I am a light sport pilot that was renting through a Part 141 school though not enrolled in any specific program. I was looking to have the dollars on my Schedulepointe account refunded as I am no longer in need of rental services from this company. I was informed there are cancellation fees mandated by the FAA to the tune of $280. This seems quite excessive and I have never come across this type of issue when renting from other companies. They informed me it is because they are an FAA certified school. I could not find anything about these mandatory cancellation/closing fees on the FAA website. Please advise and thank you.
Have you asked them to point out the FAA regulation mandating those fees? Beyond that, you probably need to consult an attorney. If you're an AOPA Legal Services Plan member, you should be entitled to a free consultation on this issue. You might also ask the local FSDO about this supposed FAA-mandated fee.
@Jeffrey Moore umm, interesting! Are you saying that after you schedule a flight and then want to cancel it that they are charging or are you saying that you want to leave the school altogether and they are wanting to charge? Having a cancellation fee for a scheduled flight is pretty standard if it is a short notice cancellation but I don't know of any “rule” that 141 schools “must” charge a fee!
No, there is nothing written into the part 141 regulations that require a school to collect a fee when you leave that school. Now, there is a possibility that the school had something to that effect written into their training course outlines, which FAA may have approved. However, even that should not apply to you as just a casual part 61 renter pilot.
The question that needs to be addressed is “what are the terms of the contract that you entered into when you first started to rent their aircraft"? A company can be run in any way that they like. If you signed a general rental agreement then you need to review what you agreed to. If there is no signed agreement and are just renting their aircraft on a pay-as-you-go basis then while they may ask you to pay this “penalty” I'm not sure that you are obligated to do so. However, if you prepaid for a number of hours on their plane then you may have received a lower hourly rate because you advanced them funds specifically to obtain the lower rate. In that case if you have not used all the hours then they are within their rights to recalculate what you owe them based on their normal rate and also add a service fee for the extra work that they had to do. Also, what rental terms are publicly posted in their office? Such terms could easily be interpreted as being a contract that you have agreed to. In that case you may have to discuss this with a lawyer (which could cost you a lot more than what they are requesting).