So with a blog title like this it can mean ANYTHING, right?
Well for this specific blog let’s talk about debt collectors and GYM MEMBERSHIPS.
One company that was notorious for causing consumers across the nation to have a $2,000.00 plus negative debt collection account on their credit was Bally’s Total Fitness.
They were sued numerous times and sold their business back in 2011 so they are no longer the major threat to consumer credit they once were but that does not mean smaller companies do not do the same thing which we will go into later in this blog.
REMEMBER…. It’s not what they or ANY SALESPERSON tells you, it is WHAT YOU SIGN.
As they say, the devil is in the details. NEVER listen to the sales person AND PLEASE……PLEASE….. DO NOT sign up for ANY service right then and there.
Take the agreement home and review it, MOSTLY the cancellation/refund section. That is typically where the gotcha’s are in.
If you’re afraid that you don’t know how to read what can look like a scary contract I can help you get attorneys to look at it for as little as $20.00 so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how something this small can save you time, energy and A LOT of money, especially if you have a family.
But now let’s go over some of the main gotcha’s listed in these types of contracts and similar ones.
#1- Is it a monthly contract or a yearly one (or more) ?
These days if gyms are not offering a monthly contract I personally would just walk away. This is what Bally’s did in the past, a customer would sign a 3 year contract and then if they cancelled (for whatever reason) they would be sent to collections for the difference the gym “hasn’t been compensated” for.
Note: this story based on numerous conversations with client’s years ago)
#2- What are the ways you can cancel and not be “Penalized” ?
Many times people hurt themselves and sometimes for months they are sidelined or they move away for a variety of reasons. Are these issues listed IN WRITING?
If your sales person says oh don’t worry about that we understand so you won’t have to worry about that just bring in a doctor’s note. AGAIN, if it’s not on the contract it does not count! It would make good customer service sense but many companies follow the letter of the legality of the contract that you both agreed to.
#3- MOST IMPORTANT— Do you need to give “WRITTEN CANCELLATION”?
Just like with apartment complex’s that require written notification the catch is of course as I have said many times, if you have no documented proof you lose.
# 3 is literally the most important I have found as if you did give them written notice if that is required how you get screwed by them is equally as easy.
So my question to you is prove it. Prove to the debt collector who has your account and placed it on your credit report dropping the score by as much as 70 points. Prove to them their system is wrong.
Did you get the manager or representative of the gym to sign it? Did you get a copy of it with their signature on it?
One thing I tell everyone I talk to is get a box and every time you stop doing business with a company, pay the final bill and get proof the balance with the company is zero and then print it out and throw it in the box.
So when you get that debt collector calling, you now have proof and can sue if they give you a problem. The one thing that will shut a company or debt collector up is proving you are right.
If you don’t do that then you have to do some research on hiring a credit company to help you. Or you can of course try to fix the situation yourself but if you don’t know how that industry works you can make the matter worse but restricting what the credit company could do before you “tried to fix it yourself”.
That’s it for this week, I hope you take this information to heart and read before you sign anything, it will give you so many less things in life to worry about. Life is good enough at causing issues without you adding to them.
* Want to learn more about how the credit system works?
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