Court rules English language school Nova billed student illegally

KYOTO -- English language conversation school operator Nova Co. illegally billed a student when it refused to refund her the full price she had paid for classes she didn't take, the Kyoto District Court ruled.

Presiding Judge Mizuho Ebi ordered Nova to pay the student the 176,672 yen she had sought when suing the company. "It is not valid to demand a greater financial burden than the price agreed to at the time a contract is made out," Ebi said as he handed down the ruling on Monday. Kozo Nagano, the lawyer for the plaintiff, an unnamed woman who had studied briefly at Nova, hailed the decision. "It's the first verdict to ever rule against the argument that (the payment by points) system is beyond the law. The reverberations of the ruling will affect all students," Nagano said. Nova representatives are poised to appeal the verdict. "It's a decision that totally disregards the idea of providing cheap prices for bulk purchases," a Nova spokesman said. "It's a very difficult ruling for us to accept." Nova charges for its classes using a points payment system, with one lesson deemed to be one point. Court records showed that the woman signed a contract with Nova in October 2001, agreeing to pay for 150 points at 2,050 yen per point. She paid 290,580 yen in total. However, the woman only used 36 of the 150 points she paid for and ended her contract with the school. But Nova changed the unit price of points at 3,800 yen apiece and only refunded her 130,580 yen. (Mainichi)

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