italki is a service rated 3.4 stars based on 12,753 reviews on review sites, which indicates that most customers are satisfied. Users mention long waits for customer service and poor quality of work. italki is ranked 17th among language learning sites with a 3.4 out of 5.0 score.
You can tell by looking at the reviewers’ profiles. Most have no other reviews and haven’t used the Trustpilot before. This means that italki creates bots for posting reviews or stimulates customers to leave a positive review.
On the other hand, reviews left by real people are also mostly positive. A few drawbacks are the lack of a user-friendly interface and sync with Google Calendar. A few people also mentioned that their money was gone after a small period of inactivity. A decent amount said their teacher never showed up, and they still got charged. So, is italki good, and if not, what are the alternatives? We’ll have to do some more digging to find out.
Our honest opinion on italki
A vast choice of tutors is both an advantage and a drawback. If you’re just starting, it’s very hard to find a teacher due to their sheer number. They all have ratings from 4.5 to 5.0 stars, yet the prices differ. So, how do you know which one is good? A great way to judge a teacher is by their intro video. You can hear them speak, assess their manner and determine whether you will be a good match.
The prices vary greatly, so conveniently, you can find a teacher for every price point. Yet, the system is not perfect. The platform charges a user even amounts, like $10 or $20, while a lesson can cost anything - $5, $7, $21. This means you may be left with an odd sum in your account that cannot be refunded. The payment methods they offer are legit and trustworthy - they support PayPal and bank card transfers.
Our experience with the support team was pleasant as well. The agent joined the chat promptly and answered all our questions. However, the answers could have been more detailed.
Overall, the site delivers on its promises if you find an experienced teacher.
Our experience with the service
Our overall impression of the service is that learning languages with italki is fairly easy. What is italki? It’s a platform that connects you with online tutors in any language you want to learn. It also supports group lessons and themed sessions, like how to pass a job interview.
Why is italki so cheap? One of the best features of the service is that it offers tutors at different prices, starting from $4. So, if you’re short on cash but eager to learn, you can still benefit from the platform.
We took three test lessons in Spanish, German, and Italian with different tutors and a group listening class. We chose different teachers for each. Our Spanish lesson cost $24.2, German was $11, and Italian was $5. The group class cost us $10. Because the total price was $30.2, we had to deposit $40, which wasn’t convenient.
The Spanish tutor was very professional and seemed to have a solid background in teaching. The German class was harder to complete, but overall, it went well. The Italian tutor was 5 minutes late but stayed 5 minutes after to make up for the lost tie.
Testing the support team
For a comprehensive italki review, we had to test the support team. When you start a chat, you’re immediately connected with a bot that answers the most popular questions. However, it’s easy to go past that and connect to a real person. italki customer service representative was fast, efficient and polite.
The only drawback was that the support rep didn’t seem too knowledgeable. He answered the questions in a somewhat generic manner. We asked about payment options, and he said it depended on the country. He offered us to sign up and look for ourselves. Understandably, a support agent doesn’t have the time to answer detailed questions, but they know your location, so why say it depends on the country? Yet, overall, the impression was positive. He answered very quickly and sent some helpful links to answer our questions.
The next time we decided to address support was in the middle of the night. Luckily, the attitude and the quality of service remained unchanged - they were still nice and respectful and replied quickly.
One problem occurred when we asked to refund the remaining money in our account; they said that wouldn’t be possible and we would need to use it up for another lesson. Not very customer-oriented.
Who are italki tutors?
You can immediately find the ‘Find a teacher’ tab when you go to the service's main page. So, let’s look into who italki’s teachers are. Anyone can sign up to become a teacher, but there are a few conditions. You can learn more by reading their website's ‘Become a teacher’ tab. According to italki.com reviews, they don’t treat their teachers with the most respect. Most bad reviews on Trustpilot have been left by dissatisfied teachers. They say they have been fined or fired without explaining the reason. That’s a shame.
However, a huge number of teachers have many years of experience and seem to have been working with italki for a while. So, hopefully, that experience is not universal.
Is italki good for beginners? Yes, it is. You can pick a tutor specializing in beginners and join beginner-friendly conversation clubs. Speaking practice is very important in the first stages of learning a language.
How much does a lesson cost?
So, how much does italki cost? It literally depends only on how much you are willing to pay. Is italki free? Of course not. But it’s quite affordable. italki prices start at $4 per lesson, which is very inexpensive. You can get a discount by using a referral link. Also, discounts are available when you book several lessons ahead. You will be presented with different options when you sign up for several lessons with the same teacher. You can pay for one class or 5 and save up to 20%. The specific amount depends on the teacher, as they decide on the bulk discount.
Overall, the service is very affordable. However, if you want to study a lot or try different teachers, you must invest. It will take a few trials to find a tutor for you.
Italki also offers a range of free services. The users’ community is active, and their blog has many interesting and useful articles. So, even if you’re not planning to buy a lesson, you can still benefit from quizzes that users post on the Community tab and from reading blog articles.
Can I get a refund?
Italki has a refund policy, but it’s quite rigid. Under their Terms of Service, you can see that they do not offer any refunds. According to their policy, you will be compensated if a teacher doesn’t attend your class. Not in actual money, though, but back to your account.
However, italki reviews say many customers have been charged for never-learned lessons. Several reviews stated that a tutor didn’t show up, yet the customer has been charged. Another review stated that due to Zoom’s limitations, the lesson was cut 20 minutes short. Zoom’s free version only allows for 40 minutes of uninterrupted conversation, but a lesson is supposed to last an hour. Yet, the teacher did not call back the student who left that review, and they have not been refunded.
Overall, the idea behind the platform is quite brilliant, but it’s sometimes executed poorly. While most customers are satisfied, and many Reddit users have reported using the service for years, italki’s professionalism could improve. Having a more customer-oriented refund policy is a great start. And to avoid Zoom’s limitations, one can just use Google Meets.
How long are the lessons?
So, is italki good? To answer that, we have to look at a few more parameters. Italki’s lessons last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Each tutor determines the final duration. When signing up for a class, you can choose among the lessons’ lengths that have been determined by the tutors beforehand. Normally, test classes last 30 minutes. It’s a good duration to see if you are a good match and work out the tutor’s professionalism.
However, if you didn’t like the teacher, you will not be refunded, even partially. After that, you can sign up for 45, 60, or 90-minute lessons if the teacher is a match for you. You can even buy classes in bulk and get a small discount. If something unexpectedly comes up on your schedule, you must cancel or reschedule a class at least 24 hours before. Otherwise, you will lose your money.
There are many reviews on italki and the overall impression is positive. Yet, during our review, we found some problems with the platform that need to be fixed before the service can get a glowing review from NoCramming.
The service’s policy is not customer-oriented. They would elicit more trust if they offered refunds. Otherwise, people trying to save money by signing up for a less expensive tutor are in a higher risk zone. They can get a tutor who is not as qualified or doesn’t have a strong work ethic.
Our experience has been relatively positive. Our classes, both the private ones and the group ones, were pretty good. We found that holding group classes is a nice touch. The users’ community is also great. The people on it are responsive and enthusiastic. Italki’s blog is also a useful learning resource to explore for free.
Pros & Cons
Overall, it’s a good service if you want to start learning a language without the pressure. You can choose a tutor without annoying pop-ups and get to know them through their intro video. italki app is also a huge benefit since many people predominantly use their phones for studying.
But this service is not without its cons. The sheer number of fake reviews on Trustpilot is a red flag, and the real ones are mixed. We even suspect some Reddit comments were paid, too, as they were written in an overwhelmingly positive, robotic manner.
Frequently Asked Questions
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