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ASF International / Deceptive Contracts

1 MA, United States Review updated:

I signed a contract with a martial arts facility for my son. My son has medical issues that do not allow him to continue the class. When I called the studio, much to my surprise I was told that they had nothing to do with the contractual obligations; that I would have to call ASF. The contract I signed did not state that ASF owns all rights to modify the contract. I only found this out when I wanted to discuss cancellation procedure. I did call ASF to discuss this issue. They are incredibly rude and not at all inclined to handle their business professionally. I am filing a complaint with the BBB and with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to stop these deceptive practices. I will also be sending in a letter to the news stations to hopefully get the word out to consumers to beware companies such as this.

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Comments

  • Vi
      29th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes
    ASF International - Thieves
    ASF International
    United States

    This company steals your money even when the correct procedures have been taking to cancel an existing account. THIEVES.

  • Ch
      14th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes
    ASF International - Billing After Contract Expiration and Cancellation
    ASF International
    United States
    Phone: 1-800-525-8967

    YET AGAIN they are billing me after not only my contract with the gym expired, but also a full confirmation of cancellation. 6 months of fraudulent charges to us! Why hasn't someone taken action against these theives - where is the justice? This is STEALING.

  • Ta
      13th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    For those of you having trouble with ASF, check your contract carefully. They and whichever gym, martial arts studio, etc. who control your contract may have been unethical, but it is possible they are in the right legally. We had a dispute where they were clearly in the wrong (legally and ethically -- trying to get us to pay on a contract that had been paid in full) and got no where with their customer service or even when we hired an attorney to send cease and desist letters. However, I went back and realized that even though my contract said that ASF would do the billing, the contract was signed by me and the martial arts studio owner. So I filed a Better Business Bureau complaint for BOTH ASF and my studio and threatened to take the martial arts studio owner to small claims court. ASF didn't care about the complaint (they have TONS) and didn't even respond, but my marital arts studio did care about a bad BBB complaint. Even though I tried a number of times to resolve it through the studio, they did not respond until I filed the BBB complaint. Once I did, they took care of it right away. I was able to file the complaint online, it just took a few minutes.
    Also, if you can prove that they (ASF or your gym, etc.) are acting illegally or unethically in your situation, file a formal complaint with the Attorney General in your state. I was just about at that stage when the martial arts school took care of the problem.
    ASF doesn't care what direct customers think of them, because they just take contracts from gym and studio owners. However, if enough studios get BBB complaints because of ASF, they may go elsewhere for their billing services. That is really the only way to stop ASF, in my opnion.

  • Ra
      31st of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    This makes quite a few valid points. BBB can be a valuable resource, but only against the actual gym or karate place. I was told by the karate instructor who signed us up that if my financial situation changed, they would cancel the contract. I was told by ASF that losing my job wasn't a valid reason. I'm headed to the karate place tomorrow to kindly point out the error of thier ways in blatantly lying to me, we'll see how far that gets me.

  • Bw
      14th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes
    ASF International - Continous Billing
    ASF International
    Highlands Ranch
    United States

    With all the complaints can we obtain an attorney to stop the crazy business practice of ASF International? I would rather fund that effort versus paying ASF any more. They have no way of obtaining any more funds from me so they sent me a bill. I called and laughed at them.

  • Sd
      21st of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    I am having a similar problem with Menifee 24/7 Fitness gym membership in Menifee Ca. I called AFTER my 18 month contract ended and was told to send the cancellation request via email In March 2014. The representative stated that I would be billed for one more month (April) and no other fees would be deducted. As of May 19th, I received another automatic deduction. I contacted ASF only for them to tell me that they see my request noted in the system, but that they did not receive my email, although I received a confirmation email stating that it was received. It has been almost 3 months. so going through both of my email accounts is going to take me days to verify receipt of that email. They said they would not reverse or stop any charges to my account even though they can clearly see that I wanted to cancel. Sending a new request means that I will be billed again in June. Sad that companies in this country are able to get away with such unethical practices. Stay away from businesses that do any kind of billing with this company!

  • Wi
      24th of Dec, 2015
    0 Votes

    I charge ASF, and its enforcement of "child contracts" as indifferent, negligent, reckless child endangerment.


    ASF utilizes bullying tactics, through binding "contracts" that force children to remain connected with programs even when the programs demonstrate a negative impact on the child's well being.


    Case in point deals with karate "schools". ASF collaborates with such schools to implement such contracts with students, minors, and their parents. While even the smallest bit of research on your part will bring this to light, I can use my own young child as an example.


    I enrolled my six year old boy into a karate program while he was in kindergarten, at the age of six. I did fill out paperwork dealing with payment for my son's participation. I admit, I was naive, I did not recognize the tenacious money grabbing contractual obligations involved with my son's participation. I had no idea that such binding contracts could, or would, exist in relation to minors...especially small children.


    Karate schools, and the relationship held with instructors, are an intimate form of education for children. Bad schools and bad instructors may not be obvious at first - but can have a significant detrimental impact on the health and well being of a developing child. Even good schools and instructors, if the program is not a good fit for the child, can have equally negative impact on the child's development.


    In the case of my little boy, it took a few months before the negative impact the karate school was having on him. I had enrolled my little boy into a program that I had hoped would build self-esteem, self-confidence, strength, and the ability to defend himself if the need were ever to arise later in life. I hoped these positive impacts would be with my son both in school academics and within his social life as he grew.


    However, a few months into the program it finally became clear. This program was having the reverse impact on my son. My son demonstrated...


    -exhaustion with school and academics

    -anxiety

    -sadness/depression

    -bouts of anger

    -general distress and a decline in self-esteem


    Once it became clear that these social, academic and emotional issues were connected with karate I wanted to cancel participation. Initially, this would be temporarily, so that we could gage what was going on with my boy, and perhaps (reluctantly) permanently if necessary. I spoke with the karate instructor. He insisted a "freeze" on the account. In my nativity, I thought this was simply the instructor hoping to keep us connected, so I agreed.


    Apparently there was a technical glitch (at least that's what I'm told), and the freeze did not go into effect. ASF tried to bill me. Fortunately, I had had a problem with my debit card and had just had it replaced...so the charge didn't go through.


    I called ASF, thinking it would be a cordial conversation where this charge would be corrected and everyone would be happy. Turns out, the representative was quite condescending. She insisted the instructor would never have done such a thing. I insisted she contact the instructor and she replied "they don't contact the instructors". Further, she insisted that we were bound to this contract for TWO YEARS!


    From there, I continued communication with ASF arguing that contracts involving minors were unethical and immoral and, should be, illegal. Every step of the way, ASF insisted that this contract was binding and, unless I moved, the contract would not be terminated.


    Finally, after extensive arguing and standoff, another representative (Chris Peterson), suggested a one month freeze. Later, the karate instructor contacted me and stated that there had been a technical glitch and that ASF had contacted him, and the two month freeze was now in effect. I still demanded that ASF end this contract on the grounds that contracts involving small children was immoral and ethical. Of course, they refused my demands.


    Now, a few months later, my standoff with ASF continues. I want to stress, again, my little boy demonstrated...


    -exhaustion with school and academics

    -anxiety

    -sadness/depression

    -bouts of anger

    -general distress and a decline in self-esteem


    I can't believe my little boy is not the only one to demonstrate such things. I know there are others out there like him, some younger - some older.


    Parental concerns, and the health and well being of the child, are not the first, and foremost concern of ASF and the karate schools...er "businesses" they connect themselves with. In fact, as ASF has proven, there is a total apathy and disregard for the health and well being of children.


    On another thread, one poster argued that he was upholding a contract that a mom was objecting to, related to her boy (in another state, with another school). This person argued that the contract was for the betterment of the child. That such contracts place motivation (or should we call it bullying and pressure?), prevent a quitter attitude among their participants (that, he states, is prevalent in this day and age). Read that again, please and consider the meaning. This karate instructor is making it clear that the expensive contracts are meant to essentially pressure the poor kid into continued participation. Essentially, that he is saving the child from the poor parental decisions made by this mom who wants to withdraw her child from the program. Talk about arrogance.


    I thought that statement was made by Chris Peterson (because the guy did not identify himself as an instructor, but did appear to identify himself by the name of "Chris"). When I brought this up to Mr. Peterson, he made clear he was not the one to make that post, but that the instructor of that school did.


    However, the point it made - and cannot be denied. These contracts place pressure on families for the continued participation of a child with a karate program, even if the parent has determined that the program hurts the child's well being. And, at least in some cases, are meant to place pressure for the child to continue to participate. I know I feel pressured...forking out $150 per month for two years will influence many parents to continue to have their child participate and receive these damaging services that are being paid for. And, lets face it, not all parents will recognize that they have the option of paying without their child participating. Forget the parent for just a moment...what about children's rights? These contracts violate the rights of children! Children are left unprotected while ASF squabbles to milk the parents for all they can.


    Follow me here for a moment. I want to repeat the symptoms my son demonstrated a third time...


    -exhaustion with school and academics

    -anxiety

    -sadness/depression

    -bouts of anger that had not been seen before (or since, after he stopped attending). This one was quite a surprise. He was always a boy who sought out friendships with others, but now was in frequent conflict with others children...even strangers (i.e. at McDonald's play centers).

    -general distress


    Take this little boy (and also apply this to any child - we know there's others out there), and follow these symptoms down the road as the child continues to develop at such an impressionable point in his or her life. What do you imagine? How do you see things turning out for this child? At best, a dysfunctional life - a child who someday never lives up to the potential he could have. But...that's at best. I stress again, karate schools and instructors are a very intimate form of education for a child. These symptoms my son demonstrated from his experiences are real...and very concerning. Step back and imagine these very real symptoms a second time. Other than dysfunction, how else do you see this turning out for a child as he grows and matures under the intimate influence of a damaging karate program? It's a bit scary. I have a hard time saying the word. Suicide.


    It's speculation of course. But, you follow those symptoms...those kind of things can lead a child in that direction. All because of an intimate, and very damaging, program the child was pressured to continue. Now, I will stand up for my son. I will watch out for him. That's why this contract dispute is occurring in the process. Let's face it. Not all parents will do that. Many will feel defeated from the very first moment they are told they cannot cancel the contract. And, many parents, especially those who do not connect with their child well, will simply bow to the pressure they feel from the contract and require their child to continue participating...due to the pressure of high payments they are forced to continue for these services.


    Now, I will stress, Chris Peterson and ASF do not comment one way or another on whether these contracts are fair for the children. Whether these contracts are good, or immoral and evil...violating children's rights (children, those which are most helpless and need such protection). Chris Peterson, and ASF simply state that the parent is obligated to continue the payments that "they agreed to". (If other parents are like me, they were naive, not realizing that these "contracts" were so binding - especially due to the fact that they involved young children - that one could not cancel).


    What ASF has essentially demonstrated is indifference. Indifference to the health and well being of children. Indifference to children as a whole - as long as they can siphon money over an extended period. But, is it even simply indifference we are talking about here? Is this blatant negligence? Negligence is likely the better word choice here.


    I argue that contracts involving children are methods of entrapment, indenture and enslavement of a child and should absolutely never be allowed. They should be illegal in our nation - especially here in the 21st century. I never would have imagined that, here in our country - a nation that protects the rights of children - would see a situation where children's rights are ignored. Are we in the United States, or are we in a third world country here? Binding, long term contracts such as this, are things I would have imagined in a third world nation. A nation that cannot, or will not, protect children's rights.


    These contracts should never be. Not with my son, or with anyone's child. Children are unpredictable and their growth and development can go in many directions. Their needs change. Whether a program is recognized to be detrimental to a child within a day, within a few months (as it took my child), or within a year, there should NEVER be a binding contract on a child with such an intimate educational program. Once a parent recognizes that such a program is detrimental to a child's well being, ASF and that karate program should immediately, when requested, cease all relations with that child and that family...that INCLUDES payment. As I have already demonstrated, the continued enforcement of a "contract" keeps the connection alive. All relations should cease for the betterment and rights of children.


    But, again, I stress. ASF (and Chris Peterson - who's defense of ASF are all over these boards), makes very clear - they are only concerned about the money. Never, ever - when ASF is defended on these boards - do they express concern for the child. In all cases, they seek to enforce the contracts and collect the $$$$


    I will state this. After a significant standoff on this issue, Chris Peterson (months later), has finally offered an alternative. He has blessed me with option B: a buyout of the contract. There is no such buyout option stated in the contract. So, this has been created out of "nothing". So, this buyout has been artificially inserted only after extensive arguing. The buyout is $450. Honestly, I don't have the money for the buyout - I'm still trying to figure out how I will do it while still feeding my children. But, that's beside the point. It should not have taken months as I demanded a cancellation of the contract for this buyout to finally be offered as an option. Further, a buyout option should not even be necessary to begin with - when a parent recognizes that a karate program is having a significant negative impact on his/her child's health and well being and development, ASF should be ready to immediately cease relations with that child and family and simply end the "contract". How many other parents have tried, and felt despair at ASF's obsession to enforce long term payments they felt they had to fold? These aren't cell phone contracts or a direct tv contract we are talking about here. These are living, breathing, impressionable, developing young people...who are at critical points in their lives as they grow and mature.


    I love my son. My little boy. I'm sure you love your children. When I send my son to school I feel that his teachers love and care for him. I feel like the school administrators watch out for his well being. When dealing with ASF and my son's karate program I recognize that one thing has been demonstrated here. To them children = $$$$$$. Nothing more. If they cared about children, these contractual agreements they enforce would cease. That's a shame. Business is one thing. But, one should never go into business involving children without also having a love and care for...children, and children first. This is America.


    This is indifference. This is negligence. This is reckless child endangerment. ASF, end all ties to my child. Now. End all child contracts. This is America. We love our children here. We believe in children's rights here.

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