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Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  15 years exp all aspects of general law
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I had a gym membership but was unable to use it because of

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I had a gym membership but was unable to use it because of my fibromyalgia. A specialist in TX told me I shouldn't even be vacuuming my own house, let alone participating in gym activities. She said I need a heated pool, which my gym does not have. And
she said that yoga might help, but I need to "begin at the beginning of the beginning" and not in a class setting. She advised that I get some DVDs and try it at my own pace at home. The gym does have a yoga class, but it's an intermediate class that the instructor
tries to "dumb down" for those who can't keep up. After returning from TX, I visited my primary care physician - who has treated me for over five years - and he wrote a note asking that I be released from the contract due to my fibromyalgia. The gym owner,
who admits to having no medical training whatsoever, declined to release me saying that exercise is the best thing for my condition. When I pointed out to her that the contract does indeed give relief for medical reasons, she told me she reserves that only
for people who have become paralyzed in a car accident or seriously maimed somehow. The contract, however, has no "qualifiers" for the medical release; instead, it just says medical reasons. When I stopped payment on the automatic bank account withdrawals,
she turned me over to a collection agency. Obviously I told the collection agency that I dispute the validity of the debt, but how can I prevent this from ruining my credit?
Hello there
Before you left the gym you could have legally gotten out of this contract if you got a note from your doctor that you were unable to use the services of the gym due to medical reasons. Because it states this in the contract, the owner has no right to make up her own rules and was obligated to accept a medical note from any doctor excusing any member for using the gym and she was legally obligated to cancel the contract. My suggestion here is for you to get a note from your doctor and then send a written letter to this gym owner to cease and desist from collection activities and tell her that you were legally permitted to cancel the contract due to medical reasons (tell her to please see attached copy of a letter from your doctor supporting your claims). If the owner does not cease and desist, you should take the matter into small claims court in the civil court in your county in Oklahoma -- you can sue for up to $3,000 in small claims court and you can get the forms right from the clerk's office -- they are very easy to complete and then when you turn them into the court they will set a hearing date for these matters and you can go from there. The amount that you should sue for is the amount of money that you lost based upon the actual date that you informed the owner that you could no longer continue the membership due to medical reasons. Because there is nothing specific in the contract requiring a doctors note for this termination, you were legally justified in simply informing her of your reasons for cancelling and if she refused to accept that then it was her problem and not yours. Once the matter gets into court, you explain what occurred and point out that the contract does not give a specific means to cancel or require a doctors note, but you have a doctors note to show the court in any event. Also ask the court to issue a court order against her that she is to cease collection activity and not report anything to any credit bureau or agency.
While this entire situation is aggravating and it will take a bit of leg work on your part to get it sorted out with her and through the courts if you must go that route but because the wording in the contract is very vague and does not list specific requirements regarding medical reasons she will be obligated to accept a verbal notice of a medical reason by the court.
Please let me know if you have more questions.
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