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Consumer Rights.

20 Oct 2021

What to do if you have a problem with your driving instructor

Learning to drive can be a challenging and costly experience, which isn’t helped if you experience poor service from your instructor or driving school.
Lauren Deitz

Driving instructor code of practice

Driving instructors are regulated by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). All approved instructors are expected to adhere to the DVSA’s code of practice which sets out expectations on how all driving instructors should:

  • behave in their personal conduct and business dealings
  • advertise their services
  • settle disputes with their pupils

How to complain about a driving instructor

Failing to provide an expected level of service, such as not arriving on time, cancelling at last minute, or making you wait months on end for a lesson isn’t acceptable and you can complain and ask for your money back. If your refund request is ignored, you can try claiming back your money through a Section 75 claim if you’ve paid via credit card or via chargeback.

key information

Complaining to the DVSA

You can complain to the DVSA if you are not happy with the level of service, conduct of the driving instructor or the quality of the lesson. But, the DVSA will not be able to recover your money for you. 

The DVSA advises that instructors found to be threatening the safety of learners will be removed from the Approved Driving Instructor register and stopped from teaching. 

Harassment, misconduct or inappropriate behaviour

Issues related to sexual harassment, misconduct or inappropriate behaviour should be reported to the police by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against by a driving instructor or school, you do have rights under the Equality Act 2010 to take action and protect yourself.

Complaining to the ombudsman

If you fail to reach a resolution with the driving instructor or school, you can escalate a complaint to the ombudsman.

If you’ve complained to the DVSA about a driving instructor or school and you're unhappy with the outcome of your complaint or how it was handled, you can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

An ombudsman acts as an independent referee who looks at both sides of the argument, makes enquiries, asks questions and comes up with a remedy or solution that they believe is fair.

Ombudsman schemes are free to use and are an alternative to going to court to sort out a problem.

How to find a driving instructor

While delays will be frustrating, it’s important to ensure you find a good, qualified and reputable instructor to learn with. Here are some tips on how to find an instructor:

  • Seek a qualified DVSA approved instructor, all approved instructors must display a badge on their windscreen to show they’re qualified to teach learner drivers.