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YMCA-West Chester (PA) / terrible value for the money

1 West Chester, PA, United States Review updated:
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First off their rates increase continually (and only sometimes do they let you know about it). I was signed up as a "young adult" or something like that until I turned 24, at which time I was supposed to receive notification that my rate would increase to the normal adult price. I never received this notification, even though my membership rate increased by $15 a month, yet when the price went up by $1 a month for all members I received a letter.

When you finally arrive at the gym you'll note there are barely enough parking spots. Snow removal was mediocre at best and many spots STILL have piles of snow in them, despite the fact there is probably less than 6" of snow covering non-treated surfaces at this point. They do nothing to tow cars that are illegally parked, even if legally parked cars are severely parked in.

Coming into the building the locker rooms are either packed and/or filthy. I once saw a used "swimmy" diaper on the floor of the women's locker room. I complained about this, cleanliness was good, then less then a month later I saw piles of empty wrappers and old papers all over the floors of the locker room once again (luckily no swimmy diaper that time). I complained again and have yet to hear anything about it, although once again it appears the locker rooms are clean.

So you think, finally, I can forget all this, put my things in a locker, and work out? Nope! Most of the electronic lockers are broken so you can leave your things there but cannot lock the door (probably pretty risky!). Much of the exercise equipment is taken, often by children who are too young (by the YMCA's own rules!) to even be in the gym. The Y staff seems willing to remove them, but only when asked, and they only move them to another machine which will most likely inconvenience the next person looking for that type of machine. The mats are packed as well and often I can't find the free weights I want to use as they only have one or two sets of each for the entire facility. To add insult to injury you'll see tours of prospective members go through constantly while working out! This is crazy considering how over-subscribed the gym currently is!

Want to go swimming? Forget about it! The indoor pools are often closed for swim meets (that don't even involve members, these are for h.s. teams!) or at least 50% of lap lanes are taken up by lessons/practices!

If you submit a complaint to the complaint box, unless it's as minor as changing a TV channel, you'll most likely never see a response to it posted. The two complaints I made were never responded to. The responses I do see are mostly excuses and offer no concrete ways in which the Y will try to improve itself.

It's really a shame, the place was great when I joined about 6 mos ago, but now it's over subscribed and is rapidly going downhill. Unless you like paying $60/mo for broken equipment, a lack of parking, a lack of cleanliness, and generally a lack of customer service, I'd avoid it!

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Comments

  • Mi
      15th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I disagree with this person's complaints. Yes, the locker rooms can seem a little "dirty" after the busiest times like swim lessons and such but are then cleaned within a reasonable amount of time. The classes are great, the equipment is in good shape most of the time. The day care area for children is wide open and in the middle so you can always see what's going on with your child. There have been times I've "wished" the swim lanes were open when I want to be in them, but let's be realistic... this is a recreation facility for children and adults and scheduling classes and such may not always match my personal schedule. Obviously we've had two different experiences at the same facility... and maybe have different outlooks/perspectives as well.

  • 2g
      27th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    The price is crazy when you can join another gym for as little as $10 a month. I loved using the babysitting there until they changed the policy that you had to have a family membership to bring your kids to babysitting. $96 a month just for the kids and I and you STILL have to pay for all the kids classes. Its just not worth it. Plus I agree the parking is a nightmare and the lockers are always broken. OH and when I quit they called to speak to me about why I was leaving and yelled at me instead of trying to hear my complaints.

  • Wc
      8th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    I have been a member for years and whole heartedly agree with this person. The only thing that works 100% of the time is the machine that spits out the invoices. Their motto is something about building strong families, communities, blah, blah, blah, no they are all about making the money, PERIOD. The place is filfthy, totally over crowded, equipment is broken or just removed and never replaced. I can't really say anything nice about the place, the only reason I continue to be a member is because they are the only provider for after school care at the school premises, so I really do not have a choice.

  • El
      9th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    I strongly agree with this young man. I had such a bad service from them. I signed for smi private lessons for my children last year August. Nobody called me for one month. Finally I got appointment one never showed up and the other appointment canceled at the last minute. I switched to different instructor and never showed up again and 30min later somebodyelse showed up. I could not finish the lesson because the crabby service then 2month later got the call from them I owed them $30. I am so angry and went to their office that charge person went out to other place get linen. This is miracle that they are in business.

  • Km
      5th of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    I agree. I joined years ago when it was on Chestnut St. downtown. It somehow seemed less crowded then and you could always find a parking place across the street. When they were building the new facility with indoor & outdoor pools, many of us waited with great anticipation. It promised to be an new, improved space...kid friendly, bright & airy. And it was great for the first few months. Then it became apparent that they were in direct competition with the ACAC who is slightly more expensive. Parking? I can't tell you how many times I tried to take my granddaughter to swim class and drove around looking for a parking place til she was late for class. Crowded? You bet! Between the hours of 3:30 & 7PM the workout areas were much too crowded. But It didn't strike me as being excessively dirty. Also, I was disappointed to find out that there was an extra charge for using the outdoor pool in the summer(around $300). I stopped going about 3 months ago. I recently got an email about them adding additional parking. I don't know if I'll go back.

  • Ma
      8th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    I agree on many counts.

    Parking: It can be difficult to find a parking spot during busy times, even with the new lot they opened off of Paoli Pike.

    Lockers: The electronic lockers are often broken, and much too small to fit more than a jacket and a pair of shoes.

    Swimming Pool: The swimming pool is the biggest challenge. Swim classes are often held in the recreational pool during recreational swim time. One instructor will tell you to move out of their area, and then you're told to move out of that area by another instructor. My daughter and I were moved around the pool five times in less than an hour, made to feel like we were in the way, and only once was the request close to courteous. Second, the rec pool is often very cloudy. I don't know what they use to clean the pool or if their filters are overworked, but it is clear (ha!) that the water is not being cleaned thoroughly. To be fair, the comment that the pools are in use by high school swim teams is a little offbase. The local school district helped fund the building, especially the pool area to the tune of a few million dollars specifically to have a place to hold swim meets.

    Cleanliness: A busy place will not always be clean. And one swimmie diaper on the floor can be given a pass. There's an occasional bit of trash on the floor in my own house, if you look at the right time. But, the sentiment of the criticism is accurate, in my opinion, the place could be a bit cleaner. The amount of traffic through the facility warrants more effort from the staff to keep the public and private areas clean.

    Children: This is another point I agree with. I have seen underage children using the adult equipment and even sitting in the steam room. Clearly, the staff needs to make a better effort at enforcing the correct usage of the facility. It's not just a matter of having equipment available for adults, there are also legal and liability issues, should a child get injured and it can be shown that there is a general lack of enforcement of rules. I have also seen teenagers (probably HS swim team members) using the family changing rooms in the swimming area. This just makes a difficult situation even worse.

    Summary: In general, I like the facility and the different classes they offer, but if they don't address the crowding and cleanliness issues, then I won't be renewing my family membership.

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