BEWARE Paramount Acceptance Group and AVOID this company at all costs! If you are looking for a gym membership, verify who handles their billing before signing any contracts. Avoiding this company will save you not only money, but months worth of aggravation and headaches! I'm sorry for the long story, but there's a LOT to complain about!
My horrible experience started in May 2007, in Birmingham, AL where I was living at the time. I work 3rd shift with the company Im with. So I was looking for a gym with long hours where I could go to during hours that I was awake. I found Riviera Fitness. I did a couple of feeler sessions at the gym to see how I liked it. The staff there was wonderful, and I was more than happy to sign a contract for a membership.
The only problem for me was that I knew ahead of time that there was a good possibility that I would be moving out of the state within a few months. So I asked up front, before signing any contracts, what my options were, and if I would be able to transfer my membership if I did leave. I was told that it was easy to transfer my membership to an associated gym if there was one in the area I would be moving. Unfortunately, upon looking at the list of available locations, there were no gyms in the areas where I believed I would be moving. The manager of the gym even called to verify this information, as well as the clause in the contract which states:
If the member moves out of town and is unable to transfer the contract to a comparable facility within 15 miles or if the health studio goes out of business and fails to provide facilities within 5 miles, Buyer may cancel by proof of verifiable address change and receive a pro-rata refund of any prepayments.
Since I did not know for certain at the time if I would actually be moving, I felt confident that signing a 24 month contract would be no problem. I was able to receive the discounted rate, and there was no risk of losing my money should I be transferred., because I could either transfer my membership, or cancel without penalty.
I moved to Fort Myers, Florida in August. I called at the time that I was moving to verify that there were (as verified before even signing the contract) no locations in the area to which I could transfer my membership. A week or two after arriving in Florida, I faxed all of my information, along with my membership number, to the number I was given.
As I mentioned previously, I work 3rd shift. And as such, the time zone difference means that Paramount Acceptance is only open during hours when I am asleep. I never managed to call and speak to a person to verify the receipt of my fax. But since I didnt hear anything at all from them, by phone or by mail, requesting money from me, I figured that everything went fine, and that my membership had been cancelled.
I was wrong. In MARCH of 2008, 7 FULL MONTHS AFTER I HAD MOVED, I received a phone call waking me up in regards to my Riviera Fitness Membership. I thought that they were trying to offer me a promotion to join again, and replied I dont have a membership. I cancelled when I moved from Alabama in August of last year. I was told that my fax was never received, and that I owed them money. I replied that my contract states that the contract could be cancelled if I could not transfer my membership. I was told that all I had to do was re-send the fax, and send proof of the date I moved, and that it would be taken care of.
I resent the fax. Again, I sent my fax in the middle of the night during my work hours. This time I kept my confirmation sheet showing that the fax had successfully been transmitted. I tried unsuccessfully for a few days to stay awake and call the company to confirm receipt of the fax. But, days turned into weeks, and I heard nothing from them Again (and this is where I am REALLY kicking myself), I assumed that surely NOW everything was taken care of, as I wasnt being harassed for money.
Until the end of MAY, when I received yet another phone call. But this time stating that I would be sent to collections for my delinquency of payment. I refuted, saying that I had sent the information multiple times, and that I even had proof that the second fax was successfully transmitted. I was told that I needed to send the information AGAIN. They also claimed that I would be held responsible for the charges up until the time that they received the information, regardless of the date of my move. I was outraged.
I sent the information AGAIN, as requested, along with the second fax I sent (complete with the confirmation page showing a successful transmission), a copy of my drivers license showing my Florida address, AND I went to my storage shed to dig out the dated address verification form that the post office sends to you when you move. It was about a week or so before I was actually able to speak to a person at Paramount Acceptance to confirm that my fax had indeed been received. But they were still insisting that I owed money. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to another line where I left a message explaining the issue at hand.
I was called back later, by a woman who explained to me that their faxes are processed online, and that they receive the faxes like e-mails. She actually said the words to me sometimes the server drops them. She also said that it was my responsibility to make sure that the information was received, even though they arent available to speak with during hours when I can talk to anyone. I was trying to figure out why I was being held responsible for the charges, when it was clearly not my fault that the information was never received or processed. She hung up on me during the phone call. I didn't have a phone number for this supervisor, because I was transfered, and was unable to call her back directly.
I was getting nowhere. So I decided that I would try to obtain the phone records for the time when I sent the original fax, to prove that it was sent. Unfortunately, a few days ago, after a couple of weeks of asking questions, I was told that due to the complexity of finding that information (the fax was sent from a FedEx Kinkos), they would only produce that information upon receiving a court order. Since then, Ive been talking with friends, trying to find out what I can do about the situation.
But imagine my surprise when I received a letter from Federal Recovery Services, Inc. stating that I had 30 days from the date on the letter to provide payment in full, or I would be held liable for all collection costs in addition to my outstanding debt. The date on the letter was 06/03/2008. THE POSTMARK ON THE ENVELOPE IS 06/25/2008!! THREE FULL WEEKS AFTER THE DATE ON THE LETTER!!! Of course, coming to South Florida from Utah, the letter did not arrive until 07/03/2008, which means I didnt even see it until 07/04/2008 after I got home from work! AFTER the 30 days had already passed! On a National Holiday no less, so I wasnt unable to contact Anyone to speak to regarding the matter!! I will probably have to resort to obtaining a court order for the phone records after all.
THESE PEOPLE ARE BULLIES. THEY FEEL THAT THEY CAN PRESSURE YOU INTO PAYING THEM MORE MONEY THAN THEY ARE ENTITLED TO BY RESORTING TO SHADY TACTICS. I am NOT going to allow them to scare me into paying them anything. I have documentation PROVING that they are untrustworthy, and they Still have the nerve to place the blame on me! STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS!
Fort Myers, Florida