contract

How to Cancel your Match or EHarmony Contract in Ohio Without Playing the Cancellation Game

How to Cancel your Match or EHarmony Contract in Ohio Without Playing the Cancellation Game

The promise to cancel a contract should be just as promising as finding love online. Many online dating services require customers to sign a contract, pay monthly fees, enroll in automatic payment, and register for a membership plan that lasts anywhere from a couple months to a year...

6 Key Provisions You Should Look for in Your Business Contracts Before Signing

6 Key Provisions You Should Look for in Your Business Contracts Before Signing

Getting asked to review and sign a contract is just as exciting as getting asked to read the index of your favorite encyclopedia. If you are like most of us, then you probably have no idea where to begin reading and probably end up skimming rather than reading...

Are you a business owner? Make sure you don't violate these contract provisions

Are you a business owner? Make sure you don't violate these contract provisions

Drafting contracts can be a tedious and difficult process for experienced and new small business owners...

Do I have 3 days to cancel the transaction in Ohio?

Do I have 3 days to cancel the transaction in Ohio?

Depending on the type of transaction, a consumer can cancel within three days of the initial transaction and receive a full refund...

What to look for when you are buying a new used car?

What to look for when you are buying a new used car?

Buying a used car can be exciting, stressful, and convenient for a consumer living on a budget and trying to save money. Many consumers are fearful about overpaying for a new used vehicle and buying an unreliable vehicle that will need repairs and extra maintenance...

Doucet & Associates 10th District Win for Church Client

Doucet & Associates 10th District Win for Church Client

Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. attorney, Andrew Gerling, maintained a $62,000 jury verdict in the 10th District appellate court for a local church. The church first received the $62,000 in damages in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for a breach of contract over a commercial property.

The Fathers House International, Inc. purchased the commercial property with intent to build a new church.  The Pastors of the church met with the defendant and modified the contract to keep monthly payments from rising after the first year. The Pastors and defendant also agreed the property could be used for other projects.

Later the church joined with the YMCA, the City of Columbus, and the Community Shelter Board and developed plans to operate a homeless shelter on the property. The defendant wrote a letter of confirmation for the church to lease the property and verified accurate payments had been received.

Despite the modification and letter, the defendant later went back on the deal by demanding more money than he was entitled to under the new contract agreement.  Attorney Andrew Gerling first successfully defended the Fathers House International, Inc. in a breach of contract lawsuit and upheld the verdict during the appeal.

If you have had a foreclosure lawsuit unlawfully filed against you contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Mobile Home and Manufactured Rights

Mobile Home and Manufactured Rights

Rental agreement laws are put in place to protect tenants who lease a mobile or manufactured home. Lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can offer legal assistance to tenants whose park operators fail to comply with these laws.

A mobile and manufactured home parks rental agreement or lease must abide by certain requirements and include specific policies. Leases must be signed and completed by tenant and landlord before to moving in. The landlord must offer a minimum length of stay of one year and must offer renewal for when the term ends. The property owners name and address must be provided to the tenant and all rules associated with the park must be listed. A landlord must also state all fees and charges including monthly, extras, and for damages the tenant may cause.

A tenant is not required to purchase the rental property at the end of the lease. The agreement cannot modify the tenant rights or remove the landlord from liabilities or obligations. Landlords are obligated to keep the property sanitary and habitable and repair appliances and utilities. Landlords also have to give tenants a 24 hour notice before entering a leased property. A violation of these tenant rights may result in a lawsuit where damages are recovered and attorney fees are paid by the landlord. Contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. today at (614)944-5219 to verify if your tenant rights are being violated.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Do You Want to Start a Business?

Do You Want to Start a Business?

New entrepreneurs are often excited, nervous, anxious and confused all at the same time when starting a business.  Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. is here to alleviate some of that stress by helping with negotiations, contracts, litigation and other legal matters. The firm also has developed a free video seminar on drafting contracts to help new business owners, which you can find here.

Ohio also offers many great resources for new small business owners to learn about running a business, how to get started and events such as the BizStartNow Business Planning Session in Columbus.

Columbus is one of the fastest developing cities in Ohio when it comes to the number of business startups. In 2011 the Office of Research in Ohio recorded 2,863 business startups in Franklin County alone out of the 22,287 that started statewide. That is more than any other county that year.

Ohio.gov offers many free resources for starting a business in Ohio. Entrepreneurs can access a simple step by step process to learn about the many factors that come with starting a business. There is also information regarding licenses and permits, laws and regulations, employee information and how to obtain financial assistance.

There are many Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) around Ohio where new entrepreneurs and existing business owners can access one-on-one help and participate in events. Locally in Columbus, Ohio the SBDC is at the Columbus State Community College. The BizStartNow Business Planning session in Columbus is a monthly series of events that beginning no the first Tuesday. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can access BizStartNow registration information by clicking here. Another great resource is the Small Business Administration SCORE program that matches retired professionals to business owners that need assistance.

If you need legal help, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can assist you. You may also find our contract drafting seminar helpful available for viewing here. Call Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. today for assistance at (614)-944-5219.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Nursing Home Residents Can Now File Lawsuits in Court

Nursing Home Residents Can Now File Lawsuits in Court

A federal agency that controls a large amount of Medicare and Medicaid funding decided to stop providing funds to nursing homes that force residents to use arbitration and forbid the right to go to court.

Arbitration is a technique used outside a court room where an unbiased third party makes a decision to resolve a problem between two other parties. Nursing homes are placing rules and regulations in contracts detailing residents are not allowed to take legal action in court.

“This is a huge step forward for the rights of everyday citizens. I applaud the agency for this new rule and encourage other agencies to follow, especially those that govern banks and mortgage companies,” Troy Doucet, the firm principal here, said. “It’s time wrong doing comes out of the secret shadows of the arbitration clauses.”

Over a million Americans live in nursing homes. Many agree to abide by arbitration policies simply because their initial need for health aid is bigger than their future need to take legal action in court. Nursing homes forcing residents to use arbitration have prevented serious claims of sexual harassment, abuse and wrongful death from court.

Many nursing home companies prefer to force the residents to use arbitration because it is more cost efficient. Government agencies and lawyers believe nursing homes force arbitration to keep legal matters from destroying good reputations. Taking away a person’s right to take legal action in court is irrelevant to why a person decides to move into a nursing home. Nursing homes are supposed to protect a person’s health and provide a safe atmosphere, not dictate a person’s legal actions.

Last spring, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began creating a rule that would prevent credit card companies from forcing consumers to agree to arbitration practices. Since the turn of the century, arbitration regulations have started to appear in a variety of contracts including student loans, employment contracts and cellphone contracts.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Prepaid Entertainment Contracts

Prepaid Entertainment Contracts

Laws protect consumers who sign and agree to prepaid entertainment contracts. Examples of prepaid entertainment contracts are gym memberships, dance studios, dating services, massage companies and spas, martial arts facilities, sports clubs, weight reduction centers, and other services requiring monthly payments.

Prepaid entertainment contracts have to be in writing and signed by the consumer and the servicer before the contract begins. The contract has to be under three years and the consumer cannot be charged more than ten percent of the total contract before the services are made available.  Servicers must tell consumers orally about a right to cancel the contract and must provide two printed copies of the cancellation rights along with the agreement at the signing.

Every consumer is eligible for a three day right to cancel after signing. A disclosure in bold print should verify all rights to cancel the contract. A consumer disability also justifies the right to cancel and relocation of the company facility more than 25 miles away from a previous location is also reasonable cause to cancel. It is also illegal for a company to waive the right of the consumer to cancel in the contract. Every consumer has the right to cancel.

The company cannot deny a cancellation and must stop charging a consumer after canceling. A company failing to provide a consumer with the rights to cancel in the agreement at signing can allow a consumer to cancel at any time, even years after the contract began. A consumer lawyer can provide assistance to consumers dealing with companies not following the law and struggling with canceling a membership. Consumers who sign contracts before a facility opens are protected by additional rights.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Truth In Lending Act

Truth In Lending Act

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law legislated on May 29, 1968 under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The TILA was created to protect consumers involved in contracts with credited purchases with creditors and lenders. Essentially the TILA act enforces loan companies and credit card companies to provide all information regarding interest rates and other fees before a consumer agrees to borrow.

TILA covers open-ended credit and close-ended credit. Open-ended credit includes borrowed funds such as credit cards, debit cards and home equity loans. Examples of close-ended credit include auto loans and home mortgages.  Information regarding terms of an Annual Percentage Rate (APR), the total amount offered in a loan and the frequency of due dates to repay the loan is now obligatory for the loaner to provide to the consumer under this act. The dispense of required information now allows consumers to be aware of contracts, costs of credit and so-called hidden fees. Consumers are also able to be more confident and comfortable agreeing to credit related contracts because they can use the provided information to compare a variety of loans or borrowed money.

Failure of cooperation by a loaner or creditor to provide the required information to the consumer can result in rescission in certain instances. The loan or credit transaction would be disentangled and canceled, and all fees and paid money would be returned back to the consumer in a rescission. Lenders and credit companies are more disposed and willing to provide the required information based on TILA due to the amount of loss which could generated during a rescission.

You can find out more information about the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) regarding home owners and foreclosure by reading 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank by Troy Doucet.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

A Mortgage Servicer Must Show Compliance with Housing and Urban Development Regulations Prior to Initiating Foreclosure Action

A Mortgage Servicer Must Show Compliance with Housing and Urban Development Regulations Prior to Initiating Foreclosure Action

In Wells Fargo, N.A., vs. Awadallah, 41 N.E.3d 481 (2015), the Ninth District held that where a note and mortgage requires compliance with HUD regulations, such compliance is a condition precedent to bringing a foreclosure action. A condition precedent is something that must occur before something else will or can occur. Ms. Awadallah’s promissory note and mortgage were prepared on Federal Housing Administration forms and required that the bank, as a condition of receiving federal money, meet all HUD requirements prior to filing a foreclosure action. Under HUD, Wells Fargo was required to have a face-to-face interview with Ms. Awadallah, or make a reasonable effort to arrange such. At minimum, Wells Fargo was required to send a certified letter to Ms. Awadallah and make at least one trip to see her at the mortgaged property. It failed to do so.

Wells Fargo failed to present evidence to the Ninth District regarding their reasonable effort to make a visit to Ms. Awadallah’s home, which is expressly required under her note and mortgage and federal regulation. Wells Fargo argued that they didn’t need to meet that requirement because after the foreclosure action was filed, the parties attempted to settle the case in mediation. Wells Fargo argued that the purpose of the in-person meeting, as required under HUD, is to consider loss mitigation and that court-sponsored mediation serves the same purpose. The Ninth District disagreed, stating that mediation after the foreclosure action has been initiated does not show compliance with the federal regulation. Wells Fargo failed to strictly comply with standard regulations set forth to protect consumers. Thus, Wells Fargo did not satisfy the conditions precedent to filing a foreclosure action against Ms. Awadallah. Therefore, Wells Fargo was not entitled to succeed on its motion for summary judgment. The Ninth District reversed the judgment and sent the case back for further proceedings.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Can my old landlord hire a debt collector to sue me for moving out of my apartment early?

Can my old landlord hire a debt collector to sue me for moving out of my apartment early?

A debt collector is allowed to contact someone to collect on a valid debt.  Before determining whether a debt collector is allowed to contact someone in a particular situation, the underlying legal situation first needs to be evaluated.

When two people enter into a lease to rent an apartment, they usually sign a contract to be jointly liable to the landlord for payment of the rent.  If either party breaks the lease, then the landlord has the right to sue either party for recovery of all the lost rent.  That lawsuit can include late fees or other charges authorized by the lease.  The legal doctrine that allows a landlord to sue either tenant (or both tenants, at the choice of the landlord) is called “joint and several liability.”  Rather than suing, a landlord can appropriately place the account with a collection agency to collect on the unpaid rent.

A separate contractual relationship governs the relationship between tenants.  Usually, two people entering into a lease agree to split the cost, where each side agrees to pay a certain amount towards the total rent.  If one of the tenants stops making payments, then the other tenant has a claim for breach of contract against the non-paying tenant.  The paying tenant can even pay the entire rent due to the landlord themselves to prevent a breach of the lease, and then sue the non-payer for breaching their agreement to split the cost.

Assuming valid contracts exists, moving out of town is generally not a good enough reason to get out of a lease.  There is no requirement that the landlord agree to allow someone out of a lease early, and no requirement for the landlord to agree to shift all of the payment responsibility onto the other tenant.  There is also no requirement for the other tenant to agree to accept all the liability for the entire lease and allow the other tenant to move out early.  It would be pretty unfair to the roommate left behind to have to pay all of the money to the landlord each month when they entered into the lease thinking they would only have to pay half.  Thus, if one of the tenants moves out early, that person should not be surprised if they are sued by both the landlord and/or the other roommate for amounts not paid.

That all said, landlords have a duty to mitigate their damages by trying to rent out the property immediately after eviction.  They cannot wait around for months in order for their damages to compound and then sue for a much bigger number than if they took appropriate steps to lease the unit to someone else immediately.  In our Franklin County, Ohio, for example, landlords are generally only able to collect about two months of future rent as damages even if the lease had six months left on it.  The landlord can also sue for fees and costs allowed by the lease or allowed by the law.  That would require looking at local law, and raising failure to mitigate damages in the court case, probably through a lawyer.

One final note on the issue of whether a debt collector is acting appropriately.  A debt collector is only allowed to demand that amount of money which is actually owed and is bona fide and reasonable.  Thus, if the debt collector is adding fees or costs which are not allowed by the terms of the lease (or are prohibited by law), then the debt collector might still be liable under the FDCPA for collecting on an inflated debt.  That kind of lawsuit could wipe out the rent claimed as due and cover your attorneys’ fees, even if the balance of the underlying debt was otherwise valid.  An experienced consumer lawyer could help there, which is what we do.  Call (614) 944-5219 if you are in Ohio.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Your Rights under the Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act

Your Rights under the Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act

The Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act (PECA) provides protection to consumers who have entered into agreements for prepaid agreements for certain services.  PECA covers a variety of contracts, ranging from Gym Memberships, Dance lessons, Martial Arts lessons, to online dating services.

In 2012, the Ohio Attorney General instituted an action against a Fitness Center for purported violations of PECA.  The court in Ohio v. Riffle concluded that the Fitness Center violated PECA by, amongst other things, the following actions:

  • Failing to provide consumers with proper notice of their right to cancel a prepaid entertainment contract as required by PECA
  • Closing the fitness facilities and failing to provide refunds for the unused portions of the contract and failing to arrange for a substantially similar fitness facility located within 25 miles of the customers’ residences as required by PECA, which was also a violation of the Consumer Sales Protection Act (CSPA)
  • Failing to honor cancellations made by consumers during PECA’s three-day mandatory cooling off window
  • Failing to honor valid cancellations made due to a consumer’s disability that prevented the consumer’s enjoyment of the contract’s purpose as required by PECA
  • Failing to honor cancellations made after consumers moved outside of a 25 mile radius of the facilities
  • Failing to provide refunds to consumers within 10 days after valid cancellations of contracts as required by PECA
  • Representing in the contract that certain services, such as childcare, would be available, and failing to provide such services

In Riffle, the Defendant was permanently enjoined from committing any unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable act or practice which violated the CSPA or PECA. The Defendant was further ordered to pay consumer damages and a civil penalty, as well as cease all pending collection actions against other consumers.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages

Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages

Defenses to Foreclosure – Mitigation of Damages[1]

Whenever defending a foreclosure it is important to realize that the mortgage between the bank (“mortgagee”) and the borrower (“mortgagor”) is nothing more than a contract.  Under the common law of contracts mitigation of damages is required by the party who is seeking damages.  The requirement that the mortgagee seeking damages mitigate their damages ensures that the mortgagee “remains in the same position it would have been in had the contract not been breached, but at the least cost to the defaulting party.” [2]  The duty to mitigate requires that the injured party, in this example the mortgagee, take reasonable steps to mitigate their damages.[3]

While several courts in Ohio have analyzed and applied the mortgagee’s duty to mitigate damages when pursuing a foreclosure, some courts are still reluctant to impose a duty of mitigation on mortgagees when the mortgage contains language allowing the mortgagee to pursue full payment. [4]  However, in cases in which the duty to mitigate is not required the courts seem to misconstrue the duty to mitigate with whether or not a mortgagee is allowed to foreclose and pursue full payment. The duty to mitigate does not itself prevent the mortgagee from foreclosing and pursuing full payment; rather, it only “requires an injured party to make reasonable efforts… to limit the damages that result from the breach.”[5] Therefore, the mortgagee may still pursue full payment and foreclosure, but if there is an opportunity for the bank/mortgagee to recoup some of their losses, by say accepting a short-sale or working out a modification with the mortgagor, then the duty to mitigate damages requires them to do so or at least make a reasonable effort. When defending a foreclosure the mortgagor’s attorney should look into whether the mortgagee had an opportunity to mitigate their damages. The failure to mitigate damages is an affirmative defense, meaning that the mortgagor’s attorney must prove that the mortgagee failed to mitigate. [6]

[1] By: Timothy J. Cook, Of Counsel, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.

[2] Aurora Loan Servs. L.L.C. v. Sansom-Jones, 2012-Ohio-5477, ¶ 25 (10th Dist.) (citing Frenchtown Square Partnership v. Lemstone, Inc., 2003–Ohio–3648, ¶ 12).

[3] Id.

[4] Fifth Third Mtge. Co. v. O’Neill, 2015-Ohio-3000, ¶ 44 (5th Dist.) appeal not allowed, 2016-Ohio-172, ¶ 44 (2016).

[5] UAP–Columbus JV326132 v. O. Valeria Stores, Inc., 2008–Ohio–588, ¶ 17 (10th Dist.).

[6] See Baird v. Crop Prod. Servs., 2012–Ohio–4022, ¶ 43 (12th Dist.).

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Attorneys for Small Business Legal Assistance

Attorneys for Small Business Legal Assistance

We take our consumer law practice very seriously at Doucet & Associates, but we also take pride in the assistance we offer to small businesses. The small business attorneys at our firm are proud to offer quality representation and legal services to small business owners throughout the State of Ohio, whether you are starting a new small business, or taking the next crucial steps in expanding or selling your small business. We offer legal services to a wide variety of small businesses in Ohio, but always maintain our law focus of assisting hard working individuals and businesses that need legal assistance to ensure they are working towards the right direction.

If you are looking to acquire or sell a small business in Ohio, Doucet & Associates can help you by drafting security agreements, purchase agreements, and U.C.C. Article 9s, as well as reviewing any existing legal contracts that you may have yet to sign. Our trained lawyers can help identify pitfalls in purchase agreements that can leave a small business owner’s personal property vulnerable, or effectively take away their right to legal action. Many small business owners worked hard to build a business they can be proud of. However, if it comes time to sell a small business, you need to be assured that you are getting a fair deal for the client base you spent years building and the assets that you spent hard earned money to acquire.

If you are looking to acquire a small business, Doucet & Associates is also happy to help. We file Article 9s to ensure that businesses get what they pay for when they agree to purchase a business, and are well versed in a variety of purchase agreements including cognovit notes , security agreements, and the previously mentioned Article 9 filings. These tools are designed to prevent bad business deals when purchasing a small business and we use them to ensure our clients get the best deal they can for what they worked so hard to build.

If you are looking to sell or acquire a small business, or need help starting a new one, Doucet & Associates is proud to have access to excellent attorneys that can assist you. Call us at (614) 944-5219 if you need assistance in drafting or reviewing a purchase agreement, or even what type of business would be best for you.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

How to Avoid and Fix Contract Disputes With a General Contractor

How to Avoid and Fix Contract Disputes With a General Contractor

Many homeowners need a checklist on hiring a contractor to ensure the work gets done correctly. At some point, most homeowners will need to hire a general contractor for a home improvement project or addition to the property, but many do not know where to begin when searching, or what to look out for in order to avoid a contract dispute. The homeowner is the first and last line of defense when it comes to choosing the right general contractor, and deciding on the right one starts with proper research.

The internet offers myriad resources for reviewing and researching general contractors. Sites such as Google and Angie’s List offer ratings and reviews that can be helpful in deciding on which general contractors are trustworthy and capable. Additionally, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau register complaints made against businesses and general contractors. Homeowners can check to see if potential general contractors have any formal complaints, and avoid any potential contract disputes.

The State of Ohio does not require general contractors to be licensed, but most cities in the state do, such as Columbus. Homeowners can check with city websites to see if a potential general contractor is licensed and bonded. A bonded general contractor has some sort of financial policy in place to pay damages against them in the event of a lawsuit or contract dispute. While a general contractor does not need to be bonded to work, it is typically a sign that the general contractor is responsible, diligent, and most importantly, doing what they can to avoid a contract dispute. You should only hire a contractor who has an insurance policy in place, and any such contractor should be happy to provide you a copy.

Homeowners would be wise to have an idea of what permits or licenses will be required for their specific job. A good general contractor will know and include such expenses in a written estimate, but homeowners would be wise to take the time to research costs. An attorney can offer advice on which permits and licenses would be required for a specific job and how to avoid illegal behavior in completing a project.

General contractors will be able to offer items that help potential clients decide for themselves whether or not they are capable of handling a job. Many keep portfolios of projects they are proud of and regularly share with potential clients. A good general contractor will be proud of their work and will make available several satisfied past clients as references. Portfolios and references are excellent resources to help determine how general contractors interact with their clients, and whether or not they can complete the job in a way that is satisfying to the client.

Cost is always at the front of everyone’s mind in a home improvement project, and general contractors are aware of this. They will be able to provide written estimates of the job, including itemized lists of materials, labor estimates, and any miscellaneous costs that may incur, such as permits. Homeowners will want to get at least three estimates from three separate general contractors to get an idea of how much the job will cost.

After settling on a general contractor, homeowners can ensure the contract they sign is fair for all parties. A general contractor should not get more than 20% of the total cost of the job up front, and will should earn a ask for a 10-20% profit over the costs. All guarantees, warranties, and promises should be written in the contract. It is perfectly normal for general contractors to be paid in stages of completion with final payment contingent upon inspection from a third party. Homeowners can also prearrange to pay for materials with an agreed upon supplier and have them delivered to the site, removing the general contractor from the process entirely.

No advice can hold true for every situation, and homeowners should always consult with a professional if they are concerned that a general contractor may be taking advantage of them. Call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219 if you are concerned that a contract may be unfair, or if you need assistance unraveling a bad transaction or settling a contract dispute.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

LA Fitness Loses PECA Lawsuit

LA Fitness Loses PECA Lawsuit

An LA Fitness in Columbus lost a lawsuit to Doucet & Associates this year. The lawsuit alleged that our client was tricked into signing contracts for services that she had no intention of using and would cost her almost nine times as much as she intended to pay. There were numerous violations of the Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act (PECA) concerning LA Fitness’ conduct in this case, and a judgement was taken against LA Fitness after it failed to appear at trial.

In early February, our client signed a contract with LA Fitness for five personal training sessions. The deal, as she understood it, was for her to pay for four personal training sessions and get the fifth one free. However, the contract she signed locked her into a year’s worth of training sessions and renewed automatically each year. Similarly, the contract she signed for access to the gym had the same expanded language.

PECA requires that contracts do not exceed three years in length, arguably making these contracts indefinite. Our client was never informed of her right to cancellation, which was also a clear violation of PECA. Finally, our client was never given a copy of the contracts she signed, resulting in the final violation of the Ohio law.

Thanks to Doucet & Associates Co LPA, our client ultimately won the case, resulting in a complete refund to our client, damages, plus attorney fees and costs. Our law firm often works with cases concerning PECA, which applies to a variety of entertainment contracts including, martial arts facilities, dating services, dance studios, spas and gyms. If you feel that you signed an entertainment contract that was not what you were led to believe, call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

Gym Fails to Cancel Membership; Loses Appeal

Gym Fails to Cancel Membership; Loses Appeal

That gym membership contract does not have as much muscle as you think, according to a recent decision by The Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second Appellate District. If the gym has not followed PECA (Prepaid Entertainment Contract Act) precisely, then the customer can cancel a predatory, overpriced membership and receive a refund of everything paid – plus damages and reasonable attorney fees.

In a recent case filed in Montgomery County, our client sued Everybody Fitness, LLC in Dayton, Ohio for charging a $100.00 enrollment fee (twice the legal limit), payable before he and his wife could use the facility. In addition, the gym charged the couple $48.10 per month, deducted from the plaintiff’s credit card before receiving services, and an annual fee of $41.73. The gym promised that Zumba classes would be available. When the gym failed to offer the classes, the couple decided to cancel their 36-month family membership and requested a refund of all money paid under the contract minus $10.00. Because the contract was a prepaid entertainment contract, cancellation and a refund of was an option.

As part of our client’s cancellation, he requested a copy of his contract, the return of any evidence of indebtedness, and notice of whether the gym would return or keep evidence of indebtedness. But, he did not receive any of these documents. Everybody Fitness failed to provide a Notice of Cancellation within the time frame necessary to comply with PECA requirements, did not provide an address to which our client could deliver the document, and illegally produced a notice with type smaller than 10 point. The trial court determined that the gym did knowingly perform these violations and found for our client on summary judgments.

Everybody Fitness appealed the decision and unsuccessfully argued at the court of appeals that our client’s requests were more than what PECA required. The court agreed with our client and the earlier court’s decision in part, but also reversed the earlier awarding of damages for mental anguish and stress.

Our client paid $911.33 in membership fees over the course of his contract with Everybody Fitness, which the court ordered refunded to him. He is also entitled to statutory double damages for a total award of $1,802.66. The court also awarded our law firm attorney’s fees, which will be determined at the conclusion of the case.

To schedule an appointment for help in membership cancellation, call the consumer protection lawyers at Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!

South Beach Fitness LLC Closes Location in Gahanna, OH

South Beach Fitness LLC Closes Location in Gahanna, OH

South Beach Fitness, LLC in Gahanna, Ohio closed that location in late September, 2013 to the surprise of many people. On the entrance door, it welcomed its members to visit its facility several miles away in Reynoldsburg. Unfortunately, some members recently signed up for services in Gahanna and expected to receive services at the Gahanna gym, especially after paying hundreds of dollars in enrollment and administrative fees. Questions remain about when the gym ownership knew about the move and why they chose to accept new membership fees with a pending move on the horizon.

Our firm is looking to help people who would like a refund of the money they paid to South Beach Fitness, LLC. The membership contract we reviewed appears to violate Ohio law, which likely entitles consumers to a refund of money paid, some damages, plus the payment of our attorneys’ fees for assisting in the matter.

If you would like to discuss how Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help you cancel your contract with no out of pocket attorney costs, please call us today at (614) 944-5219.

 

Did you like our article? Please follow us on Facebook and Linkedin to catch our most recent articles!