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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad_of_four
When a dancer quits, the Studio still has ongoing fees that are not being paid for
Rent, Utilities, Payroll, Liability Insurance, etc.
And I know it stinks, but the "carrot" of the fancy costume is the stick that gets some parents to commit to the full year.
Too many parents might just drop-out when money is tight and all the Christmas bills are due in Feb.
Choreography would need to be constantly re-worked.

I know at our studio, new parents are confused at Christmas when they have to pay December tuition,
even though the studio is closed for two weeks.
The answer is that you are paying for 36 weeks worth of lessons, and the total fee is divided into nine monthly payments.
It would be total chaos if instead you expected people to pay every 4 weeks.


A dance studio is a business and the owner should have realistic expectations that every year a certain number of kids are going to drop out.  Legally, if you pay for that costume it is yours.  If the studio decides to use it for another dancer that has joined then they give a refund.  Simple as that.  In any business, it is the right of the customer to discontinue service if there is no contract signed.  Kinda stinks that it can have a negative effect on the business, but it's still their right to do so.  
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle


A dance studio is a business and the owner should have realistic expectations that every year a certain number of kids are going to drop out.  Legally, if you pay for that costume it is yours.  If the studio decides to use it for another dancer that has joined then they give a refund.  Simple as that.  In any business, it is the right of the customer to discontinue service if there is no contract signed.  Kinda stinks that it can have a negative effect on the business, but it's still their right to do so.  


Well, on our costume forms it clearly says that costume deposits are non-refundable no matter what. So I think if this studio has similar wording on their paperwork that they'd be covered legally.
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #28 
I have a crazy dance mom story about this. A while back, this one mom went ballistic. After cussing out the teacher (her daughter was around 5) because there wasn't enough ballet in the ballet/tap combo class, she went to drop the class, only to be told they will not refund the costume money because it was after the drop date, but she could pick her costume up. Then she proceeded to cuss out the front desk and tell everyone in the lobby what a scam it was and that we should all immediately withdraw our children. Then she started knocking over displays and was asked to leave, then forced to leave. First of all, how crazy is it to yell and cuss at a dance studio around children in the first place? Second of all, you're told when you sign up that a combo class is just that, and they even outline how many minutes of class goes to tap, how many to tumbling, and how many to ballet. She'd be hard pressed to find a straight ballet class for a child that young in our area. Third of all, the costume fee is clearly outlined when you sign up in September. Once they buy the costume in January, there is no refund. She tried to drop the class in April. The good thing is that because her DD was so young, the number is just done in one line anyway. At least there were no crazy formations to be reblocked.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #29 
I get that a deposit might be nonrefundable if that is part of the contract.  Its kind of a gray area morally, because the costume hasn't actually been ordered/paid for yet, but as long as the policy is clearly laid out, I don't have a problem with it.  Once the costume has been entirely paid for, it belongs to the person who paid for it.  If the studio can use the costume for another dancer, the studio needs to refund the costume fee to the original purchaser.  I've seen competition routines re-blocked in the lobby moments before the kids go on stage.  I really have a hard time believing that its such a big deal to re-block a recital number and the costume should be forfeited because of that.  I might be able to go along with letting another dancer wear the costume for recital, as long as it was eventually delivered in near mint condition.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad_of_four
When a dancer quits, the Studio still has ongoing fees that are not being paid for
Rent, Utilities, Payroll, Liability Insurance, etc.
And I know it stinks, but the "carrot" of the fancy costume is the stick that gets some parents to commit to the full year.
Too many parents might just drop-out when money is tight and all the Christmas bills are due in Feb.
Choreography would need to be constantly re-worked.

I know at our studio, new parents are confused at Christmas when they have to pay December tuition,
even though the studio is closed for two weeks.
The answer is that you are paying for 36 weeks worth of lessons, and the total fee is divided into nine monthly payments.
It would be total chaos if instead you expected people to pay every 4 weeks.


Yes, the studio has ongoing bills but those bills were the bills before that dancer signed up in September.  It's not like the rent increased because there was another little dancer in the building.  We're not responsible for paying a studio's bills, we're responsible for paying for the services a studio provides our children.   

That said, I do understand that it's not uncommon for a studio to claim that you're on the hook for the balance of a year's tuition if you leave mid-year but we've never attended such a studio.  And I'm not sure that would hold up legally if challenged.  I get not giving refunds but ongoing payments when a dancer is no longer participating? I wonder if that qualifies as a penalty clause.. which isn't legal.  And even if it was it just doesn't seem prudent to me.  Sure, it might lead to people staying who would otherwise leave but who wants that?  A family feeling like they're being held hostage?  A kid who doesn't really want to be there forced to be there?  Fine, but don't start complaining when there's negativity in the air.      


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crafty1

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Reply with quote  #31 
Our studio does not release any costumes to any parents until all other fees are up-to-date. I'm guessing that family has a balance due to the studio. I wouldn't assume that just because the mom contacted the studio several times, there is no balance. I have seen people complain that they weren't getting something they paid for, when they actually had other bills. One year, I witnessed a dance mom throw a fit because she didn't feel she needed to pay costume or comp fees because her daughter had been given a scholarship for a year of free class. Nowhere did it say that EVERYTHING was free - just class.
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dancedaughters

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


Yes, the studio has ongoing bills but those bills were the bills before that dancer signed up in September.  It's not like the rent increased because there was another little dancer in the building.  We're not responsible for paying a studio's bills, we're responsible for paying for the services a studio provides our children.   

That said, I do understand that it's not uncommon for a studio to claim that you're on the hook for the balance of a year's tuition if you leave mid-year but we've never attended such a studio.  And I'm not sure that would hold up legally if challenged.  I get not giving refunds but ongoing payments when a dancer is no longer participating? I wonder if that qualifies as a penalty clause.. which isn't legal.  And even if it was it just doesn't seem prudent to me.  Sure, it might lead to people staying who would otherwise leave but who wants that?  A family feeling like they're being held hostage?  A kid who doesn't really want to be there forced to be there?  Fine, but don't start complaining when there's negativity in the air.      




We pay by the semester and there's a no refund policy so if a dancer drops out the balance of that semester should be already paid for, and the family doesn't get that money back.  
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #33 
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No, this was not a custom piece. It was ordered from a regular costume catalog for a small child.


Ordering a regular costume from a catalog is not the same as ordering normal ready to wear clothing from a catalog. Most costume companies do not keep a regular stock. They get their orders in and send those orders to the factory to be made. Many of those factories are in China or elsewhere overseas. While it is not a truly custom costume, it is not like they have racks of the same costume available, hence the difficulties with returns. I have ordered costumes for a school and many have policies that make returns close to impossible except in extreme circumstances (as in the costume company's error).. and even then it may not be possible. 
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Rhythmaster101

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Reply with quote  #34 
Costume companies do not ever allow returns for refunds. Only allow exchanges for sizes and the costume companies charge a hefty exchange fee and the studio is responsible for the shipping back to the company and the shipping of the replacement costume. So any profit that might have been made is gone. We will not refund, but certainly will give them the costume if they dropped and have a zero balance. But if they owe us money, they don't receive the costume until they pay their past due balance.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancedaughters


We pay by the semester and there's a no refund policy so if a dancer drops out the balance of that semester should be already paid for, and the family doesn't get that money back.  


Yes...that specific arrangement (pay by semester) generally seems to specify that there will be no refunds.  The great majority of ballet schools seem to run that way.  None of the three general dance studios dd attended did that though. Those were always pay by the month.... and if people dropped they did not continue to pay.
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dad_of_four
When a dancer quits, the Studio still has ongoing fees that are not being paid for
Rent, Utilities, Payroll, Liability Insurance, etc.
And I know it stinks, but the "carrot" of the fancy costume is the stick that gets some parents to commit to the full year.
Too many parents might just drop-out when money is tight and all the Christmas bills are due in Feb.
Choreography would need to be constantly re-worked.

I know at our studio, new parents are confused at Christmas when they have to pay December tuition,
even though the studio is closed for two weeks.
The answer is that you are paying for 36 weeks worth of lessons, and the total fee is divided into nine monthly payments.
It would be total chaos if instead you expected people to pay every 4 weeks.


I get the December thing as well as March (spring break).  The costume to me is not a cost of doing business.  It's a material object that I paid extra for and expect to get even if my child doesn't complete the recital.
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Psmom

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2miracles


I get the December thing as well as March (spring break).  The costume to me is not a cost of doing business.  It's a material object that I paid extra for and expect to get even if my child doesn't complete the recital.


I can see both sides of this. I was trying to remember exactly how this worked at all of the places my girls danced. I know at one we didn't technically buy the costume. The fee for the costume was included as part of the cost of taking the class so you wouldn't get the costume in that case. Even in the ones that didn't do that, the kids weren't given their costumes until time for recital at dress rehearsal. It would be theirs to keep after recital. If someone left before fulfilling the contract, which includes learning and performing the recital dance, I can understand not giving them the costume as it was an included item in the contract. It's not the same thing as buying something and then not receiving it, it's about enrolling in a program and an item you would get if you completed the program isnt yours because you chose not to complete your commitment. I'm not meaning anyone in particular when I say "you".
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psmom
I can see both sides of this. I was trying to remember exactly how this worked at all of the places my girls danced. I know at one we didn't technically buy the costume. The fee for the costume was included as part of the cost of taking the class so you wouldn't get the costume in that case. Even in the ones that didn't do that, the kids weren't given their costumes until time for recital at dress rehearsal. It would be theirs to keep after recital. If someone left before fulfilling the contract, which includes learning and performing the recital dance, I can understand not giving them the costume as it was an included item in the contract. It's not the same thing as buying something and then not receiving it, it's about enrolling in a program and an item you would get if you completed the program isnt yours because you chose not to complete your commitment. I'm not meaning anyone in particular when I say "you".


Ah, when you phrase it this way it does make sense to me.  I think if it's done that way I wouldn't have a problem with it.  What would you think of the SO giving the costume to the parent after recital?  

Hmm.  But when the costume is billed separately I'm still thinking you should be able to get it or your money back.
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Psmom

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle


Ah, when you phrase it this way it does make sense to me.  I think if it's done that way I wouldn't have a problem with it.  What would you think of the SO giving the costume to the parent after recital?  

Hmm.  But when the costume is billed separately I'm still thinking you should be able to get it or your money back.


It would depend on a lot of variables. If the person left in good standing , no outstanding bills, then I'd think they should get to have the costume after recital. I don't think you could make a case for any refunds though.
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BCdancemom

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Reply with quote  #40 
At our studio there is a written policy that if a child withdraws after costumes are ordered, studio keeps the costume until after the recital. In case another dancer can fill in the missing spot. The costume is given to the family who paid for it after recital
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gymmommy71

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Reply with quote  #41 
My bet is like others have said, the family probably owes a balance and the studio is holding the costume "hostage" to try to get the rest of the money. That balance may very well only be the tuition for the month that her daughter quit that had yet to be paid, or maybe even the tuition for the last couple months of the season that her daughter won't even attend, but it's still a little bit of money that the studio can squeeze out of this disgruntled parent before she takes her business elsewhere. Once they sensed she wanted the costume, they probably saw the opportunity to get the rest of the money they were banking on from her and are taking it. I've seen many activity places pull stuff like this to exiting parents - holding things like pictures they've already paid for and even the kids personal property that is at the facility - trying to get money that could be legitimately argued that the family should not have to pay. I guess my point is that just because a dance studio says a family who left "has an outstanding balance" doesn't mean that family is a deadbeat who hadn't paid their bill for months - although a lot of these places seem to be quick to say things like that about ex-customers to make themselves seem like victims.

Another possible reason behind why they won't give her the costume could be that they got another kid to fill in and charged her for the costume too. That would be dishonest, but I wouldn't but it past some of these dolly dinkles to do something like that - especially w/ rec families who usually don't know each other well enough to figure out what they are up to (like team families would).
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