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WOW stealing money with hidden fees
Posted by on
I was a WOW member for a long time, the first scam is when you change your card information and you do not change it at the Gym ABC financial charge $20 fee and if they can`t take money out of the account they keep on trying, I had to pay 120 dollars within a week in fees, The other scam happened in August 2009, I enrolled 5 members of my family in my account for the awesome 9.99 deal, the agreement with the WOW representative was that we had to pay $70 for each member $50 enrollment fee and $20 for the first and last month, since they explain everything to us they asked us to sign the contract for a year so we did, The first fiasco happened 1 month after the agreement they charged me and extra $49.99 for no reason.

When I called ABC financial, their history report stated that I had insufficient funds which was not truth I had 130 dollars but I lost my statement and the bank couldn't give me any info from 2 months back, so I couldn't do anything and I always make sure I have enough money in my bank account to cover the $70 dollars a month I had to pay for me and my family, when I checked my account on October 16 2009, I had $100 dollars enough for the month, but when I checked my account the 26th I was -356 NEGATIVE, I went to the bank they told me there was nothing they could do other than changing my card information, and since I had a contract with them I would have to talk to them, so I did go to the WOW gym to talk to the supervisor, and they told me that when we signed the contract we agreed to pay $39.99 lock fee after 3 months of membership to locked the $9.99 dollars a month for each member, I TOLD THEM, " I HAVE 5 WITNESSES THAT KNOW THEY NEVER TOLD US ANYTHING ABOUT THAT CHARGE AND BEFORE WE SIGNED THE CONTRACT THEY WENT OVER THE CONTRACT WITH US " (telling us that what we were signing here was just one year contract, the 2 payments for 9.99 1st and last month and the $50 dollar membership fee).

Now since we did not see that hidden fee in that huge contract with really small letters and they were acting like they were going through the contract after 3 months I had to pay 249.95 Lock fee for 5 members and 175 to the bank for overdraft charges, everything is a total of $424.95 dollars. I told them to look at it from a business point of view, is not the main purpose of a business to have their customers happy we would be members with them forever, instead they rather lose 6 customers and ruin my credit.

This is so unfair. What would you do? you wouldn't want to have business with that kind of people and cancel the membership right!. sure we signed a contract which means each person had to pay 100 dollars on top of everything else or that are going to be taking the monthly payment for a year. Now lets say, "f... this I am not going to give them any money", that's exactly what I said and I changed my card information, well in my case imagine WOW and ABC financial trying to take money from my account for 6 people and charging extra 20 dollars every time they can't take the money, Now can you picture what would be the debt in one year.
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memoryx57 on 10/28/2009:
I think most people have gotten burned a time or two with "hidden" fees etc in contracts so don't feel too bad. This information is hidden for a reason. Hopefully you're young enough to have learned a valuable lesson when you have to deal with contracts in the future. If it's not in black and white, it doesn't exist regardless what some salesman tells you. Next time be sure and read it before you sign and if they don't like it, tell them to take a hike and get up and leave. Good luck..
JR in Orlando on 10/28/2009:
If a decision has to be made right now, the best answer is usually "no." When faced with signing up for something like this which is for an extended period, and significant money, ask to take the contract home. If that is not allowed, "good-bye" People get hook into contracts because of not taking time to read them thoroughly.

Also keep in mind how much the total contract calls for. I spend $400 to $500 a month for yellow page ads. Everything is discussed on a monthly basis. When signing the contract, I always remember that $500 a month for a year is $6,000, and give it the proper respect, e.g. that $30 difference is $360 in a year.
Anonymous on 10/28/2009:
All gyms seem to be rip off artists.
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Stay Away From Work Out World!!
Posted by on
OCEAN, NEW JERSEY -- On January 19, 2009 my son and I visited WOW-Ocean Township to join the gym. I sat with an associate, looked at the plans offered, and proceeded to complete paperwork. I gave the sales associate my debit card to pay the initiation fees for me and my son but BEFORE I signed any contracts my husband called me and asked me not to make any contractual commitments at that time.

When the associate returned I told him that we were not going to continue with the membership and asked for my debit card back. He told me unfortunately he had already run the initiation charges on my card. I said, "OK, can you just reverse the charges." He informed me club policy is that I would have to wait 30 days for them to issue a refund to me by check. I told him that didn't make any sense and to please refund my card. He said that was not their policy.

Mind you, I AM NOT A MEMBER of WOW - I NEVER signed any contracts.

So, on January 19th I called the club to see if my refund check was there. I was told they received the request January 26th and the 30 day countdown started from that date.

I called the club February 26th to see if the check was there. I was told it was not and the accounting department was backed up. I was assured the check would be there any day and that they would call me as soon as it came in. They also offered to send the billing department a "help ticket" to see where the check was.

To date, seven "help tickets" have been sent on my behalf and yet no other info other than in takes 30 days for a refund has been sent back to the local club.

So, I have called about five times in the past week, and today I was told the billing department has received my request for refund as of March 4th and I have to wait 30 days from March 4th to receive my refund.

Mind you, I AM NOT A MEMBER of WOW.

They are ripping me off for over $250. I have asked for the phone number to the billing department and all I am told is the sales associate has to contact them using the "help ticket." Apparently there is no headquarters or main office for me to contact. What is even worse is the sales associates are on the front line and have to deal with irate customers (I am sure I am not the only one). Not only do they have sleazy business practices but they treat the employees unfairly as well by having them defend unfair customer service tactics.

I need suggestions, if any, as to how to get my money back. I called my bank and will be completing a "Revocation Form" to prevent them from taking any additional monies out of my account.

For your own good, DO NOT even walk in the front door of this place unless you have a lot of disposable income to burn.
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SongBird12 on 03/13/2009:
CORRECTION: I called FEBRUARY 19th - 30 days after I initiated the cancellation process.
Soaring Consumer on 03/13/2009:
Sue them in small claims court. They have no right to your money.
LizzieT on 03/31/2009:
BBB sent me an email on the 27th of February letting me know that WOW would cancel my contract, but they would not refund me the 3 months that they illegally charged me. The woman that the BBB contacted from WOW is BERNADETTE MILASZEWSKI and her phone # is 732-477-5400. Not sure who she is, but its worth a shot. And if u look on your bank account online, the phone # that is next to WOW is some shady company and when you call they say they have nothing to do with WOW. The place is a total scam! Good luck!
SongBird12 on 03/31/2009:
I finally got my refund! I'm not sure if it was my contacting the NJ BBB, Consumer Affairs, NJ Attorney General, Help Me Howard, or my bank, but they gave me my money back.

Lizzie, thank you for your post - your advice helped me a great deal!
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Nightmare Billing / Cancelling
Posted by on
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 quiting 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.
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LizzieT on 01/23/2009:
I am actually go through a similar situation with WOW. They had a referral program where if you refer a friend and they join they take $10 off your dues for each person. Had a friend joing, $10 came off my dues (that was $50) and now that said b/c I participated in the referral program my contract was extended 6 MORE months!!! I was unaware of this till I tried to cancel my contract. I did not sign anything agreeing to this so they are taking money out of my account illegally and claim that another company handles their billing. I call "billing", they give me the # to WOW. Its a complete scam! I call the Ocean WOW today to speak to the manager (CHRISTIAN POST) and he basically said he has no answers for me b/c he wasn't working there in 2006!!!! AND that's's the general manager. It's been 3 weeks and I still am getting the run around! I contacted a lawyer today to help me resolve this problem because the whole contract issue is a SCAM!! Good luck!
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Read Your Contract!
Posted by on
ROBBINSVILLE, NEW JERSEY -- My husband and I decided to join the new Workout World location in Robbinsville, NJ. While meeting with the sales rep, it became clear that WOW does not provide printed pricing information. The prices we were given were handwritten on the back of a brochure. We repeatedly asked for brochures with pricing information printed in it and were given brochures on our way out. There were no prices listed therein. Also, in reading the back of the contract, we learned that WOW has the right to increase the dues rate every year. The sales rep had specifically told us that this rate would be locked in for us for life. When we pointed out the discrepancy to him, he just shrugged and said they never raise the price. I countered that, legally, we wouldn't have a leg to stand on if they did because the contract reserves that right for them. Another shrug and a brief speech on how it's a family-run business followed. We should have left at that point but, since we really wanted to join a gym, we didn't. A few weeks later, after doing some more research and discovering that WOW is the most expensive gym in the area, we decided to terminate our contracts. The gym was still under construction and not set to open until New Year's Eve so, per our contract, all we had to do was sent a certified letter cancelling.

We did that and followed up a week or so later with a call, at which time a rep confirmed receipt of our letter and said it would take 2-4 weeks to refund our money. It only took them 3 days to charge us the first time. Also, the contract said our money would have to be refunded in full within 30 days of receipt of the letter. To make a long story short, they lost our paperwork. I had to go to the sales trailer personally to deliver another letter and fill out a cancellation form. At that time, I pointed out to the rep that we were within a week of the 30 days. He said the head of accounting would handle it personally.

Eventually, I was able to get in touch with a customer service manager, who advised me a check had been cut the week before for my refund. Why it takes them a week to mail a check is beyond me, especially when I'd requested a refund to my credit card. She also told me that the $30 per contract processing fee was not refundable. I pointed out to her that my contract said no such thing. In fact, it says membership card fees are not refundable, and we'd never been issued cards. Another week went by and we were now past the 30-day limit imposed by the contract. I emailed one of the owners and later found that my email was forwarded back to the customer service manager I'd been dealing with.

After several calls to her, half of the money was refunded to my credit card. Another call and several days later, the rest of my money was refunded. The time my husband and I spent on getting these contracts cancelled was extraordinary - over a month total. We were routinely given conflicting information from the staff and, had we not taken it upon ourselves to keep on top of them, feel certain they'd still have our money. The fact that they could not adhere to the terms of their own contract is appalling. I would strongly recommend that anyone considering doing business with this company READ the contract thorougly before signing it. The staff clearly does not know, or, in some cases, care, what the contract says. And, though this comes as no surprise, the Robbinsville location is STILL not open, although it was supposed to be 3 1/2 weeks ago.
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heaven17 on 01/25/2008:
"We should have left at that point..."

True dat.
Ponie on 01/25/2008:
'Read Your Contract! - Gym Membership' Holds true for everything--not just gym membership.
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Terminating Membership
Posted by on
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.
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scammedbywow on 12/02/2008:
WOW is clearly an unethical and scam oriented business. I too had a membership, at the Brockton, MA gym. I completed my contract and let it ride for a number of extra months (for which I was rightly charged) before going in and canceling my membership...or so I thought.

I received a letter from ABC financing informing me I owe 3 months worth of membership fees including a last month membership fee. I put a stop payment on my credit card at that point.

When I joined I specifically asked the woman signing me up about WOW's cancellation policies and how would I go about canceling my membership when the time came. I was cheerfully told I simply hand in my WOW card at the front desk and I would be done, very uncomplicated. Never was I told of hidden fees, last month membership charge or anything remotely warning of what ultimately happened upon my canceling my WOW membership on the up and up.

Now I am working with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to do something about WOW scamming practices. I would like to see them either shut down or hit with hefty fines for scamming consumers.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Broken Machines Jacuzzi Never Repaired, Pool, Floor, Lockers Filthy
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS -- Joined the gym the day it opened. Seem fine, but slowly became worse. Very young people work there that don't like to work too hard. Paper towels are supposed to be at different stations to clean machines. Lots of times they are out of towels, etc. Always asking them to replace it. Women's locker room, filthy. I was told mens just as bad. Lockers are never cleaned and you never know what you are going to find in there. Jacuzzi has not worked now for 2 weeks, pool is freezing and dirty. The sauna is the worst. I purposely left behind empty water bottles and wrappers to see if it would be there the next day, it was. I use only the treadmill if I can find one that works. They have a lot of machines, but the TV or machine doesn't work. I try out about three different treadmills before I can find a decent one. They sit there and are never repaired. I want a refund for my last month payment because its been a waste of time going there lately.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Work Out World = Expert Scammers and Fraud Specialists
Posted on
Rating: 1/51
EDISON, NEW JERSEY -- At least a collection agency would be fairer than WOW and settle at a 10% instead of paying 100% of money that was ILLEGALLY billed to your account!! Even if you follow the rules you get screwed don't wait--get out ASAP by plugging the source by closing your accounts so they cannot continue to withdraw money. People with severe in injuries can't even get out of the contract. WOW are gypsies that steal for a living=money demons! I am also one scammed client who sent both registered mail and return receipt requested and certified mail return receipt and said I have to send it a again in spring 2014, when actually in contract it states if you even send it at minimum--well I sent it summer/fall 2013 and they said they cannot cancel it and I have to send it again in 2014 when I already sent notification=$80+ (why should I spend more money when they have already stolen thousands from my family!) and still NOT receive any acknowledgement when we follow their rules, but I am sure they will call when they don't get money from me! Thousands of dollars for a family lost just because we want to be healthy! They claim "jersey strong" but really support making "jerseyans weak". This is only a fraudulent club that cheats dumb, unsuspecting people.

The only way to stop them from stealing your money is to close your accounts!! It may ruin your credit, but at least they can't continue to steal your money!!! Let's sue WOW in NJ!!!
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bbbr2013 on 09/30/2013:
At the Menlo Park Mall, Edison, NJ location: I learned the hard way--NEVER give your credit card to them as others have reported that once they have possession of your card prior to signing they were still SCREWED OVER as non-members and without signing WOW contracts = non-WOW members! Never give the social security card number to them on the application! They collect minors (or underage teens numbers and I am sure intend to screw up your child's credit before they even graduate high school. I regret giving that number. Other consumers refuse to give it and walked out in some other reviews. Sit there and they will not even give you any fees pamphlets and they never know how much everything is going to cost. The sales people and training evaluator at WOW is a shark and she will say anything to get your credit card in her card. Even when you want to think about training packages or take time to make your decision (which I wish I had done) they use the phrase "how committed are you?" Check and this site for similar stories. I was promised if I gave my credit card on the spot that processing fees $37 x 2 people would waived and we would have a free training session (of course nothing in writing was produced). NEVER sign up for training contracts, because they will TRAP you and when you refer others they extend your initial term so that they cannot let you cancel for 6 months after contract ends. Those referral promotions are traps for you financially even when you are bringing WOW more business whether it be your family members or friends!! WOW uses contractual fraud to steal your money!!
JoeKay on 10/03/2013:
Many if not most of these gyms are a fraud. Just like you said, once they get your account number they will bill it until you close that account, no matter what the case. They know that their customer base is composed of people not exactly focused on their account activity, and so they will not stop billing you, no matter what you due to inform them you are no longer interested in being a member. Never EVER give a gym your credit card or anything else except cash! If they won't take cash, walk.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
We need to file a class action suit against this company.
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
OCEAN, NEW JERSEY -- The managers at the Ocean Work out World Gym called a handicapped girl retarded. When her boyfriend died they said, "We're glad he's gone." They had a three minute fire drill so loud the babies, children and infants in the daycare were crying. One woman said it was unusually loud and they told her to stuff cotton in her ears. They make the girls stand ALL DAY behind the counter.

They secretly overcharge the customers (My daughter works there), won't let them cancel, shortchange the staff on pay and Oh, and there's no way to reach the owner.
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Old Timer on 05/17/2013:
Wow, a good place to stay clear of. Thanks for the heads up.
lavina on 07/02/2013:
I sign up for this GYM asking all the question, making sure there weren't going to be any surprises when my bill was due, they re-a sure me there weren't going to be any. First month come along and SURPRISE, SURPRISE! from a $32.99 bill it jump to $150.00 dollars
and my bill went from $32.99 to $36.99 Because there stupid towel service that I don't even use. Note the $150.00 bill come to you after the 90 days you have to cancel the contract. This place Sucks!!!!!!
Dena on 10/04/2013:
They charged me 630 dollars without pre-notification for a package I had long finished and they claimed I already paid for.
if anyone is interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit please let me know. We can't let these crooks get away with this.
Barb on 03/18/2014:
All I know is they LIE A LOT!!
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Don't join this gym
Posted by on
FREEHOLD, NEW JERSEY -- There is always an equipment issue at this gym. Reports of broken equipment go unaddressed for weeks. When you attempt to report something the staff is too busy engaged in conversation with each other. The women's section is not cleaned properly as you can see at least an inch of dust on overhead fixtures. The Freehold location is poorly managed!
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Skye on 04/02/2011:
Have you tried contacting corporate?
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Would never join this gym again...EVER
Posted by on
MENLO PARK MALL, NEW JERSEY -- Anyone who joins this gym beware that they make cancelling your membership a drawn out, difficult and miserable process. First off at the end of my 12 months I saw a $69.00 charge on my credit card. I call to inquire and it was a $37 annual fee that I was never informed of on top of my usual $32 monthly dues. Then to cancel I had to mail in a cancellation form, certified mail to a PO Box in Bricktown, NJ. Any other gym I ever belonged to let me cancel easily at the location. So WOW I found to be terribly underhanded. Then to top it all off I find out that I have to pay $32 dues for a 13th month, because they require 30 days notice at the end of your 12 months. Well it appears to me that WOW is too dumb to realize that screwing customers will just cost them business in the future. Because over the past 20 years I've quit gyms and rejoined a couple of years later, but I'd never rejoin this piece of crap company.
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FlitteringFirefly on 01/01/2011:
A lot of chain gyms require 30 days notice in writing to their corporate office to cancel a membership. You should have read your contract.
Gail on 07/12/2013:
@ FlitteringFirefly get your head out of your rear and read the numerous posts about this underhanded place. People have given 30 days notice, yet Workout World does not cancel their memberships. I am one of them. Filled out the REQUIRED form, sent is via registered mail ( also required) and yet 3 months later I'm still charge membership fees.
Guess Who on 09/28/2013:
@Gail you are 100% right-even if you follow the rules you get screwed don't wait--get out ASAP by plugging the source by closing your accounts so they cannot continue to withdraw money. People with severe in injuries can't even get out of the contract. WOW are gypsies that steal for a living=money demons! I am also one scammed client who sent both registered mail and return receipt requested and certified mail return receipt and said I have to send it a again in spring 2014, when actually in contract it states if you even send it at minimum--well I sent it summer/fall 2013 and they said they cannot cancel it and I have to send it again in 2014 when I already sent notification=$80 (why should I spend more money when they have already stolen thousands from my family!) and still NOT get acknowledgement, but I am sure they will call when they don't get money from me! Thousands of dollars for a family lost just because we want to be healthy! They claim "jersey strong" but really support making "jerseyans weak". This is only a fraudulent club that cheats dumb, unsuspecting people. The only way to stop them from stealing your money is to close your accounts!! Ruin your credit but at least they can't continue to steal your money!!!
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