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I entered a contract with a karate fitness center for one…

I entered a contract...

I entered a contract with a karate fitness center for one year. I made payments to them on a monthly basis. I "froze" my contract for 2 months during July and August, as there is an agreement freeze clause in the contract. It states that the student acknowledges that billing will continue through the frozen period as regularly scheduled. The agreed upon freeze time will be added on to the end of the original agreement date at no charge. They have now closed their doors of business. I have tried to dispute these 2 months of charges with my credit card, as I can not utilize the facility anymore. Their answer is that I am not entitled to this money because of a contact clause that states "USAGE: Monthly payment is due regardless of Student's usage."

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And when did the issue begin?

New Jersey. I was informed they are closing their doors by an email sent on 9/4/17

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you contacted the manufacturer?

In the email it stated they will work to refund the people who have paid IN FULL for their memberships.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

There is also a clause stating: "LONG TERM FACILITY CLOSING: If facility is closed for a period of longer than 30 days, through no fault of student, the student is entitled to extend the agreement for a period equal to that time during which facility is closed, or receive a pro-rated refund of the amount paid under this agreement except if the closing is not the fault of the facility, in which they choose the remedy"

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Answered in 41 minutes by:
9/24/2017
LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32,398
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Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help with your question and concern

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Good morning. Does the credit card company realize that the business is closed for good? Is the business disputing this or is the credit card company relying on the contract?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I informed the credit card company that they are closed for good when I made the dispute with them. They do not know any of the terms of the contract. I received an email from the karate company today telling me they are aware of me disputing the charges with my credit card, and are advising me to reverse the dispute, stating: "Just wanted to reach out to you before we follow the process of collecting the two payments that you recently disputed on your credit card ending ********8921. Of course, I would have preferred you to reach out to me to ask about the situation as opposed to going directly to trying to dispute the situation. Hopefully, this is something we can still keep amicable and work out.Those are two payments that you were contractually obligated to pay. My guess is, because you chose to take off the summer months, you felt that you 'didn't receive' the services provided by our school. However, contractually, as per section two of the agreements you have signed several times, it states that dues/tuition are due regardless of usage. So, just like with a lease on a car, just because you don't use a car for a day/a week/several months, does not mean your payment obligation is suspended." They are also telling me I will have to pay for the lawyer fees for them to recover this money from me if I choose to continue the dispute.
I understand this, but my question is, since I was in an allowed contract freeze, and they are obligated to add 2 months to my contract under this freeze, aren't they also breaching contract by not being able to add 2 months to my contract?
And also aren't they breaching under the Long Term Facility Closing clause by not giving me a pro-rated refund of amount paid under the agreement?

Thank you and please allow me a moment

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In a situation like this, the business is closed. The clauses and language that they shared in the contract, apply in a situation where they can actually still provide the services offered. Under the "long term facility closing " clause, it would appear to apply in a situation where the business intends to re-open. Here, they closed down, so it is not a situation where there was an issue where they will upon in a month or two because they need to do repairs. Moreover, the "usage" section applies to where the school is actually open and you can use it but decide not to. In both cases, the school is closed. The business is not operating so it is not as though they can and will offer you the classes, If they are out of business they can not provide a service and can not keep money which they are not entitled to, which was not earned. If they were to sue you, you could have a defense and with the credit card company, they need to know the place does not intent to do business any longer. What they are relying on in the contract is if the business was open and they were able to provide the service. Here, they are not, so it is illegal to keep and take your money and not provide the service.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Thank you for the advice.I also was told in the email that they ARE refunding the people who paid IN FULL for their contracts, which I understand because they are not able to use the rest of the membership. But doesn't the Usage clause stating that monthly payment is due regardless of usage supersede all of the other clauses? So I am at fault no matter what?
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Because since they were open in the summer when I froze the membership, they are saying I could have used the membership, but chose not to.

To me, that applies to a situation where YOU decide not to use it but their doors are open and they are offering the services. Here, they are closed for business, so they are preventing you from using this. Even though they were open during the summer and you COULD have used it, their contract allows for you to freeze it and use it at the end, which you elected to do and did. Now, you want to use the time you paid for and they are not offering it, so they can not come back and say you could have used it but you didn't when THEY allowed this.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Ok, Thank you!

You are welcome. Please let me know if there is anything else, as I would be happy to respond. If not, please remember to rate my help at this time at the top of this page, prior to leaving, so I can receive the proper credit, for our time together. A 5 STAR rating is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Experience: 10+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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