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BJ's Wholesale Club review: free trial membership

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5:36 pm EDT
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
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I received a postcard with an offer for a "Free BJ's Trial Membership" a few weeks ago. It said, "No Risk BJ's Trial Membership for a Minimum of 60 Days, " indicating that all I had to do was bring my card to the Member Services Desk to activate membership. I used to have a membership but had not had one for some time, so I decided to try them again because of this offer. When I went up to the customer service desk, the clerk immediately went into a canned speech about how the free trial is only good for ONE person and is ONLY for 60 days (although the card says a "minimum of 60 days, " which I don't really understand anyway). She was clearly trying to dissuade me from this offer.

After trying to convince me to sign up for the one year membership which cost $45 (that I politely declined), she looked up my name in her computer and claimed I was not eligible for the free trial since I had been a member there once before. Nothing in the mailing indicated that you could never have had a membership there before. It had been about a year since I was last a member.

When I asked why BJ's would send the offer to me then, she readily pulled out the mailing (just happened to have one under her desk?) and pointed out that BJ's had "no idea" who they were sending it to, since they were all addressed to "Friend and Neighbor." Given how quickly she had an explanation for this, I apparently was not the first to ask that question. I had thought I received it as a way for them to woo me back since I hadn't been there in quite some time. She disputed this, saying it was only for people who had never heard of BJ's before!

She then pointed to the very fine and tiny print which stated this offer was for new members only. My understanding of a new member is one who is not a current member. In other words, you can't get 60 days for free if you already have a membership. Well, this clerk and now a second clerk started ganging up on me, trying to make ME feel as though I were trying to con them into a free membership! The second clerk, especially, was rude and tried to embarrass me for trying to get my free membership. Another customer was standing there, and she pointed to her and said, "Well, why should you get a free trial when this customer has had to pay?" Which made no sense at all. I guess I should have said, "Um, maybe because I have the friggin' free trial membership card and she doesn't?"

BJ's has gone downhill in my opinion and I will not be going back. This is a bait and switch as far as I'm concerned. You show up at their invitation and then they try to push you into paying for a membership. No thank you.

Good bye, BJ's. Hello, Costco!


The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

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Sep 15, 2014 11:58 am EDT

May I remind everyone who speaks English. You don't "try" something more than once. I love Bj's. I'm a couponer and I save loads every year on everything I need. I've gotten a boxes of cereal for $1-2 cuz they accept coupons from manufacturers. I've gotten sweepers for $5. You save money! I personally would be furious if I was paying for my membership and oters are given free trials. Pay the membership! Don't be a cheapo. I hate when people think they are entitled to something.

Oct 01, 2013 12:25 pm EDT

I can't agree enough with the comments by Cville Sierra. I had previous mailings for trial memberships and took them up on it. Now they pump me for joining and say some BS about being a member - well I'm not a member and BJ's mailed me the invitation. I might like the store better if I try it again who knows. But the rude membership pumper was obnoxious. Goodbye Bj's club forever and I will never recommend your store in fact I will go out of my way to tell people what horrible customer service you have. I also said in no uncertain terms take me off your mailing list. Lot a good that will do.

Dec 01, 2011 7:15 pm EST

I totally agree with bugmenot2, and besides the card does say good for new members only. And if my English is any good, new means the first time, fresh on the market. If you let your membership lapse, you are not a freaking new member. Americans feel too entitled. I get at least 20 of these cards for the year. I've tried it once on a trial, doesn't mean i'm going to go there to get another one. Time to pay up. And its waste of gas just to drive for a free trial that you will only use once. Americans feel entitled to everything, you're better off buying a membership and receiving your coupons which in turn pays back the fee,

Feb 04, 2011 2:18 am EST

OK i work at bj's and let me tell you that was NOT the workers fault. that trial is part of a whole promotion- its called map. atleast 30% of the people we sign up in one day have to be paid memberships, not trials, or we get written up. managers are crazy about this and are yelling all day during these promotion periods- "what are we at?", "whats our percentage?".

Sep 17, 2010 10:45 am EDT

I never was a member, but have used the free membership a few times, twice if I remember correctly, the girl at the counter gave me the third degree for not buying the full membership and was a little disrespectful about it. I told her it was not a good deal for me, I only buy a 50lbs bag of dog food when I do come, I can find anything else cheaper or as cheap somewhere else. I told her if she does not want me to use the free trial, "don't send it to me. I don't need the aggravation, and take my name off the mailing list"
I don't eat meat by the pound and I don't need 20 lbs of bananas.
Personalty this is a sucker deal..Pay to spend.

Oct 26, 2009 12:20 am EDT

May I offer a suggestion to you? Please go back to the club and ask to speak with a member of Sr. Management, the Sr. Merchant, the Operations Manager or the General Manager. One of these three should be able to give you the final answer on this. BJ's has a new program named "OTO", which stands for "Own The Outcome". OTO is designed to resolve this type of dispute in your favor. OTO comes directly from the President of BJ's, Laura Sen. The idea of trial memberships is to increase membership and along with increased memberships will come increased business. Sr. Management should be able to see this thru to a successful conclusion. Explain to them the reason you let your membership lapse. What ever the reason, it is your reason and you should stand by it. Sr. Management should except it and use it as a stepping stone to see to it you are once again thinking positive about becoming a paid member. Our members are important to us. We all try very hard to make our members shopping experience an enjoyable one. Everyone from the ovenight shelf stockers to the General Manager should be thinking "OTO". Benefiting the member and acquiring new members into our Clubs are goals #1 everyday at BJ's Wholesale Club. Please take this to a Sr. Manager.

Thank you,
LP, Club #020, Chicopee, Ma.

Oct 25, 2009 7:36 pm EDT

A free trial usually applies only to new customers, not to lapsed customers. So, BJ's was in the right.

However, their offer to you apparently did not state this explicitly. If this is so, then it is their fault for leaving out this important condition.

So, even though ordinarily the offer would not apply to you, BJ's omission of the new customer condition means that they should have given you the free membership.

Just my opinion.


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316 complaints
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BJ's Wholesale Club contacts

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25 Research Drive, Massachusetts United States