Call Collett: Cancelled auto draft debits $4,000 anyway

Call Collett

Mt. Pleasant, SC – From software or razor blades to clothing and magazines,  millions of Americans are signed up for subscriptions. The cost of the subscription is often debited from bank accounts monthly.

For Amey Nicoll it was a O2 Fitness gym membership with personal training.

“Getting close to 50, I wanted to treat myself and see what I could do with a trainer,” she explained to News 2’s Rebecca Collett.

Shortly into her membership, she injured her shoulder.  She cancelled her membership and didn’t think of the draft again until she started to reconcile her credit card account midway through the year.

“I’m an interior designer and there are a lot of charges going on the account,” she explained. “If it hit on page two, I may not have seen it.”

That’s how she racked up $4,000 in gym charges since September. When she requested her refund, getting the money back was a challenge.

“I called and left messages. I called back the next week. I left massages again,” she explained.

Meredith Siemens with South Carolina Federal Credit Union urges customers to check account statements regularly to look for unauthorized charges.

“Auto draft can be a helpful service to make sure you’re on time with your payments,” Siemens explained. “We just want people to be mindful of it.”

Knowing the terms of a draft agreement and how to cancel is key to keeping your money in your account.  Plus Siemens encourages you to hold onto the agreements and cancelation paperwork.

Amey eventually got an email response to her requests for a refund. The manger at the Mt. Pleasant gym offered a new gym membership instead of of refund. That’s why Amey called Collett.

News 2 contacted the gym on July 2. By that afternoon, the situation was rectified.

“I was like absolutely this is because Rebecca got in touch,” Amey said during a follow up interview later in July.

The company overnighted a refund. The regional director blamed the reoccurring charges on a typo with Amey’s name, which was misspelled on her account.  She said the local manager has been suspended, and this situation isn’t representatives of how O2 Fitness does business.

Amey says the takeaway from her situation, watch your money closely.

You can request a stop payment from your bank when you have an unwanted draft. But keep in mind, if you haven’t formally cancelled a subscription you may still be on the hook for the fees.

Another option is to use the bill pay feature from your bank instead of automatic draft. Bill pay will send a payment on your behalf from the bank instead of allowing a company to debit your account.

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