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.
When life gives you lemons... BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!
"what's the best thing about aikido then?"
"To be defeated by your enemies, to be driven by them from the field of battle, and to hear the lamentations of your women." ermghoti
Wow, that's a very shitty contract.
I'm not sure if this is technically MABS material, but I'll PM the BS lawyer (Sam Browning) for you, so he'll take a look at it. Maybe he can offer some advice.
We have a poster here named crappler who is a California attorney. You can also check with the California bar to see if he's ever been licensed to practice law in that state. I would ask him for a copy of the contract, if he refuses I would also ask the automatic billing company. Finally in some states, if you are injured and can prove it with a doctors note they will let you out of part of the contract that you were injured for. Such rules are typically found in the section that regulates health clubs.
If you win your decision, please scan the court order and post it here. Finally since he's going on and on about his military service you might want to FOIA his military record if you have his full name and birthdate and service. We've previously had a bunch of people who claimed Ranger and Special Forces status who were not in any such units.
I checked for his first initial and last name on this site: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member.aspx.
He doesn't show up. I'm either doing it wrong or this is getting more and more fishy.
Is he or the billing company legally obligated to provide me with a copy of the contract? I searched online a bit but didn't find anything conclusive.
I do not have a doctor's note; however, does my original argument of paying to honor an unlawful contract hold water?
Welcome to the world of legal disclaimers. Samuel Browning is not licensed to practice in California, and has spent NO time researching the California caselaw in this matter. With this in mind, normally having paid money on a contract that is invalid because of a statute would allow you assert that these were your damages/losses.
As far as whether he would need to provide you with a copy of the contract, normally according to common law he would not. Perhaps you should hit the lawbooks and call your california consumer protection agency. To see if there is a controlling california law, or case which has created this obligation in your state.
Finally if his name does not appear in the California bar records he may have been licensed in another state or never licensed at all.
i was able to get out of a crappy contract after tearing my hamstring, but i had to get wicked creative to do it and avoid court/collection agencies.
you can stop auto payments whenever you want. talk to your bank about it. i used to do it all the time for my clients. it was a one sheet form that had to be filled out, and it was done.
also, to repeat what sam has said, many states have the law that says that contracts can only be enforced in the event of loss/injury to the business. in your case, you aren't able to train, therefor you are not taking up school resources, thus there is no loss/injury to the school, so they don't get to collect. i don't know if this is the case in california (i do have a non-bar lawyer friend in cali, can ask her but crappler would be better for you).
i will not be surprised, in the least, to hear that you were able to get out of this contract, but i will stay tuned to find out if you got any money back (i figure you can get piss out of a pool easier, but that's just me)
"it seems logical that a party who expects to enforce a contract has a duty to produce a copy of the contract for the other party if the other party lost their copy. I believe that just by common law you have a right to get a copy of any contract to which you are a party."
This guy makes a valid point. If they want to enforce the contract (they do), they'll need to produce a copy right? Otherwise how would I know what the terms are? It's not like they can say it lasts 10 years and I have to believe it. Right now I plan on asking nicely for a copy of the contract through email. If they refuse, I'll tell them I'll cease payments since I do not know the exact terms. If by then, they still don't bite, I expect the law happy teacher to take a shot at me in small claims court, where he'll bring the contract, and I'll make a counterclaim on him.
This plan relies on the school thinking they are in the right and will do everything in their power to exercise it. What they don't know, is that, I'm the aggressor here.
What style do they teach? I'd like to go visit this place.
It's a school in Southern California not too far from LA. It teaches a specific type of traditional kung fu. It has peacock feathers meaning they are open to challenges, and I think they must accept them all. I don't know if other schools of this style are any good, but this one has fallen to the way of McDojoism.
I'll release full details and my experiences there once I have this matter settled.