Bally Total Fitness - Page 2

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You Can Get Your Exercise Running The Opposite Direction Of Bally's
Posted by on
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!
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BokiBean on 02/25/2009:
Don't beat yourself up. You were incredibly smart not to cave in to this personal trainer and his ridiculous boorish hard sell. What a jerk! Do you know how many people would have caved in just to get him to shut up!?? You go girl!
Disaster Worker on 02/25/2009:
Do you have a local YMCA? Here in the Dallas, TX area, I pay $49 per month with lots of classes and great equipment. While trying to get into shape to start firefighting school, I hired a fantastic personal trainer at about $30-40 per hour. At our Y, you can buy training packages, and the more sessions you buy, the cheaper the cost of the session. For about $1000 total for over a period of a year, this girl whipped me into fantastic shape. I not only learned the correct ways to exercise for me, I also gained a new friend. You went through a horrible situation and you were so wise not to take this guy's verbal abuse.
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Bally Total Fitness all about the dollar
Posted by on
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.
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Doc J on 05/28/2006:
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.
Anonymous on 05/29/2006:
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!
Doc J on 05/29/2006:
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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The worst Customer Service Possible
Posted by on
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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RW Knut on 02/05/2006:
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 ridiculous 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 harassment 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 harassment, 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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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Posted by on
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...
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trmn8r on 06/21/2012:
Many of Bally's gyms have been transferred to other owners, and I think they still have about 60.

It is excellent advice for people to check their bank statements. Now that you mention it, for the past few months, I haven't checked my own due to being busy doing other things - however, it really is worth it to take 30 seconds or a minute to scan them.

I wish you luck - I think you will have a hard time getting any of your money back.

I was thinking "rateros" meant "rats", but it turns out it means "sneaky thieves"! Perfect! I believe you meant this as a complaint - it is currently a compliment.
Cwazychicken on 06/21/2012:
After 5 years of not noticing, I don't think you will be able to get most your money back. These places are scum and will only refund maybe a month or 2 back...IF they are even that nice.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
Bally is the worst fitness center.

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.
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Cwazychicken on 05/15/2012:
This is why I will never sign up for a gym membership. All I can think of is cancelling your b ank account or card that you used to sign up. However, if they still keep taking you to collections, you may need a lawyer.
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Never Join Ballys They Don't Give Refunds Even If They Close
Posted by on
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!!!!!!!!!!
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Weedwhacked on 01/24/2012:
A class-action suit will probably not even get you the refund.
dan gordon on 01/25/2012:
first of all Bally has been bankrupt for a number of yrs. They have been closing many of their locations. LA Fitness bought a lot of their contracts in the West. Your membership may still be valid if LA Fitness is in your area, if not I'm afraid you'll be sol.
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Charging my bank account after cancellation,
Posted by on
I joined Bally's 2 years ago with the promise of if I got a friend to join and we both paid for 1 year the second year was free. This turned out to be false. After many calls to corporate I was told "Sorry, there was never a promotion like that." My son was a member also, he and I both cancelled our membership in June of 2010, with letters of cancellation. They tried to coerce him into staying with them with the promise of 6 months free. He said "No thank you." A year later he discovers they had been charging his account every month for membership. Phone calls to corporate,(at least 15 calls) were answered by different people and different responses. They said to send a letter to them and they would refund his money. A certified letter was sent. After 2 months of no response and more phone calls, and apparent "supervisor" said they would not refund any money, and they had not received any letter. Their only offer to make it right was to give him "the 6 months membership that we offered him when he wanted to cancel". Calls and visits to the manager at the local Ballys, Tacoma, Wa were of no help either. I am so frustrated and would not recommend anyone to enter into a membership with Ballys!
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Beth W. on 07/28/2011:
We're sorry to hear about your experience. We will send you a direct message to gather additional details regarding your account and see how we can help. Thanks! Beth @ Bally Total Fitness
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Illegal Billing
Posted by on
My daughter, husband and I joined Bally in March 2011 on a trial basis. We were told that we could 'cancel anytime' and there would be no penalties.
On April 14th, 2011 I cancelled in writing per their requests. I called 6 days later to follow up. I received a notice we had cancelled (they tried to charge my Visa and were denied)
Since that time they have successfully charge my Visa each month on 3 memberships.
I spoke to a Rep (Mike) on 6.6.11 and was assured all 3 memberships were cancelled; they would credit my Visa $64.00. On June 16th they credited me $32.07 (not $64.00) and the very next day took out for all 3 contracts and through July 8th have continued to do so. I tried to go on line today but my membership number is not recognized. We have never received a card nor have we ever used the facility's. I am quite frustrated.
Robin Cromer
rswayla@AOL. com
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madconsumer on 07/10/2011:
great review.

very helpful!!
Beth W. on 07/14/2011:
Thank you for your valuable feedback. We're sorry to hear about your experience. We will send you an email to gather additional details and see how we can help. Thanks! Bally Total Fitness
Walt on 08/01/2011:
I feel your pain, customer service sucks. thank god I didn't sign a long contract but even on the month to month contracts. they make it so difficult to cancel. they use technology to get your money but when it comes to provide a good customer service they are the worst. They won't let you cancel via web, by phone. it has to be in writing. they make so incovenient for the customers to cancel that is ridiculous. I cancel just because of their tricks and dishonesty.
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This gym is awesome
Posted by on
CUTLER BAY, FLORIDA -- Let me explain why this gym is so good.

Great staff - helpful, smart, fun, funny, and friendly - make conversation with them, joke with them, or just pick their brain for workout tips

Sexy People - The women here are HOT! The members are hot, but the staff is even hotter! Don't believe me? Then schedule a Sales appointment with Claudia - she has worked in a gym her whole like and will give you a rundown of everything that you need to know about fitness. She will do all of this while weakening you with her $10 million dollar smile, and INCREDIBLE BODY!
Seriously - Ask for Claudia!
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dan gordon on 05/18/2011:
you may be one of the few happy Bally customers. It takes a lot to join and then post the same day using the handle miamigym review. It sure sounds unbiased and not at all suspicious. I'm sure to watch for your continued reviews.
rudybjr on 05/18/2011:
You sound like you actually work for that gym.
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Bally Total Fitness Complaint Nightmare
Posted by on
I had the same problem. Signed up for monthly special, no long term contact but when the time to cancel OMG. I am paying for a dirty facility, bad service, old and outdated equipment. So I called to cancel my contact. I waited on the phone for morn than 20 minutes to find out that I have to write a latter to the company.
My solution is BBB. Complaint to BBB is the real answer. I recommend everyone that having the same issue to do the same and hopefully the company will get it and change the way they do business.
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Venice09 on 04/16/2011:
Wouldn't it be easier to just write the letter?
momsey on 04/16/2011:
Did you try writing the letter? I'm pretty sure that will work. Most gyms require a letter to cancel.
Ytropious on 04/16/2011:
BBB doesn't DO anything folks! They can't force businesses to change policies. I'm sure somewhere in their agreement there is a paragraph on their cancellation policy, and in there likely a note about the only method of cancellation being signed letter.
Anonymous on 04/16/2011:
I filed a BBB dispute recently got to see how it goes.
trmn8r on 04/17/2011:
Saying the BBB "doesn't do anything" is a generalization. The BBB in fact does do things. They have helped me twice, and I am monitoring the effect complaints are having on a company that recently changed its name to avoid its dark past.

As for what the BBB may do in this particular case, I DON'T believe it is the solution at all. Thousands and thousands of people have been toasted by Bally's. I would guess their rating is F, and they think it stands for Fantastic.
Ytropious on 04/17/2011:
They act as a mediator. They can try and get the business involved but if the business slams the door in their face all they can do is shrug and walk away. BBB can't force anything on anyone.
Anonymous on 04/17/2011:
A lot of people check out the BBB when dealing with a Business, including me. Its in the Best interest of the Business to work with the BBB to get the issue resolved or else they will get a bad mark.

Its prob not a big deal to big corporations but to a small business or a small company it can mean allot.
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