Teen Tricked into Trouble
This is a story about an eighteen year old teenager by the name of Lindsey Boam who works in JCPenney's as a part time worker. Endless options, College, SATs, etc, are presented to her as long as they fit within her budget. Before deciding to dedicate her time to her schooling to further her education and career options, she wanted to upgrade her gym to LA Fitness. $178.00 as an entrance fee and each month after, $39.99 would be taken from her credit card as a monthly due. Lindsey had to wait a few weeks before she could pay the entrance fee but she did and now she is a member of LA Fitness.
As gratitude, LA Fitness allows one free session with a personal trainer and Lindsey took advantage of the offer and had her free session with a personal trainer by the name of Keely. Keely was very nice and Lindsey and Keely connected as friends, first through Keely bad mouthing her boss Charles Jones. Lindsey told Keely personal details of her fitness plan and Keely understood and asked Lindsey if she would like a personal trainer. Lindsey didn't but Keely insisted that Lindsey would not make her goal if she didn't have a personal trainer.
This is where the trouble started.
Keely explained that for $309.00, Lindsey could have 64 sessions in a year. Lindsey, not understanding what kind of deal she was getting, still said no because money was tight and Keely understood but still persisted. Keely said that she could split the payments into two, pay one now and the other payment in a month. This occurred on 01/06/08, so the second payment would be on 02/06/08. Lindsey, still hesitant, said yes. Lindsey got her Credit card while Keely set the payment plan up. Unfortunately the longest they could extend the second payment period was 01/21/08. Lindsey was worried that she would charge too much on her Credit Card and she didn't want too many charges so her checks could cover what she charged to her credit card but Lindsey decided that she could pay it off as long as she didn't charge any other expensive things to her Visa (More than $20.00) (Note: Lindsey was not close to her limit but when she got the Credit card, she decided that her limit would be no more than one of her checks minus rent, about $150.00)
Keely asked Lindsey to swipe her Visa Card and then sign the electronic signature box, (If you've ever had a Credit Card or a Visa, you understand that Visa requires a signature to verify that the Card holder is indeed the card owner.) This was procedure to Lindsey so she didn't think twice when signing the electronic signature box, accepting the price of $154.50, (half of the total payment.) (After you swipe and sign, you receive a receipt, which is what Lindsey thought was printed and handed to her. She tossed her receipt in her bag like she does any other receipt and left. (Note: Lindsey didn't have the contract in front of her to read until she signed, the signature was transferred, and then printed. Keely made no mention of a contract.)
1/19/08 Lindsey had not been back to LA Fitness for any reason and she had not used the personal trainer services at all. Lindsey had been thinking about canceling the services and so she called LA Fitness and talked to a personal trainer by the name of Eric. She asked that the personal trainer services she paid for be cancelled and she be refunded. Eric said that he could not grant a refund. Lindsey accepted that and asked that since she did not use their services she wanted to cancel and keep the other half of the money, ($154.50) where they can keep the other half, ($154.50). Eric then transferred Lindsey to speak with the manager of Body and Change (personal trainers), Charles Jones.
Charles Jones explained that he could not refund Lindsey at all. Lindsey accepted that she would be paying $309.00 for absolutely nothing but she explained to Charles that they could have the $309.00 but she still wanted to cancel and not use any of their personal trainer services or sessions. Charles Jones called Corporate and called Lindsey back with astonishing news. If Lindsey were to cancel, she would have to pay $900.00. This was confusing to Lindsey because she only had to pay $309.00 for the full services, 64 sessions. Charles Jones told Lindsey that she should come in and use the services any way so she doesnt have to pay $900.00.
They hung up and Lindsey decided to take a second look at her receipt only to find out that it was a contract that Keely purposely did not tell Lindsey. Her electronic signature was transferred on the contract so therefore Lindsey would never have to look at the contract. The contract is a $2069.00 binding contract that Lindsey would have to pay in the next 11 months. Payments of $160.00 would be taken from her Credit card on the 28th of each month beginning February 28th, 2008.
Keely understood that Lindsey was having problems with money and so Keely purposely did not explain the contract, $2069.00, the payments, or the three days to cancel after Lindseys signature was transferred onto the contract with out her knowledge. On top of the deceptive things Keely did, binding Lindsey into a contract she cannot afford, it was also apparent that Lindsey would not be able to afford a lawyer being only a part time JCPenney employee.
Lindsey does what she can to get more hours at JCPenneys so she can fight this fraud. She has contacted three different Lawyer but only once and only over the phone because any more advice or time from the Lawyers would cost a lot of money. ($200.00 for a letter from one Lawyer, thats it. Other services would cost more)
This is all because of a contract Lindsey would never have agreed to if Keely would have told the truth.
For the next year, the options that were presented to Lindsey before will have to wait because her checks from her work will be going to pay off her Credit card plus her present bills.
"Charles Jones said he would do what he could to get me off the Fraudulent Contract but in the end it all comes down to money, whether it's corporate laughing at the little guy because they have my money and there is nothing I can do about it, or it's Keely and Charles Jones with their big fat check for screwing the little guy."
Please help me, don't let them get away with this. I would say that next time I will read the contract but I would need the contract in front of me to read it.
I am good with money, and I don't get in over my head with purchases, on top of that, I have great integrity and I have not done anything to make anyone believe otherwise.
I'm not asking for money, I'm asking for someone, anyone, to help me make sure this doesn't happen again and to expose LA Fittness, Body of Change, Keely, Charles Jones, and Corporate, for what they really are.
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