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Camp Australia (Out of school hours care)

Posted:    

Service and Charges

Complaint Rating:  87 % with 23 votes
87% 23
4.35
Contact information:
Camp Australia
1731 Malvern Road Gloen Iris 3146
Melbourne, Victoria
Australia
Phone: 1300 105 343
campaustralia.com.au
I am very angry and unhappy that this company have take over the way after school and before care programs are run, in addition of being forced to go with this company from 2009 as my childrens school McKinnon Primary now use their admin service rather than their own as it was previously. This company increrased fees with supplying less services eg holiday programs no breakfast or lunch, and also enforce a 7 day cancellation policy for permanent bookings. How they justify their policy on this particular issue is totally unacceptable, especially since their are plenty of vacancies on all days my children attend. They do not have to employ more staff, as a particular team leader who I spoke to by the name of Chris on 03/02/10 told me. My two children are enrolled for after school permanent on Tuesday and Fridays, I tried to call their call centre on Monday 01/02/10 but got very frustrated listening to a recording for 15 minutes, thus I am a working mum, I do not have the time to waste waiting for a service to make cancellations, moreover, I feel this expectation is unjust and unreasonable. I refuse to pay for 6 service DATES THEY INTEND TO BILL me for because OF THEIR POLICY ALTHOUGH I have done so many occassions in the past due to un forssen circumstances. T his company needs to maken certain exceptions and be more flexible, the profit they would be making due to this unreasonable policy defies imagination. I can only put it down to greed. I really employ you to investigate their policies, and also waive these costs. they want to charge me. I feel bullied into using their program as i have no choice when my husband and i work fulltime. The t/l SAID i HAVE A CHOICE BUT THAT IS DEBATABLE, WHEN U DONT HAVE ANTY MEANS OF GETTING THEM TO ANOTHER HOLIDAY PROGARAM AS U CAN SEE IT S OBVIOUS for convenience reasons i would want them to attend OSHC AT THEIR SCHOOL. tHE GOVERNMENT IS SAYINHG HOW THEY WANT TO HELP PARENTS WHO WORK AND PAY TAXES AND THEN WE ARE PENALIZED BY THIS UNJUST billing SYSTEM CAMP AUSTRALIA impose.. I wish to also compalain to the govt or ombudsmen regarding this issue but not sure who i should write to? If you can provide me with names or depts I would be very grateful. I look foraward to your reply

Kind Regards


Kerry Perrow
Complaint comments Comments (55) Complaint country Australia Complaint category Schools

Comments

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N  18th of Feb, 2010 by    -1 Votes
I work as a coordinator with Camp Australia. I'm not in a position to address your concerns, but during my work with Camp Australia I have found that teething problems aren't unusual when Camp Aust. takes over programs - especially when Staff have to adjust to the new system as well.

My main concern is that you're calling head office for cancellations. It's unnecessary, and frankly at this time of year you're not going to get through easily.

Your coordinator is able to handle everything except payments. You don't have to call to cancel, a simple "Johnny won't be here next Wednesday" is a cancellation. You coordinator then logs onto the roll system, and takes your child off the list. If you want to be sure the date you made the cancellation is noted, write it down in the communications book and date it. (It's Camp Aust policy that the communications book is checked before/after every shift.)

That won't help you get around the 7 days notice, but it will make it easier to cancel bookings. (If your coordinator told you to ring head office, then they are wrong. It is his/her job to handle your bookings.) If you switch to a Casual account, you are only required to give 24 hours notice, but you can only book 15 sessions at a time and it IS more expensive. However, it may balance out if you're going to need to cancel bookings at short notice.
Also, if you can get a letter from your employer (on letterhead) stating that your on a roster, you can go on what's called a rostered account. This costs the same as permanent bookings but gives you the flexibility of casual bookings.

I know Camp Australia can be inflexible, but they do run good programs. I hope you're able to get your bookings sorted out.
A  16th of Sep, 2010 by    +2 Votes
I agree whole heartedly with Kerry's complaint above. Their 7 day cancellation policy in inflexible and unfair to working parents. If a child is sick, we have been advised that a "doctors note" is NOT sufficient to get a refund. How is this legal?

Camp Australia took over Caulfield South Primary's aftercare program and we had the same issues. One of my biggest concerns (besides those Kerry mentioned above) are the total lack of customer service and support when dealing with head office about any complaints.


Responses to emails are condescending, rude and abrupt and their telephone service via head office is exactly the same.
The staff at head office are uncaring and talk down to customers as if we have no rights at all.

I have just discovered that they put the fees up, without notifying their customers. I thought that perhaps it was just me, but other parents were not informed either.

When I called them to ask how we were notified about the price increase and when, I was told it would have been on the statement. I told her I have a copy of my statements for June in front of me and there is nothing on them, from 1st July they went paperless and I no longer receive statements as my account is always in credit and I have not received any emails.

So I asked again, stating "this is a generic question, please tell me how and when you informed your customers that you have had a price increase?"

She refused to answer my question unless I identified myself and gave my account number, telling me that for security reasons she would have to end the call if I did not give my account number. When I repeated, "this is just a generic question - not specific to my account", she refused to answer and instead hung up on me! This is just NOT acceptable customer service.

They treat customers like this because they have a monopoly - we are unable to use any other service without first collecting our children from school and taking them to another school; if we could do that we wouldn't be putting them into aftercare in the first place!

I'd like to know if there is a governing body or Ombudsman responsible for Child Care Services in Victoria, as far as I understand ASIC is directly responsible but they do not handle all complaints.

I would like to hear if anyone else has any complaints and similar issues with them.

Thank you
Deb
A  12th of Oct, 2010 by    +2 Votes
I am having an ongoing year-long 'war' with Camp Australia management.

The one positive is that the two main carers at the after school center do genuinely care about the kids.

Unfortunately all other aspects of CA have been immensely frustrating. I fully agree with above comments - they treat customers with contempt as only a true monopoly could.

Be aware that if you sign up for Camp Australia the following problems are likely to occur :
- extremely aggressive late fees policy of 20 dollars per week
- aggressive cancellations policy 7 days ahead will be billed in their favor
- if you don't bend to this extortion of late fees, they will mark your kid as being 'excluded'
- you will need to document any changes to daycare to make sure both the office and the branch have the same details
- if you make a query and they take weeks to respond, they will charge you 20 per week for their delay
- you will need to continually check the bill to make sure they have not overcharged you

I think their latest policy change has been to force parents to pay by direct debit from an account - only a monopoly would get away with that.

I eventually removed my son from the school in order to avoid paying 30 dollars per day to Camp Australia, for the privilege of my child to watch TV for four hours.

There is just no way that these people should have the exclusive right conferred by government to embed their cash cows in schools - if this is not protectionist and anticompetitive, I don't know what is.
A  13th of Dec, 2010 by    +3 Votes
It is interesting that nothing has changed at all at Camp Australia over the period of time since this post was initially submitted. I am a parent from Sherbourne Primary School and I have similar issues. Camp Australia sends email statements. There is 7-10 days gap between when the statement is issued and when payment is due. However Bpay takes 3 days for processing, which means that parents get only 4-7 days to make the payment. I was oversees and could not check my emails and was charged $20 late fees for being two days late. While I was trying to clarifying the situation with Camp Australia via email exchange, they kept on charging me late fees for not paying late fees $20. I ended up paying $80 late fees for the $20 pending from previous statement. When I suggested to them that they should increase the gap or atleast give notice like utility companies, they asked me to set-up direct debit. There make mistakes in their invoices. I was charged even though I had submitted in writing to them to cancel permanent booking and Camp Australia had confirmed that I will not be charged. How can I then trust them and set direct debit. The fees have gone up from $15.95 to $22.95 in last three years. The fees are increased without any notice. I received a third fee hike in my last statement this year. Camp Australia is taking advantage of the fact that majority of the parents have no other choice. They are resorting to unfair trade practices. It is so frustrating and it is time that a legal action is taken against this company.
A  24th of Feb, 2011 by    +1 Votes
Camp Austalia had got to have one of the worst customer relation and billing policies I have ever come acrsoss! After leaving my kids in their pre-school care for several months I found their billing to be frequently incorrect. Several times I was overcharged for days that my kids did not attent. For this reason I refused to set up a direct debit.

WhJust before Christmas break they sent me an invoice for an incorrect amount and overcharged me by not deducting the childcare rebate from their invoice. I rang their billing department and asked them to sent me a correct invoice which they did, however they added a 20 dollar late fee to the bill and I had not paid it within the few days they allow you to pay a pill without incurring a late fee.

I paid the invoice minus the late fee! The following month I recieved another invoice but now with a 40 dollar late fee as they apperently charge a 20 dollar late fee for every month and accumulates even though the bill was paid for the services they provided.

I paid the invoice, but not the 40 dollar late fee which I can only describe as pure extortion! A few heated emails between myself and their billing departments followed but they insisted it needed to be paid. I stopped communications with them as I had already made up my mind I was going to withdraw my custom.

Yesterday I recieved a letter from them giving me a "Notice of Intension to Sue" !!! ...wait for it, for $40 (their late fees which I had not paid) !!!

I rang Camp Australia this morning the question which planet they where from! The conversation was rather hostile on the phone, but the outcome was that they will waiver the 40 dollar late fee and will not be going forth with legal action against me!... too right, as their exorburant request for $20 late fees is not enforcable anyway!

The lady I spoke with asked if I would ever be using Camp Austalia in the future, I told her I would not! I have made alternative arrangements. These people use agressive billing policies, allianate the very people who fund their services and quite frankly dont deserve to be in charge of children! My youngest daughter used to cry before she had to go to preschool care in the morning, insiting she didnt want to go. She never liked it because she was the youngest there and had no-one to play with, and apperently was just left by herself each morning. Several mornings I dropped my kids there we had to wait for the camp australia staff to arrive when they should have already been there!

I would love to see this company being replaced with an alternative in my kids school.
D  14th of Jun, 2011 by    -3 Votes
You all are a bunch of SOOKS . Theres life line?... Why dont you give those guyes a buzz... They might tell you how to calm down and think positive. Whats happening with the WORLD these days no one seems to know what there doing? always angry, judgeing, out of control, frustruted Same of you can not put sentences together!.. and you expect to get everything done quickly? sometimes you just can not. Why dont every one of you SORT EVERY THING OUT NOW?! You can not. Doesnt work that way same things do but same dont. Settle down it will all work out in the end. Every NEW COMPANY goes through a harsh period and then everything tends to settles down just hang in there. Its like the weather... Heh heh...Dont worry you will get your money, No ! there not going to take anyone to court. By the way why is it late? you get enough TIME as it is. Relax . All of you that are agro now are going to feel very STUPID soon...
Are you sure you people arn't taking anything heavy?... TAKE IT EASY... Elizabeth. Heh heh...
A  14th of Jun, 2011 by    -7 Votes
I agree with you Elizabeth. You hit the nail on the head!... Good on you
N  5th of Jan, 2017 by    0 Votes
@Elizabeth sumkoski funny how Elizabeth agrees with Elizabeth... You must be affiliated with CA. go away and stop trying to troll
N  5th of Jan, 2017 by    0 Votes
@Greg Davis Verified. Elizabeth Sumkoski works for or worked for Camp Australia.
N  21st of Jun, 2011 by    +1 Votes
Elizabeth obviously gets off on discreditting or dismissing geniune concerns or worse she may just be protecting her job at this company... this is the type of person I have come across working for this company. Rest assured are a vast amount of listeners out there feeling these concerns... I know I was the one these concerns were directed to when I worked for the company but schools keep on engaging their services... why... because it's easier to dismiss your concerns in care for children out of school hours and go with the quick fix... especially for those trying to manage school finances, education programmes, etc such as Principals, School Board Members and their Business Managers... your voice is all you have... use it to the best of your ability... we are listening and waiting for the right moment to strike back... no matter how it comes out... always ask questions and put concerns in writing to your school principal... use the best channels available and ignore those who discredit your intention to achieve positive results for you and your family.
A  23rd of Jun, 2011 by    +2 Votes
Hi our problem has been ongoing since Jan this year, over charged on all Emailed invoices, overdue late fee charges, no published fee increases, Doctor Certificates not being accepted for refunds, very rude and abrupt both in Emails and Telephone conversations. All of the above comments are true and very common among many parents using "Camp Australia". At first we used Direct Debit for 1-2 payments only to discover that we were never sent a receipt for the payment and could not control what was being paid. So we canceled that, and requested emailed invoices so that we could see what we were paying for, only to discover that all our closing balances from the previous invoice did not match the opening balance on the current invoice balance ( out by $50-$70 at times) and every invoice had attached a overdue late fee of $20 for every invoice we received .
As parents normally do, talk amongst each other to discover the same issues they are having to be consistent with this same company "Camp Australia" My major concern is there is a major group of Vietnamese parents (as well as single parents) who are not aware of what is going on, because of the limited use of there English communication skills find it hard to express how they feel.

After months of emails and phone calls back and forth with re sends of corrected invoices and overdue late fees we decided to take this to our solicitor for action. we have started to approach the media and are now collecting all documents (evidence) to present to the media and our solicitor. what is so comically about this all, is that everything is in writing, which our solicitor will have a field day with. We have no problem with the staff who look after the Children for after care, but only the management of the billing and correspondence with parents.

I hope this can be of some comfort to other parents out there, who are feeling the pain of dealing with this company.
A  3rd of Jul, 2011 by    +1 Votes
Good luck with that Chance227, I would love to see this company being replaced by a more professional and caring company to look after our kids in our schools. We've had many similar issues regarding Camp Australia!!
N  5th of Jul, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I am so pleased to find this blog, I thought I was going crazy dealing with these people. Since they took over at my son's school the fees have not only doubled, the organisation has been dismal, but worst of all they have sent me 'exclusion' notices immediately, for bills which due to their own incompetence I never received. Even after I wrote to them about the tone of their aggressive emails, they've done it again, and for a second time they've sent me 'exclusion' threats today by phone and text message, and charged late fees for a bill they never even sent me- even when they admitted that they hadn't sent the bill, the late fees have not been waived . According to the bill, it is 35 days late, yet it relates to childcare for two weeks ago-go figure. I have never come across such a rude aggressive organisation, one which is supposed to be in the care business. Tomorrow I'm going to complain to (a) my son's school (b) the National Childcare Accreditation Agency NCAA.gov.au, (c) the State Education Child Care service, and by the way, please give me your details to add me to your media and legal case. I am a lawyer myself. We can shame these people into changing their aggressive policies and going on a charm course.
A  29th of Sep, 2011 by    0 Votes
This company is a nightmare to deal with if you, distainful creature that you are, dare question their billing.

As for the snowballing late fees, now theres a lurk if ever I've seen one!

I asked to see a copy of my signature on the form where I supposedly agreed to pay the extortionate late fees. They said they couldnt find it but that they had an "terms and services may change without notice", agreement that I had supposedly signed several years ago.

"Gotcha!"... was the sentiment gleefully flung through the phone line by the Camp Australia accounts girl.
N  6th of Oct, 2011 by    0 Votes
OMG, so many people and still nothing has changed. OCT 2011 and we are having most of the problems mentioned above, but wait, give us some more time and Yes, it will change to all of the problems mentioned above.
Holy Crap, how is this company still getting away with this.
We seriously need to do something about them.
Does anyone know of other websites about that we can read and Vent in.
The Lawyer above, have you had a chance to do anything about it. How do we get in contact with you. I can get a heap of parents who feel exactly the same as me.
We need to do something
A  8th of Feb, 2012 by    0 Votes
And now it's February, and yet! still nothing has changed.
Camp Australia took over my after school care around April last year, to similar reasons as noted above, that it was just too difficult for the school and committee to handle. The worst decision ever made!
I have no complaints about the staff, they have kept our same staff on the books that we have had, some for the almost 7 years I have been using the service. But the customer service is dismal.
I am disgusted with their bullying tactics and there threats to sue and cancel my care, particularly to a fault of their own.
Yes! I may be late at times, but I'm a single Mum on a budget trying to handle my finances it can be difficult at times to have the money on hand, but I have always paid.
Just recently, over the holidays, a time very stressful that I'm getting my son organised for high school, my bill was late with Christmas and all. I got a threat to sue and then a text saying my care cancelled, lucky we weren't using it. However I had paid the bill on the 23/12/2011, yet they had no one in their office to process as the accounts closed over the holiday period and did not return till the 09/01/2012. Of course they on trying to ring customer service the office was closed yet the phone message said it was open, oh! but I found out they were working shorter hours. All the while my money was sitting in their bank account, however they had no one to process it to their account. As for their 3 day rule, crap! BPay states that it is received by the biller the day you pay if you pay within the banks cutoff time, this is simply allowing them time to process the payment and it they don't they charge you that $20 late fee.
I tried to contact their account yesterday to ensure they noted my payment that I made that day, but customer service would not put me through and the conversation got rather heated. And I was simply told that if I had made it that day then it should be fine.
I am disgusted with their attitude and stated in an email to them last night, to which of course, they haven't replied.
Staff at ur care have advised me to notify our school of what has happened and I'm also looking to complain to external services, but not sure where to go.
I'm over camp australia and their policies and monopoly.
N  8th of Feb, 2012 by    0 Votes
Funny thing is there are other providers out there that do offer much more flexibility, my school recently got rid of Camp Australia and put in OSHClub. 24 hour cancellation policy, medical certificates allowed, pricing was cheaper and the program all of a sudden has resources and decent food!!! something we always asked for, not just mouldy fruit and veg but healthy dips, specials each week, even quesadillas one day. My son couldn't be happier with the carers, very caring and they take good care of the kids. Best move ever!!!
N  9th of Feb, 2012 by    -4 Votes
Strunk you're an idiot! make sure you comment on that, but not the fact they made a complete error and had not processed my payment because they weren't there, but still threaten me even tho I've paid!!
Most of my bills are paid on time, but for some reason they are always due 2 days before I get paid. Most companies simply give you a gentle reminder which is fantastic at times. When the school run it, they understand the ups and downs of parents and I had not one problem if I was late. Even the co-ordinator is digusted with them, apparently getting emails to tell her to not accept children into care that afternoon, which she will not do. So it's not just me.
shane78 I have to say, my children didn't stop complaining about the food when Camp Australia took over. No cheese or milk products were allowed, and the amount of other things they no longer got. Yet! of course, the price of care went up.
And what is with the $25 annual fee, when the school run it, I could understand it, they had to register all families, but we are the ones doing all the work and setting it up online. Greed pure and simple.
Apart from that, they aren't even supplying the details of families to the co-ordinator, who had to collect them from us late last year herself so she had it available to her.
N  10th of Feb, 2012 by    -4 Votes
I paid before the holiday... idiot!!!
N  10th of Feb, 2012 by    -4 Votes
and it's funny how they can be their to threaten me... yet not process my payment... get a grip wanker.
You're only on here to pick faults on people.
N  16th of Mar, 2012 by    0 Votes
The school my child is at has awarded the OSH contract to Camp Australia for the next three year period. This will come in to effect from 2 April 2012 will the commencement of the Holiday Program. The tender process and award of the contract was done with virtually no consultation with parents, including those who have the most vested interest: parents who use the current OSH provider (a one line offer for parents to submit feedback about the current provider appeared in one newsletter!). Apart from Camp Australia's arbitrary $20 annual 'administrative fee' applicable upon initial registration and every 12 months thereafter, based on their current fee schedule I am now up for an additional $600 per annum ($3/day more expensive than current OSH provider for combined before and after care). This despite the school allegedly 'negotiating' for fees to match the current providers and for there to be no fee increase for the first 15 months! I imagine I will need to see what my first invoice looks like to see whether Camp Australia will honour that agreement, however, from the complaints about their billing section I imagine I'd have an uphill battle to get them to apply the correct 'negotiated' fee. The stories of the lack of provision of sufficient food for the children leaves me feeling horrified. Sounds like something out of Dickens! I've attended the recent information session at which one of the owners, Andrew, was present. He advised that the Manager of the Customer Service section, Chris, had discretion to waive fees where less than 7 days notice was provided for cancellation and that this would take into consideration the specific circumstances of the cancellation - suggesting therefore that not all cancellations of less than 7 days necessarily needed to be based on medical grounds. He also advised that Camp Australia employees, being reasonable people, would give the benefit of the doubt to parents where doctor's certificates had not been obtained and the fee would be waived - perhaps I should have requested that in writing! In anticipation of the need to lodge a formal complaint who/what is the correct complaints body for OSH providers? I asked a couple of questions during the information session and his responses were defensive using the tactic of highlighting how they were compliant rather than addressing the question per se. The compliance status of Camp Australia was completely irrelevant to the questions I was asking and I couldn't help but wonder why he felt it necessary to raise it as a justification for lengthy cancellation notification periods and arbitrary fee impositions considering the current provider's far more parent friendly policy in those respects and my certainty that the current provider is also compliant. Now that I've read some of the experiences above I can't help but feel really apprehensive for the well-being of my child and the potential for on-going fee disputes.
N  25th of Mar, 2012 by    0 Votes
I too have problems with Camp Australia at Valley View Primary in Wyoming, NSW.
I noticed that there was a $65 jump between the closing balance of one statement and the opening balance of the next. When I queried this (three months later), I was told that the accounts dept. do not have access to statements "that old"!! So they provided a new statement for the past six months. And guess what, about half the weeks had different closing balances to the original statements (in their favor, naturally!!) On top of that, they have been charging me Late payment fees, and even excluded my son from care. When I complained, they re-instated him, but as a casual. CA never advised me that my son have been un-excluded, that was left to the coordinator (even though it was CA head office that had excluded him). And the coordinator never advised me that I would have to re-book him as a permanent. Unfortunately I have no other choice as the only other OOSH care is a bus ride away, and we live too close tot he school to get him a bus pass. I am lodging a formal complaint against CA with the ombudsman.

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