What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

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boglegirl
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What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by boglegirl »

I have proof that I canceled a gym membership. They continued to bill me so I put a block on their access to my account.

For 2 months I've been receiving increasingly harassing emails from their billing company. (TIME IS RUNNING OUT , etc etc). They also robocall me although I think I've blocked them now. They have continued to call & email despite a request that they only contact me by US mail. I've also requested proof from them of any amount owed - they ignored that request and referred me to the gym. The gym doesn't answer emails, and they also do not pickup their USPS mail (it is returned to me as undeliverable).

I just filed a complaint with the CPFB; not sure of the benefit of that.

My concern is that the last email threatened "further action" which I assume means sent to an actual collection agency which will mean a big hit to my credit score. I don't see how I have any recourse to get this fixed. I keep sending info to the gym and their billing company which keeps getting ignored. When it goes to collections, perhaps they'll be willing to look at my mail (although I doubt it). I've looked up how to dispute it once it ends up on my credit report. Again, the ball is in the creditor's court - all they have to do is "investigate" and reply to the credit reporting agency that the debt is valid. This is so frustrating. I am at a loss as to whether there is further action I can take.

Before you ask "How much is the alleged debt?" - I have no idea! I have asked the gym and the billing company 2-3 times each and I am ignored. The collection emails I get from the billing company literally has a blank after the amount owed.
Godot
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by Godot »

Have you gone to the gym in person to contest the bill, or is the gym closed during COVID?
Estragon: I can't go on like this. | Vladimir: That's what you think. | ― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Topic Author
boglegirl
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by boglegirl »

Godot wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:57 pm Have you gone to the gym in person to contest the bill, or is the gym closed during COVID?
It is now re-opened. I was hoping to avoid an in-person confrontation, but perhaps speaking calmly but loudly (everything is in an open area so voices carry) would get results.
humblecoder
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by humblecoder »

Debt Collection FAQs | FTC Consumer Information

[link formatted by admin LadyGeek]
H-Town
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by H-Town »

boglegirl wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:04 pm
Godot wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:57 pm Have you gone to the gym in person to contest the bill, or is the gym closed during COVID?
It is now re-opened. I was hoping to avoid an in-person confrontation, but perhaps speaking calmly but loudly (everything is in an open area so voices carry) would get results.
Not all gym managers are bad. Just firmly request to cancel your account. They'll take care of that for you. 20-30 mins top.
Housedoc
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by Housedoc »

I live for in person confrontations when I have the documentation to prove I am correct.
neverpanic
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by neverpanic »

1) Letter to corporate.

2) Negative review on local social media or business pages.

3) Prepare to have to defend your credit in the future. Credit monitoring can be a hassle, but protecting yourself is worth it.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
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celia
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by celia »

boglegirl wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:51 pm Before you ask "How much is the alleged debt?" - I have no idea! I have asked the gym and the billing company 2-3 times each and I am ignored. The collection emails I get from the billing company literally has a blank after the amount owed.
This looks to me like you've been canceled. Now it's a matter of getting off their mailing list. When you get an email, is there a link to "unsubscribe"?

Since the gym had likely been closed and staff was furloughed, don't take this personally. Many others are probably in the same boat.

And hold onto your cancellation proof for at least a year.
revheck
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by revheck »

Google ""Fair Credit Reporting Act" and "dispute letter" for examples, but generally just send them a short letter certified, return receipt, disputing the debt with a copy of your cancellation documentation. Request they validate the debt, which you dispute. Also, tell them that all phone calls are inconvenient and they should communicate by written letter only.

If they do not validate the debt within 30 days, they must cease all collection activity. If they don't, you can sue them under the FCRA. Also, if they continue to Robocall you after you have told them that all phone calls are inconvenient, you can sue them. They will probably stop once they know you understand your rights, but there are many examples on the internet where people have taken creditors who violate the FCRA to small claims court and won.
TheGraduate
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by TheGraduate »

Lol, total gym move.
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LilyFleur
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by LilyFleur »

This is exactly why I pay my gym membership with a credit card, and I also do this for my internet bill and cellphone bill. I will spend an hour trying to work things out (and document everything) and then dispute the charges. I have never lost, but I don't do it often.

Life is too short to spend fighting with a large corporation.
tivattom
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by tivattom »

I usually file a complaint with my states Attorney Generals office. They should have an online form where you can make your complaint and say what you want them to do.

All business really do NOT like to get a letter from the Attorney General. They always bend over backwards to fix the issue once contacted.

I had a dispute with Square Trade over their not covering an item I had purchased a warranty on (in bad faith). I told them I would contact the Attorney Generals office and they told me to "do what you have to do." So I filed my complaint online and uploaded documentation supporting my claim. A few weeks later I was called by a Square Trade manager and they asked where I wanted the check sent, apologized, and I had the check in 2 days.
makingmistakes
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by makingmistakes »

boglegirl wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:51 pm
My concern is that the last email threatened "further action" which I assume means sent to an actual collection agency which will mean a big hit to my credit score.
This reminds me that one benefit a paid off house and paying cash for cars — no worries about a credit score. If I know I’m in the right and owe no money, no way am I wasting time trying to convince them.
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Stinky
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by Stinky »

boglegirl wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:04 pm
Godot wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:57 pm Have you gone to the gym in person to contest the bill, or is the gym closed during COVID?
It is now re-opened. I was hoping to avoid an in-person confrontation, but perhaps speaking calmly but loudly (everything is in an open area so voices carry) would get results.
Go to the gym. Talk to the person at the desk. If he/she can’t resolve it, ask for the manager. Escalate from there as needed.

Don’t take no for an answer. Be polite, but firm.

Sometimes an in-person discussion is necessary. This seems to be one of those times.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt
exigent
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by exigent »

So thankful to have a home gym. My basement has never sent me a bill or threatening letter, and it never makes robocalls. :happy
toofache32
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by toofache32 »

Sounds like Gold's Gym that did this to me about 20 years ago.
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

This is why I use a credit card to pay for anything more expensive than a burrito. Always prefer to have a mega-cap corporation between me and a dodgy retailer.
lakpr
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by lakpr »

I second the recommendation to file complaint with the State Attorney General office, and also suggest filing a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. CFPB complaints, it seems to me, have a much quicker response times.
Tom_T
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by Tom_T »

Somewhere along the way, gyms decided that their business model would be (1) make it easy for you to sign up, and (2) make it really, really hard for you to cancel. "Send us a letter by registered mail" -- sound familiar? I don't recall sending anything else by registered mail unless it was something I wanted to track -- not for IRA transfers or mortgages or car loans or my lawyer or any other important transaction. Only the gym!

My wife and I canceled memberships this summer, but I guess the gyms were being more lenient since they were closed for COVID, so it wasn't an issue. One gym actually let me cancel simply by e-mailing them. One of these gyms has a long history in my state of "consumer complaints."

We're done with gyms. My wife and I are runners, and I do exercises at home which are either body-weight or use resistance bands or dumbbells, so that is enough for me.
musicmom
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by musicmom »

I sent certified cancellation letter as required by gym to their specified home office last month. Credit card was billed this month again.
Called the gym. Manager tells me "oh the mail is backing up at office due to covid".
I emailed him copy of the certified letter.
Within an hour, he emailed me confirmation of cancellation and refund to my credit card.
Cant wait to see if a new monthly charge appears in December.
NAD83
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by NAD83 »

TheGraduate wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:25 pm Lol, total gym move.
This. This is how most gyms operate these days.
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NewMoneyMustBeSmart
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by NewMoneyMustBeSmart »

boglegirl wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:51 pm I have proof that I canceled a gym membership. They continued to bill me so I put a block on their access to my account.
Here's what I would do:

1. I'd photocopy evidence it was properly cancelled.
2. I'd write a letter saying it's cancelled and ask them to confirm.
3. I'd scan #1,#2
4. I'd mail it certified to both their listed address and their "RESIDENT AGENT." you can find this at your state's registered corporations
5. If anyone calls I'd ask them to hold and record the call (I live in a 1 party state) re: this debt I'd ask for their full name, location, employer, address, phone number, then after I got it I would say "Thank you for this information, I am intsructing you under the fair credit reporting act that you are REQUIRED to stop calling me and any further contact via telephone will be dealt with to the degree allowed by law" and then I would hang up

And I wouldn't do anything else unless they sue me. I certainly wouldn't go to their gym to talk for 30 minutes about something like this.

If they file bad credit info I'd dispute with info above. Then I'd move on and not worry about it any more.
-- | Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts - Einstein
lakpr
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by lakpr »

NewMoneyMustBeSmart wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:01 pm 5. If anyone calls I'd ask them to hold and record the call (I live in a 1 party state) re: this debt I'd ask for their full name, location, employer, address, phone number, then after I got it I would say "Thank you for this information, I am intsructing you under the fair credit reporting act that you are REQUIRED to stop calling me and any further contact via telephone will be dealt with to the degree allowed by law" and then I would hang up

And I wouldn't do anything else unless they sue me. I certainly wouldn't go to their gym to talk for 30 minutes about something like this.

If they file bad credit info I'd dispute with info above. Then I'd move on and not worry about it any more.
Wouldn't that be the FDCPA, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act? I don't recall FCRA having provisions to demand cessation of contact by phone, but do remember FDCPA having such provisions.
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NewMoneyMustBeSmart
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by NewMoneyMustBeSmart »

lakpr wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:32 pm
NewMoneyMustBeSmart wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:01 pm 5. If anyone calls I'd ask them to hold and record the call (I live in a 1 party state) re: this debt I'd ask for their full name, location, employer, address, phone number, then after I got it I would say "Thank you for this information, I am intsructing you under the fair credit reporting act that you are REQUIRED to stop calling me and any further contact via telephone will be dealt with to the degree allowed by law" and then I would hang up

And I wouldn't do anything else unless they sue me. I certainly wouldn't go to their gym to talk for 30 minutes about something like this.

If they file bad credit info I'd dispute with info above. Then I'd move on and not worry about it any more.
Wouldn't that be the FDCPA, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act? I don't recall FCRA having provisions to demand cessation of contact by phone, but do remember FDCPA having such provisions.
You're probably right. (I checked, you are of course correct!!) I don't care :-) I'd say it anyway. They've been notified. I'd also spell it properly when I said it.
-- | Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts - Einstein
Topic Author
boglegirl
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by boglegirl »

Thanks for all the replies. I'm considering all the advice received. And I laughed out loud at this one:
Housedoc wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:24 pm I live for in person confrontations when I have the documentation to prove I am correct.
So far the only additional action I've taken, based on the FTC link provided by LadyGeek, is filing a complaint online with the AG's office. It took 5 minutes - I did it mostly for grins, because if the gym isn't accepting mail, I don't know how they'll even find out about the complaint! :annoyed

I suppose I'll head to the gym in person at some point.
Topic Author
boglegirl
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by boglegirl »

I wanted to give an update - looks like this is resolved!

The billing company responded to my CPFB complaint saying "Effective November 19, 2020, Ms. Boglegirl’s account has been cancelled with nothing further due."
nydoc
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Re: What recourse do I have when a gym bills me after cancellation?

Post by nydoc »

That’s what they said - Ms Boglegirl?
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