Report: #618359

Complaint Review: Work Out World

  • Submitted: Mon, June 28, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, September 15, 2010
  • Reported By: Jen — Eatontown New Jersey U.S.A.
  • Work Out World
    2345 Rt 66
    Ocean, New Jersey
    United States of America

Work Out World Great facility if you know your way around a gym but impossible to cancel Ocean, New Jersey

*Author of original report: The Final Outcome

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I was being slammed with $480 monthly co-pays with physical therapy.  One of the therapists recommended WOW as I was looking for a cheaper alternative.  The contract stated that 2 free personal training sessions were included in the monthly dues $32.05.   I met with the trainer, who dropped the bomb, it would cost another $2,000 2 include these 2 personal training sessions each month.  I couldn't afford it and tried the "wing it" approach based on her recommendations.  I wound up tearing a muscle in my foot and 14 months later, still sleep with a brace and my mobility is just coming back.  So much for their professional trainers.  You really need to have experience and know your way around a gym.

Based on the doctor's orders, and the breach of contract I cancelled via email to the person I entered the contract with while simultaneously sending a copy regular mail.  I was billed $32.05 the next month, so I called to follow up on the cancellation notice.  This is when the fun began.  "call back later and speak to "Mike" (the person who initiated the contract)".  Another time, it was really busy... call later.  Various messages and "someone will call you back".  The best one was "call our billing headquarters".  When I asked for the billing headquarters telephone and address, they put me on hold, said something about it being in Baltimore MD and then hung up.

My credit card company had an address and phone number for this mytery headquarters that is in Silver Springs Maryland.  I called several times (both inside and outside business hours) only getting a voice mail and no return call. 

My credit card company is satisfied the authorization to charging was clearly revoked so they credit back everything, but it is a hassle because every 2 weeks they re-bill a random amount.  

In April 2010 they increased to $52.10, in May they billed twice - once for $52.10 and once for $114.  In June they billed another $114 on the 10th and just last week another $151.  Just got the June charges credited off my card through the bank.

The bank said that WOW is unresponsive and uncooperative with their dispute resolution specialists.  They are receiving the same run around I did. 

If you are in this situation, this is what my bank recommends.

1) Look at your contract and see what the cancellation terms are.  The fact they did not honor the 2 monthly training sessions AND my doctor said "no go" is a breach on their part the could talk their way around for the free money, but they can't argue my doctor.

2) Send your reason for cancellation in writing. 

3) After you send written cancellation, dispute every billing with your bank.  A credit card charge back winds up costing the gym "a bank fee" for processing every disputed charge.  If their bank sees a pattern, they will be issued a warning, followed by higher monthly fees, followed by termination of credit card charging priviledges.

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#1 Author of original report

The Final Outcome

AUTHOR: Jen - (U.S.A.)

WOW instructed their third party vendor, Connections LLC in the Baltimore area to continue with random charges. 

As WOW and Connections were both unresponsive to repeated inquiries, my bank requested I send a letter to the Better Business Bureau as well as the NJ Div of consumer affairs as gym facilities are licensed in this state referencing the random billing and inability to cancel a contract.

I received a response through the BBB claiming the gym had no idea I canceled the membership.  They made a lot of excuses, all of the fast and loose claiming new employees, lost phone messages, etc.

The long story short is that they tried to negotiate through the BBB in June that I rescind all credit card disputes and then they would stop billing.  I hit the roof.  If I were to rescind that dispute, it acknowledges they were not at fault and I was wrong/mistaken.  By rescinding the complaint, it leaves an opening for them to legally charge anything they want on that card and my bank would not accept a new dispute.  By rescinding, you are essentially accepting that the charges are "accepted as valid".

When the State of NJ got involved in July, they claimed that my written notice including both certified letters and emails (which they told the BBB they never received) were not acceptable documents to cancel the service.  The ONLY way to cancel was through an official WOW cancellation form.  

I sent a follow up response to the State.  Not only was this the first time I heard of a cancellation form, but provided the conflicting response from the BBB as well as a statement from my bank that WOW and their billing agents were unresponsive. 

WOW finally stopped billing in August and so far so good.  No new unauthorized billing on the canceled service.


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