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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 13670
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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we entered into a year contract with a Taekwondo school. We

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we entered into a year contract with a Taekwondo school. We were extremely happy with the school until yesterday when we learned that they fired the Master who teaches my son. We want to leave the school. Can we leave and not be sued on the basis that they fired the teacher.
Thank you for your question.

Does the contract that you signed guarantee that your son will be solely trained by this Master, or does it say that he can be instructed by any Master working for the school?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The contract does not specify this Master and states that the school will provide instructors. However, this Master is the only Master at the school. He is loved and respected by all and my son has only been trained by him.

Thank for your reply.

WIthout fully reading the contract but just going by what you have told me, I unfortunately must tell you that no, this would not be grounds to terminate the contract without being in breach. If your son had been guaranteed teaching solely by this instructer, then there would be an argument to terminate the contract early because they would not be able to fulfill the terms of the agreement. However, since the contract merely says that they will provide "instructors", they are not in breach by substituting someone else (provided of course that the people are qualified to teach). The fact that this person was the only person ever to train your son and well respected by all is unfortunately, legally irrelevant.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. But the contract indicates that instructures may be changed upon notice by the school. We received no notice! can i use this to get out of the contract

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I apologize for my delay - I had to step away for a bit. Probably not, to be honest. Does the contract specify what type of notice or how much notice? For example, if the contract stated you must be given a week's notice in advance of a change on instructor, that may be grounds. However, if there is no such language, "notice" can take the form of you showing up for your son's lesson and finding a different instructor. Additionally, because they are only obligated to provide "an" instructor, as opposed to one particular instructor, the fact that you weren't given more notice would likely not be seen as valid grounds to break the contract.

If you terminate the contract, you can be held liable for the remaining months, and depending on the contract terms, may also be liable for other fees (e.g., the contract may provide that if they have to sue you for breach and you are found liable, that you reimburse them their court costs/attorney fees)>
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. From your answer it appears that I should just throw in the towel and subject my son to the whim of this school. All the parents feel the same way that I do. I cannot accept that there is absolutely nothing we can do. Please give me an alternative if you can. If you cannot, I understand. thanks

I'm not necessarily saying throw in the towel, I'm saying based on the information provided, you don't have grounds to breach the contract, in my opinion. In order to break the contract there has to be an argument that the school did not fulfill the terms of said contract. It sounds like a basic contract -they will provide instructors of their choosing, which may change from time to time, to teach students, and in return, you agree to pay a set fee per month/year.

That said, is/are the new instructor/instructors qualified? I understand they may not be at the same skill level or as qualified as the Master, but do they know enough to instruct students and pass skills along and teach Taekwondo? For example, I know nothing about Taekwondo, never having taken a lesson, so obviously, I would not be qualified to teach anyone. If they hired instructors who are unqualifed then you may have an argument that the school is in breach of contract because they cannot properly instruct your son or other students.

Keep in mind, also, even if you did/do have grounds to break the contract, doing so doesn't mean the school couldn't still sue you claiming breach of contract. They could still sue arguing that you did not have a legal basis for breaking your contract, and then you could find yourself in litigation, the matter in the hands of a judge to decide. That could be a lot more costly than waiting out the rest of your son's year at the school.

Before you look to terminate the contract, however - you mention that many other parents feel the same way you do. Have you as a group approached the owners of the school about your concerns? You don't say whether you have or not -so many you already have --but perhaps if they see that it is not just one of you, but many of you that are unhappy that the Master is gone, a compromise of some sort can be worked out - releasing you from your contracts early, giving you a discount on your remaining months, etc. The worst they can do is refuse such a request, but it is far better to try to come to some sort of resolution before looking to litigate.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your excellent advise and suggestions. In fact, per your advise, a meeting was organized and the turnout was overwhelming. It was clear that to the school that sticking to a contract with over 70 parents would not be worth it. Based on your advise, we never threatened terminating but demanded to be let out. We pointed out that if we were not let out of our contracts, that we would come to the school every day and tell every new parent walking in the door about the situation and recommend that they seek out another school. We also threatened to set up facebook and twitter account to tell about our experience at the school. We would engage in 'gorilla warfare' that would close the school making our contracts null and void!. Needless to say, they saw the writing on the wall and promised to call the billing company and cancel our contracts. We passed a paper around and each parent signed their names, with the child's name and phone number. He stated that he would send that list to the company. They also agreed that parents could cancel the automatic withdrawals without ramifications. Just as an aside, we pleaded with the school to sit with the master they terminated and come to an understanding so that things can continue as they were without disrupting the childrens lessons and relationship that they have with the master. I do not know if that will happen but the school was shocked by the loyalty and support and underestimated the master's impact on the students and parents. They saw the majority of their students leaving and the financial impact will be devastating to them. Also the master that they fired is at the moment in a bad situation as well so we pleaded with them to bring the master back and are still hoping that they will sit and talk and work things out using the tennants of Taekwondo that they teach and setting a good example for the students.

So you are right! The power of people joining together to make our voices heard in the face of a non-cancellable contract was our only way out without long protracted litigation! (We are all now more aware and shall hesitate long and hard before entering in these kinds of contracts again!) Thanks.

Wow! I am glad to hear that the school was willing to listen to all of you, and perhaps something can be worked out to bring back that Master you all like so much.

Please remember to give me a positive rating, as it is the only way I am credited for assisting you. Thank you!
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