Massage Membership Rubbed Me The Wrong Way

Megan tried to quit her membership with Massage Envy, a national chain, in person, but was told she’d need to provide a request in writing. After she jumped through that silly hoop she was stuck with a charge of $10 more than she anticipated. Then a company rep told she would still be billed automatically for the membership she canceled.

She writes:

After I showed up for the appointment I told the front desk person that I wished to cancel my membership after my final (12th) monthly charge, which was scheduled for later that month. She told me that they’d need a cancellation request in writing. When I explained that I was already there, in their office, explicitly stating my desire to cancel the membership she stood firm and insisted that they needed my request on paper and that I needed to include my reason for cancellation in the request. So I asked her for a sheet of paper, which she provided, and then I scribbled out my request.

This was NOT the most relaxing way to begin my massage. After the 1 1/2 hour session I was again at the front desk to leave a tip for the therapist on my credit card and to schedule my next appointment. When I asked how many hours of credit I had I was informed that I now had 2 available (down from 4) and that my 1 1/2 hour session “cost” me 2 hours’ worth of credit instead of the 1 1/2 that I had expected. I wasn’t told at the time that I made the appointment that my 1 1/2 hour session used the same 2 hour credit as a 2 hour session or else I would have scheduled the 2 hour session. When I explained this I was told that there was “nothing that they could do” to refund 1/2 of an hour massage credit and that my only option was to pay for 1 hour with 1 credit and the additional 1/2 hour with cash, which I reluctantly did.

For my final billing I noticed that I was charged $49 instead of the $39 membership price that they’d offered when I joined. I called to ask why the charge was $10 higher than I’d expected I was told that $39 was for the massage and an additional $10 was the membership fee (?) and that they’d been charging me $49 a month for the duration of the membership (I am obviously less than vigilant about checking my bank statements). Since a non-member can purchase a massage for $49 their pricing gives no added membership benefit except (as the rep so dutifully explained) that the $49 price is “locked in” just in case Massage Envy decides to raise their prices. Woo.

Due to all of the shady tactics I asked for confirmation that my membership had indeed been canceled after my final charge and was told that although my membership was expired that I was still set up for automatic monthly billing, which of course was what I thought that I was canceling when I canceled my membership. So even after my IN WRITING request to cancel, I was still going to be charged monthly.

I am fed up with Massage Envy and will never step foot into their “Wellness Centers” again.

Well, Megan, it seems that you got, in addition to a bunch of messages, a lesson on checking your bank statements. It’s interesting how that lesson is so rarely free…

This whole thing makes us wonder… is there any sort of membership that is actually painless to quit? Is it hard to quit Netflix? We don’t know because we can’t imagine ever doing so.

UPDATE: Reader Brian points out Megan could have expected this treatment because the company is following its clunky policy.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.