WASHINGTON, DC , MD AND VA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- A year ago, I had several concerns about the customer service that was being provided to me in Bally Total fitness. (The city branches above.) My four year old had fallen in Bally's and had received a bruise on her head in the kids' club room. Instead of some Bally's workers being responsible and taking a report also, being concerned, two young female workers laughed and called my child names behind my back. Boy was I mad! I complained to their boss/Gm at the time and every since then, I had been disrespected by many of the Bally's workers and, treated poorly, and even made fun of.
The workers were very unprofessional and childish in PG Plaza and, DC downtown, and in the Capitol Heights, MD and in Pentagon city and the other one in VA branches. Because of conspiracy, the head boss would switch the workers around to those branches... and when I would switch to get away from that special lady and her friend to get away from the jokes, I saw her at the other branches as well. I had got fed up with the taunting and complained about them to the main branch in CA and the CA branch had treated me with respect.
Although I had lost a lot of weight from exercising in the branches, I was constantly teased by the DC and MD and VA guys after I complained to the CA guys and about the constant name calling when I would be in there. I was taunted by some of the same female workers from DC and some new ones and, by some of their male friends that had also worked there. My mistake was complaining directly in the branch at the beginning. The district manager did not do his job because he was not fair and he lied to CA.
He took sides with the special female worker. I had to call the people from California for my issues to be resolved. What if I didn't have a phone then what? After the people in CA resolved the issue, I was harassed repeatedly by some of the workers and their associates outside of the gym location. Stalked and slandered. This had become a police issue at that point.
This was really bad. Managers were friends of some police and some military guy that worked there was and it had become a conspiracy to make me leave. I am not crazy or mental or all those things they try to say they can. They are mad because after the complaints some of them got... I just know that I got fed up and left!
I went to the cable weights downstairs of the gym and wanted put the rope into the hook to start my workout. It was approximately 3pm on Tuesday, November 23. I opened the hook to put rope and it was as sharp as a knife. I cut my thumb pretty bad. I immediately went to the bathroom to run water on it and put a paper towel on it so I could use it to compress the area and stop it from bleeding. There were not paper towels. They had been replaced by electric hand dryers a long time ago. I went to management, told them what happened and showed them my cut finger. The manager told me to go to some other guy that takes care of that.
The guy was doing cashier work so I had to wait for him to finish with my bleeding finger. I told him what happened and took him to the equipment so he could see it. I told him he should also disinfect it because I have AIDS and if someone else gets cut they might get infected and not know they got it from there. The guy said he would take care of it right away. I went to the locker room to change so I could go home and 10 minutes later when I got out there was no one at that equipment nor any sign posted there.
On my way out I told the manager that they should really consider putting paper towels back in the bathroom but he said they aren't going to do that for two reasons; 1. cleanliness and 2. cost. I said, alright, its your option and I left. I was going to just forget about the incident but then I thought I should at least put a review in writing on the internet so there is a written record of what happened somewhere.
If they end up not disinfecting the equipment (but I hope they follow through and do so), or there might be one or more people getting infected if they get cut just like me. I wonder how many other people might have gotten cut already and not reported it at all. If you go to Bally's Hollywood, just be careful when using the equipment. If you get cut have yourself tested for HIV two weeks after you get cut and again 6 months after you got cut just to be sure you weren't infected.
NORWALK, CALIFORNIA -- I joined Bally Total Fitness in 2006. It was a nightmare. I had to pay for a year and didn't use most of it because the gym in downtown DC was more on the gay sauna side than everything else. I got tired of walking into men having sex and masturbating in the sauna and shower area. I wouldn't be complaining if I had signed up for a gay sex club, but the cruising there is way too much. Even on the floor, where the machines are located (basement, cheap looking and depressing), I noticed heavy cruising.
I went to the gym to work out. Not to hook up. As I said, I had to pay for the entire year to cancel my membership. I requested many times not to be contacted by Bally Total Fitness anymore and yet, they don't stop sending my unsolicited mail and calling me to offer deals that I am not interested in. Stay away from Bally Total Fitness! If you make the mistake of signing up for this low budget, low quality club, you will be end up with this rejection junkie following you forever!
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK -- This is how bad Bally's is. This incident happened almost 15 yrs ago and I sill remember the misery it has caused me and CANNOT believe they still operate like a-holes in 2012! When I was a freshman in college at Oswego State University my friends and I would use the campus gym to exercise. In Mid-December of 1997, we got a full month off for winter break so I went home to Rochester for the holidays. I didn't want to miss a workout so I went to my local Bally Total Fitness and asked the Membership Rep if it was possible to just use the gym for a month as I only would be in town for my winter break.
She told me that I'd have to sign a contract since they didn't have monthly memberships but that canceling would be easy as I just had to show I lived X number of miles from their fitness center and I would be released from my contractual obligations. I paid the monthly rate, signed the contract and then in January of 1998 when I was back at college, proceeded to cancel my membership with Bally's. They cooperated with the cancellation but charged me $50 to cancel. This is a fee I was never told about when I signed the contract. Mind you $50 is not that much money but for a broke first year college student, it kind of is.
To break it down - $50 plus the amount I paid for the month I used the gym, turned out to be quite expensive, and had I been properly informed of the $50 fee, I would have never agreed to sign the contract and would've gone elsewhere. Aside from the financial strain, I refused to pay it for the principal of it - I was never explained that I would have to pay the fee. In the end, I disputed the $50 fee with Bally's and they turned over my account to a collection agency. What did that lead to? Countless calls from collectors, letters, and stressful nights, not to mention outrageous interest rates that took $50 and somehow skyrocketed it to over $3,000!
Despite having an impeccable payment history with my credit card company, utility bills, and with rental landlords, I suffered horrible credit b/c of Bally's and had to wait until my late twenties before my credit improved. I am sad to read that after all of these years Bally's has not changed and they are continuing to hurt people and negatively impact so many lives.
The worst part of all of this is that the gym was a fantastic gym but the positive experience I had there is completely tarnished by their contractual and billing practices. Bally's WILL SCREW YOU OVER so before you give them blood make sure you grill the membership reps with any and all relevant questions and get EVERYTHING told to you, PRE-contract signing, IN WRITING!
THORNTON, COLORADO -- Shopping For a New Gym? My Summer 2014 BallyTotalFitness Experience. Spending the summer in Thornton, Colorado, I had to temporarily join another gym. For convenience, I joined BallyTotalFitness. I originally joined Bally in 1984, in New Jersey. During the 80's and 90's Bally WAS the place to be. I cannot speak for Bally across the country, but I can speak for the Thornton and Westminster, Colorado clubs. The condition of the clubs is poor. Maintenance seems non existent with a number of machines that either do not function or function roughly.
The Thornton club has the strangest shower heads that spray the water so wide, it becomes a dance to get the water to actually hit your body. The Westminster club has maybe two showers that function correctly with pressure that is so low at times you question whether you turned the water on at all. The other showers are like spinning the wheel on Wheel of Fortune trying to find where the hot and cold water flows. The Westminster club also has the largest men's steam room I have ever seen, BUT it operates when it feels like it, so you may sit in there for 15 minutes before it turns on.
On the positive side they have some very good class instructors although when an instructor stops teaching a class, the online schedules don't seem to be updated. Arriving at a club for a class that is no longer there can be disconcerting. The final straw to my dissatisfaction with Bally is there payment policy. When canceling a membership you MUST cancel within the 10 day deadline or else. I wrote to Bally and requested a refund for the month I was not going to be in Colorado and they stuck to their policy, no exceptions. Granted I was late on the cancellation and maybe I should just be kicked in the ass. It was around Labor Day weekend and I was distracted. Shame on me.
So when shopping for a new gym be sure to inspect the club, check the machines you know you use often and make sure to check out the showers to be sure the faucets work properly. With so many more choices today like LA Fitness, Gold's, Planet Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Pure Fitness, there is no need to settle.
In addition, some of these gyms have temporary membership options for travelers or those who are working in the area temporarily. If you want to skip fees all together look up Recreation Centers. While traveling through Albuquerque, I joined one that has numerous locations all over the city for $13 a year!!! Best of luck with your fitness goals!!!
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I purchased a Bally's membership for my son for Christmas for the past two years. I paid biweekly and the charge was $14.99 which is reasonable. However, my debit card was due to expire so I attempted to call with the new card information. It took me more than a dozen phone calls to reach someone that could help me with this. After spending more than half an hour on the phone with this person, my son attempted to enter the Bally's gym that he works out at and they told him that he couldn't enter due to nonpayment. He immediately called me from his cell phone. I spoke with the girl behind the counter and she gave me a phone number to call.
Meanwhile, they allowed my son to work out that day. I called the number and was given a runaround with the options menu. I tried every option available to try to solve my problem and nothing worked. I tried to get to a '"real" person but that was fruitless. I ended up calling my son back and talking to the girl again. She attempted to make the changes (expiration date) and we thought it was all set. My son visited again two days later and the same thing happened. It took nearly two weeks to get a simple thing such as a change of expiration date resolved.
Lately, it's been over 90 degrees in the city. It was so hot in the facility (because it is not air conditioned) that my son almost hyperventilated and passed out. He vomited after his workout from the heat. We recently found a more suitable gym and attempted to cancel the Bally's membership. We pulled out the contract and it stated that they needed a 10 day advanced written notice mailed by certified or registered mail. So I did that.
15 days later, my bank account was charged again for the biweekly dues. I attempted, once again, to call to straighten things out and request a refund. I called 8 times. Each time I got to the end of the navigation menu only to be told by a recording that there is an overwhelming number of phone calls and to please try my call again later.
Finally, I decided to email them to tell them that they needed to refund my dues. I supplied them with the receipt number from the certified mail that I sent. I received a return email telling me that no refund is due because per the terms of my contract, I needed to contact them via mail. DUH! That's what I did. This place is lacking the proper customer service to make it a worthwhile establishment to even bother to deal with. I'm sure some of the other facilities in different locations and cities are nicer or worse. However, when it comes to the financial aspect of it all, avoid Bally's to avoid headaches!!!
Bally Total Fitness makes the process of joining one of their fitness facilities super easy. You can join online, over the phone, in person at the store... just say the word, and you are a member. This sappy story quickly comes to a screeching halt once you become a member. Once the sugary sweet employee hands you your membership card with your grainy picture on it, the customer service portion is done and over.
Other than the occasional nice guy that says hello to you at the front desk, you realize most of the employees that are hired do not care about the facility, the customers, or the equipment. The gym is often in poor condition. The cleanliness of the facility appears to be a low priority for management. The weights and equipment used by customers and trainers are dispersed throughout the workout area floors, hardly ever put up, and are accidents waiting to happen.
The gym is closed even on minor holidays and the hours of operation on the weekends are limited. Often times when a piece of equipment is out of order, it is chained up with a sign that indicates that it's malfunctioning. I'm often surprised that someone actually took the time to put up a lovely sign. However the chain & sign will remain on said equipment for days on end, like an accessory necklace or adorning belt, and the equipment remains unfixed and unavailable to customers for weeks to months at a time!!!
Worst of all, when you try to cancel your month-to-month membership (not a long term contract), there is no sugary sweet customer service representative who was so eager to help you as he did when you were inquiring about joining... rather the entire team gives you the run around telling you that you have to ask the guy on the next shift, or call the corporate office. The corporate office staff member will tell you he has nothing to do with cancellation, instead to send a snail mail for the cancellation to become official and sit and wait to find out the outcome of your request as "nothing can be done over the phone regarding cancellation".
How is it that I can join online, via telephone, in person, over the rainbow... but no one is able to help me cancel my account? I believe in never saying never, and that being said, I will NEVER join and will NEVER recommend any Bally Fitness facility EVER again.
In January 2009 I signed an eight month agreement with Bally Total Fitness. I chose to cancel my membership when the location closest to me closed. Unfortunately I misplaced my copy of the agreement so I went to the website looking for information on how to cancel. I did not find the website helpful so I called the customer service line. The day I called I held for 32 minutes. I personally feel this hold time is unacceptable. I have worked in customer service, sales and retention for about 10 years and this hold time only made me want to cancel more.
After holding I reached Anonymous on 7-29-09 and I explained to him I wished to cancel my account as well as my friend ** account. ** was added to my account in January for an additional $20 charge. Anonymous informed me that the both of us still had 2 months on our contracts and asked if I would like to make the final payment over the phone. I asked Anonymous if I would be charged a $10 fee for making the payment over the phone (I heard about this fee as I was holding).
Anonymous said he would waive the fee for my convenience so I made the final two payments on both Alissa's and my accounts. My final payment was for $65.36 and my confirmation number was 042518. ** final payment was for $41.42 and her confirmation number was 092818. At the end of my conversation with Anonymous I requested a confirmation of cancellation and final payments on the two accounts be emailed to me. Anonymous said I would get that within 72 hours.
The following day on 7-30-09 I checked my bank account and noticed that I was charged $51.42, not $41.42. I was charged the $10 that I was told would be waived. I had to call in again that day to request a credit for the $10 fee. I held for another 30 minutes that day. I spoke to Anonymous2 when I called in the 2nd time. Edward said he credited me for the $10 fee but it never appeared on my bank statement. Anonymous2 informed me that ** account wasn't canceled the day before but that he would cancel it that day. I again requested a cancellation confirmation be sent to me via email.
I requested this cancellation at the end of July. I have yet to receive any confirmation via email that either of my accounts has been canceled. On September 28th I was charged $20.71. I have been told on 2 occasions that my accounts have been canceled so why should I continue to be charged? I looked into my banking history and I was never credited the $10 ** had told me I would receive.
On October 5, 2009 I contact customer service and spoke to Anonymous3 who informed me that in order to receive these two credits I would need to wait up to an additional 10 business days to discuss the possibility of a credit with the accounting department. This is ridiculous! Anonymous3 also informed me that the reason I haven't received confirmation on cancellation is because I never mailed in a letter requesting to cancel. I was never told that it was a requirement to send in a letter. I work in client satisfaction, specifically with cancellations; I would have sent the letter if I was told that it was required.
On October 5th I also emailed Bally's Member services department requesting a call back. I did not receive a call back, instead an email saying to call manager Anonymous4. I called Jose on Monday October 12th and still had not heard back from him when I called a second time on the evening of Wednesday October 14, 2009.
In closing this has been a truly horrible experience and I have intentions on filing a complaint with the BBB. I still haven't gotten a call from accounting or confirmation that my accounts have been canceled and I haven't been credited anything so far. I also will be sharing this experience with friends, c-workers and family.
GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND -- Bally is the worse experience I have had in my whole life. I am still fighting with them presently. We need to come together and do something about this. I am currently in the process of suing them. I wrote a letter to their so called "I promise to you" department.
ATTENTION: CANCELLATION: My name is ** and my account number is **. I have a grave problem that I wish you could assist me with. On the 21st of August 2008 I signed up to join Bally Total Fitness with ** at the Gaithersburg location. I also included my sister ** to my account. My monthly payment came up to $64.56, and I was satisfied with that. ** contacted me on the 23rd of August to inform me about a better plan for my sister and I, with a good discount. She had me cancel my prior agreement and sign up for a similar agreement. The only difference was that my monthly balance would now be $63.52; I was also satisfied with that.
A month later after being charged my first monthly fee, I discover my sister had never stepped feet in to the club so I decided to take her off my plan intend of being charge extra money for nothing. I talked to ** on the 30th of August about my situation.
She explained to me because my sister never came in to get an ID card, and since she can not come over to the club given that she was presently away at school. Her name would have to be manually put in to the system 17 times. We started the process that very day and by the end of the month I was promised by ** and her supervisor that everything was taken care of by the cooperate office. On the 19th of September, I was able to get a hold of my sister at Towson and we visited the club there. I spoke to the supervisor and he told me something very upsetting.
He said my account was closed because they could not remove only my sister's name, so they closed the whole thing. I was never notified about this change, I was mad about the time and energy I had to go through with my case. At the end of the day I felt a little relief because after all that drama it would be of my best interest to have my account closed. Before I left that day I asked if I was going to be charge for the month of September, the supervisor told me in quote, "because everything was cancelled before the 23rd of this month you will not get charged."
On the 29th of September I received a charge from Bally Total Fitness club for the month of September. I was surprised because I was assured that this situation was over. I called Bally at Gaithersburg branch and spoke to the manager about my problem. He pulled up my account and said it was still active and that there was never any cancellation notice had, more over my sister had only been enter twice for attendance. I was devastated that after all my efforts in resolving this case it was taken for granted.
His final answer was the must unprofessional and brainless answer I have gotten during my whole experience with the cooperate world. He said he could not possible do anything for me; I would have to continue paying the monthly fee for 36months even if my sister does not work out at the club. I decide since the people in charge of how thing should be done in Gaithersburg are complete morons I'll seek help from higher authority. Please fill fee to contact me by phone **. I hope my complaint will be treated with concern. This letter was written in October 2008, I still have not received a reply. I also sent it through priority mail so the ** would say they did not get it.
I know I am going to Win in court because everyone else who has sued them have won... They are that poor in customer service. my advice to you all that have problems with Bally Total Fitness is to do the same thing I am doing. Let them pay you back in cash for all the problems they cost.
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- Beware... Long rant to follow... OK. It started last week when I was searching for a gym that was close to my house. Turns out Bally's was less than a mile away. I really wish I had done research before stepping foot in the Bally's, but alas, hindsight is always 20/20. I saw they were advertising a special that ended soon where it was no enrollment fee, and $29.99 a month and in small letters it stated "no long term contract necessary". I thought "Hey! Great! what a deal" and called to set up a time I could come take a tour and check the place out.
I get there, and one of the Managers gave me a quick tour of the place, then also gave me a quick workout to give the illusion that Bally's was a fun, supportive and friendly place, before sitting me down to talk about membership plans. I mentioned I was interested in the deal they had going, and he states that is only for the 3 year membership. (I guess 3 years isn't considered a long term membership to them.)
I told them no, that wouldn't suit my needs because I don't plan on living here for more than a year, and I cannot guarantee where we end up moving next will be close to a Bally's. So I ended up doing their Month to Month contract and also got talked into paying extra for 4 sessions with a personal trainer. This is where the nightmare REALLY begins...
So, for the first session, the personal trainer that was assigned to me spends about 30 minutes having me work out. Then took me into the office, and for the second half hour of my training session, began giving me this high pressure sales pitch spiel about how incredibly out of shape I am in and how I need more than 4 sessions to do any good. He shows me his prices which come to about $1000 a month to have him train me 3 times a week. No matter what I seem to say, he just won't take no for an answer, and after listening to him go on and on, I start getting a headache and tell him "I have to talk it over with my husband".
I thought it over for a few days, and realize I just don't have that kind of money to spend on a personal trainer, and what I really want is just someone to spend a few sessions teaching me the correct way to work out and use the weight and cardio machines... just the basics. So for my second session with the personal trainer, I came in and he started me on the cardio machines to warm up, and after 10 minutes, he asked if I thought about what he had said the last session about purchasing his services for 3 times a week. I told him I thought about it, and that I just don't have the money right now.
He hit the pause button on my machine and demanded I come into his office to talk. So I stupidly follow him. He then spends two hours talking non-stop at a fast pace that honestly, I found hard to keep up with. Going on and on about how I need a personal trainer and it isn't even an option, and there is nothing more important in my life than having him help me get in shape and lose weight and basically if I didn't fork over the cash, I would most certainly die of an obesity related illness.
I look back now and I can't believe I sat there and listened to him ramble on so long, but basically at the end he summed it up by saying, "If you don't want to hire me as a personal trainer, than I suggest you quit and get your money back and don't bother coming back here". And that I was destined to be obese for the rest of my incredibly short life if I don't pay him to help me now. I left the gym feeling bitter and angry. All I wanted was a place I could go work out at. I didn't want all this guilt trip sales pitches. The more I thought about all he said to me, the angrier I got, until once I got home I was nearly crying.
I got on the phone and called up Bally's and asked to talk to the manager. I felt at this point I just didn't want to ever go back there. The fact that I had their personal trainer tell me if I don't spend all this extra money, I shouldn't bother coming back there was just too much, and knowing if I didn't hire this guy, I would still have to see him every time I went to work out would be very uncomfortable for me, and I just didn't want to deal with their crap.
Of course trying to cancel a membership there has proven to be almost impossible. I at first tried calling to talk to a manager, but all of a sudden, No managers were available to take my call. I plan on sending a certified letter as specified in the directions on cancellation, but I feel since I only got pretty much half of a workout session with the trainer, I would feel it fair that they credit me the money I spent to hire him for 4 sessions, but somehow I doubt THAT is going to happen!