• Report: #673491

Complaint Review: Karate America

Thank You

Read how Ripoff Report saves consumers millions.

  • Submitted: Mon, December 20, 2010
  • Updated: Thu, December 23, 2010

  • Reported By: momandwife — Jacksonville Florida United States of America
Karate America
1400 Millcoe Road Jacksonville Fl Internet United States of America

Karate America Tricky business and lots of loopholes!! Internet

*UPDATE Employee: This situation, all the confusion, is unfortunate.

*Author of original report: A Breakdown of "Their Side" vs. THE TRUTH

*UPDATE Employee: The other side of the story

What's this?
What's this?
What's this?
Is this
Ripoff Report
About you?
Ripoff Report
A business' first
line of defense
on the Internet.
If your business is
willing to make a
commitment to
customer satisfaction
Click here now..

Does your business have a bad reputation?
Fix it the right way.
Corporate Advocacy Program™

SEO Reputation Management at its best!

On Monday, December 13, 2010, I went to a trial visit at Karate America on Monument in Jacksonville. Our appointment lasted maybe 15 minutes in the trial part and then I was asked if we would like to join. I was initially excited. They lady on the phone told me that you could negotiate your price with the instructor, that it was all instructor based and that you could say that you wanted to come less times a week for a smaller fee. When we got into the office to sign a contract, however, I was blindsided by the instructor telling me it would be $100 per person (this was to be for my daughter and myself) as well as the gear we would have to purchase. I understood the foot/hand guards, but then he said we HAD to buy the ATA duffel bag, which is more than $60. I asked if it was required and he said "Pretty much." I didn't understand how a duffel bag could be required. There were no special compartments or anything, but I decided that I'd just buy one and share it with my daughter. I asked tons of questions so as not to be confused. I even asked what happens if I want to cancel. Florida Law is three days for cancellation, I was told. In the contract it even states that. It says any unconsumed products may be returned for the retail price, as well.

I went home feeling uneasy about it. I didn't feel they were very honest and I felt forced to sign the contract after very little proof of how good the classes were. My husband told me there was no way we could afford the $200/month and he needed me to cancel it. We decided that we would let our daughter continue and try to swing the payments, but even then we would truly be struggling with the gear they never told us about until the end.

On Tuesday, December 14, 2010, I called the Karate America Headquarters when they first opened. I informed them that I'd like to cancel and why. I was told I'd be contacted by the Monument representative. When she called, she tried to convince me to stay in the program for the month, even when I told her that we truly couldn't afford it. She kept me on the phone for approximately 20 minutes trying to guilt me into staying. Treating me coldly and telling me that I liked it so much before, why am I quitting now? I again explained we would just like our daughter to continue. She wanted me to not cancel my contract and wait until Monday to come talk to them, as I was leaving for Kansas in less than 24 hours and couldn't come immediately. I stated I didn't want to do that because then I would be held in the contract because my 3 days would be up. She seemed very upset afterwards. I was told to fax in my request to cancel. I said I'd bring in the uniforms on Monday and I was told used uniforms weren't accepted as returns. I said, Great because mine haven't been used, and we ended the conversation. I sent the fax that day from my husband's work fax. The only difference was that I requested a FULL refund. After the conversation I had with the representative, I could see the shady business tactics being used. I felt bullied, lied to, and I truly wondered if I would even receive a refund. The full amount was $118.

I went on vacation and returned home. This morning, Monday December 20, 2010, I checked my bank account to balance my checkbook. I noticed that a charge of $80 was posted via Karate America. I was upset because I realized that specific charge was unaccounted for and caused a payment frenzy. I would have had to pay an overdraft fee had I not been quick enough to deposit money from savings into my account. Unfortunately, we're a single income, military family and we don't have an extra $80 laying around to blow.

I immediately called Karate America. I was informed that a letter was mailed to me on the 16th (which I have not yet received) explaining that they do not refund charges for uniforms and they would retain my $80 ($40 for each of me and my daughter). I explained to the lady that the uniforms have never been used or worn and are still in the bag. They are, by all accounts, not "consumed" and as per the Florida law, they should be refunded. She told me that by taking them home I had consumed them and that the instructors will not take returns on them. I tried to reason with her, asked her how she would feel if this happened to her. I now have karate uniforms and we're not taking karate. They're not consumed! If they were consumed, per Webster's Dictionary: "to destroy or expend by use." We didn't use them. In fact, we were told they were FREE with the first month's Karate, wherein we shouldn't have had to pay for them in the beginning. They were given to us the day we signed the contract. I was told by the representative, "Well I guess it depends on whose definition of consume it is." I told her, I believe that by law they go with the dictionary's definition, not what suits Karate America. She said it's posted on the wall that merchandise is non-refundable. I told her not only did I not see it, but that it wouldn't apply if I was told that I could cancel and return it and also that the STATE LAW requires that take unused goods back.

I was told to write a letter to the Membership Board asking to be reviewed. I am sending this as a complaint to you, as well as a request to the Membership Board. I will also be notifying the ATA, with whom they are affiliated. It is my belief that the Karate America staff purposely gives you the uniform at signup so that they can keep your money if you do cancel. It's their attempt to circumvent the law. I also believe they bully people and try to guilt them into staying with Karate America. I asked what the additional costs would be and I was told none. Then after the contract and all, we were told about the hand/foot guards and the bags, etc. and only after I asked because I noticed the other children earlier wearing them. They are a very rude and conniving company. Shame on them!


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/20/2010 08:40 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Karate-America/internet/Karate-America-Tricky-business-and-lots-of-loopholes-Internet-673491. 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.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

Click Here to read other Ripoff Reports on Karate America

Search for additional reports

If you would like to see more Rip-off Reports on this company/individual, search here:

Search Tips
Report & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
What's this?
Also a victim?
What's this?
Repair Your Reputation!
What's this?
REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 2Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

This situation, all the confusion, is unfortunate.

AUTHOR: Karate America Employee - (USA)

This situation, all the confusion, is unfortunate.

In comparing our retail sales policies to the large chain stores: If you were to call Walmart and tell them you will return something, they would not accept that call as good enough to fall within the acceptable time periodyou must actually bring the merchandise back to the store. Also, no store would offer a refund prior to receiving the merchandise back, as suggested by this customer.We are disheartened and offended to be called liars. We believe that is uncalled for, and untrue. Our return policies are posted at each of our locations, and monthly inspections are conducted at each school to ensure such items are posted. Office staff uses a three page inspection report which is then given to the membership board and each chief instructor for review.

The customer has suggested that our policies are written solely to trick people into having to pay for uniforms. Karate Americas goal is not to sell uniforms. That is certainly not worth our time, and is not how we have stayed in business for over 30 years. Our goal has been, and always will be, to inspire black belt greatness from our students, to help them gain the confidence they need to stand up for themselves and for others, to push themselves to be the best they can be. That is worth our effort, is why we have been in business for so long, why we have over one thousand loyal students.

With that said, the membership board has decided to refund the $80, and the customer may keep the uniforms. We are saddened for all the confusion in this situation, and we hope the customer will try our classes again in the future. We wish the customer and her family a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Sincerely, Karate America

 

Respond to this report!
What's this?

#2 Author of original report

A Breakdown of "Their Side" vs. THE TRUTH

AUTHOR: momandwife - (United States of America)

Well, now that they've decided to lie...Here's a breakdown of their side and the truth following it:

Their side: She initially enrolled herself and her daughter.Within three days, she called and talked to the corporate office, at which time she said she wanted to downgrade to a single membership.She was informed that she had three days by Florida law to change or cancel the agreement.She did not seem to be previously aware of her three days to change her mind, and was very apologetic to be making the request.The Karate America office told her it was not a problem and asked that she send a written request, which is required according to the terms of her membership.The office then contacted the
instructor for that location, and the instructor called the customer and scheduled a time to rewrite the membership.The customer seemed fine on the phone with her.

The truth: Yes, I did call. I called THE NEXT MORNING. Not within three days. I did know there was a law stating you could cancel, I just didn't know what the time frame was for it. When I initially called, the first lady was super nice, super helpful. Sure, she said, you can cancel per law within 3 days. I was happy to hear that. It was when the lady with a heavy accent called me that I decided I was going to cancel my child'sportion as well. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with her, trying to explain that they told me that the price was dependent on the instructor, that you decide how many times you want to train and then you set a price with them. When I got there, that was not the case. I was told it's $100/person per month. I was sitting there, having gone through about 15 minutes of preliminaries and I had a 4 year old who was so excited, so pumped. I signed the contract thinking I'd work it out. But then I couldn't. There's no way. We're a single income militaryfamily and it just wouldn't work.Notwanting to disappoint my daughter,I decidedto just cancel MY portion of the contract andkeep hers. Icalled, spoke to the first lady, and she wasnice about it. When the lady with the accent called, she was pushy, like a salesman, trying to convince me just tokeep my contract and rewrite it foronemonth for me andkeep my daughter in. Isaidno, because then I'd want to keep participating and I just CAN'T afford it. I tried. I budgeted. But this same lady quotedme "from 38 and up" depending on the trainer etcand so I hadthe impression it would be about 100 for the BOTH of us. She didn't mention that was PER WEEK.So I told her, look, I just don't know what to tell you. It's either pay my mortgage or me do karate with my kid. I'd rather have a house. I wanted my daughter to still be a part of it, so I was trying. But this lady was trying to guilt me into doing it, trying to trick me into not changing my contract. She wanted me to leave my portion in effect untilMonday. Haveing just been told the limit is3 daysper law, I wasn'thaving that. I wasn't going to let the time expire and get stuck in a contract I can't fulfill.I told her I was going out of town that night and I wouldn't be able to come in till Monday (which I also told the instructor). I ALSO told the lady I'd be bringing in the uniforms on that Monday, because there was NO WAY I could bring them in before then. She said they didnt take returns on used items. I said, ok awesome our uniforms have never been worn, so you can take them back. It even says on the contract UNUSEDgoods must be taken back by them and money refunded. These uniforms never left the plastic except for the instructor taking the jacket out to hold it up to my daughter to check her size. He slipped her arms in it, she took it off, back in plastic. Still there right now. I offered to return them. Then the morning I was going to return them, I had an $80 charge on my account. Why would I return them if when I call they say they won't accept them and they've already charged my account? I still intend to return them as soon as I receive my $80 back into my account. Had this rude lady never tried to scam me into keeping myself in a contract, had she not tried to guilt me into keeping myself in it, I wouldn't be writing this right now. But I got off the phone and felt irritated. I felt like I was having the wool pulled over my eyes. So I decided that I'd cancel the contract AS THE LAW SAYS I CAN that day for BOTH of us. Did I call them back and tell them that? NO. Do I have to? NO. It says I must give written notice and they said they accept faxes.I did so. Know why I didn't call and tell them how I felt? Because if this lady gave me such crap for trying to cancel ONE part of it, how would she treat me if I wanted to cancel BOTH? I didn't feel like going through another bout of how horrible I am for changing my mind. And, I told the (I guess fourth woman) who called me and accused me of "changing my story" that. I changed my mind and I was treated like a jerk. Why would I willing call back to be berated?

Their side: When the fax from the customer was received, the office was surprised at the customers wording.It seemed as
though she wanted to cancel the entire membership.The office talked to the instructor, who confirmed that the customer had scheduled a time to rewrite the membership and had not cancelled it.

Mine: Yes, I explained that. I decided after the lady called and spent about 20 minutes trying to convince me I really didn't want to cancel that I had had enough of their shadiness.

Their side: Before the office was able to contact the customer, she called, very angry, wanting to know why everything was not cancelled.
The office informed her of the confusion and asked what she was requestinga full cancellation or to downgrade to a single membership.

Mine: Actually, they contacted my bank account first. I sent the fax in on Tuesday the 14th. They said they mailed me a letter on the 16th explaining that they were still charging me for the uniform. They even had the gall to state in the letter that I could just stick with the first month "to get use out of the uniforms" and it would on the be the $118. Really? Awesome. No thanks. I'll take my $80 back now. I called them Monday the 20th. Yes, I was angry. $80 had been taken from my account without my knowledge and it was for uniforms I had informed the lady with an accent that I would return on Monday the 20th. I felt like it was a total scam. Who wouldn't be upset?

Their side: Concerning the uniforms,
Karate America does not offer refunds on merchandisebecause this is a sport during which intense sweating is the norm, and Karate America will not take the risk of selling uniforms or gear that have been worn, and sweated in.This policy is posted both at the front counter and in the office.Also, the uniforms in this case were not returned, or attempted to be returned,
within the three days.The customer was charged only for the cost of the uniforms.

Mine: LIES. I told the lady I would return them. I would have MAILED them if I had to. I was flying out to Kansas. I stated that SEVERAL times, and said I would come in and return them on Monday. They say they will not take the risk of selling uniforms that have been "sweated in"...but they're still in the bags and have the creases from being folded. They've never been worn, they're starched so well you'd be able to tell. Plus, we've NEVER been to a class! AND...the instructor made us take them home. I told him I wasn't going to be coming in until monday and he said just take them anyhow. I believe they do this because they want you to HAVE to lose that money. The uniforms had not been used because we never attended a class. If they wanted to inspect them to be sure, fine. I'm ok with that. You would be able to tell they've never been worn. But they never gave me that opportunity. The bottom line is, their contract states, and the florida law demands, that all unused products be returnable if the contract is canceled. They are unused. Taking them home doesn't constitute them used. Grab a dictionary: "showing wear or being worn out." It's showing nothing, because they're still in the packages. The thing is, they want to try to keep your money somehow, and they know that if they create some loophole to try to force you to keep the uniforms, they'll be able to sneakily trick you into falling for it. Also, I was told upon signing the contract that the uniform was FREE with the first month's payments of $59/person. So technically, I bought the service, not the uniform. I canceled the service which I should not be charge for and the uniform should be given back in good faith. As in, you gave it to me for free for joining but I didn't end up using it and changed my mind with in the legal time frame (like, less than 24 hrs) and so I will return the uniforms in good faith. I was told I was not paying for the uniforms, just the instruction. So how, then, are you going to charge me for them? They were FREE with contract. I cancel the contract and I give them back, all is well.What is posted on the board is that merchandise purchased is non-refundable (as I was told by the lady, not because I saw it). First of all, I didn't see any of these signs but I'm sure they're up now. Wouldn't help me to negate that now cause they've had ample time to change it if it wasn't before. However. I didn't purchase merchandise. I was GIVEN merchandise witha purchase of SERVICES. I was told they were FREE. I paid for the TRAINING. The signs did not apply to me. And either way, their contract voids that by stating that all unused goods may be returned for a refund. THE CONTRACT was what I read. If you're saying I should have to pay for them, but they're unused, then you have the legal right to accept the unused products back and refund my money to me immediately.

Bottom line: They're trying to use loopholes and trickery to get money any way they can. Sure, you can cancel your contract...ohhhhh but sorry, we can't refund money for something we say is used simply because you took it home. Walmart is smarter than that. Kohls. Target. TJ Maxx. All places that provide clothing (even underwear and bathing suits)...if it's UNUSED, it's RETURNABLE.

If they honored what they had in their contract, this wouldn't be an issue.It statesI could cancel and return goods. Now, they're saying I can't. Plain and simple, they're trying to take $80 they do not deserve from a family who struggled just to trying to afford to give their child a fun, educational experience. What a shame. Now my daughter is getting no training AND a horrible lesson in how people just try to screw others left and right. Deplorable.

Respond to this report!
What's this?

#3 UPDATE Employee

The other side of the story

AUTHOR: Karate America Employee - (USA)



Unfortunately, there seems to be much confusion in this case. Two Karate America employees have had various conversations with the customer, and we are currently trying to understand what exactly the customer would like to request. She initially enrolled herself and her daughter. Within three days, she called and talked to the corporate office, at which time she said she wanted to downgrade to a single membership. She was informed that she had three days by Florida law to change or cancel the agreement. She did not seem to be previously aware of her three days to change her mind, and was very apologetic to be making the request. The Karate America office told her it was not a problem and asked that she send a written request, which is required according to the terms of her membership. The office then contacted the instructor for that location, and the instructor called the customer and scheduled a time to rewrite the membership. The customer seemed fine on the phone with her.



When the fax from the customer was received, the office was surprised at the customers wording. It seemed as though she wanted to cancel the entire membership. The office talked to the instructor, who confirmed that the customer had scheduled a time to rewrite the membership and had not cancelled it.



Before the office was able to contact the customer, she called, very angry, wanting to know why everything was not cancelled. The office informed her of the confusion and asked what she was requestinga full cancellation or to downgrade to a single membership.

Concerning the uniforms, Karate America does not offer refunds on merchandisebecause this is a sport during which intense sweating is the norm, and Karate America will not take the risk of selling uniforms or gear that have been worn, and sweated in. This policy is posted both at the front counter and in the office. Also, the uniforms in this case were not returned, or attempted to be returned, within the three days. The customer was charged only for the cost of the uniforms.

The membership board is currently reviewing the customers letter and will contact her via mail.

Sincerely, Karate America

Merry Christmas!!

Respond to this report!
What's this?
Report & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
What's this?
Also a victim?
What's this?
Repair Your Reputation!
What's this?

Advertisers above have met our
strict standards for business conduct.



Ripoff Report Legal Directory