Last June I took a three-day trial at martial arts academy which I was interested in joining. After the trial I emailed the academy expressing interest in becoming a member, then called and gave them my billing information because they said it was the next step in registering. I was told over the phone I wouldn't be charged until I came in for the first class and signed my membership contract – agreeing to pay $150/mo.
My work schedule changed a few days later and I never got a chance to make it in or sign the contract after the trial period. Recently I noticed that I've been charged for the membership since that call, and now they're refusing to give me my money back because they said I "sounded sure I was going to make it in" as the reason why they started billing me right away. They have acknowledged over email that it's their company policy to only charge when a contract is signed. In the same email chain they also admitted that they don't have a contract on file from me. With the information I have in the emails, do I have a chance at getting my money back in small claims court?
From the information you provided I think you have a good case to consider taking to small claims court. You never authorized the company to charge you for the membership. You never signed a contract. However, they charged you for a service you never agreed to.
You could also consider finding a local attorney to write a demand letter to the academy. If they receive a letter from an attorney they may relent and refund you the money because they don't want to deal with the hassle of a lawsuit. Good luck!
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
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