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Hi, I signed a 9 month personal training contract in November 2011 for personal training services. To make a long story short, I was sold (verbally) that I would be training with "Trainer 1" for the 9 months. Well 3 weeks into training, "Trainer 1" stopped training me and passed me onto Trainer 2. 3 weeks later I got passed to Trainer 3. I discussed my issues with the district manager in early feb. He admitted fault (verbally) and asked me to give it a couple more weeks with a NEW trainer, trainer 4. That's 4 trainers in 3 months. Every trainer has to do diagnostics and feel out my ability, so by the time we actually started training I was moved to another trainer to repeat. I am extremely unhappy with the services and am now trying to cancel the contract due to them not providing relevant personal training 3 months into a 9 month contract. The company is now making me pay for another month ($260) due to a 30 day cancellation policy as well as 15% of the remaining contract ($350) as a cancellation fee. I just want out without paying these two fees, but their corporate office is making me pay. There is language in the contract that if I put a stop payment on the monthly fee, that the entire value of my contract may become due. What is my best course of action? I am planning on paying the $350 cancellation and $260 monthly draft and then suing in small claims court for the entire amount paid thus far. My gym is in Burlington, MA but the training company's headquarters is in Atlanta. Lastly, the company is all over the internet on ripoff report, google, yelp with similar customer stories up to and including blatant fraud. Would including this information in my case be valid? Thanks!

Recap:
Should I put a stop payment on payments from the company?
Can I file the small claims case before I have paid the last month?

 
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Personal trainer contract.

I have not read the contract in question, and did not hear the promises made to you verbally, so I cannot offer an opinion on the key question (the question that the answers to your other questions depends on):  Did the company breach the contract by failing to provide the trainer you were expecting. If you believe there has been a breach of contract, then your plan makes sense.  Go ahead and sue in small claims court, a place that is very friendly to consumers and those that represent themselves.  Their alleged wrongdoings, posted by others on the Internet may offer some insight to you in your dealings with the company, but they are not relevant to your unique situation or to the key issue:  breach or not. 

One other thought:  A company can engage in unfair and deceptive practices while still abiding by the terms of a contract.  In other words, even if there was no breach of contract, if the company made statements and promises that a court believes were deceptive, then the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, 93A, may come into play.  Consider writing a 30 day demand letter.

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your help. I am writing a 30 day demand letter and have 2 followup questions. The personal training company headquarters (and address) is in another state. I'm using the demand letter template off of mass.gov, but the website states " You do not need to send this letter if the merchant does not maintain a place of business or keep assets within Massachusetts." The training company has an office at my gym, but I don't know if it's an "official" office. Do I send the letter to my gym and address it to the training company? Or do I send to their corporate headquarters in Georgia?

Lastly, the amount to sue for. I believe the company acted unfairly in their contract. Here's the breakdown by "bucket". Total amount paid: 1700. Of that amount, roughly 600 is what I'm having to pay to terminate ($350 termination fee + $240 because they are making me pay an extra month because of 30 day notice requirement). I also have about $500 worth of unused sessions.

Total: 1700
Sessions taken: 600
Unused sessions remaining: 500
Termination Fee: 600

Do I sue for the total amount of 1700? Should I break it into 2 claims, i.e. sue separately for the termination fee and one for everything else? Also, do I go after breach of contract as well as unfair and deceptive practices in the same filing? Thank you so much for your help!

Damages

Use your best estimate of your actual out of pocket damages.  If it were me, I would send the letter, return receipt requested, to both addresses.  I believe that the more people you make aware of your complaint, the more likely you are to settle outside of court.   Good luck.

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