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Stressed by the gym.


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Hey everyone, so, a few months ago, I decided to join Golds Gym with a friend. Knowing that it was a "no contract" sign up, I went ahead of it thinking there would be no hidden fees or charges down the line. Both of us had a time where we got a bit too busy to go to gym whether it was his school work or my military enlisting. It had only been a month or so since we had went and when we tried to clock in, they said that my debit card was invalid, which I remembered I was sent a new one in the mail not too long ago. Then, the lady at the desk said I needed to pay a $60 fee to make up for late payments. I had only missed a months payment. It was only $15 a month so I was in shock when I found out I had to pay triple, since no where did it say I would have to pay extra charges when I signed up. So my friend and I decided we wanted to just cancel our accounts. They wouldn't let us cancel them though until we payed in full the extra charges they threw in. My friend had to go to his bank and get the gym blocked from his checking account just so they wouldn't take any money out. We're both very low on money as it is since neither of us have jobs anymore.

 

So my question is, is there no way to get these bills in the mail saying I need to pay, even though I haven't been able to go? I would NEVER have signed up if I knew they were going to charge me triple. What I thought was quite funny was how the manager was saying how his gym was a "no contract" gym, yet, he kept comparing it to paying a cell phone monthly, which last I remembered, WAS a contract. I'm just a bit stuck and have no idea how to fix this. Thanks in advance.

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This is why I hate most gyms. There's always some fine print. They always screw you over somehow. Something similar happened to me before. My mom and I signed up for the gym. We specifically asked if there was any extra fees addition to the bi-weekly thing. They said no, then went ahead and charged $150 to my visa calling it "starting up/fitness test" fee. We went down and told them this was unacceptable/a scam. They said that it was in my contract, to which I reply it does not matter since a VERBAL contract is just as effective, if not MORE than the written one. You can't just LIE about your contract, get me to sign it and then tell me I'm SOL. It does not work that way. This is canadian business law though. I'm not sure if US would differ.

 

 

Needless to say, they gave us our money back. You just have to be firm and don't back down. Gyms are horrible for these, in my experience.

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Chalk it up to a lesson learned. Business, all businesses will try to get as much money as the can from you. You did try pay with an invalid card, essentially you wrote a hot check (even though you didn't *intend* to) You know what the path to hell is paved with....? 60$ does seem excessive, though.

 

Also this why I avoid signing up for any kind of automatic payment with a debit card or a checking account, and only use an actual credit card. A credit card actually gives you more legal protections and the money is taken from the credit card company first.

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I know I'm not much help, but I've been seriously screwed over by a couple of gyms (including Gold's). Something very similar happened to me. I signed up on a month to month basis where I thought I could cancel at any point. I actually paid extra for this "benefit." Turns out it was a big ordeal for me to cancel & I had to give them a certain amount of days notice. Then when I did cancel, the payments kept going through and they wouldn't give me my money back. No one would help me and just gave me the "told you so" lecture. Eventually I just let it go and promised myself never to step foot in a gym again. Oh, and I was paying $65 a month.

 

Now I use the gym at school, but after I'm done I don't know what I'm going to do. There's no way in hell I'm signing up with anyone again.

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I've been a member of Gold's before, but I paid cash for several months up front. They seriously wanted a debit card/credit card and I had to sit down with the manager for a while and convince him the only way I'd join was with a lump cash payment. He eventually agreed, but didn't look that happy about it.

 

I thought it was very very odd that a business would be that opposed to a cash payment. But because of stories like the one the OP posted, that's the only way I'll join a gym these days.

 

For the OP, I can't say what else you can do other than what you've already done. Getting the charges blocked at the bank was a good move. You might try a letter to Gold's corporate, but not sure it would help at all.

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Thank you all for your replies. About the declined card situation, that was only for me. I believe my friend ended up running out of money on his card and wasn't able to pay for that one month. In a matter of 2 months, the $60 charge has risen up to $140+. I have no idea where these extra charges are coming from and the employees at the gym don't seem to be any help. My friend just told me how his sister wrote a letter to a gym she used to go to and that was able to stop the bills in the mail, but i'm not sure if her situation was exactly like ours. My friend and I both agreed to pay for the couple of months that we couldn't and the manager just said no. The gym doesn't have access to my bank account since they don't have the updated payment information. I'm gonna keep working things out because I refuse to pay that high of an amount.

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