Please never join WOW. I joined my daughter a few years ago and when she moved away for college I put her membership on hold. When I realized she would no longer use it I sent a cancellation request via certified mail. They emailed me to say I could not cancel the membership while it is on hold and I had an outstanding balance that needed to be paid before I could cancel. My husband promptly paid the balance and we sent another certified letter requesting cancellation of the membership. We were under the assumption that the matter was resolved.
A year later we received a collection letter from a law firm representing WOW stating we still owed 158.95. It was in my daughter's name and I feared her credit would be ruined!!! So my husband promptly called law firm and spoke to an attorney who is supposed to be collecting so called debt for WOW. He basically told my husband he had reviewed our account and knows it was paid along with 490 other accounts. WOW is trying to collect on. He said their contracts are basically ironclad and almost impossible to cancel.
He then recommended we lodge an official complaint with the prosecutor's office. It is pretty scary when the law firm in charge of collections for WOW tells you to lodge a complaint. To make matters worse I am now trying to cancel my son's membership since he is away at college. I sent a cancellation request via certified mail and then received an email from them saying "you can't cancel because the account is on hold and there is an outstanding balance." BLAH BLAH BLAH!!! How could there be a balance if I pay by automatic withdraw and never received a statement. It is dejavu all over again.
FREEHOLD, NEW JERSEY -- My wife and I went to Work Out World at the end of September to switch from Retro Fitness and take advantage of their classes and the advertised 14.95 rate a month. A sales representative helped us and explained to us the whole "process". The deal was the it would be 1.00 down each if we did the 14.95 a month rate but had to refer two people. We explained that we are coming from retro only charging 19.99 a month and we paid zero down and were not interested if we had to pay anything up front and if the costs was more than 20.00 a month.
He said he understood and wanted us to join so he said he would get the people for us. Meaning, when individual people came in to join under the standard non-promo deal, he would simply add them to us as our referral. We of course questioned this but he insisted they do it all the time so we agreed. He charged us our 1.00 each and said we will see the 14.95 for the November billing cycle. Three weeks go by, so my wife called to see if everything was OK and if he got the referrals but was told ** was fired.
The general manager basically said we were lying and we had to pay the full amount. WOW billed us 54.95 twice in October aside from the 2.00 we OK'd the day we signed up. [The GM] did say she would contact corporate and ask if we can get this rate since it really not our fault but never called us back or took our calls. On 11/8/10, I called and of course the GM is no longer there and the new manager referred us to the website to complain. No corporate number, they won't cancel our account and they are just nasty all together. I already blocked them from billing me in the future and will go to court if needed. DO NOT JOIN THIS TERRIBLE PLACE!!
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY -- I joined the Work Out World Gym at North Brunswick, NJ in May, 2008. My membership was month to month basis as it was a special promotion going on at that time. My contract does mention the same. I was told that I can cancel my contract any time giving 30 days notice.
I did cancel my contract with the gym 3 months after I started. I did following to cancel my membership. - Personally hand delivered cancellation letter to receptionist. The office of WOW had fire recently. I called the head office few times and than hand deliver the letter. - Also send register mail to WOW head office, even though their head office was closed because of fire. - Also fax the letter to mentioned fax numbers. I did everything possible to cancel my contract legally. I haven't heard anything from them since then.
In February 2010, I received the notice from law firm regarding the outstanding payment of $167.15, which I need to pay WOW or they will take legal action against me. I talked to the representative of law firm and she asked about the all the proof I have. Unfortunately, I don't have any proof except the copy of contract with me. I shredded the cancellation letter and delivery proof, as it's been such a long time since. I thought the matter is completed and I no longer need this letter. The only thing I kept is the copy of contract. I faxed the copy of my contract to representative of law firm. She mentioned, she will look into it. I haven't got any response since then.
From Mid September, 2010, I am getting calls from Levy and levy associates during afternoon time (I work during that time), leaving messages to call back. I didn't contact them as I thought it's a marketing call. The voice message was never clearly mentioned anything.
I called the company on 10/25/10. Just to see what's going on. I talked to the person name **. He spoke with me very rudely, sounds like debt collector. He wanted me to pay $167.15 right on the phone, than he came down to $90 to make it better. According to me, I shouldn't be paying anything as I did everything legally to cancel my contract. ** mentioned that, the contract was month to month based for minimum one year.
I have a copy of my contract and it doesn't say this at all. ** mentioned that, then WOW lie to you when you signed the contract and you must pay your outstanding due or he will take this matter to court. I asked them to send me the legal paper work and than I will seed what to do. I don't understand why the customer likes me to go through this harassment after such a long time canceling my contract legally. Anybody has the same issue I have. I welcome your opinion.
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.
WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND -- Outside the Work Out World in Warwick RI, there's a sign. It reads EXACTLY, "$1 Membership AND $1 per month". Intrigued, we went in. They wouldn't explain the sign until we signed up with our name and address and provided a driver's license for THEM TO HOLD while they took us on a "tour" of the facility. Their facility was fine, but we really wanted to get the low down on the price. They took us to a "sign up area" where we walked by a sign that read "$0 down/$25 per month". They explained that the $1 membership/$1 month thing was really $499 sign up and $19.99 a month OR $299 sign up and $29.99 a month. What???
SO I said, "what about that sign over there for 0 down and $25/month??" He then goes into THIS offer: $100 down and $19.99 a month OR $0 down or $29.99 a month. (He said that $25.00 a month with "taxes" was really $29.99 but there are NO TAXES on services in RI so that was another load of BS). Of course he then says, "it's 2 years on EFT but you can cancel ANYTIME" (which I know is BS - once you're locked in, you're locked in for 2 years). I'm like, "OK great - can we think about it and come back tomorrow?" He's like, "let me ask my manager." So in true used car salesman style, this "Manager" comes out and is all buddy buddy with us.
Talks to us like she is our friend and she offers us: $299 down and 29.99 a month. We are like, "umm no" and she's like (my best friend now) "how about this really great deal of $150 down and $19.99 a month?" I'm like, "well that other guy already offered us $100 down and 19.99 a month. We just want to think about it until tomorrow". Well obviously the $100 down/19.99 a month price thing is a big secret. She took the paper away from us, folded it real small and hid it away. She was like, "OK yeah, you guys come back whenever". As if we were offered some deal that she wasn't prepared to honor.
In any event -- Don't trust Work Out World. They use high pressure sales and shady tactics to get you in the door. The ironic thing is that the gym was nice and they had a good schedule of classes and nice hours. I just will not join a gym where they utilize false promises and dishonest tactics to get members. Thumbs down to Work Out World!
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!