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Milwaukee Bartending Academy defends itself amid complaints

Posted at 3:55 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-28 19:12:19-05

The owner of a Milwaukee area bartending class is defending his company amid complaints filed against it. 

Some customers claim they paid for the course but the instructor never showed, while others complained they never received refunds they requested. 

The BBB received six complaints against the Milwaukee Bartending Academy on West National Avenue in West Allis over the past three years. 

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has received three complaints, two of them were filed in 2018. 

State records show this past October a single mother looking for a part-time job says she invested “$299” “seeking employment as a bartender.” In the complaint, she said she showed up for the first class, but the “...doors were locked and no signs of an instructor anywhere...” She’s demanding a refund.

Another complaint filed with the BBB reads “the instructor never showed” while another said, “I never received a refund.”

“Of the complaints that we have, the business owner has responded to all of them except the most recent one and all of the complaints we have do deal with some sort of refund policy,” said James Temmer with the BBB. 

The owner of the Milwaukee Bartending Academy, Tobias Chase, declined an on-camera interview. Instead, he provided the following statement.

“I've done some research on the issues you brought to my attention we did have two complaints in 2018 from DATCP they were both closed and there we're not any in 2017 I talked to Jessica Martin at the Better Business Bureau and she is my representative she says nothing has come across her desk and that there are no open complaints she is looking into it further and going to get back to me I will be looking further into the matter though as I said we run a reputable business and have been for years as I told you we did have some scheduling issues which is unfortunate but in the last 14 or 15 years that we've been around I can count on one hand how many times that's happened we do our best to keep our customers happy and schedule classes accordingly as I told you during our conversation I did have some health issues and wind up in the hospital and then had to rush out of town to take care of some family affairs during that time I was in the mountains with limited cell phone service so I did the best I could to communicate with students from afar I don't believe we have any refunds that we're not processed in the timeline the contract allows but I'm going to check on that as well if the consumers you've been in touch with feel that's the case please have them contact me directly I have been dealing with a past instructor that was removed from our building for teaching classes on the side without my knowledge and monetary issues he was ultimately led away from the building by police he is attempting to open up his own School therefore has been trying to sabotage this company he told me flat out that he was going to contact past students to create problems for this company so I'm not sure if this is part of this issue the Bartending Academy of Milwaukee would like to offer sincere apologies to any students who were inconvenienced we've trained 6,000 Plus students over the years so with dealing with that many personalities there are going to be issues that arise however I feel like with the amount of customers we've had over the years we've had less than 10 official complaints and to my knowledge they've all been satisfied the Bartending Academy does offer job placement assistance to our students typically they need to contact the school each week if they are searching for a job and we provide them with job leads we have a good great job placement rate like I said there's around 2500 bars in Milwaukee where number two in the u.s. for bars per capita if somebody wants a bartending job in this town it shouldn't be a problem they do need to go on their job interviews though ultimately we can give somebody as many job leads as they want but only they can get themselves a job I've been running bartending schools for 22 years and I can tell you sometimes people are Their Own Worst Enemy we tried to advise them to dress appropriately show up early sell themselves to the bar manager or owner and don't forget to ask for the job also they need to follow up on the job leads this is where I think people fall short.”

Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue has a list of bartending courses it’s approved for certification.