| Apr 11, 2012
Ok. This kind of crap happens to everybody. Get over it. It’s just the way things are. We must accept it.
THAT IS WRONG
Times are tough. Most of us have got to cut and trim the budget. You’d like to do this or that but when it’s not there, You don’t. 15 months ago my wife and daughter cancelled their gym membership in person.
The $39.00 a month was a decent deal. It was a nice gym I’m told. But other things were more important. My wife was pretty much unable to go to the gym at the time for medical reasons. My daughter could get pretty much the same services from the university where she attends.
You make adjustments.
You know how these things work I hope.
They always have to charge you for one more month if you didn’t cancel of the first Tuesday with an even date in a month not ending in “er” etc. Well the period came and went and they kept charging for a cancelled membership. Make time to go back to the gym to cancel and straighten it out.
“No Problem. It’s fixed. Sorry about that. Somebody must have done something wrong the first time.”
One month later the “cha ching” happens again.
Ok. Call the bank and put a stop to the ETF. After a miserable wait and a beat down call center process you get it sorted out. The pretty thievery will cease. The bank actually does its job.
Check the next statement just in case and to make sure.
You’re good to go. NOT!
Life is busy and our last year was REALLY busy in very unexpected ways. Stuff happens. Anyone would miss the finer details when bigger life critical stuff is going on. A month later the charges start again with a slightly different name on the statement.
Another couple of months go by and you notice it’s happening again. Off you go to the gym to straighten it out. Now you’re pretty lit up. You cancel again. Inexplicably the records from the first two times you cancelled never happened and don’t exist.
This is impossible
“We never and in fact cannot make those kind of mistakes. We have strict corporate policies and procedures in place to make sure that can never happen.”
Meanwhile the local manager is probably circular filing the cancellations to keep her job and keep up her numbers up for corporate in the New Economy.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that the largest financial loss ever suffered by a Las Vegas casino wasn’t from gambling losses. It actually happened because of something exactly like that - the issue was tax forms.
Gym Corporate is also cutting expenses. It’s the New Economy. It outsources the actual financial transactions to a more probable data processing spinoff backed by a state of the art call center. The charges appear to come from someone or anyone else other than the people responsible for doing it.
You catch on and a call the transaction provider. These are the people who are actually taking the funds.
“It must be a screw up. We’ll look into it.”
Everyone is very pleasant, careful to explain all the procedures they have to follow. No one of course does anything of substance. They don’t have the authority.
“What do you not understand about STOP charging me?”
“It’s really not our responsibility sir. We just perform the service for our customers and send the money to them. They are responsible for the charges.”
“Why then is your firm making the charges and taking the money against my stated and written request if they are responsible?”
Even Kafka would be depressed.
Back to the gym…
“Do you have a receipt for your cancellation?” Who’d keep a receipt of a gym cancellation? No one remembers getting a receipt in the first place.
The implication is there is some triple part official form you need to cancel a membership. Of course, those kinds of suitable legal forms are all over the place to start the process.
They’re apparently always out of the ones to cancel memberships.
“We complained to corporate, but they haven’t sent us any in months.”
The smart manager probably pitches them into the dumpster out back when they arrive or keeps them under lock and key in the bottom drawer of her desk.
If someone gets really hot, she discovers them.
“Sorry. No one ever cancels around here. People lose track of them. The front people are supposed to tell me if they run out. But it happens so rarely…”
Why they heck is the gym pretty much empty?
By the way, if she’ll also probably neglect to tell you that if this is a "family membership" each individual person must now cancel their membership with the appropriate form in person no matter who is paying for it.
But we didn't renew the membership - You did.
God forbid any of the members of this gym should die.
It would take an Act of the US Congress, a Ruling by the US Supreme Court, and an Executive Order by the US President to stop the charges for services I don’t want from appearing on my checking account.
Taxes don’t stop when you die….Trust me on that one. They just find another account to charge against when the funds in mine run out.
Meanwhile you’re responsible for the interest and penalties that are twice the price of the monthly service you signed up for and dared to attempt to cancel in the New Economy.
It Ain’t So New, Don’t Ya Know