Be aware of hidden fees while choosing a driving school

The four most typical hidden costs that driving schools tack on and how to avoid them.

by Ultimate Drivers | 15 February 2023

Driving schools in Ontario have developed a bad reputation over the past few years for using dishonest tactics, acting illegally, and adding a tonne of extra costs.
Determining the total cost of your classes before making a reservation with a certain driving school is crucial if you’re thinking about enrolling in the best driving school in Ontario.

Unlike the provincial average of $600–800, driving schools that charge students hidden fees frequently begin by charging a lower price than usual (typically in the $550–600 range for Beginner Driver’s Education packages).
After a student enrolls, the driving school frequently adds several additional charges (such as certification fees, booking fees, e-learning fees, and so on) that can raise the price by $50 to $100 above the quoted price.
Due to the strict no-refund policy, it is usually too late for students to cancel at this point.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the four most typical hidden costs that driving schools tack on and how to avoid them.

The top 4 hidden fees charged by driving schools.

1. The MTO Certification Fee:
In Ontario, driving schools frequently overcharge their students by unethically exploiting the MTO Certification fee.

Since 2007, every student who completes a Beginner Driver Education (BDE) program successfully in Ontario driving schools must now pay $15 to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

When a student completes their BDE course, the driving school frequently pays this fee to the MTO. The Ministry of Transportation utilizes this fee to enhance the provincial standard for driver’s education.

Many driving schools assert that the MTO certification fee is $30–40, which is far more than the $15 they pay to the government.

The second way driving schools to profit from MTO Certification costs is by excluding them from package prices that are advertised.

As a result, even though the package being offered by that particular driving school isn’t cheap, it appears to be.

For instance, a driving school can state in its advertising that the BDE course is $585 but omit the MTO certification fee.

The driving school can make the package appear artificially cheap by waiving the MTO Certification fee, even though the package’s true cost maybe $600, which is more in line with the provincial average.

Before making a reservation, confirm with the driving school that the MTO Certification fee is included in the price mentioned; if it isn’t, make it very clear that you’re only being charged the necessary $15.

2. Separate E-learning Fees.
A driving school’s Beginner Driver Education (BDE) curriculum requires students to complete 10 in-car sessions, 20 hours of tests and assignments, and 20 hours of in-person or online training.

The in-class component has historically been conducted in a classroom environment.

However, many driving schools were forced to start offering their in-class driver’s education program online rather than in a physical classroom after the implementation of COVID-19.

The issue is that most driving schools choose to license online courses from third parties because they lack the resources to develop their own.

Typically, these third-party service providers receive $15 to $35 from driving schools for each student who enrolls in their online course.

Some driving schools would exclude the e-learning fee from the total cost to make their claimed BDE course price seem less expensive than the provincial average.

In addition to the claimed program charge, students will be required to pay $15 to $35 for the driving school’s online learning costs.

While it is entirely legal to hire a third party for online learning, be sure the driving school you select is upfront and honest about whether the e-learning fee is included in the package price.

3. Including Additional Processing Fees.
The most obvious form of hidden fees imposed by driving schools in Ontario is processing or administrative fees.

These payments are so hazy that it’s hard to tell what they mean.

To make their primary service seem less expensive, driving schools frequently use muddled processing or administrative fees.

If the driving school does charge a processing or administrative fee, find out what exactly you are paying for before choosing to schedule lessons there.

4. Inflexible Refund Policies.
Through strict cancellation or refund policies, driving schools frequently tack on extra expenses.

A typical BDE bundle for driver education classes costs between $600–800.

If you don’t get along with your driving instructor or school, you’ll want the reassurance that your money can be refunded.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Many driving schools either have a no-refund policy or charge students a $50 to $100 administrative fee to offer a refund, even if the student hasn’t finished any in-car training.

Before selecting a driving school, you should be fully informed of its cancellation and refund procedures.

What is the actual cost of driving school in Ontario?
The average cost of driving school, including all fees, is $600–800.

Therefore, if you locate a driving school that is below this range, be sure to inquire about each of the aforementioned hidden costs and determine the actual all-in cost.

If you’re looking for the best driving school in Ontario, click here.

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