The Hardest Workout Is Getting A Refund

, , , , , | Working | November 4, 2018

(I move back to my hometown. Wanting to get into something new, and in an effort to try to boost my self esteem a little, I decide to join a gym. I go to the local gym just a mile away and end up talking to one of their trainers. He’s a very nice guy, and obviously knows what he’s doing. I’m 19 and shy and naive, and we end up discussing a package plan with personal training sessions. Not really knowing how to say no to him, I explain that I don’t have the money for the down payment — about $200 — about half the cost of the package. The trainer explains that we can work out a slightly different plan, with cheaper payments, more often. I end up agreeing, and pay just less than a third of the total cost of the package. After all, I want to get in shape and feel better about myself, and having no idea where to start, I think that maybe he’s right, and this is a good way to go about it. I sign a contract, which states that I have a window of three days if I decide not to go through with it, and I can get a full refund, no questions asked. This is also discussed with the trainer and manager before I leave. However, the next day, my car suddenly breaks down. Now I won’t have the money to make any future payments, and I will just barely have the money to get my car fixed… if I don’t eat until my next payday. So, three days since I signed up, I go back in to explain the situation, just as they open.)

Manager: “[My Name]! Great to see you! How are you?”

Me: “Not so great. I’ve run into a couple of issues, and I won’t be able to afford the plan that I signed up for. My car broke down yesterday, and I need to fix it. I’m so sorry, and I really wanted to be able to do this, but I just can’t afford it.”

Manager: *suddenly looking a bit on edge* “What?! But you’ve already paid for half of it!”

Me: “No, I’ve paid for about a third of it. But I was hoping to find out how much it would cost for just a membership, with no trainer or special perks or anything.”

Manager: “Well, a basic membership is about $145, but you should really talk to [Trainer] about this.”

Me: *disappointed because I still can’t afford the membership* “Unfortunately, he told me that he wouldn’t be in this morning. And I’m sorry to say, I still can’t afford a membership here at this time. Can I request a refund?

Manager: *sputtering* “B-but, you’ve already paid! This is for your health! Isn’t that important?”

Me: “Yes, it is, but I also need to be able to eat for the next couple weeks. I need to pay rent and fix my car. This is the newest cost I’ve added to my life, but unfortunately, I made a mistake and cannot hold up my end of the bargain. I’d like to ask for my money back. As discussed before I left the other day, I had three days to change my mind.”

Manager: *with a facial expression that clearly states that she does not plan to refund me* “I’ll have to get the district manager involved. He won’t be in until [two days from now, clearly out of the three-day window]. But I don’t understand; you’ve already paid half! Just one more payment, and you’ll be golden!”

Me: “Ma’am, again. I only paid about a third of the cost. You approved it. And I won’t be able to make any future payments at this time.” *pulls out my copy of the contract* “Here, it states that I have three days to change my mind. Today is the third day. If you cannot do the refund until the district manager gets in, then I’d like something that explains that I requested a refund within the approved window. This also states how much I have paid so far. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but my circumstances have changed, and I have not even been able to come in and use the gym. But my request is within the contract’s guidelines. It has been less than 72 hours since I signed this.”

Manager: *looking kind of angry* “Nobody ever reads the contract! But fine. I’ll give you your refund.”

Me: *ignoring her hostile tone* “Thank you. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience.”

(I got the refund; however, it took three days to clear back onto my card. After this experience, I decided that if I ever wanted to join a gym again, it would NOT be this one.)

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