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Sam, Attorney at Law
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Issue: Cancellation of Martial Arts School childs membership.

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Issue: Cancellation of Martial Arts School child’s membership. Contract managed by ASF International.
My child went to a Martial Arts school for 7 months as initiation. At that time, if I pay for 6 months straight, I would get a month free and no contract signing asked. My child was sometimes happy, sometimes disappointed, but we were not that satisfied with the school and the instructor character for a couple of reasons. Then came transition to the famous Black belt training program- a 3 year training that would cost IF paid in one hand $ 4500, or a monthly payment with a contract as of $ 140/month- for 3 straight years.
Since we could not pay in one hand, the martial arts instructor said we were obliged to assume a 3 year contract, managed by ASF International- we did so, b/c our child wanted. However, since we started this “new” program, we have been extremely disappointed with the instructor for several reasons- including disdain towards us. My child has been disappointed with classes as well. We noted that the instructor, once he gets new students (in this case my child was 5) hooked to him for 3 years, then he starts giving by far more attention and opportunities to students whose parents did not signed yet the 3 years contract. He passed to us and a couple of other parents that he was more concerned about the nest financial profile- that’s out impression. When we signed the contract, we asked what if 5 years old changes his mind and does not want to come anymore- he said that the contract was just a formality and we would cancel it. However, the contract says very clearly that we cannot cancel it unless we move far to a place at least 25 miles away from the martial arts center.
My child was so sad/stressed and this added to the fact I have been passing through a serious medical procedure and other problems in our family, I asked the instructor for a break (he gave “the break” orally not in written, reminding us that he was being very good to us, since our contract says clearly that my child has to come for 36 months – non stop). Most recently we had a huge argument and he reminded us about his “kindness”- We felt blackmailed and threatened. We want to detach from him and his Martial arts permanently.
What I find interesting though is that although ASF International “manages” this contract, ASF itself failed from the beginning to now to charge us, instead the instructor himself, always with lots of excuses came to charge us personally- for what we voluntarily advised him about the failed charges. (ASF international crook reputation for overcharging others got an F from BBB).
My child does not want to go to those martial Arts anymore- instead he wants anything but this, we are extremely angry and dissatisfied with his practices, yet we are slaved to the instructor for a period of 36 months?
How do we get unattached from the school and ASF? I don’t even know if he submitted the contract to ASF international or the contract, due to ASF International bad fame, is being used by him to press us- at his discretion- b/c again he has charged us not ASF?
We are not moving away- so what do I do? I have felt threatened by his reminds of “kindness”. Thanks a Lot.



If the contract states that it can be canceled if you move 25 miles or more from the location, then once you do that, you write a letter of cancellation including the documents showing your move - that would include any copies of utility bills and/or a lease, etc. State that you have moved and according to the terms of the contract, you are canceling. Demand any monies paid be immediately refunded. State that if you do not get that refund within 7 days from receipt of the letter, you will have no other choice but to file in small claims court. Mail the letter certified with a return receipt requested.


If you do not get the refund after the letter was received, I suggest you then file that small claims lawsuit



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Yes, but we are NOT moving away- much less to 25 miles away- That's the case.


My child does not want to go anymore- he is 5.


Can the school lock us in still for 3 years, even if the child refuses to go.


Can't I write a letter simply stating that my child does not want to go anymore- to have it cancelled?



Unfortunately, YOU have entered into a legally binding contract. So you need to follow any terms of cancellation. I understand your son is 5, but he has not entered into the contract, you see?


You certainly can write a letter but they do not need to let you out of the contract. Read it. See if there is something that might allow a certain portion be returned if cancellation without cause. Maybe there is another provision in there, for instance, if you have medical documentation showing it is not good for your son's health, etc. Can you get a doctor to do that for you?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Just one more thing directly related to what you said:


I've heard about a recent federal law saying thea no fitness center or martial arts studio has the right to keep your membership, if you don't want anymore. B/c after signing the contract, people saw bad services in these centers. Can't this law be aplied towards us?


"...Recently a major fitness club lost a class action law suit in Federal Court by trying to "not allow" clients to cancel membership. "...



I am familiar with laws that prohibit fitness clubs from collecting beyond 3 months of membership on any contract. But I am not familiar with it being applied to a martial art or other type of activity.


However, you can check with the Attorney General in your state and see if there is any law that pertains to the martial arts that would preclude them from collection in advance or if the provisions of their contract are not in sync with law in that regard. The AG cannot give you legal advice or represent you, but they can tell you if that law pertains to marital arts or say ballet or other type of activity of this nature


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