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and part 5.
Every day we hear from more and more turtle riders about their experiences at Revive Dance Xchange and their interactions with Candy Dennis. We could probably write a new blog every day but we have to stop at some point because…..well, you get the point by now. So before tomorrow’s grand finale showing Candy’s exclusive interview with Turtleboy Sports, let’s talk about some shady and unprofessional business practices that some former clients, instructors, and students are alleging….
Excessive and questionable “fees” seems to be a popular theme amongst many who have contacted us:
Here’s some more testimonials:
“So she charges customers an extra $5 if they use their debit card for payments. If they call and try to make a phone payment she charges an extra $15!! So if your tuition is $45 a month it would be $50 if you paid by debit in person or $60 over the phone!!”
Fees are always so mysterious. You pay them because you don’t have a choice, and the people charging you fees usually have no explanation as to where the money is going. But a $15 fee on a $45 payment is 33%. Banks don’t even charge that.
In the contract the customer signs it clearly states that the tuition is based on a 39 week season broken in to 10 monthly payments. Out of the blue this season she combined the last 2 months (May & June) and if you didn’t pay them together you were charged a late fee (even though June’s wasn’t technically late) and threatened to send people to collections if it wasn’t paid. Even though that clearly violates the terms of her own contract!! And she claimed her lawyer told her to do that and it was completely legal.
A bunch of parents confirmed this for us, which was a breaking point for some of them. Why would Candy Dennis all of a sudden need two months payment at once? Unless of course she desperately needed cash. And threatening to sick your lawyer on customers if they don’t pay their bill a month early seems like an interesting business move on her part.
For competitions, we were all told that there was a $65 competition fee, plus a competition $25 registration fee. Recently, while searching for another studio, we found out that there is no such thing as a “registration fee”, and that competition fees are usually not more than $50. So all of the extra money went right into Candy‘s pocket.
Was this true? Is there really no such thing as a registration fee for the dance studio? We spoke with another dance studio owner who told us that although upcharging for costumes is standard, the “registration fees” are not, and that the fundraising she’s been doing should have oversight:
There were numerous emails and messages we received from people who claim to have had their credit cards charged without permission as well:
“Candy will charge credit cards without permission. There was a Facebook discussion recently that was started by a mother who had pulled her daughter from the studio 3 months prior, and discovered that her credit card was still being charged. When the bank looked into it, it was found that Revive is billing as a medical office. Other parents report charges being made without permission. Luckily, I’m not that trusting, and when I learned that they required a credit card on file and saw that credit card information was kept on papers at the front desk, I did not provide my real card information.”
We saw more of this in the comments under other blogs:
He said this happened a couple years ago so he gave up trying to pursue it.
As for the allegations made yesterday by a former employee that Candy resells donated clothes, this did not go over well with a turtle rider who has previously donated clothing:
Kicking people out for bad reviews or “going behind my back”
Curious about the mysterious “registration fees” a mother contacted the competition company that RDX uses, and when Candy found out she accused the client of “going behind my back” (also known as the free market) and condemned her for her “behavior” at a previous convention:
Wait….so she’s charging a service registration fee of $20 that covers the office time spent filing for the competition? How long does it take to fill out a form? Her “employees” who are not work-study are getting paid a flat rate anyway. It’s their job to do this. It’s patently absurd that there would be a $20 fee for this. But what choice do the clients have? They’ve already invested all this money into lessons and they obviously don’t want to miss the recital. They could leave, but then they’d just be upsetting their kids. They have little choice but to pay.
Candy said this client “overstepped your boundaries” by inquiring about registration fees and claimed no one had ever done this before in her 15 years of business. She also said bragged about how much she helps her “dance family” as well as her overall transparency:
But as we’ve seen with the scholarships, the GoFundMe, and the checks made out to her instead of the business, RDX is anything but transparent.
Candy ended up kicking this woman’s child out for basically shopping around for a better deal, because Candy could only have “positive energy at the studio with my current health concerns.”
So she not only kicked this parent out for looking into her shady business practices which were costing the client money, she then hid behind her imaginary disease that Candy was actively soliciting donations for with a GFM.
For the record the parent on the receiving end of these emails was not behaving poorly, as has been confirmed by the other dance studio.
When one parent was told that her daughter could not perform in the recital unless she paid June’s payment a month early, she did what any normal customer would do – left a bad review. This didn’t go well for the customer:
At the end of April, all the parents were informed that May and June payments needed to be made in May. When u sign up, it states that tuition is paid in 10 monthly installments. Candy told us that if we don’t make both payments at once, she’d charge our credit cards and include a late fee. I contested this, as I had already paid the studio over $400 that month in comp fees, costume, and a $200 recital package. I was told that if I didn’t pay May and June together, my daughter wouldn’t be allowed to dance in the recital. Me being me, I paid, but went onto the Facebook page and left a one star review, explaining my upset. Immediately after, I received a Facebook message from Candy, which I will attach to this message. She blocked me afterwards, which I later found out was a common theme with her, as she often talks about her clients on her personal Facebook page.
The badmouthing of clients is something we will touch on later. But here is the message Candy sent after the negative review, which was completely legitimate and well within the rights of the customer:
“My lively good.”
“My lively good.”
This is so unprofessional it’s mind boggling. If you own a business then you have to accept the fact that you will get negative reviews sometimes form customers. If you get one then try to improve your business and address their complaints. Messaging them and telling them to take it down crosses so many lines. No one cares if you “put a lot of time” into the studio. The woman had a legitimate complaint. Deal with it. She’s not your friend, she’s a customer. If you can’t handle negative reviews then don’t own a business.
Once this same customer left a negative Yelp review Candy emailed her and threatened her with her lawyer Jonathan Hurley, who recently got off a one year suspension:
“All the reviews and slander of my character is concerns of bullying.”
Proof that you don’t really need to work hard in school to make a living in this country.
This was great too:
“My lawyer Jonathan Hurley has been notified and he informed me that what you are doing is slander and is illegal for the claims are false and can be proven.”
I love when they basically make it known that they didn’t actually speak to a lawyer. Because, 1) a lawyer certainly would not tell you to keep emailing the person you’re suing, 2) even an Internet lawyer knows the difference between libel and slander, and 3) posting legitimate reviews about your experience with a business cannot be false.
After this negative review from the client in late June Candy reached out to her “dance community” seeking 5 star reviews. All of a sudden, she had about 50 five star reviews. Upon looking into it, it was found that all of them were from people out of state. When she was called out on this, she removed review capabilities from the studio Facebook page.
RDX also holds mandatory extra practices that clients have to pay out of pocket for (they really have no choice) on top of the tuition they already paid:
See, that would annoy me as a consumer. We paid you to teach our kids how to dance for a recital at the end of the year. It’s on you to make sure they are ready at that point. If you need extra time, that’s your fault. Why should the customer have to pay extra because you as the instructor failed to get the job done in time?
But even more alarming is the pattern of erratic, vindictive, and unprofessional behavior.
Several parents have told us about the unprofessional way they say she treats children under her care. One claims her child was hit by Candy Dennis (who she says later profusely apologize):
“She hit my child at competition one year. This man’s daughter (other man in conversation with us) witnessed it backstage after competition.”
One parent claims Candy made her kid do pushups with a broken hand:
A former student reached out to us and told us about how she was treated when she had an injury
Cortisone shots? Tough it out? Is this a dance studio or Varsity Blues?
This same former student tell us she was promised a job she never received as well:
One employee claims they were fired because Candy’s psychic told her to fire the employee:
I was fired…from what I hear…because a) she phoned a psychic and the psychic told her to, b) I was too friendly with the clientele and was bad mouthing her and c) I stole $1k from her. I was told it was b.
And from Candy’s own Facebook page, she clearly has factored in mediums as part of her business plan:
“Soon all the negative energy will be gone.”
Yea, maybe instead of firing your employee you should’ve fired the shrink. Because that forecast clearly did not turn out as planned.
One former employee tells us that her behavior at work was troubling:
“She started to swallow a bottle of pills a few weeks ago and called the suicide hotline. And then went to the beach the next day.”
She’s also told people that if she kills herself that they will be sued and possibly receive jail sentences:
She’s recently been threatening suicide and saying that her lawyer claims if she goes through with it the clients who started this investigation will do jail time.
This all goes back to that stupid Michelle Carter ruling. I’m sure it felt good to watch that soulless young woman receive a guilty verdict for talking her friend into suicide, but this is the door it has opened up. Now people like Candy Dennis are using suicide as a threat to hurt other people who are mean to them.
One parent whose daughter was a “work study employee” (they work, are not processed in payroll, and don’t receive a check because they get a tuition discount instead) was fired a week after we contacted and interviewed Candy Dennis. Why? Because Candy determined that her father was the one who was feeding us information (he wasn’t one of the parents until after Candy fired his daughter):
“My daughter just got let go from the studio today. Was told she was no longer welcome there because she was so close to all that was going on i.e. the negative reviews. She was trying to insinuate that I was posting them. Up until this point today I haven’t said anything to anyone. She also told her that the reasoning behind her being let go came from her attorney who is supposedly now involved because of the negative reviews she’s gotten lately.”
For a woman who can’t afford to buy medicine for her imaginary disease she sure does have a lot of money lying around for legal fees.
So we reached out to the man’s daughter and here’s what she told us:
“Just recently she let me go from teaching at her studio after 5 years of teaching and being 100 % loyal to her because she thinks my dad was the one who contacted you initially and thinks he wrote all the bad reviews. Which was not true. I was told by her “lawyer” she was instructed to remove me from the studio as soon as possible. While proceeding to tell me that my dad could go to jail for all of this (when he did not say a word yet) and while she also knew that my mom had passed away a few years prior. She also told me my dad would go to jail if she killed herself.”
Yup, that’s normal. Telling a former employee that her Dad will be responsible if Candy kills herself. Keep in mind, Candy knew this employee’s mother had passed away. It’s reprehensible that a mother of two would threaten suicide to a person who has already lost their mother.
Badmouthing clients and employees in front of other clients and employees
This same former employee not only told us the same story about the psychic making the final call on personnel decisions, she also claims Candy told other clients that she was fired for badmouthing her and stealing:
She told me I was fired for bad mouthing her. She told clients as recently as 2 weeks ago I was fired for stealing and another staff member that her phone psychic told her to fire me.
But possibly the most disturbing thing we’ve from all of this was a text message Candy Dennis sent her daughter’s friend (a child) after the child’s mother withdrew her from RDX (look what time she sent this message):
Imagine how sick you have to be to message a little girl and tell her that she can no longer be friends with your daughter? And all because you’re mad at her Mommy over a legitimate business concern. What kind of person does something like that to a child? And she sent it to her at 2:32 AM!!! Perfectly normal.
Here’s what another former employee tells us:
The parent who she kicked out in January was concerned that Candy had apparently been badmouthing her to other parents. However, in an email from Candy she explains to this former customer that her lawyer told her it was OK to do this because the parents she spoke to “would be deeply affected by your departure.”
Yea, that’s what lawyers do. They encourage you to gossip, so long as the people you’re gossiping to are “deeply affected.”
Another parent tells us that Candy has told other clients that people who left the studio were essentially deadbeats who wrote bad checks:
According to many people we spoke with, the person she badmouths the most in front of clients and employees is her husband Ben Dennis. Remember that she uses his Yelp account to defend her own business, and Ben was allegedly the one who started and shared the GoFundMe.
He also took his wife’s last name. His maiden name is Babaian. I know lots of women who keep their maiden name, and there are plenty of good reasons for doing so. But the guy taking the woman’s last name just screams “beta male.” It also screams, “My wife is in charge, and I’m a complete pushover.” Which would explain a lot, including how some people tell us she treats him publicly:
One described him as “scared of his own shadow and would do anything on command from Candy.”
Double booking and canceling lessons
We’ve already seen this review from a former adult customer alleging “mix ups” with scheduling:
Notice how this client says they were kicked out of their scheduled classroom and sent to an overcrowded one because Candy double booked a wedding couple taking ballroom dancing lessons. Maybe that was this turtle rider:
Multiple people, including her own family members who have asked not to be identified, have told us that how she’d post about “almost” having a miscarriage, after having previous miscarriages:
Her family member also tells us that the handicapped placard she uses is expired, and that she got it when she was pregnant 10 years ago:
For what it’s worth they also tell us that she’s on Mass Health, and that her “health problems” would all be covered.
This same family member also claims that Candy was emotionally “abusive” towards her niece, and that kids at the studio walked around on eggshells because they feared her.
Candy also has a new business partner, a professional dancer named Mark Nocera, who clearly has no idea what he’s getting himself into. And despite the fact that he speaks perfect English, he allegedly left this positive Google review, which sounds a lot like someone trying to pretend to be someone who is struggling with the language:
Lastly, from we took a look at www.salemdeeds.com, and found out that she and “Robert B. Babaian” (her husband Ben Dennis) bought their $265,000 Danvers condominium home in 2007. They bought that condo with a $235,000 mortgage that BANK OF AMERICA foreclosed in 2012 for $230,000. So two grown adults couldn’t keep up with a pretty cheap mortgage.
We also learned that Robert L. Dennis (presumably her father) sold her the 12 Becker Circle house for $200,000, even though it’s worth more than double that ($435,069 according to Zillow). This was a great deal for Candy as Robert L. Dennis financed 100% of the purchase price for the property with an interest free mortgage for 20 years and 10 months. Therefore, she’s living there for $800/month, plus taxes and insurance. This was likely her only option as Candy couldn’t get a mortgage because of the foreclosure of her previous condo. But living in a house worth that much and paying only that little is a gift. Yet she still can’t afford money for her “disease” and has been ripping off clients left and right with fees while traveling the country, going to expensive shows, and eating out at expensive restaurants.
What a rabbit hole this has turned into. As usual, our inbox is open for Candy Dennis to respond to any of these allegations. See you for the season finale tomorrow.