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Kind of a long story, but here goes. I knew what I should of done to make this a stronger case, but I was lazy and didn't copy the letter I sent in response because I didn't have access to a copy machine, and sent it off before I could copy it.  That being said here's the story.

 

In 2015 I joined Golds Gym.  January.  I wasn't using it like I should, but I was paying month to month (no contract) for my son to go too.  He used it all the time.  So I asked them if I could transfer my contract over to  him, and they said yes.  That was the end of March.  I didn't realize it was a whole new contract for 1 year, I thought it still ended in Jan.  I signed the contract, not my son who was a minor.

Fast forward to Jan. 2016.  Son had hurt his knee, and wasn't using the membership.  I called and told them I was going to cancel after the February. Payment (which is actually 12 payments from when the new contract was executed.  Feb. payment was made, and I really forgot about taking it off my auto payments.  About that time my credit card number was compromised, so the cc. Co cancelled the card and sent me a new one.  

Never heard from golds gym until July of 2016 when I get a letter saying I owe 350.00 plus attorney collection fees, and to pay now or dispute within 30 days. The letter was addressed to my son.

i did not ask for debt validation, I sent a cease and desist letter, I told them my son never signed a contract with them, and he was a minor child.  I said you may contact me once more to tell me the disposition of this collection.  Golds Gym is the OC, but the lawyers also function as debt collectors.  This is the letter I did not copy before sending.

in the mail 2 days ago I received a letter that said here is a copy of the contract, with all the one year crap highlighted, and the usual we are a debt collector trying to collect a debt.  It said we received your letter and here is a copy of the contract, pay now.  This has not been reviewed by an attorney, blah blah blah.  It was addressed to my son, not me.  The contract enclosed is signed by me.

the same day they called my son on his cell phone.  His phone number was not given when we signed the contract, but golds gym did have both my phone number and my sons in their membership records.  My son told them "I'm not on the contract" and they told him it didn't matter, it was his membership.  They asked him for a credit card number to pay the debt.  He told them "I don't have a credit card and I am going to have to talk to my mom" and hung up.

so he tells me they called.  I told him he was not to talk to them if they called, and to snap shot a picture on his phone ig they called again.  He said "oh, they have been calling me everyday, but I didn't answer until now". So needless to say I have one snapshot of when they called him.  

I think they may have figured it out because today there was a message from them on my phone that asked me to call, and this was an attempt to collect a debt.

so technically this is the first time they have contacted me.  The cease and desist was written because they were trying to collect from my son. ( who is now 18)

Questions----would the cease and desist count towards me also? And concerning the violations to my son..would I sue because he was a minor when the contract was executed, or would he have to be the one to sue?  Gets a bit murky for me.  Tecnically I only owe them 29.00, but they are saying my membership didn't cancel when I called, I had to send a certified letter cancelling. ( that was in the contract) so their inflated bill is for extra months until it was "charged off" plus collection fees.  Sheisters I tell you.

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It's $29 a month and they arrived at $350 just in membership fees? Don't see how your son would ever be liable since like you said he was a minor and it would be like a gift membership or authorized user at most.

Did you ever receive anything like this laying out your rights? Did you move during this time? Would a doctor's record show the knee injury? http://www.goldsgym.com/gastonia/wp-content/uploads/sites/340/2014/06/CancellationProcedures.pdf

http://www.goldsgym.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Member-FAQs.pdf

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Ya they pretty much wrote the contract to their benefit.  Yes he has medical records ( still paying on that expense) he is still going to physical therapy.  The gym should have said something when I called to cancel, such as " you need to send a certified letter" but did not.   I'm cool with paying them what I actually owe, what I'm not cool with is them threatening my son by telling him they will report this to his credit if he doesn't pay now.  They don't have his SS number, so not to worried they can report on him, but they will probably report on mine.  Bottom line is they tried to collect from him, who was a minor at the time.  Nothing is signed by him, and they have not contacted me in writing.  They continued to try to collect from him after I sent them a cease and desist, I even layed out the reason that he was a minor child, and did not sign the contract.

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3 hours ago, shellieh98 said:

Questions----would the cease and desist count towards me also? And concerning the violations to my son..would I sue because he was a minor when the contract was executed, or would he have to be the one to sue?

1692c is the communication section of the FDCPA.   1692c(d):

(d) “Consumer” defined

For the purpose of this section, the term “consumer” includes the consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a minor), guardian, executor, or administrator.

In regard to the calls to your son's cell phone, I'd contact a TCPA attorney.   You said your provided your number on the contract.   Here's the issue:  Because your son is a minor, his number is under the control of the subscriber.   If you're the subscriber to the cell phone contract, his number is under your control.

You gave consent to call your number but not your son's number.   HOWEVER, I don't know for a fact if you have to provide each number assigned to the account in order for consent to be given to call those number.  I would think that would be the case, but since I haven't found anything to support that (yet), I'm not going to say one way or the other.

Breslow v. Wells Fargo (11th Circuit) speaks to issue of a subscriber, but it doesn't address the necessary specifics.

Then, of course, there's the issue as to whether or not the calls were autodialed.  If they weren't autodialed, there's no TCPA claim.

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Want to make sure I understand what you are saying.  You signed a contract with the gym for one year.  Your son, who was a minor, was authorized under your contract to use the gym.  Son later hurts his knee, stops going to the gym, and you inform the gym that you are canceling the membership--after you made the 12th payment.  Then, a year later, they try to come after you for payment of, I'm guessing, unpaid membership fees plus collection costs. 

I can only guess because we do not know what the contract says.  You would need to read up on that and see exactly what you agreed to pay when you signed it.  It's possible that the contract includes some sort of cancellation fee, I'm not sure.  Also, we have no idea what the breakdown of the amount is that they claim you owe.  So we cannot really know what's going on with that.  Either way, they are trying to collect the debt from someone by name that never signed the contract, and was a minor anyways, so could not legally enter into any such contract.  That alone could be worth an FDCPA claim against the attorney--it should not take a rocket scientist to understand that since they have the contract, they know who signed it, and they also know that they are attempting to collect from your son, who obviously did not sign it.  And, when he told them on the phone that he never signed any contract and they said it didn't matter, that's a big one too, but your word against theirs unless you have the call recorded.

 

The C&D could cover you, depending on what exactly you wrote in it.  Problem is, you have no copy, so it's hard to say what was in it.  This could just be me, because I'm sick and tired of illegal debt collection nonsense, but in a situation like that, I'd be more likely to pursue the FDCPA claim--but before I jump ahead of myself, it matters who is calling.  If it's the gym itself calling, then there's no FDCPA issue there because FDCPA does not apply to them.  If it's someone calling from the lawyer's office, or a separate debt collector that's not operating under the gym's name, then it does apply.  I would start with reading the provisions in the contract and see if you can determine where this $350 number comes from.  Sometimes, there's an early cancellation fee.  Sometimes, there's a penalty if you do not pay all the months of the contract.  They could be trying to say that you did not pay all the months you signed on to pay.  You need to first find out exactly what they claim you owe them for.  Once you have that established, you could very well have additional claims against them, if your state has sufficient consumer protection laws in place that prohibit charging someone inappropriate amounts of money, but we won't know any of that until we know exactly what they are charging you for.  Your state law also might address the fact that they tried to collect from your son, who was never on the contract to start with.  Without him signing to agree that he was financially responsible, and with him being a minor at the time and unable to enter into that kind of agreement, that could be a cause of action too.  If you could get back to us with what you think that $350 is supposed to be for, that would be a good starting point.  You might just find, for example, that they claim you did not pay all the payments, and you might find that per the contract you actually did.  This whole thing could be a clerical error.  I went around and around with a local gym for years, and the only reason why is because they tried to collect money that their own contract did not provide for.  They amended their contract to allow for collection of other amounts, but the amendment occurred more than a year after my one-year contract was already expired.  It took several years, before I knew what the laws allow, and multiple debt collectors before I finally was able to get them off my back.  Health clubs have a generally very bad reputation for this kind of stuff, and a lot of mistakes get made.

 

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Shellie, 6-1-704 pertains to health clubs. Sect G catch-all paragraph, deceptive practices

 

Colorado Consumer Protection Act - StopFraudColorado.gov

www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/sites/default/files/CCPA%20-%202015%20Update.pdf
  1.  
Time share resale transfer agreements - deceptive trade practices. 6-1-704. ... Unlawful to make telephone solicitations to subscribers on the Colorado no-.
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6 hours ago, shellieh98 said:

Questions----would the cease and desist count towards me also?

My opinion:  if it said "us" yes if it said "my son" no.

6 hours ago, shellieh98 said:

And concerning the violations to my son..would I sue because he was a minor when the contract was executed, or would he have to be the one to sue?

As the one harmed and the violation was against he would have to sue.  Even though he is a minor and cannot enter into the contract it wouldn't prohibit him from suing them for the violation.

6 hours ago, shellieh98 said:

 Tecnically I only owe them 29.00, but they are saying my membership didn't cancel when I called, I had to send a certified letter cancelling. ( that was in the contract) so their inflated bill is for extra months until it was "charged off" plus collection fees.  Sheisters I tell you.

That is exactly how they write their contracts knowing that most consumers don't read them and don't know to send a CMRR letter to cancel the membership.  They count on that no pun intended.

2 hours ago, kraftykrab said:

Health clubs have a generally very bad reputation for this kind of stuff, and a lot of mistakes get made.

Now there is an under statement.  Bad reputation doesn't scratch the surface.

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We have no consumer attorneys here, there are sone that advertise for debt relief, but I think they are BK.  I do however have a legal plan through my work, it might be worth talking to them.  I may make them an offer just because I don't want it to muck up my credit, if they don't want it, then it's game on.  I am not paying them their inflated price.  It says collection fees are 15% of the delinquent amount.  If I owed them 1 month, that's 29.00 plus their late fee of 9.50.  The contract was breeches after that missed payment, so they should not be trying to tack on more.  The contract says you are in default if payment is 10 days late.  There is a 9.50 late fee, and if we go to collections the fee is 15% of the amount.  So they get an offer of 44.00, period.  They don't want that, then we will find out how the FDCPA suit will work out for them.  Yes I know Gold's Gym is not subject to the FDCPA, but the lawyer acts as a collection agency, and they are.  The nearest Federal court is 250 miles away, so I'll start in civil or small claims.  Guess I better study up! I do have several snapshots of their phone number on sons phone, as well as a recorded message they left 3 days ago, well after they received the cease and desist.  I sent that out August 29, right after we got home from vacation.

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I don't have a scanner, but no arbitration clause, no my sons name is not on the contract. So violations are 1. Trying to collect a debt from him, he's not even on the contract. 2. Violating the cease and desist, and 3. They sent the collection letter to him, I answered it with a cease and desist, stating I was on the contract, not my minor child,  then they turned around and sent a DV addressed to him. 4. They called him on more than 1 occasion after they received the cease and desist.  I am just a little murky on who should bring suit.  My son is 18 now, so I didn't know if I could sue for violations against him since he was a minor when the contract was executed.  I still have the violation against me since they sent all the financial stuff to my son, not once but twice, once was after they were made aware of who's account it was.  I could help him file one on his own, but I know he would have to be the one to appear.  And no, they were not auto diapers as far as I know, they left a live message after each call. (Unless the auto dealer calls, and they pick up when the phone is answered)

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20 hours ago, shellieh98 said:

 It says collection fees are 15% of the delinquent amount.

What says this?  Their collection letter or the contract?  If the contract stipulates it then they can add it.  If the attorney is trying to add it on and it isn't in the contract he can pound sand.

20 hours ago, shellieh98 said:

I am not paying them their inflated price.

While I sympathize with you and think their contracts and practices are loathsome, the details are in the contract you signed.  You can certainly try and negotiate a flat fee settlement but if the terms for what they are charging are in the document you signed then you don't have any leverage to force a settlement.

1 hour ago, shellieh98 said:

1. Trying to collect a debt from him, he's not even on the contract. 2. Violating the cease and desist, and 3. They sent the collection letter to him, I answered it with a cease and desist, stating I was on the contract, not my minor child,  then they turned around and sent a DV addressed to him. 4. They called him on more than 1 occasion after they received the cease and desist.  I am just a little murky on who should bring suit.

You cannot sue on behalf of your son.  He would have to file suit for the violation(s) they committed against him.  

41 minutes ago, BV80 said:

Exactly what did you say in the C&D?

This is critical.  What did it say?  And did you save a digital copy?

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The letter said This is a cease and desist of all collection activity against my son (name inserted here). My minor son did not sign any contract.  I bought a gym membership for him for 1 year, and I was the person responsible for this account. I bought the membership in Jan. 2015, my last payment was in Feb. 2016.  I notified the club in Jan. That I would be canceling this account as my son injured his knee and has not been able to use it.  You may contact me one more time to let me know your disposition of this account.

 

so instead of telling me what the disposition was, they send HIM a letter that says "we have done received your letter.  Here is the contract we received from Golds Gym.  Please provide any more information, or pay this account.  Sincerely xxxx.

then the disclaimer about attorney has not reviewed it, and they are debt collectors.

 

my bad was I did not send a certified letter telling them we quit the membership.  I called them.  The contract says I need to send a certified. Letter.  Ok even so, the contract was up after the February. Payment, even if they did the automatic month to month renewal, it would only be 1 month for 29.00.  When that wasn't paid, it was in default.  Contract says there is a 9.50 late fee, and collection fee of 15%, along with allowable interest.  So 29.00, plus 4.50, plus 9.50, and 10 % state allowable interest by law does not equal 350.00, plus court fees. ?

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I feel like I have a strong case, heck it's 29 bucks lol.  I am not a money monger or sue happy.  I think I will make them an offer of no reporting, they pay golds gym anything they think they might be due, and just because they pissed me off concerning my son, they can pay him the 1 grand.  If not....well I am not above spending more than I get on principal, we can Duke it out.  I I'll call some consumer attorneys tomorrow, maybe my legal plan covers one in Denver.  If it turns federal, they are close and I wouldn't have to appear most likely.

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If your son is not named/co-signed on the contract, yet they are sending him letters & contacting him via telephone, then they are also violating the FDCPA 3rd party disclosure.  1692b &1692c.  The debt is yours, not your sons.

You are the one named & signed on the contract, so you are the one who brings the suit.  

Write up a Federal complaint, and send their registered agent an Intent to Sue letter, give them 30 days to respond, then file the complaint.  Or, the easy way is to get a consumer attorney, if you can find one that will take the case.

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46 minutes ago, shellieh98 said:

I feel like I have a strong case, heck it's 29 bucks lol.  I am not a money monger or sue happy.  I think I will make them an offer of no reporting, they pay golds gym anything they think they might be due, and just because they pissed me off concerning my son, they can pay him the 1 grand.  If not....well I am not above spending more than I get on principal, we can Duke it out.  I I'll call some consumer attorneys tomorrow, maybe my legal plan covers one in Denver.  If it turns federal, they are close and I wouldn't have to appear most likely.

Definitely try to get an attorney to see if any state laws were violated.   So far, I believe the violations consist of 1692c(b), 1692c(c), and 1692e(10).  If the amount being collected is wrong, you can add 1692e(2).    I'd also file a complaint with the CFPB.

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So I called them. He tried to tell me since they waited to call until after they sent the contract, they were not in any violations.  If I would like to pay them now, then it will not go against my credit. (hahahahaha)   I told him yes you were, you disclosed my contract to my son, demanding payment from him. You threatened to put it on his credit report, you violated a cease and desist letter, it was not a debt validation. You tried to collect from my son a debt which you were not legally entitled to collect. You used an auto dialer to call both of our cell phones several times.  So here is my offer. You can pay my son 1000.00 for the violations against him, write off the account and I will not go after you for the violations against me. That is my offer. You may want to discuss it with your attorneys.  he said "if you don;t want to pay, that is fine, we will take it to the next level. ok, game on.

So then I talked to a consumer attorney. He is very interested in taking my cases, and wants to investigate it further.  I sent him all my documentation, the phone call clip, and snapshot of the phone number.  He said he will go over it, and make sure they are acting as debt collectors, and get back to me with a contract if they decide to pursue. He said it sounds like I have several violations. Oh and the calls were most likely from an auto dialer, you can here a beep before they come on the line in the message.  

His fee is contingent.  1/3 of everything they collect, or 0 if they do not collect. :)

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Any attorney in your state will likely take the case if they think it is a strong one. They do not have to be located close to you.  Almost all cases I have had a consumer attorney work on for me was done 100% through email and phone.

I really think you should look into the TCPA aspect.  Just about all cell phones keep a call log, so if you check your son's phone and click on the number they used to call him it should show a log of all the times they called whether he answered or not.  (i.e. "missed calls" will show on the phone's log).

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