It’s Over

Now that the money my gym incorrectly drafted from me has returned to my account, I can give you the full three months of drama I had to deal with.

(And you know I hate drama, even when it doesn’t involve me.)

I’m also not going to call out the gym by name, as I am not in the business of trying to pillory them. But I can tell you privately if you’d like to know.

I signed the contract on 6/18/2010. At the time I had an option for one year or two, with or without auto-renewal. Since I was new to this gym, I did one year, no auto-renew.

So the contract should have cancelled on 6/18/2011.

Wrong.

My bank account was drafted the monthly fee in June. Thinking maybe I misinterpreted the contract somehow, I waited until July to see if it happened again.

Sure enough, I was drafted around July 22.

All billing inquiries are to be directed to the finance company, so I called. The woman told me she’d have to get a copy of my contract and I’d have to call back the next day.

Not sure why she didn’t have computer access to the basic info. But okay, I’ll call back.

The next day I talked to another woman at the finance company. She saw I had called yesterday and she pulled up my contract. “I can see you checked not to auto-renew. But we’ll have to get in contact with the local gym for more information.”

Um, what more do you need?

Called back that Monday. “We haven’t heard from the local gym yet.”

Grrr.

Between work and other things, I wasn’t able to get back in contact with the finance company during their business hours for a couple of weeks.

August 25: I am drafted again. Growing more irate, I called the finance company again. “I can see you checked not to auto-renew. Yeah…you definitely shouldn’t have been charged. Did you happen to go to the gym in May or June to sign an authorization to auto-renew?”

“Considering I haven’t been to that gym since January, it’s highly unlikely I could have signed such a form.”

“Okay. I’ll have to tall to the account manager. I will personally straighten this out and give you a call back later today or tomorrow.”

August 26, afternoon: I called the finance company. New woman this time. “I have in my records that the local franchise handles its own cancellations. You’ll have to get in contact with them.”

Are you kidding me?! All of these calls and now you all say I have to call the gym? FINE!

August 26: Called the local gym. If I remember correctly, the gym office works shorter hours on Fridays. Left a voicemail:

“This is Christine Byington, member ID 30940. I have a contract that was supposed to end in June, but I have been charged each month since June. I called [finance company] multiple times and the last person said I needed to talk to you. If you could please call me at [my number], I’d appreciate it. Thanks.”

Polite.

I waited through Monday the 29th for a return call. Nothing.

August 30: Called the gym. Got voicemail. I wasn’t going to leave another unrequited voicemail, so I tried e-mail.

“My name is Christine Byington, membership #30940. My contract with the gym was supposed to end 6/18/2011, yet I have been drafted the membership dues in June, July, and August. I’ve spoken with [finance company] at least four times to question this and have gotten a different answer each time, the latest being that I needed to speak with the local club.

I left a voicemail with you Friday afternoon and have not received a response. I would like a quick resolution for this issue. Per the contract I have with the gym, I believe I have been incorrectly charged $210 for a contract that should not have auto-renewed.

My contact number is [number]. Thank you in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide.”

Polite.

Got a response about two hours later:

“I will resolve this issue for you. I have been away from the office and I
did not have time to train personnel on how to fix this. I will have it
fixed ASAP.”

Maybe this will finally be over.

September 1: Haven’t heard an update or seen any money credited to my bank yet. Sent another e-mail (because apparently those get answered and voicemails don’t):

“I’m writing to follow up on Tuesday’s e-mail. Just wondering if [finance company] has fixed my contract issue yet.”

Got a response in 10 mins:

“I am putting together the reimbursement plan. I will be in touch asap.”

Reimbursement plan? What does that mean?

Since Monday was Labor Day, I figured they might not be in the office. So I waited Tuesday to see if anything changed.

Nada. Left a voicemail similar to the previous one.

I was trying to avoid making any threats because I really hoped to resolve what I thought was a simple issue. But at this point I was weary of having to deal with it.

September 7: Sent this e-mail:

“I was wondering what the status was on my refund for the three months I should not have been charged. I left a voicemail yesterday and have not heard back. I feel like I’ve exhausted the favorable options when it comes to resolving this issue.

I’ve been patient far longer than most would be in the same situation. I did enjoy the gym when I was able to use it and continued to pay the monthly fees without complaint after I moved farther away. But the contract was supposed to end in June.

If this matter isn’t resolved expeditiously, I believe my only option will be to contact the news station or consult an attorney. I do not want to have to do either of these.

As I said, I would have recommended this gym but possibly not anymore after what I have had to deal with. I hope we can fix this issue and move forth.”

Polite, but visibly irate.

Response 20 mins later:

“I scheduled the full three month reimbursement for you. I will call the
billing company and give you a call to confirm.”

He called about two hours later and told me the finance company was going to deposit it to my account, but it would take 3-5 days.

The money showed up this morning.

I’m glad this is finally over, but I hate that it took threatening to call an attorney to get anything done about it. Seemed to be such a quick fix in the end, so why did it take so long?

I hate to think a company would try to do this intentionally just to keep getting money, but it surely seemed that way.

Long sigh.

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