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Fitness USAcancelling membership

1
D Review updated:

Fitness USA is operating a SCAM ad. I joined Fitness USA at Stonestown San Francisco in July 2009 and I agreed I would be charged $19 a month to month basis - no contracts needed - as stated in their advertisements. I had made this clear and firm with the sales who handled me. 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 and is very easy - if I really do decide to cancel the membership, I can do so given without paying any penalty fees as long as I give a formal notice 30 days in advance. I had told her I want the lowest and cheapest plan as well, 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 a month later and talked with the General Manager, Jonathan Barcias, about cancelling my membership. Once he heard the word cancelling, 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 gone home and 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 and he IS the manager and head of the branch- 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 up until that point) and placed in an Executive Club membership level ($28/month - NOT $19 I was told). 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. I tried calling the head supervisor in charge of California Fitness USA's stores, but he was not present to answer my call. 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 dishonest sales, irresponsible 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 good people like this for the sake of commission. How pitiful.

Responses

  • R
      Feb 07, 2011

    I had similar experience like you especially with that manager! I signed up for gym membership online. And i had to go to gym to register. When i went there, they told me they can't process the registration because i didn't bring my credit card that i paid with online. They said they need it so that they can have my information on file. However, On website, none of these specific was stated that i need to bring my credit card. Also on website, they advertised as no contract and month by month. That means pay month by month. So i didn't understand why they need my credit card so that they set it up to automatic payment every month. I also asked them about paying cash every month. And they said i have to pay $35 for cash fee. So i felt such a manipulation that i wanted to cancel the membership and wanted a refund. So i called them and they said i need to come down to do refund. So i went there and manager told me i have to call corporate. He said it is open today which was Feb 5th 2011. However when i called corporate was closed. So i went back and talked to them. They keep saying they can't do nothing and talk to corporate. None of questions i asked was answered with assurance. They all have different answer for refund period. and i asked if i call corporate would i be able to get refund, the person i talked to said "I WANT TO say yes.." she wants to say yes but doesn't know anything. The manager was very rude and condescending. Giving me looks and attitude which made me feel very uncomfortable and feel like i am doing something wrong. The whole customer service was very unprofessional and their advertisement is very unethical, manipulative and untrue. I googled fitness usa refund and i found whole lot of complaints toward fitness usa throughout USA. I just want my money back but San francisco fitness usa totally made me feel unsure and not secure with business i am dealing with them. Also i asked how long does it take to get refund and one of them say 16 to 19 days which is very arbitrary number and another one says 30-90 days.

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  • O
      Mar 21, 2011

    I was laid off and had to cancel my membership here in Mishawaka, Indiana. Instead of being able to do it over the phone I was told that I had to come into the office. I went into the office and filled out the paper work and the Manager said "Thank you for your business and said the it would be closed". Well this week I find that they have deducted another payment. I called them and the man said that it takes thirty days. Why wasn't I told about this at the time I closed my account. It is not a good way to do business and I will never say a kind word about Fitness USA.

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