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trouble with teacher

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello all.

Haven't been on here in ages. I've been crazy busy, what with planning my wedding and work... But that's not why I'm here now. I need some advice.

A martial arts place opened up on the corner of the block where I live (Toronto), and they were offering a women's self-defence class. I signed up 2 weeks ago, giving the teacher a 200$ check for the classes. He couldn't give me a receipt because his "printer is broken". I showed up for class last weekend and nobody was around. I called him, and waited around for an hour. No show. I left a note for him to call me back... nothing. I called him again yesterday, no answer, no call-back. He was supposed to be teaching yesterday from 4-7... the place stayed deserted the entire time... I'm going to try to track him down today, and if not, start to escalate pressure tactics. My fiance and I are worried he's a fraud/ scam artist. He's already cashed my cheque. My fiance has 2 friends who are detectives, one of who works in our neighborhood, so if push comes to shove, we'll get them involved. We are also thinking we can call the local TV station that does "consumers ripped off" segments. The host (Silverman) goes around and talks to both sides and gets results... maybe they'll take our story? My fiance runs a popular store, so he can turn away "karate kid" 's(as we call him) business by advising his clients not to deal with the martial arts place.

What else can I do? Any suggestions? I don't want to have to involve the authorities if I don't have to...
post #2 of 14
Try the Better Business Bureau. Also there may be something under the provincial/municiple government (some type of ombudsman) that can help you.
post #3 of 14
Could you possibly work with your bank to get this guy? I'm not sure what they could do once the check has been paid, but I'm sure they have encountered situations like yours before and may be able to help you.
post #4 of 14
I would contact the local news stations. One of our news stations here in particular has a guy who handles stories like this and everyone knows who he is. If you get bad service or feel you have been frauded in any way, you can almost bet they will make it right if you say "I'm telling Ken".
post #5 of 14
That sounds like a scam. I would definitely involve the authorities if I were you. You may not get your money back, but you can put this guy out of business and save other people from being ripped off.
post #6 of 14
Sounds scammish to me. I would definitely get the police involved. Show them a copy of the cashed check.
Once you get a police report, contact your bank about the situation. They might be able to help you get your money back (only if you file the police report though).
post #7 of 14
If Silverman can't help (or won't) check with Global News - they have that Global Defenders programme, or Consummer Alert with Pat Foran from CTV news. Both programmes investigate things like this.
post #8 of 14
I would definitely involve authorities. How many other people should get taken?
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, we sent a very carefully worded email to the teacher, telling him that he has to HAND-DELIVER a full refund by the end of Saturday, or the authorities get called in... and what do we see posted on his front door when we come home from shopping? "there will be no classes from Thursday to Sunday due to instructor training." AAAAAARRRGGHH!! If he doesn't deliver by Thursday, the cops are getting involved. I REALLY don't want to have to go further than this... but if I have to, I will. (can you tell I'm mad??)
post #10 of 14
I agree with the others in involving the authorities.

Still, you might want to show up for the second class, just in case there is a legitimate explanation for the whole thing.
It does sound like a scam though. I hope you can sort it out and get your money back.
post #11 of 14
No way did he open a new business, and take classes the first week!!! That would be professional suicide! My guess is that he needs until Sunday to get out of town with the money.

Call the authorities, at least they have a chance of catching him since you know he is still in town.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your advice. My fiance will be calling his friend the detective (a big, burly 6'5" giant of a man!) tomorrow to get his input.

I won't be able to attend my next class, since he has marked himself as "away" then. (A sign he seems to have printed on his "broken" printer) We securely posted a copy of the email on his door, hoping passers-by will read it and avoid the business. It might also alert some of his other students to bail before it's too late.

He's been open since late last summer, but we've only ever seen a few people in there... one young boy, and one woman. The place is always dark, and empty. And even on the odd days when he IS there, he never seems to be actually teaching... Just wandering around or fiddling with his cell phone or CD player... At this point, I don't WANT him to teach me, even if he offers. Because I could never be sure if he's teaching me properly or doing a half-assed job because he's been obligated to. He's not reliable... or trustworthy.

And he can't use the excuse that he didn't get his messages because the business phone number is a cell phone number. And unless he leaves his cell AT the store (what's the point of having a cell phone?), he has NO excuse for not calling back.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

The karate teacher got in touch with my fiance on Wednesday, saying he was "sick all week" (lie. My fiance saw him earlier that day in his shop, but didn't get to talk to him before he'd upped and left) and wanted to talk to me about schedules. We told him I didn't want to take classes from him anymore, I just wanted my money back. He was supposed to email my fiance either wednesday or thursday to set up a meeting, but he never did. He's also made some changes to his signs. First of all, he's offering the self-defence class again in April, and he's also marked himself as "away" (tournaments) for the next 2 sundays... No WAY is he going to get away with this!!!

We've started posting our own signs on his windows. A copy of the email we sent him, outlining the situation, with an addendum at the end (no call back, new signs, etc...) and my fiance managed to turn away a potential customer of the karate kid's when he came into my fiance's store. "I was thinking of joining, but not anymore..." GOOD!! The more damage we can do, as far as I'm concerned, the better!
post #14 of 14
There is a similar company in Hamilton my Bf's brother got scammed by for king fu lessons, definitely get the authorities involved before he takes off and its too late!
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