Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

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IMO
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by IMO » Thu May 21, 2020 10:24 pm

Stinky wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:56 am
I'm not sure how "recurring billing for gyms" is different from recurring billing for many other services that I have.

Internet, streaming services, pest control, etc. all have recurring billing, which I choose to put on a cash-back credit card. With all of those services, I must take affirmative action to cancel future charges.

Why single out gyms?
Agree.

I think in all situations, it is much easier for a business to not have to constantly billing people, late fees, excuses, etc.

Sure they can "try to hide fees, etc" but I just really don't think it's a practice with bad intent. Perhaps if they didn't have recurring billing, they would have to hire another staff do do billing and raise your monthly rates.

inbox788
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by inbox788 » Fri May 22, 2020 2:52 pm

Helo80 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 7:41 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 am
I dislike all forms of autopay.
I cannot imagine billing without autopay..... have to write out checks and/or logging on a website every month for all of my accounts....
No, the issue isn't with autopay in general. It's with signing up with companies that automatically pull money out from your bank account or charge your credit card, and make it hard or difficult stop. Gyms are infamous for that. Unfortunately Ooma has developed a similar poor reputation in this regard.

https://forums.ooma.com/viewtopic.php?t=20056

The issue is that you keep paying. You call to cancel only to reach the "retention department" and get a sales pitch. Often, promises to cancel are not processed. It's like those claim departments that pretty much automatically reject all claims for any reason, even the smallest or none that's later attributed to error.

rich126
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by rich126 » Fri May 22, 2020 3:38 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 am
I dislike all forms of autopay.
Totally agree. I do my best to avoid it but gyms give you few options. Autopay on a credit card is preferable to auto wd from my banking account. I canceled the gym when the shutdown occurred (I could cancel at any time and due to a back injury was having issues using it anyhow).

Currently I don't think anything is auto deducted from my bank account. Only some streaming stuff is auto billed to ccs. Everything else I either use bill pay or enter a cc online when the bill is due.

For me the shutdown has worked out well in terms of weight. Lost about 8 lbs due to walking and eating much smaller portions at home. Not really a big diet change or anything just nothing fried (except pickup/drive through food) and smaller portions.

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midareff
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by midareff » Fri May 22, 2020 3:47 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 am
I dislike all forms of autopay.
Amen......... even Netflix although we get a ton of hours on it. LastPass annual billing for premium, Amazon Prime, SmugMug Photosite, AAA, AARP, Malwarebytes, .. I'm sure I'm missing a few.

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galving
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by galving » Fri May 22, 2020 3:58 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 am
I dislike all forms of autopay.
Yes!
I'd rather pay once and done even though rationally I know its best to hold $$$ from a time value of money perspective.

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LilyFleur
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by LilyFleur » Sat May 23, 2020 12:03 am

tibbitts wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 10:29 am
alfaspider wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:44 am
I autopay all my bills, so gyms are just one more. On one hand, autopay can be dangerous because you can forget about all the little charges billed monthly and totally blow your budget. There is also the risk of over charge. On the other hand, manually paying bills would get extremely tedious and create the risk of a missed payment through oversight.

If you are worried about access to bank accounts, just use a credit card. Most card companies are happy to do a chargeback if you disagree with any charges. They can come after you for fees or make it difficult to cancel regardless of payment method.

The biggest thing is to use the gym! Large corporate gyms make a lot of money of folks who pay their monthly fees but don't go. Don't be one of those people who keeps paying out of guilt for not going!
I don't agree at all that card companies will readily do chargebacks when the merchant has a signed contract authorizing them to charge, as in this case. Well, yes they will do the chargeback, but in the absence of overwhelming evidence they will reverse the chargeback after "investigating."
I make any changes to my gym membership at the front counter of the gym and I walk away with a receipt for what I did. Last time I had reduced my daughter's membership from $25/month to the basal membership of $6/month, and they cancelled her membership altogether!! Fortunately, I got on it right away and got it reinstated.
A few years back, my daughter was paying for her gym membership on her debit card, and I don't know what happened to her card, but the gym charges weren't going through. They supposedly emailed her, which she never received. Then they cancelled her membership. It was a super-bargain lifetime membership of $6/month. After a couple of unsatisfactory phone calls with customer service, I got the phone number of 24-hour Fitness' VP of customer service. I called this VP about every other day for about a month, and finally she reinstated my daughter's membership. I wouldn't have tried so hard to save a $100/month gym membership.
I don't mind paying my $5/month gym membership payment on my credit card. I've had the same low rate since the early 1980s.

ScubaHogg
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by ScubaHogg » Sat May 23, 2020 7:49 am

FWIW I think LA fitness is a rip off, BUT I never had any issue with credit card billing with them. Simple. Cancelled when I cancelled.

Auto credit card billing is great, one less thing to take up your monthly brain cells dealing with.
“There is no problem so bad you can’t make it worse.” - Chris Hatfield, Astronaut mantra

stoptothink
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by stoptothink » Sat May 23, 2020 8:39 am

inbox788 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:52 pm
Helo80 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 7:41 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 am
I dislike all forms of autopay.
I cannot imagine billing without autopay..... have to write out checks and/or logging on a website every month for all of my accounts....
No, the issue isn't with autopay in general. It's with signing up with companies that automatically pull money out from your bank account or charge your credit card, and make it hard or difficult stop. Gyms are infamous for that. Unfortunately Ooma has developed a similar poor reputation in this regard.

https://forums.ooma.com/viewtopic.php?t=20056

The issue is that you keep paying. You call to cancel only to reach the "retention department" and get a sales pitch. Often, promises to cancel are not processed. It's like those claim departments that pretty much automatically reject all claims for any reason, even the smallest or none that's later attributed to error.
This. I have no issues with autopay whatsoever, but the entire commercial gym business model is to charge people for something they hopefully won't use and to make it as difficult as possible to cancel once they realize that. There are a few other industries like this, the one that immediately comes to mind is security systems.

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R2D2
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by R2D2 » Sat May 23, 2020 10:04 am

ScubaHogg wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:49 am
FWIW I think LA fitness is a rip off, BUT I never had any issue with credit card billing with them.
In what way is it a ripoff? Is it a good gym that just charges too much, or is it a bad gym with too little equipment...?

ScubaHogg
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by ScubaHogg » Sat May 23, 2020 11:23 am

R2D2 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:04 am
ScubaHogg wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:49 am
FWIW I think LA fitness is a rip off, BUT I never had any issue with credit card billing with them.
In what way is it a ripoff? Is it a good gym that just charges too much, or is it a bad gym with too little equipment...?
I thought it charged way too much. Lots of machines, few free weights, etc.
“There is no problem so bad you can’t make it worse.” - Chris Hatfield, Astronaut mantra

RomeoMustDie
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by RomeoMustDie » Sat May 23, 2020 11:29 am

R2D2 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:41 am
Once gyms reopen, I was going to join LA Fitness. They have pretty good monthly rates, except...
Recurring monthly charges must be paid by electronic funds transfer from your checking or savings account or automatic transfer from an accepted credit or debit card.
There's no way I'm letting some company have access to my checking or savings account, but even recurring billing to my credit card bothers me. I'm always concerned that they'll keep billing even after I've terminated membership, and then if I contest the charges, they'll claim that I didn't follow the exact cancellation procedure outlined in the contract. Am I being paranoid here? After all, there is some reason that they insist on recurring billing and I suspect it's a rather unsavory one.

Also, I'm not sure what "automatic transfer" from a CC is. Is that different from just charging me, and would I have fewer rights?
If you're worried about $50, I'll cover you. :beer

EnjoyIt
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sat May 23, 2020 11:39 am

R2D2 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:41 am
Once gyms reopen, I was going to join LA Fitness. They have pretty good monthly rates, except...
Recurring monthly charges must be paid by electronic funds transfer from your checking or savings account or automatic transfer from an accepted credit or debit card.
There's no way I'm letting some company have access to my checking or savings account, but even recurring billing to my credit card bothers me. I'm always concerned that they'll keep billing even after I've terminated membership, and then if I contest the charges, they'll claim that I didn't follow the exact cancellation procedure outlined in the contract. Am I being paranoid here? After all, there is some reason that they insist on recurring billing and I suspect it's a rather unsavory one.

Also, I'm not sure what "automatic transfer" from a CC is. Is that different from just charging me, and would I have fewer rights?
I used to never autopay and hated the idea because like you I did not want anyone to have access to all my bank info as well as the concern that I get over-billed. Despite, recently I have read how much easier life is for those who choose to autopay and gave it a try. I am now on the autopay plan. All of my bills are now on autopay and life is easier. I highly recommend you put it on a credit card and get some cash back for paying your gym membership.
A time to EVALUATE your jitters. | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418

highdesert
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by highdesert » Sat May 23, 2020 3:05 pm

This seems like the kind of thing that virtual card numbers were made for. Typically the virtual card's credit limit and expiration date can be changed at will, limiting your inconvenience from security breaches and bad-faith operators.

TheNightsToCome
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by TheNightsToCome » Sat May 23, 2020 3:26 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:52 pm
Helo80 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 7:41 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 am
I dislike all forms of autopay.
I cannot imagine billing without autopay..... have to write out checks and/or logging on a website every month for all of my accounts....
No, the issue isn't with autopay in general. It's with signing up with companies that automatically pull money out from your bank account or charge your credit card, and make it hard or difficult stop. Gyms are infamous for that. Unfortunately Ooma has developed a similar poor reputation in this regard.

https://forums.ooma.com/viewtopic.php?t=20056

The issue is that you keep paying. You call to cancel only to reach the "retention department" and get a sales pitch. Often, promises to cancel are not processed. It's like those claim departments that pretty much automatically reject all claims for any reason, even the smallest or none that's later attributed to error.
+1

cherijoh
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by cherijoh » Sun May 24, 2020 12:41 pm

R2D2 wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:41 am
Once gyms reopen, I was going to join LA Fitness. They have pretty good monthly rates, except...
Recurring monthly charges must be paid by electronic funds transfer from your checking or savings account or automatic transfer from an accepted credit or debit card.
There's no way I'm letting some company have access to my checking or savings account, but even recurring billing to my credit card bothers me. I'm always concerned that they'll keep billing even after I've terminated membership, and then if I contest the charges, they'll claim that I didn't follow the exact cancellation procedure outlined in the contract. Am I being paranoid here? After all, there is some reason that they insist on recurring billing and I suspect it's a rather unsavory one.

Also, I'm not sure what "automatic transfer" from a CC is. Is that different from just charging me, and would I have fewer rights?
Yes I think you are being paranoid. I have had a membership to LA Fitness for 4 or 5 years and it has been on autopayment to a credit card the whole time. (Currently with the gyms being closed they are not charging me). The reason they auto bill you is because it is cheaper and more efficient for them.

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R2D2
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by R2D2 » Sun May 24, 2020 2:32 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 12:41 pm
Yes I think you are being paranoid. I have had a membership to LA Fitness for 4 or 5 years and it has been on autopayment to a credit card the whole time. (Currently with the gyms being closed they are not charging me). The reason they auto bill you is because it is cheaper and more efficient for them.
Right but did you ever try to cancel your membership?

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by JonnyDVM » Sun May 24, 2020 3:52 pm

R2D2 wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:04 am
ScubaHogg wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 7:49 am
FWIW I think LA fitness is a rip off, BUT I never had any issue with credit card billing with them.
In what way is it a ripoff? Is it a good gym that just charges too much, or is it a bad gym with too little equipment...?

I like my local LA fitness. It’s way cheaper than the other options and it was just remodeleled. $30 per month vs $100+. Regardless, I don’t mind the monthly gym subscription until it’s time to cancel. I had to write an email, a letter, and ultimately had to cancel my debit card to stop recurring billing from a different gym when I moved.
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Toons
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by Toons » Sun May 24, 2020 4:22 pm

No
:mrgreen:
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FrankTheViking
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Re: Do you dislike recurring billing for gyms?

Post by FrankTheViking » Sun May 24, 2020 7:00 pm

Speaking as a filthy millennial.... Bro you don't have the hand chip yet?
No EF. 80% Total U.S. / 20% Total International. 100% equity. Is there a gun to your head? Is there a tiger in the room? No? What's the problem?

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