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  1. kiridoku is offline

    Featherweight

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    Jul 2006
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    NY
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    Posted On:
    4/15/2008 10:01am

    Bullshido Newbie
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Bruno Tostes; Latham NY=Bullshido

    **4/22/08 EDIT TO ADD NAME OF INSTRUCTOR & CHANGE NAME OF THREAD... Bruno Tostes; Latham, NY**

    I *may* be getting into Bullshido territory at my school so I'm going to start documenting my experience from here on out. This prelim/history may be lengthy but after this it'll all just be quick updates.






    I will leave the school name & instructor name out for now.


    Right now it's just looking and smelling like a duck... if it starts quacking & flying like one then I'll name names.






    I am livid with myself. I am a skeptical, untrusting guy who keeps all receipts & logs names & the time of every phone call to any credit card/power/mortgage company etc "CYA" is "SOP"! I'm convinced the the world is full of incompetent mouth-breathing slackers & if ya want something done right...


    You get the picture.


    So having to say "I told you so- you KNOW better" to mydarnself is downright annoying.






    After coming off a judo injury and deciding I'm too old for all the break falls I joined a BJJ school w/ a respected, high ranking, from-a-good-lineage instructor. All enrollment was done directly w/ the instructor.


    I watched two classes to check out the quality & spirit of the school & talked to a couple students & a defacto assistant instructor (a purple).






    I did a demo class for 30min on 2/9/08 & went to the front desk to sign up .






    I was told he does EFT (electronic funds transfer) and was told "no" when asked if I can go month-to-month. I don't trust book of the month, automatic vitamin shipments... any of that chronic/monthly stuff. I don't want anyone in my bank account. I have pristine credit & pay on time every time.


    But, being a long time martial artist & feeling we're one big family --and being repeatedly assured that the EFT can easily be stopped, for any reason, with 30 days notice -- I agreed to it.






    I pd $200 cash for 1st month plus a gi. The EFT would commence the following month at $125 a pop- deducted on the 10th.






    Almost two weeks into training he goes to the back & hands me a gi. (I was told they have to be ordered but out of the blue, now there's been one in the back I could have had since day 1? ) It's brand new, in the bag, factory-folded. I put it on & tell him that the trouser loops are falling apart- not sewn even 10%. Instructor agrees & said he'll get me new pants.






    I hit it hard, have a great time, train 4-5x/week & love it.






    Everyone there is cool (well 95% but that's normal) about taking it easy on the recovering MCL, the schedule is very good (4 nights/week plus Sat morning avail, some nights even have double classes).






    Surprise, surprise: work situation changed & the good soldier is taking the new shift. There goes any chance of training except for Saturdays which isn't worth the cost ($$ & family time costs) IMO.


    So out of 2 months & a gi I paid for I got 5 weeks & a no-name, single weave gi that needs tailoring. The 3 weeks I can eat- work/life happens. I'm not thrilled I never hear anything about my new pants or "here's a few bucks to have someone sew them up right."






    3/7 I tell Instructor that unfortunately I'll be leaving for the foreseeable future, please stop my EFT. "It'll stop & not be taken out 4/10, right?" "No problem my friend."






    Here's where I become the dope:


    Against my instincts I didn't follow up with a friendly confirmation letter & email. I also didn't remind him the next few times I was there "Hey, that EFT is kaput, right? It's canceled for me, right?" This is my usual SOP but not wanting to offend a "family" member in the martial arts I didn't. I left him at his word that upon asking once-- he did it as promised.






    4/14 I look up the results from a tourney the school went to- we did great & the teacher got 2 medals- gold included! So I send off a quick- "Way to go, miss my time on the mat..." email.






    Three hours later I get home & find a notice from my bank that $125 was deducted & the bank dinged me for $30 for insufficient funds.






    Am I hot? You have no idea. Mostly at myself for ever agreeing to EFT in the first place & also for not being my slow & steady but relentless (and polite) self in confirming repeatedly that it had been ceased.






    I call the teacher congratulate him again on the tourney, explain there must have been a mix-up w/ the billing company & tell him I need that $125+ $30 back in my account ASAP. He will "check his files & get back to me."


    "Should I call you at a particular time?" I ask. No, he will "check his files & get back to me."


    When I say that I need this $125 + $30 back he says he isn't sure about the $30 bank fee. Woah. Red Flag. I say that I need to be made whole & can't have checks bounce waiting for this & hope he understands and will help me get it resolved quickly- by tomorrow (4/15).


    We leave it at- he has my p# & will get back to me after he checks his files.






    I speed to the bank & they have me sign an EFT Error Report.






    I get home & call Educational Funding Company in MD. Of course I get clerk-like ignorance & no sense of urgency whatsoever. But am told that the teacher never gave them a cancel notice 3/7 (or any time) and I need to fax the Account Exec right away.


    But since they need 30 days there's no guarantee they wont try to pull another $125 on 5/10.






    Looks like Educational Funding ( big w/ martial arts schools apparently ) isn't to blame.


    I still can't get through to the Account Exec to confirm she got my fax.






    Just as an aside- the school is quality, the teacher is excellent.


    On the moral, ethical business-practices level... I'm going to find out shortly.






    Another aside- (in addition to the email congratulating him on the great performance @ the tourney) just to massage my own ego that I'm not a horrible person who deserves a screwing... after class we were hanging out on the mat & the teacher says he's always wanted to see a particular instructional re: leg locks by a famous BJJ person. The next day I hand him the DVD no questions asked. Irrelevant to the situation but I think (if I'm to be believed) that I signed up, fulfilled my part of every agreement, never asked for special consideration ever and in fact got far less than I paid for.






    IMO- the "right" thing to do is to say "come right in, buddy. I know you're good for it & I want to make this right. I'll give you $155 to cover your bank & you pay me when it gets straightened out. It may be 7-10 days (or whatever) but let's make things right & we'll sort out the details later.






    For $155 I don't think that's too painful or too big a risk to take...


    But that's just me editorializing.






    I'll never disparage his skill but if the business practices are sloppy or lazy I think the Bullshido Nation needs to be made aware. And to learn from me- C-Y-A. Always.
    ...like we've been told here numerous times already.


    If it's just a simple oversight I'm fine w/ it (as long as I'm made whole immediately)...but I'm seeing red flags and am worried they all may add up to something that needs to be made public.




    More to follow later today I'm sure.
    Last edited by kiridoku; 4/22/2008 9:12am at . Reason: Gave Instructor opportunity to resolve situation before naming him -unfortunately, all I got was Bullshido. See 4/22 post for citations.
  2. kiridoku is offline

    Featherweight

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    NY
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    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 9:12am

    Bullshido Newbie
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yesterday @ roughly 12:20pm - After 2 voice mails & repeated fax-attempts to the billing co (E.F.Co.) the "Account Exec" called me back, confirmed that the fax came through. She confirmed that she never heard from Mr.Instructor 3/7/08 re: me cancelling my membership.
    She said she'll look into it and call me back. "Tomorrow?" "No, today."
    She seemed pleasant enough. I still haven't heard back from her 22 hours later, though.
    At this point I don't really see this as any mistake or ball-dropping on EFC's part though so I'm not too concerned with her getting back to me asap.

    Instructor, though, hasn't called me after telling me (with very little concern or empathy or enthusiasm or sense of urgency at all) he'll check his files and call me back. Even though I offered to call him to check in the next day (yesterday) he said there's no need "oh no, no, I'll call you back- I have your number here."
    I informed him of the incorrect billing over 40 hours ago and haven't heard a thing.

    I'm reluctant to name names, still. I want to give every benefit of every doubt.

    I have no problem w/ honest oversights, mistakes. I've never flown off the handle if I'm brought onion rings instead of the fries I ordered, if a mail order order is flubbed-- no big deal. The problem isn't that first mistake... but once it's pointed out & nothing's done about it then unfortunately I think some unflattering word-of-mouth advertising is warranted.

    Again, as good as his skill on the mat may be... I'm really disappointed in his business management & student care skills. Not to mention basic human relation skills.

    His not making an attempt to 'make things right' is really disappointing.
  3. Kempo Chris is offline
    Kempo Chris's Avatar

    Registered Member

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    Feb 2007
    Location
    Staten Island, NY
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    519

    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 9:47am


     Style: The Kempo, Kickboxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    It is all the instructor on this one. All he has to do is call EFC. He should be able to reverse your payment also.
  4. Crax is offline

    Registered Member

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    Utah
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    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 10:05am


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I don't know how it works where you go, but I have my gym fees electronically deducted by a 3rd party. I read the contract I signed for the transfer though, so I realize that *I* need to cancel the automatic deduction with written notice to the billing company if I want to quit. I need to contact the billing company to stop the payments, just telling my instructor I am quitting probably wouldn't get it done. I understand what you are saying and how it should be, but generally when dealing with an outside billing company, you need to cancel with the billing company and not rely on your instructor to do it for you.

    I got a copy of the form I signed to setup the electronic deduction which has this info in small print about notification of cancellation via written notice. Do you have a copy of the form you signed? It may mention some terms like this in there.
  5. new2bjj is offline

    Senior Member

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    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 3:02pm


     Style: TKD, MT, KEMPO

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Go out and get the book "Gotcha Capitalism" by Bob Sullivan. Gyms (of all kinds) have a history of screwing people- think about this- is there any other services, beyond your essentials- phone, heat, etc, that you would pay for when you don't use them? If you don't go to a cafe they wouldn't send you a bill every week , right? I've seen instructors say, "hey, I have to keep the doors open!", but how is that your problem? I wouldn't sign an EFT with any school. If more people just said "no" to this, they'd drop the practice and go back to doing month to month. Anyway, gewt the book, it'll save you some $$$.
    "Coffee is for Closers" GlenGarry Glenross
  6. Askari is offline

    The Bottom Brick

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    2,069

    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 4:08pm


     Style: BJJ, Ju-Jitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Clubs do have to make money.

    It is not evil to make money.

    Give the guy the benefit of the doubt, dont post his name and school unless you have proof he screwed you. Let it go for awhile.
    "Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't **** with me!"
  7. lionknight is online now
    lionknight's Avatar

    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    1,178

    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 4:15pm


     Style: Much striking, SAMBO, BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    And just a FYI, you can go to your bank and let them know about the EFT withdrawels and that you want them stopped. That will keep that next one from "accidently" happening.
  8. new2bjj is offline

    Senior Member

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    Posted On:
    4/16/2008 5:50pm


     Style: TKD, MT, KEMPO

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Askari
    Clubs do have to make money.

    Why do they "have to"? Shouldn't the "free market" decide? Shouldn't you be able to quit at anytime?

    It is not evil to make money.

    It's certainly not evil to make money, but it is evil to **** people out of money using sneaky, shitty business practices

    Give the guy the benefit of the doubt, dont post his name and school unless you have proof he screwed you. Let it go for awhile.
    Don't drink this guys kool aid- Post the guys name- he's probably screwing over more people than you.
    Last edited by new2bjj; 4/16/2008 5:52pm at .
    "Coffee is for Closers" GlenGarry Glenross
  9. kiridoku is offline

    Featherweight

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    NY
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    Posted On:
    4/17/2008 12:36pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks for the input, guys. Really.

    The bank assured me that they won't allow any EFTs from E.F.Co. I'm happy to have them advocate for me like that even though it isn't the bank's problem by any means.

    Haven't heard from Instructor (or E.F.Co.). It's closing in on 72 hours at this point since I explained the situation & asked him to remedy it.

    I'm reluctant to follow up with him & get myself more ticked. I'm leaning toward leaving it in his court & just reporting my findings in any appropriate forums; Internet or otherwise.
    I'm not getting into a "you owe me $155" discussion. I told him, he knows about it, that's it.

    Bottom line is that he hasn't even called to say he's 'working on it & isnt getting anywhere.' I'd at least like to hear that so I know he's putting forth some effort & is taking ownership of his mistake...even if his results weren't what I'd like, I'd give him credit for trying.

    Although, again, he should (IMO) drop me the lousy $155 & then HE can wait for the banks to do their "7-10" or "30" day reconciliation to get reimbursed.

    My bank account still is in the red & I haven't heard a word from Instructor.

    Naming names or not-- listen to common sense & to the multiple admonishments on BS:
    • Don't cave & accept the "you have to do EFT."
    • Don't leave anything to chance- follow up in writing & verify in writing all changes in your agreements with your school.
    • If an administator, secretary or (as it is in my case) the instructor himself says he'll handle something re: your agreement -- assume it will not get done & act accordingly.

    I hesitate to add:
    If your mother says she loves you-- Check it out. And it's not a bad idea to get it witnessed & notarized while you're at it.
    ...but I'm getting close to that point. :)
  10. Slapsymaxi is offline

    Featherweight

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    Feb 2004
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    24

    Posted On:
    4/17/2008 7:36pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    So...

    Without getting specific, is the instructor Brazilian? A lot of the Brazilians just don't handle the business side of schools well at all.

    Hell, the legendary Carlson Gracie had like 5 schools flop in LA during the height of the BJJ explosion.


    Max
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