ED Magedson – Founder
INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE BASEBALLYorba Linda, California USA
INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE BASEBALL, IPB, MATT STARK COLLECTS ADVANCE FEES FOR BASEBALL CAMPS THAT NEVER HAPPEN YORBA LINDA, CALIFORNIA
International Performance Baseball, also known as IPB is owned by Matt Stark, a former professional baseball player. The IPB website claims to hold various events in California and elsewhere for high school to post college baseball players. My son was a Division 1 college pitcher for four years and graduated in 2013. In October 2013, my son signed up for the IPB "World Free Agent Spring Training" camp at the Cocoa Expo Sports Complex in Cocoa, Florida which was scheduled for March 12-26, 2014. IPB claimed to be offering two of these camps: one at the Cocoa Expo Sports Complex and the other at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. The IPB website claimed (and still does claim) that these events use coaches from Major league organizations, minor league coaches and former players to provide instructions at these camps. IPB also claims that the participants play games against the minor league affiliates of major league teams which are in Florida and Arizona for spring training. IPB claims that professional scouts are at these camps and that some of the participants sign professional contracts as a result of the camps.
After my son filled out the online registration and he was thereafter contacted, a few hours later, by a representative of IPB (whom I believe was Matt Stark). I later contacted IPB and spoke to someone (again, likely Matt Stark) who extolled the virtues of the camp and who mentioned that my son’s experience as a Division 1 College player would help his prospects. The cost of the camp was $2995.00. The fee was all inclusive (motel accommodations, daily breakfast, all professional instruction, uniforms, and scheduled games). There was a $200.00 discount for early payment. On October 10, 2013, I provided my credit card info to the IPB representative (once again I believe this was Matt Stark) and agreed to pay a first installment of $1,000.00. I checked my credit card on line and a few hours later, the funds were transferred. On October 25, 2013, an additional $1995.00 was charged to my credit card. Payment in full was made well within the time frame to receive the early payment discount of $200.00. The promised $200.00 early payment discount was not applied (My first clue that something was amiss). I also then purchased a $236.00 non refundable airfare for my son to travel to Florida. After I paid the fee, there was no contact from IPB that was not the result of efforts initiated by me or my son. As the event drew closer, both my son and I noticed that the there were no updates on the website regarding the camp (Although there were new camps posted to the website). I made numerous telephonic inquiries to the only telephone number available on the website with rare success. On the few occasions when I got a live person, I was told various stories. First, I was told that the schedule was being prepared and there would be an email sent to all the players that week (this was in January). Then I was told that the schedule was going out “in the next day or so” and I even provided my own email address to be included in the emailing. By mid February, both my son and I became more and more concerned. I again made several unsuccessful attempts to reach a live person at the telephone number. When I did finally reach a live person, (at approximately the end of February) I was told that the person running the Cocoa, Florida camp had been sick so the schedule was coming out later that week. I was reassured by the IPB representative that everything was fine and the camp was on. No schedule was posted, no emails were sent from IPB and the IPB website hadn't changed.
As the start date of the camp approached in early March, there were still no emails or any contact from IPB. The IPB website had no new information. I began to email and call daily for an update with no response. My son was promised an IPB-provided shuttle from the airport to the motel (for a $25.00 fee) but he could not arrange it as IPB would not answer their telephone. Finally on March 10 (after almost hourly phone messages and emails from me), I received an email from Matt Stark asking me if my son was in Florida yet. He also stated that he was “short of pitchers” for the camp and was working on it. I emailed back with my son’s telephone number and told Matt Stark that my son was departing for Florida the next day. Matt Stark called my son’s phone later and left essentially the same “short of pitchers” message. I continued calling the IPB telephone number and emailing Matt Stark on March 11, 2014 demanding information, but got no response. On the evening of March 11, 2014, literally hours before my son was to board the flight to Florida, Matt Stark called my son and told him the event was cancelled. I was in disbelief so I made numerous calls to IPB and left messages but got no response. The sage gets worse when I attempted to get a refund. A few days after cancelling the camp, Matt Stark called my son and tried to get him to accept a credit for a future IPB event--which my son refused. I began to make multiple daily calls and emails to Matt Stark and IPB to get my money back. I then emailed him and told him I would consider contacting the police. After that, I got an email back. On March 26, 2014, I received an email from Matt Stark. Stark stated that “our bills and refunds go out the first Friday of each month your credit card will be refunded…” So I was told I would have to wait until the first Friday of the next month to get my refund even though IPB debited my credit card for the cost of the camp immediately upon my authorization. Although I doubted the refund would be posted, I waited until Friday April 4, 2014, to see if my credit card would be credited. Of course the refund wasn't posted. When I did not receive the credit on the first Friday of April (Almost 6 full months that IPB had received my initial payment and more than 5 months that IPB had my full payment for a non-existent camp), I once again sent him an email demanding payment. This time, I specifically told him that I was going to contact The Orange County, California Sheriff’s Office. Matt Stark then sent a terse reply stating "You can reach out to whomever you would like. Refunds are processed on Friday and batched out on Sunday evenings. Normally take 48-72 to see on statement.” I found this claim by Matt Stark shameful. Matt Stark apparently runs such a complex organization that refunds are “batched out” (whatever that means!) The “48-72 hours” time frame passed and I have received no credit. I happened to be in Central Florida from March 4-14, 2014 for another reason.
I decided to travel to Cocoa, Florida to look at the facility where the event was to be held--“The Cocoa Expo Center.” I was shocked to see that the facility was completely closed chained up and padlocked and unusable. The fields were all either in disrepair or non-existent. The entire complex was padlocked with a” Sheriff’s Notice” on the gate. I later made inquiries and found out that the complex had been in receivership since 2011 and no events have been held there since 2011. I also checked the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona (where the other IPB event was to occur on March 12-26, 2014). I learned that the IPB Arizona event did not take place at the Kino Complex either. I also contacted the manager of another Public Sports Complex in Florida where IPB claims to hold events (and the IPB website still has upcoming events listed at this facility.) The manager of this park told me that there were no reservations for IPB camps to occur there in the past or in the future. He said IPB has never held an event there. In fact, he said he is aware that this Complex is listed on the IPB website and he has asked IPB to remove any reference to them. I have checked corporate records for California, Arizona and Florida. Those records indicate that International Performance Baseball's certificates of incorporation in California and Arizona were forfeited in 2008. I found no record that IPB was incorporated or chartered as a Limited Liability Company in that state. I do not believe that there was ever a serious effort to hold this event. I know there is no reason not to refund my money. Matt Stark is now working as the Athletic Director and head baseball coach of American Sports University which appears to be a non accredited college located in San Bernardino, California.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/10/2014 05:41 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/international-performance-baseball/yorba-linda-california/international-performance-baseball-ipb-matt-stark-collects-advance-fees-for-baseball-ca-1137711. 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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