Personal Finance

Locked: Gym threatens with collection

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  • Aug 18th, 2019 3:29 pm
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Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
1769 posts
1328 upvotes
Bay Area
jtfrogger wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 2:07 pm

For some reason I decided to read through this thread. So, I figure I might as well toss in my perspective.

I haven't seen anything to the contrary, so I will just assume that all actions by the gym are legal and the contract is fully enforceable. I also assume that they are an unethical company too, but that isn't really that relevant to what your liability is.

Your cancellation in February was not honoured by them, and you have no evidence that you did it. From the perspective of your liability, it effectively didn't happen. The contract in place is still valid until you cancel it later.

So, the only legitimate verifiable cancellation request was in or after April 2018. Presumably, you still owe for May at this time. So, you have two payments that you reversed and another one or two owing, giving a total of 3-4 months that you owe. Is it about $50/month? That gives about $150-200 owing. Presumably, they have fees for payments that fail. This happened at least 2-3 times. These typically add about $25 per occurrence. That brings the total anywhere from $200-275. No matter how unethical their practices are, I don't see how you could legitimately get out of this liability. This number lines up to what they say you owed last year.

You are mad that they didn't accept your February cancellation. I get that, and I would be too. But you can't prove that you made this cancellation.

Now what to do about it now is the question. If it was me and I could make it go away for $300 or less, I would do so without hesitation. In fact, I'd probably pay more than double that to make this go away. I'd negotiate hard to pay less, but I wouldn't let it get reported on my credit file. I personally apply for about one credit card a month and generally get a welcome bonus about that much. That gravy train would definitely be hampered. Presumably, you value having good credit less than I do. If you don't pay, the collectors may still harass you for a long time. In addition to the credit hit, that ongoing stress is something I would personally want to avoid.
THANK YOU. You summed this up so much more eloquently (and calmly) than I ever could. +100
jtfrogger wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 6:58 pm
But I really don't think that churning credit cards is for you. You have to enter into contracts. You have to be willing to read terms & conditions and determine if each card is right for you. You have to cancel cards on a regular basis, and keep track of these things. You also have to be willing to research the best way to get value out of the cards and points. Aeroplan miles easily have a value of 1.5 cpp if you are willing to do the leg work. If you just want to pick your flight date and destination and select from the results returned, the value is probably closer to 0.5 cpp (wild guess). And if something doesn't go the way you expect or hope, you have to accept it as a risk of the hobby and move on rather than sour your relationship with the issuing bank.
+1

If you fly the SFO-YYZ route in December, you're guaranteed (and I do mean guaranteed) to get at least 2 cpp value out of AP miles. Cheapest cash fare for this route is $650 ± 30 if you book 6 months in advance, but some years there's no getting around paying $750+, so that's a whooping 3 cpp value! Astonished Face
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 17, 2016
158 posts
15 upvotes
jtfrogger wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 6:58 pm
I really don't understand how they didn't accept your cancellation. Yes, I've heard you say this a few times, but if this was the case, they would be claiming that you owe them over a thousand dollars (18 months of membership, interest, non-payment fees, etc.) I don't know the wording of the contract, but I suppose it is possible that you can't cancel if you have amounts owing. I fully expect that they would not close your account until all outstanding payments are settled.
No... I've written it many times in this thread that basically the reason I didn't pay that "outstanding balance" was because they kept adding more and more and more (and more) balance every month. By not processing a cancellation I mean that they keep adding balance to my account! That's the crux of almost everything this thread is about.

I don't know yet what the balance is at this time, they are still finding out (still waiting for an email from them).
jtfrogger wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 6:58 pm
I deal with contracts all the time. They usually serve to benefit both parties, otherwise they would rarely get signed. I have my own business and could not generate revenue without contracts. Should you be more cautious when entering a contract going forward? Yes, absolutely. But avoiding them will only hurt you in the long run.
Can you please clarify how a contract with a gym can benefit its member in any way?
jtfrogger wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 6:58 pm
Lots of them. There is an entire thread here dedicated to bonuses of $200+. I would easily say that the Amex Gold (personal) - through Perkopolis, RBC Westjet World Elite and TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite all have a value of at least $300 with no fees involved. And yes, I am getting about one of these bonuses a month. Between my wife and I, we are working on hitting the minimum spend on five cards right now. And given that the Westjet card I got last week doesn't even have a minimum spend, that isn't one of the five.
Thanks, I'll read that thread. But, this way, do you also need to cancel approximately one card every month?
jtfrogger wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 6:58 pm
But I really don't think that churning credit cards is for you. You have to enter into contracts. You have to be willing to read terms & conditions and determine if each card is right for you. You have to cancel cards on a regular basis, and keep track of these things. You also have to be willing to research the best way to get value out of the cards and points. Aeroplan miles easily have a value of 1.5 cpp if you are willing to do the leg work. If you just want to pick your flight date and destination and select from the results returned, the value is probably closer to 0.5 cpp (wild guess). And if something doesn't go the way you expect or hope, you have to accept it as a risk of the hobby and move on rather than sour your relationship with the issuing bank.
I've been getting Aeroplan points on a regular basis. But concerning contracts with credit cards, I don't recall ever having a problem in this field, and I never read those contracts. The reason is that all I had to read were the main points (e.g. in the corresponding feature comparison tables, etc) and some fine print. It's always been a fair game there.
Sr. Member
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Sep 6, 2018
801 posts
696 upvotes
Nova Scotia
automorphism wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 11:06 pm
I've been getting Aeroplan points on a regular basis. But concerning contracts with credit cards, I don't recall ever having a problem in this field, and I never read those contracts.
... This makes you a terrible candidate for CC churning IMO. Good luck with that.......
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2005
4554 posts
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arkane wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 8:08 pm
If you fly the SFO-YYZ route in December, you're guaranteed (and I do mean guaranteed) to get at least 2 cpp value out of AP miles. Cheapest cash fare for this route is $650 ± 30 if you book 6 months in advance, but some years there's no getting around paying $750+, so that's a whooping 3 cpp value! Astonished Face
Even if your prices are accurate, the taxes and fees aren't free which are around $150.

Even at $750, you are getting $600 value which is only 2.4c per point. At $650 it is $500 value or 2c per point.

I find it pretty challenging to get 2cpp let alone 3cpp. Usually I will settle for 1.5cpp.
Deal Addict
May 15, 2013
1529 posts
306 upvotes
Montreal
automorphism wrote:
Aug 14th, 2019 8:39 am
I didn't stiff them. Like I said, I moved away and stopped using their services. How is that stiffing?
You have mentioned that at least 2,000 times in this thread. If you go to a court and the judges listen it, you are done because it is IRRELEVANT.

If I signed an Internet provider contract and then I move to the moon and stop using their service, I still have to pay it until is cancelled.

So, the only way it could work for you is if in your gym contract (that you don't have it handly to read it and share with us) indicates CLEARLY that you can cancel your contract right away if you proove that you are moving out of the province. Otherwise, you are liable for the period you had a contract (again, it is irrelevant if you used the gym services or you were living in China).
Deal Fanatic
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Jul 17, 2008
9582 posts
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I walked away from such gym membership years ago (10+). Nothing ever showed up on my credit. And it was at the beginning when I was just building up my credit. I still had no problems getting credit cards (albeit low $2000 limit because of my small credit history).

My advice is to ignore it. IMO I don't even think they can collect.

Also ignore these holier than thou attitude RFD'ers that like to act high and migthy. Going in front of a judge. LOL. Because of a gym membership. That's laughable.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2018
1352 posts
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Vancouver
iamthebest wrote:
Aug 17th, 2019 11:12 am
You have mentioned that at least 2,000 times in this thread. If you go to a court and the judges listen it, you are done because it is IRRELEVANT.
To be fair, it's not totally irrelevant. In a court case the other party would certainly mention if the OP were still using the gym's services after the supposed cancellation date as evidence that they hadn't really cancelled. Therefore the opposite is also relevant, especially when it comes to credibility of testimony, which does count in court.

I recall in the CBC consumer-beware piece on these scam gym operators they mentioned that canceling your credit card to prevent further charges is not an option. If a merchant presents a charge to your credit card, the bank will process it, even if your card has been canceled. It's up to you to settle the dispute with the merchant or present evidence that the charge is fraudulent. But in this case it sounds like the gym is demanding payment with late charges for a cancellation-notice period, and has not attempted to process a credit card payment.

General life rule: always get hard evidence of cancellation. If possible, a written acknowledgement of your cancellation. Otherwise, a screen capture of the web page where you cancelled and the cancellation was processed, or at least an email acknowledging cancellation.
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Mar 10, 2018
2895 posts
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Scote64 wrote:
Aug 17th, 2019 11:26 am
To be fair, it's not totally irrelevant. In a court case the other party would certainly mention if the OP were still using the gym's services after the supposed cancellation date as evidence that they hadn't really cancelled. Therefore the opposite is also relevant, especially when it comes to credibility of testimony, which does count in court.

I recall in the CBC consumer-beware piece on these scam gym operators they mentioned that canceling your credit card to prevent further charges is not an option. If a merchant presents a charge to your credit card, the bank will process it, even if your card has been canceled. It's up to you to settle the dispute with the merchant or present evidence that the charge is fraudulent. But in this case it sounds like the gym is demanding payment with late charges for a cancellation-notice period, and has not attempted to process a credit card payment.

General life rule: always get hard evidence of cancellation. If possible, a written acknowledgement of your cancellation. Otherwise, a screen capture of the web page where you cancelled and the cancellation was processed, or at least an email acknowledging cancellation.
Agree. Always. Like by a letter or email
I dont care about Ethics, morals, rules or laws. I will apologies only when I get caught.
I try not to apologies but sometimes do it. not because its right thing but it benefits me.
Member
May 26, 2009
317 posts
329 upvotes
Calgary
I'll reply one more time, and then I'll stop posting in this thread. You now know my opinion on this matter. I would just pay off the balance removing myself of the liability and stress, negotiating to keep it under $300. There is no need for me to convince you to do anything. I will follow along and look forward to hearing an update about how this does end up being resolved.
automorphism wrote:
Aug 16th, 2019 11:06 pm
No... I've written it many times in this thread that basically the reason I didn't pay that "outstanding balance" was because they kept adding more and more and more (and more) balance every month. By not processing a cancellation I mean that they keep adding balance to my account! That's the crux of almost everything this thread is about.

I don't know yet what the balance is at this time, they are still finding out (still waiting for an email from them).
But you haven't provided any details behind this. I honestly think you are letting your emotion get the best of you. You don't know the balance they claim you owe. You don't know how they calculated it. I would expect that the balance would keep growing with interest charges, and probably at a fairly high rate such as 18%. This is a reasonable action for a business to take on a delinquent account.
Can you please clarify how a contract with a gym can benefit its member in any way?
Presumably you get unlimited usage of their facility for a reasonable monthly fee.
Thanks, I'll read that thread. But, this way, do you also need to cancel approximately one card every month?
Generally speaking, yes. Some cards get switched to another card, so that isn't technically a cancellation. Some cards are keepers, but that is rare for good welcome bonuses. Most of my cards have a life of 6-12 months, which I have in mind before I apply.
I've been getting Aeroplan points on a regular basis. But concerning contracts with credit cards, I don't recall ever having a problem in this field, and I never read those contracts. The reason is that all I had to read were the main points (e.g. in the corresponding feature comparison tables, etc) and some fine print. It's always been a fair game there.
Reading the terms becomes much more important for churning. It's important to understand what clause would invalidate you getting the promotion and whether you are willing to take that risk.
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
1769 posts
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Bay Area
mech9t5 wrote:
Aug 17th, 2019 9:11 am
Even if your prices are accurate, the taxes and fees aren't free which are around $150.

Even at $750, you are getting $600 value which is only 2.4c per point. At $650 it is $500 value or 2c per point.

I find it pretty challenging to get 2cpp let alone 3cpp. Usually I will settle for 1.5cpp.
My bad, the prices I quoted are in USD and I forgot to convert to CAD. But this actually increases the redemption value. So if we converted them to CAD using today's rate, that would be ~$864 CAD and $997 CAD. Taking away taxes and fees using your numbers, we end up with $665 CAD And $798 CAD. That particular route only costs 25k AP miles, So you're actually looking at 2.66 cpp to 3 cpp.

Also, AP does not slap on fuel surcharges if you book non Air Canada flights ironically, and you're free to book any star alliance flights since AC is part of it. You can pay for those extra fees with points as well.
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2005
4554 posts
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arkane wrote:
Aug 17th, 2019 2:39 pm
My bad, the prices I quoted are in USD and I forgot to convert to CAD. But this actually increases the redemption value. So if we converted them to CAD using today's rate, that would be ~$864 CAD and $997 CAD. Taking away taxes and fees using your numbers, we end up with $665 CAD And $798 CAD. That particular route only costs 25k AP miles, So you're actually looking at 2.66 cpp to 3 cpp.

Also, AP does not slap on fuel surcharges if you book non Air Canada flights ironically, and you're free to book any star alliance flights since AC is part of it. You can pay for those extra fees with points as well.
The problem is that your use case is very specific. The average is pretty much agreed to be around 1.5cpp

If you want to cherry pick, my last redemption was ironically to SFO and I got around 8cpp round trip was around 2200. The one before I did 12500 pts for a one way to Vancouver that was over $1000
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
1769 posts
1328 upvotes
Bay Area
mech9t5 wrote:
Aug 18th, 2019 7:34 am
The problem is that your use case is very specific. The average is pretty much agreed to be around 1.5cpp

If you want to cherry pick, my last redemption was ironically to SFO and I got around 8cpp round trip was around 2200. The one before I did 12500 pts for a one way to Vancouver that was over $1000
Dude which part of "If you fly the SFO-YYZ route in December" do you not understand? I never claimed it was a general case, and stated right off the bat it was for a particular route at a particular time. Face With Rolling Eyes
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Sep 6, 2018
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