Fitness USA — cancelling membership
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.
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