I received a text just before the summer holiday from an unknown number claiming to be the mum of a boy I tutor saying that she was having to use her husband’s phone because hers was broken, and that the boy wouldn’t be along for tuition that evening. The text came in around 20 minutes before the start of the session. I let it go with a suitable reply. For two weeks in a row after term started again the same number informed me of various fairly creative reasons why the boy couldn’t manage for tuition that evening (a football trial for a Championship side being one of them!). Again, the message came in just before the session started. Last week there was another text message from the same number with another tale of woe. I deliberately didn’t reply this time, and at the time the boy was due to arrive for tuition there was a knock at my door. It was the boy, and he was anxiously asking if I had received his mum’s message. He explained that he wasn’t able to be tutored due to illness, but he was however able to attend football training where he always went after my tuition, and that was where he was now heading. I replied to the number acknowledging the message, but by now I was suspicious and I sent the same message to the number I normally used for the mum. Immediately I received a call from the mum stating that the boy should be with me. She was devastated at his deviousness. He must have texted on the way over, then received my reply, and got his mum to drop him off further down the road instead of right outside my house. He would have waited until she was out of sight and then walked to his training and pocketed the tuition money. I blame myself for not having a better cancellation policy and for letting cancellations go without requesting payment. The mum told me it was a shame that I had lost out on the money, with no offer to pay. She said she will get back to me “on the way forward from this” and will speak to her son. I don’t want to create any bad feeling with the family as I get on well with the parents. Does anyone else have a story to share of a student going to fairly extreme lengths to avoid tuition and possibly even pocketing the tuition payment?