Massage Envy - Bait & Switch, unauthorized charges to credit card
After being a member for two years, I wanted to cancel my account because of the departure of some good therapists and my inability to find one that was good among those who remained.I also was receiving physical therapy and the massages were actually doing me some harm, according to my physical therapist.
So I needed to stop the membership. When I tried to do so, the woman at Massage Envy told me not to cancel, but put the account on hold for 6 months after which Massage Envy would contact me to start it back up. She said if I did nothing after those 6 months, the account would automatically close. She said that way if one of my favorite therapists returned and my physical therapist recommended I could return to getting massages, I could go back to Massage Envy, and not have to rejoin at a higher rate.
I figured I had nothing to lose. 27 months later (!) I get a call from Massage Envy asking for my credit card number (My purse was stolen in Spain so I had a new account). It was then that I learned that Massage Envy had re-activated my account (without telling me) a full 21 months prior and had been billing my husband's Visa credit card every month, even though I receiving no services whatsoever! It turns out they did the same with my husband's account (he was told the same thing as me several months later when he wanted to stop his massages due to the turn-over in therapists.
And they were billing him for 11 months without informing him, calling him to ask why he wasn't getting his massages, or sending him the Massage Envy member newsletter that we got in the mail previously when we were members!) This is clearly a bait and switch scam! If it weren't they would have refunded our money with an apology. Instead, they claim it is their policy to reactivate these accounts and just start billing! That is fine that it is their policy, but they should not have employees who lie and they should not reactivate accounts without informing members, sending them their newsletters, and calling them to schedule an massage!!!
Clearly this is all part of their business plan! In trying to resolve this matter over the past 6 months, I have talked to 5 different individuals who all claimed to be a store "manager." Some of them would say they would look into the matter and call me back. But they never did. One woman "manager" at this store agreed last summer/early fall that a mistake had been made.
She offered to refund half of the amounts charged and let us use the other half of the amount charged in massages. I refused this offer as I never should have been charged when I was receiving none of the benefits of membership for all that time! What kind of a company does that? An unethical one!
I have since talked to additional managers, this time with a representative from VISA on the line as a third party witness (thank goodness I use Capital One Visa who is willing to back me up on this!). VISA has tape-recorded the phone conversations and their reps have been as aghast as I am at the different responses I've gotten from the local store. Next we tried to contact their corporate headquarters, and they have no phone number contact!!! What does that tell you about this company???
Anyway, I've been charged nearly $2,000 across 21 months on my account and 11 months on my husband's account) for massages never used. And the store refuses to set this right. At this point I'm taking it to Corporate. From there, I will move to do more of this- report it on consumer sites, report the fraud formally to my Visa card (they have wanted me to try to resolve the matter with Massage Envy first, and they have been very helpful witnesses to this process).
I also plan to contact a friend from my earlier days as a newspaper reporter who does investigative journalism. Hopefully he will find others in southern California with similar stories. And, lastly, I will contact my local representative. My mom got a very good result when she did this.
Of course, I will spread the word to my many colleagues and friends about Massage Envy. I do hope that we will soon see better laws regulating businesses that think they can charge credit cards for services never delivered! Please Join me ripped-off consumers of Massage Envy in writing your elected representatives about this problem and asking for better laws.
And inform your credit card company as well as they will pull their services from companies who misuse credit card charges!Together we can put a stop to this bait & switch practice.
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