, 2019 and once again. Nothing has happened. I have received no check. I have been trying to email and phone William Cavanagh for the last three days to no avail.
I draw several conclusions from this: First, EF is not being transparent about the actual cost of room and board with host families (which is arguably the single most important aspect of language learning in a study abroad experience). The miserly amount of this refund suggests that EF is paying host families a mere $13 per day. This can’t be right as that would barely be enough to pay for food, let alone lodging, and it is difficult to understand how it would be enough of an incentive for any host family to participate in the program. Although I suspect that they are actually being paid more than this refund suggests, I doubt they are being paid much more. What does this mean? It means that EF has rolled everything into a single fee that makes it impossible to determine what portion of their very expensive program fee is for housing and what part is for language training. Second, this also clearly indicates that EF’s customer service is abysmally bad. Having spent well over $40,000 I can’t fathom why any organization would treat its customers this way. I have made multiple inquiries by phone and email but I can’t seem to get anyone to respond and settle this matter. I can't tell if I am being lied to or if EF is simply incompetent. How hard is it to issue a refund you have clearly acknowledged I am due? They have admitted the debt. I have an invoice and an email indicating as much, but three months later I cannot get them to honor it. Beware!