Students who become non-paying members of alumni network KLV do not have to worry about automatically becoming paying members after graduating anymore. Following complaints, KLV has amended the rules for younger members.
Students registering during the AID. © Sven Menschel
In late 2018, several recent graduates of WUR complained that they had been contacted by a debt collection agency that demanded that they immediately pay 95 euros for their KLV membership and collection charges. The students were not aware that their free membership to KLV (originally the Koninklijke Landbouwkundige Vereniging - Royal Netherlands Association for Agricultural Sciences), for which they had registered as a student, would automatically transition into a paying membership after graduation.
Alumnus Ghislaine Gill complained of Facebook that this forced her to pay 95 euros for a service she did not want anymore, as she could only cancel her membership at the end of the year. She called upon KLV to ‘review this rigid and unreliable policy’.
It is true that KLV automatically changed the students’ free membership into a payed membership after graduation, says Saskia de Boer of KLV, but this was ‘made known to the student members on several occasions’. She realises that students often do not or do not fully read the letters and conditions of KLV. ‘This is one of the reasons why, last December, we were reasonable about the people who indicated being taken by surprise about the membership and the collection procedure.’ The collection procedure was stopped, KLV covered the costs, and if the recent graduates indicated not wishing to remain members, the invoice was also let off, says De Boer.
Furthermore, KLV has amended the rules of membership following the complaints. ‘Like all other paying members, young members who will be paying for the first time will receive an invoice in the first quarter of 2019’, De Boer explains. ‘If they do not wish to become paying members, a reply to the member administration of KLV will suffice to let off the invoice and cancel their membership. If they do not reply to the invoice and do not pay, a reminder will follow. If payment still fails to occur, we will cancel their membership effective immediately and the invoice will be written off. We will no longer be using a collection procedure.’
The membership to KLV costs 46 euros per year. This offers WUR alumni such perks as support in finding a job through KLV Professional Match, as well as discounts on training courses, workshops and career meetings.