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Different take
Posted by on
I am a GNC franchisee and I am writing about GNC as a company. Granted, some of the corporation stores set a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE example of customer service and overall treatment of their clientele. On the other hand, if you find a franchise they will be much more inclined to help since someone has their own business at stake, and they will generally be willing to negotiate discounts and suggest products based on individual needs, I know I am.

As far as GNC being 10X more than everyone else, that is just not true. In fact, GNC's amino acids, vitamins, proteins, herbs etc. are cheaper then those OF COMPARABLE QUALITY, especially when store discounts are combined with gold card memberships. Sometimes the discounts are enough alone to come close to internet prices. If REGULAR prices seem higher, remember these stores actually have to make money, they are not online wherehouses that have NO OVERHEAD AND NO CUSTOMER SERVICE AND DON'T DO A THING FOR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

One issue is that so many people are concerned about price and not quality, when it should be the other way around. Take protein powders and multivitamins, and fish oils for example. Not all are created equal, whether we are talking about the GNC brand or not. A certain protein powder might be double the cost of another, but it might absorb twice as well as another, taste better, and mix better. You get what you pay for.

As for not comparing to other stores prices, that's not true either if you go to the store and tell them to match a price. They do that at GNC and if they don't THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWING THE SYSTEM AND SHOULD BE REPORTED. I will match ANYBODY'S PRICE if I can do it without going under.

I hope this puts things into perspective.

Let me know what you guys think of this, I'd love to hear it(really!).
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whitekiddi on 2009-07-17:
I work at a GNC corporate store, and I agree. You do have a much stronger persuasion to match prices (but we also do price matches, where we got $1 below what the comparable price is, as long as its at another store in the general area) and to offer specials. As for extra discounts, you know they have us by the balls, so it doesn't give us very much leeway. I truly like the franchise way of GNC more than the corporate way. Every once in a while, I'm able to give a customer his/her 20% off if they happened to be away for the 7 days of gold card week, or if they're a regular it's a little closer to the expiration date for them, if you're picking up what I'm putting down :) but as far as being able to give gold card discounts all month (which some of the franchise stores do in my area), it's just impossible with the guidelines set by upper management.
Now, I love being able to help people, and really see results with it as they come back every month to discuss it with me, and I'm sure this makes you also sit back on your counter and feel good about yourself as well. It's just unfortunate for both of us that there are a lot of GNC employees out there that are giving us a bad reputation.
It doesn't do good for our sales, and I can't imagine what their's are haha.
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Inexperienced Sales Staff
Posted by on
SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA -- Here is a copy of the letter I sent to GNC:

GNC, 3/9/2005

I am writing in regards to a horrendous experience I had at 2 of your Santa Rosa (CA.) stores today. I went to the Santa Rosa Plaza (Mall) store to buy a small container of protein powder for a client. Upon checkout the cashier, a very young guy, tried to up sell me to a larger size. I said no thank you. Then he tried to sell me a multi vitamin. I said no, I really need to pay for this and be on my way. He continued to try to sell me just about everything on the counter at random until it became a game for him. I could not pay, he would not let me. And all the while he kept looking up front to see if his co worker was watching or listening. So, I left, angry, without buying anything. On the way out of the store, I passed the co worker and asked who the manager was. He said he was the manager. I told him I consider the cashiers actions harassment.

THEN, I went to the Codingtown GNC in Santa Rosa. As I walked in there was another very young guy with his back towards me. He did not know I was there. He was on the phone with what obviously seemed to be the Plaza Store, telling them “well, if he comes in I’ll take care of it and let you know”. He got off the phone and I told him what I was looking for. He proceeded with the same harassment. Instead of showing me the product, he tried selling me something else.He took a very defensive posture towards me. I briefly told him what had just happened. He said it was their job to sell. I told him that is not sales, that is harassment when you don’t let the customer leave or talk. He then said, and I quote “whether you like it or not, I will be doing the same thing to you here”. I said I was leaving, and he said “good”. I told him I would be contacting GNC’s offices about this. He said “fine”.

Now, I am a mature man, and am not off the streets, and do not display a temper or rudeness. I have am a part time fitness trainer, and manage the hospitality division for a large winery full time. I have never, and I say NEVER, seen such immature and horrible customer service. If any of my staff every treated a customer in such a way it would be their very last second employed by us. And I should know as sales is my job.

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AZJEM on 2005-03-22:
Sounds like you had your fill of punks. I get the very same treatment at the Family Christian Book Store. They always try to get you to buy their "specials" and when you don't, they cop and attitude. I usually make my purchases off the internet with an alternate company. Hope you can find what you need elsewhere.
Neillopez on 2008-01-27:
They cop an attitude because they are pressured into it by their superiors. I know very well. I used to be an Employee. Before we criticize the actions of the employees, we need to take a close look at their immediate upper management. They will allow it to go on as long as "Numbers" are produced, with the store looking like a "model store" and the paperwork is in order. The company needs to take a very close look at their regional managers first, who seem to advocate this.
shayen on 2008-02-21:
I was a GNC manager in the early 90's. Most of the stores are franchise owned.

The reason you may have been given pressure to buy a specific item is because certain GNC products carry a commission to the employee. For example, if you walked in and said "I need a good multi vitamin", ofcourse the employee is going to show you the multi-vitamin that offers them anywhere from .25 cents up to $10 commission. That is the way it worked when I was there, back in the day. I've no idea how it works now.
rafi on 2010-01-22:
There are no commissions on the multi's. Gnc is a vitamin store, so they are expected of selling multivitamins.
I Like Honesty on 2010-02-11:
"Selling up" is a common, but repellant, sales tactic pushed by store managers on their young, minimum-wage mall employees as the only way for them to make any sort of commission on top of their lousy wages. There are probably daily quotas to fill, and ia a manager observes a clerk complete a transaction without making attempts to upsell, the employee will be dinged. Where I worked, we decided to abandon individual employee commissions in lieu of group incentives, I.e., setting a daily sales goal and trying to meet it. If we did, the whole team was rewarded. Attitudes improved, and sales clerks got out on the floor to help customers with products, make honest suggestions (NOT based on individual incentive programs) and really help the guests find what they were looking for, and maybe just a little more. It worked well.
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Gold Card Ripoff
Posted by on
FORT LEE, NEW JERSEY -- Went in there to buy some vitamins. Presented my Gold Card and the same jerkoff who asked me to apply for a Gold Card a week before charges me a renewal fee. Mind you... I just bought the card a week ago.

I contemplated waiting outside for him with some people after work. But, there are security cameras all over that shopping center.

Message To The Jerkoff: You were spared a broken nose by some security cameras. Next time go cheat your mother, loser!!
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Anna Molly on 2011-11-08: paid the renewal fee or not?
habelle on 2011-11-08:
What was the reason for the renewal fee? Was it not properly entered into their system so it appeared to be expired? I've always found when dealing with cashiers that make a mistake that if you're polite and gentle with them in pointing out their error, they readily and apologetically will fix it. You catch more flies with honey!
ChuhBaca on 2011-11-09:
+1 on what habelle said. I can't imagine anyone being all that willing to help you if your tone with them was anything like what is in this complaint.

I will say that I have been to GNC and I don't care for them. At least in my area, there are a lot of much smaller local nutrition shops and even some local chains. Not only are they much more helpful, but I also find that they are less expensive than GNC, even with their bogus rewards program.
momsey on 2011-11-09:
What was his response when you pointed out that you just bought the card???
Anonymous on 2011-11-09:
You contemplated waiting for him outside with friends after work? You wouldn't go one on one? Your solution is violence? Simply refusing to pay and leaving would have solved your problem. Your problem solving skills are not appropriate and if GNC was able to identify you, no doubt you would be banned from all of their stores and be charged with tresspassing should you decide to go back.
Kris10 on 2011-11-09:
I'd also like to know why the automatic resort to violence? Maybe it wasn't fully activated yet and the most common cause of someone having a card that get's denied is because it needs renewed. Perhaps he didn't recognize you. I think it's disturbing that you're openly threatening someone on here.
Anonymous on 2011-11-09:
Chances are this guys bark is worse than his bite, but you never know. I sent the review, username of this individual and the link to the review/site to GNC. Threats are not cool.
Churro on 2011-11-09:
It sounds like roid rage.
Old Timer on 2011-11-09:
Good point John, if you can't pick a fight without your buddies as backup then you're already the loser.
Jz on 2011-11-19:
The renewal saves you 20% but costs $15, therefore if you but $100 of product you would save $20. Depending on how much u bought, he probably did an automatic renewal without mentioning it because it would save u money
Retired Army Sergeant on 2013-08-22:
I believe you did not listen to that employee when he explained the gold card procedures. You need to go into the store during the first week of the month to get the gold card discount (the next month AFTER you purchased your gold card). You did not say when you went into the store but if you tried to use it only one week after purchasing the service, you weren't complying with the rules set forth by GNC.

BTW... your predilection to use violence to "get even" for an imagined offense IS quite childish. Try listening more and demanding less... your life would be much more rewarding.
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Customer Service is Non-existent--Buyer Beware
Posted by on
RALEIGH, NC 27614 -- On 11/22/10 I was talked into purchasing Silver Biotics by a pushy sales person. After reviewing the information about it online I felt uncomfortable taking such a product. On 11/24/10 I returned the unopened product to GNC wanting only an exchange. Since I could not find the receipt they would do nothing. I could prove it was purchased with my debit card since I have access to those records. They should be able to pull up a recent receipt since the "world" is computerized (except for GNC of course) and I had used my Gold Card.

I called customer service and they too would do nothing to help.

Online the return policy states that if it is a GNC brand they will exchange without a receipt under very strict conditions but if it is a third party brand nothing can be done without a receipt. So now I am out $25 and my only recourse is to throw the product in the garbage and never shop at GNC again.

They state that satisfaction is guaranteed but it is not.
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tnchuck100 on 2010-11-27:
"They state that satisfaction is guaranteed but it is not." - Consider this: It is THEIR satisfaction that is guaranteed, not yours.
raven2010 on 2010-11-27:
Sell it on eBay?
Anonymous on 2010-11-27:
+10 TN. The truth is, they probably DO have a wat to back trace receipts, but why would they do that? they wouldn't do anything extra that would benefit YOU, only if it benefitted THEM.
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GNC Gold Card - Valueless Almost
Posted by on
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA -- This is the most underhanded way to market your products. Each time you purchase vitamins there, the clerk nags you about whether or not you have a "gold card".

What they fail to tell you (probably by design) is that the discount is only available for the first 7 days of any month.

Most consumers purchase on demand - they do not manage most purchases unless they are large $$ this way.

The underhanded nature of nagging a pyaing customer into buying one of virtually worthless instruments is the worst marketing ploy in retail. Akin to overdraft fees and foreign ATM fees this ranks as a major debacle.

Don't ask me again if I have a 'Gold Card'...
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Anonymous on 2010-03-23:
I have a feeling that the "nagging" you don't appreciate... they *have* to ask you that. So, you can either nicely tell them no or continue to be rude to someone who's just merely doing their job.
i_am_canadian on 2010-03-23:
Unless there's a cost to you associated with a GNC Gold Card, I don't see how it compares to bank overdraft or foreign ATM fees.
i_am_canadian on 2010-03-23:
I just looked at GNC's website and there is in fact a fee for a Gold Card, $15 along with a long list of terms and conditions. I don't blame you for being irritated, that's ridiculous. Although I do acknowledge the employees were only doing their jobs.
YourFace on 2010-10-02:
The clerks *are* required to ask you, it's not that they enjoy nagging people. Having to ask that, and getting shot down in a rude manner probably bothers them more than it bothers you. Also there's nothing underhanded about the program, as its very clearly explained on the big mat that takes up the entire checkout counter and on the several signs hanging all over the store.

There also is nothing "ridiculous" about having to pay a fee to get savings all year. People pay for Sam's and Costco cards. It's optional, so if you don't feel that you can or will make it in to make your purchases within the 7 day period, then don't buy a card. If you buy a lot of stuff, then do it. The card saves you the day that you buy it so, if you're spending a lot of money, it pays for itself right then and there.
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GNC Liquid Multi Colloidal Minerals contains poisonous heavy metals
Posted by on
GNC Liquid Multi Colloidal Minerals Dietary Supplement is water that has been leached out from dirt/mud (clay). It contains many dangerous and poisonous heavy metal compounds in unknown (unlisted) concentrations, such as Antimony, Barium, Beryllium, Cesium, Palladium, Thallium, and Uranium (and although not listed, must contain Lead because that is the natural byproduct of Uranium -- you don't see Uranium without Lead in nature). I started having allergic reactions where my throat would swell and started coughing where I was having problems breathing. So, in addition to the heavy metal poisons, the water extracted from the mud evidently contains other chemicals from the mud that not listed that caused such an allergic reaction.

Also, because I did not have my receipt at the time I first complained they did not refund the $20 price. When I found my receipt it was after the 30-days no-questions-asked refund policy, so they still refused to refund my money for selling me the poison water.

Spread the word the GNC is dishonest and sells a mixture of heavy metal poison in the name of nutrition.
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Anonymous on 2008-07-26:
The minerals are only in trace amounts found naturally. GNC lists all the ingredients so I would not say they are dishonest. Are you certain the allergic reaction was to one of the minerals you listed? There are 64 ingredients listed on the bottle.
Ponie on 2008-07-26:
Ya know, I'd rather spend $20 on a bucket of some greasy KFC chicken than put all that gunk into my body. At least I know(?) what I'm getting. Maybe there's a nearby outlet for genu-wine snake oil. :)
rafi on 2010-01-22:
If that was true, Gnc wouldn't be as successful as they are now. so stop being a baby.
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GNC Employees
Posted by on
My daughter works at GNC and she told me that there are certain quota products that they are supposed to sell and certain things they are not supposed to sell and if they don't ever sell the quota items they will get fired which is wrong but that is why the sales people are so pushy. My daughter is not a pushy person so she really wants to get another job but for right now that is her only income.
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redmx3racer on 2009-12-14:
I don't think that any store has products "they are not supposed to sell". Think about that for a minute. I'm sure they have products that GNC prefers you to sell over others.
Retail Sales is not for everyone. If she does not like it than its best she move on.
PepperElf on 2009-12-14:
does she work on a navy base?

there are some items they have to warn the military about before selling them because the ingredients often show up on the urinalysis tests

that's the only way I can figure out not being allowed to sell an item
jsols44 on 2009-12-16:
It is not that they are not supposed to sell certain items it is that the big wigs or whatever you call them do not want the employees to sell certain and if they do it is called a bad sale.
jsols44 on 2009-12-16:
If they sell a lot of these items and not enough of the quota items they will get fired for it.Not a good way to run a business at all.
unhappymissy on 2010-01-02:
Well I am a former GNC worker and its true they do make us cell gold cards, multi vitamins and p# items and each week we have a cost of something we are sampling and we have to sell a certain amount. we will be pushy at sometimes because we have to sell them things to make corp happy. we are also over worked in my store in Maryland I was the only worker there until they fired me new years eve. yes new years even and when I got the store it was trashed and GNC doesn't tell you t real truth when they place you in a store. but not all GNC are bad I have a blog that tells all about this too.
PepperElf on 2010-01-02:
cost of something you are sampling...

as in a "tester"?

please don't tell me they make you pay for the testers out of your own pocket
YourFace on 2010-10-02:
There aren't items that you "aren't allowed to sell." Why would GNC pay to have items in the store that they don't intend to sell? That would be a ridiculous business plan. Yes, there are goals that you are expected to reach every week...but *any* business has goals and quotas of some nature. GNC is out to make money, just like any other company. It's a sales job, and sales just aren't for everybody.
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Do Not Use Your Debit Card At Store Gnc #2952
Posted by on

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i_am_canadian on 2009-07-30:
Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
Thanks for the warning Avl, but when I am in the "Big Apple" I will have much bigger concerns on my itinerary than visiting some GNC up there.
I've had that to me at places as well. Shat happens.
Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
Thanks for the heads up.I have no desire to go to NY or the East Coast for that matter,but thanks anyway!
Ponie on 2009-07-30:
'...RUDE, UNEDUCATED...? Pot, meet Kettle.
BokiBean on 2009-07-30:
Did your bank refund the money?
bcd on 2009-07-30:
Please don't Shout.
Anonymous on 2009-07-30:
Maybe you should lay off the steroids.
YourFace on 2010-10-03:
So....there are these things called computers, and sometimes they screw up. Usually because they rely on other computers, somewhere far away, connected via telephone lines. Somewhere, along the road of computers and telephone lines, something gets broken or doesn't work right, which then causes other computers to not work right. That is most likely what happened to least, it's more probable than you simply being victimized by RUDE, UNPROFESSIONAL, UNEDUCATED LIARS. Also, the charge likely either didn't post at all, or got reversed within 7 to 14 business days.
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This Gold Card is Ridiculous!
Posted by on
DALLAS, TEXAS -- I bought this card and told the guy that signed me up, I can't always shop the first 7 days and he said (it's a downtown location) he would be lenient. NOT. I made a purchase today on the 8th, the 8th and missed it by one day! This card is useless to busy people! I spend quite a bit of money at GNC, but no more! I have found better prices elsewhere and this was just the absolute last straw!

Why not just give 10% all month or something? What a ripoff! But hey I am done!!!!
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Gold Card may not be what it appears to be.
Posted by on
GNC offers a Gold Card which you purchase in order to receive discounts on their products.

However, there is a catch. The discounts are available only on certain dates each month. This means that if you need to purchase a GNC product on a date that does not coincide with the dates stipulated by the card conditions, you either pay the regular price, or have to wait until the next date is available.

The dates, at last notice, are the first ten days of each month BUT, notice that the card conditions state that GNC can change ANY of the beneifts of the card or even eliminate them at any moments and without prior notice.

In my particular case, I purchased my card in the country of Chile which has even stranger conditions imposed by the local distributor of GNC. They only allow the discount on the FIRST Tuesday of each month, but they extend the days to include the Monday and Wednesday on either side of the Tuesday. However, sometimes, when one of these three days is a holiday, they will delay the discount period to the next week and you cannot take advantage of the discount until the next week even if you arrive at the store on one of the dates which was originally stipulated in the card conditions.

The GNC headquarters in the USA claims that they take customer satisfaction seriously, but if they did why would they have a discount card which is so restrictive rather than giving loyal customers a genuine advantage and a permanent discount?

Before you BUY a Gold Card, make sure you read the fine print. It may not be what GNC marketers have made it look like.
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Doe3001 on 2006-07-08:
"The GNC headquarters in the USA claims that they take customer satisfaction seriously". This is very funny. I head this joke again and again. It lacks originality nowadays. Almost all companies claim the same but they don't do anything for customers (with few exceptions).
Doc J on 2006-07-08:
Any rebate, club, or buyer's program having obscure rules for use or rebate fulfillment needs careful avoidance. Most people sign up for these without reading the T&Cs. Usually these gimmicks are offered at the point of sale and there are 3-4 people waiting to pay...artificially inducing pressure to sign up. I got burned years ago by this GNC scheme...I actually thought it would make up for their overpriced supplements. DUH!
Brenda Leah on 2006-07-08:
How much is the GNC card?
Hugh_Jorgen on 2006-07-08:
I can understand limiting the dates the card is usable if they are using it as a tool to boost sales during what would be otherwise slow sales days. But to make understanding the "good" dates so difficult it would seem to negate that plan.
NeveragainAmazon on 2006-07-09:
I have a GNC Gold Card (yeah, I'm a push over). However, whenever I have purchased anything at GNC, I am always given the ole' sales pitch (if you buy this you get the second for half price). The rules must be different in my State...or could it be that I happened to pick the "right" days to shop. Thanks for the info...I will research the rules here.
jaxhere on 2006-07-10:
Re Brenda Leah's question I believe the Gold Card costs $20.00 per year in the USA. Often, if you're making a big purchase it seems like a good deal because you can apply the discount to the current purchase, the hassle comes when you want to use it again and you have to coordinate your purchase timing with the dates when the discount is available. That, and checking to see if the "conditions" might have changed since you last used the card.
dormo22 on 2006-08-04:
As a GNC manager for the last three years I would imagine that you people have no idea exactly what you are talking about! Any time you spend over $75 at the store the Gold Card purchase is free ($15 for a year membership plus 20% off the existing purchase). As for the complaining about "buying a second for half price", heaven forbid we try to give you a second bottle of something that you use on a regular basis for half price and then give you an additional 20% off on the first seven days of the month. Quit complaining about things you have no idea about!
jaxhere on 2006-08-07:
dormo22 is taking a defensive position which may be understadable due to his/her position but she's not winning any brownie points by stating that we "don't know what we're talking about ... as it our own experiences don't count for anything.

Anyone who wants to read the "fine print" (and they make it hard to find on GNC's web site) can read it on line at: This is the US version of the Card. The conditions for the version in Chile -- as far as I can tel are not published on line, or if they are, they're well hidden (Site is I don't know if GNC has sites for other countries where they operate.
Neillopez on 2008-01-27:
Please read the fine print before you purchase anything. As a former employee of the company, they are only doing what is necessary to comply with their measly jobs and regionals with ID's the size of a watermelon. There will be more crap coming down the pipeline.
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