Planet Fitness Publicly Shamed Into Refunding Dead Member's Fees

Gregory Rowell has been dead for nearly two years, but no one knew that he’d set up an auto debit with Planet Fitness on a second checking account. The gym continued to debit his account each month until a bank employee notified the victim’s mother, Patricia Rowell. When she provided the death certificate and asked them to refund the money, they not only refused, but said it was her fault and offered her a six month membership instead. That’s when Rowell took her story to the local newspaper.

According to The Advocate, the gym initially cooperated. It was only after the request was bumped up to the district manager, that things turned sour:

Rowell spoke to the gym and showed them her son’s death certificate. Rowell said no one had been using the gym membership account, and that gym managers told her they did not follow up on inactive members.

“The girl said they’d refund, and after the manager calculated, they found out it was $401,” Rowell said. That was a little more than Rowell and the bank employee added up.

The local manager then spoke with the gym’s district manager, and Rowell received a call back last week. The manager said it was Rowell’s fault for not alerting them, and offered her a six-month free membership, Rowell said.

The Advocate published this story yesterday, and by the end of the day they’d already heard back from a Planet Fitness spokesperson, who said:

“We deeply regret the resolution by our club operator. We want to express our heartfelt sympathies for Mrs. Rowell. We will fully reimburse for the dues withdrawn from her son Gregory’s account. This really should have been handled better.

This is a good example of why it pays to escalate a problem. It’s rare that you can get your story noticed by the press, but if both you and the company know that it’s behaving in a way it wouldn’t want publicized, you can try pointing that out–usually to someone higher up on the executive ladder–and see whether that brings about a better result.

“Stamford gym will refund shooting victim’s membership dues” [The Advocate] (Thanks to Anonymous!)
(Photo: leunix and Jerry7171)

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