Here's something you should know: when you search 'Preply reviews', most of the articles you'll see are created by bloggers who are paid every time someone clicks through to Preply and buys lessons. This is known as affiliate marketing, a practice that makes it annoyingly hard to find trustworthy reviews online.
You may also see that Preply is advertising in the hope you'll see their page rather than independent reviews...
At LanguaTalk, we sometimes receive concerning messages about Preply from students and tutors, so we decided to investigate the company's practices. We analysed Preply reviews written by hundreds of language learners and tutors, as well as evaluated discussion on Reddit. And of course, we tried the site ourselves.
This review of Preply is split into the following sections:
Quality of tutoring: 2/5 ⭐⭐
Value for money & ethics: 1/5 ⭐
Flexibility: 2/5 ⭐⭐
Customer support: 2/5 ⭐⭐
Technology: 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overall rating: 2.2 stars out of 5.
The bottom line: Preply takes an unreasonable proportion of tutors' earnings, which is why the best tutors tend to work on other platforms. Preply allows almost anyone to teach, rather than focusing on recruiting experienced and talented tutors. These factors, combined with criticisms of customer support and learners being charged without realising, appear to explain the many 1-star Preply reviews on TrustPilot. In addition, in 2022, the company switched to an inflexible monthly subscription model that is leading many learners to lose a lot of money.
If you want to try a platform that treats tutors and students with respect, have a look on LanguaTalk instead. Most tutors offer a free trial session for new users.
Quality of tutoring: 2/5
On Preply, like on most other platforms, the tutors develop their lesson plans independently, so usually you'll want someone experienced. In various places on Preply, you'll see tutors are described as 'certified', professional' and 'internationally certified'.
The reality is the platform accepts basically anyone who fancies trying their hand at teaching (this becomes clear just from looking at some of the profiles). So to find someone talented and experienced, you'll have to browse through dozens of tutors, many of whom have little to no experience and may be unreliable. Not ideal.
In contrast, at LanguaTalk, we put in hours each week to go through applications, only accepting tutors who demonstrate professionalism, talent and reliability. You can see the quality of profiles here.
Value for money & ethics: 1/5
Because the Preply reviews you'll see from bloggers make money from recommending the site (using affiliate links), this may be the first time you'll see anything about the company's policies. At LanguaTalk, tutors regularly join us because they're unhappy with how they've been treated by Preply.
When you take your first lesson with a tutor, 100% of your payment goes to Preply. Yes, you read that right, the tutor gets nothing.
After this, Preply takes 33% commission on further lessons, with the rate only decreasing to 18% once 400 lessons are taken.
Of course, this means that tutors are forced to charge you a higher price. What makes this even more shocking is that the company has received approximately $120 million in investment. Taking such high commission is perhaps the only way they can afford to pay huge sums to dominate Google's search results and pay investors back. Because of their dominance on Google, tutors' already precarious incomes are being hit globally.
It's also why the best tutors usually work on other platforms, like LanguaTalk.
(Side note: there's a Change.org petition against Preply taking 100% of payments - consider signing it.)
Like on other platforms, you can book lessons for whenever your tutor is available. Unlike LanguaTalk, there is no option to just buy one lesson at a time. And in early 2022, Preply made monthly subscriptions the only option for new learners. They said this was done to keep learners motivated, but the reality is it removes flexibility and means you have less time to use your lessons.
Update November 2022: on Trustpilot there are numerous Preply reviews with learners complaining that they lost money due to the new subscription model. It appears that Preply does not allow you to use credits left over from previous months - it goes to Preply instead. There are also complaints from people who were surprised when they had recurring monthly charges, so watch out for this. In addition, some learners say that if they pause their subscription, they cannot reschedule existing, paid-for lessons, which doesn't seem fair. Below is a quote from a student, on TrustPilot:
"After you pause the subscription, you cannot schedule any classes, and the credits you currently have are frozen."
Customer support: 2/5
Given Preply seems to allow basically anyone to teach, there's a decent chance you may have an issue you need help with. If you look on TrustPilot, you'll see there are over 1,500(!) 1-star Preply reviews, with many stating that the support was poor or non-existent. It's hard providing support to hundreds of thousands of users, and it seems the company may have opted to cut costs using bots or cheap contractors.
Side note: you'll notice that the company's overall rating is 4.3 stars, however TrustPilot is notorious for not preventing suspicious/fake reviews, and Preply also appears to ask many of its tutors to write reviews. It's hard for tutors to say what they really think whilst working on the site. To compare with reviews for LanguaTalk, please see here.
We said this Preply review would be fair, and on the tech side, we found the site reasonably easy to use. We like how their calendar displays availability (as shown below). It's certainly better than many other tutoring sites, though all modern platforms make it easy to view availability in your time zone and manage your appointments.
Preply review - the bottom line:
Students and tutors have highlighted several major issues with Preply. The company's inflexible subscription model has attracted criticism due to paid-for lessons disappearing if not used within a month. Preply takes a lot of commission from tutors, which is why the best tutors tend to work on other platforms, like LanguaTalk. In addition, the company seems to accept almost anyone who applies, rather than putting in the effort to find the tutors who are talented and professional. So you could get lucky or you could end up with someone unreliable. If this happens, the reviews suggest that you'll have trouble getting help from customer support.
What's the best Preply alternative? If you're looking for a more ethical platform with higher standards of teaching and prompt support from the founding team, consider booking a trial with a tutor on LanguaTalk. Tutors offer 30-minute trial sessions for free or for a reduced rate to get to know potential students. No card is required for free trial sessions, so you can meet a tutor without any commitment. Click here to see tutors' videos, reviews and prices.
Is Preply legit? Is it a scam?
We've noticed a big increase in people Googling: is Preply legit? So, what's the answer? Well, it depends what meaning of the word 'legit' you're referring to. Whilst some customers and tutors have suggested that Preply is a scam, we don't see any clear evidence that anything they're doing is illegal. But obviously lots of folks see the platform as deceptive and unfair, and there are significantly better options out there, such as LanguaTalk.
P.S. we wrote above that Preply accepts pretty much anyone who applies. Here is some evidence to back it up:
And here's what a lawyer who now studies via LanguaTalk told us happened to him on Preply:
We also mentioned users complaining about the subscription model that removes lessons each month. An example from TrustPilot:
What most people don't realise is that they can dispute charges with their card company, and they'll have a good chance of the money being returned. Bear this in mind if you're faced with a similar situation.
Try a platform people trust. Book a free trial session on LanguaTalk.