What is my obligation to now pay if my fitness center failed to charge membership fees for about 10 months?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is my obligation to now pay if my fitness center failed to charge membership fees for about 10 months?

I have been a member of a local fitness center and at enrollment I gave them my bank details

for direct debit. They charged my account for a couple of months but stopped doing that after

that. Now, after almost 10 months, they realized their error and are asking me to pay for the pay months they did not charge my account. Do I still have to pay if they did not charge even if they had all details? What is my recourse if I do not wish to pay for their fault?

Asked on August 12, 2016 under Business Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you have to pay if you were a member during those months (e.g. had access to and the ability to use the gym), and especially if you did make use of the the facility. If you received access and the ability to use, and/or did in fact use, the fitness center, you have to pay for  it. There is nothing in the law stating that someone's failure to bill or charge someone at the time prevents them from billing or charging later. For example, if you are an hourly worker and forget to turn in a timesheet one week, your employer still needs to pay you--they don't get your labor for free because you forgot to "bill" them. Similarly, their failure to charge you earlier does not let you get the benefit of their services or facilities for free.
And to consider: how does this hurt you? If, say, the monthly fee if $50/month, then the cost for 6 months is $300...it's the same $300 if they charge it up front, or each month as it accrues, or at the end. Charging $300 later does not cost you a penny more than charging it month by month. (In fact, you arguably benefited, by being able to get "interest", such as it is nowadays, on your money in the bank.) 
If you do not pay, they can sue you and if they do, will win based on what you write.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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