Joining Crunch Gym Is Like Joining The Mafia

As Michael Corleone once said, “Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in.”

Jill writes:

    “A couple of years ago I joined Crunch Gym in Manhattan. The terms of my membership were that I could cancel if I moved to an area without an accessible Crunch Gym. A year ago I moved upstate and tried to cancel my membership. They asked me to prove I was living upstate, I sent bills in my name which they told me proved nothing. I sent my mortgage document which they again told me wasn’t proof. It took 5 months for me to persuade them that I was telling the truth and they billed me for my gym membership the entire time I was negotiating.

    I should have tried to reclaim the money but by then I was just glad to be out of my membership and to have severed my relationship with such a sleazy company.

    Today 6 months later I received a bill from them for $79.00 it said that they had tried to charge my credit card, but the charge had failed to go through. The charge failed because they tried to charge a credit card that I had cancelled 6 months ago. I called them to find out why they were suddenly charging me. The woman I spoke to admitted the error immediately and promised it would not happen again. Here is my question – is this fraud? If my credit card had not already been cancelled they would just have spontaneously started charging me without notifying me. Did they send this demand hoping I’d be so intimidated that I’d pay rather than go through all the convoluted negotiations necessary to deal with them. Can they randomly charge me, six months after finally agreeing to let me out of my membership? My dealings with them have been so torturous that I suspect their motives.


Gyms are notorious at not letting customers out of contract. Don’t what it is, perhaps they’re just really dedicated to getting you in shape. In any event, It sounds like this Crunch went one step further. Instead of cancelling your contract, they put your account on a six-month “rest” and then tried to start it up again. It could be that their computer system truly made a flub, but as you said, their previous history would suggest otherwise.

Either way, more the reason why it is often advisable to sign up with gyms on a month-to-month basis. The initial membership fee may be a bit higher, often the equivalent to one or two extra months, but if you ever go on vacation, or god forbid, decide to move many miles away, the long term savings could make it worth it.

At this point, it sounds like you’re in the clear because all they have is a cancelled credit card. If they call back again, however, it may be more than a mistake and you could have a case for filing a harassment charge, just for bitch slap’s sake. — BEN POPKEN