Man stuck with unwanted membership at Cape Coral gym

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan
Published: Updated:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Read the fine print.

A graduate student whose membership contract with a Cape Coral gym that was almost sent to a collections agency wishes he did just that.

Cory Fairfield coached cross country at Oasis Middle School last year. When the season was over, he signed up for a gym membership at Mid Cape Fitness on 1242 SW Pine Island Road.

“I figured this gym would be a great substitution for after-school activities,” he said. “They told me ‘no hassle, no contracts,’ it would be $20 a month.”

A few months into the membership, Fairfield moved to Miami for school and decided to cancel.

But that proved difficult.

First he went in person to cancel but was told he had to come between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. when a manager was around, Fairfield said.

So, he returned another day during those hours.

“The manager was conveniently not there,” Fairfield said.

Fairfield called multiple times and even sent emails trying to cancel, but no one got back with him.

After a few months, he told his bank to stop future withdrawals from the debit card he gave the gym when he signed up.

But the billing agency for Mid Cape Fitness began calling him relentlessly.

“… I had to tell them to stop calling, that I was trying to handle this through other means,” he said. “I contacted them back. They said in January I would be referred to collections and that’s when I really started to get worried and reached out to you.”

WINK News Call for Action contacted the gym and received an email response, which read in part:

“When a member sings up in our gym we hand them a gym declaration in which it contains all the rules, about the annual fee (which a person pays on the third month instead of the day when they become a member that way it gives them time to save up and be simple and if a member cancels before the third month they still have to pay the annual fee), it also talks about the cancelation form in which you give us a 30 day notice at the gym from 7am-3pm or send an email authorizing them members cancellation. We don’t do phone cancelations for safety purposes. If he called numerous time over the phone he should of came during that week or email us and instead of calling.”

The gym agreed to allow Fairfield to cancel his membership after he paid the annual fee. But Fairfield said he never got the “gym declaration,” which is a contract that states the rules of how to cancel and fees that must be paid.

“They had me sign a little electronic keypad. He said he was going to explain it to me, briefly gave me a couple sentences,” he said. “Didn’t show the contract on the keypad. He seemed very honest, the guy at the counter, young guy. I figured locally owned gym, small payment.

“I thought it was a trustworthy situation, so I signed that. I had referenced the online [ad], which says no hassle, no contract. I figured it wouldn’t really be a problem. He said if I wanted to cancel, just come in, they’d take care of it.”

Fairfield isn’t alone.

There are seven similar complaints filed against Mid Cape Fitness on the Better Business Bureau website. The gym has only resolved one of those complaints. When asked about those complaints, a gym spokesperson emailed, “the people with the similar cases probably don’t read the declaration that is given to them or don’t want to pay.”

The lesson: Always ask for the paperwork and read through it carefully before signing a piece of paper or electronic pad.

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