My basic story is that I cancelled my gym membership in 2006, and in April 2010 out of the blue I received a call from a collection agency to inform me that I owed Fitness One $1,300.
I was shocked of course, there was no notice of renewal, no attempts to contact me or try to regain any of the monthly fees. I explained that I had cancelled but wasn't sure if I had the paperwork after all this time. They of course don't care, they then continued to harass, pressure me to settle, also threatening legal action.
I in the meantime tried to a) find proof that I had cancelled and unfortunately i do think I had thrown it out late in 2009. b) tried to see what else I could do to fight the wrongness of this. I found out the contact details for the owner of that location and she promised to look in to it. She did say that she had a team of people reviewing the memberships and that perhaps it would in turn reveal my cancellation.
This little bit of information sort of tied in with my conversation with the collection agency agent. He revealed during his 'good cop' moment that he had a file with over 2,000 names on it. My belief is that they are running through all old memberships in the hope that people have lost their cancellations papers.
My complaint is that they cannot prove why it is that I owe $1,300 other than they have jacked up my monthly membership fees. No notice ever, i was at the same address, same details for all of those 4 years as I have only moved recently. Nothing, zip...this and other people's similar experiences lead me to believe that this isn't an isolated experience, but another way to make money. The collection agency system frightens people, it isolates them and makes us all vulnerable especially with how the credit score is so important to people. Its unconscionable that this continues, its a rip off, a mugging in broad daylight, and number people that this effects must be growing. Enough!