YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A one-month temporary membership at the Dragon Hill Lodge’s fitness center cost a U.S. military family $735, according to the family and officials at the government-run hotel.

The charges are accurate, and the gym has the paperwork to prove it, according to the hotel’s marketing office.

But the military family says the charges stem from an honest mistake — failing to fill out a cancellation form three years ago — and they can’t understand why a government facility created to serve military families would want to profit from an oversight. A recent request by the family for an inspector general’s investigation was rejected.

“It was just the wrong thing to do to someone,” said Brandy Garcia, a former aerobics teacher at The Point fitness center and wife of an Army sergeant major who ended up paying the bill.

Roxanne Holland, the hotel’s sales and marketing director, said she’s sympathetic. But she showed a copy of the agreement that Garcia’s mother signed that states it is each member’s responsibility “to fill out a cancellation voucher to terminate his or her membership.”

“We don’t want anyone to feel disenfranchised,” Holland said. “Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to (help), there are some programs that require contracts. And clearly, it was signed.”

Janeen Bouch, Garcia’s mother, signed up for temporary membership at The Point while she was visiting South Korea. The membership was linked to the Garcia family’s payments, and they had planned on paying $35 for the month Bouch was in town, according to Garcia.

Bouch left the country on June 14, 2003, her passport shows. On her last day at The Point, Bouch turned in her membership card and said goodbye to many of her daughter’s co-workers there, according to Garcia.

Yet The Point continued to bill the Garcia family $35 a month for that membership for nearly two more years, according to records provided by Garcia and confirmed by Dragon Hill officials. The Garcias failed to notice the extra automatic charge on their credit card bill as it was lumped in with other monthly fees they paid to the fitness center, Garcia said.

“The bottom line — I should have checked my credit card,” Garcia admitted during a telephone conversation last week from her family’s new assignment station in Texas, where she and her family moved this summer.

When her husband, Alfred Garcia, finally noticed the charge in February 2005, the Garcias brought the charges to The Point’s attention and asked for a refund.

But The Point and Dragon Hill Lodge officials refused to pay back the money.

“It was because I did not fill out a cancellation form,” Brandy Garcia said.

Holland said there was no error on the hotel’s part, and it cannot make an exception for one family. The hotel also is worried that making an exception for Garcia, who was a former employee, might look like favoritism over The Point’s 2,000 other members.

“We want to do the right thing, but we can’t do anything special,” Holland said. “That’s the purpose of the agreement. In my opinion, it’s just too bad she didn’t look at her credit card statement.”

Garcia said she may contact her congressional representative to ask for more help. She quit teaching at The Point last year after she grew more disappointed in the hotel’s policy, and eventually her husband did the same. When he quit, she said, he made sure to fill out the cancellation form. “To treat someone like that,” she said, “it’s just awful.”

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