I Canceled Membership, But Gym Keeps Giving My Credit Card A Workout

After placing his membership at LA Fitness on hold while he decided whether or not to cancel it, Jason took the plunge, hopping through the gym’s hoops by filling out a cancellation form. Jason stopped using the credit card that LA Fitness was auto-billing, then checked back several months later to see the gym had continued billing him the $10 frozen account fee.

He writes:

I was a member at LA Fitness for at least a year. I loved it and enjoyed the healthy benefits.

A while back I started getting serious about my spending and my money and cut out extra stuff.

One of the last things to go was my gym membership. I was overweight, but I noticed I was definitely losing it and the gym was helping.

I froze my account for a few months, but one day realized that I should outright cancel it. I followed the procedure and went online. I printed out my cancellation form and mailed it in.
My account was linked to a credit card that I don’t even use anymore. I just logged in to see my balance and make a payment and decided to see my recent activity. And I see LA FITNESS has been charging my card for the past few months. Thankfully it’s not the full amount, but the $10 “frozen account” fee. I’m entitled to at least $30 back, but I also know it is my responsibility to check up on this stuff.

Though convenient, automatic billing has a way of lulling you to sleep, causing the inattentive to pay bills without knowing. It’s a good idea to check out your statements monthly — if not more often online — for unintended charges.

What’s the worst you’ve been burned by an auto-biller?

Comments

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  1. Skellbasher says:

    I really think that it’s pre-requisite for gyms and health clubs to have a policy to continues to charge you until you die. I can’t think of a single person I know who has ever been able to cancel a gym membership without having a problem.

    • El_Red says:

      All it takes, a law stating you need a contract with ”fitness center” to be billed. As soon as contract ends, you need to get a new one, before being charged again on auto-bill. (A contract can be a month/3 months… long, if necessary).
      This is the current state of affairs in Quebec. And I have never, ever had any issues canceling. And I do not know anyone that had that problem.

      • MattO says:

        I actually had a very positive experience with a gym. I signed up, paid the fee on signup day, around $60 for the prorated month i was in, and the following month – then i was never charged again. I think they never put the paperwork through….but i ended up with a free membership. I would have felt bad about it, however, i never actually went after the first 2 months, so i felt like i wasnt using it anyways. Funny enough, the gym ended up going out of business, and they never back charged me for their mistake.

        Now I am a member of the gym at my office, which has GREAT policies including no contracts, cancel anytime, freeze account anytime…no signup fees, and it comes directly out of my paycheck, which is great. I go 3-4 days a week because it is in my office :_)

    • SimonGodOfHairdos says:

      Actually, Planet Fitness was very easy to quit, but that’s the only one I’ve never had a problem with.

  2. JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

    I HATE LA FITNESS!!! Everyone that works there (with the exception of my ex-trainer Toby) was a total tard and could care less if you had a complaint. I can’t tell you how many times I had an issue with billing and they didn’t even try to “take it seriously”.

    Did the rep explain to the OP that there was a $10 freeze fee? They told me this when I tried to cancel. Chances are they won’t give you $30 back for the past 3 months because they’ll argue to you that they told you about that fee.

  3. Pax says:

    To the OP: cancel the old card, get a new one, move on.

  4. sonneillon says:

    Charge back.

    I sent a certified letter to LA fitness and they still kept trying to bill me. It’s a nightmare. Anytime I join a gym these days I pay cash, and refuse to sign a re-occurring commitment.

    • GeekChicCanuck says:

      THIS. This is how my husband and I handle gym fees. Our last gym was a bit puzzled and kept asking why we didn’t trust them. That would be “no”.

      • mrhappydude says:

        i use my credit card , they will actually investigate misapplied payments, where a debt card your pretty much on your own

  5. RedOryx says:

    Lesson learned: When attempting to cancel any kind of service, don’t just mail the form in and assume it will go through. You gotta follow up with that kind of stuff.

  6. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    That cat is gray like the clouds. If flung sufficiently high from a cat catapult, it would blend in with the clouds before landing on its feet.

  7. SugarMag says:

    I hate auto-billing/auto debit and avoid it – BUT – I’ve never known gyms to gave any other option*

    (Until this year. A gym here allows you to pay 1 year up front – but charges you $60 more total for the year for the “privilege”. I dont care, I paid it (anything to avoid auto bill)

    • El_Red says:

      Can’t you lie and tell that you do not have credit/debit card? And pay cash?
      Or ”waive the fee or I’ll go elsewhere” threat ? Wouldn’t that work?

      • SugarMag says:

        smart replies. This gym charges only $20/mn though ifyou sign up for one year or $10/mn if you sign up for two years. It is around the corner from work and cheap so I didnt think of those other options, good call.

        I never think of saying “I dont have a debit or credit card”.

    • tbiscuit360 says:

      That’s weird! It is usually cheaper to pay up front since they know they have your business for such a period of time as opposed to not knowing if you do monthly for instance.

  8. Hi_Hello says:

    how did he know they got his letter? I say they only own him 10 bucks instead of the 30 bucks. He should’ve make sure the account was cancel and brought it to their attention after the first charge happen that wasn’t suppose to happen.

  9. jblather says:

    Easy way to stop this – call your credit card company and tell them you lost the card. You’ll immediately get a new card with a new number. All future recurring charges like this LA Fitness nonsense will halt. You keep the same credit card account and you don’t have to cancel your credit card.

    Don’t tell the CC company you’re doing this to stop a recurring charge. They’ll ask you where and when you lost it and which purchase you made last. Be prepared to answer these questions.

  10. Thassodar says:

    Sounds like someone needs to flex their right to cancel their card.

  11. Ed says:

    My credit card allows me to set up alternate CC#’s and I use those like crazy for any auto-billing or new web sites. I’ve not been burned yet, but if I am, it is easy enough to turn the number off, thus cutting the vendor off.

  12. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    I’m a bit confused. Did he not think he was going to have to pay a “Frozen Account” fee?This is SOP with LA Fitness – you have to pay a fee if you want them to freeze your account, and they typically do it in increments of 3 months at $10/month (verus the $40 I used to pay). It’s in the paperwork that you signed when you joined the gym, and it should also be on their website. It also, moreover, should’ve been explained properly to you when you decided to freeze, but that is more of a CSR issue than anything.

    I’ve had LA Fitness for about 4 years and frozen it twice – both times, I have had to pay this “frozen” fee, so I wouldn’t expect to get money back. This isn’t “untended” – it’s perfectly legit and a part of their program…

    • somedaysomehow says:

      I wish there were a nicer way to say “RTFA.”

      He didn’t just freeze his account, he outright CANCELED his account AFTER having had it frozen. He canceled it three months ago. This seems pretty clear:

      “I froze my account for a few months, but one day realized that I should outright cancel it. I followed the procedure and went online. I printed out my cancellation form and mailed it in.”

  13. _joecrawford says:

    I am having the same issue right now!

  14. daemonaquila says:

    Well, the solution for $20 of the amount (must report within 60 days) and future problems is easy – contest the charge with the credit card company and then ask them to close and reopen a new card due to protect you from more fraudulent charges. The gym WILL have to take notice at that point.

    As some of the comments have pointed out, the best way to deal with this problem is to choose a gym where you can pay monthly – BY CHECK OR CASH. I unfortunately pay more for that “privilege” at my gym, but it’s totally worth it. If I’m going to be out of town a couple weeks during a month? No renewal at the normal time that month. I get back into town, and restart the membership, no fuss, no muss. I wind up saving a bunch of money, actually, because I travel a lot and wouldn’t be able to use the gym sometimes for an extended period. I wind up breaking even or coming out ahead over time even though my monthly charge is more.

  15. yessongs says:

    Reminds me of that FRIENDS episode where Chandler couldn’t quit the gym.

  16. Jimmy37 says:

    That’s why I don’t do autobilling, if I can help it.

  17. mykie says:

    When Gyms refuse to end billing with you (and not any of that bullshit “30-day notice” cash grab), they are flat out STEALING from you.

    Refuse to pay for any more than you use, a Gym membership is a service, NOT a rental. No gym has the right to charge you after you’ve cancelled service with them.

    If you’ve been charged by 24 Hour Fitness after formally cancelling your business relationship, you may be entitled to part of the Class Action lawsuit:

    http://friedmanclassaction.com/

    I hope this helps!

  18. hills says:

    I stopped auto billing by LA Fitness – all I did was call amex and ask them to “block the merchant” and no more problems… (cancelled my membership too, but this was a good backup plan as they did attempt to charge an extra month).

  19. coren says:

    I am pretty sure Auto Billing is not the real problem here, especially as 90 percent of the time you have no other option with gyms if you want a membership. Perhaps the question should be advice for Jason rather than auto billing stories that don’t’ have much to do with this? If he were getting bills and collection notices in the mail, would the question be how bad has a company mistakenly billed you?

  20. JohnJ says:

    I never, ever, use automatic billing.

    Once, after I quit a health club, they continued sending me bills. When all else failed, I wrote them that if they sent me one more bill, I was going to file a formal complaint with the State Attorney General. The bills stopped coming…

  21. dush says:

    I really don’t understand why people setup automatic billing.
    I guess some people are way too busy to make a phone call or write a check once a month.

  22. physics2010 says:

    That terrific. 24 hour fitness used to do that all the time. They just lost a lawsuit recently where they now get to give me three free months. In 5 years the Op too may get three free moths for LA Fitness.