An 85-year-old woman joined a gym to work with a personal trainer. When COVID hit, she quit going, but then she got a big surprise on her bank statement. To work things out, she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Aida is 85 years old, but she is not your great grandmother’s 85 years old.

Patrick Fraser: “You like to work out, correct?”

Aida Hernandez: “Yeah, because I want to keep it strong. You know, when I do exercise, I feel alert.”

From the time she was a young lady till now, Aida has stayed in shape. Here she is practicing Zumba with people half her age, but that wasn’t enough exercise for her. 

Evelyn Medina: “That’s why she did the personal training, because she didn’t want to lose too much muscle.”

It was in 2019 that Aida joined a gym to have lessons with a personal trainer. The print in the contract was too small for her to read, so the sales person explained what she was signing.

Aida Hernandez: “When I signed for the lessons, it wasn’t going to be, you know, keep on doing. It was for a certain time, a certain amount of classes.”

Technically, it was $299 a month for 12 months for lessons with her trainer. Then, after the 12 months, Aida could cancel, but she doesn’t remember being told that.

Aida Hernandez: “I trust too much the people.”

Then, in 2020, COVID hit. Aida stopped going to the gym.

Aida Hernandez: “Because of the virus, I’m afraid. I’m so scared of that virus.”

Evelyn Medina: “She assumed that they were not going to charge her since she wasn’t attending.”

Two years passed. That’s when Aida discovered the gym was still taking $300 out of her account every month, even though she had not met with a trainer in two years. The total amount withdrawn? 

Evelyn Medina: “Well, they took out $6,900 from her account for personal training.”

Evelyn called the gym, explained her mother thought she would only pay for lessons when she worked with the trainer, adding the gym had even closed for awhile during COVID, and now, Aida wanted her money back.

Evelyn Medina: “No. Nobody offered anything.”

Patrick Fraser: “Zero?”

Evelyn Medina: “Zero.”

Aida has now lost $6,900, and even more important to her, COVID has stopped her from working out.

Aida Hernandez: “Like now, two years in the house, I’m down. I mean, I feel like I’m dying.”

No, Aida, you look great, but legally, Howard, is she in great shape?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Legally, so-so. While Aida should have cancelled the contract when she stopped going, the business never should have billed her when they were closed. Otherwise, legally, they can continue to charge her even though she didn’t met with the trainer, but does a business really want to do this to an 85-year-old woman?”

We contacted LA Fitness, they could not have been more gracious, because, while they didn’t have to return all Aida’s money, they did, writing, “I am happy to report that we and the Hernandez family have reached an agreement.” Adding, “Even though there was no formal communication by Mrs. Hernandez of her intentions concerning her membership, we will honor her wishes and settle the matter.”

Aida Hernandez: “$6,900.”

Evelyn Medina: “I don’t even have a word to say. I mean, the help that we needed and we got.”

The $6,900 was returned to Aida’s account. She didn’t have to do any heavy lifting, just picked up the phone and called Help Me Howard.

Aida Hernandez: “I thought it was lost, that money, so it’s good. Very good. Thank you.”

Evelyn Medina: “Thank you so much.”

Glad we could help, Aida.

Now, it’s a reminder for all of us: check your bank accounts and credit cards to make sure money isn’t going where you don’t want it to go. If you sign a contract, read it, or have someone you trust read it for you, because contracts are written by the business for the business, not to protect you. 

A problem giving you a work out? Want that weight lifted off your shoulders? Don’t sweat it, contact us. We may not be in tip-top shape, but when it comes to helping, we aren’t dumbbells. Well, I can’t speak for Howard. 

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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