Can I get a refund for my CFA exam fees?

refund for cfa exam fees

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam Nikita Kejriwal was supposed to take has been canceled. Can she get a refund for her CFA exam fee?

Question

I registered for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam and paid $1,450 as enrollment and registration fees. Because of the pandemic, the CFA Institute postponed all examinations that month. However, they are only offering the exam in December 2020 at the earliest or sometime in 2021.

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I am unable to appear for the exam during these months. I have plans to pursue an MBA. I’ve  communicated the same to them, but the CFA Institute states that no refund will be offered as the exams are being postponed.

I would like a refund of the fees paid. Can you help me get my $1,450 back? — Nikita Kejriwal, Mumbai

Answer

If the CFA Institute, which administers the exam, has postponed your test, you should be able to get a refund.

By way of background, the CFA exam prepares candidates to be “effective and ethical” investment management professionals, according to the Institute. Chances are, your financial advisor has a CFA designation. Think of it as a bar exam for financial professionals.

Unfortunately, the CFA Institute wasn’t offering refunds when you contacted me in mid-2020. I disagree with that position for several reasons. Mostly, it forces candidates like you to make a difficult decision: your money or your health? I don’t think anyone should have to make that choice.

I think a brief, polite appeal to the CFA Institute might have helped move your case along. The organization lists the members of its management team on its site. Although they don’t list their email addresses, most CFA addresses follow the format [email protected]

You are located in Mumbai. Under Indian law, you can file a chargeback on your card for a service that wasn’t provided. The law is similar to the Fair Credit Billing Act in the United States, which allows you to get a refund for items charged but not delivered.

The terms of your CFA exam purchase are clear — no refunds. But as the pandemic worsened, the terms became more flexible. I think that’s the right thing. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to persuade a company or organization to offer a more flexible, consumer-friendly refund policy.

But I digress.

This is how to get a refund for your CFA exam fees

I contacted the CFA Institute on your behalf. In response, a representative contacted you “to better understand” your position. You report that he felt that your reasons for not taking the exam at the deferred dates were not valid and tried to convince you to rethink your plans. The institute denied your request for a refund.

But I have some good news for you. The CFA institute also postponed your December exam because of COVID-19. According to its policy, if you have been twice impacted by COVID-19 (meaning deferred from June 2020 and then again the following December), you will have the option to request a refund.