Paperwork snafu after athletic club changes ownership

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 12:43 PM

The sign outside the building says All Star Fitness.  The real name is West Seattle Athletic Club, but some of the 8,500 members and the owner have a name for the club's current paperwork snafu.

"This is a mess," said Sam Adams, owner of West Seattle Athletic Club.

Former Seahawk and Super Bowl Champion Sam Adams is facing dozens of angry customers like Denin Levine.  Levine canceled her membership last November but got a collections notice in August for over $300.

"I paid for no service, nothing.  But I don't want it to go on my credit," explained Levine.

Levine paid the collections notice because she's trying to buy a home.  She also canceled her membership at the club again.  But the next month Levine got an invoice saying she now owes almost $500.

"Why would you send me to collections then send me a statement a month later for way more?  It doesn't make sense," exclaimed Levine.

Kim Jones is former customer who canceled her membership back in July.  Still the club sent her a bill for almost $300 like she is a current member.

She tried to speak with someone at the club about the bill, but could get no answers.

"All I asked to begin with is to confirm that you've received this and you are looking into my problem. And I've received zero response from them," said Jones.

Adams said he bought the club after it went bankrupt.  But the previous owner didn't have contracts for thousands of members.  So if you signed up before November 2012, your paperwork is gone.

"Your paperwork is gone. Your membership agreements are gone.  All that stuff is gone," explained Adams.

Since Adams may not have complete paperwork for people who are or were members, if you've canceled he may not know.

"If people have been billed and they have can celled, then we apologize for that. We have always refunded them their money. But we simply do not know," said Adams.

Adams said the club sent multiple letters explaining the change in ownership and asking members to come in and discuss their situation.

He also said if you've canceled, they'll take care of you.

"We've probably written off $600,000 to $1 million in memberships we had no idea about," explained Adams.

So I decided to put that to the test and brought Levine to the club to see if they would help with her bill.  About 20 minutes after arriving, Levine got what she was looking for.

"They apologized profusely and refunded me what I paid collections," exclaimed Levine.

The lesson here: keep your paperwork for as long as you are under contract.  If you have a billing issue, stop by the West Seattle Athletic Club or write them a letter about your situation.

If that doesn't work, please call me.
 

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