WEST MICHIGAN -- Crystal Patterson said her $2,000 'debt' has been wiped clean after reaching out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers. She said her frustration with Family Fitness and a collections agency appears to be over.
"It has changed everything. If I didn't reach out to you guys, I'd still be paying them," she said.
Patterson said a collections agency called Swift Funds Financial sent her a check for $334 following the original Problem Solvers report.
"I am so relieved, and I'm so happy. And I really wasn't expecting anything to come from this, just trying to make everybody aware," she stated.
Patterson said she wanted to make people aware of her dealings with the Family Fitness in Sparta. In 2016, she said she was in the process of canceling her gym membership. She was paying to get out of her contract.
"I had already paid Family Fitness $250," she explained.
But before she could continue payment, she said the gym sent the remainder of her alleged debt to collections anyway. Swift Funds then charged her about $2,000 and put her on a payment plan.
"I paid $167 every month," Patterson said.
She said she made two months worth of payments before contacting the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.
Patterson told her story along with Scott Rypma of Grand Rapids who also got refunded.
"It got the right person's attention, and I got the money back," Rypma stated.
As a result, hundreds of people have reached out via social media, email and by phone with similar complaints.
Swift Funds also reached the Problem Solvers back and said the collections agency has frozen all Family Fitness collections while the gym sorts out the accounts.
Patterson said, "Hopefully this changes things for them, and they can really change how they do their business."
If you have a complaint you can also reach out to the state Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division. There are a number of ways to file a complaint found here.
Also, collections agencies are federally regulated and must follow certain guidelines. The Federal Trade Commission provides the oversight. Their complaint form is found here.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is designed to protect consumers. For more information click here.
Swifts Funds Financial's number is 323-741-5269.
Family Fitness corporate said it will issue a statement.