I canceled my gym membership over four months ago, but they are now trying to force me to pay for th

Tips and Deals Forums Debt Management Debt Management I canceled my gym membership over four months ago, but they are now trying to force me to pay for th

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    Last fall I went in person to my gym to cancel my membership and was given a simple form to complete stating the reasons and acknowledging that if I wanted to rejoin at a later date I would be subject to new fees. I signed the form and asked for a copy of it, which I have kept. I thought the matter was settled. A few days ago I began receiving calls at all hours (including six on Sunday morning) from a 1-800 number, and when I answered it an incredibly rude person told me he was from a collection agency and had been hired by the gym to collect my debt. I explained the situation about canceling the membership, and the guy treated me like a deadbeat making excuses. I then called the gym and asked to speak to the manager I was familiar with, but she was no longer working there so I was transferred to some other lady who informed me that the gym had changed ownership and a new policy had gone into effect last fall stating that in order to cancel the membership you had to send a certified letter to the company headquarters. I asked if that was the case, why the employee gave me the form to fill out and said nothing about a letter, and she said that person was no longer at the gym and she was not responsible for the misinformation I had been given.

    The membership wasn’t even supposed to be a binding contract because I was only sixteen at the time I signed up. I was told that I could go ahead and fill out the application and start using the gym until a parent came in and signed it. My parents never came to the gym, and I continued to go there multiple times a week without anyone every saying another word to me about it. The payment was processed through a prepaid credit card that I just kept topping up to cover the fees. I stopped topping up the card when I canceled the membership. I canceled it because I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last summer and can no longer work out at public gyms due to the germs milling about there. I told the manager at the gym about my health, and she basically snorted at me and insinuated that I’m lying. She said I didn’t properly cancel my membership and owe $ 500 ($ 125 a month) for the fees, and that if I still need to send in the certified letter.

    I’m going to send in a certified letter, but I’m not going to be bullied into paying $ 500. The collection agency called me 10 times today. The only headway I made with them is that they said they would no longer call me before 8am. I thought it was illegal for them to go after a minor (I’m 17 now) and to call someone on her cell phone; isn’t it?

    I’m not going to get my parents involved in this mess, but I don’t know what to do. Is this going to affect my credit score now? I want to get the gym and the collection agency to back off, and I want to file complaints against both of them. Can someone please give me advice on how to proceed?

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