Covid 19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please Read – Refund Process

The extent of the impact of Covid-19 has been unprecedented and continues to cause challenges for schools, parents and pupils and those supporting the education sector. Due to the current circumstances, we have found the volume of refunds being requested has reached unprecedented levels across the country due to the cancellation of trips, events etc.

Your refund process

We want to help you make sure refunds to your parents are seamless and without issue. To achieve this, please follow these steps: 

  • Only refund an item if you have the funds available in your bank account for us to collect from you. If you have processed a refund and the refund amounts are higher than the payment amounts, we will collect the funds from your bank account via Direct Debit. You will receive a BACS remittance on the day we request the funds. 
  • If you are claiming the cost of a cancelled trip, please do not process the refund until the settlement has been made by your insurance company and the funds received. 
  • Where a trip is subject to an insurance claim, please keep your parents informed and updated them on the progress of the claim. 
  • Please do not recommend to your parents to use the charge back facility through PayPal or their card issuer. This is not helpful and will incur administration costs and time in processing for you and us. 
  • Please remember PayPal refunds can only be given for payments made in the last 365 days and cannot be paid to expired debit or credit cards. In these instances, please consider alternative payment methods such as a cheque. 
  • All payments made by cash and cheque will need to be refunded outside of ParentMail; remember to update ParentMail manually. Please also update subsidised payments in ParentMail to show as refunded. 
  • Please note, if you are processing a high value of refunds, you may be prompted to contact ParentMail.  

The normal refund collection process will also be amended. Currently refunds are settled directly by ParentMail when requested and the refund then deducted from your next settlement payment. ParentMail carries the cost of the refund between the date of refund until payments received for your school are sufficient to recover this cost. However, given the exceptional volume of refunds currently, this process is not sustainable. 

The limit in place is set at £5000 for primary schools and £10,000 for secondary schools. This means that the system will allow refunds to be processed up to this value and will then claim the funds back from the school account via Direct Debit the next working day. We’ve been advised by the bank that the standard Direct Debit timescales are set to 3 to 5 working days. Once the funds are received by ParentMail, the system will allow further refunds to be processed up to the value of £5000/£10,000 and the process repeats itself until all refunds are processed.

For schools who have a high value of refunds they need to make, the best method to follow would be to send a BACs or faster payment to ParentMail of the total amount of refunds that need to be processed. Once these funds are received, we add them as a credit to the account and the system then allows refunds to be processed the following day. This method is much quicker.

If you’re going to be sending funds over to ParentMail, please let us know so we can provide you with our bank details and the unique reference number for your school to use.

Changes to our refund process

We have now updated the refund process in ParentMail to comprise two stages. The first stage will ask you to confirm that you have sufficient funds available in your bank account for us to collect via direct debit. The second stage will check your current payments balance. Please note: 

  • If you have a low negative balance, your refund will be processed and the monies collected from your account by direct debit. 
  • If you have a high negative balance, you will need to contact us as your refund will not be processed and we will need to agree the most appropriate solution with you. 

To process a refund, please follow the below steps:

Log into ParentMail. Go to Payments > Payment items and search for your item. Click Actions View orders (you can sort using the headings at the top; click one to sort). 

Select all children who are showing paid amounts (including subsidies). Add the amounts which need to be refunded or removed and click Refund

You will be presented with a summary, documenting the amount of cash and cheque refunds which need to be provided. To confirm who needs a refund by cash and cheque, go to Reports > Payment Reports > Transactions for a selected date range 

Select the day prior and the day after and click Generate > Hit F5 on your keyboard to refresh. Click on the CSV to open the report; you can filter to show Cash & Cheque

To find any failed refunds due to payment card expiries, go back to the payment item; click Payments > Payment Item > Search Actions View Orders. Sort by Paid; this will show all students who require manual refunds or students that you haven’t attempted to refund.  

Once all refunds have been actioned, you need to mark all lines as cancelled and archive the item. This will remove the item from the parent view.  

To do this, go to Payments Payment Item > Search Actions View Orders > Select All > Mark as Cancelled Save Close Archive

Please be assured, we are here to support you through this difficult period. Our dedicated refund team are here to help. Call 0344 815 5518 or by email at pluspayrefunds@iris.co.uk for support with refunds.  

By working together, we can continue to maintain positive engagement with your parents. 

Thank you. 

The +Pay by IRIS Team