Bally Total Fitness - Page 2

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1.4 out of 5, based on 8 ratings and
94 reviews & complaints.
Company Profile
Bally Total Fitness
8700 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
Chicago, IL 60631
773-380-3000 (ph)
562-484-2444 (fax)
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Bally Total Fitness all about the dollar
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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 inquire 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.

The worst Customer Service Possible
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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.

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Five years ago I stopped going to Bally's because they closed it and I changed to 24 Hour Fitness and I recently found out that these thieves from Bally's have being charging my credit card since I left. People always check your bank statement or you would be rob blind. I wish there was a way that I could get my money back. I tried calling them and they told me that it was sold to somebody else. They gave me another number and I waited to long and hung up, but I'll try again later on when I calm down...

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

Bally is the worst fitness center. They REPORT CREDIT COLLECTION if you close MEMBERSHIP. They let you write membership paper, but actually it's a CONTRACT. They will say you can close your membership by just writing in paper and send it to headquarters. I did that, and there is no confirmation of closing, and in fitness center they said it is closed. But it is not and 4 months later, they put your credit history into collections with 4 months 2 months and report 4 months late payment--this causes 7 years of your credit history will go away and drops points 150. I am screwed... I called them, they made me pay them but not take the report back. So totally it's screwed my Life.

Never Join Ballys They Don't Give Refunds Even If They Close
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CANTON, OHIO -- NEVER EVER JOIN BALLYS the company is a scam and thrives on ripping off innocent hard working people. I was a member for 6 years & they closed the 2 locations within 25 miles from my home. I was never notified the places were closing and they won't refund the 8 months membership dues I already paid before they closed. Now the closest Bally's to me is 33 miles away and my contract clearly states I can cancel if there are no locations within a 25 mile radius of my home address. They let me cancel, but won't refund me. WHAT A RIP OFF. I will have to contact the attorney general and start a class action lawsuit to get my refund.

I even told Bally customer service I would leave reviews all over the internet & contact any news media that would listen & Bally's doesn't care. CALL YOUR STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL IF THEY ARE GIVING YOU THE SAME RUN AROUND. CALL 1-866-40-BALLY and make them spend the money on customer service reps they stole from you!!!!!!!!!!

7 day Guest pass scam
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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.

They'll say anything to get you to sign up!
By -

In March 2009 I signed up with Bally's in Matteson, IL. I was told by the representative that I was getting a month-month contract but that the monthly price would be locked in for 2 years and would be automatically drafted from my checking account every month. I made sure to ask that it meant I can cancel at any time for any reason which he confirmed. In May 2010 I went in to cancel my membership at which time they told me I would need to mail their corporate office. 6/1/10 I wrote a letter asking them to cancel my membership.

I never received a confirmation in the mail but noticed that the July fees were not drafted from my checking account and when I called their toll free number it could not find my account number so was relieved that it was cancelled and was as easy as promised when I originally signed up. But the I received a letter in Oct. 2010 stating that my account was 90 days past due and was in danger of getting sent to a collections agency. I immediately called and told them the above information and the representative then told me that he has been hearing a lot of people complaining about misleading sales people at the stores.

This infuriated me and he had no answer or explanation as to why they know about it but refuse to do anything about it and gave me my 2 options-pay the account in full to the end of my contract or pay it up to date and then go back on a month-month billing. I went in to the Matteson location and was helped by the GM-well, I wouldn't say helped as he had no care as to what happened or that his employees were misleading people. He did tell me that the account hadn't been sent to a collections agency yet so I paid the account up to date. I didn't want it linked up to my checking account again as I have no trust in the company any more.

Then last night I received a phone call from the collections department saying that my account will stay with collections until I pay the amount due to fulfill my contract and they had no report of me paying up to date at my local branch. I am soooo frustrated with this company and no one seems to care that they are messing with my credit history which I work very hard at keeping up with! I will NEVER step foot in any Bally's and the only time I will ever speak of them is to stop someone else from falling into their lies!!

Once a nice Bally's now a "DUMP"
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JAMAICA QUEENS, NEW YORK -- I have been a member since 1994 of Bally's Total Fitness and this is the first time I ever had to complain. I was going to the Kew Gardens Bally's until 2005 when I decided to attend this Bally's in the Jamaica queens section because it is closer to my home. In the beginning the gym was clean and well equipped. There was always a locker room attendant. Now this gym has turned into a dump.

Their machines are always breaking down. I once got on a PRECORE and one of the foot pads completely broke off. Luckly I did not get hurt. Out of all their PRECORE machines 1 to sometimes 4 are broken. Now in the aerobic room there are barely no work out mats. Whatever mats are left are torn and tattered. The free weight racks are barely full.

Either some are missing (stolen) which are always the lighter weights and whatever weights are left the coating is falling apart or totally torn away from the weight. Now the steps for the step classes are either worn or damaged. I have taken a step class last week and I nearly slipped more than once during a class and every step I went to replace was no better. It was very frustrating to take a class and worry about falling.

Oh it gets better from here. There is a slow and growing infestation of "GNATS" in the shower area. One time I came home after using the shower at the gym and when I let down my hair I found a "GNAT" in my hair. Oh and I also must not forget about the broken latches on the doors in the toilet section of the bathroom. I had to jam my gym towel between the door to keep it close and from people walking in on me using the toilet.

In this bathroom there is about 3 broken door latches. Oh also I have seen members leave their locks on the lockers over night. I thought you was not supposed to do that because they clip them if you do. Oh I must not forget about the HUGE dirty bath towels left on the floor and the constant, daily flowing garbage all over the locker room floor. This Bally's used to be a excellent gym. I don't know what is going on with management of this gym but if nothing is done somebody is going to get sick or hurt from this gym and I see lawsuits coming.

Company Response 02/11/2010:

Thank you for sharing your comments. We want you to have a clean environment and a great workout experience at Bally.

We've contacted the area Market Manager and Maintenance Supervisor for review and follow-up.

We did hear back from both and were notified the Maintenance Supervisor was onsite yesterday and all but one machine was up - the machine that wasn't working was in the process of being repaired. We also confirmed that new Group Exercise mats are on order and should be to the club shortly.

Please be sure to communicate your concerns to your Bally club manager. Or, call our Member Support Team at (866) 402-2559 or e-mail us at so we can document your concern.

Thanks again for your valuable feedback

Customer Relations
Bally Total Fitness

Misled & Paying for it!
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In August of 2009 I called Bally Total Fitness to cancel my membership after having put it on hold for 5 months. The woman I spoke to (whose name I DEARLY wish I could remember!) told me that my membership was already canceled. I asked her to double check and she said yes, no problem, and I hung up the phone a happy customer.

Shame on me for not checking my bank statements while I was overseas and over the holidays, but I returned home to find that I had been charged the full membership fee for September, October, November, and December! I immediately called and was told there was no record of a cancellation of my membership in August. I explained what happened and immediately canceled, then asked for a refund for Sept-Dec. I was refused.

I was told they could do a search of my phone number for the call I made in their database which would take 2-3 weeks and then they would contact me. Still trying to remain pleasant, I agreed. It's been over 3 weeks. Today I called and (conveniently for them) my number never showed up as having called in August and I was again refused a refund. Still being polite, I asked for a manager and was given voicemail. I don't blame the people on the phones--according to their computer, I guess I look like a liar. Which frustrates me.

Point of my rant? GOOD LUCK GETTING A REFUND even if you were assured your membership was ended and Bally made a mistake! Check your bank statements because I got swindled out of a hefty chunk of money. I would have let it all slide if they had apologized and offered a refund, but this is unacceptable. Other than this incident, my experience with Bally's was very pleasant.

Don't Sign Up. Trust Me
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As a former employee, I would not recommend signing up with Bally Total Fitness. It's a scam. All they want is your money. That's it. They don't care about what the members say. Its all about the money. Once your in a contract, its almost impossible to get out of it. They won't just let you cancel. You got to have either a doctors note, or relocate 25 miles away from a club and you got to submit evidence to show that. So much hassle.

Anytime a member submits a complaint, nothing gets done about it. It just gets read and that's it. Never gets handled. The clubs are always dirty and unsanitary. They did away with toilet seat covers. So if you want to go to the bathroom, wait til you get home. The employees at the clubs are not very nice. I was even told by one club employee that some of the club staff don't use there real name. They use a fake name.

Starting in January 2010, you have to be on automatic withdrawals or else they won't let you use the gym. They just want you on automatic withdrawals to get your money. IF you forget to stop or cancel, they will not give you your money back. They also state, once your contract is over with, you need to make a request to cancel or else you will keep getting billed and won't get your money back. In the contract, it doesn't state those exact words that you have to cancel once contract is over with. Its rewritten in a way that most people don't pay attention to it.

I personally recommend going elsewhere to like 24 Hour Fitness. At least there gyms are so clean and the employees are much nicer. You might pay a little more, but its well worth it. Plus, after a year or so with 24 Hour Fitness, your rate will go down. At Bally's, your rates go up even after being with them for so long. They just want your money. STAY AWAY FROM BALLY'S.

Trying to get a hold of a customer service representative at Bally's is almost impossible. The wait time is almost an hour. You might get cut off on the phone then you will have to wait all over again. IF you send an email, it might take a week or so to get a reply. Believe me. Just note, all the calls are recorded. So keep track of who you talk to, the date and time. So if you ever get told something, ask them to pull the call. So a reminder, stay away from Bally's.

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