It has been almost five months since the Billings Petroleum Club closed its doors unexpectedly with no warning for members, who are still being charged monthly fees to attend a club they can no longer enter.
Geri Hill thought her challenges with the Petroleum Club were over in September when the club closed, leaving her daughter without a wedding venue just 19 days before she was set to say "I do." But Hill was shocked to look at her credit card statement for the month of October to find she was still being charged a membership fee.
"We start seeing that we’re still being charged for October, and November, and December and January," Hill said Thursday.
The Petroleum Club charged, and continues to charge, a monthly fee for members to be able to dine at the restaurant. For the Hills, it was $30 a month. A basic membership usually costs $60 monthly.
It is unclear how many of the club's approximately 230 members are still being charged these fees. Q2 reached out to the most recent president of the club, Mack Schicktanz, who didn't deny that former members are still being charged. But he did say the only person who with access to their Quickbooks, the club's billing software program, is the former general manager Megan Mizelle.
"That’s absolutely not true. I mean, how could I be the only one that’s allowed onto the QuickBooks?” Mizelle said, adding that she has no access to the club's account.
Mizelle was suspended from her general manager position for allegedly breaking several club rules. She said the suspension happened only one week before the unexpected shutdown of the club, but Schicktanz said it was several weeks before the closure.
“They actually took access away from the QuickBooks and my email almost immediately. We had a password sheet that I gave them and everything,” Mizelle said.
But Schicktanz said that is not true. Schicktanz declined an on-camera interview, but he told Q2 in a brief telephone interview that he is working to fix the problems. He said it will take time but promised all payments would be returned.
For Hill, she is just happy she caught the charges when she did and is able to dispute them every month.
“You know, I don’t understand why a business would only have one person who has the permissions to handle this,” Hill said. "I really question the ethics of the people in charge."
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