• Report: #373758
Complaint Review:

ATA/Karate America/ASF International

  • Submitted: Wed, September 17, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, December 04, 2009

  • Reported By:Wellington Florida
ATA/Karate America/ASF International
1400 Millcoe Road Jacksonville, Florida U.S.A.

ATA/Karate America/ASF International ATA/Karate America/ASF International decieve clients and are unwilling to terminate membership Jacksonville Florida

*Consumer Comment: These are Children

*Consumer Comment: I FEEL THE SAME WAY - RIPPED OFF!

*General Comment: I AGREE WITH ELISABETH!!

*Consumer Suggestion: Contact a consumer protection attorney

*UPDATE Employee: Membership Agreement

*UPDATE Employee: Contractual Obligation

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ATA (WPB), Karate America (Jacksonville), ASF International, decieve clients by the time of signing up a membership. They first sell parents a Basic Training Program and tell them they can cancel their membership if their son doens't want to continue karate lessons in the future. Later they push your kid to the Leadership Program telling you the same thing. You can cancel if you wish so.

Byt he time your son wants to leave karate because he is not interested anymore, they are unwilling to cancel your membeship and continue charging month by month. You try by all means to negotiate the membership cancelation and all you get is cold shoulders and threats of putting you in a collect agency and taking legal actions against your family.

I understand that you pay for the service you get, right? I paid for all the classes my son took, plus five more months without getting any class because we left the school. What is the problem on canceling a membership? I tell you why they are unwilling to do so and continue to ilude and deceive parents after parents: they are a very dishonest business and parents from all over the United States should check their credentials and rip off reports on the Internet before signing their son in one of these schools.

There are good Karate schools out there that don't require a contract for years to come neither complicate any parents life by the time of discontinuing membership. Please,avoid getting caught in their lies. They will turn your life into hell.

Wellington, Florida

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/17/2008 09:43 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/atakarate-americaasf-international/jacksonville-florida-32225/atakarate-americaasf-international-atakarate-americaasf-international-decieve-clients-373758. 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

These are Children

AUTHOR: Will - (USA)

 Your comparison is to cell phones holds no merit in Elisabeth's situation. We are talking about her son, a young child. The "contract" Elisabeth speaks of bonds her son into a program that she, as a parent, believes is no longer beneficial to her child. This contract, I'm a child, bonds that boy into indenture and enslavement. We are not speaking of adult men and women with gym contracts here. These karate schools are effectively education programs. Not just any programs, either. These programs are of a very personal nature for the involved students. Children, such as Elisabeth's son, are at a very impressionable moment in their lives. The karate instructors are intimate role models and mentors - be it in a positive or negative way.

Good instructors and schools, if also a good fit for the child, can do a great deal to build s child's self-esteem that will help boost the child in a positive direction in school and in life. But, if the instructor and school is not a good fit for the child, or the needs of the child change over time and cease to benefit the child, then continued participation (especially due to the intimate personal nature of karate schools) can have considerable damage on a child's social, physical, academic, and mental well being. You can argue that Elisabeth is only required to pay as agreed, she does not have to send her son...even though the doors remain open for her son. However, why would anyone wish to do this to Elisabeth's family? How could this be moral?

How could this be right? Who would want to confine to take her family's money when a program proved to be ill-suited for her child and therefore must discontinue participation? The ethics of that just astound me. Any business that would do such a thing proves to the public that the business does not care about the children. Does not care for a child's health and well being. A business that would do such a thing proves that that business sees children as dollar signs, and nothing more. Like Elisabeth, I was too naive and did not imagine such a thing happened in America. Are we really that comparable to third world nations that our children can be entrapped and used for pure profit?

If the karate school in question here was truly a good one, then the instructors would not need to utilize such contracts to secure their profit driven business. Another poster on this thread dared to even suggest that the contracts are used as a deterrence to combat "quitters" in today's day and age. How sad is this argument? We are speaking of children, who have needs that vary greatly. Such a comment suggests that Elisabeth is a poor parent and the school's use of such a contract essentially saves her son from her poor parenting...parenting that would train a quitter spirit into her child. I can tell you - anyone who holds such esteem for themselves and their judgement of what my child needs shall stay away from my child.

Nonetheless, this person did make a point. These contracts will place pressure on parents to continue to push their child's participation, even if the program has proven to have a negative impact on that child....and, if so, have long term damage on that child that can impact him for a life time. Take my son, for instance. I enrolled my son, at the age of six, into a karate program in Kentucky. It took a few months to truly gage whether such a program was beneficial for my son. After several months, the impact was showing. My son was showing great distress. He demonstrated anxiety, especially on days he had karate training. He became generally a more sad child, and seemed frequently depressed.

Early on I would take my little boy to McDonald's after training as a treat. However, we had to stop going inside to eat. See, after he ate he would play in the McDonald's place place- but he started to demonstrate distress - he began to have outright bouts of conflict with other children in the play place - frequently. He was showing issues with distress and anger in other areas as well. I must stress - up to this point he had been a happy child who sought friendship and play with everyone around him. Lastly, he started to appear exhausted, especially with school - and he had been doing so well in school!

Finally, after a few months, I decided my son needed a break (after all - all children sports have breaks - right?). That's when my naitivity hit reality. This karate program -and ASF, aren't in this for the children - they are in it for pure $$$$$$$$$....to heck with your child's health and well being. To heck with your child's future. The karate instructor insisted we do a brief freeze with payments. Remaining naive, I thought this was his way of simply trying to keep me connected. But, apparently there was a technical "glitch" and ASF tried to charge me, even during the supposed "freeze". That's when I called ASF and learned that they insist that my son is enrolled in a binding program for two years...my little boy.

Obviously I was not happy. I will say this. My son has not yet returned to this karate program. My happy little boy is back- he bounced back to his normal, peaceful, happy self very quickly after having been withdrawn from this karate school...er, I mean karate "business". I have had multiple phone calls and emails with ASF. I demand that this contract be voided, effective the date of my initial request. What little money I have for my family - they want to cypher it from me. They want my son - my little boy - binded into a program of indenture and enslavement. A program that, while my son participated, appears to have clearly contributed to distress. He was anxious, depressed, exhausted, and struggling with anger while participating in this program. It was not a good fit for him.

Why, on Earth, would this karate school, and ASF, wish to cup home two years of $150 per month from my family for a program that was having such a detriment to my child. This program shows the potential to have significant destructive life-long issues for my child. But, hey, as Chris Peterson demonstrates very clearly - it's not about the children...the children are simply a means to an end. My boy is nothing more than $$$ to this karate "business" and ASF. And yes, like any parent would, if payments continue I do feel pressured to continue my sons participation in such a clearly detrimental program. I obviously won't be able to afford to enroll him in anything else the next two years.

In the end, spare us (the parents), of the cell phone contract comparison, Mr. Peterson. We are talking about children here. Living, breathing, impressionable, developing children. They aren't cell phones, Mr. Peterson. Do the right thing. The moral thing. The ethical thing. End this contract with my little boy. Effective from my initial request. We don't live in a third world country. My child, no child, should ever be entrapped and enslaved in your contracts of indenture. For the rest of us - please write your senators and congressmen to create legislation making such contracts involving minors, children illegal. End this enslavement that ASF relies so heavily on. Our children are more than dollar signs.

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#2 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Bill - (U.S.A.)

1)     They do not have a retail installment seller license. They are not technically allowed to engage in these transactions if they do not have a license under Fl. Stat. 520.32.

2)     They are engaged in an unfair and deceptive trade practice under 16CFR 433.2 by failing to have the required Holder in Due Course disclosure in their contract.

3)     They are violating the Retail Installment Sales Act (Fl. Stat. 520.34) by failing to have the name of the seller on their contract.

In layman's terms:  Karate America is a SCAM!  Wallet ninjas.

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#3 General Comment


AUTHOR: Tiffany - (United States of America)

You should not require contracts for Karate for kids is her point. Of course the employees are going to say such things.  Even if it is in FULL RED PRINT like you stated.  The consumer relies on you to fully explain the cost, I agree with Elisabeth! You pray on parents with younger childern who want to see their childern do the best they can! Of course, they sign a contract cause they trust what you say and you do not fully disclose the amount you end up paying or what is in the contract. Childerns Karate classes should NOT require a contract and Elisabeth is making sure other parents do not make the same mistake we did. I will advocate and have discouraged parents in the JACKSONVILLE area not to ever sign up with ATA and go to a karate place who does not require such a lengthy commitment from a child or parent to sign.  If it was classes for me then that would be a different story, we are talking about childern under the age of 18!

A parent only wants the best for their child and your company takes advantage of that!!.. I still am paying my obligation for your contract unwillingly and have not defaulted on my contract but your companies reputation in Jacksonville is getting worse with you not willing to work with parents and cancelling contracts at a negotiable rate for a child under the age of 18 it will only get worse.

I personally have told my story to other parents and have had at least 3 to 4 parents thank me for letting them know as they were thinking of signing up. Again, I am still paying my obligation to your company and have contacted you 3 times, 2 by letter and once to the "new instructors" ( think there have been 3 in the past 3 years at the PV location)  but I will never recommend you to anyone in Jacksonville and will make sure to keep posting on the internet and facebook my story to warn other parents not to go ATA. You should treat consumers better!

I have had 2 bad experiences with your instructors in the PV location that have warranted for us not to return since last year. I am sure there are good instructors out there but I like Elisabeth would discourage others not to go and sign a contract with your company.

Also, when you mention Cell companies or gym companies (btw gyms do not require contracts anymore) they have cancellations fees that only range 200 to 400 rather then paying over 3,000 to cancel a contract like your company requires instead of a standard cancel fee, at least have a negotiable cancel fee!!....

Your company should get rid of contracts..




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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Contact a consumer protection attorney


You should contact a consumer protection attorney and possibly file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General.
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#5 UPDATE Employee

Membership Agreement

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

I am not sure why Ms. Elisabeth is stating that we deceive our clients regarding the contractual agreements which they sign. The membership in question states in bold red letters across the top "Retail Installment Contract". All that our company is asking is that the membership agreement (contract) ,which Ms. Elisabeth signed, is adhered to by herself. In addition, the membership agreements are in place to serve as an added motivator for parents and students to continue training. In this day and age it is much easier to adapt a quitter attitude when you just don't feel like continuing something, than it is to follow thru with what you agreed to.
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#6 UPDATE Employee

Contractual Obligation

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

If Elisabeth did not want to pay for a certain amount of time, she should not have ever signed the "contract". A contract is a promise and committment for the full term it is written for. They are not based on attendance. The facility is there to use and Elisabeth's son has not been denied access. They have made the choice not to go anymore. That does not relieve you of your financial obligation. I guess I would liken that to not using your cell phone and not paying for that as well. It is not based on use, it is based on the agreement you signed with that company.

Chris Peterson
Customer Relations Manager
ASF International
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