After almost one year, I decided to terminate my membership to the World Gym located in the city of Glendale, CA.
On 7/22/08, I called World Gym and asked what procedures were needed to cancel my membership. A representative said I would have to speak to Mariah and immediately transferred me to Mariah's voice mail. I left a message asked that she call me at my cellular.
Because Mariah never returned my call, on 7/23/08, I again called the World Gym and asked to speak to Mariah. I explained to the representative that agreement I signed one-year earlier was scheduled to expire on 7/26/08, but that unless I cancelled, I would be converted to a month-to-month membership and payments would continue to be debited from my checking account on the 26th of each month. I also requested that I not be transferred to Mariah's voice mail.
I was placed on hold and a few seconds later, Mariah picked up and asked why I wanted to cancel my membership. I told her that the gym is poorly maintained and that on any given day, free weights are strewn about the gymnasium floor along with bars and handles for use on stationary machines.
I told her that members are not instructed to return equipment and the personnel at the gym, seem unmotivated in maintaining the appearance of the place.
Mariah instructed that I write a letter stating that I wish to cancel my membership. She also said I must include a check in the amount of $35.00 made payable to World Gym and that I must enclose my photo membership with my letter, so that I can no longer use the facilities. I asked Mariah if I should state my reason for requesting cancellation. She curtly replied, "If you want."
Commensurate with her instructions, I wrote a letter which I placed in an envelope along with my membership card and a check in the amount of $35.00. I drove the post office located in the city of Glendale, where I dropped of the envelope.
On 7/28/08, I reviewed my checking account balance and noticed the amount of $29.00 had again been debited for my account though I followed the instructions provided by Mariah which should have cancelled my membership.
The fee which was debited from my account paid for membership for the of 7/26/08 through 8/25/08. Because I returned my membership card in accompaniment of the request cancelling my membership, I had no way of using the facilities (which I did not want to use). Furthermore, the newest debit was unauthorized by me.
The following morning (7/29/08) I called Mariah. This time she was curt and dismissive. She confirmed she received my letter and assured me she initiated processing of my request but due to time constraints, could not cancel my membership and "had to" charge my account for an additional month, despite the obvious fact that World Gym was now in possession of my membership card.
I told her that I was perplexed by her actions since I issued a check in good faith and provided her with a personal check in the amount of $35.00 which is the fee required by her company to cancel membership. I pointed out that not only had I issued a check in the amount of $35.00 but I had now been charged an additional $29.00 which brought the total paid to World Gym for the month of July, to $54.00.
In a cavalier tone, she said there was nothing she could do. When I reminded her that I returned my membership card, she replied, "You can still use the gym. Just show your license at the front desk."
I asked if she had intended on informing me that I was being charged an additonal month for membership and that I could continue using the facilities by merely showing the desk clerk my driver license.
Mariah replied, "You're going to get a letter telling you this, in a day or two." Mariah then said she had to go and quickly, hung-up.
I was charged membership for the period of 7/26/08 through 8/25/08. I did not call her until 7/29/08, which meant that I had already lost 3 additional days for the newly charged period. Despite my request, no one from World Gym including Mariah, ever called to inform me of what they had done.
Because Mariah chose to debit my checking account without my authorization, for an additional month of service, I contacted my financial institution and requested a stop payment on the check.
Based on World Gym's rules, I paid $35.00 to cancel my membership. They chose to charge an additional $29.00. If I cancelled my check, they were still in possession of the $29.00 debited from my account which left me with an owing balance of $6.00.
On 9/08/08, I received a billing statement from ASF International, requesting payment in the amount of $78.00 for membership to World Gym located in the city of Glendale, CA. The itemized charges referenced in the bill, were:
$29.00 Membership Dues for the period of 8/26/08-9/25/08
$29.00 Membership Dues for the period of 7/26/08-8/25/08
$10.00 Late Fee
$10.00 Manual Billing Fee
Mariah, reinstated my membership despite the fact that I followed her procedures. I sent an email to ASF, lodging a complaint against Mariah and World Gym. A very polite representative replied, apologizing for what I had been subjected to but explained that because they are a contracted billing firm, they cannot close the record on my account.
I have now filed a complaint with the office of the California State Attorney General and recently received a letter advising me that they are conducting an investigation of my allegations.
Mariah's inexcusable actions leave the impression that she has deluded herself into believing she is above reproach. Evidently, she is ignorant about what constitutes ethical conduct and seems unaware that abusing your customers will undermine the success of any business. She also seems to lack the intellectual ability to understand what is meant when someone requests cancellation of their membership from her poorly maintained gym.
Los Angeles, California