I didn’t catch the original post by I wanted to share my experience. My brother, DH & I joined Ballys gym in early August 2003. In late September 2003 my DH broke his neck in an bad car accident.
Temporarily paralized, force to break our rental lease and move in with my family, and repossession of our only other vehicle and my brother was also laid off by December and returned to school FT (he was in mid-20’s) we were forced to only pay for necessities and needless to say we weren’t going to the gym. In early 2006 I received an official looking letter from my county court house that were suing me and by the end of the year they had won the case and I now have a judgement against me on all of my credit reports.
The key to my case is that I was never given a court date to appear. Believe me, if I did, I would’ve been there will all of my DH medical records, police report and brothers official “layoff” letters. I did just receive a letter from a lawyer who found my judgement file at the local county clerks office and I am doing some research on him before we meet. The debt amount is now over $3,000 for 2 months of gym use. Yeah, I know I should’ve read the contract better, but we were planning to really take advantage of the gym and work out.
One thing I did learn, NEVER EVER pay with a personal check. Even after this judgement, I live in Texas and we are non-garnishing state meaning the only one that can garnish my wages is the Federal Government. But if they were to have my bank information, they can and will freeze my account until they collect what they needed…information I found out regarding the collection agency Bally’s was using. Can you believe they also sent me a check for $6.57 and needing the money I went to cash it, but after a block away immediately turned around and returned the money and collected the check….it was from that same collection agency, but they had no name on it, just the address. I had realized it was from the same town the collection agency is located in.
Debt is brutal and collection agencies are scrupulous. I found out through an online site regarding “bad banks and companies” that this collection agency is so big they are touted to be the first million dollar collection agency this year. Apparently they have judges under their employment that are paid according to the amount of judgements they make in the collection agencies favor.
No matter how small the amount may be, make it to your court date and explain your situation. Real, fair local judges tend to be more leneant (SP?) to the consumer versus the collection agencies.