Author Topic: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed  (Read 1367 times)

Megma

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I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« on: November 06, 2018, 01:23:22 PM »
I am having a billing dispute with my former gym. I recently cancelled my membership and they billed me again after my cancellation. I contacted them and refused to pay as I had cancelled, they said I did not give enough notice to my cancellation and I had to pay this last month. I argued with them about this via email and they didn’t answer, so I disputed the charge to my credit card company and the charges were reversed. This was at the beginning of September. Now that it’s November they are claiming I owe 3x as much, I have again expressed my displeasure about this via email and they didn’t answer beyond sending me an invoice.

If I don’t pay them, realistically what will they do? I have an excellent credit score and don’t want this bogus charge reported against me or sent to collections but I am also skeptical they will do this. I wrote a negative Yelp review yesterday and am planning to write a negative Google review also, their scores are pretty bad already so I don’t think they care. I might complain to their corporate branch. I don’t feel like they can just say I owe this or that it’s reasonable to triple the charge.

It’s actually a small amount of money so I am tempted to pay it but in principle it really pisses me off and I don’t want relent.

GuitarStv

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2018, 01:27:05 PM »
You already disputed the charge via your credit card.  Now phone up your credit card provider and report the gym for bogus charges.  The credit card company will handle it.

Megma

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2018, 01:46:32 PM »
You already disputed the charge via your credit card.  Now phone up your credit card provider and report the gym for bogus charges.  The credit card company will handle it.

They can't "report me" for not paying my new invoice? They didn't charge my card for the new bill, I assume because the card will not let them. I wonder if I gave them a social security number when I signed up, I don't remember as it was years ago but I imagine they can't ding my credit score without one.

frugaliknowit

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 01:50:09 PM »
What does your contract say?

I suppose you COULD close the credit card account and see what happens?  How much are we talking about?

Megma

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 01:54:57 PM »
What does your contract say?

I suppose you COULD close the credit card account and see what happens?  How much are we talking about?

I have absolutely no idea, I signed it years ago. They can't bill my card any more but I am worried they will turn the bill over to collections. It's a small amount of money, less than $200 but it's the principle as I said in my OP. I don't feel like they can charge me after I cancelled.

GuitarStv

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 01:57:01 PM »
You already disputed the charge via your credit card.  Now phone up your credit card provider and report the gym for bogus charges.  The credit card company will handle it.

They can't "report me" for not paying my new invoice? They didn't charge my card for the new bill, I assume because the card will not let them. I wonder if I gave them a social security number when I signed up, I don't remember as it was years ago but I imagine they can't ding my credit score without one.

If you cancelled your membership and they are still trying to collect from you, they are committing fraud.  Reporting you will just get them in more shit.

PoutineLover

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2018, 02:04:52 PM »
Did you read the terms and conditions? Did you sign something that allowed them to charge you even after cancellation? I once joined a gym that was super cheap, but there were exorbitant cancellation fees. I let the membership run out (it was a year contract) instead of cancelling because it was cheaper that way.
Yes, billing you after cancelling is bullshit, and it shouldn't be allowed, but you might have signed something that said you agreed to it so that's why they are still going after you.

GuitarStv

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2018, 02:06:29 PM »
Just pointing out here, fraudulent billing practice is pretty common with some gyms.

Proud Foot

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 02:07:26 PM »
How did you cancel your membership? When I cancelled my last gym membership I missed the deadline to not be charged for the next month and they gave me a copy of their cancellation policy which outlined the cancellation deadlines and also the last day I was able to access and use the gym. Did you receive anything from them at that time?

frugaliknowit

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 02:10:06 PM »
You already disputed the charge via your credit card.  Now phone up your credit card provider and report the gym for bogus charges.  The credit card company will handle it.

They can't "report me" for not paying my new invoice? They didn't charge my card for the new bill, I assume because the card will not let them. I wonder if I gave them a social security number when I signed up, I don't remember as it was years ago but I imagine they can't ding my credit score without one.

If you cancelled your membership and they are still trying to collect from you, they are committing fraud.  Reporting you will just get them in more shit.

Not all gym memberships (contracts) are cancellable.

Megma

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 02:31:15 PM »
How did you cancel your membership? When I cancelled my last gym membership I missed the deadline to not be charged for the next month and they gave me a copy of their cancellation policy which outlined the cancellation deadlines and also the last day I was able to access and use the gym. Did you receive anything from them at that time?

They said I needed to give 30 days notice. I argued about this and they billed me anyway. They did not respond to my complaint email.

At this point, I think I'd be willing to pay that one month and suck it up but I think it's crazy that I should be billed 3x now. That to me seems like fraud, like seriously it's higher than payday loan charges, it's been maybe 5-6 weeks.

frugalfoothills

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 02:31:46 PM »
They can credit bureau report you/send to collections even if it's a small amount (most delinquent gym accounts ARE very small amounts... the nature of the type of account.) Re-read the contract you signed, exhaust every avenue to understand WHY you're still being billed after you cancelled, and then figure out how to proceed. $200 is kind of a small hill to die on, but it's up to you :)

snogirl

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2018, 02:45:42 PM »
My gym membership had a policy of handing them a signed letter cancelling. Any time I cancel I do it in writing and in person if possible to prevent any misunderstandings. When I ran my own landscaping business, I always cancelled in person with a letter asking if they we're satisfied so I wouldn't get hit in the Spring for some weird hey you left leave debris here or I need top soil because requests. It's just keeps everyone on the same page.

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snogirl

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2018, 02:46:05 PM »
My gym membership had a policy of handing them a signed letter cancelling. Any time I cancel I do it in writing and in person if possible to prevent any misunderstandings. When I ran my own landscaping business, I always cancelled in person with a letter asking if they we're satisfied so I wouldn't get hit in the Spring for some weird hey you left leave debris here or I need top soil because requests. It's just keeps everyone on the same page.

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use2betrix

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2018, 06:29:08 PM »
It’s funny that you are “arguing this” when you signed a contract, yet have completely admitted that you have no idea what that contract states.

You being “mad” or “arguing” does not give you any sort of justification aside from your contract.

Maybe your completely right - however it’s foolish to argue or do anything until you find out exactly what the contract you signed states.

SKL-HOU

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2018, 07:11:31 PM »
How did you cancel your membership? When I cancelled my last gym membership I missed the deadline to not be charged for the next month and they gave me a copy of their cancellation policy which outlined the cancellation deadlines and also the last day I was able to access and use the gym. Did you receive anything from them at that time?

They said I needed to give 30 days notice. I argued about this and they billed me anyway. They did not respond to my complaint email.

At this point, I think I'd be willing to pay that one month and suck it up but I think it's crazy that I should be billed 3x now. That to me seems like fraud, like seriously it's higher than payday loan charges, it's been maybe 5-6 weeks.

30 day notice is pretty standard. I couldn’t tell if you did actually give them the 30-day notice. If you didn’t, you were in the wrong to dispute so now you probably need to pay the fee with fines.

Megma

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2018, 08:17:03 AM »
It’s funny that you are “arguing this” when you signed a contract, yet have completely admitted that you have no idea what that contract states.

You being “mad” or “arguing” does not give you any sort of justification aside from your contract.

Maybe your completely right - however it’s foolish to argue or do anything until you find out exactly what the contract you signed states.

Fair enough.

Though I don't think $100 is a reasonable 8 week late fee on a $50 charge, unless you are a loan shark.

Fidoh

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2018, 08:20:33 AM »
Just pay the money and move on with your life already. This is not something you should be thinking about, or worrying about.  It's not about being right or wrong. 

Edited to Add: Pay it off, then trash them on social media.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 09:29:35 AM by Fidoh »

partdopy

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2018, 09:04:55 AM »
It’s funny that you are “arguing this” when you signed a contract, yet have completely admitted that you have no idea what that contract states.

You being “mad” or “arguing” does not give you any sort of justification aside from your contract.

Maybe your completely right - however it’s foolish to argue or do anything until you find out exactly what the contract you signed states.

Fair enough.

Though I don't think $100 is a reasonable 8 week late fee on a $50 charge, unless you are a loan shark.

Most gyms make money by charging those who don't go rather than by being a gym.

If the cancellation policy was easy they would go out of business.

SKL-HOU

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2018, 09:10:24 AM »
It’s funny that you are “arguing this” when you signed a contract, yet have completely admitted that you have no idea what that contract states.

You being “mad” or “arguing” does not give you any sort of justification aside from your contract.

Maybe your completely right - however it’s foolish to argue or do anything until you find out exactly what the contract you signed states.

Fair enough.

Though I don't think $100 is a reasonable 8 week late fee on a $50 charge, unless you are a loan shark.

If you signed for it in the contract, fair doesn't come in to play. Maybe ask them for a copy of your signed contract? If they can't produce that, maybe you can use that to negotiate.

Samuel

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2018, 09:18:32 AM »
It’s funny that you are “arguing this” when you signed a contract, yet have completely admitted that you have no idea what that contract states.

You being “mad” or “arguing” does not give you any sort of justification aside from your contract.

Maybe your completely right - however it’s foolish to argue or do anything until you find out exactly what the contract you signed states.

Fair enough.

Though I don't think $100 is a reasonable 8 week late fee on a $50 charge, unless you are a loan shark.

Most gyms make money by charging those who don't go rather than by being a gym.

If the cancellation policy was easy they would go out of business.

Seriously. Gyms intentionally make the cancellation process onerous to discourage the lazy from doing it.


Sounds like the OP might legitimately owe the last month, depending on the language in the contract they don't have a copy of.

zygote

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2018, 09:24:03 AM »
Yeah, if your contract says you needed to give 30 days notice and you didn't, you're in the wrong. See if you can get a copy of the contract - it may also stipulate the late fees. At this point, I'd just pay.

These types of clauses are how gyms make their money. For example, my gym says you can only cancel your annual membership mid-year if you move more than 5 miles away. That may be fine in some locations, but not in my big city where moving 4 miles puts you an hour away with many closer gyms. I can't tell you the number of people I overhear that want to stop payments because they're moving to a different neighborhood and can't because they are still "too close".

These policies all may be stupid and/or unreasonable, but there's not much you can do about it if you agreed to it when you signed up.

Indio

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2018, 09:27:04 AM »
Report them to the Better business bureau if they are charging you beyond the 30 day cancellation and you can also file complaint with state attorney general. But all of this is probably costing more time than the charges, but you would be protecting other consumers, so you could put an altruistic spin on it.

If you want to know what the contract says, call the gym and get the info as if you were a new member signing up. The gym will respond much faster to "new" customer.

frugalfoothills

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2018, 10:17:12 AM »
Also chiming in to say that without the contract we are shooting in the dark, but it's possible that even though you can cancel with 30 days notice that you're still responsible for the remaining payments through the end of the contract. My (stupid) home security system is like that... I signed up for a 2 year contract. Found MMM and decided to cancel... called and they were like "Sure you can cancel! You'll owe $745 for the remaining contract period, though."

If I were you, I would just pay it and take it as a learning experience to read whatever contract you're signing very carefully in the future (especially if it's on autodraft) and seek out programs with month-to-month contracts instead.

Megma

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2018, 02:43:13 PM »
Thank you all for your feedback, even though I am annoyed it seems likely I am in the wrong, at least for the original charges. I maintain that 2x late fee in such a short period of time, while it might be legal, it shouldn't be.

However, when I gave them a negative review on facebook yesterday around the same time I wrote this post, I immediately got a response from corporate saying their "Membership experience manager" will contact me. So I might try to negotiate back down to my original charge for the month cancellation notice and if it's not resolved by Saturday, I will go over and pay it (cash only of course). I'm leaving on an overseas work trip Saturday so I'll take care of it before I go.

Fireinthebelly

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2018, 07:31:25 PM »
My advice regardless of who is right or wrong is call the gym and make a deal and pay it off. I had a similar dispute with a cable company who overcharged me for an installation. It was a small amount of money (about $50-100) but I refused to pay on principle.   They eventually send my file to a collection agency who literally hounded me for several years. It was ridiculous and bordering on harassment.  The only way I finally got free of it was when I moved and changed phone numbers.   They had offered to settle with me for some fraction of that small amount but I had refused again on principle.   Defiantly was not worth it
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 07:32:59 PM by Fireinthebelly »

frugaliknowit

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2018, 10:17:26 AM »
Ask the gym for a copy of the contract.  Go from there.

Boofinator

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2018, 10:55:15 AM »
My advice regardless of who is right or wrong is call the gym and make a deal and pay it off. I had a similar dispute with a cable company who overcharged me for an installation. It was a small amount of money (about $50-100) but I refused to pay on principle.   They eventually send my file to a collection agency who literally hounded me for several years. It was ridiculous and bordering on harassment.  The only way I finally got free of it was when I moved and changed phone numbers.   They had offered to settle with me for some fraction of that small amount but I had refused again on principle.   Defiantly was not worth it

As others have said, check the terms of your contract. However, if you are in the right, never ever pay that shit no matter what the cost (in terms of hanging up on collections agencies). Collections agencies typically charge a fraction of the recovered amount, and the more people who waste collection agents' time by not paying for bullshit charges will encourage them to increase their fee percentage, and consequently reduce the fee going to the company trying to collect.

The sad thing is I know of no recourse when getting these bullshit collections other than to keep hanging up. The two times I've been in this situation (for probably about $30 two decades ago and about $200 ongoing), I started by explaining the bullshit situation to the collections agent, and they say "oh, that is some bullshit there" and hang up. But the calls always come back....

COEE

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2018, 08:07:53 PM »
Whenever I'm in a financial dispute over small dollar amounts - which surely this is - I first try to get them to do the right thing to keep a happy customer.  Second, I try to see if an alternative solution can be found to keep both parties partially happy.  If not, then I contact the fair trade commission and the better business bureau.  I sometimes also leave poor yelp and google reviews.  I also refuse the second option if I have to start filing complaints.

I've only ever filed complaints once.  I ended up getting my money back.

I recently had a problem with a credit union that closed an account due to inactivity and stole $5 from me.  I didn't realize they had closed my account until I had my employer try to direct deposit a reimbursement payment to the account (how embarrassing)... Anyway I was pissed that they stole the $5 from me.  I called and explained the situation, and asked several times to refund my $5.  They said there was nothing they could do.  I explained that they had to do something to keep a happy customer.  I also explained that I wanted money to be placed there from my current employer.  All of the sudden they were clamoring to get my account reopened - even though I no longer met the requirements to be a member of the CU.  They even offered me a $150 bonus after there's a ACH transfer into the account, and I use the debit card once.

They keep a happy customer, I get my account reopened, and I get a bit of a signing bonus for my time.  Also, they put $5 in my account after reopening the account too.  I guess that's an additional signing bonus!

I mean really, $5 - who cares?  I do.  A millionaire is made $10 at a time.

snogirl

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2018, 08:10:58 PM »
If you pay cash get a receipt. Paid in full.

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use2betrix

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Re: I'm a billing dispute with my former gym - advice needed
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2018, 08:26:20 PM »
Whenever I'm in a financial dispute over small dollar amounts - which surely this is - I first try to get them to do the right thing to keep a happy customer.  Second, I try to see if an alternative solution can be found to keep both parties partially happy.  If not, then I contact the fair trade commission and the better business bureau.  I sometimes also leave poor yelp and google reviews.  I also refuse the second option if I have to start filing complaints.

I've only ever filed complaints once.  I ended up getting my money back.

I recently had a problem with a credit union that closed an account due to inactivity and stole $5 from me.  I didn't realize they had closed my account until I had my employer try to direct deposit a reimbursement payment to the account (how embarrassing)... Anyway I was pissed that they stole the $5 from me.  I called and explained the situation, and asked several times to refund my $5.  They said there was nothing they could do.  I explained that they had to do something to keep a happy customer.  I also explained that I wanted money to be placed there from my current employer.  All of the sudden they were clamoring to get my account reopened - even though I no longer met the requirements to be a member of the CU.  They even offered me a $150 bonus after there's a ACH transfer into the account, and I use the debit card once.

They keep a happy customer, I get my account reopened, and I get a bit of a signing bonus for my time.  Also, they put $5 in my account after reopening the account too.  I guess that's an additional signing bonus!

I mean really, $5 - who cares?  I do.  A millionaire is made $10 at a time.

So because the OP didn’t read his contract, the business should bend over and eat the loss? For all we know it could be a small mom and pop business, though it doesn’t matter either way.

The right thing would be for the OP to figure out what his contract states and fulfill the obligations he signed for. No more, no less.

The owner of the gym can have the same motto. A millionaire is made $10 at a time. They shouldn’t have to eat the cost of his mistake.