What can my friend do who was scammed by a health club?

Here’s the situation. My friend joined a health club almost three years ago. He signed up for a two-year membership, and set up payment by automatic draft from his checking account.

Anyway, after the two years, he decided he didn’t want to continue being a member. He received a letter from the health club stating that if he no longer wanted to be a member, he only had to call in and state as much, and the automatic drafts would end. This he did.

So, the other day he notices on his bank statement that the health club is still withdrawing 30 some dollars a month off of his account, and has been doing this monthly.

Phone calls got him nowhere, as apparently the contract he signed stated that the membership could only be cancelled in writing. What really sucks is that he was kinda thinking about joining the health club again, but has naturally not gone in the past ten months thinking he was no longer a member.

So what can he do? Anyone have any suggestions.

  1. Does he still have a copy of the letter that said he could just call in and cancel?

  2. Why did it take 10 months for him to notice the club was still withdrawing money?

You are the owner of your bank account. Why call the Health Club. Call your bank and tell them to stop the withdrawls.


close the account

Surprisingly, this will not work. Clark Howard rants about this a lot on his radio show. The bank will re-open the account, promptly declare you overdrawn and you are liable for the charge and fees. I couldn’t believe this and asked a bank clerk about this a week ago and she confirmed. There is a special form you have to fill out to force a bank to not accept any more charges from a given company to your account, even if it is closed. Go to your bank, ask for it, fill it out.

(If you get Clark Howard in your town, listen to him. If not, start calling your am stations to put him on. He’s great.)