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California Fitness / Harassment over void membership

1 Malaysia Review updated:
Contact information:

I'd like to express my tremulous experience with California Fitness Gym (Sunway Pyramid Outlet). I was contacted in November 2007 by a telephone promoter who notified me about winning a FREE 1 Week Trial with the gym membership. They had retrieved my contact details from a drop-box at a Coffee Bean outlet in which I had placed my business card with intent on participating in contest at that time (winning a free trip to an exotic destination).

The lady on the phone told me that I could head down to their outlet at Sunway Pyramid to claim my prize – FREE 1-week Trial Membership to California Fitness. Seeing as it was late, I only managed to arrive at the place after office hours (around 9pm).

When I arrived, I told the receptionist that I was there to claim my FREE trial membership. She proceeded to introduce to me one of the fitness consultants. He gave me a tour of the gym. After the tour, I was led away to conduct an impromptu health check. They started asking me all sorts of questions of which I assumed was related to my health, stating that I was unhealthy and recommending me all sorts of fitness routines and packages.

As I was about to leave, the fitness consultant then took me aside and introduced me to another consultant who began telling me about a ‘fantastic promotion’ California Fitness was holding at that time. They explained to me that this promotion gave me a big discount on the current existing membership fees. I told them that I would think about it and would rather conduct the FREE Trial first. They then claimed that the promotion would be ending within 2 days time and by then I would have missed out on this ‘great opportunity’. I was already beginning to feel very anxious as it was about 11pm+. I was exhausted and eager to walk out of the premises, regardless of whether I was given my FREE Trial or not. Using high pressure selling tactics, they persuaded me into signing up for a GOLD CARD membership. HOWEVER, they informed me that in order to finalise my contract, they needed a credit/debit card of which I then told them that I did not own one. The consultant proceeded to ask me to borrow one from either a friend or relative and pay them back using cash. I was then asked to make a deposit of RM120 (the amount of cash I had on me at that time) to confirm my agreement with them. They then gave me a copy of the transaction which noted that I had was required to pay a balance of RM280 in order to be able to access my membership which was to begin on 4 January 2008.

I was only allowed to return home after 12am with the signed documents and after paying my deposit. Due to the experience, I was hesitant to go back to the gym as I didn’t want to be ‘persuaded’ any further (upgrading membership etc). I went through the documents again and came to a conclusion that this membership wasn’t for me as I would not be able to fully commit myself to a long term programme. I decided that I would return to the premises to revoke my membership and retrieve my deposit.

I told the receptionist my intent and the reasons why I felt I couldn’t continue my membership. She proceeds to tell me that I had exceeded the timeframe in which I was allowed to cancel my membership (3-days, of which wasn’t mentioned ANYWHERE in the contract / Membership Terms & Conditions). She then stated that in order to terminate my membership, I had to pay an additional RM600+ on top of the balance that I owed them. I was mortified, as I have never even attended nor used their facilities since the day I signed up. She began giving me the run-around, stating that the senior management was not available at that time and that I would have to come back on a later date to settle this issue. Frustrated, I decided to just give up hope on ever retrieving my deposit and left.

Few months later, I’m then told by my parents that California Fitness has been sending me notification letters to my hometown address insisting that I pay them the fees that I owed. Seeing as the contract’s timeframe had already lapsed, I figured it was a miscalculation on their side and the contract was now void (as stated in the sign-up form). However, this was not the case as they began SMS-ing me for six months straight saying that I needed to pay my debts. I found this odd as they were charging me for services that I had never used as well as for a membership of which was never finalized.

Recently they've sent me 2 messages stating that if I did not pay the outstanding fees they would proceed with legal action. I’m terribly stressed out by this whole ordeal and am unsure as to what steps I should take in order to rectify this situation.

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Comments

  • De
      21st of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    To everyone online, DON'T TRUST ANY PROMOTIONS BY ANY GYMS, FITNESS FIRST OR CALIFORNIA FITNESS. Their sells people will harass until you sign their agreement.

  • Eb
      12th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    hi..i had the same problem in sunway pyramid outlet...i signed up...there was lot of misrepresentations...which i wont give u a headache over it...they have been ripping me off constantly...but the latest thing that happened was ...i am leaving to my homecountry...so i wanted to suspend...so i asked the receptionist what to do...and they said i have to a get a letter from my uni to state that i am leaving which is really odd...do i need a permission for not working out for few months...do i need an excuse...so i get the letter from my uni and i give it to them...they said that i have come too late...and i should i have come one day before...i told them nobody told me such thing...and they very rudely said...read ur contract...well i went back to read my contract...and guess what...there was absolutely nothing on the contract saying that i should apply within a certain period...when i complaint...they asked security to take me out...this is a big scam...isnt there any customer protection in malaysia...even if you go to wikipedia...they will tell u about the scams of this gym...i am reporting this gym to malaysian government...whatever department in charge...if we all do the same...they will put a stop to this huge scame

  • Eb
      12th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    CONTACTS FOR ENQUIRY POINTS,
    STANDARDS AND REGULATORY AGENCIES
    1. WTO/TBT ENQUIRY AND NOTIFICATION POINT

    Agency/Office:
    Mailing Address:


    Telephone:
    Fax:

    E-mail:


    URL:

    SIRIM Berhad
    Standards Management Department
    SIRIM Berhad
    P.O. Box 7035
    40911 SHAH ALAM
    6 03 5544 6909
    6 03 5510 8830
    smd@sirim.my
    salmah_mohd.nordin@sirim.my
    khalidah_mustafa@sirim.my

    http://www.sirim.my/WTO/main.htm

    2. WTO/SPS NOTIFICATION AUTHORITY AND ENQUIRY POINTS

    Notification Authority

    Agency/Office:
    Mailing Address:



    Telephone:
    Fax:

    E-mail:
    URL:

    Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry
    Strategic Planning and International Division
    Wisma Tani
    Lot 4G1, Presint 4
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62624 Putrajaya
    6 03 8870 1212
    6 03 8870 1467
    tnfoo@agri.moa.my
    http://www.agrolink.moa.my







    Enquiry Points

    i) Plant And Plant Products
    <>Agency/Office: Department of Agriculture
    Mailing Address: Crop Protection and Plant Quarantine Division
    Department of Agriculture
    7-17th Floor, Block 4G2, Wisma Tani
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62632 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8870 3000
    Fax: 6 03 8888 5069
    Email: webmaster@doa.gov.my
    URL: http://www.doa.gov.my



    ii) Food Safety

    Agency/Office: Ministry of Health Malaysia
    Mailing Address: Director, Food Safety and Quality Division
    Ministry of Health Malaysia
    3rd Floor, Block E7, Parcel E
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62502 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8883 3517
    Fax: 6 03-8889 3815
    Email: Email: fqc-ebmaster@dph.gov.my
    URL: http://www.moh.gov.my/fqc/Index.htm


    iii) Animal And Animal Products

    Agency/Office: Department of Veterinary Services
    Mailing Address: Department of Veterinary Services
    Wisma Tani, Block Podium Lot 4G1
    Presint 4,
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62630 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8870 2000
    Fax: 6 03-8888 6021
    Email: wto-sps@jph.gov.my
    URL: http://www.agrolink.moa.my/jph/



    3. STANDARDS

    National Standards Body

    Agency/Office: Department of Standards Malaysia,
    Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation
    Mailing Address: Level 1&2, Block C4, Parcel C
    Federal Government Administrative Center
    62502 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8885 8000
    Fax: 6 03 8888 5060
    E-mail: info@standardsmalaysia.gov.my
    URL http://www.standardsmalaysia.gov.my


    National Standards Development Agency

    Agency/Office: SIRIM Berhad
    Mailing Address: Standards Management Department
    SIRIM Berhad
    P.O. Box 7035
    40911 SHAH ALAM
    Telephone: 6 03 5544 6909
    Fax: 6 03 5510 8830
    E-mail: smd@sirim.my
    URL: http://www.sirim.my/std_dev/stdpage.htm


    4. REGULATORY CONTACT POINTS

    a) Chemicals

    i) AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS:

    Agency/Office: Department of Agriculture
    Mailing Address: Director General
    Department of Agriculture
    7 -17th Floor, Block 4G2 Wisma Tani
    Presint 4, Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62630 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8870 3000
    Fax: 6 03 8888 5069
    URL: http://www.doa.gov.my



    ii) INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS:

    Agency/Office: Department of Environment
    Mailing Address: Director General
    Department of Environment
    1-4th Floor, Tower Block 4G3, Precint 4
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62574 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8887 1200
    Fax: 6 03 8888 9987
    E-mail: doe@doe.gov.my
    URL: http://www.doe.gov.my

    iii) PESTICIDES:
    Agency/Office: Department of Agriculture
    Mailing Address: Director
    Pesticide Control Division
    Department of Agriculture
    7 -17th Floor, Block 4G2 Wisma Tani
    Presint 4, Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62630 Putrajaya, Malaysia

    Telephone: 603-8879 3000
    Fax: 603-8888 5069
    E-mail: webmaster@doa.gov.my
    shamsiah@doa.moa.my
    URL: http://www.doa.gov.my

    iv) POISONS:

    Agency/Office: Ministry of Health
    Mailing Address: Pharmaceutical Services Division
    Ministry of Health Malaysia
    Locked Bag No. 924, Jalan Sultan Post Office
    46700 Petaling Jaya
    Selangor
    50590 Kuala Lumpur
    Telephone: 6 03 76982000
    Fax: 6 03-79682222
    Email pharmacyl@moh.gov.my
    URL: http://www.pharmacy.gov.my


    b) Telecomunications and multimedia

    Agency/Officer: Malaysian Communication & Multimedia Commission
    Mailing Address: 63000 Cyberjaya,
    Selangor,
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8688 8000
    Fax: 6 03 8688 1000
    E-mail webmaster@cmc.gov.my
    URL http://www.mcmc.gov.my

    c) Building

    Agency/Office: Ministry of Housing & Local Government
    Mailing Address: Level 5, Block K,
    Pusat Bandar Damansara
    P. O. Box 12579
    50782 Kuala Lumpur
    Telephone: 6 03 2094 7033 (general line)
    Fax: 6 03 2094 9720
    E-mail: pro@kpkt.gov.my / admin@kpkt.gov.my
    URL: http://www.kpkt.gov.my

    D. FIRE SAFETY

    Agency/Office: Fire & Rescue Department Malaysia
    Mailing Address: Lebuh Wawasan,
    Presint 7
    62250 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8888-0036
    Fax: 6 03 8888-0023
    E-mail: pro@bomba.gov.my
    URL: http://www.bomba.gov.my

    E. DRUGS AND COSMETICS:

    Agency/Office: National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau
    Mailing Address: Director
    National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau
    Ministry of Health
    Jalan Universiti
    PO Box 319
    467300 Petaling Jaya
    Selangor, Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 7957 3611/2961
    Fax: 6 03 7956 2924/7075
    E-mail: normal@bpfk.gov.my
    URL: http://www.bpfk.gov.my

    F. ENVIRONMENT:

    Agency/Office: Department of Environment
    Mailing Address: Director General
    Department of Environment
    1-4th Floor, Tower Block 4G3, Precint 4
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62574 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8887 1200
    Fax: 6 03 8888 9987
    E-mail: doe@doe.gov.my
    URL: http://www.doe.gov.my

    G. TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT:

    Agency/Office: Ministry of Transport
    Mailing Address: Secretary General
    Ministry of Transport
    Level 5, 6 & 7, Block 5, Parcel D
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62502 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8886 6000
    Fax: 6 03 8889 2537
    E-mail: saptuyah@mot.gov.my
    URL: http://www.mot.gov.my
    http://www.jpj.gov.my/

    H. FOOD :

    Agency/Office: Ministry of Health Malaysia
    Mailing Address: Director, Food Safety and Quality Division
    Ministry of Health Malaysia
    3rd Floor, Block E7, Parcel E
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62502 Putrajaya
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8883 3517
    Fax: 6 03-8889 3815
    Email: Email: fqc-ebmaster@dph.gov.my
    URL: http://www.moh.gov.my/fqc/Index.htm

    I) AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS:

    Agency/Office: Department of Agriculture
    Mailing Address: Director General
    Department of Agriculture
    7 -17th Floor, Block 4G2 Wisma Tani
    Presint 4, Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62630 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8870 3000
    Fax: 6 03 8888 5069
    URL: http://www.doa.gov.my

    J. ELECTRICAL SAFETY, GAS SAFETY AND ENERGY:

    Agency/Office: Energy Commission
    Mailing Address: 13th Floor, Menara TH Perdana
    1001, Jalan Sultan Ismail
    50250 Kuala Lumpur
    Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 2612 5400
    Fax: 6 03 2693 7791
    E-mail: info@st.gov.my
    URL: http://www.st.gov.my

    you can contact here, check out wikipedia about california fitness, they have written about their scams.
    K. CONSUMER PROTECTION:

    Agency/Office: Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
    Mailing Address: Secretary General
    Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
    Lot 2G3, Presint 2
    Federal Government Administrative Centre
    62632 Putrajaya, Malaysia
    Telephone: 6 03 8882 5550
    Fax: 6 03 8882 5762
    E-mail: nsuzana@kpdnhep.gov.my/aduan@kpdnhep.gov.my
    URL: http://www.kpdnhep.gov.my

  • Eb
      12th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    sorry was supposed to only paste the last part

  • Ma
      29th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hello all,

    thanks for the advice. i'm happy to say that C.F. have finally taken the hint and stopped contacting me..

    what i did was respond (and reaffirm) to their camp that i was never an official member of their fitness club by mentioning in detail the entire sign-up process and refering to my consumer rights in letter form and cc-ing to their lawyers as well as the club itself. highlighting my plight online has also helped tremendously (gives them bad publicity)

    it's been almost 4 months and no reply so am crossing my fingers.

    to all those going through the same thing as i did: STAY STRONG and NEVER GIVE UP.

  • Ca
      25th of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    i am also currently having a dispute with California Fitness in Hong Kong, seems their poor business practices know no borders. i've never encountered such blatant disregard for customers from any other service business. truly a scam all around, they sign you up with their aggressive sales tricks (the salesman practically ripped out my wallet and emptied it) then feel they can do whatever they want once they've taken your money (knowing that they're protected themselves with their unfair contracts). surely such companies and membership agreements should be better regulated by government laws. i for one will definitely be spreading the word about my truly awful experience with california fitness.

  • He
      28th of Aug, 2010
    +1 Votes

    DEAR ALL, THIS IS STILL HAPPENING AND THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT STILL NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS SCAM, YESTERDAY I WAS SHOPPING IN MONG KOK, AND I WAS ASK TO TAKE CA TOUR OF THE CALIFORNIA FITNESS FACILITY, THEY HAVE BEEN ASKING ME ALL SORT OF QUESTION INCLUDING MY GOALS AND HEALTH TARGET, I THOUGHT THEY WERE JUST TRYING TO BE HELPFUL AND HOPEFULLY THE CUSTOMER WILL JOING THEIR PLAN, BUT AFTER ALL THE TALK THEY STARTED TO ASK FOR ADDRESSES AND CONTACTS, ALSO ASK FOR WHICH PLAN WOULD I BE INTERESTED IN, THEY NEVER ASK IF I WANTED TO JOIN OR NOT, THEY ONLY ASK IF I WISH TO REACH MY WEIGHT TARGET, THEN THEY PROCEEDED TO ASK FOR MY CREDIT CARD, WHICH I SAID WHY WOULD YOU NEED MY CREDIT CARD, IF I HAVE NOT AGREE FOR ANY OF YOUR SERVICES, THEN THEY PROCEEDED TO SAY THAT THEY HAVE TALK TOTHEIR TOP MANAGEMENT, AND THEY HAVE MADE SPECIAL MEMBERSHIP, WHICH THE WILL GET IN TROUBLE IF I DON'T JOIN, AND THAT HE OR SHE JOB IS ON THE LINE, I PROCEEDED TO LEAVE, BUT AND THEY STARTED TO SCREAM AT MY FACE ASKING WHAT IS THE PROBLEM, AND WHY WOULDN'T I JOIN IF I M OK WITH THE FACILITY, THEY ALSO CHASE ME DONW TO THE STREET, SAYING THAT I WAS IRESPONSIBLE TO NAKE THEM DO ALL THE WORK. THIS IS RIDUCULOUS, AS THEY WERE ACUSING ME, AND I AM THE CUSTOMER, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM.

  • Fr
      31st of Jul, 2012
    0 Votes

    I have recently joined California Fitness (Causeway Bay). I totally agree with all of the above comments. It is a total scam. You signed the contract due to their misleading and incorrect information. When you asked for compensation or ways to fix it, they just ignored you. They feel like having a contract in hand allow them to do anything they want. I'm more than happy to spreading their behavior to the world so that the consumers would be aware of it.

  • Cl
      25th of Oct, 2012
    0 Votes

    I've personally had some bad experiences with California fitness. The newer facilities are decent, but the older ones such as Wanchai are small and ill-equipped. However, even in Causeway Bay there seems to be a problem with members leaving weights and dumbbells all over the floor for people to trip over. At peak hours the weight room resembles a minefield. Staff are generally lax about keeping the place tidy, and can be a bit rude when you mention it to them.

    As mentioned above, the sales staff are aggressive and off-putting. I recently came to the end of a one-year contract and had to haggle and muck about for an hour and a half just so I could get the same contract for another year without any extra bells or whistles.

    I was recently harassed by another member in Causeway Bay during my workout. This guy kept coming up and taking weights off the bar WHILE I was doing my sets because he wanted to use them. I tried reporting it to the staff on duty, but they said they couldn't do anything about it. Either they were pretending to miss the point because they were afraid of addressing a real problem, or they really were so thick that they couldn't see the danger of what the other member was doing. They left us to sort it out for ourselves.

    I tried to reason with him, speaking calmly, but after continued harassment, I called the staff over a second time and they spoke to the guy for a while in Chinese. I was not allowed to speak(was in fact told to shut my mouth), and they wouldn't tell me what they were saying, but the conversation was light and there was laughter. The manager finally told me that the [B]OTHER GUY[/B] was going to go with them and file a report against [B]ME[/B]. Before I left, I asked to file a report of my own, but they said one was already being filed. I asked for the manager's name and office number so that I could call and complain. They refused to give me anything but the Causeway Bay club number, not even the manager's name.

    Needless to say, I'll be changing gyms soon.

  • Al
      3rd of Mar, 2014
    0 Votes

    Couldn't agree more with this. This gym is so full of ###. Even when it's 3 months ahead of contract termination, these people keep on chasing me to renew it and then of course there's the so-called special promotion they will offer if I don't renew it soon. ... Come contract end, I ask the sales staff if I can be absent in the gym for a month (for vacation) and he said I can do that. But as everything was settled and signed I ask again the same question and to my horror, he said I will have to pay a certain amount which he never mention the first time I asked him! Damn these ### are just too good with their tricks! ...

    (just pointing out the recent stories) This good looking, fit and shapely trainer approached me and said I have a stiff muscle or some kind and said I need to undergo a massage therapy with her. (I think they send her on purpose thinking that I can be easily trapped with her appearance) She's so persistent and ended arranging an appointment with her. They called me at home and remind me of the appointment but with few pondering and remembering my friends warning, I said I will cancel the massage therapy and of course the person is persistent over the phone. The more persistent they get, the more it makes them dubious. in the end she stopped insisting maybe they think i'm not a newbie and a hardened member as well. No wonder members are not talking to them...

    My contract is yet again approaching its termination and I am not going to renew it (and just disappear once it ends) but i'm sensing this would entail another cash out. Is there any member here who just left the club without any hassle? My worry is that they have my credit card number and they can hostage me for that, can't they?

  • Ma
      20th of Apr, 2014
    0 Votes

    To: Manager/Jerry Yang

    I am a member of the Shanghai California Fitness and I was told you are the boss of both clubs.
    I am writing to you because the manager of the Shanghai location called today to discuss the renewal of my foot locker rental. I have been a member for three years and each time I have renewed I have been given additional 3 months onto my gym membership, but when I renew my footlocker, I am not given the same three months which now leaves space/months between the footlocker and gym membership renewal.

    Last year I had this same conversation regarding the footlocker renewal with the then manager who finally charged me as if I was renewing at the same time as my gym membership which was 700 RMB. He understood that it would have been impossible to renew at the same time as my membership, due to the additional months given to me. In turn, I renewed my gym membership when it was time to do so and was again given 3 months extra on my contract.

    Now here we are again this year where I'm having the same discussion with another manager who refuses to understand the problem or find a solution for it, as I have renewed my Gym membership twice there it is now a 6 month gap between that renewal and my footlocker rental renewal.

    Instead he told me I can accept the higher charge of 900 RMB or by next Friday my lock will be cut off the locker, he was very short and disrespectful during our conversation. I am very upset and can't understand how a club manager can speak with a customer like this and not understand the problem and try and find a solution rather than penalize me for the difference in the renewal dates, which has actually been caused by the clubs inconsistent approach.
    Because of this, I will not renew my locker and, at the end of my current gym contract, I will not renew that again and I will discuss this change of attitude at California Fitness in Shanghai with my friends and colleagues. There are a lot of good gyms nearer to me, in fact one large one has just remodeled and is offering very good contracts. I chose California Fitness for one reason, because of the previously good customer service and the ability to respect and understand the clients, but now I see you don't have that anymore.

    Upset Customer
    Mary Mitchell/070092406

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