We finally did it – we signed up for LingoAce. This is something I had wanted to do for months, but the sign-up challenges just seemed insurmountable. And, as I mentioned earlier, I was worried that if issues came up post sign-up, they would be a nightmare to resolve. LingoAce does advertise (on their website) a good refund policy, but I couldn’t find out any more information about how to use it.
You’re assigned a learning advisor
After signing up, our learning advisor reached out to schedule the first class. We’ve been told the learning advisor will coordinate the education process, and have been reaching out to this person to troubleshoot going forward.
Subsequent classes have been pretty easy to schedule via their online app.
Double check you’ve received your free classes
At sign-up, I was offered 10 free classes. However, when I checked online, I had only received 7 free classes. I reached out to my learning advisor (July 6) and she promised to quickly fix this for me.
UPDATE: PRIVACY Concerns!
Update: It turns out LingoAce had been recording my child without my knowledge. They initially refused to delete the videos, stating they didn’t have the technical ability to do so. However, I pointed out that in the US, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act applies, and they are not allowed to collect personal or location information from children without parental permission. Moreover, that in California (where they are located), the California Consumer Privacy Act requires they provide an EASY way to contact them and request the deletion of personal information, they agreed to delete the information. They also said they would build in the privacy protections.
I am not normally as demanding, but when it comes to my kids, it’s different! I contacted their investors, my local congressperson, all the media I could contact (the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, my local papers, etc), posted on social media, etc. Eventually, I spoke to a couple investors and to the CEO – and they promised to fix things.
The recordings are supposedly so parents can view the lessons at any time, and I’m sure it can be useful. But my understanding is they use these recordings, on their side, for machine learning/artificial intelligence and to improve their videos and teaching. And realistically, as a parent, I’m not going back weeks, months, or even years to view recordings!
In general, I felt they were fairly loose with their privacy protection. For example, they assured me they were very careful about who would have access to the video recordings and my child’s information. But further conversations suggested that in fact, anybody at the company had access to the videos. This probably helps to accommodate things such as changing your teachers if needed (including if someone calls in sick, etc) and so any salesperson who talks to you has all the information possible about you and your child (including access to review videos, etc).
I haven’t followed up to see their new process flow, and have no idea how long they keep recordings before deleting them (if they delete at all, unless upon request). I’m sure they’ve met the basic legal requirements, or will soon.
But, this was a learning for me — I now think it is one of the dangers of doing business with a company that is not headquartered in the US or the EU (which would be even better!) and does not prioritize privacy.