OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- With his mom riding shotgun, Ben Kudrna is an expert behind the wheel.
OK, we can’t vouch 100 percent for his driving. But based on how the 15-year-old was maneuvering around a parking lot last week, his skills looked solid.
In fact, his mom Wendy was confident enough in Ben’s ability that she wants him driving to school this year.
That’s why on May 12 she signed him up at Harder’s Performance Driving School in Overland Park so he could take the requirements necessary to obtain a restricted Kansas driver’s license -- a special category that allows people younger than 16 to drive.
Wendy Kudrna paid $450 upfront for a prep class for the written exam, the administering of the written exam and three 2-hour driving classes. Ben passed the written test his first day: May 12. It’s after that this problem starts.
The metro mom called the school that following Monday to schedule his driving classes.
“Oh we are booked out until June 27,” Wendy Kudrna said she was told.
That was more than a month away.
“That was not communicated to me,” she said she told the school. “How can you be booked out if I just gave you money?”
Worried that her son would be unable to complete his driver’s training before school started, she asked if she could schedule all three classes for consecutive Saturdays.
But Harder’s Performance Driving told her that wasn’t allowed. Each class had to be passed before the next one was scheduled.
After her son took his first driving class on June 27 and passed, Kudrna said she immediately called to schedule the second class.
“I call and call, and I leave messages,” she said. “I can’t get a call back.”
Finally she reached someone at Harder’s Performance Driving School, but the news wasn’t good. The earliest they could schedule Ben for his second lesson was in September -- after school had already started.
“That's not OK,” Kudrna said. “I get that if I'm just calling you today for the first time, but I started doing this on May 12. I get wanting to make money and get a lot of clientele, but to me that`s just overbooking.”
Kudrna contacted FOX4 Problem Solvers, hoping we could convince Harder Performance Driving to step up their game and get kids behind the wheel in a more timely fashion.
She’s not the only one complaining. FOX4 found multiple complaints online -- some dating back four years -- all from parents complaining about the difficulty they had scheduling lessons.
Owner Joe Harder, however, blamed the Kudrnas for signing up for his course too late in the year. He said they should have realized that summer was his busiest time.
But Harder also acknowledged that he had overbooked his classes this year to make as much money as he could during the busy season. To manage the backlog, Harder said he planned to join his employees and start giving lessons.
But don’t expect that any time soon. He told FOX4 he would first have to get his Mustang detailed and that could take up to two weeks.
So how bad is Harder’s backlog? During our interview, Harder took a phone call from a parent scheduling their child’s next driving lesson. He told that parent the next available opening was in late October.
That’s exactly what the Kudrnas feared. Knowing they were upset, Harder canceled her son’s enrollment and mailed them a partial $200 refund.
Kudrna told FOX4 Problem Solvers that she found a new driver’s education school and was promised her son would be able to complete the entire course by the end of August.