• Report: #401901

Complaint Review: Advantage Billing Company, Inc. & United Studios Of Self Defense

  • Submitted: Tue, December 16, 2008
  • Updated: Thu, March 08, 2012

  • Reported By:Dana Point California
Advantage Billing Company, Inc. & United Studios Of Self Defense
31882 Del Obispo Street, #154 San Juan Capistrano, California U.S.A.

Advantage Billing Company, Inc. & United Studios Of Self Defense Misleading contract, & unauthorized debits to your bank account San Juan Capistrano California

*Consumer Comment: Similar situation

* : Similar situation

*UPDATE Employee: Read what you sign, in all things

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Here is the letter to cancel agreement...
I am cancelling my agreement with USSD & ABC (Advantage Billing Company, Inc.) as of today, 12/11/2008. While signing my contract I specifically stated that I did not want auto debits on my checking account, and I wished to pay with my card at the dojo when I knew funds would be available. I work on commission, and can not always forecast my income. I was told that was fine, and nowhere on the contract does it state that automatic billing would occur. It only asks for the due date, and the card I would be using at the time of sign up.

There were two options for Auto Withdrawal which were purposely not checked, as I did not want auto withdrawal. ABC is only represented as an assignee of the contract, not an authorized auto debit company.
They had debited my account in 11/2008 w/o any authorization, and I contacted my bank about what I needed to do to stop this, and they said I would need to cancel my ATM card and have another one re-issued. Instead of going through all that, as I have this card tied to other accounts, I spoke with Ian at USSD about not running my card on the 10th of December, and I would rather pay at the studio. He made a note to contact ABC about not running the card until the 20th, and Angela was made aware of this as well.

It appears contact was not made to ABC, and ABC, without any contractual authorization, withdrew $370.50 from my checking account on 12/10/2008. Since then I have had a rent check returned, and incurred over $275 of bank fees that I will be attempting to recoup due to this breach of contract. I since have had to cancel my ATM/Debit card, and I will be disputing the December debit.

Tootrusting
Dana Point, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/16/2008 10:43 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Advantage-Billing-Company-Inc-United-Studios-Of-Self-Defense/San-Juan-Capistrano-California-92675/Advantage-Billing-Company-Inc-United-Studios-Of-Self-Defense-Misleading-contract-un-401901. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Similar situation

AUTHOR: too+trusting+811 - (United States of America)

I also experienced something similar to this. I was originally on a 2 year contract that was about to end in 10 months but was convinced to sign up for the black belt program & paid $7000.00 up front for up to 4 years under the condition that the pre-existing contract would be voided. Well that didn't happen. They continued to charge me $185.00 for the next 10 months. But unlike your situation, they were very apologetic & they have given me half of the reimbursement & I will soon be receiving the rest in a few months. I'm sorry the intructors were dishonest with you at your dojo.
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#2

Similar situation

AUTHOR: Marcus - (USA)

I too am canceling my agreement with USSD as of tommorow, 08/19/09. This company has a serious problem with how they accommodate their customers' needs and ability to pay for training, and I went through a similar situation that you did before canceling.

This is unfortunate because the actual training seems to be of good quality, but I tell anyone who reads this, if you don't watch your back like I did, you can find yourself in big trouble when dealing with this company, especially their ABC subsidiary.

I am a college student who is currently going through the process of joining the United States Air Force. I was looking for a good way to get into shape and perhaps learn some useful hand to hand combat techniques, believing that this would put me a step ahead in my military career as the Air Force does not teach hand to hand martial arts.

In June 2009 I walked into the local (Overland Park, KS) USSD dojo and applied for a trial lesson. I was very satisfied with the trial lesson and was promptly informed that I would be best to sign up for a 6 month program which would cost $205 per month and include three public lessons as well as one private lesson. I agreed and signed up, using a bank account that I had created solely for the purpose of storing debit funds for USSD tuition. I did not give them a credit or bank card.

What I did not understand firstly was that public lessons occurred at set times of the day and that if you could not make these times, you're screwed. I happen to be one of those 11-7 work shift people. Every day I would show up late because my job would keep me occupied into the lesson time. USSD was completely unwilling to let me make up these lessons at different times for free, and despite what they may tell you, it is during public lessons that most learning is done. If you can't make the public lessons, (and I couldn't) you are wasting your time.

That was just problem # 1. Problem # 2 arose when I first attended a public lesson where sparring was the activity of the day. I was informed that I would not be allowed to participate unless I purchased "sparring gear" direct from USSD.

This cost approximately $200. Except for the ballistic helmet, which is actually somewhat nice and apparently good for head protection (I never actually used it) the gear is essentially new but relatively shoddy plastic armored jock strap, "Bushido shoes", and some punching gloves (which apparently are no good for punching practice because they wear out easily). I probably forgot something, but the point is that I got completely hosed.

You are charged for everything under the sun by this company, all cash or direct check. Yellow belt test, which is essentially a large and slightly longer public lesson? $60. Gi? Included with the $205 start up fee. Makeup lessons? In excess of $50 apiece. There are many more fees and hidden expenses that they don't tell you about when you sign up. You're going to be paying a lot more than $205 a month, which in and of itself is ridiculous, in hindsight, for a maximum of 4 30-minute sessions a week. You can get more but that is $300+, and they tell me these are the "discount prices". What a crock.

All of these things are easily enough avoided if you don't make the mistakes I made, though. However, you will get defrauded if you don't watch your bank account like a hawk. I decided to pay my monthly tuition in cash once, gave the money directly to the sensei, who will not be named in respect of their privacy. Next morning? I learn only after depositing a paycheck that $205 had already been withdrawn from my account, regardless of the fact that $205 hadn't been in there to start with. I had to pay overdraft fees of course and never did get that refunded, although the sensei did give me my cash back. This company's main problems are present in their billing.

Fast forward two months. For God knows what reason, I decide to stick with this, convincing myself that the truckloads of cash I have already poured down this sinkhole will be worth it in the end, and that it didn't make sense to quit now knowing that all my money will go to waste. Well, then school starts, and I get a second job, and all of the sudden I have absolutely no time to do anything to get anything out of what I'm paying. I call and let them know that I need to cancel until more time becomes available and I can commit to the program.

Here comes the punch-line: I'm told that not only will I now be held responsible for the  "discounts" I received on my monthly payments (it would have ordinarily been more than $205?) but that I will also have to get hit with one more tuition payment for training I will never recieve, as "ABC" needs 30 days to cancel and in the meantime I owe them more money. I.E., these people want to charge me rent after I've moved out of the apartment early and already coughed up the security deposit.

I'm glad I only gave them one throwaway bank account. I'm just about to sign on and dump what's in there into my others, and then shutting the throwaway down. I'm sure they'll try without end to pester me to pay up. I hope they enjoy banging their collective heads against the wall.

In summary: USSD is a very well developed and on the surface credible institution that offers quality training. However, they are not accommodating to their customers, there are a gazillion hidden expenses and fees, and if you try to get out of it they will attempt to fleece you. Buyer beware.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Read what you sign, in all things

AUTHOR: Ben Krapf - (U.S.A.)

The student agreement at USSD/ABC is clear. It is possible that the individual posting this complaint did not read their agreement well or was not paying attention when the instructor who enrolled them explained it. Unfortunately, these things do happen, which is why it is so important to bring up any questions or concerns you may have with your instructor ASAP. Also, the "Auto" selections in the billing portion of the student agreement are for withdrawal from a checking or savings account. If you provided a credit card for billing, then it would have happened via the credit card number you supplied. The student agreement states that the tuition will be billed automatically -- if you supply a credit card number, why would you think that the card WOULDN'T be charged? I was a student for years and never had one issue with ABC or USSD.
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