Angela Valdez has had an interesting experience with her former gym:
I just found out that after I canceled my account with Washington Sports Clubs last year, they created a new account and continued to deduct hundreds of dollars from my account. More than $700, actually. I should have noticed this, but the charges varied each month and didn’t say “Washington Sports Club” anywhere — so I missed it. After more than a week of phone haggling and bringing in documents, the club is refunding my money. I would also like them to grovel and send me on a trip to Paris.
You know what we’re going to say next, despite Angela’s very reasonable explanation as to why she didn’t catch it sooner: pay close attention to your monthly bank statement. Make it a habit to log in to your bank’s website once or twice a week, or use a free online service like Mint or PageOnce so that you can stay on top of what’s happening. This goes double if you’ve done any business with a gym or a company that demands some sort of recurring fee, or if you’ve authorized your cellphone company to automatically debit your monthly bill.
But also notice that Angela solved the problem herself (she wasn’t even the one who tipped us to this story) by being persistent and providing documentation—your two secret weapons when it comes to fighting, uh, what we’ll charitably call “clerical errors.”