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Ultimate Studio Martial Arts / Unfair business practices

1 United States Review updated:
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In early March 2008, I decided to explore the sport of martial arts for my son and thought it might be a good idea for him to participate in classes within a structured setting. So I called our local school, Ultimate Studio Martial Arts(www.ultimatestudioma.com) located in Bronx, NY and inquired about their classes. I was told that my son could come in and participate in a free trial class to determine if he was interested in joining. Well, after the trial class, my family decided that karate would be an extra-curricular activity and that my son would be able to join. Having sat down with the Program Director, I was misled into believing that instruction would cost only $129 a month with a one-time registration fee of $90. At this time, I was NOT told of any other school fees (such as testing fees, equipment fees, and uniform fees, just to name a few of the MANY fees) nor was I informed of the several membership plans wherein my son could enrol for either a month-to-month, 3 month or 6 month time period. (Only 3 months later, in June, when I decided to cancel, I was informed that I had the option to sign up for a month to month, 1 month, 3 month or 6 month time period.) In fact, there was no mention of how long my child would be involved in martial arts during my meeting. The paperwork was filled out by the program director and she only mentioned that tuition would cost $129 per month.

Moreover, I was never told why they needed my social security number and I was never told the TOTAL SALE PRICE of the agreement ($1548). In fact, I believe that the paperwork is a loan agreement financed by me and sold to a third-party (I'm assuming it is ASF International), which was never disclosed to me by the program director during our meeting. Also, the full amount of the contract ($1548) was never disclosed and intentionally left blank on the paperwork. Additionally, I was never informed that the paperwork that I signed was a binding contract. Also, the program director neglected to mention that the length of time stated on the paperwork would require my son to be enrolled for the duration of one year, and that I would be committed to pay $129 for one year at a cost of $1548 (again, the total sale price of membership was not written on the contract.)

Furthermore, shortly after my child advanced from white belt to yellow belt, having been enrolled in the school for 3 months, Ultimate Studio Martial Arts informed me that I MUST purchase sparring equipment and a uniform at a cost of $370 in order for him to participate in yellow belt instruction. (There was also a $50 fee for a testing process where 'the Instructor' would test each student to determine his/her proficiency in martial arts.) Also, the sparring equipment had to be purchased through Ultimate Studio Martial Arts at an extremely high cost. The cost of the sparring equipment and the testing fee were NEVER mentioned during my meeting with the program director in early March. As a result, I was unable to afford to purchase the sparring equipment and uniform. Consequently, my son was unable to obtain full and effective instruction as a yellow belt since he did not purchase the MANDATORY sparring equipment and uniform. As a result, I tried to cancel and contacted the owner of Ultimate Studio Martial Arts in the Bronx and was told that I signed a one year agreement and that there was nothing that he could do about it. I will definitely file a lawsuit if this matter is not resolved.

Please BEWARE of the many Martial Arts Studios out there and their UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES AND MISLEADING SALES TACTICS. The costs associated with advancing in belt rank are unexpected and extremely high along with the unjustifiably high cost in equipment. Consequently, as the months go by and your child advances in belt rank, there are costly and unexpected fees that the school mandates that each student MUST pay. This is a well structured scam because the 'school' knows that if these costs were mentioned at the outset during my meeting with the program director in early March, then I would NOT have enrolled my son in classes at Ultimate Studio Martial Arts. It's an utter disgrace for incompetent and dishonest individuals to take a well respected sport such as Martial Arts and turn it into a first-rate scam operation. This cannot continue and I would request that everyone please continue reporting your local Martial Arts schools for violations, unfair business practices, misleading sales tactics and any other scam-related issues. As consumers we have rights, so please contact these agencies to file your complaints: Federal Trade Commission (FTC)-Bureau of Consumer Protection at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm (click on File a Complaint): The Better Business Bureau at: www.bbb.org: Your State's Attorney General and, if necessary, take them to court. Also, we must continue using forums, such as, /link removed/ and other 'rip-off' reporting websites.

Va
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Comments

  • Ki
      7th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    My daughter has been going to Ultimate Studio of Martial Arts for 3 1/2 years now. At the time that she joined, I was made aware of the Belt fees, additional sparring uniform fees and sparring equipement fees. She is now a half black belt.

    This is a family. The faculty has always worked with me. I feel I can leave my daughter here and she is in safe hands. It is a clean, safe and family oriented environment. I implicitly trust that they will do what is best for my daughter.

    In addition to all the above, all that enter the doors of Ultimate Studio are treated with respect and professionalism. I have never had a problem with any of the staff.

    My daughter will continue her martial arts at ULTIMATE STUDIO OF MARTIAL ARTS...

  • Li
      8th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    We have been with Ultimate Studio Martial Arts (USMA) for two years...needless to say, I was dumbfounded when another parent informed me of this complaint.

    The first thing that needs to be addressed here is that 'the instructor' (as he is so rudely referred to) of Ultimate Studio Martial Arts ('USMA') is actually a well-respected and world-renowned competitor in the field of martial arts, having competed in many tournaments and having won many coveted awards both in the US and internationally. He is both the owner and the instructor of USMA. The fact that the complainant uses quotes around the words 'the instructor' only goes to the complainant's attitude in general toward martial arts instructors. Sahbumnim Michael Simmons truly is a teacher, a wonderful one at that, and is highly qualified to serve as he does.

    With a growing enrollment of over 100 students consisting of both children and adults, this is the first complaint levied against USMA in four years. As an 'only parent' with no spouse in the picture, I happily joined the Ultimate Studio Martial Arts family in the fall of 2006, seeking structure and discipline for my child. My child is enrolled in both the afterschool program as well as the school's regular classes throughout summer vacation. The school has always had informational fliers, prominently displayed in the 'Parent's Corner' at the entrance to the school, setting forth the school's various fees and costs, including those associated with belt testing/graduation, uniforms, sparring gear, tournament participation, etc. In my two years of dealing with the owner/instructor and staff of USMA, I have found them to be genuinely interested in the welfare of my child, I have found their business practices to be above reproach, and my child and I have been treated with the utmost respect - the principles which I seek to instill in my child.

    The various mandatory uniforms are displayed prominently on the wall of the school along with the rank(s) for which each is appropriate (there are different uniforms for different ranks and arts), along with displays of the various belt colors (i.e., white, yellow, yellow black stripe, etc.) The mandatory sparring gear is displayed in the same area. There are also non-mandatory items displayed, such as shoes, along with the item's cost. As the complainant explicitly states in his post, it appears to him/her that all martial arts schools charge 'hidden fees' and practice unfair sales/business tactics. If this is indeed the case, it should become quite apparent to the original poster that these are not necessarily 'hidden fees', but rather customary costs inherent with participating in the martial arts forum. Sparring is an integral, and eventually mandatory, part of martial arts training...and one needs sparring gear in order to safely spar. The disparity in the prices of sparring gear is dependent upon the quality of that gear. After 1-1/2 years of using the same gear, we are first now switching out only the foot gear due to my child's growth; as far as the uniforms, they have lasted the 1-1/2 years and have a long life ahead of them. Considering how often the uniforms and the sparring gear are used and the abuse to which they are subjected, I believe they has long outlived their expense. As far as different uniforms, this should be viewed no differently than a regular school uniform would be viewed - there are daily uniforms, dress uniforms and gym uniforms. I have found the school's tuition charges to be quite fair, especially given the prominence of the owner/instructor in the world of martial arts.

    There are many NON-MANDATORY EXTRAS offered by USMA that are lacking at other venues. There is a 'Parent's Nite Out' offered up about every 6 weeks, where children can be dropped off for pizza dinner and activities - at a cost of $20 for 4-1/2 hours. That's less than $5 an hour, including pizza, snacks and refreshments. The kids get time to socialize, something that often cannot be provided by many single working parents. They get to play board games, compete in video games and even work in several rounds of dodge ball. Additionally, USMA hosts a haunted house for Halloween, offers various trips for its students during the summer months, and hosts various intraschool and interschool tournaments throughout the year. While there are additional fees for these events, participation while encouraged is not mandatory and the associated fees are not what could be classified as 'extraordinary'.

    USMA offers 'Practice in the Park, ' when, weather permitting, all ranks take class in the park and even parents get to participate. On that note, USMA also serves up a 'Parent Workout Day, ' where parents can work out side by side-with-their child in class. There are no additional charges for these events.

    As with any sport, one must fully understand the costs and responsibilities associated with that sport. As with sports such as soccer, baseball and football, there are various equipment and uniform requirements. As you promote through the ranks, there are various testing and uniform requirements and the fees associated therewith. Before agreeing to enroll your child (or yourself) to participate in ANY sport, it is your duty as a consumer and a parent to understand exactly what that sport entails. If you do not, you are only shortchanging yourself and your child. If you are ignorant regarding equipment needs, then you are also ignorant of the rigors and responsibilities of the sport involved.

    It would appear that, while the original poster admitted to believing that various martial arts schools have 'hidden costs, ' he does not fully understand that these costs are actually inherent to the sport, nor does he/she understand the demands involved in participation. Each rank holds responsibilities...you cannot promote in rank with those responsibilities unfulfilled, just as a paralegal cannot become a lawyer without completing law school and passing the bar.

    Thank you, Sahbumnim and Ms. Batista, for all of your help in molding my little boy into the little man he's becoming. You truly are family.

  • Ky
      11th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I disagree toward this complaint made towards Ultimate Studio Martial Arts about its so called "unfair business practices." I've been a student there since the schooled opened, and my parents have absolutely nothing to complain about payments or its unfair business practice. I disagree 100 percent about this complaint made toward the studio. To support my disagreement is number 1, is everyone has bills to pay and you and everyone who agrees to your complaint know that its very expensive with rent, water, electric, and gas. Also to include with payments, don't forget about the pads, and kicking materials that were purchased for what you are paying for. Another piece of evidence supporting my disagreement toward this complaint is what about renovation of the school every year. Also the utensils used for keeping the school clean. The uniforms obviously must be purchased unless theres a sale on them. Belts and belt test payments are very necessary because the belt is not made for free. The boards your child or children are breaking are not free or given to the school they are purchased the paper of the official proof and document of your child achieving his next rank level of a belt is not free. These are all payments which keep the school running and keep our dreams of reaching our goal which is earning your black belt. Sparring gear is another thing which people complain about just as you are. The sparring gear you are purchasing is top quality. Sure you can go online and see the cheaper sparring gear, but then 1-2weeks later you complain to the company that your child's sparring gear wore out and that its all some type of trick to get you to buy it because its cheaper. But when you by the nice and longer lasting equipment you complain about the price but its longer lasting and you wont have to worry about it if you keep it clean and take care of your belongings. Ultimate Studio Martial Arts is not performing unfair business practices its performing most FAIR and most agreeable payments. Meanwhile at other martial art schools they charge you way more and your child isn't receiving all the knowledge and all the technique and all the equipment that your actually help paying for. You are the one is making a big mistake and spreading this rumor about USMA. Maybe if you had attended the parent and staff meeting regarding payments and other issues you would have found out.

  • Ca
      12th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Ultimate Studio Martial Arts has become a very important part of my life. I dont know of any other studio with the uniforms, sparring gear ext. are included in each months payments. My parents were always advised ahead of time the cost of any extra items. The sparring gear helps you to preform at your highest level. Ultimate Studio is a fun and learning place to be.

  • Ca
      12th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    If I had a dozen children I would pay every cent to send them to Ultimate Studio Martial Arts. It is a wonderful school to be involved with.

  • Co
      12th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    This time around, I would like to reiterate the complaints that I have against Ultimate Studio Martial Arts in a more explicit manner, as the rebuttals and comments do not seem to address my issues. Please understand my complaint and that I have nothing against the way in which students are instructed nor do I have a complaint about any particular programs or activities. In fact, Ultimate Studio is very creative when it comes to providing activities for your children and, in the beginning, I was quite impressed with their organization. But, again, this is not what I am addressing. I am addressing the financial practices of Ultimate Studio. You must understand both aspects, instructional and financial, in order to understand what is going on. Also, please keep in mind that I am writing this complaint to inform others of the business practices conducted by Ultimate Studio when procuring new students and also to expose Ultimate Studio’s unprofessional policies. My aim is to reveal these deceptive policies so that others may not fall victim to such crude schemes both nationwide and locally. I will present the facts from my experience dealing with this company. Let me begin by first addressing the fact that when I first signed my child up, the TOTAL AMOUNT due on the “Agreement” was left blank. (Here is how it appears: Total Sales Price $__________) I am confident that if the total amount of the contract (which was $1548) were properly filled in, then my child would have not joined. I am positive that when all of you reading this purchase an item or service you are provided the TOTAL AMOUNT of the item or service on the receipt. Well, here, this was not the case. And this is where the deceit lies because the Program Director slyly wrote the amount $219 on the contract, as if this were the TOTAL AMOUNT owed. Do you think that I was supposed to calculate the TOTAL AMOUNT myself? This would be absurd. Clearly, Ultimate Studio lacks common business ethics when it comes to providing accurate billing statements.
    All right, let me now address the HIDDEN FEES. I will list the fees below. Please keep in mind that these fees were NOT discussed or presented during my meeting with the Program Director when first joining, and this is were the deception lies. Also, I received over thirty (30) fliers during my child’s three month involvement with Ultimate Studio and I can assure you that the majority of these fliers are not readily available to parents nor are they prominently displayed in the studio. In fact, those fliers outlining unexpected fees are not given to the parents until that specific event draws near. So how am I supposed to anticipate several hundred dollars in fees when first signing up if nothing is ever mentioned of them and Ultimate Studio keeps them secret until that event presents itself. This is completely unprofessional. As a newbie to the deceptive practices of Ultimate Studio, I did not anticipate any fees except, of course, the initial $219 registration and month-to-month tuition fees thereafter. How could Ultimate Studio expect a parent to anticipate any fees other than tuition fees, especially if they are new to the sport and its customs? If miscellaneous or mandatory school fees are not mentioned at the outset, then how can a school expect parents or adults to make informed decisions about whether they want to sign up? This would be similar to staying in a hotel room and paying a flat fee of, let’s say, $219 a night. But suddenly, as the day goes by, you receive a phone call that you will now be charged $1.00 for each gallon of water you use and the next day you are told that you will be charged $4.00 for every kilowatt-hour of energy used and so on. If you do not have the common sense to realize that this hotel’s practices are unfair and unprofessional, then you deserve to be taken for a ride. So here are the HIDDEN fees:
    1) $50 belt test fee (this fee gradually increases based on your child‘s belt rank)
    2) $370 mandatory sparring equipment (I understand sparring is dangerous, but this “mandatory fee” was not discussed and I was not aware that students MUST spar. I have no problem with the price or quality of the equipment, I am stating that this fee should have been discussed when signing up.)
    3) $50 late payment fee (this fee is more harsh than credit card companies.)
    4) $20 Competitor Fee (a mandatory fee for your child to participate in Intramural School Tournaments.)
    5) $5 Spectator Fee (this is charged to those loving parents and relatives who want to watch their child participate in Intramural School Tournaments.)
    These are the “HIDDEN” fees that I came across during my child’s involvement with Ultimate Studio and although they may be NECESSARY to pay rent and maintain the business, I am simply stating that these fees should be discussed when first registering. I am sure that there are more, and I am confident that the owner and the other “insiders” know exactly what I’m talking about and why I am so passionately addressing these issues. I would advise Ultimate Studio to take a look at the “BUSINESS” portion of the company and reform its practices and policies. At least, provide the parents with enough information at the outset so that they may make informed decisions about if they can afford to sign up their children.
    The other issue that I would like to address is the complete deception regarding the “Contract” or “Agreement” itself. Now, having contacted several companies, and doing thorough research, I discovered that this document, the one you MUST sign, is a financial instrument or a loan. Here is how it works. I sign the document stating that I want to sign up for a year and so this is my commitment and it is supposedly binding. This loan, obtained by Ultimate Studio is then sold to a third party, the same way your mortgage may be sold by the bank to third parties. But keep in mind that you were never told that you signed a loan agreement and this is completely illegal. So, Ultimate Studio is given a certain amount of money up front based on the total sale price of the contract. This is why it is NOT so easy to cancel or end your child’s involvement with Ultimate Studio or other martial arts schools. Having attempted to cancel my child’s involvement with Ultimate Studio, I was ignored and told that the owner must speak to a third party. So I wondered what third party is the owner referring to because I was never told that a third party was involved. Soon, after doing some research, I discovered that the third party is the finance company that fronts money to the school based on the sale of these loan agreements. This is entirely illegal. Unbeknownst to me, I signed a loan for Ultimate Studio in the amount of $1548. Once you try to cancel, you will be ignored and forgotten.
    Again, I have no problem with the “instructional” aspects of Ultimate Studio. If Ultimate Studio has the wherewithal to reform its deceptive business practices, then I could honestly say that I would recommend going there. But, since there is so much deceit, I would recommend keeping yourself informed when signing up. I am not trying to ruin any martial arts schools either locally or nationally. I am trying to ruin the “business practices“. My case has merit and I am standing behind these facts 100%. If any parent reading this decides to join Ultimate Studio or any other martial arts school, then please DO NOT sign a CONTRACT. A martial arts school that is confident in its retention of students would not recommend parents to sign their child up for either 3 months, 6 months or even 1 year. Think of a university or college, do they encourage parents or students to sign a contract for a year or more in order to attend the school? NO! The student may leave the school whenever necessary and although they may be financially penalized, they will not be locked into a long term contract. Also, at a university or college parents and students are provided with the TOTAL AMOUNT of tuition for the year because most universities and colleges are confident in their programs and instruction and do not need to deceive parents or their students. And so, isn’t Ultimate Studio supposed to be a school? Why would they lock a child into instruction for such long periods of time? Why would they not provide the TOTAL AMOUNT of tuition on the contract?
    Please, read the above complaint carefully. It has been one month since I first ran into problems with Ultimate Studio and the issue has yet to be resolved. I tried many times to resolve this issue thinking that the owner was a reasonable business person. I would like to end this on a positive note, so I would request that Ultimate Studio reform its business practices, and if it can do that, then I wish you much success in the area. I hope that I will be the last person to confront these issues. And for those who are defending Ultimate Studio (Insiders, students, etc.) you have not been through what I went through, so your remarks are irrelevant and do not even address my issues. By the way, I am serving as an example of standing up for my rights as a consumer and I hope that others will do the same. Good luck to those venturing into the sport of martial arts!

  • Mr
      12th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    My son and I have both been attending USMA close to three years now. We both enjoy it as gives us something in common and helps us to reach our goal easier. When I first signed him up Sahbumnim informed me of the tuiton, uniforms and other supplies. I have been to some national tournaments and they are very expensive. Not all children can attend these tournaments in diffrent states at a higher fee than twenty dollars. So he gives them the same feel and excitment for a very good price along with nice awards. Also I have gone and checked out uniforms, sparring gear, weapons and other supplies online and they are usually the same price. Sahbumnim has these supplies on hand which makes the kids and parents happier. Your main complaint is about not being told about fees. As a consumer you have too ask these questions if you do not understand something. There has also been a parent corner since we began and announcements at the end of each class which parents are welcomed and asked to attend. Testing at the school is important and has its fees. Sahbumnim is part of a federation that has its own guideines that he must follow so charges go accordingly with that. This is an extra activity but is worth every pennybecause of what is gives the kids. A place they can come anytime and feel welcomed.

  • Je
      14th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Unfair Business Practices? In order for it to be their standard business practice this would've had to have happened to everybody else who joined. You made no mention of speaking to other parents or anybody else having the same experience as you. All you know for sure is the admin. who facilitated your contract messed up WITH YOU ONLY. And it appears to me that you signed a contract without reading it - who does that? That is YOUR fault. Had you read the contract before reading you'd have known the annual sum of the class was $1, 548. And didn't you think to confirm and/or acknowledge how long your contract was for? Why would you sign it without knowing the length of the contract? And if you knew that you were signing up for a year then you'd know that 12 X $129 = $1, 548. I mean - you did graduate high school, right? That is very simple math. Are you going to accuse them of "hiding math" from you now, so you would be unable to figure out how much the classes would cost annually?

    And you made no mention of asking any questions during the facilitation of your contract re: additional costs. I sincerely doubt the admin. said "$129 a month and $90 registration fee and you will never pay another dime beyond that." You can plainly see the sparring equipment displayed on the wall and other equipment - one would think if you were so worried about fiscal matters so much that you'd inquire about whether that would need to be bought at some point. Let alone ask the length of your contract.
    And what are all these multiple extra fees and expenses you write about? You get a free uniform upon signing up and additional uniforms are you decision to buy. The only other fee is belt promotion and sparring equipment which is standard at EVERY SCHOOL. My daughter went to a different school before USMA and they'd automatically promote every other month for $50 without her even having her form memorized, let alone know the name of the forms. Now THAT is the standard practice of most taekwondo schools. My daughter has been a blue belt for nearly a year at USMA because she can only go once a week and doesn't have her stuff down. He doesn't just move her through the system so he can make that $50 to promote her. There are expenses that go along with the belt promotion for the school, so he has to charge a fee - the same fee every other school does. As far as the sparring gear goes - it's the same cost as everywhere else and they will work with you re: setting up a payment plan for it. They're very reasonable.

    And as far as saying the school scams people - on what authority can you make such a damning statement? I've been taking my daughter to this school for 3 years and never once have I been mislead or scammed. Nor have I heard of it happening to anybody else. Everything at the school has been upfront.

    If you had bothered to speak with other parents all you would have heard was that the instructor/owner goes above and beyond for his students. His school/business practice is very honest and fair. You will never find a more dedicated teacher/mentor then him - who consistently goes above and beyond for his students. He is a mentor in the truest sense of the word and he changes lives for the better everyday. You should see how he takes kids 'under his wing' and really is there for them. Not to mention how he pushes the students to do their best and the virtues of hard work. And I have to say he's probably the only consistent male figure/ role model in most of the children's lives - since there are so many single mothers. I know that's certainly true for my daughter. My daughter goes months upon months w/o seeing or hearing from her father. The taekwondo teacher is the only male role model she really has and he does an exceptional job of it. Ultimate Studio Martial Arts is such a great value to our community and you're seeking to ruin it and warn others against it. SHAME ON YOU!

  • Ja
      14th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I have been going to this school for 3 years and last year my mom signed up for adult classes. My mom would never stay at a school that she thought was shady or experienced anything bad like that. I have never heard anybody say anything remotely negative about this school. You are being unfair and vindictive - trying to ruin a school that only made one mistake and that was with doing your contract. How would you like it if your boss wanted to fire you or lower your salary because you made one mistake? You are truly a miserable human being.

  • Em
      9th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    My two sons have been attending USMA for two years now. Yes the cost of things can be pricey but the owner/operator of USMA spent his time to help me afford all the classes, equiptment, belt tests, and more ...into one, affordable monthly fee. If your having trouble with the cost of things all you have to do is ask and they will be glad to help you. My sons love going to class and the instructors are the best around. I love that my sons are getting fit and learning to defend themselves at the same time.

  • Cy
      16th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    by the way since you know all of the fees, how could they be so hidden and for years all of the flyers have always been readily available. and i once tried taking my kids to another school that was closer and cheaper and after two weeks i came back to usma because you get what you pay for and my kids diserve the best!!!

  • Fo
      1st of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    I disagree with the complainant. What I see when I read the complaint is that the mother did not read the paperwork given to her before signing (as most people do.) My son started martial arts at the age of 2. I had him in a school that I thought was "affordable" and he was not performing as he should have in his belt rank and they were graduating him from belt to belt without him knowing any of the forms, and not being able perform any of the tasks that he should have at each belt rank. I took him out after 2 1/2 years knowing that the money I was spending was not worthwhile.

    A couple of years later, I started looking for an afterschool program for my son. I found Ultimate Studio Martial Arts. I was skeptical about enrolling him as I had a bad experience and knew that I was being ripped off at the old school. It has been about three years and my son still attends U.S.M.A. I have never been happier. He is a fine student and has been acting as a role model for all his peers. Also, he is performing at the level he should for his belt rank. U.S.M.A. is very family oriented and the staff is great.

    As far as costs are concerned, U.S.M.A. is fairly affordable compared to its competitors. Their afterschool program includes the martial arts classes and I have done my research. Afterschool programs can cost you a fortune. His prices are pretty good. If you do find an m.a. school that is cheaper, you will get what you paid for. I have no intentions on taking my son out of U.S.M.A. I am happy with the results and I am glad I have thier help in discipline and family activities.

  • Do
      29th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes
    Ultimate Studio Martial Arts - Deceiving Practice
    Ultimate Studio Martial Arts
    United States

    In early March 2008, I decided to explore the sport of martial arts for my son and thought it might be a good idea for him to participate in classes within a structured setting. So I called our local school, Ultimate Studio Martial Arts, (www.ultimatestudioma.com) located in Bronx, NY and inquired about their classes. I was told that my son could come in and participate in a free trial class to determine if he was interested in joining. Well, after the trial class, my family decided that karate would be an extra-curricular activity and that my son would be able to join. Having sat down with the Program Director, I was misled into believing that instruction would cost only $129 a month with a one-time registration fee of $90. At this time, I was NOT told of any other school fees (such as testing fees, equipment fees, and uniform fees, just to name a few of the MANY fees) nor was I informed of the several membership plans wherein my son could enroll for either a month-to-month, 3 month or 6 month time period. (Only 3 months later, in June, when I decided to cancel, I was informed that I had the option to sign up for either a month to month, 1 month, 3 month or 6 month time period.) In fact, there was no mention of how long my child would be involved in martial arts during my meeting. The paperwork was filled out by the program director and she only mentioned that tuition would cost $129 per month. Moreover, I was never told why they needed my social security number and I was never told the TOTAL SALE PRICE of the agreement ($1548). In fact, I believe that the paperwork is a loan agreement financed by me and sold to a third-party (I'm assuming it is ASF International), which was never disclosed to me by the program director during our meeting. Also, the full amount of the contract ($1548) was never disclosed and intentionally left blank on the paperwork. Additionally, I was never informed that the paperwork that I signed was a binding contract. Also, the program director neglected to mention that the length of time stated on the paperwork would require my son to be enrolled for the duration of one year, and that I would be committed to pay $129 for one year at a cost of $1548 (again, the total sale price of membership was not written on the contract.) Furthermore, shortly after my child advanced from white belt to yellow belt, having been enrolled in the school for 3 months, Ultimate Studio Martial Arts informed me that I MUST purchase sparring equipment and a uniform at a cost of $370 in order for him to participate in yellow belt instruction. (There was also a $50 fee for a testing process where 'the Instructor' would test each student to determine his/her proficiency in martial arts.) Also, the sparring equipment had to be purchased through Ultimate Studio Martial Arts at an extremely high cost. The cost of the sparring equipment and the testing fee were NEVER mentioned during my meeting with the program director in early March. As a result, I was unable to afford to purchase the sparring equipment and uniform. Consequently, my son was unable to obtain full and effective instruction as a yellow belt since he did not purchase the MANDATORY sparring equipment and uniform. As a result, I tried to cancel and contacted the owner of Ultimate Studio Martial Arts in the Bronx and was told that I signed a one year agreement and that there was nothing that he could do about it. I will definitely file a lawsuit if this matter is not resolved. Please BEWARE of the many Martial Arts Studios out there and their UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES AND MISLEADING SALES TACTICS. The costs associated with advancing in belt rank are unexpected and extremely high along with the unjustifiably high cost in equipment. Consequently, as the months go by and your child advances in belt rank, there are costly and unexpected fees that the school mandates that each student MUST pay. This is a well structured scam because the 'school' knows that if these costs were mentioned at the outset during my meeting with the program director in early March, then I would NOT have enrolled my son in classes at Ultimate Studio Martial Arts. It's an utter disgrace for incompetent and dishonest individuals to take a well respected sport such as Martial Arts and turn it into a first-rate scam operation. This cannot continue and I would request that everyone please continue reporting your local Martial Arts schools for violations, unfair business practices, misleading sales tactics and any other scam-related issues. As consumers we have rights, so please contact these agencies to file your complaints: Federal Trade Commission (FTC)-Bureau of Consumer Protection at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm (click on File a Complaint): The Better Business Bureau at: www.bbb.org: Your State's Attorney General and, if necessary, take them to court. Also, we must continue using forums, such as, /link removed/ and other 'rip-off' reporting websites.

  • Ac
      26th of Jun, 2012
    0 Votes

    Martial Arts studio owners should become aware of more client friendly billing solutions and options to present their customer base with - http://www.ach-payments.com/featured/martial-arts-billing-practices/

  • Da
      8th of Jan, 2013
    0 Votes

    The complaint is 100% right.
    If you are attending more than year you may even not look at your contract/agreement. My daughter (adult) singed up in February and unfortunately in March she went to hospital for 6 months and now permanently cannot practice martial arts. I contacted studio (this one United Tae Kwon Do in Jackson Heights, NY with the same billing company – ASF International). I tried to break unfair contract, which is rather impossible. Happened that she gave them her SSI card as a form of payment. Now the Martial Art Studio is deducting the money monthly from her Social Security payment. The money come from government sources and should support my daughter and not tricky Martial Art Studio. I think that it must be something wrong with the contract if such situation is possible. By the way, reading closer this contract, I found out that you are bonded even in the event of death of participant and is heritage by estate! Simply unlawful practice – misleading sale tactics.

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