Gym customer complains of being charged after cancelling membership

Woman says she paid for nearly ten years of service she never got

Author: Brian Mylar, Reporter,
Published On: Dec 28 2012 09:00:16 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 28 2012 10:28:29 PM CST

A San Antonio woman asked the KSAT 12 Defenders for help after discovering a health club had continued debiting her bank account nearly ten years after she believed her contract expired.

In 2003 Linda Alfaro said she was a member of Gold's Gym when she was called into the manager's office and was told her contract had expired and rates were going up.

"I told them well since it's expired I choose not to renew my contract and I left and I never came back," Alfaro said.

Then two months ago she was looking through her bank statements and found electronic debits from Gold's Gym every month since that time.

She added all of the charges up and was astounded at the total.

"Over $2,500," Alfaro said.

She said she never noticed the monthly charges on her statement.

"I just kind of skim my statements and didn't go through each item," Alfaro said.

The KSAT 12 Defenders contacted Gold's Gym and got this statement via email from Dave Reiseman, Gold’s Vice President, Communication:

Unfortunately Ms. Alfaro failed to provide any written cancellation of her membership, which is required in her contract. This was also explained to her when she initially inquired about cancelling her membership. If we had received any form of written communication from Ms. Alfaro over the past 10 years, we would have accepted this as proof and refunded any money withdrawn from her account after the cancellation date . It’s important to note that when a member cancels, we always encourage them to check their bank statement to ensure that they are no longer being charged. Having the written cancellation notice from a member then allows us to easily issue a refund should they accidently be billed. To this date, despite repeated conversations with Ms. Alfaro and her advisor, we still have not received a written cancellation from her.

On the first page of a Gold's Gym contract emailed by Reiseman, the benefits section on the first page mentions a written termination notice.

There's a note above the signature line about written termination and another one in the fine print under cancellation procedures.
But Linda Alfaro said she was never told about that.

Alfaro also said she never got anything in the mail over all those years about price increases.

Gold's said it always sends out postcards telling members of any pricing changes.

Now she said she has learned a painful, expensive lesson that she wants to pass on to others: always check contracts and bank statements carefully.