I don’t know why so many gyms decide to run themselves like giant fitness scams, jacking people’s money from their bank account and never letting them leave a contract, but after hearing a bunch of horror stories, this is probably the worst. It definitely is in terms of dollar amounts. Here’s her story, and how she fought back and won:
I was ripped off to the tune of $5620. They refused for 3 years to refund my money. Then they told me I have I have no recourse. It was electronic funds transfer for personal training that I never authorized. The people who did it were fired shortly after. It had happened to several other members, and most of the cases were settled. Except mine.
They proceeded to string me along and ignore my letters and phone calls for a few years until they could rest on statute of limitations.
An online complaint filed with the BBB resulted in me being contacted personally by one of the company’s VPs via phone the very next day. A month later, after a few faxes and verifications, I was FedExed a check for the full amount.
Since I’m sure I’m not the only one this happened to, if people are out of options, the BBB complaint, a bit of tenacity, and valid paperwork might be a viable option.
Score another one for the BBB. Like I said before, filing a complaint with the BBB can actually work, as long as the company is concerned about maintaining a good reputation.
This is also a good time to review some Consumerist guidelines for getting a gym membership:
- Read the contract carefully.
- Get a month-to-month membership.
- Pay by credit card. That way you can do a chargeback if they try anything sneaky.
- Don’t give them your bank account info.
Have you ever had trouble getting out of a gym membership? What did you do about it?