Brooklyn >Fitness > Soma Health Club
107 S 6th St, Brooklyn, NY | Directions 1121140.710797 -73.964489
DO NOT JOIN. DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES. BEWARE – I signed a one year contract with Soma from July 2008 to July 2009. I moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan in May and had asked about early termination of memberships at the end of March as I knew my move was impending.
The cancelation fee was four months of membership so I told the female supervisor that I would pay through July and end my membership. She verbally confirmed this would be fine. Frustrating but
still in the contract.
However I have recently been going through my finances and I have been getting charged by Soma $82 a month every single month despite the fact that my membership was up in July. IT IS NOW DECEMBER!
They are now telling me I have to physically come in and sign a form saying I do not want to auto-renew. However the contract I signed says that you must simply give 30 day notice, it does not stipulate it must be written notice. I have phone records and emails to prove that I contacted the club on March 27th to investigate termination of membership and received verbal confirmation from the female supervisor that I would end my contract in July. Given the terms of the contract this should be adequate.
The manager David tells me there is no way they will give me my money back.
I called to complain on Saturday the 5th. I called again this morning saying I had gotten another charge on my credit card despite the fact that I had called on Saturday asking for this to stop. The manager very nastily told me that until I signed the form I would continue to
get charged and I would not get my money for December back even though clearly I have been trying to cancel, if not in March then very clearly in December.
It is upsetting that I have only just discovered this and yes I should have found it earlier but this is not appropriate given the terms of their own contract.
They are making no attempt to work with me in good faith. Getting a charge on my card even though they know I want to get this canceled because I did not physically come into the club to sign is preposterous and not my legal obligation according to their own contract.
The fact that they are unwilling to do anything to be
helpful or decent is shocking to me. As far as I am concerned they should refund me five months of dues or $410 dollars and particularly the December dues given that I have been trying to cancel, they knew
this, and they still charged me.
When I asked to speak to the owner the manager David said that he would not forward my complaint to them and he is the only person who would hear it. He further reiterated that he had no intention of refunding my dues.I continued to ask politely and in a calm tone if
they would be willing to give me back any money and he said “this conversation is over.”
I am shocked that they won’t even try to work
with me on this. In my final phone conversation with them they told me that if I wanted to pursue the matter further I could take it up with a lawyer. I have already voiced my concerns on Yelp, Google reviews, Yahoo local reviews as well as on my Tumblr, their Facebook
page and via several Tweets. I am not going to stop until they make a good faith attempt to work with me. I have filed a chargeback to my VISA and my lawyer tells me I have enough evidence to make the case. I have also submitted a complaint to the Better Business Bureau.
Some recession special! – I signed up with Soma six months ago on a one year contract they were advertising as a "Recession Special". The guy at the front desk mentioned "if you move out of state it's no big deal" and I remember laughing, telling him there was no chance of that. Little did I know. I lost my job just a few months later and after a few more months of looking, decided it made the most sense to move home and regroup.
Here's how they've treated me since I asked to cancel my membership. First the manager David assured me there was nothing I could do but pay the FOUR MONTH PENALTY FEE to get out of the contract. I tried to explain to him that I was moving out of state but he simply read me the contract (how helpful!) over the phone. I asked if I had my former employer send a letter confirming the business had closed if that could help. He replied "I can't make any promises but you can try if you like" Well, I liked.
My letter plus many followup phone calls got my penalty fee lowered to two months (almost $200). By this time I was tired of arguing. I agreed although it seemed unfair. At this point David said, okay, so when you pay the penalty you can get out of the contract, but you must do it before the 3rd because that's the day we automatically deduct your monthly charge. I tried to clarify, "I need to come up with $200 before the 3rd or you'll keep deducting membership fees from my card?" Yes, this was the situation. I repeated to him my reasons for canceling: "I lost my job, I'm moving, money is tight, but let me get this clear, you're telling me that if I can't come up with the fee in full I can't cancel the membership? That was correct. I explained that this couldn't work for me, suggested he bill me for the fee and stop monthly payments immediately, but he said there was "Nothing he could do." You must have dealt with this kind of situation before, I asked, but he said he'd never heard of someone unable to come up with the whole fee. I just couldn't believe him. After I kind of freaked out on the phone he said he "might be able to do something" but he "wasn't making any promises" and he'd have to get back to me. Finally we worked out that he'd stop the membership charge and I'd pay him his lousy fee over the next two months.
Throughout these conversations he mentioned several times that he didn't want to press my situation further with the owners because they were getting "annoyed" with him. It seems odd this guy is supposedly the "manager" but has no authority whatsoever, and can't even figure out how collect the penalty fee in a reasonable way. I'm pretty "annoyed" as well.
Is it that hard to give someone a break?
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