Educational Funding Company
Chevy Chase, MDConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
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I signed my 3 children up for karate lessons at a local establishment, DiBenedetto's Karate Jiu-Jitsu, in Amite, LA in October of 2015 and was not informed my checking account information was skimmed off my original check and given without my consent to Educational Funding Company. EFC has billed my bank account for over 31 months resulting in me losing $7657.00. Some of you are asking yourselves how I allowed so many charges to come out of my account. The check I used to pay for the first month of lessons and uniforms was written out of a bank account I use very rarely. The karate establishment took it and said nothing about automatic billing, billing dates, billing amounts, or who their billing processor was. I assumed I would be paying with a paper check for each month of lessons. If they would have told me this I would have been looking for these charges on my account.
Secondly, I only keep money in it to pay my student loans and a few other bills. It has large amounts of money coming and going out each month and is not meant for daily use. There could be months that go by where I do not look at this account. Also, EFC charges came over stating they were for Student Education Tuition or Student Education Fund??? These charges said nothing about karate or the original business I signed up with. I often overlooked the charges as a school fee for my husband or a student loan payment. Also, I have been trying to save for my own children's college tuition and thought many of these fees were legitimate charges from my investment planner.
When I finally Googled EFC and called them directly earlier this month this was the first time I had heard of their business. The person I spoke with was polite but stated that I had to contact the business owner to cancel the account and collect any fraudulent charges. The person also stated that I had 2 children signed up for Karate lessons which is erroneous as I have 3 children. I did call the business owner, Frank DiBenedetto. He acted like I was crazy to ask for a refund and told me if I wanted the billing stopped I'd have to do it myself. He also told me I had signed up for a health club membership with EFC and him which I did not. I signed up for Karate lessons. I did call EFC back and they hung up on me when I requested to cancel the billing. I have been informed by the karate business owner, Frank DiBenedetto, that he has requested my account be closed.
After my personal research and reading other reviews of EFC's business practices with local gyms and other Karate establishments I have come to the conclusion that karate institutions such as DiBenedetto's Karate Jiu-Jitsu work in collusion with their billing partner Educational Funding Company to lure parents and relatives into a billing trap requiring them to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars in fraudulent fees.
The initial check I gave DiBenedetto's I was told was for the cost of uniforms and lessons for the first month. Then I was asked to sign a statement about billing which did state I was to pay for lessons for 6 Months and after that had the option to stop billing but would be automatically renewed if I did nothing. It did not state that my bank account information would be taken from my check and used for ACH transactions against my account. It also did not state who was going to be billing my account. It did not state how much would be billed each month. It did not state what day monies would be removed from my account. I fully expected to be writing paper checks for karate classes as they clearly had no problems taking my first check and deceptively removing my banking information.
It was not until later that I was informed that there is a second part to the DiBenedetto's billing agreement written for/by EFC located in the back of the student handbook given to my minor children. This information was conveniently not disclosed with me and it is here that one will find Educational Funding Company (EFC) will be billing the parent's automatically. But again it states nothing about needing a voided check, a date billing will, how much the payments are for etc, etc. etc. It is a baiting tactic that EFC uses along with local gyms and karate institutions in order to get access to patron's credit cards, debit cards, and checking account information. EFC can then bill the patron and give a kickback to the gym for each patron they sign up for their continual auto-renewing billing that can ONLY be cancelled with a written letter signed 30 days before the next billing cycle.
It is 2018, who writes a letter or requires a written letter for anything anymore? What irritates me the most is EFC's and DiBenedetto's ability to take advantage of people who have children and want to provide for their children. How can you bill me for over 31 months and when I call to explain what happened you not even offer to refund some of my money. It is so unethical and devious. We only went to this karate a handful of times in October of 2015. I have been billed multiple times over for services not rendered. I can't believe I never received a call, text, or email to ask if we wanted to continue karate lessons and billing. But this is what these two companies are wanting. They want you to sign up for the required 6 months then get as much money as they can out of you.
I expected the owner of this DiBenedetto's to treat me like a person, I even expected him to see what a burden these charges are for me and that if I had known what was actually occurring would have stopped them as soon as possible. But no, he treated me like I was completely insane to ask for any refund of any kind even though we haven't set foot in his building since October of 2015.
I expected EFC to refund me immediately and stop the billing immediately but instead I got the typical runaround. Each business blaming the other so the consumer is left holding the bag. I work 1 full time job and 2 part time jobs. There are a lot of days my accounts are negative and on top of that I simply have legal custody of the children involved here and have given up everything to take care of them. Really thought karate would help them and help our family but because of driving and schedule issues we could not make it there. Now to find out I've been scammed out of so much money. I am very upset.
Do not do any business with this company. It is run by a bunch of crooks and scam artist. Karen is the person I dealt with. Be careful if you enter into a contract with them as they will continue to bill up long after your contract is over. I have contacted the BBB about them. You have been warned!
I signed up at atomic kickboxing and was told from the beginning that I could cancel at any time if my commute changed to over 20 miles. My dad recently bought a new house and I’m moving with him, putting us more than 20 miles away from the gym location. I followed all the steps I was told to do in order to cancel and sent them a copy of a utility bill with the new address and my last name on it.
They didn’t respond to me (and my 3 follow up emails) for WEEKS and then conveniently answered on the day that they charged my card AGAIN. That’s when they informed me that I needed my first name on the utility bill. Seeing as how I do not own the house, that isn’t going to happen. They’re saying now to get a credit card bill with my full name and address which I’m going to do but that will take another month to go into effect and will be charged again. I would NEVER recommend this company. And I would strongly suggest to not sign up anywhere that uses this billing company. They do not get back to you and they do everything to make sure canceling your contract is miserable and long.
I signed my son up for Karate almost a year ago. I went through some troubles in my financial situation so I called EFC to cancel my membership and to get a refund for the money they took out of my account since my son doesn't go to karate anymore. They told me I had to call the school and cancel which I did. I did everything that EFC told me to. I called EFC several times for my money back and no one returns your calls. Today which is 12/20, they decide to take out more money out of my account when I cancelled two months ago. They owe me money for two months.
When I called to complain the lady decided to hang up on me. The manager himself doesn't return calls. Finally someone called me back and told me in order to get my money back I have to pay $75.00 for an early cancellation fee for the school that my son went to. How am I suppose to pay them money when they owe me money? Apparently after complaining and arguing with the guy, they will have my money in my account tomorrow. If not I will file a complaint with the BBB. Do not trust EFC at all!!!
The executives at EFC are some of the smartest people I've ever met. Their attention to detail, the importance they put on morals, the love they have for their clients is amazing. The other reviews you see are people that are NOT EFC's direct clients. These are people that are students at the martial arts schools OF EFC's clients. These people are just wanting to get out of their contracts because of their own issues. You cannot just decide you want to get out of a contract you signed like they are. They are frustrated because EFC holds you to principle, and your word, unless an emergency situation comes up. EFC has a CLIENT FAMILY. Again, these clients are people that OWN the schools... None of these direct clients are writing any bad reviews.
The EFC client family is a unit. These people love each other, love EFC, and were made WEALTHY BUSINESS OWNERS with the help of John, Mark, and Nick Cokinos. I have never met such loving, caring, and smart individuals in my life. I have seen them take start-ups and make these people not only millionaires, but have held them to a high standard as a person. EFC takes their clients under their wing - and they are in it for the long run, and for friendships. Not just for a quick buck. EFC has over 50 YEARS of being a successful business. If EFC had clients go with another company, the client always comes right back to EFC because of what's missing in their other competitors. EFC truly stands alone. They have shaped the martial arts.
Nick Cokinos knew martial arts when all they would do was practice in back alleyways. It is because of him, and his direction that Martial Arts is now a well-known thing in the US - and he showed these martial arts teachers how to make a business. 50 years later, martial arts schools are all over the world. Nick Cokinos started the company 50 years ago, and it is now a global, trusted, and loved company. Every person I've met will tell you how much they love EFC and the management. I have seen people in tears about what EFC has done for their martial arts school.
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Before I signed a contract I ask Mrs. ** about the Demo team, because that would take a lot of time and my child would not be able to done. Mrs. ** said it was optional and no my child would not have to join. So I signed a contract of Youth LDR. A lot happen before this meeting, but I just wanted to get down to the fact in my case. After my child became a blue belt, Mr. & Mrs. ** called us to come in with our child to talk about her black belt. We were told that she needed to join the Demo team in order to make black belt. I ask "When did that change?" Mrs. ** said "We are always changing here." So I took my child out. And stopped payment. Because that is not right.
My child was so hurt by this, but she now know that people lie. Now on the back of the contract under Waiver And Release, states "Student is voluntarily participating." Is it just me or by them saying that she have to join Demo in order to make black belt? To me they are trying to force her to join Demo. This should not have happen. I called to cancel the contract due to the Breach of Contract on them. The EFC is still sending me bills for this but this is not right.
I bought a Groupon for a week trial at USA Karate Clark. The woman told me to purchase a uniform and to sign. My son used only twice and hated it. When I called her next day to say we would not use the facility, did not even get to use uniform, she said ok. Now I'm getting a $500 dollar bill for something never used. Sooo angry.
After phone calls to the dojo and the EFC company, no one is able to supply us with the "alleged" contract. I do not have a copy, the dojo cannot supply one and EFC is stonewalling our request for a copy. Over the phone, on 8/20, I was promised a copy of the contract within 5-10 business days. I contacted my Visa company and filed a dispute. EFC came back the next month, under a different name and billed us again. I strongly suggest that you not use this company.
I have 3 sons who have been attending Lavallee's Karate School in Sunrise Florida for about a year now. We pay Lavallee's in advance for their tuition; the most recent of which was $660 in late June 2012. Following that payment, I had 2 charges of $253.00 taken from my account on 07/17/12 & 08/17/12 that I know nothing about and did not authorize. Nothing infuriates me more than companies that make their money by hidden contract & billing practices like Lavallee's Karate/EFC's unauthorized debits. Absolutely disgusting!
I signed my son up for karate in July 2011 at Lion's Den in Philadelphia with Mike. I never said anything about a contract. He signed me up for a 1-year contract without telling me. I used my Visa Mac card. I asked if he could quit anytime, and Mike said yes. I called to quit in March, and he said fine. I took the $99.00 in April, and I called again. They said they would credit me for the $99.00, but they didn't credit me but took another $99.00 for May. I went to Lion's Den and talked to Marty. He said he's not getting the money and called EFC. They laughed and told me I have to get my money from Marty. My bank is checking into it. Hopefully, I will get my money back.
They refuse to cancel. At the beginning of November of 2011, my current employment had downsizing and my paycheck took a big hit. I tried reorganizing my finances to be able to pay for my son's martial arts and myself at Bergeron Karate Center (School code 3066) but with a new born on the way and a new place with higher rent, I could not afford it (and since my wife doesn't work, the finances fall on my shoulders).
So I informed the owner of the school of my current situation. He informed me that he couldn't cancel my membership since he does not take care of tuition. He mentioned to call Education Funding Company. He gave me a name "Joseph" at ** and told me that they won't cancel my membership as it's their bread and butter (his own words) but I should try none the less, in case they can.
I contacted this Joseph and I explained my situation to him. He told me that it would be possible to cancel my membership but I had to fax my situation to them. So I did just that, on the 28th of November 2011 at 11:23am, I faxed my situation, explaining that I could no longer financially pay for Martial Arts and was requesting a cancellation. After a month, I started getting automated messages from EFC asking me to pay. I was surprised since I had set up for a cancellation. So I called this Joseph (multiple times) once more, and left a message explaining that since everything was cancelled to stop calling and harassing us.
A month later he contacted me, left me a message saying he was replying to my multiple messages. So I called him and finally got in touch with him. He explained that it wasn't cancelled and I had to pay, that there was no way to cancel. I explained to him that with the newborn and my financial situation there was no money to give them. He then said, "That's OK, you'll be placed in collection and since you can't pay, the issue will be over and done with". That is completely unacceptable, no collection agency will accept "I can't pay" and leave it at that. You mean to tell me that they refuse to cancel my membership, wait almost two months to tell me they won’t and then put me in collection to tarnish my name with creditors? This was infuriating. I also told him that I never received any documentation that mentioned anything about the fact that the account was still active and I needed to still pay. They had my old address, so I gave him my new and I told him it didn't really matter because I had moved closer to the school. I told him my address wasn't the reason why I was cancelling but because I can't afford it.
So I went to the owner of the school and once again, he explained to me that he could do nothing. He even brushed over my concerns about all the complaints about EFC on the net or the fact that they had an F rating with the BBB. He also mentioned that Joseph had called him and said I was cancelling because I had moved and he wanted to find out how far it was. Well the owner said, I lived real close to the school...well of course... it's not like I mentioned that to Joseph... oh wait, I did. So now this agent from EFC is making me look like a liar to the owner of the school.
I simply cannot fathom why this is acceptable. I would understand if my reasons to cancel were flimsy but I cannot pay for it. I am financially incapable to continue paying for this service.
How hard is it to understand? I keep getting the brush over on both side and neither is willing to help me and both are fine with screwing me out of my money and tarnishing my name. Thank god I had the intelligence to contact my bank on the day I thought I cancelled, to block EFC from taking more money or they would have continued and I would have been royally screwed for a lot of my bills or simply for food for my whole family. Nowhere does it say on your membership that if you are unable to financially pay for the service that you will still be billed or that if you can't pay no matter if you request for a cancellation that you will be put in collection and get your name ruined.
What kind of scam is this company? And how is it they are STILL around after all this time of scamming people. I am in financial difficulties as it is, I do not need this mental stress to top it off. I will contact them once more but to inform them that I have reported them to Rip off and other sites on the net and that if push comes to shove, I'll find a way to get a lawyer because this is clearly unacceptable and I will not be bullied in paying a service I no longer use.
If you plan on joining anything that requires a membership, please ask and educate yourself where the tuition goes because if it's Educational Funding Company, this might happen to you. Avoid EFC if you know what's good for you.
My son attended Rock Solid Karate in Gainesville, GA and after moving to another home over 40 miles from Gainesville, everything was sent to EFC to cancel contract, rental lease, phone bills and other things. I was told by a lady named Adi that the last withdrawal will be on December 2011 and withdrawals have not stopped. Called today and I was told that they sent a letter on February 2, 2012 to ask for additional proof of residence. Why they took 2 months to ask for more info? I don’t know. I asked to speak to contract department and I was told that they don’t speak to the customers. I don’t know what else to do and am frustrated.
They do not return phone calls and refuse to talk to you about your situation. When asked if there is anyone you can talk to, Mini just says no. You spend your time talking in circles with her. To fix the situation, I will have to cancel the card currently being billed and face whatever credit report issues arise as a result.
My son stopped attending USA Karate and Fitness in Avenel, NJ in June 2011. Our current contract ends on February 13, 2011, but the owner of the business agreed to terminate the contract in August of 2011 (6 months early). We sent written notice via certified mail on September 9, 2011 to cancel the contract and prevent any future auto-renewals. However, the monthly fees for September and October were still charged to my credit card. I spoke to someone at USA Karate. They assured me that Educational Funding Company had been notified and that it was their understanding the last monthly fee charged to my credit card was August 2011.
Next, I spoke with a representative from Educational Funding Company who confirmed that the owner of USA Karate had contacted them and acknowledged it was not USA Karate preventing the termination of the contract. I was told that even though the owner of the business is willing to terminate the contract, Educational Funding Company can still legally collect the monthly fee through February 2011, based on my contract. This company is now collecting monies on behalf of USA Karate, even though the business has told them to stop. Can this be legal? Since speaking with the representative, I researched Educational Funding Company. I saw numerous complaints lodged against them over the last several years. I am now very concerned.
I enrolled my children in Taekwondo School in North Carolina in October 2010. We moved to Florida this past May and there are no Taekwondo schools here that are affiliated with Educational Funding Company. So I mailed the required documents to cancel my account with EFC (military PCS orders, utility bill showing our new address, etc.).
Since then, I have called EFC at least twice a week to check on the status of my account and the cancellation I am asking for. I have also faxed the paperwork in to 'Dan', who specifically told me to address everything to him. Each time that I call, I am either informed that my paperwork was not received or that it has been received and that their 'legal department' will contact me.
This has not happened as of today, and I am contacting the state Attorney General of Maryland to file a complaint against this company for fraud. The only reason I am giving this complaint one star is because this complaint will not be submitted without a ranking of some sort.
I cancelled my membership at Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-jistu on Lacey road in Forked River, New Jersey. This company is continually taking monies out of my checking account when I cancelled this account over a month ago. There are so many complaints concerning this company and it seems they refused to cancel anyone's account.
I would like a refund of my $140 that they took from me. I also spoke to Gary and Tom, the manager, at the Jiu-jitsu last month and supposedly this was all taken care of. This company doesn't seem on the up and up and I am quite worried about this situation. Please help me. I am a plumber's apprentice going to school and working part time when I am not being laid off from the slow economy and I cannot afford for this company to be helping themselves to my bank account every month when I cancelled this membership. This is a financial hardship for me.
I have tried several time to cancel my membership with Educational Funding Company. I can no longer participate for a variety reasons ranging from medical to work responsibilities. I wrote them a letter and submitted a doctor note as per their request. In return I have received an anonymous letter requesting more information. I feel like I am being given the run around?.
The woman Mini who is an Account Executive will not allow me to speak with anyone else in the company and has kept me on the phone for over an hour talking me in circles. While I was an active member I paid all of my dues on time. All that I ask is now due to injury and change of work schedule to be released of my membership free and clear.
Many wasted hours on the phone, several trips to the doctors office to get the information they requested, payments for services not used
I called and spoke to Yetti on Sept 7, 2007 and told her I needed to cancel membership acct was a monthly charge of $164.00 and 2863-690 for $134.00. According to Yetti, I had already satisfied the contract and would be able to cancel the contract. She said that one more payment would be dedcuted for these accts, and that's all. However, they have deducted payments for November AND December 2007. If you check the phone records from Sept 7th, 2007, you can confirm this. I want a refund for Nov and Dec as this is an error.
I signed a contract with educational funding company for a term of one year commencing November 25, 2006. The contract was for martial arts services at Studio X. In June 2007, while training in studio X, I tore three ligaments in my ankle. I sent educational funding company an MRI report stating my injuries and a Doctor's letter stating the extent of my injuries and the amount of time I will be unable to train.
I asked Educational Funding Company to put the contract on h old and they did. The contract states that If I am unable to train for a period of four (4) months or more that the contract can be cancelled. In August of 2007, I was told by my Physician that I would be unable to train in martial arts for over a year because the extent of my injuries were too severe. I certified mailed Education Funding company new copies of my new Doctor's note and MRI report stating my injuries. I asked educational funding company to cancel the contract but they denied. Minnie told me that my contract was on hold and they will begin pulling monies from my bank account in December.
Minnie stated I cannot cancel the contract because I need to send them a new Doctor's letter in December, after they pull the money from my account and then to cancel the contract. Minnie told me that they won't cancel the contract because "they want to wait and see if my injuries improve." I informed minnie that she nor anyone at Educational Funding Company was a Doctor and couldn't make that determination on my health status and that only my Doctor could. My Doctor all ready made a determination on my health status and determined I would be unable to continue with martial arts. I sent certified letters with my Doctor's note and letters canceling the contract but I am told that Educational Funding Company never receives these letters and that I will have to send them again. I have confirmation from the post office that Educational Funding Company received the letters. Addy, on October 12,2007, at 4PM read the letter I sent to me and said "yes, we have your letters."
I signed a contract for Taekwondo lessons at US Taekwondo Center in Citrus Heights. The payment was automatically deducted from my account.
I gave notice in September to both the school and EFC that I was getting married and moving to Grass Valley, so I wanted to cancel the lessons and the contract.
I spoke with SAM who told me they require 60 days notice and proof in the form of utility bills or a new drivers license that I have moved. This won't be possible for a few months because I am moving into my new wife's house and everything is in her name. They have continued to deduct money from my account and even though I changed accounts with my bank (Golden1 credit Union) they still are getting money for services I am no longer recieving as of October 1.
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- Educational Funding Company