• Report: #297902
Complaint Review:

Karate America Headquarters

  • Submitted: Mon, January 07, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, November 20, 2009

  • Reported By:Gainesville Florida
Karate America Headquarters
7235 Atlantic Blvd Jacksonville, Florida U.S.A.

Karate America Headquarters Karate America - Membership Rip-Off Jacksonville Florida

*General Comment: Karate America (PV) complaint

*Author of original report: Resolution Reached

*UPDATE Employee: Confusion

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In December 2005, I signed up for the Leadership membership with Karate America. The membership I chose originally was a three year contract that the then owner/manager, Mr. Pablo Lopez, told me that he would retro-activate for the year that I had already participated. We were never given a contract.

In November 2007, I called the Karate America Headquarters to find out the exact end date of my membership. I spoke to a woman with a heavy accent. She said she would have to call me back with that information. I asked her if she would fax me a document with the end date written down so I could have some documentation. She said that Karate America doesn't do that. A day or so later she called and left a message with my co-worker saying that my membership would end December 2007.

Today, January 7, 2008, I called Karate America again to make sure to see if I could get something in writing showing that my membership ended in December. I again spoke to the woman with the heavy accent. She again had to look up my membership contract and call me back. A couple of hours later she returned my call and said that my membership ended January 2008. When I confronted her about the discrepancy, she refused to acknowledge that we even spoke.

She did say that my membership started December 2005. Even if our first payment for that membership was January 2006, the two year contract would still have ended December 2007.

I asked the woman if I could speak to her manager. She said that I could call back the next morning at 8 a.m. and speak to whomever answered the phone. I asked her if she knew the name of the manager and she said she didn't. It's inconceivable to me that personnel don't know who their managers are. Then I asked for the spelling of her name and she refused especially when I told her I wanted to make sure that the manager knew that it was her that I was dealing with. At that point she was yelling and hung up on me.

Why are we being charged for another month? I refuse to pay the extra months bill. This company is geared towards families, but there have been many, many stories similar to mine in which this company continually tries to take money from it's members.

Gainesville, Florida

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/07/2008 06:27 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/karate-america-headquarters/jacksonville-florida-32211/karate-america-headquarters-karate-america-membership-rip-off-jacksonville-florida-297902. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

Karate America (PV) complaint

AUTHOR: Tiffany - (United States of America)

I understand that the complaint was resolved.  I would like to state my opinion and why Karate America should not even offer contracts for Karate classes for childern under the age of 18 and why I would NEVER recommend and I DISCOURAGE people everyday with my story about going to ATA for Karate. This is my story.

I went in with my son to Karate America after a friend and her two kids asked us to go. We first started with a 6 month trial basis, there was another couple running it at the time who moved to Gainesville within 3 months of us being there.  The Valino's started running the Ponte Vedra location.  They were supposively from Argentina and very pushy about signing additional contracts. They had heavy accents and Mr. Valino could hardly explain the contracts to me. They kept being pushy and would bring my friend and I into the office every month and but us to sign additional 3 year contract.  We eventually decided to sign the contract for the 3 years under relucutant ( black belt), after that they kept trying to get us to sign additional contracts and got to the point I had to tell them to stop asking me.  My son was 4 about to turn 5 at the time.  They never explained to me that the contract was not cancellable or that in order to cancel I would have to pay the contract in full for the 3 years I was just told it would just be the minimal to cancel with a 30 day notice. 

After signing the contract, I was never told by any of the instructors or managers that I would have to pay an additional $60 for belts every 2 months (thought it was included in monthly price) or purchase the equipment every month which averaged 30-200 depending on what they said "He needed" to move to the next level. 

We went from Decemeber of 2007- Septmeber 2008, including 2 weeks of the summer camp. (Not including the months before the Valino's got there). They brought in a new instructor "Mr. Lopez." He verbal attacked by friends child in class one day and made him cry, we were shocked! My son was also in the class and told me after class he was afraid of him.  My friend and I were stunned by the gentlemans actions.  My friend went into the office to talk to the Valino's. 

I then had an incident with Mrs. Valino when she asked me why I had not bought the equipment, head gear and stomach padded guard etc.that he needed it to spare.  I explained I was getting it used because I could not afford it and it was "ATA" and I should be able to use it. She explained I would end up paying twice since I did not come to her, that I needed to buy it from her or he would not be able to use it even though it was still ATA equipment. My friend and I were both shocked.  After that day and the incident with the instructor and the Valino's being so pushy, we both stopped going. It got to be too much to handle.

About 6 or 7 month's later, my friend wrote a letter to ATA explaining the situation with the instructor verbally attacking her son in class and ATA ended up letting both her kids out of the contract within a month of her letter. 

I also wrote and faxed 2 letters to ATA explaining personal situations and issues and needing to cancel my contract and both rejected.  I have never defaulted on this contract and have been paying on it since December 2007 and here it is November 2009. We have not been back since Semptember 2008.  I called the Ponte Vedra Karate America in I believe August 2009 and spoke with a man, with a heavy accent. I asked for the Valino's and he stated they were no longer there.  I explained my personal sitiuation with him for over the phone.  He stated he would call the main office and call me in the next couple of days.  He never called me back or has yet to contact me. 

Here is my point with Karate America. They should not require contracts for childern under the age of 18.  I am a new parent and wanted my child to experience everything.  I should have never signed a contract for 3 year with this company. They are not even willing to work with you on the cost of getting out of your contract especially when a child is to young for such a commitment and want you to pay the remaining contract in full, instead of possiblely working something out they state " your contract is neither cancellable or refundable". I never asked for a refund for any of the amount.  

They do not fully explain the additional cost and expense with extras, belt fees, equipment and uniform fees. I believe that this company is money driven and not family driven.  I have not defaulted on the contract and still have unwillingly paided them 150.00 a month since signing this contract in Dec 2007 not missing one month!

I had a really bad experience with this company and do not recommend anyone to go to this company.  I will always speak out and tell people not go to ATA and to find a karate place that requires no contract to join.  Kids are to young to make such a commitment to such a degree and ATA should work better with people and these contracts. I have discouraged others and will continue to discourage people from joining ATA in my community.  

In my opinon, no one should sign a contract with Karate America.

Thank you for letting me post my experience with ATA.


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#2 Author of original report

Resolution Reached

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

We did resolve the situation. Thankfully another staff member at Karate America talked with me, researched the situation, and explained everything clearly. Her rebuttal is absolutely correct.

This report was filed the night before in the middle of my anger at just one more thing that I felt had gone wrong while I was a student of the company.

I do appreciate the staff member's help and her calmly explaining the situation to me. I should have been better about updating this report putting it to the forefront of my tasks for the day, but unfortunately life got in the way.

My only suggestion to anyone looking into any type of membership to any gym, karate studio, dance studio, etc. is to ask about hidden fees. There is a membership fee, but what other equipment, class fees, uniform fees, etc. are not covered in the membership fee. But that should just be common sense for anyone joining any organization that requires a membership fee.
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#3 UPDATE Employee


AUTHOR: Karate America Staff - (U.S.A.)

Ms. Wendi did contact our company on January 7, 2008 and ask for a copy of her membership agreement. However, our office closes at 4 pm and she had contacted us at approximately 6 pm. The staff member who had answered the phone was working late, but did not have access to the membership files because she works in a different department. Although, she did try and assist, it seems that she was unable to give Wendi any answers, and explained that she could call back in the morning when the office opened at 8 am.

Ms. Wendi did call back that night and leave a voice message in the operators mail box and she was contacted the next morning. Upon reviewing her membership and faxing her a copy, it was discovered that both answers given to Ms. Wendi were correct. That is, she signed a membership agreement November 11, 2004 which required 36 monthly payments, therefore her membership would expire December of 2007. However, in an effort to assist Ms. Wendi upon signing up they made her first monthly payment due February of 2005 for 36 months. Therefore, her last payment would be due in January of 2008.

After discussing this with Ms. Wendi, the situation is believed to be resolved. However, we did apologize for any inconvenience and confusion that her first phone conversation had caused.
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