• Report: #625566

Complaint Review: Arthur Murray Dance Studio Plano

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  • Submitted: Wed, July 21, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, November 21, 2012

  • Reported By: dorthy — Plano Texas United States of America
Arthur Murray Dance Studio Plano
3001 West Spring Creek Parkway plano, Texas United States of America

Arthur Murray Dance Studio Plano Z&C Inc., Arthur Murray Dance Studio Threats of black balling after quiting studio, Hard Selling Tactics, 3rd party closing techinques, plano, Texas

*Author of original report: Arthur Murray Dance Studio Plano ETHICS PROBLEMS

*Consumer Comment: AMDS Student: Claims are not Entirely False

*Consumer Comment: History

*UPDATE Employee: The Business of Dance at Arthur Murray

*Consumer Comment: Former AM Student and 10 yr AMDS Instructor

*UPDATE Employee: False Claims by Disgruntled Former Employee

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Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Plano, Texas is a complete rip-off.

I began taking lessons there 2 months ago, only to find myself under high pressure selling techniques that use the emotion of dance to be closed by the staff and managers.

I have students that have told me that they have spent thier life saving on this.

I was under the impression that 3rd Party closing(where 2 reps from the company get you in a room by yourself) and attempt to close you was illegal in Texas.

I am not sure.

No the less, the studio have a $40 mark up on price per lesson over thier competitors and USE the "Arthur Murray" name to create the illusion that you are getting a high standard of dance teaching but there is no difference than up the road. I also know for a fact that Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Plano and Dallas hire staff with no experience neccessary to teach the art of dance. [continued below]....

.....

In addition to this, a former employee has told me that he was threatened to be black balled and was insured that the owner of this studio would do all he took to make sure he didnt have a job in the dance world again after resigning.

Just aweful.....

I wish I would have never went in there cuz I lost more than money going there...I was rapped from my personal respect!

 

 

 

 


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/21/2010 11:13 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Arthur-Murray-Dance-Studio-Plano/plano-Texas-75023/Arthur-Murray-Dance-Studio-Plano-ZC-Inc-Arthur-Murray-Dance-Studio-Threats-of-black-bal-625566. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 5Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Arthur Murray Dance Studio Plano ETHICS PROBLEMS

AUTHOR: ZCRIPP - ()

Z&C INC. DBA ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE STUDIO PLANO|DALLAS

SUES TEACHER IN RETALIATION FOR FAILED BUSINESS DEAL...

I have first hand knowledge from the teacher you are speaking about regarding the alleged threats to be blacked balled from the industry. I also have emails that substaniate this post made.

It is my understanding, there was a force out that was taking place because a business deal did not go the direction it was supposed for the studio.

Allegedly, the studio learned of a relationship that was brewing between a top performing instructor and a student that was heavily invested (financially) in dance lessons at the studio. Alledgly, Z&C INC. DBA ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE STUDIO l PLANO looked to capitalize on this relationship and set the stage for a business agreement to develop between the student and the teacher. Z&C orchastrated an agreement to see if the teacher and the student would enter into an counsultation to own a franchise under their business umbrella or he would lose his job. 

Allegedly,the studio knew that the instructor did not have the funding to pull off such feat and covertly suggested that he approach the student for backing on it.

Allegedly, he was told that he was to keep the arrangement a "secret" from teachers and students because word would reflect poorly on ownership for allowing a student/ teacher relationship to co-exist in the studio. 

Allegedly, when it was realized that the instructor was under too much pressure to meet the standards and time line set by the studio under the arrangement, the instructor asked to recoupe the consulting fee which was a little over $20,000. Supposedly, once the instructor did this, the studio initiated a force out and the studio rejected any notion of him teaching students that he had previously taught in the past and competed with over the years. This affectied his income greatly. Allegedly, at the time of discharge the studio suggested in demeaning ways it would jeopardize his reputation, black listing him in the dance community and this left him no choice but to fight back against them and continue to do what he had been doing to make a living. 

From what I know, the instructor hired a poorly performing attorney with a hearing disability that was not disclosed at the time of hire and only realized when attorney was having trouble hearing every 2nd sentence in an open court proceeding which cheated the instructor from a fair trial. In addition, the employee was not well versed on employment laws and rights such as retaliation with an attempt to defame and extortion in exchange for employment laws.

In my opinion, the the studio was very manipulative in its practices with the instructor and with the student. It had no regard for the care and concern for the personal well=beings of both the teacher and the student. It appears that the studio only had one thing in mind through this process and that was to make as much money off of two people who invested thier time, energy and money at thier studio. The studio also played with the emotiion of the student and manipulated her vested interest. 

Had the instructor had know his rights at the time of this incident then he probably could have countersued and won damages. In addition, I believe the student could have sued the studio as well for damages.

In closing. when you look it to the beedy eyes of the owners, listen carefully to play by play of the studio, you will notice one thing....THEY ALL TALK THE SAME, ACT THE SAME AND DO THE SAME....

Real happieness and joy for dance is a INDIVIDUALITY....IT IS NOT CONTRIVED LIKE THE STUDIO LIKE FOR YOU TO IMAGINE!!

 

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#2 Consumer Comment

AMDS Student: Claims are not Entirely False

AUTHOR: Shades - ()

I wish to respond to the previous AMDS employee's (amdsplano's) rebuttal. As a newly minted Bronze student of an Arthur Murray studio in Washington State, I can attest to the truth behind some of the original complainant's allegations. To be fair, let me state up front that I am not convinced that Arthur Murray Dance Studio's lesson packages are a ripoff. I am also not quite convinced that they aren't.

For my part, I am seriously considering the idea of terminating my agreement with my own studio. I love everyone on the staff at my studio (again, I live in Washington State, so my experience isn't directly related to Plano, just to Arthur Murray's in general). I've been learning a lot and having a blast doing it. I've improved my posture and body language, all great things to experience. "Changing lives through dance" isn't a lie; if you're serious about learning dance it will be a fact.

However, two recent developments have made me uncomfortable with my current arrangement. I have begun to feel that I'm paying way too much for what I'm getting in return, and that certain members of the staff have not been completely honest with me about what I'm learning. But that's my problem.

The Plano employee claims that "Arthur Murray absolutely does not use 'high pressure selling techniques' nor do we use "3rd party closing", and we do not complete our enrollments 'in a room'". This is false. There is definitely a lot of pressure placed upon new students to fully enroll and keep the "momentum" from their basic lessons going.

In my case, my primary instructor accompanied me into the general manager's office and discussed the program she was recommending, then sat more or less quietly while said general manager handled the financial end of the discussion with me. The agreement was for a year's worth of lessons and is the single most expensive deal I have ever signed in my life. I don't understand how a longtime employee of Arthur Murray Studios can insist that this doesn't happen, because I just went through it myself.

It is these personal experiences that make me seriously doubt the verity of amdsplano's rebuttal. For those who consider taking lessons at Arthur Murray or similar studios, my best recommendation would be to (1) know what you're getting into, and (2) explore and know your alternatives before you sign any long term agreements.

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#3 Consumer Comment

History

AUTHOR: Fraud Buster - (United States of America)

We'll just point out some history behind the chain. See below. Now this is 1968. But look at the amount $31,000 and realize what they would be in today's dollars. Its the oldest franchise. So they HAD to clean up their act so to speak. However...AMDS prides itself on new franchise people being the former teachers of old franchise people. So many of the tactics used are what I call "inbred"---passed down from old studio owners to new ones. Smart studio owners and some really experienced teachers can spot a person with hidden money MILES away and often know exactly how to get that person to part with cash. [I'm not saying they won't have fun and indeed learn something.] As teacher or owner you can go to their regional training meetings and pick-up all the "lessons" from the old guys on how to maximize. Most students are considered terminal in that their funds at over $100 per hour for the private lesson run out fast for most people. So generally the students are not long term. Look for the students that have been with the studio the longest and they'll fill you in on getting value for the buck spent. Also watch the showcase sell tactic--if you go that route expect to spend....it will be fun...but expect to spend. Be aware the studios VALUE the private lesson but throw in typically group and practice lessons so IF you take advantage of those, the hourly rate per ALL instruction and fun drops significantly. However the contract is usually VALUED upon the private lesson. Most people find this out the hard way. In general AM studios do not like a lot of private lessons on the book...so if you sign up for 30, they generally try to burn those out fast at a couple a week. That way they don't have to refund you...they can sell you more...so expect a quasi-true comment to be tossed at you IF you only want to take a private lesson per week of "You will accumulate the knowledge faster if I can work with you more per week." Its the PRIVATE lessons that count....My advice is DON'T sign up for ANY contract amount of lessons unless you can cancel at any time with refund and negotiate the hourly rate so that it is not ridiculously pro-rated against you. Again, it is the PRIVATE lessons that typically contracts are written around...so watch those.

As pointed out with the blackballing comment on teachers, AMDS has also been dinged in the past for enforcement of their "teacher training contracts." Now the door swings both ways on that one for many former employees try to open a studio nearly next door to their former employer. That's crazy. Personally I never had an issue on that matter as a teacher for ANY studio [AMDS or FADS] because frankly I didn't take former students and I never opened up a studio just down the road. So if you sign up for teacher training, watch the training contract to insure it is something you can live with later on.


Vokes v. Arthur Murray, Inc., 212 So.2d 906, 28 A.L.R.3d 1405 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1968).Facts: Vokes (P) decided to become an accomplished professional dancer at age 51. Arthur Murray (D) was the franchisor of Arthur Murray Dance Schools. Vokes alleged that Arthur Murrays employees used flattery, cajolery, and awards to lead her to believe that she was a promising student capable of a career as a professional dancer. Arthur Murray convinced her to sign up for $31,000 in dance lessons.Vokes brought suit to cancel the remainder of the 2,300 hours of lessons for which she had contracted. In her complaint she alleged that she had attained little or no skill as a dancer and had no aptitude, that Arthur Murrays employees had purposefully misrepresented her skills and taken unconscionable advantage of her, and that she had relied upon Arthur Murrays employees superior knowledge to assess her ability. D contended that its employees representations were statements of opinion and therefore not actionable. Ps fourth amended complaint was dismissed with prejudice and P appealed.
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#4 UPDATE Employee

The Business of Dance at Arthur Murray

AUTHOR: Amy - (United States of America)

Having worked at the Arthur Murray studios in Dallas and Plano since 1999, I can speak with great conviction that our studios mission is to make a difference in the lives of the people who come to us through dancing. And, in the 100 years that Arthur Murray had been in business, millions of lives have been and are still being touched all over the world. 

Let's take a moment to be real, here. Is Arthur Murray a business? Yes. Are the teachers trained in both dancing and sales? Yes. And some of the best sales training around is simply providing the best customer service available, and that is the aspect that we most focus on. We understand we are not for everyone, but we are for those who value excellent service and a high quality product. I think what needs to be clarified here is that what is at the heart of the teachers is not sales, but sharing the joy of dancing with their students. 

Our students come from all walks of life, they are all ages, all ability levels, and they come in for many different reasons. It is our job to make sure they each have a fun experience and if they want to continue to learn, we do everything we can to make that a reality for them. We do start our students with an introductory lesson, just like any good business provides a consultation to determine what is best for you.

The next step for most students is a small package of lessons, that way they can learn the basics of the dances they are interested in and also determine if they want to continue learning afterwards. Beyond that, Arthur Murray functions just like any other school. We teach in semesters and we teach things in order from easiest to more difficult. We teach at the pace that is appropriate for each individual student. And, we teach to the goals of each individual student as well. We understand that not everyone wants to be on Dancing With the Stars, and that most of our students want to learn social dancing. 

The person who commented prior to this as a former student and employee, makes me very sad. They obviously did not have a good experience at whatever Arthur Murray they were affiliated with, which is a shame. I feel it is wrong to assume that all Arthur Murray's and Fred Astaire studios are run the same way. I also feel it is unfair to lump them all together.

Our studios DO NOT have a "closing room", we do not use "High Pressure Sales Tactics", and we do not "tag team" when we are presenting a program for a student. Our sole purpose is to help the student reach whatever goal they have, whether it be dance related or to overcome some type of social anxiety, or to lose weight, or whatever. We work as a team with the students to provide a high quality product and service that we can be proud of, and we are all proud to say that we work for Arthur Murray. 

Again, if you managed to find this article and you are thinking of learning to dance, please check out your local Arthur Murray studio and see for yourself. Make your own judgement and your own decision and don't allow anyone else's opinion to ruin what could be an amazing experience for you! 
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#5 Consumer Comment

Former AM Student and 10 yr AMDS Instructor

AUTHOR: Fraud Buster - (United States of America)

1st off I am NOT employed by that particular AMDS and do not know the report filer. However I AM familiar with AM Dance Studios & their practices in general. Most of the franchise owners were taught by former owners...all the wayyyyy back. Ditto FADS. The tactics change little. So I tend to doubt the studio owner's rebuttal frankly. Think about it: If the complainant is a former employee, then how would he know such things unless they were practiced? Let's get to the truth. The "room" the complainant refers too is called "a closing room"...most studios have them. While 2 or 3-on-one is definitely not encouraged most studios do it sometimes and sometimes inadvertently by having the teacher there with the "closer". Yes, the instructors are heavy on the SALES training, energy aspects, make a friend, and less so on the dancing. They are called FRONT DEPT people. The better DANCE teachers are BACK DEPT because frankly "beginners don't know the difference" in the eyes of the owners. [To a certain extent true!] Yes, the student pays for the name and for the franchise fee the studio owner pays--as painful as they all know it comes off the top. No, the quality of instruction is little different than the studio up the road...however...AM Int. prides itself on studios NOT going "fly-by-night" and leaving the victim high and dry. Yes, there are people who pay their life savings. I'll show you how much I know of AM....ask them if AM Int cut a deal with the FTC to avoid prosecution for "life time memberships"--limiting enrollments to I believe $10K. Yep...and that was cut wayyy back when. So that gives you an idea just how bad their history was...and remember most owners of AM's were trained by someone wayy back when. Now all that said, many people spend their life savings at a bar or casino...so at least with AM, you learn something. You have to remember ONE THING. The franchised dance studios are really SOCIAL CLUBS that teach a little dancing. They sell the SOCIAL aspects which people perceive they LACK due to.....are you ready...because they think they can't dance. [Most people they THOUGHT could dance, really don't know how...ha ha] Now to the studios' credit in the end the student realizes dancing wasn't the issue...they learn some of that...AND they pick-up the SOCIAL...which they never really were lacking anyway. Do they pay for that? You bet!! Big time...but people pay for cruises too. Ok..back the the SALES aspects. Most work a PROCEDURE on you. You come in on a free lesson. The goal of that lesson is to SELL you on a SMALL course. You THINK you will learn all about dancing. Nope. The studio uses those lessons as part of a procedure to get you to buy a BIG chunk of lessons. Each of those small lessons is PLANNED out...what to say...when to say it....how to determine your objections,....etc. Done properly and few people resist...although the pressure CAN seem great. Its how the studios have been run all the wayyy back to just about when the GI's came home from WW2. Originally AMDS made money on GROUP lessons as sooo many GI's and others wanted to learn how to dance it was like an Apple Store of customers. It was only when the popularity faded that they had to resort to "anyone coming in the door gets signed-up" tactics. Frankly I think it CAN be run the other way back again...but there are too many "imbred" tactics to give that idea a try near term. So if you understand all this and you want the SOCIAL....give them a try....you can ALWAYS say no....just watch your budget. No one sells SOCIAL like AMDS's...many people have a real blast.
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#6 UPDATE Employee

False Claims by Disgruntled Former Employee

AUTHOR: amdsplano - (United States of America)

As a long time employee of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Plano, Texas, I can assure you that the comments posted in this report are false. This report was filed by a former employee who has been trying to undermine our business with false information on the internet for the past 2.5 years. Arthur Murray absolutely does not use "high pressure selling techniques" nor do we use "3rd party closing", and we do not complete our enrollments "in a room".  

We do offer dance programs that are individually designed to help each student reach his/her goals in dancing. Yes, our prices seem higher than the other dance studios in the area, but, our programs are all-inclusive. We do not charge extra for group classes or parties. And the quality of our instruction is top notch. Our instructors all complete a rigorous training period and must pass certification exams before they are able to teach any students. Arthur Murray has been in the business of teaching people to dance for almost 100 years. Our methods make it fast, fun and easy to learn.

The former employee this person speaks of was not
"blackballed" in any manner, but was simply held to the terms of his employment which he was fully aware of when he was hired as well as when he resigned. 

At Arthur Murray, our goal is to help people from all walks of life realize their goals and dreams of learning to dance - whether for social reasons or competitively. We pride ourselved on offering impeccable customer service and putting the well being and interest of our student first. Please visit our website and look at the reviews our students have written, or come in to the studio yourself for a free introductory lesson to see what we really have to offer.

If, indeed, this review was written by an actual student of Arthur Murray, please contact the studio so that we can find out exactly what happened to make you feel this way. We would welcome the opportunity to make it right and to show you the heart of what we do.

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