Troubleshooter helps Durham woman get money back when spa fails to freeze membership during pandemic

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are not comfortable going to the gym or spa. If that is you, and you have a membership to one of the businesses, one option is to freeze your membership until you are ready to go back.

Durham resident Sylvia McNeill tried to freeze her membership but ran into a problem. She is a long-time member of Massage Envy and said that despite the massages helping her health, she said she couldn't risk going into Massage Envy to get massages because she is high risk.

She said she called Massage Envy last spring right when COVID-19 hit the Triangle.

"I told her I have rheumatoid arthritis and I have lupus and I can't risk coming in because I have a challenged immune system," McNeill said.

She followed through with an email to Massage Envy and asked for the freeze request form. She got an email back from the Director of Employee and Client Relations for the Massage Envy at Southpoint in Durham thanking her and saying they looked forward to reopening since they were closed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

McNeill said Massage Envy never emailed her the freeze request form she asked for, and when she called, there was no answer since they were ordered to be closed under state restrictions.

"I checked the first two months, and I didn't get billed, so after that, I never looked at it again, and then in January of this year, I got a call from them saying they couldn't bill my account, and I said my account was supposed to be frozen," she recalled.

In January, McNeill looked at her account and realized she has been charged monthly from June through December 2020 despite emailing Massage Envy to freeze her account.

She said that when she questioned it and spoke to the Director of Employee and Client Relations for the Massage Envy at Southpoint she claims she was told: "We were closed for those two months, that's just your loss. We couldn't have communicated if we were closed."

McNeill said she responded by saying: "But ma'am, you have the email you sent to me."

McNeill said she then just wanted to cancel her membership and was offered the use of the seven remaining massages she was billed for.

"I had to use all of them in 60 days, and if I couldn't, I was going to lose them, and I couldn't because I'm not getting massages right now," she said.

Upset, McNeill got in touch with Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, who got in touch with the corporate office of Massage Envy who stated: "All Massage Envy locations are independently owned and operated franchises. The franchisee has informed us that the member was refunded for the four months."
McNeill said she was promised that the refund of the other three months would follow. She said to the Troubleshooter: "I just really appreciate you helping me with this."

The best advice if you have a membership and want to put a hold or freeze on your account is to make sure you follow exactly how it states to do that in the contract.

Also, follow up by checking your account that is tied to the membership to make sure you aren't charged even after freezing the account.
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