Lawyer-fu teacher messes with me
The school I go to has shitty business practices, but I was stupid enough to buy into the ZOMG ONE DAY ONLY DEAL and sign a one year contract. Then three months later signed a three year contract to actually get to spar. I get a knee injury and am out of commission for several months(still paying $200/mo + $60 belt test every two months!!!). A year and half in I have trouble finding a job so I go in to ask to work something out. nuh-uh. You must pay half the remaining balance in a lump sum or no cancel, also no deals because it'll supposedly leave him more open legally.
This is where he shows some signs of being a psychopath. He tells me he used to be a lawyer and was good at it. He also evicts tenants with far worse stories than just not having a job from his properties and enjoy taking them to court. Tells me how he takes them to court, get collections on them, and hurt their credit; somewhat implying he'll do the same to me despite me not implying I'll welch out of our contract. Asks me to take a loan from the bank or from my family. Tell him my parents are dead, tells me to take a loan from my sister. Asks if I have a car(scouting my assets?). He then goes on about being a former ranger, has killed men before he was able to drink, done horrible things he can never tell his family, has nightmares and is conflicted as a Christian man. He tells me to man up and to get a job so I can pay him and help out my sister(probably after paying him). He was seemingly nice about it and said he was helping me out by giving me something to pay for despite implying he'll take me to court, get collections on me, and damage my credit in the same breath.
He had me going for a while until my family and friends convinced me he was being a money hungry asshole with unsavory business practices and I needed to fight him.
Now, here's the good part. After some research, I found that his contract it totally unlawful. Under California law, applying to gym and martial arts memberships: "The contract may not require payments and initiation/initial membership fees that total more than $3,000 not including interest or finance charges (this amount increases to $4,400 on January 1, 2010) over the contract term."
36 months x 200/mo > $4400
His terms were so shitty they had to make a law against it.
I plan to take him to small claims court to get back 9 months of martial arts membership I paid but did not use. My argument is that I have paid that amount to honor an unlawful contract and I should have it back.
Now, here is where I am right now:
1. I have lost my copy of the contract, should I ask for a copy or let him bring it up in court? I don't want to ruin my chances of getting some of my money back or have more unknowns.
2. What do I do about the current automatic payments? Should I issue something to the billing company to tell them I have stopped payments due to the fact it's an unlawful contract?
I haven't made any movements yet and won't until I have the contract copy issue sorted. He doesn't know I'm about to preempt his threats of going to court with my own.
I'll release information on this school once I have this situation sorted and ended. They supposedly accept all fight challenges.