Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Gold's Gym Fiasco

This past spring, my husband and I decided that we didn't like the long drive to get to our local Gold's Gym, where we were members. Our town's YMCA is much closer, plus they have a lot more basketball options, which is VERY important to my husband.

Knowing that gyms tend to be a little ridiculous in their cancellation policies, we went into our Gold's over two months before our renewal dates to find out what we needed to do to cancel our memberships. We were handed a form to sign and mail to their corporate headquarters.

Fast forward to the beginning of June this year. My renewal date was June 1st, so I should have been done with my membership. On June 5th, I noticed my credit card had been charged for my monthly gym membership fee. What? I called my local gym and was told I had to call their billing company, ABC Financial. I called ABC Financial four times in June trying to straighten things out. Let's just say that I will never again do business with any company that uses ABC Financial for their billing.

I thought everything was straightened out when on July 1st I get billed yet again! Completely fed up, I finally managed to talk to a supervisor at ABC Financial who is semi-helpful. At the same time, I left messages at my local gym, trying to get a solution from both ends. After being told by multiple people that I couldn't have the phone number to the Gold's Gym corporate office (since my request supposedly never got to ABC Financial, I figured it must have gotten lost between corporate and ABC), someone at my local gym relented and handed the phone number over (it's 540-825-5994 if anyone else wants to know!).

I called Gold's Gym corporate and spoke with a super-nice lady named Donna. Donna looked through all of the computer files and couldn't find my cancellation request. Finally, she said, "Well, we had a new person start about the time you sent your form. Let me check our paper files in case the paperwork got filed without being processed."

A minute later, Donna got back on the phone, "You're in luck!" she said, "I found it!"

So that's my Gold's Gym fiasco. My cancellation was back-dated to my renewal date like it should have been. It only took me about TEN phone calls to about FOUR different phone numbers to get things straightened out. Even though things turned out in the end, both Gold's Gym and ABC Financial have lost my business for life because of their poor handling of my situation.

Some Lessons Learned
1. Always mail cancellation requests via certified mail. I was asked on at least five occasions if I had mailed my request by certified mail. Each time I had to answer, "No. I wish someone had TOLD me it needed to be mailed by certified mail."

2. Always make a follow up call making sure your cancellation request was received. I was mad at myself for waiting until I got billed to realize that my request never got processed.

3. Check companies out on the Better Business Bureau's website BEFORE doing business with them! This really wouldn't have helped me since I signed up when my Gold's was brand new, but I'm not surprised that they've had over 100 complaints even though they've only been open for one year!

4. Be wary of gyms. So many people have had problems with gym memberships. I've realized you have to be very diligent in making sure things get handled properly. Avoid letting them charge your credit card monthly if you can. Be prepared to spend hours on the phone once you need to cancel!

Does anyone have a YMCA membership? Anything I should know about dealing with them?!?

Monday, July 21, 2008

And the Winner Is...


Congrats! I sent you an email to verify you want the codes. Reply back and they are all yours! Thanks, everyone, for entering. :)

ps- I picked the winner by assigning all of the commentors a number and then using to generate a winning number.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coke Rewards Giveaway!

I'm giving away two Coke Rewards codes!

I'm a Mountain Dew girl myself. My mom drinks Pepsi and saves her codes for me for the Pepsi Stuff rewards program. My husband and I are working are way through Season 3 of House thanks to my mom's Pepsi addiction ;)

Anyway, my boss occasionally brings 12-packs of Coke into the office. He doesn't use the codes, so I swiped them off of the last 2 cases of soda he brought in. Since I don't drink Coca-Cola products, I'm going to give the codes away!

To enter, just leave a comment with your email address. It is a really good idea to "munge" your email address so that it doesn't get harvested by spammers. For example, you might write, "janedoe at gmail dot com". The giveaway ends on Monday, July 21st at 4pm CST. I will then randomly pick a winner and email you the codes! Sounds like fun, yes?!?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Financial Goals 2008: Halfway Point!

Can you believe we're already halfway through 2008? It's flown by for me! Here's a belated update of our 2008 financial goals.

1. Roth IRA's. I did throw an extra $200 in since my last update. This is above and beyond our automatic contributions. This brings our total contributed to $3200 so far this year.

2. New Car Fund. This account is also set up with an automatic contribution. It comes automatically out of my paycheck every two weeks. In June, I received a bonus and the $150 automatic withdrawal came from the bonus, as well. Without the bonus, we would have added $1606 to the balance of this account. The bonus brings us to a $1756 increase in the balance of this account for 2008. Our New Car Fund is invested in mutual funds, so there has been some market loss :( The good thing is that we're buying low!

3. Emergency Fund. Nothing too exciting with this account. I have added $1425 to this account so far this year. That puts us on track to easily surpass our goal of $2600 added by year end.

4. New Siding Fund. Things just keep getting more uncertain with this account. We're still not sure if we'll be painting the house or re-siding it. We did get started on other projects, though, so money will be coming OUT of this account over the next couple of months. Don't worry, money will continue to go in, as well (at least I hope so!). We have increased our balance by $2798 since the beginning of the year. We did withdraw $275 for a tree we had removed, so our gross amount added was $3073. $3000 would put us at halfway to our stretch goal of $6000.

I'm a little worried about being able to keep up this savings pace over the next couple of months. 2008 seems to be the year of gift-giving for my husband and I. This is a huge year for baby showers, bridal showers, larger-than-usual family gifts, weddings (at least nine!), and house warming presents. Since gift giving/receiving is not my love language, this has been pretty stressful for me. Luckily, I have a generous husband to help keep me from being too stingy of a gift-giver! :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Favorite Blog Post 7/4/08

I watch very little, if any, television, but I still seem to get bombarded by society's and the media's opinions on what my life should look like. I read two excellent articles this week, both focusing on determining what actually makes you happy, not on what our society or the media tells us should make us happy (or unhappy, as the case may be).

On Simplicity is a great blog I just stumbled upon recently. Sara wrote a great article this week titled Redefining the American Dream. What is YOUR American Dream? Mine doesn't look anything like Desperate Housewives or Friends, that's for sure!

On a similar note, Frugal Dad discusses how media outlets seem to enjoy telling us that we are miserable and that buying more stuff will fix that.

Have a great Independence Day, everyone! And turn off that stinking idiot box! ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hugs, Kisses, and All That Mushy Stuff

Today is my one year wedding anniversary! I love you, Hubby!

It's been a very busy spring for us, so we both took the day off of work. We plan to take a leisurely walk down to a local park and have a picnic lunch today. Ah, relaxation!

(yep, the picture is of us - one year ago!)

Photo by Tammy Muller