Author Topic: So I am guessing I am SOL? But please tell me if their is a way around this.  (Read 7752 times)

greenmimama

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I went into cancel our gym Membership because it renews on the 15th of the month.  I did this on the 7th of the month, they informed me that I had to do it 14days in advance or they will charge my card again for another month.

I am so mad at myself, I thought about it last month, but figured they would say something stupid like it has to be within the month you are canceling.

Yes I know I was stupid for having a membership anyways, but the 1 year contract was up so we are dropping it.

It just seems like a way to trick people into getting more money again, just think if 10 families a month forget and that is an ezra thousand dollars for the gym.
It's not like I went in on the same day, and it's not like it actually takes 14 days to go in and remove someone.

Anything I can do? I do plan on calling the lady in charge, she wasn't their when I stopped in, I plan to ask her very very nicely to please let us get out of it before it goes through.

An other advice is appreciated.

Seething here.

gildedbutterfly

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I used to work at a gym (years ago), and saw this stuff all the time. Here's what I would do, which may or may not get you what you want:

1. Ask for the gym manager. This person's title varies by gym, but it will be the person in charge of that entire location. Their pay is largely based on how much money the gym makes, so be aware that they might not want to help you out, but if you explain that you gave a week's notice, ask nicely, and perhaps come up with a "hardship" story (maybe even hinting that when things turn around, you'd consider coming back), s/he might do something. (Just make sure the "come back" would be a hazy time in the distant future, or they will suggest putting your membership on hold.) They are likely the only person at that location who has the power to help you bypass the restriction.

2. Contact HQ. If you don't have any luck with the gym manager, I would get in contact with a person at HQ. Writing a letter to the area manager (in charge of several gyms) and/or someone even higher up might get you a result. This is likely to take longer, so your "result" might be in the form of a retroactive refund, but it's something. Again, mentioning a hardship and hinting that you might be willing to come back to the gym in a couple of years, after whatever it is has passed, could help get a result.

3. There is a way to cancel membership if you move further from any location than ~25 miles. You could feasibly ask a friend/family member to let you get some mail at their place as proof of moving in order to do it.

#3 and the hardship story element of #1 and 2 are at your discretion, since they are in an ethical grey area. For example, I probably wouldn't do #3, but I might be willing to exaggerate some aspect of my life story in order to make it into a hardship case that might get me a result from the gym manager.

Hope that helps!

Ohio Teacher

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If they charge your card, just dispute the charge for "services or goods not received."

greenmimama

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If they charge your card, just dispute the charge for "services or goods not received."

Can you do that with a debit card?

I don't have a hardship story and wouldn't feel good about making one up, but I just feel like they are stealing from me to charge me for another month I am not using, how else could you explain it, I am telling them in a fair amount of time and they are saying, nope, we are going to charge you one more time? seems like an unfair policy to me.

Ohio Teacher

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Yes, but it's markedly more difficult.  It is for this reason that I recommend to everyone I know to not use debit cards for anything other than pulling money out of your bank's ATM. 

If the manager balks at letting you out, just the threat of a card dispute may be enough to avoid the charge.  This is because chargebacks cost merchants to defend and they are statistically likely to lose.

southern granny

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Does your contract say you have to give them 14 days notice.  If it does, tough luck, but you have to pay.  If it doesn't, then give them a written or email notice and don't pay.

greenmimama

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Does your contract say you have to give them 14 days notice.  If it does, tough luck, but you have to pay.  If it doesn't, then give them a written or email notice and don't pay.

I went in to give them the written notice, you have to fill out a form in person, of course, because everything else is easy except canceling. I'm sure it is in the contract, but honesty it was a year ago and I don't remember ever hearing it or reading it, I should have called a month ago and asked what the procedure is.

It just feel alike when you sign a contract for 12mo they shouldn't be able to charge your card again for a 13th month or anything else after that unless they get a verbal or written notice from you saying you want to continue, seems like an easy way to rip people off.

I hate paying stupid tax.

Eric

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If they charge your card, just dispute the charge for "services or goods not received."

Can you do that with a debit card?

Yes, but it's markedly more difficult.  It is for this reason that I recommend to everyone I know to not use debit cards for anything other than pulling money out of your bank's ATM. 

It's not any more difficult for me.  I just log onto my bank website, find the transaction in question, press the "dispute" button, and fill out a small form with the reason.  2 minutes tops.

Jags4186

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So I am guessing I am SOL? But please tell me if their is a way around this.
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2014, 07:58:40 PM »
If they charge your card, just dispute the charge for "services or goods not received."

I highly recommend you do not do that. Gyms want their money. If you block the charge on your CC they will just keep billing your account and send it to collections.  You'll destroy your credit and have some stupid bill amount.

Just pay the bill and cancel. Consider it stupid tax.

InsourceEverything

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The same thing happened to me with a storage facility.   The contract said I would be pro-rated in or out, but since they had my money they pointed to another clause in the contract that said "No refunds"

I was pissed, but eventually just chalked it to an occasional unavoidable screw-over paid it and moved on.    It was better than stressing over it for days, which is what I was doing

Dicey

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How much money are we talking about?

Greg

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Ask for a copy of the signed contract that shows the 14 day requirement, in writing. 

GizmoTX

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Ask your bank to cancel your current debit card & issue you a new one. Don't use it for anything but getting cash. Get a no-fee credit card, which lets you dispute things like this & limits use if you lose it to $50, & always pay it off in full every month.

arebelspy

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Ask your bank to cancel your current debit card & issue you a new one.

And then have fun when a collection agency contacts you 6 months from now for an unpaid month of gym membership.

I'd make sure to resolve it with the gym, rather than directly going to something like the above.

Dispute the transaction is the second course of action.

I wouldn't precancel and have their pull of the funds automatically bounce, as then you'll still owe them the money.
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GizmoTX

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I'm assuming attempted resolution with the gym. Cutting off payment is a last resort, not the first.

We've had unscrupulous companies continue to charge a CC -- the CC bank told us that canceling the card was ultimately our only recourse. The caveat here is to make sure the bank doesn't automatically transfer all auto charges to the new card.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 07:23:39 AM by GizmoTX »

hdatontodo

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Also, what's the opportunity cost of fighting this?

If it is $50-100, would spending the hour or two plus the aggravation of still being involved with the issue be worth it? Some people could work one extra hour or two at the office and the OT would cover it.

I didn't realize my Angie's list auto-renewed until I saw it hit my credit card. I called them and made sure that was the LAST time that would happen and then moved on with my life.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 07:26:08 AM by hdatontodo »

begood

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Pay for the month and use the gym for that month while your cancellation goes through. Then you got your money's worth without having to deal with disputes and other potential issues.

For the amount of money it seems you're talking about ($100 or so?), going through torturous machinations to get out of paying it when they have a pretty reasonable process in place seems like more trouble than it's worth.

You basically wanted to give them one week's notice, and they require two. That doesn't seem out of line.

Dulcimina

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I went in to give them the written notice, you have to fill out a form in person, of course, because everything else is easy except canceling. I'm sure it is in the contract, but honesty it was a year ago and I don't remember ever hearing it or reading it, I should have called a month ago and asked what the procedure is.

It just feel alike when you sign a contract for 12mo they shouldn't be able to charge your card again for a 13th month or anything else after that unless they get a verbal or written notice from you saying you want to continue, seems like an easy way to rip people off.

I hate paying stupid tax.

And if you can, get a copy of the form you filled out with a signature/initial from the person at the gym you gave it to. I had a gym burn me that way.  They charged my card the following month.  When I went in, they claimed I had never given them notice.  I had no proof otherwise. That was almost 13 years ago. I learned my lesson and I've never authorized a company  to do automatic debit my card again.

tmd012

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you are SOL-  this seems to be pretty standard with a lot of gyms.  If you can find the copy of the contract you signed when you joined it will state it clear as day that you need to cancel so many days in advance and then it will run through the end of that month, if not, you can cancel for the end of the following month.

You can try to talk to the manager but that will probably not get you anywhere.  They are losing your business regardless, might as well milk another month out of you.

Prairie Stash

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Did you cancel? Or were you mad about the 13th month and didn't think to cancel for the 14th month?  It will help your case of getting out of the payment if the cancellation paperwork is complete.