Asked & Answered: Daycare, gym closures - do I still have to pay?

Asked & Answered: Daycare, gym closures - do I still have to pay?

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Daycare for many parents is expensive. In some cases, the financial burden is like having a second mortgage.

And many often require a contract like fitness centers and gyms. But is that contract valid during a pandemic?

WTOC interviewed Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau. He's the CEO and president of the BBB that serves northeast Florida and the southeast Atlantic, including the greater Savannah area.

Below is a summary of his advice.

Keep in mind daycares and gyms still must pay their employees, he said, but there are things you can do and should consider.

  1. If your daycare or gym is closed - ask for a discount since they are not able to offer the full service. Even if the daycare or gym offers online services - it's not the same level of service you both agreed to when the contract was signed.
  2. If you can continue to pay - you should, and take the opportunity to remind the business that you continue to support them. But if you are in a financial bind - such as you've been laid off or have lost income - consider cancelling. It's not a decision to take lightly, Stephens said. Here are some questions to consider: How much do you like the daycare? Are there contract penalties involved in an early cancellation? Keep in mind - if you cancel- it likely means you will lose your childcare spot and your child may not be allowed to return. Also - a cancellation may require action by your bank to stop auto draft payments.
  3. And finally, consider filing a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau and Georgia Attorney General’s Office. Those offices investigate suspected scams and reports of price gouging during a state of emergency. Your complaint will trigger an investigation into the matter to resolve it.

There is an ethical side to the issue, Stephens said.

Many people assume if they are paying, then the daycare is paying its employees.

But how do you know?

There is not an agency that can confirm that information because of privacy laws, Stephens said.

But he suggested one way to find out: Call your child's daycare teacher. Ask if she or other teachers have had their pay cut or have been laid off.

So far, the Georgia Attorney General’s office has not weighed in on the matter, but that could change if more complaints are filed, Stephens said.

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