24 Hour Fitness — consumer fraud
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing today having completely lost faith in your company. Having been a customer before moving to Washington, DC in 2004, I had a pleasant relationship with 24 Hour Fitness in the past. After moving back to California in spring 2008, I expected the quality customer service I had experienced in the past to continue. This however, has clearly not been the case.
In June 2008 I called your Customer Service number at [protected] to make sure that my membership (ID# H------) allowed me access to your clubs in New York City. In the conversation with the customer service agent, I also inquired about whether I should freeze my account since I was moving away from California. I was assured by the associate that my membership allowed me access to the not-yet-open Madison Square Park (â��MSPâ��) club, and that the club would open for business around the time I would be moving to Manhattan. She advised me that freezing my account was not necessary.
In early July 2008, after noticing on your website http://www.24hourfitness.com that the opening date had been pushed back from June to July 31, 2008, I called the Customer Service number again. Again I was assured by an associate that my membership allowed me access to the MSP club. She also apologized for the delay in the clubâ��s opening and assured me that the club would be open by July 31, 2008.
Around July 28, 2008 I checked the website and was excited to see that a Group X schedule had been posted. On July 30, 2008, when I checked the website to confirm the clubâ��s location, to my surprise I found that the opening date had been pushed back yet again to August 31, 2008.
On August 6, 2008 I called the MSP club to ask when the actual opening date would be. I was told by the associate there that there was no confirmed date. I then asked her to look up my account to confirm again that I had access to the club. Upon looking up my account, she responded that I would have to pay a significant amount more ($109/month) to gain access to the club. I asked her how it could be that just less than a month ago I was told I would have access, and since she didnâ��t know the answer, she directed me to call the Customer Service number again.
I immediately called the Customer Service number. I was told by the associate that the club had become designated an â��Ultra-Sportâ�� club, and that I had to pay to upgrade my membership level. She also explained that her computer system had NO RECORD of any of my previous calls. I was shocked and offered to pull my call logs (I have offered this many times, and have had my offer declined). I then asked to have my account frozen temporarily. The confirmation number she gave me for freezing my account is T858. This took place at approximately 3:40 pm EST. I was then told that someone would contact me within 24 hours to address my concerns.
Five days later, having not heard back, I called the Customer Service number again at 3:00 pm EST. After speaking with Isaac (ID# T926) and Arthur (ID# T1015) I was told that within 24 hours a manager would get back to me.
Another 24 elapsed with no response. On August 12th at 3:40 pm EST I again called the Customer Service number. I spoke to George (ID# T701) who transferred me to Bernice (ID# T955) who told me a manager would call me by 5 pm CST (6 pm EST). Again I did not hear from anyone, and to this day I havenâ��t received a call back from any of your Customer Service agents or managers.
On August 14th at 10:32 am EST I again called the Customer Service number. This time I spoke to Chris (T863) who transferred me to Mariko (ID# T961) who transferred me to Javier (ID# T558) who she claimed was the manager. Javier brushed me off, telling me there was nothing he could do and that the only actions I could take would be to write to P.O. Box 2689 and P.O. Box 2409. He also claimed that the decision to change the MSP club into an â��Ultra-Sportâ�� club occurred in mid to late July 2008. Furthermore, Javier expressed that although I had requested that my account be frozen on August 6th my account was still active and had not been frozen. I gave him my confirmation number of T858, and he explained that all he could do was freeze my account that day (August 14th at 11:00 am EST). My SECOND confirmation number for the freeze was given to me as T558.
At 3:05 pm EST that day, I called the MSP club to ask for more precise details to include in this letter. First off, I would like to point out that in the repeating messages played while I was on hold Derek Jeter states that the MSP club is open 24 hours a day. This is in fact false. Your MSP club, as stated on the website and by Charles Damiano (ID# 9794F) is only open from 8 am â�� 8 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 am â�� 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. After I finally was put through to an agent, I asked to speak with the club manager. MSP Club Manager Tom Moro (ID# 5906G) said that he would look into my situation for me and contact me within 24 hours. Again, as it seems is a trend with your company, I did not hear back within 24 hours. However, finally the East Coast Operator, Charles Damiano (ID# 9794F), got in touch with me after Tom Moro requested he do so.
In my conversation with Mr. Damiano, I was told that at best heâ��d let me try the MSP club for two weeks, and then itâ��d be a $99 enrollment fee and $109 monthly fee because my membership wasnâ��t valid at the MSP club. I was and remain absolutely livid. Why was I given such false information in the first place â�� twice? And by TWO separate associates?
Mr. Damiano also told me that your Customer Service â��managerâ�� Javier was â��misinformed.â�� He said that the decision to make the club an â��Ultra-Sportâ�� was made in February and not July as Javier had said. Either way, again, why was I told I would get access? Mr. Damianoâ��s best advice was to call the Customer Service number again and ask to speak with management at the highest level. He claimed that he was just on the job and had no real contact with the corporate headquarters.
I then immediately called the Customer Service number again. I spoke with Olga (ID# T957) who transferred me to Donica (ID# T1022) who placed me on hold for 40 minutes before I was put through to Nigel (ID# T566). Nigel stated that he was the Member Services Manager. After explaining the situation to Nigel, he gave me a list of excuses. He claims the reason why my account was not put on hold on August 6th was because the associate I spoke to (Luce?) was a trainee. That is NOT a valid excuse for screwing up. He further claims that the reason why I was told by his department TWICE that I would have access to the MSP club was because thereâ��s a lack of communication between the clubs and the corporate offices, and thus information doesnâ��t trickle down to the Customer Service associates. He further expressed that that was why Javier told me the decision to make the MSP club an â��Ultra-Sportâ�� was made in July whereas Mr. Damiano claims it was February. Those excuses are unacceptable.
Also, Nigel informed me that I accessed the Glendora, CA club on July 21, 2008. I am furious at this claim because I am currently living in New York City and have been living and working here since June 14, 2008. I have both my membership card and contract on me â�� HOW COULD SOMEONE HAVE ACCESSED A CLUB USING MY MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE? That is IDENTITY THEFT and your club ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN.
I called the Glendora club and spoke with Chris who told me the only details he could provide was that â��Iâ�� accessed the club at 8:38 pm PST on July 21, 2008. I am demanding answers for how someone could have used my account!
So, listed below are my complaints:
â�¢ Horrendous customer service. Whatever happened to actually following through and calling customers back when you promise to do so?
â�¢ â��That person is a traineeâ�� is NOT a valid excuse. Had I not called back to follow up again my account would have been continuously activeâ�¦and I would be charged a â��pro-rated feeâ�� for that week if/when I cancel my membership.
â�¢ A lack of communication between your clubs and your corporate office is also NOT an excuse. Please deal with your internal issues accordingly.
â�¢ Your Customer Service associate and website at one point said that the Midtown branch of 24 Hour Fitness in Manhattan would be open in â��winter 2008.â�� When I spoke to an associate at the MSP club, she informed me that the club is not slated to open until 2010. Mr. Damiano claims the club is to open in mid-2009. When is it actually going to open, and why was I given such false information in the first place?
â�¢ Had I been told in June or in July when I called your Customer Service number that my membership wouldnâ��t give me access to any of the clubs opening in Manhattan, I would have canceled my account and accepted a pro-rated refund or frozen my account. I was specifically told not to. This means I lost over TWO months of membership.
â�¢ Allowing someone to access a club using MY account without my permission or knowledge.
â�¢ TRYING TO CHARGE ME $1000+ A YEAR TO GAIN ACCESS TO A CLUB I WAS ALREADY TOLD TWICE I WOULD HAVE ABSOLUTE ACCESS TO.
I am SO furious with 24 Hour Fitness right now. Please have someone contact me from your corporate headquarters, because this is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE.
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