RIO RANCHO (KRQE) - A 59-year-old Rio Rancho resident who admitted she overestimated her capabilities when she signed up for a martial arts gym waited months for a promised refund.
However, Regina Dandridge didn't receive her money until News 13 began asking questions.
"I just want my money," she said.
Dandridge said she wanted to try mixed martial arts to combat health problems she was experiencing, so she signed a contract March 7 to take classes at Sigala's Martial Arts and Boxing Studio in Rio Rancho.
"The first day I thought it was great," Dandridge said. "I paid them $200 cash that day right after the lesson because I was really gung ho."
The instructor, Cathleen Sigala, said she made an exception to the standard eight-month contract that day and allowed Dandridge to take classes for two months for the $200.
But Dandridge, a disabled veteran, said that after the first day, she told Sigala that mixed martial arts was going to involve too much stress on her body.
"I really physically can't do it," she said. "I said, ‘My mind says yes, but my body says no.' "
Dandridge said Sigala told her she would refund her $200, but when she returned a few days later for the money, she received only another promise.
"If you're patient, I will give you a refund," Sigala said, according to a recording of the conversation Dandridge secretly made. "I'm sorry you changed your mind. But it's a contract. I usually don't give refunds, OK, but I'm going to make an exception."
Four days later, Sigala left Dandridge a phone message saying she would be able to refund the money that day. However that never happened.
The same empty promise occurred a third time in May after Dandridge attempted to retrieve her refund, Dandridge said.
Sigala told News 13 that Dandridge didn't follow through on her contract commitment and that Sigala was simply trying to treat everyone who signed a contract fairly.
Later, News 13 spoke with Sigala's father, gym owner Tony Sigala, who refunded the money.
According to Attorney General Gary King's office, the Sigalas didn't have to refund Dandridge's money. Only if a contract involves a mortgage, uses a home as collateral or involves door-to-door sales, a consumer can get out of the contract within 72 hours, according to the attorney general's office.
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