Nicole Fast
Thinking about leaving italki
Yesterday I had to write this email to italki support. It's kind of a long story, but I think the email explains most of it.

"My teacher, Natalya Obraz, recently had her account deactivated by italki, and I must say that I am furious with the way italki has chosen to deal with this situation. 
Natalya is an honest, reliable, and professional person! The reason her account was deactivated was she had two problem reports within 24 hours. The reason she couldn't make it to those lessons was she has no electricity! She literally had no way to do the lessons and is being punished for something that is out of her control. Additionally, she had earned money from teaching that she will no longer get because of this incident, which shows how unprofessional, unfair, and unreasonable italki really is. 
 Me and several other students have already contacted support and were told that her account was deactivated because she always returns money to her students if there was an issue with the lesson. In both recent cases, the students did nothing and the lesson was rescheduled because of something that was OUT OF THE TEACHER'S CONTROL. Why should the students pay in that situation either? It was not their fault, and it was not Natalya's fault that her city had no electricity for a short amount of time.
Me and several other students are prepared to leave italki and learn from similar companies like Rype and Langcer."

Has anyone else had a similar experience with italki? I and several other students are upset with how italki has chosen to handle this and may have to leave and learn from other companies.
May 6, 2018 1:30 PM
Comments · 24

It is a) a difficult problem, b) which italki handles poorly.

I think one approach might be, never to deactivate teachers' accounts simply because of missed appointments, but rather to present the information and let the customer decide. That is, to display, at the time of booking the lesson, something about the number of missed appointments over the last thirty days, together with the teacher's explanations of why. Rather than drawing a identical bright-line standards for teachers in developed and less-developed countries, let the customer decide. There could also be a statistical comparison between other teachers in the same geographical area. 

This should be part of the booking screen, not the teacher's profile, so that the student always sees it before booking the lesson.

"Over the last 30 days:

The average italki teacher from Country X has missed 0.5% of scheduled lessons

[Teacher's name] has missed 5 out of 83 = 6.0% of scheduled lessons. Stated reasons:

Power outage 4

Internet outage 1

Student complaints about handling of missed appointments: 0"

May 6, 2018
I wouldn't trust italki to run a lemonade stand.
May 6, 2018
Italki seems to think that students treat teachers like interchangeable cogs. So, if one teacher disappears, we just find another one without batting an eye. Actually, some of us (a lot of us; in fact, probably most people who take lessons here) care a lot more about about the particular teachers we work with than we do about the platform. And if Italki fails to understand that, it may just go out of business. 
May 6, 2018

Reading this is so disheartening. I've been an iTalki member for 3 years and it has been a huge aid in my language learning and still is. A lot of controversies have stirred up on this platform in such a short period and it's certainly upsetting.

I only hope that this situation is temporary. All iTalki needs to do is just listen to its community, something it has been failing to do, as made clear by these kinds of discussions popping up so frequently.

The future looks bleak if something isn't done about this and iTalki continues to let down its community and own teachers. Please keep us updated on iTalki's response, Nicole, and I truly hope they bring Natalya back.

May 6, 2018
Oh, man. This is bad. I thought that things would calm down after April purge but this is really terrible. Have all students written to the italki team?
May 6, 2018
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Nicole Fast
Language Skills
English, German, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
German, Russian, Spanish