Announcer: A woman’s attempt to get a workout on with her mom ends with a trainer giving here the boot. Traffic Officer Yolanda English is suing a former personal trainer for a refund on boot camp memberships. Defendant Irma Sandoval said the classes were nontransferable.
Now, it’s Joe Time.
Judge Joe Brown: You’ve alleged that Ms. Sandoval be required to refund you the cost of some unused boot camp classes.
Yolanda English: Yes, Judge Joe Brown.
Yolanda English: You got two memberships involved. You also say, the defendant refused to let your mother used one of them. Now, Ms. Sandoval you countered by alleging that by contract, you owe her nothing because the classes were nonrefundable. The plaintiff and her boyfriend failed to attend as required, the sessions have expired and you offered her some relief which the plaintiff did not take.
Irma Sandoval: That’s correct, Judge Joe Brown.
Judge Joe Brown: All right. Now, you first please, ma’am.
Yolanda English: Yes. I went to her a couple of years ago and I had a positive experience. However, this time around me and my – she called me over the phone and she said that she had a special going. So, me and my boyfriend enrolled. It was for $50 – for $300 for six months. So when we got there, I paid over the internet with my credit card so when we got there the only thing that I was given was a liability form.
Judge Joe Brown: That’s all you usually get.
Yolanda English: And so what happened was, we filled up the liability form and I started going twice a week. However, my boyfriend went about three times then his mother got really ill and he wasn’t able to go anymore. So he called her. We’d never talked to her. Then as the months went on, I asked her, “Is it all right if my mother use his membership?” And she says, “Sure. Just tell her to come on in.” Well, at that time, I was starting to go at 7:00 o’clock so I was going to have her come at 7:00.
Judge Joe Brown: So, you could go to work.
Yolanda English: Yes. And when I went to talk to her about my mother, then that’s when she was like telling me, “You have to come three times a week else I’m going to cancel your membership.” And I said, “Where is that at?” She was like, “Here’s the contract.” I say, “Yes, this is the contract but I never signed it because I never received it until now.”
Judge Joe Brown: The month of October comes in, it seems you really didn’t start showing up for class, you and your boyfriend until October. Is that right?
Yolanda English: Excuse me, Judge Joe Brown. No, I didn’t start until October. I bought the boot camp …
Judge Joe Brown: Yes, you bought it in June.
Yolanda English: But she said I have six months that I can start and when I start, I have six months from then.
Judge Joe Brown: All right. Now, you say, she tried to get you to sign a contract dated from October.
Yolanda English: Yes, she just tried to give me the signed one when I went to talk to her in January.
Judge Joe Brown: Well, what’s wrong with that?
Yolanda English: Because it was this contract stating that I agree to these terms in October and I didn’t know anything about these terms until January.
Judge Joe Brown: Well, what is it that you find onerous in the proposed terms?
Yolanda English: Well, first of all, that I promised to not tell anyone how much I paid.
Judge Joe Brown: Yes, that’s standard because you are the prior – you paid another service, are getting a special deal. And a lot of people may have paid two or three times what you paid for what you were able to get had you chosen to get it.
Yolanda English: And she …
Judge Joe Brown: But now, do you understand what she was attempting to do by having you sign the contract as of October?
Yolanda English: No, because this is what came up when I asked her. She told me she …
Judge Joe Brown: Now look, look, look. You get an agreement with her in June. It’s six months. In October, you’ve missed out on the first four months. So your contract originally written otherwise is up in December. So you only get two months. She was trying to be nice by having you sign one dated October so you’d get November, December, January, February, March, and April so you’d get a full six months when technically, she didn’t have to do anything but just let it stay as it was and you come for two months and that’s all you get.
Yolanda English: No, Sir Judge Brown. When she told me that I can start the – I can start the boot camp anywhere from June to December and after I started, I have six months after that. She said that to me before I even paid for them.
Judge Joe Brown: Well, that’s still in compliance of what she said, you come in October to start using it. You could have used it at June. So she’s giving you your six months. It’s just that you started in October.
Yolanda English: Yes, and I started in October and that meant I had until April.
Judge Joe Brown: Yes, exactly.
Yolanda English: In January …
Judge Joe Brown: So why did you find that objectionable?
Yolanda English: Because in January, she gave me this contract that was dated from October. I never seen …
Judge Joe Brown: That’s right, because you’ve been going from October, November, December, it is January. So you were entitled to go to April. So she’s giving you this one so I guess it might have been for a tax record.
Yolanda English: Well, I didn’t want to sign it because she’s telling me I have to come three times a week else she’s going to cancel my contract.
Judge Joe Brown: … if you don’t.
Yolanda English: I wouldn’t have a problem if she had given me this contract in October before I paid for it so I can make the decision.
Judge Joe Brown: OK. But now, here’s the other thing. What about this complaint that she wouldn’t let your mother substitute for your brother?
Yolanda English: Because she said my mother can come and I told her my mother wasn’t feeling good. When she gets better, I’ll give you a call. And then when I called her she said, “Well, I can’t do it right now. I’m too full. I have too many people who joined from the Groupon. So she’s going to have to wait.” And I was like, “Well, it’s only three months.” And she was like, “Well, if she comes,” I was starting to come at by 7:00. I was going to bring her with me because there was no set time that they said that we have to come to boot camp. We had four times a day that we can come.
Judge Joe Brown: All right. Let’s go to the defendant.
Irma Sandoval: Thank you so much, Judge Joe Brown. I met Yolanda in August. I was working at the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics. I had two classes at 5am and at 8am. She came in through a fresh guide, purchased 30 days as a trial to make sure she enjoyed it. She liked the facility. And then I didn’t see her when I moved to new location in Culver City at about – in June. So I sent an e-mail and say, “Hey, for those who are really excited and eager, I’m so – I’m offering buy one month and get five months for free, whoever is interested.” She replied to the e-mail and she purchased her six months for the price of one.
When I saw her again in June, she purchased the two six-month programs with her and her boyfriend and then they came in from October until about the end of December and she called …
Yolanda English: Excuse me. He didn’t come here. We came twice or three times at the most. He didn’t come in until December.
Irma Sandoval: I’m not sure how many times. He came in a few times but then I got a call saying that his mother died. And that’s of course, awful. I didn’t – no one was using the membership since that June. And so, she called a few times to see if her mom can replace the membership. So when she came in, I was like, “You know what? Typically, I don’t do that but I have to bend over backwards so she could come to workout, her mom could workout, someone died, I’ll do anything to have them workout.
Announcer: We’ll be right back with Judge Joe Brown.
Announcer: We’re back with Judge Joe Brown. The defendant in this case says the client got some training sessions she was using with her boyfriend. She said the plaintiff kept trying to change the terms of their deal then demanded a refund. Let’s get back to the case.
Judge Joe Brown: Now, you offered the mother the opportunity to come at 5, did she come?
Irma Sandoval: So basically, when we tried to have a conversation sometime in December, she wanted to speak with me in the beginning of January. We had a really successful Groupon. We sold about 2,000 Groupons. It was very successful. And she wanted to speak with me like January 3rd, 4th, beginning of the year and there’s a line waiting. I mean it was good for business but she wanted to speak at 6:30pm. I told her, “Hey, let’s make an appointment. Let’s sit down.” Obviously, I knew there was a little tension so I figured, I will refund her, her money. I’ll just make an appointment. Let’s just solve the issue just in case there are any issues.
So we made an appointment at the end of January and I sat her down. I said, “Hey, I’m not going to be able to replace your mom’s membership with your – with De Marco because I don’t typically do that.” I tried to help her out. I waited for her a week. I just can’t babysit and hold her spot for people when I’m here everyday. I wake up at 3:30 in the morning Monday through Friday. And I wasn’t able to put her because people that really wanted to get in shape, people that are determined to wake up, wanted that spot so I have to give availability to people that show up so I expressed that to her. And then of course, unbeknownst to me since I deal with so many clients, I’ve looked at her dates and the dates were expired. This is January. I’m like, your membership is up …
Yolanda English: No, my date was not expired.
Judge Joe Brown: Hold on, hold on.
Yolanda English: OK.
Judge Brown: Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. Your mother was offered the opportunity to take your boyfriend’s contract over and she didn’t want to get there that early. Now, you’re not entitled to any refund and this whole thing about signing the agreement three times a week, you can’t be forced to come but you need a little incentive because two times a week is not going to really do that much for you and it’s like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. All right.
Court Clerk: This Court is now in recess.
Announcer: The boot camp specials did not include special treatment when it comes to the contract. The defendant was flexible but enough. The claim was denied and we’re on to the next case.