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HELP! Florida flight school has taken my money

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HELP! Florida flight school has taken my money

Old 27th May 2017, 15:57
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HELP! Florida flight school has taken my money

I had recently decided to take the big step in moving to Florida to pursue my dream and start my professional pilot training. After 2 months at the flight school I made the decision to no longer continue my training with the school.

My woes began once I chose to leave and request that the remaining moneys in my student account be returned to me. At this point the school refused to honour my training contract and return the funds.

I am looking for an inexpensive way to take legal action against the flight school to force them to refund the balance in my student account.

The contract was specific in that the student could withdraw for any reason, & that unspent funds would be refunded.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 28th May 2017, 18:07
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Well, I hate to say it, but if you think you've gone as far as you can by talking to them, then the next step is to get an attorney.
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Old 28th May 2017, 19:16
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Unlucky

Sorry to hear that. Flight schools never change, the thieving bastards.
I also trained in florida years ago, and got stung with my ppl. Was charged for hours I didn't do. And the money in my account dried up far too quickly. After disputing, I only received credit and no physical cash forcing me to stay.
Lesson learned. Always owe flight schools money, never the other way round.

I hope legal action works, and you don't get shafted again. Good luck.
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Old 28th May 2017, 19:25
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Where in Florida, and how much money are you talking about?
There are several ways to deal with it. Talk to the Attorney General's office, have an attorney sue them, show up for a man-to-man talk with the owner and ask: Where is my F.... Money? (Contract in hand of course.)

Take one of the airplanes, fly it to a different town and call the school, offer to return the plane for your money.

Moral of the story, Don't ever pay in advance for nothing in this country. Ya have to fight like a lion to get your money back, 50/50 chance of survival.

Last edited by TowerDog; 28th May 2017 at 21:11.
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Old 28th May 2017, 20:00
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Was this school in south west Florida?
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Old 28th May 2017, 21:10
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I'm sorry to say you're not the first and you will not be the last.
I wish I had better news but there is no such thing as "inexpensive" legal action in the USA.
You can start by having an attorney draw up a letter which will no doubt be ignored.
What this school is gambling on that you will not want to spend $15,000+ in legal fees to get $20,000 returned.
What is the stipulation in the contract the school is using?
Did you not show up for class? Cancelled lessons? Fail a check ride? Anything else to disqualify you from a refund?
Those are BS reasons to keep your money but the school will use that contract against you.

Take one of the airplanes, fly it to a different town and call the school, offer to return the plane for you money
Unless you have a lien on the airplane that is grand theft which is a felony and after your jail time you will be deported.
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Old 28th May 2017, 22:29
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Originally Posted by tikiwispers
I had recently decided to take the big step in moving to Florida to pursue my dream and start my professional pilot training. After 2 months at the flight school I made the decision to no longer continue my training with the school.

Can you elaborate on why you made that decision? I have a sense it's relevant.
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Old 29th May 2017, 00:28
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. Unless you have a lien on the airplane that is grand theft which is a felony and after your jail time you will be deported.
Not refunding the training money as per the contract is grand theft also.
When deling with scumbags, use their methods.
(Nah, not my first choice, but if somebody took my dough, I would pull all the plugs and let them have it)
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Old 29th May 2017, 01:24
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Originally Posted by TowerDog
Not refunding the training money as per the contract is grand theft also.
Well, no, it's not. legally, it's a breach of contract, which makes it a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Doesn't make it right, or make it more acceptable in any way, and in fact puts the guy at more of a disadvantage, unfortunately. But it ain't theft. Stealing an airplane, however, is theft, even if you're holding it hostage for money you're owed.

Originally Posted by TowerDog
When deling with scumbags, use their methods.
Well, if you go down that road, you better do that with a very clear understanding of the legality of what you're doing, the potential consequences, and with a really good plan in place for avoiding those consequences. I don't see any of that in evidence here. Signing out an airplane and refusing to bring it back would be a galacticly stupid move. Not only is is going to be easily provable who stole the airplane, but stealing an airplane is a federal offense, and one which is almost certain to attract a lot of unwanted federal attention in the post 9/11 era.
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Old 29th May 2017, 01:32
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Oops, sorry: Can't get the plane started. I will try harder after I get my money back. Damn.
You guys have no fantasy and no will to self help.
What the hell is the guy going to do: Bend over and get raped up the tush because there is a legality somewhere about a criminal matter as opposed to a civil matter?
If I am out $50k, I will rent one of the $50k planes and agree on a swap.
YMMV.
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Old 29th May 2017, 01:40
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Uh-huh, and they call the cops and the cops arrest you, because you've stolen thier airplane. and they will, because you have provably committed a crime. On the other hand, the cops will *not* come and arrest the school owner because he won't give the OP his money back, because that's a civil matter. That's the difference between civil and criminal, and it ain't trivial. Doesn't matter how bad-ass you imagine yourself to be, if you steal a plane, the airplane owner has the cops on his side. The sooner you can wrap your mind around that, the sooner you can you can stop giving bad advice on the internet.

Last edited by A Squared; 29th May 2017 at 01:54.
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Old 29th May 2017, 02:56
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Originally Posted by A Squared
Uh-huh, and they call the cops and the cops arrest you, because you've stolen thier airplane. and they will, because you have provably committed a crime. On the other hand, the cops will *not* come and arrest the school owner because he won't give the OP his money back, because that's a civil matter. That's the difference between civil and criminal, and it ain't trivial. Doesn't matter how bad-ass you imagine yourself to be, if you steal a plane, the airplane owner has the cops on his side. The sooner you can wrap your mind around that, the sooner you can you can stop giving bad advice on the internet.
^^^^^^^^^ This ^^^^^^^^^^ What is the name of the school?
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Old 29th May 2017, 03:09
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Originally Posted by A Squared
Uh-huh, and they call the cops and the cops arrest you, because you've stolen thier airplane. and they will, because you have provably committed a crime. On the other hand, the cops will *not* come and arrest the school owner because he won't give the OP his money back, because that's a civil matter. That's the difference between civil and criminal, and it ain't trivial. Doesn't matter how bad-ass you imagine yourself to be, if you steal a plane, the airplane owner has the cops on his side. The sooner you can wrap your mind around that, the sooner you can you can stop giving bad advice on the internet.
Thanks for the advise mum.
Not trying to come across as bad-ass, but I have sure helped myself in the past.
Not going to splatter my resume on the internet, nor do I give legal advice, try to wrap you mind around that.
See above: My first choice would be to seek legal assistance.
At any rate, do whatever you want, not sure I asked your opinion anyway.

Last edited by TowerDog; 29th May 2017 at 03:29.
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Old 29th May 2017, 04:44
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Hey billy bad @ss, have you considered you okay exactly into the schools' hand by committing a felony?
They now have your money for sure as you're counting ceiling tiles.

I wonder what the true story is.
Being 'Murica, get the local news involved. Pretty much every local TV station has a "given the runaround, call us" reporter.
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Old 29th May 2017, 05:09
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. Hey billy bad @ss, have you considered you okay exactly into the schools' hand by committing a felony?
They now have your money for sure as you're counting ceiling tiles.
Again, if case some are dense around here: I am not trying to project a "bad-ass" profile, just pointing out that if somebody is sitting on your money and refuse to return them, if the legal system cannot help, there may be other ways to "negotiate".
You guys can roll over as much as you want, but I take that kind of behavior personally and get grumpy, probably more so now that I am 60 years old and not as patient as when I was 21 and in flight school.

As far as taking an airplane and holding it hostage, not my idea: I happened back in the late 70s or early 80s when I was in flight school: Some school in Florida declared chapter 11 or some such thing and told all the students their money was gone. One took a Cessna to a different airport and called the owner.
Don't remember every detail, but I have have the name of the school, not posting it, PM if interested.

Still have not heard back from OP, would be interesting to hear more, which school, why did you change your mind, how much money? Etc.
Some schools are more scam and sleazy than others: To other students reading this: Do not pay for the whole program in one lump sum ahead of the training.
Pay as you go, month by month perhaps. Have a separate bank account with the majority of your money, don't let the school draw from the account, you cut them a check, or pay with Credit Card, Not Debit Card.
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Old 29th May 2017, 12:37
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Originally Posted by TowerDog
Where in Florida, and how much money are you talking about?
There are several ways to deal with it. Talk to the Attorney General's office, have an attorney sue them, show up for a man-to-man talk with the owner and ask: Where is my F.... Money? (Contract in hand of course.)

Take one of the airplanes, fly it to a different town and call the school, offer to return the plane for your money.

Moral of the story, Don't ever pay in advance for nothing in this country. Ya have to fight like a lion to get your money back, 50/50 chance of survival.
Flight school is located in St Lucie County and I have $5,300 owing in my account.
I'll make a start by speaking with to the Attorney General's office.
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Old 29th May 2017, 12:49
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Thanks for everyones comments so far. Here are a few answers...

Was this school in south west Florida?
St Lucie County…

What is the stipulation in the contract the school is using?
I’ve done some reading into the legal system in Florida and it seems that I may be able to pursue the case through the small claims court. Only starting to get advice on what will be the best way forward this week.

Here are the terms as stated in my contract:

Termination of Contract
Termination by the Student:
The student may withdraw from the training programme at any time for any reason provided he notifies [school] in writing.
Refund Policy
Any unspent funds will be refunded 30 days following your departure to the card used to pay your deposit. Your deposit will be held until 30 working days following your departure in case of any additional fees from the bookstore or damage to housing or equipment.
The schools response to this was this: “your contract is generic and refers so all other courses NOT the program you are on”
Did you not show up for class? Cancelled lessons? Fail a check ride? Anything else to disqualify you from a refund?
I chose to disenroll.

Can you elaborate on why you made that decision? I have a sense it's relevant
I chose to disenrolled after spending 7 weeks at the school and having only flown 20 hours. My decision was also influenced by other students problems that where being handled terribly, additional charges being put on my account and being charged more per log book hour than advertised. This all added up to me loosing trust in the school.

To other students reading this: Do not pay for the whole program in one lump sum ahead of the training.
Pay as you go, month by month perhaps. Have a separate bank account with the majority of your money, don't let the school draw from the account, you cut them a check, or pay with Credit Card, Not Debit Card.
This is all good advice. Advice I had heard before enrolling with this flight school. In the end, I thought I’d be safe having a legal contract state my "rights" should I not choose to continue.
A good lesson for all other potential flight students out there, the contact won’t magically make everything okay if the school chooses do do the wrong thing by you.
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Old 29th May 2017, 18:28
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happened back in the late 70s or early 80s when I was in flight school
In 2017, holding an aircraft for ransom is a quick way to end up in jail.
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Old 29th May 2017, 18:57
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Originally Posted by peekay4
In 2017, holding an aircraft for ransom is a quick way to end up in jail.
Yes it is. The correct way is to get a lien on one or more of their aircraft if money is owned. Tower Dog is suggesting that the OP commit a felony under Florida statutes. Maybe that is how it was done in the "old country" (UK) back in the day.
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Old 29th May 2017, 19:23
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Originally Posted by HEMS driver
Yes it is. The correct way is to get a lien on one or more of their aircraft if money is owned. Tower Dog is suggesting that the OP commit a felony under Florida statutes. Maybe that is how it was done in the "old country" (UK) back in the day.
No idea how it was done it the U.K. Back in the day, not from there.

To get a lien you first have to get a judgment.
If the airplanes are leased or mortgaged, you may be out of luck.

If dealing with scumbags I would be less inclined to follow the law to the letter:

I have been renting dock space to sailboats for a long time.
If a tenant does not want to pay, you can't just cut him loose or have him towed.
Let the bill run up, then file a Lien with the Sherff, then have a diver take the prop of the boat so he can't skip out of town in the middle of night, either way, pain in the butt.
One guy at my dock decided he was not going to pay rent anymore.
Called him up and explained I would be taking parts of his brand new Diesel engine and sell them on eBay every month to cover the rent: 4 injectors are a month's rent, the injector pump should cover 2 months, etc.
Next day there was an express letter in the mail with dock rent.
Had no problems after that.
(No idea about the legality of my method, what is the scumbag going to do, sue me?. Go right ahead)

Also been renting out apartments and condos, never had a problem getting my rent checks, guess all the tenants though put it was a good idea to pay on time, but have heard horror stories about other landlords being screwed left and right.
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