My fiance (we'll call him Alex), purchased 25 training sessions totaling $1440 on our credit card in February of 2006. He never signed a contract or any paperwork when he purchased these sessions.
Soon after he purchased the sessions, Fitness Evolution fired his trainer Kim. He immediately asked for a refund, which was promptly refused stating that the sessions were transferable to another trainer, but not refundable. After asking to see a contract on this, he was refused any proof of a binding obligation. We disputed the charge on our credit card, and after a long 12-month battle with Fitness Evolution through Citibank, we eventually won the dispute. As it turns out, Fitness Evolution provided a forged contract that has a fictitious name at the top (my first name and the fake last name Dane) and a poorly forged signature of my fiance at the bottom. This forged document was what sealed the deal for Citibank, and they ultimately sided in our favor.
Last week, I received an email from the Vice President of Corporate Operations of Fitness Evolution stating that they were turning me over to a collections agency. After disputing the validity of this debt since I didn't even purchase the sessions or sign anything, AND it was already resolved through our respective merchant accounts, he threatened me with legal action if I did not either 1) pay the debt within 48 hours; or 2) pay the collections agency. After responding to the Vice President of Corporate Operations that I would not give in to his demands, and to not contact me further, he wrote back stating "Let me be clear, you are not the one responsible for the chargeback, Alex is".
Yet, Alex has not been contacted.
I contacted my attorney for advice, since the contract the Vice President of Corporate Operations produced showing the training sessions purchased was in the name of DANE instead of my correct last name of LANE, as well as the fact that it was not signed by me, but by someone forging my fiance's signature. My attorney advised me to file a BBB complaint, and to follow up with Fitness Evolution in writing, reminding them that it is illegal to contact anyone other than the person who owes the debt since they clearly stated that debt was not my responsibility in the email communication. It is also illegal to knowingly submit invalid debts to collections agencies. It is a HUGE violation of the Fair Debt Collections Act, and the Vice President of Corporate Operations (being very young and naive in fact he's a 22-year old college student) is putting the company he works for in serious risk of investigation by the Federal Trade Commission as well as the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. Yes, he broke the law, and I've informed him of it multiple times. No, he doesn't care.
You may wonder why they wouldn't have just forged a contract with Alex's name on it instead of a gross misspelling of mine. The reasoning is that the employee signing people up for training sessions for the first time, received a bonus. Since Alex was purchasing additional sessions, they used a fake name on the contract to make it look like a new customer so that they could collect the bonus. My previous statement will come as less of a surprise once it is revealed that Ray Lee, who was previously employed as a trainer/manager, was signing people up for sessions, but has an extensive criminal history (including financial crimes) dating prior to his employment at Fitness Evolution. He was fired from Fitness Evolution for embezzlement. His most recent criminal activity includes almost killing a boy through water-hazing, even though he wasn't a student at SMU, where the hazing took place. Here's a link to that story - http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/tv/stories/wfaa060626_wz_hazing.c49090f7.html. So, yea, Fitness Evolution has been known to hire criminals. Guess they don't know much about background checks. It's no shock to me at all that Ray could have forged this document, or anyone up there for that matter. All they care about is making money, and clearly they don't care if that money comes legally or not.
On July 4th, I received a letter from a collection agency stating addressed to DANE, that I owe this debt, even though I didn't purchase it, it wasn't in my name, I never signed a contract, I have written proof from the Vice President of Corporate Operations that it isn't my debt, and I never even set foot in the gym the month of February 2006 when those sessions were purchased. I've explained this to the Vice President of Corporate Operations many times, but it is clearly falling on deaf ears.
And here's the kicke'. This isn't even a debt for services rendered since the training sessions were NEVER USED. They are simply trying to retain a credit for trainer sessions they know we will never use, especially now that the harassment has gone this far. Neither I nor my fiance would feel safe walking into that gym. Not to mention, the location we used to attend in Plano has since been sold, and the nearest Fitness Evolution is 3 cities and 31 miles from where we live.
Talk about being ripped off. I'm still fighting this one. I'd rather spend $2000 in legal fees any day of the week than to give that company money they know they didn't rightfully earn.