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Fitness USA / False Advertising

United States, California, San Francisco Review updated:
75% 4
Contact information:
Fitness USA
3251 20th Avenue, Suite 137B
San Francisco
I joined Fitness USA for the 2 months I was in San Francisco because their advertisements (in print, online, even on their walls) proclaim: "month-to-month only" "no conctacts" and "pay as you go", and because the employee I spoke with assured me that canceling my membership in 2 months would not be a problem.

After mailing a formal request for cancelation and numerous phone calls, Fitness USA informed me that I would continue to be charged a monthly fee for the next 18 months that is actually higher than the fee the employee told me I would be paying. I've been in phone trees, left messages, filed complaints etc. etc. Next week I will be unemployed and living 10 hours away from the location of this gym. When someone does answer the phone they are verbally insulting and claim ignorance to the advertising and customer service practices going on within the company.


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N  17th of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I was luckier than you. In Virginia it was only 12 months. I went through the same process you did. Called, left messages, called again left more messages. I showed to a lawyer friend and even though the advertising was false I had signed a 12 month contract. Stuck!

I wish for you better luck than I had.
A  18th of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
This is exactly what is happening to me right now. The company is operating a SCAM advertisement. I joined Fitness USA at Stonestown San Francisco in July 2009 and I was told I would be charged $19 a month to month basis - no contracts needed. I only needed to pay first and last month fees (about $50). This was something I needed because I'm only in San Francisco up until Sept 2009 because my graduate school starts after then; this was something I had also told the person who signed me up there, Jennifer. She said it was not a problem. I was also told by her that I can cancel the membership at any time given without any penalty fees as long as I give a formal notice 30 days in advance. I had told her I want the lowest plan, then she told me she upgraded me to Executive Member for FREE anyways. I just took it as a gesture.

Apparently everything was a lie. I went to the Stonestown branch yesterday and even talked with the General Manager, Jonathan Barcias, about cancelling my membership. He handed me a form and told me to mail it myself to the head office in Minnesota. I asked why was it not possible to cancel at the store itself, thus he said its all stated in the contract that in order to cancel the membership - the letter has to be mailed. When I started to ask more questions, he told me to call the head office's number and they could answer all the questions I have. When I had looked up my contract; it clearly says that I can cancel it either at the store I signed up at and complete the form there OR mail a formal letter to the head office branch. I called back and he said that he just doesn't have the authorization to cancel my membership, even though the contract stated it is indeed possible - he just didn't want to do it. His excuse was simply because "he's just the manager - he can't do anything about it and he's not going to sign anything".

When I called in the head office, I was told I had been signed onto a 18 month contract (which I had no idea of up until that point) in an Executive Club membership level ($28/month - NOT $19). This is quite ridiculous because no one, including the sales, had ever told me about a bounded contract, penalty fees, an upgraded plan (out of my own cost). I was told for me to cancel the membership officially, I would need to pay $246.07 of fees - to be exact. They claimed that they do not take any verbal agreement between the customer and the sales and therefore whatever they have said to me could not be legitimate. What turned out to be $19 a month now has become a couple of hundred dollars down the drain.

I had contacted a lawyer about this and has posted a certified letter to the company regarding this issue; I had also faxed to the branches so they could ALL take a look at it. I'm just really shocked to see a company that survived for 20 years could scam customers the old-fashion way by training irresponsible sales and managers to disclosing misleading information about memberships and trying to make you fall onto their false advertisements of their so-called "no contract, month-to-month, pay-as you-go, $19/month".

I really wonder how these people can sleep at night, knowing they cheat people like this for the sake of commission.
A  22nd of Aug, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Fitness usa is a scam. I've been paying for 30 months and my contract was over. I was told that I didn't need to write a letter to cancel my membership that it would automatically cancel, not true they are still debiting my checking account . I have to get a hold of my bank to have it stopped. What scam artist. I will never ever deal with them again !!!
A  18th of May, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Fitness USA is a COMPLETE SCAM. Do NOT go to this gym. It is old and the people who work there are scam artists. Even the people in the Corporate office are stupid and scammers. THIS IS THE WORST GYM TO work out at to. It's tiny and the equipment is always broke down.
N  2nd of Sep, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
So here's the STORY. on June 22, 2010 I signed up for their NO CONTRACT Diamond membership. With the Start fee, and the $24.45 first month, and another $24.45 last month, the $24.45 is $19.95 for the gym, and $4.50 for the tanning. Anyways, ... after "3" months which would be September 22, I go from paying the $24.45 a month to paying $14.45 a month until I decide if I want to do a lifetime membership. WELLLLLLLLLL, let me tell you where the FALSE ADVERTISEMENT & MISLEADING come into play, THEY SAY TO QUALIFY after "3" months for the $10, no contract pay as you go(painted on the outside of their building) you HAVE TO GO TO THE GYM 3 days a week, every week for "3" months... THEY NEVER EVER told me that. I mean THINGS happen that prevent you from going sometimes.. Anyways, since I have NOT been going the amount of time that they say is MANDATORY I have to keep paying the HIGHER PRICE for 10 more months.. UHMMMM I DON'T THINK SO, so I told them to cancel the $[censor]. So the $24.45 they JUST took out of my account 4 days ago I'm out, ok, whatever! BUT THEN, they tell me that I have to give a 30 day notice(remember I am not in a contract) to cancel my membership. So NOW they are saying that because it was like 31 or 32 days that I will owe ANOTHER $24.45 I SAID [censor]... I am letting any & everyone know DO NOT GO TO FITNESS USA, they are a bunch of LIARS... i AM ALSO GOING TO LET THE NEWS PEOPLE KNOW that this company is a SCAM... And they have ILLEGAL MEXICANS working there taking jobs away from the AMERICAN people.

A  6th of Feb, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I am not surprised. I joined Fitness USA as well as my husband, back in 2005. He figured it would be cheaper to buy a lifetime membership, which we did... he too did not like their technique in trying to make you get others to join up. We have both lost a lot of weight and are at where we need to be thank goodness. However, it isn't just because of the gym. In the summer, we always take daily 30 minute walks; it is in the winter when we need it. However, watching calories, portion control, (also faithfully using a pedometer) is how we lost our weight. The gym here has now taken out their whirlpool (cost too much to repair), and the individual TV's on the treadmills have been taken off for good. The hours are being reduced, and we are not happy campers. We are building a new house, and we will be putting in a treadmill and a few loose weights. We have found out that is all we need to control our weight, and studies have shown that most of the other fixed weight gadgets/machines they have do little good. Yes indeed, this gym is a scam.
N  14th of Apr, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Yes I have proof that they are illegal, one of the illegal employees married my Puerto Rican nephew. They just got married so she can TRY to become legal.

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