Thursday, October 19th, 2017

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Dealing with Gym Membership Dues is a Workout

Dear Melissa-

I recently signed up for a gym membership. I go to the gym daily and have been going for the last nine months. I signed up for a two-year agreement and started a month-to-month payment plan of $20.

In April, my debit card number was changed due to an identity theft tissue. Forgetting to update my information with the Gym’s finance company, I got a rude awakening: my account is now in collections. I still go to the gym daily and I never received a bill, a notice, a reminder, a phone, nothing—until my account was in collections. Now, the collection agency is asking for the remainder of my two year agreement upfront, plus collections fees. The only good thing is, I still have access to the gym and would continue to have access to the gym but it could cost me a bit more.

After talking with the owner about the issue, he “agreed” to contact the collections company. He said his hands were tied and that he could do nothing. I wanted to check for myself and I asked the collections agency if the owner had the authority to take my account out of this state, they said absolutely the gym has that power. In fact, the collection agency said this is common practice with the gyms. Therefore, I don’t think he ever really contacted them.

Now, is it legal to never tell someone their account is about to go into collections or to notify them before this happens? FYI, my contract does state that if the contract signer is late that the gym could collect the entire balance of the contract.

Thanks for any help,

Chris R.

Dear Chris,

It’s too bad that you are caught up in this! Especially, because you are willing to make your payments in a timely fashion and remain a customer. Did you try bringing in the identity theft information to show the owner?

The owner can always remove a collection account due to “error,” which seems to be this case. But in this economy, people are trying to make as much money as possible. The gym probably has not only a lack of people paying memberships they have signed up for, but also fewer new contracts. If he thinks he can get money out of you sooner, a lot of times people will try.

The answer to your question is no, unfortunately, there is no law that requires creditors to notify you in the event that an account is being considered for collection. If you are up for it, I would go back and talk to the gym owner about the situation. Try to call him on his bluff.

Melissa Douros Dovco Collection Solutions, Inc.

As the owner of Dovco Collection Solutions, Inc., Melissa Douros uses her eight years of being a collections specialists to offer advice and answer questions pertaining to debt collection. With running her own successful collection agency, she seeks to keep debt collectors accountable for their actions and in line with the law.

Do YOU have a question for Melissa? Email her at melissa@dovcocs.

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