Can I get a refund?

Bill Mattocks

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Overheard at a local fast-food restaurant this weekend, in reference a local MA school (not mine, fortunately).

"I was only able to make it to MA classes a couple times last month, due to work requirements. Can I get a partial refund?"

"No, sorry."


"Why not? That doesn't seem fair."


"If your milk goes bad in the fridge before you can drink it, do you take it back to the store?"

"Yeah, actually. Why not? I didn't get to drink it, they owe me a refund."

Sigh....
 

terryl965

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Some people, like I only drove my car two days and I still need to make a monthly payment.
 

blindsage

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This is pretty much how gyms make their money. They sell memberships to people, but a large percentage don't actually show up much, though they still pay the same. They signed a contract. MA schools make it clear how their payment systems work, if you joined you've entered a contract. I'm not sure why people are confused by this. Maybe introduction to contract law should be a requirement in high school.

My question is did the second guy ask the first guy, "And did they give you a refund?"
 

tshadowchaser

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Sorry it is not the instructors fault you did not show up, should have been the response
 

Grenadier

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"If your milk goes bad in the fridge before you can drink it, do you take it back to the store?"

"Yeah, actually. Why not? I didn't get to drink it, they owe me a refund."

Only if it has gone bad before the expiration date listed. Otherwise, tough luck...

I'm not entirely against giving someone credit, though, in some of the more extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes, people get ill or get swamped at work, and ask if they can make up the missed training. I have no problems letting someone train beyond their normally allotted hours (if they're on the standard program of twice a week training), if they're honestly making up lost time.

If, after I explain how they can make up classes missed, they want a refund instead, I explain to them that this is simply not the way things work, and that they are contractually obligated to pay. If they put that much of a value on the training that they're receiving, then usually, they're not going to ask for a refund. If they don't see a perceived value, then they're more likely to ask for the refund.
 

Big Don

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My sifu points out that since he doesn't charge extra when there are five weeks in the month, he isn't going to charge less when someone only shows twice.
 

just2kicku

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So when I go on vacation for two weeks, that means I don't have to pay my whole months mortgage.....SWEET!!

You pay for a certain amount of instruction, not the instructors' fault if you don't show up. Maybe if it was like a cell phone company they would have rollover classes for the next month.
 

pete

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Or, you can do as I do and charge by the class. Students can pay-per-class, or pre-purchase in 10-class blocks and save money. The only rules we have is the 10-class expires in 3 months and no refunds.

We have no contracts, no membership fees, no testing fees. Students will come for classes when they can and will come back because they like their training.

pete.
 

Steve

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I don't mind paying a monthly fee, and if I have to take a break, our instructor is glad to put a hold on the automatic deductions and go to a per class payment option.
 

LordOfWu

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At the school I go to if you choose more than month to month (which is an option) you get the opportunity to have 1 month in 12 where you can request to skip if you are going to miss a significant portion of that month. The reality is that stuff happens, and sometimes in the school (like injuries) that require some time off. But, it has to be up front, if you signed the contract and it's not there, you gotta pay.
 

Tez3

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We have pay by session but we offer a pay by month option where its cheaper. People chose which they want, we do get some of the monthly ones who miss a night and who want their money back. As BD points out though, the monthly fee is the same regardless of whether its a four or five week month.
 
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This is pretty much how gyms make their money. They sell memberships to people, but a large percentage don't actually show up much, though they still pay the same. They signed a contract. MA schools make it clear how their payment systems work, if you joined you've entered a contract. I'm not sure why people are confused by this.

Some gyms, such as the one my missus uses contract you for twelve months but allow you miss up to two months due to circumstances and use those two months after the twelve month contract expires. A good martial arts school should have something similar. Or allow a ten lesson payment method.
On the flip side, I've seen an MA school that expanded too fast. They charged a twelve month locked contract and when the local branch closed down, expected students to travel to the main HQ (situated far from their branch school). That to me was a total rip-off.
 

blindsage

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Some gyms, such as the one my missus uses contract you for twelve months but allow you miss up to two months due to circumstances and use those two months after the twelve month contract expires. A good martial arts school should have something similar. Or allow a ten lesson payment method.
On the flip side, I've seen an MA school that expanded too fast. They charged a twelve month locked contract and when the local branch closed down, expected students to travel to the main HQ (situated far from their branch school). That to me was a total rip-off.

Only if it's not breach of contract. If it was stated explicitly in the original contract that students would have to do that, then yes it's a rip-off, but legal. But if it was not I would think you could easily argue breach of contract by the school, since it would be assumed when you signed that you would be training at the location you signed up for. Definitely grounds for a refund, except it's a high probability that the school was mostly looking to make money anyway and didn't want to give up any cash in hand (and probably didn't really care that much about the students).
 

Gordon Nore

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Some people, like I only drove my car two days and I still need to make a monthly payment.

I can't be overdrawn! I still have cheques!

My new instructor has a number of plans -- I opted for six months, paid out every two months. My rate is for 2-3 classes per week. He told me not to worry if I attend more because there will be weeks when I don't make it to two. Sure enough, first week I went to four classes; last week I got sick and made it to one.
 

Bruno@MT

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The things people ask...

In any case, over here the membership is typically per year, from summer to summer. It's like this in most clubs. How much you get out of your money is up to you.

One of the reasons for doing this is that most clubs use a communal dojo in which they have to make reservations for the entire year.
So the membership fee covers that entire year.

There is no real reason why it couldn't be done per month I guess. It's just the way things are done. Since most people see MA as a long term investment, I don't think it matters much.

There is also the matter of becoming a member of the federation / organization that oversees you MA (and the insurance of course). This is all paperwork that takes some time, so it's a hassle to have to renew things per month. Especially with people who sometimes would skip a month.
 

GBlues

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My first real kenpo instructor, ( I say real, because I had to go to a dojo, instead of learning it from my dad), was really good about this. He expected that if you signed a one year contract even if you chose to no longer attend, or situations changed that you paid for the year. Now, some people may be upset with this, however, my situation at that time did, change, first 6 months man I was there everyday. Then work got to be too much, and the last 6 months I couldn't make it, so I had to go in, and pay him for the rest of the 6 months. In exchange, he gave my dad ( who was training in some weapons classes there at the time), these vouchers to give to me, for the rest of my 6 months whenever I wanted to come back, and take advantage of those classes, that I paid for. Now that is cool. It's not in the contract, he was just an honorable person. That was really cool of him. He didn't have to, and I didn't expect it.
 

Bruno@MT

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Over here, membership is always paid up front. So once you've paid, you either show up or you don't, but that's the end of it.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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The OP describes exactly the sort of person that contracts are designed to protect a school against.

People like that are one of the reasons that I am hesitant to criticize a school for employing contracts.

It is up to the student to know that they tend to be unreliable in going to the gym before signing a contract that requires them to pay whether or not they show.

There are times when I can make class daily for weeks, and there are times when it is a struggle to get to class once in a week due to the demands of work, parenting, and other obligations. I simply accept that one month, I may not get the number of classes that I am paying for and that the next month, I will receive more. It all ballances out.

Personally, rather than contracts, I think that schools should bill by the session. Say, a four month session for a set fee, and if the student shows, they can potentially make it to whatever ranking one normally achieves in four months of training (if any). If they wish to continue, sign up for another session. Collect the money for the session up front.

Sounds like community college where you pay by the sememster, does it not?

Daniel
 
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