Bally’s Tele-Customer Service Blows

Garth writes in complaining about his workout join. They’re triple-billing him, he says. Not only that, they seem to be actually messing with his mind when he tries to remedy the situation through the telephone customer service: 20 minute holds, inane music and telling him to fax his bank records in to numbers that aren’t even valid fax lines.

There’s a commercial for K-Mart on TV now, where a slightly flabby man does leg thrusts while exhorting “Bikini!” at the video workout he’s watching. He seems to be having a lot more fun than Garth.

Garth baby, call your card company up, or if it’s linked directly to your account, call the bank up, and reverse the charges. That should get their attention pretty quick. Chargebacks, a consumerist’s Excalibur.

Kvetch, after the jump…


“Ay yi yi. Garth from Extreme Craft (www.extremecraft.com) here.

Three years ago, I naively signed a contract for a membership to Bally’s Fitness down the street from me in Atlanta. The club was crappy, but it was cheap, and the sales rep told me that if I moved, I could cancel for $50. Instead, they tore the club down a year later, and informed everybody that their memberships had automatically transferred to other fitness clubs run by Bally’s and Crunch. The next nearest club was almost 12 miles from me–about a half hour drive.

Since I had signed the contract, I decided to take my lumps and keep paying their $18 a month for the next two years as a tribute to my imbecility. I’m nearing the end of the contract, and this month, I was hit with a surprise DOUBLE BILL! I contacted Bally’s via their customer service number, and waited for about 20 minutes on hold. Bally’s then gave me Crunch’s customer service number, and I got through to them after 20 minutes of the most MIND MELTING HOLD MUSIC I have ever experienced. Don’t believe me? Call 1-888-310-6011 and find out for yourself.

The rep on the other end was nice enough, and explained to me that the double bill was because I hadn’t been billed in May (this is through auto-deduction, mind you). I explained that they had, in fact, debited my account at the beginning of June rather than the middle of May, which accounted for that payment, and that the double-bill made for THREE DEDUCTIONS this month.

She told me to fax them my bank statement showing the double-bill, and that my account would be credited. I thanked her, then faxed my statement to the number that she provided, and SURPRISE…it didn’t go through. When I called to see if the number was even a fax number, I found out it was their customer service number again. I waited on hold for another twenty minutes, then gave up and left a message.

I waited for two days, and NOTHING. Today, I spent another half-hour on hold with that INSANE MUSIC, then after a half hour, I got a pre-recorded message that said “Thank you for your call. Our office is now closed. Please call back during our business hours, which are between 8 am and 11 pm Eastern Standard Time.” I almost exploded, because it was 2:30 in the afternoon Eastern Standard Time. I left an angry message on their answering machine explaining my predicament, then being a glutton for punishment (and complete idiot), I dialed again.

SAME…DAMN….THING. After a half hour on the phone, I got their idiotic message. How is it possible that a company could have customer service this bad? The hold music is calculated to drive the hold-ee into
prolonged bouts of mental illness. I can’t imagine that the people who DO make it through could be in a very good mood when they do get a human on the other end.

The mind boggles.

Best,

Garth”

Comments

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  1. Falconfire says:

    weird I have never had issues with Bally’s but then I made it a point to get to know the people at the club. How about trying to talk to them in person?

  2. factotum says:

    I liked the music. Kind of funky, jazzy. Never allow any coporation to auto-debit your checking account–they cannot be trusted!

  3. Melsky says:

    Never allow any coporation to auto-debit your checking account–they cannot be trusted!


    Seconded! If it can’t be done without auto-debit, I don’t do it.

  4. Das Ubergeek says:

    Call your bank and de-authorise all payments from Bally’s. That’ll get their attention. Or go to the club that’s half an hour away and demand the address for the regional manager — then send a certified letter.

    Also, bear in mind that if they do cancel your account, they won’t actually cancel it — it just says “cancelled” but anyone can walk in, say they’re Ben Popken (or insert your name of choice here), and chances are the minimum-wage mental midget who works there just to be able to work out for free won’t ask for ID — then you get a bill for nearly a thousand dollars two years after you “cancelled” your membership.

    A nicely-worded nastygram via certified mail from a lawyer friend got that one taken care of immediately.

  5. billhelm says:

    ugh. Bally’s is a waste of time. The “value” in their memberships is non-existent. The contracts lock you in. Service sucks. Worst part – they report your membership as a revolving credit account on your credit report, so if you don’t pay, you get sent to collections and derogatory credit is reporting like a credit card or anything else.

  6. Federicosh says:

    I have had the same experience with Bally. Customer service is inexistent and when you refuse to pay the EXTRA charges they feel you gotta pay, they call you everysingle day and bully you telling you how they’ll damage your credit if you don’t pay