About 6 years ago I filled out a card (stupid me)and won a 2 week FREE membership at Ballys Total Fitness. I went in for my free 2 weeks and was instantly asked to join. There was a brand new Ballys being built around the corner from my home in Philadelphia (Aramingo Ave.). At the time Ballys had set-up a make shift gym right next door to their new location. This space was big enough for about 20 people to work out in comfortably.
When I went in to the make shift gym for me free 2 weeks I sat down with one of their sales people. He presented me with a deal and told me to sign up right then and there to make sure I got the best possible deal. The deal was surposed to be month to month at 54 dollars. I said ok. During that time I was never told that I was signing a 3 year deal nor was I told that they take a bank loan out on you. This I found out later from a Ballys employee.
That's not really what I was pissed about (well yes I am). As I said I was told the NEW gym would open in about a month. This was March. I then found out that there was a chance that the gym would not open until sometime in May. When I found out I stopped going to Ballys. I was not paying to work out in a make shift gym for 2 months.
I went in a told the sales person at Ballys I wanted to cancel due to the fact the gym was not open. He said that I had to right a letter to the Corp office . I did. First I was told that since there was a Ballys in Philadelphia (within 25 miles) that I was not able to cancel my membership. I don't drive and never have so you can see that this would NOT work. The bus ride would have taken at least 30 to 45 minutes.
I just stopped going and refused to pay. I figured since they did not have to live up to my expectations and fulfill they argeement I did not have to either. The sales person at the gym says he never told me about the gym's opening dates & that I would have to just go to another Ballys in Philadelphia. Now I know when you sign a it's binding. I was only 18 at the time, I didnt think I was going to taken for a ride like that.
I then started to get notices in the mail saying that since I was not going to the gym and If I wanted to cancel my account I would have to pay them 1900.00 plus dollars. I tried to contact and explain to them what happend thinking they might say want to practice good business and right THEIR wrong.
Guess what they DID NOT and they told me it was my fault. Now I will take some blame for not reading the whole contract, but at the same time the sales person should have told me the "IMPORTANT POINTS" of the contract.
Ok Flashed forward it's now 2006 and for the longest time I never recieved any notices. My credit report did show Ballys on it. This past month I got a letter saying that another collection agency had purchased my debt. I now owe over 3000.00 dollars. I called the collection agency. They were worse than Ballys. I explained to them my problem. They said OH WELL you owe and we want our money. The collection agency rep cursed at me, and made me feel like a Idiot. I was so mad I cursed her and her family the company & Ballys. I know it was wrong but you know It felt GREAT!. I told them it was a cold day in HELL before they would ever see a dime. I will go to my grave with this debt.
Is there anyone out there how has advice or is in the same boat? Is there a way I can have this removed from my report? Does anyone know how much longer this will show up on my report? Can this collection agency sell my debt to another so I keep getting asked for this money? Please don't respond if your going to tell me to "read the contract" or "it's your problem". I want sound advice.
P.s...I was never even given my FREE 2 weeks. They made me pay right away!
san francisco, California
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