Court Orders Bally To Send Refunds To 1,000 Texans

The Texas attorney general has advised Bally Total Fitness to send refunds to 1,000 customers it bombarded with false invoices, the Dallas Morning News reports.

The story doesn’t specify the total amount of the refunds, which vary depending on the amounts Bally billed various customers for money they didn’t owe. Between summer 2009 and March 2010, the attorney general says Bally sent bills labeled “past due,” threatening failure to pay would damage customers’ credit ratings.

A Bally spokesman tells the newspaper the company did nothing wrong but is just refunding the money in the settlement for the hell of it:

Although Bally denies all allegations made by the Texas Attorney General’s office, we have chosen to resolve this matter consensually in order to minimize the cost and disruption of litigation. Notably, our settlement does not involve any finding of any wrongdoing on the part of Bally, nor were any civil penalties imposed. We are pleased to put this matter behind us so that we can continue to focus on enhancing our member experience.

Nearly 1,000 Bally Total Fitness customers to get refunds [The Dallas Morning News]
(Thanks, lareign!)

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  1. sonneillon says:

    Sounds more like they are resolving this issue because they don’t want to go to jail for mail fraud.

  2. sasquatch28 says:

    too bad they weren’t forced to repay double the amount or least have to pay interest since the money wasn’t theirs to begin with.

  3. apd09 says:

    does not involve any finding of any wrongdoing on the part of Bally, nor were any civil penalties imposed

    oh no, I know tons of people who just pay money to others because they feel like doing it and it was a the right thing to do. I really hate when this is written in legal documents for the courts, because A) they admit that there was something not completely legal or ethical, and, B) they are making restitution to people for something that happened.

    How does that their agreeing to pay a settlement give them the right to say that their was no finding of wrong doing? They basically are saying if we went to court we would lose, so we were not found guilty but we owe money because we like giving money away.

    Our legal system is one of the best in the world, but it also has moments where you shake your head and say even a 4 year old knows when they did something wrong and after being caught doing it they admit guilt.

    • sonneillon says:

      The company is agreeing preemptively to avoid a judgment which would make it possible for them to be sued a lot everywhere. So yes you are right they don’t have to admit wrong doing, They are also doing some shady stuff that they do not want to come out during discovery. So they give in and give back all the money which is what the AG wants so nothing further is pursued. It is one of those things where they got what they want so they won’t push the issue further. It sucks but on the flip side the AG does not want to spend millions of dollars collecting thousands.

    • Gulliver says:

      If the cost of a lawyer will be more than the amount of the money you pay, then why wouldn’t you settle? The world is filled with people who go broke based on a “principle” as opposed to an intelligent business decision. I have sued people and taken less than I should have gotten because cash in hand is better than waiting to collect on a judgement that may take YEARS to actually collect. If an actual crime occurred the AG of Texas is guilty of bribery. Imagine saying I will pay the family of a murder victim $1,000,000 to not prosecute.

      • peebozi says:

        why should the choice be given to a corporation?

        New Law: If you’re a publicly traded corporation you must defend against lawsuits. ok, they’ll jack up the prices of their products to cover this expense but then they may price themselves out of a competitive pricepoint for their service.

        oh yea, and no more bribes to politicians.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        “If the cost of a lawyer will be more than the amount of the money you pay, then why wouldn’t you settle?” Only in the United States. We are the only country that allows this sort of trial court action such as in this story to go on year after year. Had this been Europe, Bally would have had their balls handed to them long before they ever got to court for sending out notices such as these.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Our parking department uses similar language for dismissing a ticket, even if it was issued incorrectly:

      “The Office of the Parking Clerk has reviewed your request for dismissal for the ticket listed below. We believe that the violation was issued in accordance with the City Traffic and Parking Department rules and regulations.

      The office recognizes your complaint and has administratively dismissed the violation. However any other similarly issued violations will not be dismissed.”

      I guess most people are just happy to have the ticket dismissed, despite the slightly pissy tone of the letter.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This is why lawsuits should not be settled. Then companies can say they didn’t do anything wrong and are just trying to put it behind them. Bullshit.

  5. ConsumerPop says:

    OT but I don’t care. I hate Bally’s. The ones in NY are absolutely disgusting and I have no idea how they haven’t been shut down my the DOH yet.

  6. Hotscot says:

    “The mailings sent between summer 2009 and March 2010 threatened to harm consumer credit ratings if they did not pay”

    For heaven’s sake ..this sounds like extortion….

    Could they still be sued by individuals?

  7. 99 1/2 Days says:

    Well, there’s still the complaints against the FTC, and the US postal service for mail fraud. They aren’t off the hook yet. You can see the “bills” they sent in the link below. Not sure why Phil didn’t link it as it’s definitely relevant.
    http://consumerist.com/2009/09/bally-sends-fake-past-due-bills-to-ex-members-to-get-them-to-rejoin.html

    • Conformist138 says:

      Wow… this is the same story, only complete with the letter and the intent… hey phil, you phailed!

  8. peebozi says:

    why would they admit wrongdoing? when you have no ethics or morals it’s difficult to do something wrong. and when the STATE’S attorney is unwilling to pursue an admission you’ve got our fuct up system of corporatocracy.

  9. Clyde Barrow says:

    Back in ’86 a buddy of mine asked me to go to a new gym where we lived at the time and we were in our early 20s. When we entered the gym, and please don’t ask me why, but we signed our names and gave them our SS#. At the time though this wasn’t a big deal to do because there really was no such thing as someone stealing your identity as its known today. Back then, it was only a number and it was given out like candy to a kid. We never did sign up for a membership but lo and behold, a few months later we got notices that we owed $100.00 and if we didn’t pay, the past due would go on our credit records. I paid but looking back I wished I hadn’t.

    I learned two lessons from that one single moment and one of them was never to trust gym’s. I couldn’t tell you how many similar stories I’ve read about gym’s ripping off people.

  10. jpdanzig says:

    Bally’s has had the reputation for pulling sleazeball shit on customers for years, coast to coast. The U.S. attorney general should get involved — and either tell them to shape up permanently or shut them down for good.