TINTON FALLS, NEW JERSEY -- I have had a previous problem trying to cancel a membership with Work Out Word but it is extremely close to my house and I thought I would try again. To make sure there would be no difficulties quitting I called and asked "what would happen if a one year membership was given as a gift and paid in full with cash, would it automatically renew?" I was told that it would not be a problem, since it was being paid for in cash and was a gift it would not renew. Having already had a bad experience with them I asked if they could print that right on the contract. Sure enough they said OK and wrote "auto cancel after 12 months".
For starters I got a bill for my monthly dues in the second month despite having paid in full. I called and had this corrected but sure enough I got another bill the following month. Finally the issue was resolved after many phone calls and some serious attitude from the billing department.
Here we are in the 13th month and sure enough I get a bill in the mail. I call to let them know and I am informed that ALL of their contracts auto renew regardless of how you pay for them, if I wanted to cancel I had to give notice 90 days prior. I explained again that the contract said auto cancel after 12 months right on it. Once again I find myself having to make multiple phone calls to resolve their screw up.
I went to the club with contract in hand and gave it to the manager hoping to get it taken care of quickly. I am told that all she can do is send it in to their billing office. If you try and find a contact # for their billing office anywhere it is not listed, just the number for sales. When you call them they tell you all they can do is send an e-mail to billing. I think it's pretty obvious that they know they have a very unfriendly policy when it comes to billing. Their tactic is to make it virtually impossible to quit and figure they can squeeze enough money out of you to make it worth their while.
WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND -- My experience corroborates a number of other complaints about Work Out World and also their financial handlers, ABC Financial. They make it extremely difficult to terminate your membership, citing the 50 mile or whatever radius from their location, and requiring written notice, etc. I went to the actual WOW location, filled out the paperwork, and thought that would be the end. In this instance the membership had actually lasted over two years. To make a long story short, amidst numerous phone calls to WOW and ABC Financial I was continually billed for the next several months.
Although the contract protects them legally, as a marketing professor I know that this is an unethical practice. Staying within the letter of the law and its fine print etc. is insufficient in many cases to constitute ethical practice, to say nothing of effective relationship marketing. This certainly is one of those cases. Keeping within the law is only the first step on the ladder of ethics and social responsibility. Good ethics involves ensuring that no undue suffering, injury, etc. occurs; and social responsibility implies a commitment to cater to consumers and to give back to society.
From my perspective, Work Out World and its ABC Financial partner are failing to pass the ethical test. Additionally, they are failing a basic marketing test - to strive one's best to develop totally satisfied customers. These shortsighted policies will return to haunt them if in no other form than to provide a competitive opportunity for another business to exploit these shortcomings and truly facilitate consumers' interactions regarding these credit card situations etc.
Most likely though, eventually they will still suffer regardless, as word of mouth (and pen) comes home to roost. There are few exceptions to this in the business world and these unethical people are apparently quite ignorant of all this. If enough consumers begin to complain, though, companies like these will be forced to accelerate the inevitable changes that will have to be made.
ROBBINSVILLE, NEW JERSEY -- The entire WoW franchise is absolutely horrible and one of the worst scams I have ever encountered. They lured me in with a $1 down payment on a 12-month contract, with a full VIP membership for only $25/month... however, after I had completed school and moved away, they would NOT let me cancel my membership. Their website says that they will allow membership cancellation before the contract finishes out if the member has moved somewhere with no WoW gym within 25 miles...
Well, I'm in NC, and the closest WoW is hundreds of miles from me. Yet despite me sending them the cancellation fee + a filled out form for membership cancellation by certified mail (another cost out-of-pocket), they would not allow me to cancel.
There is absolutely no way to get in contact with their main office. They have no phone number, fax number, or email address. I had half a mind to go to their corporation's main address and walk in to complain since I couldn't contact them in any other way. If you ever have a problem, the workers in every gym will only be able to tell you that they "sent an email" to the corporate owners through their own system, which I doubt is ever actually checked or responded to.
It has been 3 YEARS since I last lived in NJ, and I just got another phone call TODAY saying that they were sending my information into a collection agency & the credit bureau if I didn't pay them over $300 to compensate them for my (already canceled for over 2 years) membership!!! DO NOT EVER JOIN A WOW. Their gyms might be nice, but the customer service migraine that you will get might just kill you.
NORTH BRUNSWICK -- Let me start off by stating that I recommend staying as far away as possible from this horrible establishment. The employees here are liars and they will try to trick you given any opportunity (especially the staff manager; **). They are in strong competition with the other local gyms (i.e. LA Fitness) and will tell you anything to tie you down in a contract. If you must sign up here, make SURE you read all the fine print. DO NOT take into account ANYTHING they say to you if it is not on paper. They will lie to you as they lied to me and others. These people are liars and cheaters and have built a business with dishonesty at its core.
Now here's a brief summery of my experience with the gym: Upon signing up I specifically asked the Staff Manager, **, whether I would be able to work out on weekends in the WOW location in North Bergen. I stressed that this was of great importance to me because I live off campus here in North Brunswick and spend most weekends at my parent's house in North Bergen. ** assured me that I could work out in North Bergen. “All they have to do is give me a call, I tell them its okay and you can work out there, it's completely up to me,” he said. He told me that I would be able to do this anytime during my membership and it didn't even matter that I got a basic membership.
Hearing this, I happily signed up. I went home on the weekend and was told that I could only work out in that gym for 30 days (consecutively). In a word; I was lied to by this “staff manager”. At this point I thought I would just go and cancel my membership, but this was far from what occurred. To make a long story short what followed was about 2 months of emailing the headquarters, complaining, negotiating with my credit card company and being told to wait constantly. These people will hold on to your money like their life depended on it and will not give it back unless they feel it is absolutely their only option.
I have never dealt with such a group in my life; they run their establishment more like a mafia and work on a policy based solely on greed and the lack of morals. In a word, BE VERY CAREFUL if you are considering signing up to this establishment. I recommended from it completely. Good luck.
TINTON FALLS, NEW JERSEY -- I have never had a company piss me off as much as Work Out World. I posted about them in the past when I have had a horrendous time canceling, only problem is that they are right next to my house and the gym itself is pretty good. I need to work out to keep the weight off and if the gym isn't right near my house I just don't go. Anyway I just got an offer for $19.99* a month with no initiation fee* and according to the ad you can now cancel with 30 days notice instead of 90.
So I called about the asterisk's because I'm a glutton for punishment. Here's the deal, you need to make an appointment to sign up again. They don't give any info over the phone. That sounded suspicious to me so said I would make an appointment only if he answered 3 questions.
Q: What does the asterisk by the 19.99 mean? A: 12 month commitment.
Q: What does the asterisk by the $0 initiation fee mean? A: There is no initiation fee, just a $37 paperwork processing fee! (This wasn't on the flier or the e-mail)
Q: What does it take to cancel? A: After your 12 month commitment is up you can give 30 days notice by filling out a form.
Follow-up Question: So all I have to do is stop by the desk and fill out a form and leave it there? A: No, you have to send it certified mail to our corporate office.
My response: Wait a minute, I have to wait until my 12 months are up before I can give my 30 days notice? Isn't that really a 13 month commitment? And why can't I just fill out the cancellation paperwork and give it to you guys in sales? Surely if you can manage all the paperwork to sign me up you can also manage the paperwork to cancel it couldn't you. The answer - "No it's only a 12 month commitment, you just can't give notice to cancel until after you've fulfilled your commitment. We can't accept your cancellation paperwork here because it would be way too much paperwork for us."
At this point I went on to explain that there was no way I was getting out of there paying for less than 13 months until he finally agreed. As for the paperwork fee he said every gym charges one, I'll have to check cause I think there are a couple of new gyms in the area. They are just a scummy company to deal with, it's all roses, apple pie and deceit until they get your credit card info, from that point on they just treat you like garbage to your face.
RED BANK/MIDDLETOWN/SHREWBURY, NEW JERSEY -- I signed a 2 year contract with WOW... They claim I signed a 3 year contract... I have been asking for a copy of my contract for 9 months but they can not produce it. I stopped paying and they sent my account into collections... I contacted them for a copy of my contract and it sounds like they all went on fire in a fire that took place in their office ...So they can not prove I signed for 3 years but they say I did. I offered to come to an agreement just to beat the headache and they act like it is my fault they lost my contract and my billing information.
They have been nothing but rude and snide to me... I would have to say it has been the worst gym experience I ever had... They will not speak to me direct only over email and they will not provide me with my contract and they sent me into collections for future payment that did not even happen yet. Please be careful when you go near this gym. Plus I took a friend to work out with me once. They hated the gym's layout and they harassed them over the phone and email to sign up... They had to threaten to sue before they stopped harassing them. Be careful and stay away from WOW.
Since then I have been at Retro Fitness...nothing but a great experience. They are not mean, rude and sneaky like WOW.... I suggest everyone stays away from this place. Working out anywhere else is a better call. There is a reason their dues are so cheap because they rip you off every chance they get (not to mention they overcharged me on 3 different occasions...and when I brought it to their attention they made it seem like it was my fault... Sorry I check my statements and I don't like being ripped off).WOW should stand for Worst of Workouts.
I got a membership at a newly opened WOW in September of 08. The salesman was telling me about what a GREAT deal I was getting, spending 350 dollars down and 19.99 a month each for my boyfriend and me. He said we were getting such a great deal because we were presales. The salesman and the man whom I now know to be the manager also told me I'd get a card in the mail two weeks before the gym opened.
A couple months passed and I drove by in December and noticed that the gym WAS open, but I had not received anything in the mail. I went into the club and got my card, but the gym had already been open for a month! When I complained, it was just the same old "Too bad, you should have checked earlier," deal. I just thought, you know, whatever, at least I have my membership now.
I was out of work and desperately needed money the first time I went into the club, so I applied for childcare. I got an interview about a week later and one of the managers asked if I could start that night, promising me an hourly rate of $8.50 an hour. I agreed.
Within the first month, I started to get to know some of the people a little better. It turns out that my managers live together, one who is 20 and one who is 23. You're supposed to be at least 18 to work in the childcare center. However, one day, two 17 year old girls walked in. How did they get their job? They walked in to work out and the 20 year old manager offered them a job.
The one who is only twenty is having parties at their house, inviting girls who work in the childcare center, two of which have children. At the house parties, they drink and smoke weed, all of these people being under 21. My 20 year old manager will ask one of the 18 year old girls to go everywhere with him. They'll go to Wal-Mart and be gone for a ridiculously long time, such as 2 hours, and come back empty-handed. I've heard girls talking about having sex with him.
And warning to all parents who think that your children are actually being taken care of by qualified CPR/first aid certified people - THEY'RE NOT!!! I am the only person at this WOW location to have my CPR/AED for the professional rescuer certification!
WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND -- I joined Workout World first in 2004 for a fee of 19.99 a month and 60.00 down. The term contract lasted for 1 year. During that year I moved to an entirely different state, and provided Workout World with the correct documentation of my new address, as the terms of service stated it was necessary to cancel a contract. I sent those items out on April 1st, 2005 with 6 months still left in my contract. After repeatedly calling, they "never received the documentation," and I was charged the fees when I lived over 200 miles away.
Being the naive person that I am, I chalked this up to my own bad luck or some sort of mail accident. I moved back to Rhode Island in August of 2006, and being a health nut, I re-joined Workout World, as it is the closest gym to my family. I signed a contract for 29.99 a month for two years, and never missed a payment. My contract expired in August of 2008, and today, March 5, 2009, I am reviewing my bank statements and find that Workout World has been charging me 19.99 for the past 6 months.
After speaking with a customer service associate, she informed me that underneath your signature on the Workout World contract there is a section for you to initial. Apparently you are initialing a "contract extension" which allows Workout World to withdraw 19.99 (not even the price I was paying per month) from your account despite the fact that you signed up for a 2 year contract.
I was advised to again, send a written request to stop the service (which should have been stopped 6 months ago), and now I am awaiting a response about the "lost email" or "lost documentation" that they need in order to stop me from being charged again. The woman said this will take a MINIMUM of another billing cycle. Workout World is a SCAM! The employees get paid on commission, and therefore do NOT take the time to explain to you that you are automatically enrolled in a lifelong contract. I beg you, workout elsewhere. It's not worth your stress.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY -- I have been a member of the gym for over a year and referred a friend to join and I would pay for my friend's membership. I went with her to sign up on Saturday, February 7th, and was quoted a price for the full year by the WOW employee. The WOW employee incorrectly put in the information in the system. Three employees tried to figure out the mistake that had been entered in the computer and we waited for an additional 35 minutes, while the 3 employees were dumbfounded and had to call the manager to figure out what to do. They told it should be fixed by Monday, or Tuesday, at the latest.
When I returned on Tuesday, no one knew what I was talking about and the employee who had initiated the membership had been let go. Again, I wasted another 30 minutes, explaining the situation and the employee was clueless.
The next day, I returned and the manager was aware of the situation and alleged that he could fix it. But, then when I went to pay the remaining balance, the manager quoted a completely different price than the employee who had written up the contract. The manager was very unprofessional, rude, and defensive, and made comments about the incompetence of the employee who had written up the contract, etc. and told me that my only option was to cancel because he refused to honor the price that had been quoted to me.
The quality of customer service at WOW-North Brunswick, is terrible and horrendous. The employees seem to be "winging it" half the time and you can not have confidence that they will follow through on what they have promised. The manager was extremely rude and patronizing and I was appalled that in these economic times, someone representing a company would encourage a paying customer who just referred another client to them to cancel and stop doing business because they refused to make amends on a mistake that had been made by their own direct reports.
I would NEVER recommend that anyone join WOW-North Brunswick because of the misleading practices to get people to sign up for memberships, employee incompetence, and the disrespectful and condescending attitude and demeanor of the general manager.
BRICK, NEW JERSEY -- Last May I purchased sessions at Work Out World in Brick to get ready for my upcoming October wedding. I had moved, and was attending WOW while finishing out my contract with another affiliated gym when I bought the sessions, a package of 30. In July there was a fire in the club, and it closed. It was reopening in Fall 2008...then December 31st, 08...then in November I found out it was closed permanently. I started to try to contact them to obtain a refund for my 18 unused sessions ($1.080) and SURPRISE! They don't have a customer service phone number, just a form to submit on the website.
I finally got an email response December 16th, and a phone call shortly after. They told me my options, and I opted for a refund. I was told they would process it and either mail me a check, or I could pick it up at a neighboring WOW facility. Almost a month went by...nothing. I emailed them again, and the response I got was "Hi Jamie, what was the name on your account?". Nothing since. I've tried calling other work out worlds, I get nowhere. They tell me there's no corporate or customer service number, to go on the website, or that they can't help me. I need to contact the Brick location. THE BRICK LOCATION BURNED DOWN.
I called the Ocean location a few weeks ago to ask about my sessions, and I was told that my membership was cancelled on the 31st of December and that my sessions were gone. He said "They might let you have them back if you sign up for a new contract." So IF I GIVE THEM MORE MONEY then they MIGHT let me redeem the THOUSAND DOLLARS I already gave them. I have yet to hear from them.
I located the extension for the owner and left him a message. I am beside myself, I've been ripped off in a big way, and can get through to no one. I filed a claim earlier with the BBB, but judging by WOWs history on there, I bet it won't get me far. This is criminal.
Update: I've been told I can get my refund, but this is the policy: "The Personal Training refund is calculated based on your used sessions being valued at the Single Session Price and then subtracting that Total (sessions used multiplied by the single session price) from the Total Package Price you paid. The balance of that calculation would be the Personal Training refund due you."
So basically, they're refunding me for the amount of the sessions I used, not the balance of what I didn't use. If I signed up for a new contract and used the sessions I'd be able to redeem the full amount. I want nothing more to do with this company. I'm done. It's $360 less than I was expecting/hoping for, but I'll take it.