Bally Total Fitness Memberships

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Run, Don't Jog, Away from Bally Total Fitness Contracts!!!
Posted by on
NORWALK, CALIFORNIA -- Despite being very hesitant to sign a binding membership contract for a gym exactly because of the horror stories I'd heard about Bally Total Fitness' poor customer service track record and fee controversies, Bally's was the only gym close to my house at the time, and the 3-year contract is all they were offering to new members. Since then, I have been a loyal customer to BTF for nearly the 3 years, never missing a payment in that time. This past September, I moved to a different state that has no Bally's available anywhere in my area. I followed every step and stipulation regarding cancelling my membership once I moved, correctly and timely, i.e. sending the required written notice plus a copy of my lease showing proof of my new residency within days of moving in. From my first phone call to them asking for the address to where I was to send all of my cancellation request information, I was given the wrong address and incorrect information about the cancellation fee pertaining to my situation, and every phone call since I have been consistently given incorrect and/or conflicting information about the cancellation process and my membership cancellation status. Two managers have told me to expect a reimbursement, however, I received a bill in the mail instead, a month after I submitted all of my paperwork. I called and disputed the bill, not understanding why I had an outstanding balance in the first place (I was ALL PAID UP before I moved), and no one could explain it. I have made at least 5 lengthy phone calls since mid-September (they will put you on hold for 30-40 minutes, easy), and here I am, today, STILL without official on-paper confirmation that my cancellation has been settled. Even though another manager promised to call me back to update me on the status of things, I haven't heard from anyone since October 7th. So, I called today (November 23rd), and what a surprise! They have a completely different amount due, and this time a firm NO on any form of reimbursement, again, more conflicting information, saying my cancellation had been processed incorrectly the first time around (by them), and that this time, the new amount due is correct. This has been a nightmare, especially since BTF can and will go after your credit for the smallest balance due, which I am doing everything in my power to avoid here. I have been a responsible, loyal customer, and you wouldn't know it by the way BTF has handled my cancellation process request. I am writing this as a cautionary tale to anyone considering getting a membership at Bally's. Save yourself a world of run-around and heartache, and go with another gym, one that doesn't bully it's customers into signing LONG membership contracts with mafioso fine print, then ruthlessly try to penalize them when there is an unavoidable life change that would require the contract to be dissolved. They are, in my opinion, unscrupulous and greedy, trying to nickel and dime their loyal members, and for what? THIS IS JUST A GYM, PEOPLE!!! Lest they forget. It should be as simple as this: You don't pay? You don't get in. BTF has the WORST customer service, and has treated me like a number, not a name. I will tell all of my friends and family to NEVER walk into a Bally's, and if you get sucked into a deal with them, take heed, you have been forewarned, and God help you if you move or die within the time frame of your contract. Run, don't jog, away from Bally's.
     
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Beth W. on 2010-11-29:
Thank you for your valuable feedback. We're sorry to hear about your experience with our Member Services team and that you're leaving Bally.

We will send you a direct message to gather additional details regarding your experience, see how we can help and answer any questions you may have.

Thank you again,

Beth - Bally Total Fitness
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Will be filing a lawsuit against Bally Total Fitness
Posted by on
NORWALK, CALIFORNIA -- I Joined Bally Total Fitness in 2007 with a month-to-month membership with no contract. I decided I did not like Bally's and so I canceled my membership in January of 2008. For months I received spam mail from them trying to get me to renew my membership so around June I called in to complain and tell them that I did not want any more offers, spam mail, or advertising from them and for them to completely take me off of their mailing lists. I was put on hold for OVER AN HOUR only to speak to a supervisor to tell me that they can take me off their mailing list but that they could not delete my information from their system. I thought I was completely done with Bally's but in September I got a BILL from Bally's saying that I owed them money even though I had cancelled my membership nine months before and had asked to be taken off of their mailing lists!!! They had the nerve to charge me even though I had ended my membership with them nine months earlier!!! I called in furious because what they were doing was actually illegal and it is obvious that that kind of mistake in billing is not accidental. They told me they had to file a claim and that a representative would get back to me. Two weeks later I called again because I had not received any calls from them. I had to spend another two hours on the phone just to clear this all up. At this point I thought that it was all over but throughout 2009 I received offers in the mail to renew my membership and I called in twice to have my name removed from their mailing list. In 2010 I received offers from them and tried again to be taken off their mailing list but they continue to spam me. Today it's January 22nd and I just got another spam letter from them asking me to renew my membership. STAY AWAY FROM BALLY'S AND TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS WHAT THEY WILL BE IN FOR! it is the work company I have ever had to deal with and not only that BUT THEY ARE DISHONEST. They will bill your credit card after you're membership has ended and never stop mailing you.
     
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trmn8r on 2011-01-22:
It sounds like you current complaint is about receiving offers to rejoin, and the membership billing issue is in the past.

Is it against the law for them to send a former member solicitations?
momsey on 2011-01-22:
What are you going to be suing for?
SteveWiginowski on 2011-01-22:
This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer wanted to stop receiving all mail.
trmn8r on 2011-01-22:
"Jerry, the whole BUILDING is made of brick". Excellent episode, Wilfred Brimley and all.
Beth W. on 2011-01-24:
Hi Michael, We're sorry to hear about your experience. We will send you a direct message to gather additional details and see how we can help. Thanks! Beth @ Bally Total Fitness
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Gym Rip Off - It's a CREDIT CONTRACT!!!
Posted by on
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- Everyone, look out! I went to Bally's over the summer (June 2003) looking for a gym membership, and asked to see their price list. They said "Sure, sure - Come on in and sit down." I was led by a representative into a little room and "small-talked." I'm in sales, so I should have known right away he was trying to con me. Plus, I've seen people given a credit contract with them before. I said, "Look. All I want is the most basic membership. I DON'T want a contract, credit, or any penalties for cancelling." Verbatim. "Are you sure you have a month-to month membership now?" He said, "Absolutely!, It will cost a little more per month than our credit contract, but you can cancel anytime."

Anyway, this guy assures me, (a salesperson in a moment of stupidity), that I am being signed up for a month-to-month membership. He said he needed my social security number because of the Patriot Act. I gave it to him. Bad move. I'm applying for a mortgage now (Feb 2004), and just found out that I am actually borrowing $1,500 from them for three years, and my $45 "monthly fee" is actually a loan payment! I never thought I'd be thankful for my recent injury - but my doctor's note cancels this contract. Watch out folks. These are pros.
     
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mama3385 on 2006-09-29:
I had the same problem when my husband and I moved from Utah to Texas. I called the gym company and they gave me the run around. I complained to the Better Business Bureau and the company said they were not going to do anything. so I called my prepaid legal lawyer and the lawyer sent them a letter threatening to sue and the gym company refunded my money,apologized and canceled my membership in good standing. If you need some help go to this website. www.prepaidlegal.com/hub/jasondickens
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Billing And Cancellation
Posted by on
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I was very disappointed with Bally Total Fitness. The customer service are very rude. They are very nice when you want to open the account with them. But it's really hard for you to cancel the membership. For my suggestion, don't ever sign any contract with bally because they always go by that. Especially for a personal trainer please don't sign any paper or automatic payment. They removed your money from your account even though you did not using their service at all. You obligated to pay the balance and if you not, they report you the creditor to collect the money and ruin your credit.

My suggestion, don't ever sign any contract with them. They are really don't know how to handle a business and doesn't know how to talk to their customer. They always fight over the phone. They took my money for $966 with only one lesson and there is no way I can get my money refund unless I am permanently disabled. Even though you are sick have a heart problem you still can't get your refund back. U need to continue the service until your heart stop breathing I guess. Even though the personal trainer not good and don't help you at all you still can't get your refund. You still have to take the lesson with another personal trainer. What a trick! Basically cheating their customer by giving an empty promise.

Elisabeth they are bad customer service, and fight on the phone with me. They should know how to solve their customer problem to make them stay but they did not, they said something that made you un happy.

I don't like to write a review but I really not happy with their service and I want everybody should know Bally Total Fitness not a good choice and I want them to know that they have to be careful before signing the contract.
     
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Weedwhacked on 2010-04-26:
It seems like all of their contracts have clauses that they know you will not read to keep billing you and to make cancellations almost impossible. This should be regulated next. Make it as easy to cancel a contract as it is to open one!
momsey on 2010-04-26:
I belonged to Bally's and then quit, and had no problems cancelling my membership. Of course they're not going to give you money back if you don't use the services! They'd be out of business if they refunded every person who didn't use their gym membership.
latinluver on 2010-08-12:
ALLWAYS READ something before you sign it.... very shadyyyy
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Be sure to ask questions!!!
Posted by on
So I joined Bally's in 2004 with a 3 year contract (which is what I agreed to. So after 2 years later I decided to add my 2 children to MY MEMBERSHIP so I thought. Again no big deal. So in 2008 my membership contract had been up for quite a while so I decided to cancel the membership altogether because I was no longer using it on a regular basis. They had sent me an add a member to my membership in the mail and wrote on that that I would like to CANCEL my membership. That was in June of 2008. I noticed a few months ago (June 2009)that I was still getting charged $20 a month on my bank account and wasn't sure why. So that following week I called their 800 number and waited what seemed like an eternity to talk to someone. I finally talked to this girl and explained the situation. She confirmed the cancellation in June 2008 but that my children were on their own contract and that I did not cancel theirs. I told her that was ridiculous that they would be put on their own membership when they have no way of getting to the gym without me. I explained to her that the way I understood things they were being added to my own membership. Why else would I think differently right? So she put me on hold talked to her supervisor and came back and said what she could do for me was credit me back to the beginning of 2009 (in the amount of $101). I said that would be great and I thanked her for that. She said the credit would take about 10 business days and it would go right back to my bank account.
So I waited at least 14 days, checking my account regularly for this refund to be applied. That never happened so again I called to find out what was going on(another eternity waiting). Spoke to a guy who was very nice and explained to me that the reason the refund was not issued was because my children were put on their own 3 year contract which I was not informed that on the first call I made. Apparently when the girl got off the phone with me realized this and put in her notes that we had gotten "disconnected" and hadn't finished our conversation. Total BS because she asked me at the end of our conversation if I had any other questions and I confirmed with her that the refund was going to be applied to my bank account and she said yes. I thanked her for her help and the call ended. So asked to speak to a supervisor and he gladly did so. She explained to me that I was legally bound by contract to pay it off. I told her that I understand that but it should have been brought to my attention when I called the first time or either a call back or letter in the mail letting me know of this. But received nothing. I told her that it was not my fault that their CSR did tell me of this. She didn't want to even listen to what I was saying and kept saying that she could not do anything. Asked to speak to her supervisor and again this lady proceeded to tell me the same thing and started accusing me of not keeping track of my own checking account. They were not willing to work with me on anything.
After that phone call I decided to file a complaint with the BBB. Then this amazing thing happened!! Bally's agreed to give me my refund almost in full!! (just shy $10) The BBB sent me a response from Bally's and what they were agreeing to do for me and I had an opportunity to respond back. I agreed to the refund and also said that if their customer service had been more effective there would not have been a complaint filed. I believe that the people working in the gym and signing people up need to go over the contract more efficiently so that the person signing the contract knows exactly what they are getting into. I will never go back to Bally's or recommend them as a good gym to go to. My gym was clean and the people that worked there were very nice but I'm very big on customer service since that is what I do on a daily basis and I expect a reputable company to offer that. Not to question me as a customer when I'm making a valid statement on their screw up. So be careful when adding someone to your own membership because they will be signed up for a 3 year contract even if it's your small children who can't even drive themselves to the gym:) Thanks
     
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Bally Total Fitness has more power than our government?
Posted by on
ONTARIO, CALIFORNIA -- To whom it may concern:

My daughter while only 17 went down to the Bally Total Fitness center in Rancho Cucamoga, CA with some friends who wanted to sign up. The sales employee's of Bally's talked her into signing up and when she told them she was only 17 they said "no problem". They took her contract and changed her date of birth by one year to make her 18.

Here is a letter I sent to:
Bally Total Fitness February 27, 2007
Customer Service Department
12440 E. Imperial Hwy., Suite 300
Norwalk, CA 90650


To whom it may concern,

This is to inform you that my daughter Francesca Saugez will be cancelling her membership with Bally Total Fitness. She wasn’t very happy with the way she was treated or handled during the recruiting possess. The last time she was in your Rancho Cucamonga location December 2006 she was not treated well. She has not gone back since.

After receiving past due notices and reviewing the retail installment contract I noticed that my daughter was a minor when she signed this contract. She was told by the recruiter that they would just change the date of her birth. One of her friends also had this happen to him at the same time and their parent has contacted you about it.

I am requesting that all late and past due payments be dropped alone with this contract that cannot be legally held against her because she was a minor at the time. I will not continue my complaint any further weather it be to your corporate offices or the district attorney regarding fraud by the employees of the Rancho Cucamonga location.

The account number is #2603868567008

Thank you for your quick response in this matter.

Bill Saugez
2500 Pinecone Way
Ontario, CA 91761
(909) 947-6743

Here was there response:
Dear Mr. Saugez:

Re: Account no. 2603868567008

Thank you for contacting Bally Total Fitness.

Your daughters membership agreement may be cancelled if she signed the contractual obligation while she was a minor. Please send a copy of your daughters birth certificate to verify this information and please include the membership account number with all correspondence to complete your request.

Bally Total Fitness
Attention: Cancellation Department
P.O. Box 1080
Norwalk, CA 90651
Fax: (562) 484-2445

Sincerely,

L. Paz
Member Services Associate
Bally Total Fitness

Because they claimed they never received proof when I scanned her birth certificate and drivers license and emailed it to them I also faxed it and US mailed it. The calls stopped for four (4) months and then they started again.
My daughter received a phone call from the Bally Total Fitness collections department the evening of May 24th. She returned the call by my suggesting just to see what Bally Total Fitness wanted still after we thought her contract had been canceled. A rude man who would only give his first name (Juan), not only threaten my daughter with a collection agency and her credit report but challenged her to take any kind of legal action she wanted.

There must be something or someone who can stop a company like this? I've tried the organizations below but no one seems to be able to stop them.

cc:
The Department of Consumer Affairs
Correspondence Unit
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N 112
Sacramento, CA 95834
(800) 952-5210

San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office
316 N Mt View Ave
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0004
Phone: 909-387-8309

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20580

Attorney General's Office California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
     
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Anonymous on 2007-05-26:
All Bally Total Fitness centers are the same its a scam and they know it.
Kanon on 2009-10-03:
Some organizations you can contact consist of the BBB(Better Business Bureau) and even the ACLU.
You can file a report with the BBB about the experience you had with Bally's and you can file a report with the ACLU about them harassing your daughter and forging her birthday.
Hope this helps.
:)
good luck
Anonymous on 2009-10-03:
Kanon, this review is going on three years old. The OP is probably long gone by now.
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AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!
Posted by on
First of all, their membership contracts are actually installment loans that show up on your credit report just like a car loan. They don't bother to tell you this though. What they also don't bother to tell you is that when you've made your last payment and your balance reaches $0, that doesn't mean your contract is canceled. They want you to provide formal (usually written) notice to them of your intention to cancel, otherwise they will continue to bill you each month forever. That's right, forever. I called their membership service number and after waiting on hold for 15+ minutes, was told my membership was now canceled, but that they couldn't (more like wouldn't) refund this additional charge. I had to file a claim with my bank -- not to mention the Better Business Bureau. Hopefully it'll all get straightened out.

On top of their completely fraudulent business and marketing practices, their customer service is totally nonexistent, their locations typically are falling apart with mold everywhere and broken machines, and their personal trainers are amateurs.

GO ELSEWHERE!!! AVOID BALLY'S AT ALL COSTS!!!
     
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goduke on 2009-07-16:
It's not fraud if it's all in the contract.
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Unsafe building - Refusal to cancel membership
Posted by on
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I have been trying to cancel my member for the past 6 months because the Bally's facility is under severe construction. I do not feel safe entering the building and there is no end in sight to the construction. I've waited almost 2 years for the construction to be complete and it's only getting worse.

Bally’s policy is to force their members to exercise at another conveniently located clubs. The other clubs in my area would take approximately 1 hour in traffic to commute which is not a reasonable request. The club that I signed up for is directly between my commute from home to work. Also, a main reason for joining the gym was to use the pool which has been closed due to construction.

The manager, Tony, agrees that I should be able to cancel my membership and explained that he gets these complaints all the time but he does not have the authority to cancel a membership. He explained that the Regional Manager would call me but I never received a call. The corporate office has not returned any of my calls, which you are placed into a 30 minute queue each time you call, or letters. After waiting to speak to a representative for 45 minutes in March I was told that they would stop the auto-debit to my credit card but continue to charge me and send my account to collections. They told me my credit would be destroyed so I better keep paying.

I've contacted the Better Business and it seems like there is no one that can get through to these people. I've never experienced such poor customer service in my life. All I want is my membership canceled and my dues returned. Given the club is not operational and the lack of customer service I’ve received I don’t see how this company is still in business. Do not join this club!
     
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GothicSmurf on 2008-05-02:
Did you cancel your membership in writing? If it's in writing, I'd fight it. If it was a verbal cancel, then you're S.O.L.. Cancel in writing today!
Anonymous on 2008-05-02:
Getting out of a membership is next to impossible. You really do not want to try to cancel your membership what you need to do is file a small claims suit against Bally's for the entire amount of the membership. Since Bally's cannot provide a service that you contracted for they are actually in breach of their own contract. You will win in court, then take the money you win a pay off the membership in full thereby completing your obligation to the membership contract. Good Luck
Anonymous on 2008-05-02:
Take some photos, then file a claim in Small Claims Court.
yoke on 2008-05-03:
Bally's has probably protected themselves from lawsuits since they are "allowing" their guests to use other facilities while under construction. It may not be an easy access for you, but Bally's does not care. All they want is your money.
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Ballys screwed me over
Posted by on
FREMONT, CALIFORNIA -- My fiancee and I have been members of Ballys Total Fitness for 2 years which was the term period we agreed within our contract. For 2 years we committed ourselves to $54.00 a month between the two of us. At the time we made the agreement we were under the impression, by the recruiter,that once our contract was up we would end up paying a little under $30.00 per month. At this point we felt the contract was tolerable and had no problem signing the contract. Now I will say the first year of the contract we committed ourselves off and on but the last year we would work out faithfully. I heard complaints from co-workers about how they got screwed by Ballys but I avoided the subject since I had no major complaints. When our contract was up we believed we were going to save money since we were told the monthly payments were going to be $30.00. My fiancee even called customer service just to verify that their records show the same agreement ,which of course ,it did. So we're going to the gym contract-free with no worries, then we saw our bank statement and noticed Ballys was taking out $60.00!!! My fiancee then called customer service stating the discrepancy, but they were rude and basically told us to look at our contract and then call them back. We turned our apartment upside down looking for our contract. No luck, but 3 weeks prior when my fiancee called everything seemed up to par.

Why would we pay more than what we were paying when were on contract??? We called to cancel our membership and to refund our $60.00 since we strongly felt we were being treated unfairly and my fiancee wasn't going to have it any other way:) They said they'd look into it. It's been a week and it's still being "processed."

Bottom line if you plan on joining Bally's, read your contract carefully, ask questions and don't believe everything they feed you. I am very disappointed on how this company treats their members.
     
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GothicSmurf on 2008-02-16:
Perhaps it was $30 a person and not $27 a person?
Principissa on 2008-02-16:
It sounds like it was a per person fee, not combined for each of you. I still don't condone them telling you that you did NOT have a contract when your fiance spoke to them, and then turn around and take 60.00 from you. But without that contract it's going to be your word against theirs, and if they have your signature it's going to be really hard to prove otherwise. It stinks, but it's true. If you still want to go to their facilities, I would, and when the time comes to renew send them a letter certified/return receipt stating you will not be renewing your contract. Just make sure to keep the return receipt in a safe place. :)
Anonymous on 2008-02-16:
Bally Total Fitness should really read Bally Total RipOFF!!
Anonymous on 2008-02-16:
Because of similar complaints, I've heard that this company will soon be going Bally-up.
Ponie on 2008-02-16:
Sheriff--groan! But good one.
ejack053824 on 2008-02-16:
What ever happened to getting off the couch and going for a run? It's free you know.
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How to escape the Bally Lifelong Membership Scam
Posted by on
CALIFORNIA -- My boyfriend signed us up for what we thought was a "no commitment" membership at a gym in Mass with 1 free guest pass for 3 months last Christmas. It was one of the worst mistakes he could have made. If you actually read all the ever so tiny fine print the contract is for LIFE (with a few small exceptions (death, serious illness, moving 25 miles away from the gym etc). Do a Google search on "Bally Scam" and you will find thousands of hits. They use a lot of "bait and switch tactics". They never let most people out of the scam. There are reports of deceased folks being charged a monthly bill. The only way they claim you can cancel a membership is via their customer service line in California. This is a joke and nothing gets resolved. Luckily we got the attorney general and Better Business Bureau involved and then things finally seemed to shift after several months of work, letters sent by certified mail and phone calls. It appears that we were finally able to cancel our memberships. We changed the credit card # that we gave them and reported them to the credit card company as well. Here is a link to the template we used for our "30 day Demand letter". http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=ocaterminal&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Consumer&L2=Consumer+Legal+Resources&sid=Eoca&b=terminalcontent&f=30_day_demand_letter&csid=Eoca
Stay away from Bally gym and spread the word!!
     
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Anonymous on 2010-08-28:
I don't think lifetime contracts are legal. Are you sure the contract says that, or it that hyperbole? Why not scan a copy of the contract and upload it...I would love to see where it says "for life."
goduke on 2010-08-28:
It doesn't say lifetime, Alex. It's a 1 or 2 year contract that rolls to a month-to-month contract after the initial term. Many gyms use them, and it's really no big deal if you actually plan to use the gym. You just have to follow the contractual guidelines on how to cancel. You can't just stop going, telling them "I'm cancelling" as you walk out the door. It usually involves sending a letter of cancellation with 30 days notice to a specific address (usually the billing folks).
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