Like many gyms, Fitness Connection in North Carolina charges members an annual fee for “maintenance.” Unlike most gyms, they had something go terribly wrong this year when they charged that fee. It seemed to lack a decimal point, so members saw $2,990 charged to their cards instead of $29.99.
The fault didn’t lie with the gym, though: they ultimately blamed a third-party payment processor, Vantiv. Indeed, a news report out of California also blames Vantiv for a similar overcharge at a Gold’s Gym in Palm Springs, California. A reader who lives in the area tells us that Fitness Connection locations were formerly Gold’s Gyms.
The processor and the gyms insist that customers were never really charged amounts large enough to buy a home elliptical machine. The four-figure fees were only preauthorizations, not actual charges. That’s not very comforting for customers who use debit cards, since preauthorizations have a very real effect on bank account balances. Members in California saw amounts as high as $8,000 preauthorized on their cards.
Some Fitness Connection customers billed $2,900 fee [WRAL] (Thanks, Chris!)