English teaching center Apax Leaders promised to refund students’ fees from June after its top executives met with angry parents on Friday.
Around 20 people met Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, also known as Shark Thuy, its chairman, and Nguyen Anh Tuan, its CEO, at one of its centers in HCMC’s Phu Nhuan District, to demand the money back sooner, disgruntled at Apax’s promise to return it in November.
Dang Van Thanh, one of the parents, said he represented more than 2,000 others who are waiting for refunds.
When Tuan said Apax is working to reopen its centers, many people curtly told him all they want is their money back and do not care about the company’s reopening or restructuring.
Thuy initially offered to return the fees in April 2024, but the parents would have none of it.
Thanh said the children have not been able to learn English at Apax for more than a year, and parents could not wait longer for the refund. Some had borrowed from banks to pay the tuition in advance and pay interest, he added.
Pham Thi Minh, a mother, who is owed VND50 million (US$2,130), said: “The money owed to me is very little, I hope Mr. Thuy will return it to me.”
Thuy said Apax Leaders is dealing with a “cash flow crisis.”
“We are like a person lying on the floor trying to get up.”
“Without reopening the centers, I’m afraid there is no money to return to any parent.”
But he won no sympathy from the parents.
After hours of discussions from morning until 2:30 p.m., the parents and the center agreed upon a refund plan starting in June.
People whose amounts have been determined will receive their refunds between June and August.
The rest will get their refunds from October to April in installments of 20%. It is not clear how the center determined whom will get the refunds first.
Thuy estimated that the payments for 2023 will be around VND60 billion. He also said that the center will not be able to pay more than that.
The chain has identified 1,350 students who have not completed the lessons they had paid for, and it would complete them by April, he said.
The chain had over 16,000 students in the south when it shut down, he said.
It had 120 centers nationwide at one point, according to its website.
In September last year many parents in HCMC, Dak Lak, Da Nang, and other places began to complain about the teaching quality and accused the chain of “running away” with their money.
Apax has reopened three centers in Ho Chi Minh City’s Districts 6, Phu Nhuan and Go Vap.
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