I have been operating as an independent instructor for about 6 years since leaving AA driving school, some of that time using a dual controlled car that had no roof headboard or any tuition signage on the car, just 'L' plates and only once has any of my learner drivers asked to see and checked my ADI badge to make sure my credentials are correct and in order (the DSA word is fit and proper person).
I always display my instructor registration certificate on the windscreen of my car as required by law when giving paid tuition, but the expiry date can only be viewed from outside, so it is possible for your ADI to be no longer displaying a valid badge especially if the tax disc is strategically placed to cover the valid till date (there is currently no law that requires an instructor to leave their badge in the car during a driving test, so even examiners can't easily tell if the badge has been removed).
Now don't think that you can't be ripped off by a genuine, fully qualified, current instructor, but with the amount of trust given to ADIs (lump sum money in advance, long times alone with him/her, possible invitation into your house), isn't it worth checking their identity and validity (the car could have fake registration plates, and how many people know where their instructors live)? Following the DSA introducing CRB checks, there have been a few (not a large number though) people who have been removed from the register of those allowed to teach for money or reward, and while they might have surrended their current badge, who would know if they continued to teach either without displaying a grren badge, or just used an expired one?
As a provisional licence holder, you do have some responsibilities as the driver in charge of a vehicle, but more importantly don't you think you deserve to give your money only to a qualified instructor who is more likely to be honest in the way they treat you?
There are many stories of instructors not giving back money paid in advance if you decided to stop taking lessons with them. All instructors are supposed to abide by the DSA code of conduct which requires all monies to be kept safe and returned if required. If you want to report any fraudulent or dishonest behaviours by an ADI operating in the UK, contact the DSA integrity team:
- sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone - in office hours - Tel 029 2058 1155
- phone - out of hours - Tel 029 2058 1290
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