Bally Total Fitness

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Posted by Bgal24 on 03/08/2005
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Undoubtedbly, it was my fault for actually signing up to join Bally's. They had the most reasonable prices--but be warned: you get what you pay for. After less than a month of going to their gym, I became more aware and more grossed out. Their gyms are unclean in general (esp. the locker rooms: mold here, watermarks there) and they have poor machine upkeep. I can not count the number of times I've had to sit on a stationary bike and listen to a cacophony of sounds coming from other machines that needed oil or needed to be fixed, period!
I still go to the gym though because I am officially locked into a contract that is impossible to get out of. (I already tried - I even went to the Better Business Bureau). In my opinion, Bally's has not held up their end of the contract. I should have known better. Do not make the same mistake as I did. Once my contract is up, I am running to another cleaner, more well-kept fitness club!

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Posted by tringy on 2005-04-20:
Why would you keep going to a gym that is dirty and gross? It's not like they give you one month to decide if you want to join!! Or here's an idea, never join it, don't get fat and out of shape. And if you do run up some stairs or go for a walk with friends.
Posted by bgal24 on 2005-04-22:
Thanks for your comments. I believe I said in my complaint that I made a mistake joining. I still go though, simply because I don't want to become overweight, but I simply refuse to use their bathrooms and showers. I now go home to shower. To clarify once again, I still go to their disgusting gym anyway, because I'm locked into a contract that I ALREADY PAID FOR, and I refuse to throw my money away. Additionally, I would never allow myself to become overweight or even "fat". AND I live in New York City...I walk to and from work everyday (1 mile each way), and up and down 4 flights of stairs everyday to my walk-up apartment. So if you're insinuating that I am letting myself go or am lazy, you are sadly mistaken. Were you able to understand all of what I just said? Or should I use words that are slightly smaller?
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-12:
Bally's has AWFUL customer service. Every time you call the customer service number, your "estimated wait time" exceeds 25 minutes. There are few ways to work around this - even if you're trying to open a new account! No wonder their stock price is below $3.

When you do get a CSR on the phone, they're rude and imperious. When I told one rep I needed to cancel my account, she said she needed to know why. Then she demanded proof of my relocation out of the country so they could review my request to cancel. She said it would take 2-3 weeks to determine whether my request was valid. The Arrogance! I notified my bank not to honor any more direct payments to Bally's. I don't care if they ding my credit report - an awful company to deal with. They're not getting another penny out of me.
Posted by Markm8128 on 2008-02-19:
Worst customer service I have ever received!!!

I signed a contract with one of their subsidiary clubs, which stated that in the event that I got laid-off from my job, my membership would be put on hold, for a minimal fee.

However, when the subsidiary went out of business, and Bally took over the contract...when I got laid off, after 2 1/2 years with my company...Bally refused to honor the contract, and kept on billing my bank account, at a time when I had no money for groceries.

No matter how many customer service "managers" I talked to, they all said there was nothing they could do.

I will never join Bally again, and would never recommend anyone join their health clubs!
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Bally total fitness is a rip off. Do not join them!
Posted by on 11/14/2002
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- Bally Total Fitness is a rip off.
If you visit one of its club, don't give out credit card or phone number. You will regret if you do.
If you decide to join their club, read the contract's fine print carefully. Once you sign the contract, you make a "life time" commitment. You can not cancel your membership unless you move away or you suffer serious injure. Even more, you have to pay a $50 cancelation fee + have to submit quite a lot of proof.
Also, they don't give you credit or anything if you go on vacation and don't use their service in a period of time.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2002-11-14:
I would concentrate less on excerising your body and more on excersising your English skills...
Posted by Anonymous on 2003-10-01:
I, also joined Bally's and was stuck in a contract for 3 years. I was promised a free year membership and other incentives after my 3 years were completed. However, I did not get this in writing and was denied the promises made by their employee. My advice to anyone joining a club is to read the fine print and do not just go on someones word. Even though I lived 40 minutes away they did not care because they said this is where I resided when I signed my membership.
Posted by oneconsumer on 2004-08-02:
I agree.
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The worst Customer Service Possible
Posted by JohnLa on 01/20/2006
CALIFORNIA -- I joined Bally back in 2003, and I have been constantly disappointed since. Being a college student at the time, I hardly lived in the same location for more than a year, so I got the premium membership that allowed me to use other clubs. My initial club was of decent quality, but the other ones had ceilings that dripped when raining, poorly maintained equipment, and a host of other problems. Most of it did not bother me too much, but when I forced to cancel my contract since I had to move to China for work, that is when the real frustration came about. Their rules state that as long as there are no Ballys within 25 miles of your residence, you are allowed to cancelled given that you send in the documentation and a $50 check. I did just that, with the check, I sent my employment contract, a copy of my residence permit for China and a copy of my one-way e-ticket to China.

I ignorantly thought that everything was taken care of, but I was wrong. 1 month after I have been in China, Bally charged my account for the usual monthly payment. After waiting on the phone for at least 15 mins (nobody can get a hold of a representative by phone for anything less than 10 minutes with Bally), I was told that my documentation was insufficient. Apparently, a residence permit that is recognized by both the Chinese and American government (or any other government for that matter), is not enough for Bally Total Fitness. I had no idea that they were above international government institutions. So I grudgingly sent even more documentation.

Four months later, my parents tell me that they received a notification from Bally's that I need to pay $77 for the pro-rated fees to completely cancel my membership. When I called them to ask what is the meaning of this, I once again had to wait on hold, this time over 20 minutes. During the course of the conversation, the representative asked me whether I had my membership card and than asked if I had my contract. Apparently he is not aware that Bally Total Fitness requires members to send in both their contract and membership card along with the notice of cancellation.

I have been a member of other gyms before, and with each one, all I had to do was go to the counter and tell them I want to cancel, and that's it. But with Bally, I have never had so much frustration in my life. There are so many other choices for fitness, I strongly suggest not signing up with Bally.
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Posted by RW Knut on 2006-02-05:
I can sympathize with your Bally experience. I joined Bally's in February, 1993 in Clearwater, Florida. Shortly after joining (about 3 months), I moved to rural Pennsylvania. Understanding their "credit contract", I followed all of their rediculous requirements to cancel my membership (returned my contract, membership card, change of address notice, utility hookup notice for my new address, etc.) and like you, foolishly assumed that everything would be taken care of. That's when the fun started. To make a very long story short, 2 months after I sent in all the required documents and proof that I had moved and that the closest Bally's was 40 miles away, I began to receive statements, followed by legal threats, demanding that I pay them over $900.00 to close my contract. For the next 4 years I succumbed to their threats and harrassment and spent endless hours on the phone and writing letters to defend myself. They wrecked my credit along the way. Finally it ended and over time I assumed it was over, except for erasing their history from my credit report.

I got home this morning from running some errands and in my mailbox is a letter from a collection service in Michigan demanding that I pay $2,478.27 as that is the current unsettled balance I owe to Bally's. I flipped out. This time I'm getting a lawyer to address the situation. I'm sure that this has happened to enough people to initiate a class action suit against them, which I intend to investigate.

If anyone is considering joining Bally's, don't do it unless you enjoy harrassment, deceptive credit contracts (you will not pay a membership fee, you will be committing yourself to a credit contract), beat up equipment that is not maintained and a product and service worthy of a third world country.

After 8 years (almost 12 years since I canceled my "membership") they decided to come after me again. I intend on making Bally's pay me this time.
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Morning Receptionist
Posted by on 09/05/2001
I am very upset at the Bally Total Fitness located in Houston, Texas (Greenspoint) location. The gym claims to be open at 5:00 am but recently that has not happened. At least two dozen of people are disappointed at this action. Just last week the receptionist decided to waltz in at 7:00 a.m. and that is not acceptable.

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Bally's Health Club Sex In the Steamrooms
Posted by Cloud9 on 01/11/2007
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- I have been a member of Bally's Health & Sport Clubs since 1990 and recently for the past 3 years, I have seen some of the most gross content happening in the Chicago Bally's (Rivercity) and Bally's (Hyde Park Sport Club) along with the Bally's (Riveroaks Club) ever witnessed. Within these clubs at any time of the day and night one will find men's having sex with men within the steamrooms, condoms on the floors of the steamroom and saunas. There are sperm and feces on the steamroom seats and feces on the towel left in the steamrooms. At the Bally's Rivercity club it has become as a known place to go and have sex, married husbands, bi-males, straight mens, gay men etc. Other members along with myself have reported over and over again these complaints to the different mangers that they seem to keep changing and nothing has stop the sex activities within these clubs. The same groups that came from the Bally's Health Club(Washington location) since they had to close the men steamroom because of such activity, has now flock to these other location performing the same conduct at these locations now. There are children from the after school program now seeing and witnessing these activities along with my son witnessing this in the mens shower room.

This conduct has got to stop, I've reported this to the corporate offices, the FBI, the health department, and even the TV station about these location and these acts of conduct. I have filed a lawsuit against these location with the photos of some of the scenes being conducted.
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Posted by Dr. Jeecheroo on 2007-01-12:
That is gross. I recall seeing ads for Bally Total Fitness having hot women on it. Guess what you see isn't what you get, huh?
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-12:
Time to say Bi Bi to Bally's.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-12:
This is very similar to a complaint posted Jan 3.
Posted by Sparticus on 2007-01-12:
I was thinking the same thing PassingBy. Makes you wonder about these steamrooms. I've always steered clear of them... seem creepy to me. Now I know to trust my insticts more... =)
Posted by Noneill on 2007-01-12:
I don't know how you can keep going there, much less take pictures for your lawsuit. Whoever is bringing the kids there needs to be informed. That has to stop.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-12:
PB, Spart, it is the same maybe with a follow up? I could not go back and take pictures that is just too much! Good luck on your lawsuit!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-12:
Brings new meaning to the "Nauti-lus" machines.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-01-12:
Lidman, Not a follow up because the other complaint was for NY.
Posted by cloud9 on 2007-01-12:
cobrathundestorm, I don't need to have sex with men when I'm happily married, but you just told on yourself and its the sleeze like you that is there doing such acts. If I were of that lifestyle, I would have more respect for myself to go to a place of privacy in handling business. We wonder why AIDs is so on the rise with the bros and sisters, so maybe the question is how many bro are you still kicking with in there, better yet, who gives a dam, get a room.
Posted by cloud9 on 2007-01-14:
Noneill; the reason I had to do this because no one else has taken the initiative to and it they have gotten way out of hand. They don't try to hide it there, its as though they don't care who walks in now, they just keep doing their thing, not just in the steamroom, in the bathroom stalls, the sauna, the showers they don't hide it. As gross as it is, I had to take the pictures for management and the lawyers because no one would believe me at first until the pics. Now undercover agent are all over the place now. Whereas I don't have take pics now they are collecting their own evidence for court now.
Posted by B07 on 2007-09-07:
grammar and spelling always help support a case...
Posted by BallyMember on 2009-10-20:
with all due respect-I simply do not believe this. I have never seen used condoms on the floor or children witnessing gay sex acts at this club. And you claim to have photos of this activity? You have a camera in a gym shower? Nope sorry don't believe. This sounds like classic 24 Hour club wars.
Posted by BallyMember on 2009-10-20:
Now I will say that I observed a young man stroking himself in a gym sauna some time back. The way I handled it was to simply say,"I don't think that's appropriate behavior in a public sauna." I didn't raise my voice or really make eye contact. He stopped and left.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-20:
You are talking to yourself! Notice the date, Sherlock!
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2009-10-20:
"Didn't make eye contact" *biting my tongue*
Posted by old fart on 2009-10-20:
I wonder if "cloud nine's" pictures ended up on some internet porn site...
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Bally Total Fitness all about the dollar
Posted by Fitgirl on 05/28/2006
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS -- I had an extremely positive experience joining a gym in the UK so when looking around in America near to my home Bally were doing a $5 join, very attractive. I had no clue that I was actually taking out a loan and that it would be next to impossible to cancel. I have ended up paying for nothing! Which I think is darned right unscrupulous.

To compare the two. At my gym in the UK they had much better facilities. No pool but there was a free video library and a nice cafe, but more than that the gym was FRIENDLY and caring. It was obvious when I was with the Bally Manager that I would not be able to pay huge amounts for personal training, but I was assured that the staff would be helpful and definitely help me out. I got one session as part of my sign up and it was no where near as good as my previous experience.

I have spine problems. In the UK the trainer consulted a physiotherapist and then set me a training schedule, even had me in her class and throughout it she would guide me on what I could and could not do and use. Not so with Bally. I was left alone, no one spoke to me at all. The trainer I had worked with when I gave a brief progress report was very off hand as though he really could not care less. The other gym gave free weight loss classes and would go so far as to measure at regular intervals, also everyone had a work-out card they filled in on every visit and the trainers would look at them every time to assess how you were doing.. I had TONS of encouragement. Not so with Bally. They don't give a damn unless you are paying and paying and paying.

Unfortunately I did not cancel within the specified period, being determined to work out then personal problems hit not foreseen at the beginning, suddenly I had no car to get to the gym, then I developed a back injury, more transportation problems, more illness. But Bally don't care. They will continue to take your money whether you actually get any use out of the gym or not. In the UK they would call you if you didn't turn up for a while to enquire how you were doing.. as far as Bally is concerned I could have dropped off the face of the planet. They don't care!!

And that folks is the upshot. Cold and uncaring gym, not to mention having far too long to wait for access to exercise machines and often the monitoring equipment on the machines not working properly, lack of supervision, but still they will take and take your money.

I hate Bally Fitness and just hope that I can get out of their clutches. I am busy building a little home gym and will never, ever join another gym in America.
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Posted by Doc J on 2006-05-28:
That you state, "I had no clue that I was actually taking out a loan..." is telling. My mates back in the UK all know how to read. I suggest you hone the skill with regard to contracts. Sorry 'bout your back problems. But, I do hope your eyes work well. Did you take a tour of the facilities before you signed up? Your transportation and "other" problems are not the gym's problem.
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-05-29:
There are numerous complaints on this site concerning the rigid fitness center / health club contracts. Complaints like yours are very helpful as others who read this may think twice before entering into a long term agreement. Unfortunately it does little to help you but possible you saved somebody else from making the same mistake. Good post!
Posted by Doc J on 2006-05-29:
Well put, Stew. Never had a fitness contract (I work out on my own with friends). I understand they are as hard to get out of as a "record or book club" or a student loan.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Still scarred from what happened in 1998!
Posted by Swethagupta2004 on 10/22/2012
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 work out 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!
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-10-22:
I missed something very important the first time I read your complaint, and that is that you signed a contract as a member because that was the only way to get the use for only a month.

If you "dispute" something directly with a company, without the benefit of a third party (eg regulatory or court system), and lose, you can't assume that it will go away.
Posted by melissa253 on 2012-10-22:
That was 1998. What's the issue that you have with then now in 2012 ?
Posted by CowboyFan on 2012-10-23:
Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? In 1998, the OP refused to pay for the "principle" of the matter. That is fine, but there are consequences. One should then not complain about them, but accept them as the cost of standing up for principles.

The question I had is: did the contract say there was a cancellation free? If so, then the OP should have paid it regardless of what he was told, because he signed the contract.
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Terribly Dissatisfied With Fitness Center And Cancellation Policy
Posted by Dissatisfied costumer on 04/15/2010
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.

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Posted by Beth W. on 2010-04-21:
I'm sorry to hear you want to leave Bally and about your experience. Since our cancellation policy varies based on the type of membership you have - I've sent you a direct message in hopes of gathering further details about your membership/account.

At your earliest convenience, please send me a message back so I can see how we can help you.

Thank you,

Customer Relations
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7 day Guest pass scam
Posted by Scamstop on 01/30/2011
LYNWOOD, WASHINGTON -- On Saturday January 29, 2011 about 6 pm in the evening - - I took my brother with me to show him equipments in the fitness center. I am a member, and he isn't so I asked for a guest pass, and one of the front desk employee gave me guest pass. However, the other employee started to make it as if he is doing a favor for us. Business is business and favor is a different thing. His comments were very judgmental and unprofessional and he refused to let my guest in. His reason was the guest pass can be used after a 1 day wait time. Which is totally new "rule" which is applicable only if they like you. YOU CAN'T COUNT ON WHAT THEY ADVERTISE. UNPROFESSIONAL!, UNWELCOMING ! place. I WOULDN'T RECOMMEND TO ANYONE AND I AM PLANNING TO USE A DIFFERENT FITNESS CENTER.
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Posted by Alain on 2011-01-30:
If they don't want your business you may as well go elsewhere.
Posted by dan gordon on 2011-01-30:
most members want the 'guest' pass to work out with friends, and the club wants the 'guest' pass to sell new memberships. Two different goals for the same 'pass'.
Posted by Ytropious on 2011-01-30:
Maybe the rules have changed?
Posted by bhskittykatt on 2011-01-30:
You'd think they'd make the guest pass process easy so they could show off their facilities and perhaps convince your brother to join. My gym always made it easy for me to bring a guest. I think Bally should consider revising their policy.
Posted by PepperElf on 2011-01-30:

Though ... i'm wondering if the brother was planning on becoming a member or not...
Posted by Ytropious on 2011-01-30:
Probably not. They probably correctly assumed the OPs brother just wanted to come hang out for free.
Posted by Beth W. on 2011-01-31:
Thank you for sharing your comments. We work hard to make sure our staff are knowledgeable and professional. We're sorry to hear about your experience.

We will forward your comments to the area District Manager for review and follow-up with the club directly.

We also wanted to clarify there is not a 1-day waiting period for the usage of our 7-day guest pass. We hope your brother will give us another chance. He can download a free 7-day pass directly from our website: http://www.ballyfitness.com/get-started/guest-pass/free-guest-pass.aspx

Thanks again for your valuable feedback,

Customer Relations
Posted by jktshff1 on 2011-01-31:
To Beth and the OP: Keep us posted how this works out. Could be interesting if Bally's is genuinely interested in solving this complaint.
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What a mess, this company has turn out to be
Posted by Moondragon on 02/14/2007
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- I have been a member of Bally's Total Fitness, for many years now. It seems that with every year it passes, the gyms get worse. Many of the machines are out-dated or not working at all. The lockerroom area is dirty used paper towels all over the place, the bathrooms are dirty and you can just imagine the smell of rancid urine. Only God knows what goes on in the showers and the steam rooms. I recently visited the North Hollywood gym and it had all of the expectations that I have mention obove. I addition the workout area was out of control the equipment and free weights where not in their respectfull place, it was just a big mess
and none of the employees seem to care, most where on their phone. Nobody in the gym seem to follow the rules in the running track, all of the members where just walking around in all different directions and again the employees did nothing to enforce the rules of the gym. It seems that Ballys is just concern on signing up new members and do not really care about keeping their new and specially their old members confortable and happy. I have written to their Human resouce but have not recieve an answer. I am posting this review to warn new members, to be very careful before signing a mew membership with Bally's Toatal Fitness. Their Financial Department, well?, that is another review. God Bless
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Posted by Fartman on 2007-02-15:
If the showers and steam rooms at the Bally's Total Fitness location in North Hollywood are that bad, I can imagine what they are like at the West Hollywood location!!!
Posted by Moondragon on 2007-06-17:
That is pretty much anywhere you go now days. Even 24 hour fitness is getting bad, I know for sure their Fitness trainers are not very good.
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