1. Booking and Cancellation Policy
Background and purpose
At Banter Speech & Language, we:
- spend several hours preparing for client assessments;
- prepare for each of our therapy and other appointments properly; and
- limit the number of clients we see each day to ensure we are providing a quality service to each of our clients.
Assessments are expensive to plan, and hard to schedule
Before an assessment, we spend significant time: (a) reviewing intake information, questionnaires and other information you send to us; (b) planning a tailored assessment battery to address your key concerns; and (c) preparing expensive assessment forms required to conduct the assessment. If you book an assessment with us and don’t turn up – or if you contact us to cancel a booked assessment with fewer than seven days’ prior notice – we lose several hours of time, money in lost revenue, incur expenses on assessment forms, and lose the opportunity to book in another client from our waitlist. To mitigate this risk, we require a deposit of 50% of the assessment fee at the time of booking the assessment.
If you book a therapy appointment with us and don’t turn up – or if you contact us to cancel an appointment with fewer than two working days’ notice – three things happen:
- We lose the time we have spent preparing for your appointment – time we could have spent helping another client.
- We may not have enough time to reschedule another client for your appointment time, which reduces the total number of clients we can help that day.
- We lose income, which makes it more difficult for us to invest adequately in our staff and resources. In some cases, it can mean that our staff don’t get paid as much for their work.
Speech therapy is most effective when we trust and value each other’s work. We know that things happen – cars break down, children get sick, important travel commitments crop up at short notice. But “no shows” and late cancellations – particularly if they happen more than once – can interfere with our trust in each other and, over time, can affect the quality of care. We take pride in our work and don’t want this to happen.
Booking an assessment, therapy, coaching, consultation, training, intensive, workshop, seminar, group session, or other appointment with us (collectively, an “Appointment”) creates a legally binding contract – the “Agreement” – between you and us. The parties to this Agreement are:
- the person who makes the booking, referred to in this Agreement as “you”; and
- Banter Speech & Language Pty Limited, whose registered address is 115 Queen Street, North Strathfield, New South Wales 2137, Australia and whose registered Australian Company Number (ACN) is 164 658 315. Banter Speech & Language Pty Limited is referred to in this Agreement as “we”, “our” and “us”.
By making the booking on behalf of yourself or a child under your care, you confirm that you are authorised to agree to these terms and conditions.
We provide our services to you subject to this Agreement. As always with a binding contract, you should read through it carefully before making a booking. We may change the terms and conditions of this Agreement, but the latest version will always appear on our website at www.banterspeech.com.au. If you continue to use our services after changes have been made to this Agreement, you will be considered to have accepted the changes to the Agreement between us.
Assessments bookings require a deposit
When you book an assessment with us – through our website, by email, phone and/or face-to-face meeting – the booking won’t be confirmed until:
(a) we send you an email that includes details of the time of the assessment and the cost of the assessment (the “Assessment Fee”); and
(b) we receive a booking deposit equal to 50% of the Assessment Fee from you (the “Assessment Deposit”).
We reserve the right to refuse bookings for any lawful reason.
On our receipt of the Assessment Deposit, we will usually email you your assessment Appointment confirmation to the email address provided when you first contacted us by email or phone. If you have not received your appointment confirmation within 48 hours of paying the Assessment Deposit to us, please check your spam or junk email folder or filter and, if it’s not there, then contact us. It is your responsibility to ensure that your email is set up to allow you to receive your email confirmation, and we cannot accept any liability for any consequences of you not doing so.
The Assessment Fee for the assessment and the fee for each subsequent Appointment for the calendar year are set out in our initial Appointment confirmation email and must be paid in full, and in the currency stated, by cash, debit card, credit card and/or bank transfer on or before the date of the relevant Appointment.
Cancellations, changes to bookings, failures to attend Appointments and payment of invoices
For assessment Appointments, we will accept cancellations up to seven days before an Appointment. You must notify us by email or by telephone, and we must receive your email or telephone call. Our current contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org and (02) 8757-3838.
For all other Appointments, including for therapy sessions, we will accept cancellations up to two working days before an Appointment. A working day for us includes Monday-Saturday (excluding public holidays). You must notify us by email or by telephone, and we must receive your email or telephone call. Our current contact details are email@example.com and (02) 8757-3838.
(a) If you fail to attend, cancel or seek to reschedule an assessment Appointment with fewer than seven days’ notice:
(i) you will forfeit the Assessment Deposit;
(ii) you will be liable to pay us the remaining fee for the Assessment Appointment except, at our sole discretion, in exceptional circumstances outside your control; and
(iii) the assessment Appointment will not be rescheduled until we have been paid for the assessment Appointment that did not take place because of your failure to attend, late cancellation, or attempt to reschedule.
(b) If you fail to attend, cancel or seek to reschedule an Appointment (other than an assessment Appointment) with fewer than two working days’ notice:
(i) you will be liable to pay us the fee; and
(ii) if you have already paid us part or all of the fee, you will not receive a refund,
for such Appointment except, at our sole discretion, in exceptional circumstances.
(c) If you fail to attend:
(i) an assessment Appointment; or
(ii) two or more Appointments,
we reserve the right to discharge you and/or any person under your care from our service without notice.
(d) Payment for Appointments is due on the Appointment date. If you fail to pay one or more of our invoices, we reserve the right to discharge you and/or any person under your care from our service without notice, and reserve all rights to pursue the debt.
If we need to cancel an Appointment for any reason, we may do so at any time before the Appointment is scheduled to begin. We do not expect this to happen except in exceptional circumstances, and we’ll refund any fees you’ve paid us for the Appointment, or offer you a choice of alternative dates for the Appointment, but we won’t be liable to compensate you for any other expenses you’ve incurred in connection with the Appointment. We will try to notify you of cancellations, but we can’t guarantee this, especially when an Appointment is cancelled at short notice (e.g. if your treating speech pathologist is ill).
Attendance and conduct
Please ensure you arrive on time for each Appointment. For the benefit of other clients, we will not admit you to your Appointment any later than 15 minutes after the scheduled Appointment time. You will remain liable for the Appointment fee and we will not issue any refund in this event.
By entering into this Agreement, you undertake to abide by our Zero Tolerance Policy. We reserve the right to refuse admission to you and/or any child under your care or ask you and/or any child under your care to leave our premises if we think you and/or they are behaving in a disruptive way or in a way that violates our lease, in a way that is likely to cause damage, nuisance, offence or injury, and/or in a way that breaches or is likely to breach our Zero Tolerance Policy. You will remain liable for the Appointment fee and we will not issue any refund in this event.
By entering into this Agreement, you agree to ensure that you and all children under your care attending an Appointment comply with all health and safety and other rules and regulations applicable to our premises as well as our Vaccination Policy (as amended from time to time. You also agree not to bring onto our premises any illegal or hazardous items or to allow such items to be brought onto our premises by a child under your care. You also agree to comply with any reasonable request by the staff at our premises (for example, and without limitation, requests relating to the health and safety of our staff).
Therapy blocks, breaks and discharge
After an assessment or a review, we may recommend a therapy block composed of a fixed number of therapy sessions, spaced over a set number of weeks, within a defined period (the “Therapy Block”), followed by a therapy break and, potentially, further therapy or a discharge from our service (at our sole discretion). Our recommendations will usually be set out in writing, in an assessment report or in an email. We do this for four main reasons:
- Spacing effects: Short bursts of treatment spread over weeks may help clients to learn new skills better than intensive treatments taught over consecutive days (e.g., Riches et al., 2005; and Smith-Locke et al., 2013).
- Learning plateaus may exist for speech-language and literacy interventions (e.g., Ambridge et al., 2006; Riches et al., 2005); and there are points of ‘diminishing returns’, where little additional benefit is derived from too much therapy without a break (e.g., McGinty et al., 2011).
- Opportunity costs: time spent in speech therapy is time that cannot be used to practice communication skills in real world social situations. Increasing participation in other activities may be required to transfer therapy gains to the real world.
- Fairness: The current shortage of speech pathology services in Australia means that many clinics, including ours, have long waiting lists. It’s unfair to give one client very lengthy blocks of therapy while others wait for a service they need. Regular therapy breaks across our caseload enable us to reduce average waiting times for everyone (including you).
By entering into this Agreement, you acknowledge our recommendations for a Therapy Block and accept that access to services after the Therapy Block will depend on a number of factors and considerations, including attendance records during the Therapy Block (including any failures to attend and late cancellations), the amount of regular home practice conducted throughout the therapy block, the availability of our staff, competing priorities (including our waitlist at the time) and ethical, legal, operational, logistical, financial, and other factors that may affect our capacity to offer further therapy after the Therapy Block ends. If you want further Appointments after a Therapy Block ends, we will discuss your request and, potentially, waitlist you for a review and, if warranted, a further block of therapy. For the avoidance of doubt, however, we do not guarantee that we will be in a position to offer any therapy or other services after any initial Therapy Block ends.
Limitations of liability
Nothing in this Agreement excludes or limits our liability where such limitation of liability is not permitted by applicable law. Subject to the first sentence of this paragraph, the following two paragraphs apply:
- Our total aggregate liability in contract, tort (including negligence or breach of statutory duty), misrepresentation, restitution or otherwise arising in connection with this Agreement, shall be limited to the total amount received by us from you in connection with the Appointment or Appointments(s) giving rise to such liability.
- You and/or any child under your care attend and participate in Appointments at your own risk. We accept no responsibility for any of the following:
(a) in respect of any person prevented from entering our premises, or asked to leave due to their conduct;
(b) costs or expenses whatsoever or howsoever arising out of or in connection with any Appointment;
(c) loss or damage to personal property;
(d) personal injury, except as set out above; and
(e) loss of data, profit, revenue, use, business, anticipated savings, goodwill, reputation or opportunity, financial or economic loss or any indirect or consequential loss or damage.
Intellectual Property: All materials provided to you by us or by our staff or associates, and any intellectual property belonging to or associated with our company and/or services, including any website, trade mark or trade name, logo, software, text and graphics are the sole property of us or our staff or associates and you agree that you will not infringe any such rights in any way. You can make a copy of materials provided for your own personal use, but no other use of them is authorised.
Force Majeure: We will not be liable for any breach of this Agreement which is a result of circumstances beyond our reasonable control, including but not limited to strike, lock-out, labour dispute, acts of God, pandemic, acts of terrorism, war, riot, civil commotion, malicious damage, compliance with a law or governmental order, rule, regulation or direction, accident, breakdown of plant or machinery, insolvency or bankruptcy of either party or any third party, fire, flood, snow and storm, exceptional weather conditions, difficulty or increased cost in obtaining workers, goods or transport and other circumstances affecting the supply of goods or services.
Rights of Third Parties: A person who is not a party to this Agreement has no rights to rely upon or enforce any term of this Agreement.
Assignment: You may not transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of your interest in this Agreement without our prior written consent.
Severability: If any provision in this Agreement is deemed to be illegal, unenforceable or invalid for any reason, it shall be deemed to have been struck out and the remaining provisions shall survive and continue to be binding and enforceable.
No waiver: Any failure by us to enforce any provision of this Agreement at any time shall not be construed as a waiver of such provision and shall not affect our right to enforce such provision.
Variation: This Agreement may only be varied by express written agreement of the parties.
Jurisdiction: The construction, validity and performance of this Agreement shall be governed by the laws of New South Wales and both parties agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of New South Wales in the event of dispute.
3. Our Approach to client care and feedback
If you have any questions, concerns, feedback, or complaints about our service, please do not hesitate to contact David Kinnane (our principal speech pathologist) or Jillian Cordeiro (our Operations Manager), any time. Our feedback and complaint management policy can be accessed here:
As part of our commitment to transparency, we want our clients to understand their rights and our approach to client service when we choose to work together.
Banter Speech & Language operates under 11 principles. You can read about them here.
We expect our therapists to exhibit 30 qualities in their interactions with you. Watch a short video summarising these qualities here.
Last amended: January 2023