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.
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.
MARIETTA, GEORGIA -- All Bally's really have from you is a signature and a promise to pay. No goods or services have been provided, it's a piece of paper... therefore, Bally's goes from getting nothing from the victim, to getting a hundred dollars from the collection agency when they turned over the contract. They're not out of any money if it's never fulfilled.
Bally's sued me for hundreds dollars AFTER I proved I had moved outside of their coverage area. Even the attorney of the collection agency who met me outside of the court room agreed that THEY DIDN'T HONOR POLICY PACIFICS WITHIN THEIR OWN CONTRACT but said that few people rarely get out of it. She recommended instead of fighting in court (and having it show public record against you), just make payment arrangements of nominal amounts to get rid of them, like $15 per month and they'd (the agency - not Bally's) would drop it in one year as debt settled and she put it in her records on the spot.
So for a total of $180(because she only had the judge dismiss the case instead of hearing the case) I was rid of their nasty butts. Better than putting in hours of research and trying to take them to court on my own for violating their own contract stipulations of MOVING 20+ MILES FROM ANY FACILITY and having them charge me the remainder of the contract - about $1200.
I've worked collections for many years and suggest you try for a 30% or less settlement. The agency makes money and avoids court fees when they loose because Bally's is usually in the wrong to begin with. You're only out of a couple of hundred instead of thousands, everybody is off your back and if you start the little payment quickly enough, it saves your credit (if you hadn't gone past 90 days on the original payments).
Here's the best part... because Bally's breached their own contract (make sure you have an original copy which the collection agency can provide - meaning Bally's wouldn't be able to alter it at that point - and documentation for everything that's happened to you) you can join in with hundreds of others that they've done this to and go for a class action against them at a later date. It's my turn. Any suits pending that I can join in on? Let me know. -g-
This entire company is the lowest of the lowest class you can get. I have had memberships at two other fitness clubs and never had the experiences I had with Bally. First of all I paid extra for the daycare to take my 8 and 10 year old. The daycare workers were terrible. There is no way I would leave an infant or toddler in there daycare. My children were old enough to tell me what was going on in the room when none of the parents were around including yelling at the toddlers and cursing at the older children. From that point I know longer took my children to that daycare. I continued to use the gym until I ran into some financial hardships over the past year.
I signed a one year agreement and when I called to cancel the auto drafts from my account I was told that I couldn't cancel because I had signed a 3 year contract. I told them that I didn't sign a 3 year contract and that I wanted a copy of it. I was told that it would cost me $10.00 for a copy of the contract. This company has known customer service and were down right crude to me when I told them that I could not continue to make the payments.
The representative ** was absolutely the worst and continued to argue with me about my financial situation. I asked if they had any way that I could cancel because of my financial situation and she told me yes, that I had to pay a $50.00 fee to cancel early plus the remainder of my contract amount of $500+. Oh and she would give me a discount of 20%. Gee, thanks. I continued to ask if there was any other reason that I could qualify to cancel and she began to lecture me about how she is not going to give me any reasons that I don't qualify for.
If this company were to be more hospitable I may have cancelled and came back to them when I was able to afford it because that are the closest gym to my house but between the gym cleanliness, the daycare and there service I would not recommend ever going to this gym and I surely wouldn't sign a contract or take my children to there daycare!
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- My boyfriend gave me a membership to Bally Total Fitness last year. (He's been a lifetime member for over 20 years, and the rate is unbelievably cheap.) So we go to the location nearest my house - which was totally ghetto. People just hanging out, talking and trying to pick each other up. The machines were on top of each other and everything was cramped into one tiny room. No towels and not much to be desired as far as the classes went. Reluctantly, I got my membership card and promised that I would try it out.
Fast forward another month, I haven't gone to the ghetto gym. I look on their website and then notice that they have two "Sports Clubs" near my office. I call one up and go by for a visit. I'm very happy as their facilities are much nicer, more equipment, better spacing and of course towels. I sign for the upgrade - which is about $20 per month. But I figure okay.
So NOW they have changed everything. No longer to they offer towels (since December). They put up some sign saying that people were stealing them - then switched to say that it was due to economics. Now I have to drag around all day long with my wet towel (I go to the gym before work when it's less crowded.) My boyfriend decided one day to try a different location while he was away on business. They said it was a Sports Club and gave him access for one day, but said that if he wanted to go again it would be a flat fee of $180. WHAT THE HECK!!! A flat fee of $180 when I'll be paying $20+ for the next three years.
So I called them up to complain and see if I could get a refund. After waiting the requisite 25 minutes (I truly think they do that as a ploy to get you to hang up), I spoke with someone. She said to me there was no way to get out of the contract that I had. I told her that I would wind up paying almost 4x the $180 fee AND I'm not even getting the towels anymore. (Trust me, that was one of the selling points when I signed up.) She said there was nothing I could do, as I signed a contract. Well, this is not over. I will continue to try to get out of this one way or another. Heck, I think I may just switch us both to NYSC and call it a day. UGH!
I was outraged today with the way I was treated by the Bally Total Fitness Corporate office! The story goes like this. Right before New Years, I got a great deal with LA Fitness so I wanted to cancel my membership with Bally Total Fitness. The personnel at the club told me that they could not cancel the membership for me and that I have to call the corporate office. But, because of holidays, I would have to wait until Monday, which would be Jan 05.
However, my automatic payment gets taken out on Jan 3rd so how do I stop the payment? Well, the staff members tell me "oh, you'll just get a refund later on, it will be OK". So I just wait until Monday. In the meantime, the store manager tells me that he cancelled the membership for me so I will just have to follow up with the corporate with my refund. When I finally reach the corporate office, not only I find out that my membership has not been cancelled, but they can't refund my money because there was not a record about me trying to reach them! Well, how can you reach someone if they are not working? Unbelievable!!!!
Then I call the store manager to ask him, why did he tell me that my membership was cancelled when the corporate office said they had no record of him trying to reach them. He, of course, does not have explanation for any of it but wants to make sure that I understand that the corporate office and the club are "two separate entities" and that he can't take the blame for corporate mistake. Well, isn't that just what I wanted to hear?
So, if any of you out there are considering this gym, beware. Their staff members are incompetent and can answer zero questions when you need them. To reach someone in corporate office, you'll have to take a day off from work, because that is how long it will take for them to help you out. And do not leave your credit card with them because they will take every single penny from you. No wonder why their gyms are empty and they are filing for bankruptcy!!! Stay away!!!!
SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS -- My husband and I have a two-year contract with Bally at the Schaumburg location since Sept, 2007. We had paid a $200 down payment and are paying a high monthly charge compared to the discount my friends got. We felt cheated already but this is a complain against your staff at the Schaumburg Bally. Please teach them some courtesy along with the physical training skills.
On 12/10/08 I had my husband's sister visiting us and we went to the club for a day on Monday. That is when I thought we signed for the 2-week guest pass but it was just a one day guest pass. We did not know the either/or rule (that is: we can either take the one day pass or the 2-week guest pass - which has no logic at all) but this rule was very clearly and rudely explained by their general manager. He had a very bad attitude towards us. I have never seen a manager who was so helpless, indecisive and rude.
When I signed up last year the staff was very friendly and I had signed up for personal training and had got to know everyone really well but this is the worst experience I have ever had. His assistant was very rude and demanded $15 for a one day fee whereas adding a family was $19 a month. My husband's sister was here only for 2 days and moreover she is moving to Chicago in Dec, but I think you guys lost a potential customer. It is not about paying any amount but I have never been so ill treated before, in spite of being an existing customer whereas I know people who use the 2-week pass and use it for a month.
I wasn't treated the same when I signed up. This is very rude and I feel discriminated. We were waiting there for 30 minutes and being laughed upon until they realized they could make an exception and let us in for a day but by that time we were not interested in your obligation. Next time please teach them to make an exception for somebody sometime. If we would have known the ordeal we wouldn't have gone there in the first place. I don't know if this email is going to be neglected but guys please learn some Customer Service in a gym where there is no Water fountain within a block and with all of your good trainers gone!
DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA -- I've been a Bally's member for 6+ years. I used to really like Bally's Fitness Centers. This (Downey, Ca.) location looks good and started with nice new equipment, however, be careful there. I think this place has serious bacteria issues. I've seen people (some members, some without a membership card who bypass the entrance turnstyles) who have sores on their skin, come in dirty, do not wipe down the equipment or bring workout towels, some decide to go into the sauna wearing their tennis shoes. Last trip there I noticed someone must have got tired of their gum and stuck it on a treadmill.
5 to 6 months ago, I developed some kind of skin infection (similar to staph). I stopped going for about 2 months until I was clean of the infection. After a couple of trips back, I got a new infection. My doctor strongly advised me not to continue going there at all. After completely recovering, I went back for a workout, but I stayed out of the locker room except to wash hands often. I got a new infection. It cost too much to keep going to the doctor, so I give up.
I contacted Bally's corporate office to ask to put my membership on hold for 6 months or a year, but to my surprise, they were not willing to work with me, so here I sit with at least two years left on my membership not being used (apparently just how Bally's corporate likes it). Maybe I've become more prone to skin infections than most folks, but I've never had anything like this happen from anywhere other than this location. I invite the board of health to go there, inspect and monitor this spa closely.
Customer satisfaction does not appear to be a high priority with Bally's corporate. This location will occasionally be closed for members for entire weekends without prior notice in order to shoot commercials. Bally's, you can do better than that.
WILSONVILLE, OREGON -- There are so many things to comment on, I'm not sure where to start. I just came from one of the 3 classes I attend regularly, where once again, there was a substitute instructor. Instructors at Bally's have no consistency in their training; one tells you to do an exercise one way, then a substitute comes in and completely contradicts the regular teacher.
I attend a beginning class, simply to stay active, but I watch true beginners struggle to keep up while the instructor decides to do an extremely difficult, confusing and even in some cases dangerous routine for a beginner, just because she wants it to be more interesting for herself. The step equipment is often in poor shape and has tripped a number of people during class. The regulars know not to use it, but beginners don't.
I have had instructors tell the class to "don't wimp out and go get a drink", which for some could be deadly. I have heard them tell classes that they had to do high impact if they are going to get any benefit from the exercise, or "no pain no gain". The staff at the front desk is no more consistent than the instructors. More often than not there is a new, (generally teenager) working the front desk. I have had them be quite rude, if you forget your membership card, or question a schedule, even interrupting a conversation with another employee to say "well the schedule works for everyone else, so that's the way it is".
I have been a member at Bally's for years, but they penalize the patrons who use the gym regularly by raising the yearly fee and the people (including my husband) who seldom use the gym receive annual offers at half the price regular users get charged. The company says it is to entice them back, but as a loyal member for years, it feels more like a penalty for using what you have paid for.
To be fair, there are a few people there that are very friendly, follow the rules and want to make your experience a pleasant one; instructors, customer service and management. I believe it's only a matter of time before someone sues Bally's because of an injury (or worse) that could have been prevented or avoided.
NEW JERSEY -- Bally's is a HUGE scam. I understand those saying that it is the customer's responsibility to read the contract. True. But why are you ignoring the fact that it is also the company's responsibility to represent their policies honestly? I went into Bally's because of the "free" 1-month trial membership which they were offering. I asked the sales rep OVER AND OVER again if I really had no obligation to the gym after one month. He said yes. As long as I cancelled before the 30 days were up, then I owed them nothing. He then put the contract in front of me and said he just needed me to sign this form.
I signed it, because it did not even occur to me that he would outright lie to me about the contract... After all, how on earth would a business continue to legally operate when its employees were purposely lying to customers? Alas, that is what was happening. I called 20 days later to cancel my membership, and was told that it would not be possible, unless I paid the $1800 upfront for the 3-year contract.
BS. So this is what I did. I read the whole contract and saw that right above where I had signed were the details of the "Promise Program." Basically, it states that as long as you schedule and go to the introductory personal training session, as well as go to the gym 16 more times (for a total of 17 visits and you're only allowed to swipe your card once a day) within 60 days of signing the contract, then you have 10 days after your last visit to write to their headquarters and cancel your membership.
I had already gone to the gym 10 times. I was so disgusted with the deceitful, unethical practices that I did not want to even workout there anymore. So, for the next 7 days, I walked in, had my card swiped, and walked right back out. I also ran into the sales rep who lied to me and confronted him calmly about it. He had the decency to blush. I guess they are not used to people confronting them about their blatant lies. After I completed the 17 swipes, I wrote the letter, and my membership was cancelled within 2 weeks. Hope this works for some of you!