/ Motoring

Have you had a problem with a driving school or instructor?

If you’ve ever had cause to complain while learning to drive, we’d like to hear from you. Were you aware of the complaints process?

Learning to drive can be a daunting (and not to mention pricey) experience. When getting behind the wheel for the first time, it’s important to know you’re getting a good standard of service and that you feel comfortable with your instructor.

We’re scoping an investigation into driving schools to find out the issues learners are experiencing and whether they feel empowered to complain about unsatisfactory service.

If you’d like to share your story and contribute to our research, you can leave a comment below or get in touch at yourstory@which.co.uk.

Have you had a bad experience?

We want to hear from learners who have had a bad experience with a driving instructor in the past 18 months or so.

Perhaps you weren’t happy with the quality of the lesson or how much it cost. Or maybe you didn’t feel comfortable with your instructor’s behaviour during your lessons.

If you’ve experienced any of the below issues, we’re keen to hear from you:

🚘 Poor quality of lessons

🚘 Poor quality of customer service

🚘 Charges and billing issues

🚘 Inappropriate behaviour from the driving instructor (e.g, harassment misconduct or discrimination)

🚘 Issues with booking lessons

Do you know how to complain?

We want to make sure learners feel empowered to complain (and escalate a complaint if necessary) about any issues experienced when learning to drive.

Complaining to your driving instructor or school might seem like the obvious first step, but has your complaint been left unresolved? Or was it contested by the driving school or instructor?

There are also other ways you can escalate your complaints, such as reporting to the DVSA or your local authorities.

Have you tried taking your complaint down these routes, and what was your experience if so?


I don’t think there were complaints procedures when I learned to drive, so I had to do it myself.

I booked 6 lessons and my first instructor spent half the lesson at the side of the road and the rest taking over the controls. I wouldn’t have minded if I was about to veer into oncoming traffic or hit the kerb, but he wanted me in the centre of my lane and grabbed the controls if I wasn’t where he wanted me. I had driven off-road on quite a few occasions so I wasn’t a complete beginner.

After a couple of lessons I had enough, so stopped the car and said to him ‘How am I supposed to learn to drive this bIoody car if you won’t leave the controls alone.’ He didn’t touch them again but left the driving school soon after and I had another instructor who was little more than a passenger as he just let me drive with no advice or correction.

I couldn’t really afford a car at the time, so a few years later booked another 6 lessons with a recommended instructor who was brilliant and got me through my test first time.

The first instructor must have thought that dual control meant duel control.

I had a few different instructors as I struggled a lot with driving, mainly due to anxiety. My second-to-last instructor seemed nice enough until we got in an accident where a lorry rear-ended me at a roundabout. We were both fine but I was obviously shaken. During a lesson a few weeks before this happened I also had a panic attack at the wheel because she took me on a main road and large roundabout with no warning. The last time I saw her she told me she wouldn’t take me on main roads until I had seen a doctor and been medicated! I stopped lessons for nearly a year before switching to automatic. Have been driving for 18 months now and never felt more confident. I never reported the instructor – mainly because I didn’t know this was something you could do till recently. Just glad she didn’t put me off driving completely!

Michelle says:
2 September 2021

Yes I have a complaint, a driving school I was with asked for my child’s name of school because I cancelled one of my lessons due to my child being told to isolate because someone had covid in their classroom and I cancelled to protect the company from the spread of covid as my child may of had it. I gave them 48hrs notice also. Asking which school my child is at is none of their business, my child was not taking the lessons, I was and I was a paying customer. They took no responsibility at all.

Michelle says:
2 September 2021

And how is it fair, that when we cancel at short notice we have to pay up, but when they do it’s okay. How is that okay?!

My daughter signed up for a lessons with a driving school as they promised her a test before she went to university. After several weeks of chasing a test was arranged. She came back from holiday a day early to be able to take her test. On the day of her test the examiner refused to get in the car due to concerns about hygiene. When we contacted the school to complain they blamed the instructor and accepted no liability for this issue. Despite several attempts to escalate the issue and point out the contract was taken out with the driving school not the instructor nothing has been done to rectify this issue. My daughter has now left for university and the £613 she paid has been wasted. We are now met with a wall of silence from the school. Can you advise what the best options are to escalate my complaint

Hi Chris – Can you explain the examiner’s concern about hygiene?

Hi the examiner stated that the car was not cleaned too the required standard. The footwell had some gravel in it.

Thanks Chris. What a weird explanation. 🙁

It might be worth subscribing to Which? Legal for inexpensive legal advice. You don’t have to be a subscriber.

If the driving instructor or the driving school is a member of a trade body it might be worth making contact. I hope your daughter manages to obtain her licence soon.

Claire Fletcher says:
7 October 2021

I paid £150 deposit of £1390 for a 30 hour intensive driving course with PassMeFast for my daughter in May before starting university in September. Five months later she still hasn’t been allocated a single driving lesson and despite trying to call, email and WhatsApp I can’t cancel or get my deposit back.