12 OYS: Woman says fitness club playing hardball on canceling contract

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, May 23, 2014

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW) -- Fitness was a major part of her life, until she severely injured her back.

Elaine Mickley said the billing company that handles her gym contract is playing a game of hardball. Even after completing a disability verification form as required, Mickley said she is still getting billed.

Staying in shape has always been a part of Elaine Mickley's life. "I walked for 30 years of my life, 4 miles a day," said Mickley.

But after injuring her back in 2012 she had to give up her fitness routine which included working out at Evans Fitness Club. Her doctor said it would be too risky.

"I cannot ever go back to a gym to workout," Mickley said.

Realizing she could not use her gym membership any longer, Mickley said she contacted National Fitness Financial Systems Incorporated. The company is based in Layton, Utah and handles billing for Evans Fitness Club.

"I called the home office and they said all I had to do was get this verification of disability filled out by my doctor," Mickley said.

She said she did that, submitting the signed form back to the company.

But Mickley said instead of canceling her membership and her monthly credit card payments, the company sent her payment coupons in the mail. She said it stated that if she did not continue to pay, her account would be turned over to a collection agency. Looking for some kind of explanation, she called the company back.

"They never mentioned talking to my doctor personally until yesterday," Mickley said.

That is right. She said the company refuses to cancel her contract unless it can speak with her doctor over the phone. She said it would be a violation of HIPAA for her doctor to discuss her medical condition.

"I think they should take me off their contract because all they wanted was the verification of disability," Mickley said.

We contacted National Fitness. We have not heard back yet.

Meanwhile the company has a B rating with Utah Better Business Bureau. While all of its complaints have been resolved, most were related to billing and collections issues. As for Mickley, she said she is not buying the company's excuse.

"I feel that there just leading you on that they have to speak to the doctor," Mickley said.

To be clear, Evans Fitness Club is not to blame. Mickley said her contract does not end until sometime in 2015 and believes the company is stalling to get more money from her.

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