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ATA Karate AmericaComplete scam

1
U Review updated:

My son is 6 years old. We signed up for karate lessons this past April. As most children, lately he has decided that he doesn't want to continue the lessons as most 6 year olds won't have their attention held for very long. I've also come into some financial hardship I'm a single mom and can't afford the $150 payments each month. i called ATA corporate and they said the only way I can get out of this contract is if I move or if my son gets hurt and can no longer attend. When i went to the first day, this charming sales person made everything sound so great. The only thing he told me about was the up front fee of $150 and the monthly amount. He didn't tell me about what the cost would be every time my son got a new belt after his first 30 classes which is an extra $60. He also didn't tell me that it would be $279 to $400 for my sons equipment and he certainly didn't tell me that I was signing a 3 year commitment. When I asked him about it, he would give me the brush off. So I called corporate and they said that there is no way to let me out of the contract unless I wanted to take karate lessons, i moved or my son got hurt. How can this be legal? The day I signed the contract, I got into a huge fight with my x and I trusted Master M so when he said sign this, I did. I also didn't get a copy of my contract for a week and a half so I didn't know that I could have cancelled it three days later. I honestly thought I was only signing a one year commitment like you would at a gym or something. That's what these places do. They get someone to make everything seem wonderful then blind side you. It's a complete scam and now I'll have to take out a loan just to pay them off. I wouldn't do this again if it was the last thing to do on this earth. These companies should never make someone sign that long of a commitment for a child. Some of these parents bring in children 3 years old. Obviously they are just in it for the money because are they even that stupid to think a 3 year old or 6 year old would want to do this for 3 years? Ridiculous. Complete Scam and disappointed that compannies like this would take adavantage of families when we're all having a rough time with the economy. Total Scam...

Responses

  • I
      Jul 18, 2011

    Yes a complete scam of handing you a contract on a piece of paper, you signing it, then claiming they defrauded you. Apparently you can write so I will assume you can read too what is your excuse for not reading it, it took to long, the lettering was small, the words to big? You’re the type of person who will next demand a bank modify your mortgage because you again cannot live up to your responsibilities. I feel sorry for your kids, hopefully they see you for the [censored] you are and decide they want to be productive members of society instead of a drain like their mother.

    -12 Votes
  • K
      Jul 19, 2011

    I do believe that children are at the most important learning stages of their lives between the ages of 1 and 6. So if you don't beleive that children as young as three can learn how to listen, pay attention, and follow directions, you are wrong. There are many parents that have to find a good learning centers for their children. Karate America core foundation is to teach COURTESY & RESPECT. There are seminar all over the country that charge a lot more than 150 per month, to teach your child CONFIDENCE. And they are just a weekend seminar and about three times the amount you are being charged for one month. And to have unlimited training for your child for a month at 150 is not expensive at all. Do the math: the average child does 3 to 4 classes per week, that is about 8 dollars per class. That is about minimum wage, for something that is much more value than minimum wage. And I know you and your child and your child didn't loose interest HE LOVED THE CLASSES!

    +1 Votes
  • K
      Aug 26, 2011

    Karate America empathizes with families having financial hardship. We understand it is a difficult economy right now, as it is for businesses as well. We are willing to offer several methods to assist our students. We offer to freeze a payment to allow the student to catch up on bills, the possibility of lowering the program and therefore the monthly payment, or transferring the membership to another family member. It is unfortunate that none of these options will work for this student.

    As far as the membership is concerned, our memberships clearly state the time commitment. Both the expiration date and number of months of commitment are written in two different places. This is to ensure that everyone is clear as to what the agreement is.

    Within the membership, written in plain English, not legal jargon, it states the purchase of safety equipment will be necessary for certain activities in the classes. This is for safety, and also required by our insurance company. Also, it is written in the membership that promotional rank examination fees are not included in the membership fees. This information is clearly written in order to ensure the student knows the terms and conditions up front. We do not wish to trick anyone, but we also cannot force people to read that which they are signing.

    We are not in this business just for the money. There are many much less strenuous jobs that could earn our instructors a living, but they have chosen to dedicate their lives to the study of martial arts and to passing on that information to students—in order to better those students’ lives. We disagree that young children cannot make a commitment for achieving their black belts. They may, however, need the help of their families to reach that goal. This is why the membership is signed by the parent, not the child. Children learn commitment and follow through at a young age. I would encourage anyone who reads this to attend one of our Black Belt testings in June or December, and watch the ring with the youngest students, as young as 6. These children have been training since 3 years old and now understand the concepts of commitment, goal setting, and perseverance. If they learn to be successful at a young age, they will be successful their entire lives.

    We are still willing to offer our assistance as noted above. Please call, and we will do all that we can to help.

    Sincerely,
    Karate America Employee

    -5 Votes
  • D
      Jan 27, 2015

    I can relate. I have a similar situation with my 2 kids and ATA. It was a high-pressure sales situation, kind of like being sold a time share or tricked into a buyer's club. I think the biggest thing for us was that as time passed and the kids got older, school became more of a priority. It became increasingly difficult to go twice a week and get the required classes in...and it was impossible to get any sort of flexibility from ATA. We had to re-take 2 cycles because we were unable to fulfill the requirements.

    As for the program, there's very little emphasis on mastering techniques and zero 1 on 1 time (unless you pay extra). Even during the belt tests- they would pass people that clearly weren't ready...I realized recently that this is because after my kids complete the colored belts, they want me to sign an additional contract to get the black belt. When I asked if we could wait until summer break to start, they said no and we'd have to start the colored belt program over again.

    There are tons more examples I could share about our 3 year experience, but what's the point? I agree, a three-year contract is too huge of a commitment for a young child. If your child is interested in martial arts, find a place that doesn't require a contract at least until you're sure.

    BTW - @intellix58--I've been dealing with the sarcastic "can't you read" attitude for 3 years. Hats off to you and people like you who have never made a decision you regret.

    +4 Votes
  • D
      Jan 22, 2017

    @dmitchell1 I'm 31 years old have 3 kids that are in ATA along with myself of course. It sucks that you had a hard time with them because each school is induvisually licensed and operated. I have 3 Amazing instructors 2 5th degrees one who is grand master soon hopefully Lee's son. So again I can't speak for every ATA but I love mine

    0 Votes
  • K
      Oct 14, 2015

    I think it's an individual school issue. Schools have the ability to adjust their programs that suits their needs based on several factors. Where we are, there is NO WAY the school would stay in business if the owner required three year contracts and posed outrageous fees. In fact, he's custom made certain programs (leadership) to allow kids to participate. Meaning: it's not a national ATA program as those fees ARE crazy and there would be no participation. I am lucky our owner cares more about kids getting the instruction than imposing crazy fees just to be on a national list. I wouldn't lump ALL ATA schools in this complaint...just ask QUESTIONS and be wary of outrageous fees and lengthy contracts (we do 6mos at a time and if we need to go month to month for whatever reason, it's no problem...because our owner knows LIFE HAPPENS. He'd rather have kids there than not because of a contract issue).

    +1 Votes
  • B
      5h ago

    @KatieAir It is an individual school issue I signed my son up for a year and then when my contract ends this month they are going to scrutinize my son his last class and testing because I honestly on a single parent income can't pay the cost anymore with the monthly fees, sparing tournaments, travel between $2-3K in one year and I moved farther way from the school

    0 Votes
  • B
      Jan 11, 2016

    Now not being fully provided information regarding to the ATA contracts is one issue but the major problem about these contracts is lack of time and strict discipline, yes I know kids should be disciplined but their punishments or ways on dealing kids are so horrible. Karate America treats kids there like animals for literal I mean they don't care whatsoever a child's feelings and punish them like slaves, examples of this is excessive forced running around the room for more than what's needed, abusive physical contact such as forced sparring against way aggressive opponents. I mean seriously they do not care a single bit sympathy on a child. Reasons for why they do this is you guessed it !! Money !!. They do this to make parents feel satisfied for their kids being disciplined because they are too much of an ### to carry the guilt or burden on doing that action being unaware of the child feelings toward this. What stresses me about this is that we're talking about kids as young of early age of 3-5 Toddlers going through this. And if you ever even think about this these kids are forced to act in such way that is forced of them from their instructors out of FEAR but not by respect or any such. I mean think about it, kids can be physically and mentally damaged from experiencing such actions that can last as much as their whole life cuz kids are that fragile. I mean look more to the bigger image on the negatives of ATA programs and how they treate kids as almost as if their adults working and know about real life problems. This can seriously damage a child's childhood can't you see why America put laws against kids working on minor ages because of the negative impacts that are inflicted upon them and here ATA still does actions that's whatsoever against child rights that goes against this system, yet still they do this knowing of the risks on how kids can be very majorly affected from this. Yes I know ATA does having tons of information regarding what your child's gonna experience over the time you participate in activities like these but if a kid wishes to cancel their contract its not the instructors or even the parents job to force them to stay because this is basically SLAVERY or in depth human trafficking. ATA schools should not make a profit from taking away money from people who do wish any more to participate on such programs or even give a difficult way on getting out. Now I know many people's opinion will probably agree or disagree with my statement but at least first on putting you on their shoes first and being treated like these at such age. To be honest a cancellation should be offered at all means but if you disagree on this that's fine by me.

    +1 Votes
  • B
      5h ago

    @Beast Frostbite This occurring all over America with ATA . They make it look like it would be good for your kids and then suck you in for guess what $$$$. No way out of the contract and will send you to collections. So you are stuck then they scrutinize your kid because you are not going to re new at the end of the year. My child I asked if he wanted to stay in ATA he goes no they were putting pressure on a special needs child. Than they railroad the parent because making the child's decision if they want to stay.

    0 Votes
  • L
      Apr 21, 2017

    I have never seen a more fraudulent contract process than that with Karate America. I signed up my two sons in hopes we could make this work as a long term activity for them. I was told by local owner that if it didn't work out, we could pay a cancellation fee and get out of contract as I was very nervous that my youngest son would be able to participate. This happened in 2014. I paid the cancellation fee with total hardship to our family as my husband had lost his job but I have never not paid a bill in my life. They harassed me and said I had to pay the entire contract for 12 months. I sent letters with proof of payment and made multiple phone calls to Karate America and the credit agency they turned us into. I heard nothing for 18 months after sending proof of payment etc. I assumed it had been taken are of as I wasn't getting harassing phone calls from collection agency. 18 months later at end of 2016, I got a collection letter demanding $3, 000 (my sons participated for 60 days in this program of which I paid for as well as a $300 cancellation fee). Again, I responded to that letter with proof within 30 days. I never heard back from anyone and in March of 2017, a $3000 credit issue was reported on my credit report. I am appalled these people can stay in business as reports of this are all over the internet. I am sure the program is a good program, but they are taking advantage of trusting consumers.

    +1 Votes

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