Updated (July 18th) with a response from Microsoft Learning.
Updated (July 19th) with a response from Prometric.
Updated (July 20th) after a nice chat with Microsoft Learning
It has been a while since I wrote blogpost about Prometric, but today a colleague of mine tweeted (Thanks @KBaggerman and @IvoVermaesen) about Prometric and at first I thought it was a late April Fools Day joke. When I checked the Prometric website I found out that it was serious : When you change/cancel your exam within 15 days of the exam date you have to pay a cancellation fee. This fee differs per country, but for the Netherlands it’s 24 Euro’s.
Prometric strives to provide Microsoft candidates with the best possible choice of dates, times and locations in order to take their examination. Current cancel and reschedule rates limit choice for Microsoft candidates, by reserving seats that are never used. In order to encourage test takers to honor scheduled times and reduce reschedule rates to free up seats and times for all Microsoft candidates, Prometric is implementing a reschedule/cancellation fee that will be applied to Microsoft candidates that cancel or reschedule on the web or through the contact center with less than 15 days notice. (Because testing centers are able to control their own schedules, this will not apply to tests that are scheduled / rescheduled directly through a test center).
Source : Prometric Client Information
Did they completely lost it? I can imagine that they change the ‘old free cancellation period’ (you were able to cancel/change your exam for free 24 hours before the exam would take place) to, let’s say 48 hours…or even a bit longer.
The strange thing is that it only applies to Microsoft exams….so I’ll have to ask some of my Microsoft contacts if they could tell me more about it. Since it’s weekend, I’ll try to contact them and see what they can tell me…
UPDATE (July 18th) : I received a reply from my contact over at Microsoft Learning. I asked her if Microsoft had anything to do with Prometric’s Cancellation Fee. She e-mailed me the following response :
No, this is a Prometric cancellation fee, and it’s not something that Microsoft drove. I understand that there is a FAQ page on Prometric’s web site, but I don’t have the link handy. I’ve asked someone to send it to me, will forward that when I get it from him.
And a bit later I received an e-mail with additional info :
The links I was going to get were the ones you already had in your blog post.
If you want to find out Prometric’s reasons for implementing this fee only on Microsoft exams, you’ll have to ask them directly. You can find contact information to call them here: http://www.prometric.com/Microsoft/EMEAIT.htm
Updated (July 19th) : I contacted Prometric to ask them why they introduced the cancellation fee. This is how they responded :
We reserve a chair in an exam center for a candidate. When the candidate isn’t able to attend the exam and wan’t to cancel/reschedule the exam the chair isn’t occupied (Helmer : ‘and we don’t make any money’). This is the reason we extended the ‘valid-cancellation period’ and introduced a fee (Helmer: ‘so we make some money if the candidate cancelled within 15 days’).
I also asked why the period is exactly 15 days, and not (let’s say) 2 or 3 days…
I’m not sure. Do you really want to know why? (Helmer : after being about 5 minutes on hold she told me) The information isn’t available. Someone came up with the ’15 days cancellation period’. Microsoft was also informed with this ‘cancellation fee’ and they agreed.
And the last question I asked was when do I don’t have to pay the fee. I even mentioned that IT personel has to take care of escallation’s etc..
That’s a company risk. The only reason you don’t have to pay the fee is when you are sick. Ow…and you have to e-mail us a medical report (see the faq for more info).
I will ask my Microsoft contact to respond to the new info…let’s see what they have to say….
Update (July 20th) : I talked to my friend over at Microsoft Learning again. Too bad she couldn’t ‘solve’ the issue, but she can forward my thoughts about the issue to someone at Prometric (not being someone at the exam-reservation-depertment). I’m quiet busy at the moment, but when I have a few minutes I’ll will send the e-mail. I’ll keep you posted!
What do you think about this ‘cancellation fee’? Let’s hear it in the comment’s….
If you want to know what the cancellation fee is in your country, please click here.
The Microsoft Reschedule Cancellation FAQ tells us the following :
Q: Why is Prometric implementing rescheduling and cancellation fees?
A: Prometric’s goal is to provide Microsoft candidates with the right test at the right time and in a location that is convenient for them. As such, Prometric strives to provide each and every Microsoft candidate with a comprehensive selection of dates, times and locations that make it straightforward, secure and convenient for them to test. It is also our goal to provide candidates with the ability to make bookings as much as three months in advance allowing Microsoft candidates maximum flexibility in order to train, prepare, and practice for their exam.
When a Microsoft candidate schedules an exam with Prometric at a particular time and location, that seat is fully reserved for that candidate and is not available for other Microsoft candidates. At the time of reservation, that specific time and date is taken out of the scheduling and registration system; so, by cancelling or rescheduling at short notice, other Microsoft candidates are deprived from being able to use that time and seat.
Therefore effective July 15th 2011, Prometric will implement cancellation and rescheduling fees for Microsoft candidates that cancel or reschedule their testing appointment with less than a 15-day notice. (For a list of applicable fees by country, visit http://www.prometric.com/Microsoft/reschedulecancellationpolicy.htm)
Q: When is the rescheduling / cancellation fee applied?
A: There is no charge to reschedule or cancel bookings that are 15 or more days from the date of original booking. However, any rescheduling/cancellations less than 15 days to the date of original booking will be assessed a fee.
Q. Does the 15 days include the day of the call and the exam date?
A. Yes, the 15 days include the day of the call. For example, a candidate scheduled for 15-August must call Prometric on or before 31-July.
Q: Are weekends counted in the 15 days?
A: Yes, weekends are counted in the 15 days as well as local holidays.
Q. What if I call in 16 days prior to the test date, will I be charged a rescheduling/cancellation fee?
A. No, the rescheduling fee will not be charged. Only candidates that call with less than 15 days notice will be charged the rescheduling fee.
Q: How much will the fee be for rescheduling and cancellation?
A: Rescheduling and cancellation fee varies by country. Click here for details.
Q: How will this fee be applied?
A: Your credit card will be charged the fee and will appear on your credit card statement as a Prometric fee.
Q: What if my cancellation or rescheduling is due to a personal or medical emergency?
A: If you are forced to cancel or reschedule due to personal hardship, accident or illness we will require a medical / police report. For more information, please visit http://www.prometric.com/appeals.
Q. I used a voucher for my original booking. How do I pay for the rescheduling/cancellation fee?
A: We only accept credit card payments for the rescheduling/cancellation fee. Click here for fee details.
Q. If I cancel after having paid the rescheduling/cancellation fee, will my refund include the rescheduling/cancellation fee?
A. You will receive the amount paid for the exam. The reschedule/cancellation fee will not be refunded.
Q. Am I able to reschedule my booking at a testing center?
A. Yes, if you have originally scheduled at a testing center, you may reschedule at a testing center. However, if your original booking is originally scheduled via web registration or Prometric contact center, you cannot reschedule at a testing center. You must reschedule or cancel via web registration system or Prometric contact center.
Source : MS Reschedule Cancellation FAQ