If a gym’s application asks for your social security number, they will give it to a collection agency if you miss a payment. They may even report you to a credit bureau.

No gym likes so-called delinquencies, me included. But there’s a lot going on in people’s lives and sometimes things fall trough the cracks. We all have stuff get by us from time to time. Instead of assuming the worse about a member—that he’s a deadbeat—instead give him the benefit of the doubt.

My approach is to call and say, “Hey John this is Phil Clark from The Training Station. The bank issuing your credit card declined to pay this month’s charges. Most likely, the card has been de-activated for some reason related to theft or fraud, and you forgot to give us the new card number. If that’s what happened to you, I hope that everything turned out all right. Please give me the new card number, or else let me know how you want to proceed.”

What’s so hard about saying that?

In almost all cases, the member apologizes way too much, gives a new card number, and that’s that. Occasionally, a person has fallen on hard times. In which case we work something out.

We can always work something out.