I think I getting ripped off by my TKD instructor. The instructor does not like the WTF patterns so he has created his own patterns. He says he is a 8th degree black belt, but I have seen nothing to prove this. I think the school is going bankrupt and the instructor is just trying to hold on long enough to make ends meet. I was promoted to red belt but I don't think I deserve it. I did not receive a certificate for the promotion, nor was I required to do the patterns for that rank. However, I did pay the test fee. I did sign a contract that I am trying to break, so that I can study somewhere else. What should I do? I love training but I don't want to get ripped off.
Contracts can be a problem. Contracts benefit the school owner by guaranteeing a steady income for the length of the contact, no matter whether you come to class or not; this helps them to acquire business loans. There is nothing detrimental about the use of contracts for the school owner, if there was, they would not use them.
Supposedly, contracts help the student because they motivate them to come to class to get their money’s worth of training, and they lock in training costs for the length of the contract. However, any benefits contracts offer students are far overshadowed by the liabilities of contracts. Students must pay for the length of the contact as long as the contracted services are offered, even if the services are not used. Over the length of the contract, fees will not increase much normally so locking the cost of fees is not really any benefit. When you change schools or styles, many times you are required to start again at the white belt level. Most students commit much time and effort to training in their chosen art, they develop friendships with other students, and, for those who like their instructors; they develop a loyalty to the instructors. This means that by the time the first contract ends, students are reluctant to change schools or styles, so they tend to sign another contract. Therefore, contracts are always good for school owners and never good for students.
Bad instructors, fraudulent instructors, and rip-off schools and organizations are rampant in the martial arts. These things are bad enough, but when contracts are used to force students to pay for them, it is a travesty.
In your case, you have few choices:
- You can see if the instructor would release you from the contract. Maybe you could buy back the contract at a lesser cost
- You can try to find some loophole in the contract that would release you from it.
- You can file a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau or other agencies to put pressure on the instructor to release you from the contract.
- You can continue to pay and attend classes until the contract ends.
- You can continue to pay and not attend classes.
- You can stop paying and attending classes and see what the instructor does.
- He may just drop the issue
- He may sue in small claims court where you may still win.
- He may try to make detrimental entries about you with credit reporting agencies.
- You can sue the instructor in small claims court. You may win but contracts are generally binding.
As I said, contracts are never good for students, but they may not necessarily be bad. If students like their martial, organization, school, instructors, and fellow students, then contracts, while still not good for them are not necessarily bad for them, the contracts are neutral. These students would be just as happy without the contracts as they are with the contracts.