Help Me Hank: Billing Battle
It's cool to have a personal trainer, but it can be expensive. So Melissa Donahue's husband Craig went online and signed up for the virtual kind.
"They were supposed to give a workout plan, like a personal trainer."
It seemed easy.
"You pay $20 a month."
So they authorized one payment on Melissa's debit card even though Melissa predicted it wouldn't ‘work out’.
"I told him just to sign up for one month because he probably wouldn't keep going with it."
But here's where the online workout didn't work out. The next day Craig tried to use the ATM card and the bank machine ate it.
"They sucked the card back in."
Melissa was baffled, there was plenty in her account.
"And I'm like, what the heck is going on?"
They called the bank to investigate.
"I was so mad."
And turns out the fitness place had been doing reps with Melissa's bank account.
"They charged my card 50 times, $20.
Look at the bank statement, though Melissa authorized one $20 charge, they took out 20 bucks 50 times! And on the same day!
Melissa was out $1,000 and instantly hit the phone to the fitness people.
"She was like, ‘oh my God. I can't believe that happened.’"
Days went by, but the money was still missing, so Melissa tried again.
"She said we're looking into it and we'll call you right back."
"If I stole a thousand dollars from you, how would you feel?"
And two weeks later -- still no refund. Melissa flexed her muscles online."
"I found Help Me Hank."
Because Melissa used a debit card and not a credit card, those 49 unauthorized transactions were not protected. So we called the fitness folks to see why her money was still tied up.
The company pointed us to the explanation they'd just put on their Web site, they admitted it was a computer glitch overcharging many of their customers and they promised reimbursement.
The very next day Melissa's bank account was out of the red.
"I didn't think I was ever going to see it again."
And weighing with her missing $1,000.
"I was so happy to get it back."
And if you find an unauthorized debit card purchase, you must notify your bank within 60 days of receiving your statement, if not you may be responsible.
If you're fighting a consumer battle, maybe I can help.