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Bally Total Fitness / Denied cancelling contract

1 Norfolk, VA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:

I Caryn R. Kershaw Morris have been a upstanding member of Bally Total Fitness since 1994. My husband has been in the military for 14 years. He was recently deployed to war in Iraq for 15 months and came home Jan 19th. We have PCS orders for Fort Benning, which is located in Columbus, GA. I moved to Columbus GA Dec 28, 2008.

My sons and I were engaged in the three year black belt program Bally's offers. I signed a contract for each of us. I did not want to sign a contract but the Bally's rep said I could get out of my contract by providing a lease or military orders, if they do not have a program or have a Bally's with-in 25 miles of driving. Well, the closest Bally's is in Atlanta, GA which is over an hour away from me. And they don't offer the black belt karate program either. My membership is paid in full.

So I called the rep and she told me after waiting to get through for 45 mins that I had to write a letter via fax and send a copy of my lease. I did just that. In fact I not only sent two fax letters I sent 3 and they said they never got any of them. So I sent a certified letter which Bally's had to sign for. I received confirmation they got my lease and letter, and all the documentation for cancellation.

I was written a letter at my new place of residence in Georgia that they could not verify my new address because the signature on my lease was not included. in fact it was. I have complete copies of everything I sent. All Bally's had to do if they were uncertian was call the number on the lease. How much sense does it make to say "hey we can't verify your residence, and then send me a letter to the very place you can't verify?" Which means Bally's updated my information and gave an excuse not to cancel the contracts.

So I faxed the information again and sent another certified letter March 17th. Now they are saying that my name has changed and they need all types of verification it's me. But yet, my sons names are the exact same on the contract as on the lease, and they never canceled their contracts. They told me over the phone they needed verification that they are minors. So I faxed Bally's a copy of their birth certificates, when it states clearly on their memberships their ages and birthday. I sent all of this information certified mail which my lawyer advised me to do.

I find that faxing does nothing, they just say they never received it, however I have all the fax confirmations that they did receive it. Which can stand up in a lawsuit against Bally's. I also asked for the full refunds of our contracts back dated from the dated they signed the the certified piece of mail, with all the documentation. I really believe Bally's doesn't bank on people to file law suits against them, however I will be filing a lawsuit if they do not stop the bank drafts and refund the money they took to pay themselves.

I have given written notification and proof of re- location from Houston to Georgia as required by the contract. As the contract states in paragraph #7, member may cancel if "more than 25 DRIVING miles from either the club of enrollment OR any other club 'which Member is ENTITLED to UNDER THE MEMBERSHIP PLAN CHOSEN'".

My interpretation is that if I cannot use ANY other club, as stated on this agreement, that I qualify for cancellation. However, Bally WILL NOT, after repeated phone calls release my contract. Additionally they maintain that they can "transfer" the contract at will to any participating club. This however is not the case and is not WRITTEN under this paragraph or any other paragraph.
The customer service rep. maintains that ALL contracts fall under this broad clause and they determine driving distance by www.mapquest.com. which is also not stated in the contract. It seems to me that they have VERY substantial latitude in their analysis of what is or is not permissible in their contract. I have had NO choice but to close the direct withdrawal account.

Inasmuch, all of the customer service reps that I have been in contact with prior to today in hopes of gaining consistent clarification (which has never been the same) as to my rights, have been completely unwilling to accept this written and supported assessment of their own contract. It is clear that my ONLY course of action is LEGAL as they continue to maintain their position. It leads me to believe that they hope you will not have the interest in a protrated legal battle and will succumb to this abhorrent treatment because of the absence of drive to bring the dispute to a just conclusion. I cannot negotiate with a customer service rep who is TOTALLY unqualified to provide legal interpretations of this contract, nor should they be allowed to do so.

I feel I have been cheated. I feel that in good faith I cancelled this contract using the procedures they set forth. I signed the Bally contract after reading it in its entirety. In good faith, I believed that abiding by the procedures set forth in the cancellation clause that I would be free of this contract. This company never attempted to make good on their customer service promise.

Furthermore, when asked to speak with a manager who might be somewhat educated about their practices the cust. service rep disconnects and does not have any intentions of giving his/her name.

My advise to be to others who are going through this would be to send everything certified mail, keep copies of everything. If you call be patient and wait for 45 mins document everyone you speak to at the time and date. Write down exactly what was said and go after them legally through class action lawsuit or small claims court. And make sure you bring all your documents with you when you go to court.

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Comments

  • Jo
      17th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    I stongly agree with this complaint. Ballys is an unprofessional organization and it should be shut down at this very moment!

  • Do
      21st of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    I highly agree! I hate Bally. If I had known that I would be swindled into a 3-year contract, I would have never set foot in the door. I was told that I could cancel my contract within the first 2 months. When I sent my statement to headquarters to cancel it, they claimed they never received it. I only had a window of 10 days to send my statement, and by the time I was notified that it was never received, 10 days had already lapsed. I actually wanted to sue the company, but I am still a student. Where will I get the money or resources to do that? It would be great if all the people in the world who have had similar or horrible experiences with Bally's shady tactics got together. I bet a huge group of us could coerce some change out of the big and corrupt corporation.

  • Ta
      27th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    I was completely scammed with my membership. I was conned into signing up for a 3 yr membership at $72.38 per month. Approximately 4 months later the representative came and told me that I should change my plan. The reason: he hadn't shown me any less expensive plans so that he could make commission ($100!!!). I went to the gym manager and was told well let that account default and we will just sign you up for a new less expensive plan. I called all over never getting any assistance. Well 3 yrs later I get sued by Bally's for over $1500, they settled for $700. I can't stand this company.

  • Ba
      8th of May, 2008
    0 Votes

    This company is the Devil. I cancelled my account with them over a year and a half ago. It took me 4 months of talking with them several times per week, a folder full of faxes, many angry phone calls, and of course, eternal holding... finally cancelled, unbelievable! I finally did it! Not so much!...Yesterday I received a collection for money owed to Bally Fitness for 817.00 for my "unpaid" account. They told me that someone named Linda was a buyer that opened the account for me because I was not able to be there personally to open the account for myself. They also said I have not one, but 3 accounts open with them and 2 are actually in collections. I guess I'll get that bill tomorrow? I spoke with the collection agency and they said they are unable to drop the collection unless Bally sends them a fax saying my account is closed. When I spoke to a supervisor at Bally customer service he told me that I had to send them a copy of my drivers license and 5 signatures. Gee, I wonder what those crooks were going to do with that. I cannot believe this corp. actually gets away with this as a read post after post. I would like to join any class action lawsuit that might be happening. I will be speaking with an attorney about bringing one about if there's not one already.

  • Ga
      17th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree with all the comments above. Bally's is a totally non professional extortionist kind of organization and it deserves to be closed down. I believe that if all of us cheated customers come together on one platform and file a combined law suit against bally's unfair practices and the unprofessional methods they employ to cheat poeple, it will at least deter them from repeating their unprofessional behaviour. Individually none of us can take them on for their Gangster type behaviour. But I firmly believe that If all of us unite and take Bally's management head on, I am sure we can get this organization of thieves to close down.
    What says everybody?

  • De
      27th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree fully - I was conned into signing a 48 session with the trainer and after 24 visits could not pay the ending amount of $700.00. I told them that I could not pay, lost my job and will not be training with them anymore. Even to take the money from my membership which I would forfeit - no - they wanted even 100 a month which to me was alot of money when you get laid off. I have since sent a doctor's note and still waiting to hear from them.

  • Rh
      12th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I should have listened to my husband as he warned me about Bally's Total Fitness. I am yet another individual who has been extorted by this fraudulent corporation. Their business tactics are completely unethical. I full-filled my obligation of working out 16 times within the first 3 months of joining in order to cancel my membership. During my first week with the club they were unable to make me a membership card as they claimed the machine was inoperable. I made sure I signed into a log book at the front desk as I had reservations about joining from the minute I entered that facility, I should have listened to my intuitions, that is my biggest regret.
    Long story short, I cancelled the membership according to the stipulations written in tiny fine print and I had thought I had covered all the bases as well I was canceling the membership for good cause as well being that they failed to allow me access to their heavy punching bags during mid-day, which was why I joined the gym in the first place and I was adamant about having this amenity open to me freely and without restrictions. I was promised access to the punching bags at all times morning, day and night. My sales rep even told me I would never have a problem using any of the equipment at any time and in the event somebody did refuse me access he would quickly remedy the problem. That certainly was not the case and it was very apparent they cared little about my needs as a club member as during my third visit I was instructed the the punching bags were not to be used outside of the punch bag classes which I did not want to join. The sales rep acted as if we never had the discussion I just mentioned thus I cancelled, only after I had completed 17 total workouts, 1 over the mandated number being 16 to cancel a membership.
    Shortly after formally canceling this membership I discovered they had not ceased in debiting my account. I immediately called their corporate office and was informed that they denied my cancelation, stating that I had failed to full fill my obligation of 16 workouts, as they reported me as having 15, one shy. I instructed them to check the log books for that Gym on specific dates and times letting them know the machine which prints cards had been down for several days during my first week of joining, I also gave them the name of the person who worked the front desk during that time period as he was the individual who stated the machine was done and who also handed me the sign in book per my request. They were not willing to look into this matter what so ever.
    Conclusion: I had my bank close the card out that they were debiting and reported them for fraudulent debiting. Shortly after that I discovered they had reported me to the credit bureau. They then contacted me basically telling me I would have to pay the full amount of the membership and there was now nothing I could do nor were they willing to retract the reporting made to the credit bureau. I am disputing this of course but all of us need to work together and take Bally's out. How is it that our system allows this type of conduct to continue or start in the first place. Why are we also not entitled to report a corporation to a consumers credit bureau of sorts. We should have the same if not more entitlements than do the corporations. Who is there to protect us and how is it that are credit can be ruined, fraudulently without any recourse. I am disgusted..., but I am far from giving up on this.

    It is Bully's not Bally's, . And it's time we make them pay for all of the unethical, illegal miss-doings they have enacted on so many good, honest people

    Rhiana M.D

  • Po
      9th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I went into the Virginia beach Bally's just for information on services and rates. They said they had no literature but even though I was halfway out the door I was practically kidnapped as they wanted me to spend time with a rep. You'd think the place would have a ready made brichure with rates. Just happened on this site when i was looking for Bally's corporate site. i read enough to warn me off the place!

  • An
      20th of May, 2011
    0 Votes

    Ten years ago this company tricked me into signing a contract that I didn't know was for 2 years, the manager told me it was just to try it for 2 weeks, and I did try it for two weeks and didn't return. After a while we received calls from a collection agency that we had to pay 1, 200 but rose to 2, 000 with interest paid. after we had already paid, I get another letter that I had to pay another 2, 000. We canceled the payments and then we got a letter from the court that we ignored, and now I'm in big trouble because a judge ordered to freeze my checking account to pay Bally every penny we "owe", we need help, let us all proceedings against the company that cheats and scam people.Each day that goes by the court is charging me for cutting costs

  • Ca
      28th of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    This is an old post... I heard Bally's changed their name to Blast Fitness...

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