Gym withdraws money after training cancellation

(WSVN) - A South Florida woman signs up for a gym membership but eventually cancels her account. Problem is — the gym kept taking her money. So she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Many people join a gym to improve their look, but not Carlene Coleman.

Carlene Coleman, exercising her rights: “Haha it wasn’t because I wanted to get pretty, because I am pretty!”

Kidding aside, Carlene bought a membership for a serious reason…

Carlene Coleman: “Because I have high blood pressure and my doctor said I should lose some weight.”

As part of her membership, Carlene also signed up for a coach.

Carlene Coleman: “Because I wanted to know how to do the exercise and showed me how to use the machine.”

The coach was an extra $100 every two weeks… and Carlene enjoyed it.

Carlene Coleman: “I did like it because my coach was very good.”

But after three months, Carlene’s had learned the exercises and needed to save money, so in August of last year, she dropped the personal coach.

Carlene Coleman: “I have a paper there that shows the manager agreed that I canceled.”

But…

Carlene Coleman: “I keep looking at my account and the money keep coming out, and I went to them and tell them they still keep taking the money.”

Carlene wasn’t working out with the coach, but her bank account was getting a workout despite what she was being told.

Carlene Coleman: “They said, ‘No, we’re going to fix it, we’re not take any more,’ but they did it again! They do it four times!”

After four withdrawals totaling $400, Carlene smartly closed her account to stop the money from being taken, but for seven months, trying to get that money back turned into a futile exercise.

Carlene Coleman: “I talked to corporate. They said they would get in touch with me. They didn’t. They just don’t want to pay me.”

Well Howard, you have heard the facts. Legally, is Carlene entitled to get her money back?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “The answer is definitely yes. Carlene did everything right, such as terminating her agreement in a timely manner and she got it in writing, and so she is entitled to get all $400 back. It’s really that simple.”

We contacted Youfit Health Clubs who told us they were committed to transparency in all matters, including member payment. Then they proved it.

They told us Carlene was accidentally charged $400, that she was then issued a full refund, but her check was sent to the wrong address that they had on file.

A spokesperson told us another check for that $400 has now been sent to her correct address.

Howard Finkelstein: “If you have a gym membership or any contract for services and want to cancel it, read the contract carefully. Follow the directions that they require to terminate. If you do, you’ll be in great shape just like Carlene was.”

Carlene Coleman: “I came home, my money was in my door.”

Youfit actually rushed the $400 check to Carlene overnight… leaving a very happy lady.

Carlene Coleman: “Help Me Howard really works. That’s great.”

Glad we could help and nice to see Youfit respond so quickly. Why could we accomplish in a day or two what a customer couldn’t for months? Customers go up the chain of command — we start at the top. It works… try it.

Bent out of shape over a problem you have? Don’t sweat it. Exercise your hands and contact us. We might be not fit, but we can do the heavy lifting for a legal solution. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
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Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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