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.
SHREWBURY, NEW JERSEY -- I am writing this letter in hopes that someone will expose the unfair and illegal tactics of the gym WOW located in many towns in this area. My brother and I became members in Aug. 2005 at the Ocean, NJ WOW. It was a 3 year contract that we agreed to. In Aug. 2008, I called to cancel and was told I had to go on their website and print a cancellation form, send it certified with a return signature.
I was then informed that it would take 90 days to process our paperwork (the paperwork was mailed to the Brick, NJ WOW) and we were responsible for paying our monthly dues of about $50 for the next 3 months. We reluctantly did this. They received our paperwork September 5, 2008. My brother's membership was canceled in December 2008.
I, on the other hand, was charged on January 5, 2009. I called them and was told I would receive an email with a "resolution." They informed me that because I referred some friends to the gym and they joined, I extended my contract for another 6 months!!! This is NOWHERE in my contract and I did NOT sign anything regarding this extension.
They refuse to credit my account and told me that I am not eligible to cancel until Feb 2009 and I must go into a WOW and start my cancellation process!!! I ALREADY did this in September 2008. I then started researching the internet and was shocked to find out how many people have had major complaints with this company.
They even received an "F" from the Better Business Bureau for billing and contract issues. My brother also contracted MRSA from the Tinton Falls gym.
After seeing a specialist, we found out there have been other confirmed MRSA cases in which people got it from the Tinton Falls and Ocean WOW. Anyone reading this should tell everyone they know that WOW is a scam and should NEVER EVER join this gym.
EAST BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY -- Stay Away from all Workout Worlds! The contracts and business practices of Workout World are ambiguous, deceiving, and dishonest. I have been a faithful member of WOW III for over two years. I signed my 1-year contract on 12/14/05 and was told that when the 1 year was up that I would automatically go to a month-to-month membership.
I am moving on July 1, 2008 to Mays Landing, NJ and therefore decided to cancel my membership with WOW. I was told that I had to give a 90-day notification of cancellation, meaning that I would be forced to pay for an additional 90 days. I couldn't cancel at the gym. I had to fill out a form online and send it certified to Brick, NJ. Furthermore, in order to have the 90-day period waived, I would have to provide a proof of address (a utility bill, etc.), at which time they would search the area for a WOW within 25 miles of my new address.
If there were none, the 90-day period would be waived, if there was, the 90 days would still stand. I tried sending my renter's insurance policy as proof of residence, but they wouldn't accept it. They know very well that anything they ask you for are things that take at least one month after your move to get! The consolation that was offered by the rude girl on the phone was “well even if you have to wait a month, it's better than 90 days”.
Even if I do send in one of the 4 things they are asking for, chances are they will find one of their “affiliates” within 25 miles of my new address and still be forced to pay for this unwanted gym for the duration of the 90 days. It is not about the money, but as I have seen from all of you, WOW has done this to many people and it is JUST NOT RIGHT. The WOW customer service is uncouth and unprofessional and they refuse to help you in any way. All they want is your money and I have no choice but to give it to them.
If anyone is as fired up about this as I am, please email me at **, because I would be happy to exercise my right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and demonstrate in front of the East Brunswick Workout World. All the members at WOW should know the scum they are dealing with!
TINTON FALLS, NEW JERSEY -- I found it extremely easy to join at my local Workout World Gym, but find it alarming at how difficult it is to terminate my membership. I tried to quit in person, but was told they can only accommodate signing me up at the local site, that any terminations must be handled via email, and only via email, through their offices in another state.
So I complied and sent an email informing them I am ending my membership and to cancel my current contract which I had fulfilled in remaining a member for several years. I only received a cryptic message that there was approximately a $46.00 credit on my account that had to be used and then they would end my membership. Well, several months later, while I am still being billed each month for membership I find out that I failed to complete a termination form. I explained how they failed to ever send one to me, and they are the only source of such a form, so how the hell was I supposed to have completed one.
They had me re-email my termination request to their offices and they finally sent me the form, ALMOST SIX MONTHS AFTER my initial termination request, and then they informed me that upon receipt of it they would continue to bill me for 90 days to comply with their rules for quitting the gym.
I contacted American Express, Amex, who looked into this, and recently sent me a letter claiming they held in my favor based upon copies of the emails I had sent and the dates involved of the clear intent to terminate my membership months ago so they stopped any further payments from being charged to my account, only to find that now the gym is going to charge me "late fees" for not making my obligated payments for these last 90 days! Why did the 90 days not begin upon receipt of my initial email?
Amex thought it should have based upon Workout Worlds failure to send me any clear instructions on how they were going to handle my request, and contacted me saying I am to follow up with the vendor for they have yet to receive ANY contact from Workout World despite their attempts at speaking with staff.
The only bright spot in this is a nice manager, Theresa, a the local site, who seems to be trying her best to resolve this unfair mess, yet it appears even Workout World does not play well with its own management staff, for she too is having difficulty in having their "main office" understand how unfair this process is to the gym member who entered into the membership in good faith that both sides would be held to the contract and the "spirit" of the agreement, that upon completing a minimum membership period you would be able to walk away if you choose to with the same ease that they processed your joining the gym.
ROBBINSVILLE, NEW JERSEY -- I visited the registration trailer at the construction site of the new Work Out World on Rte 130 South in Robbinsville NJ. The staff were initially very courteous and friendly, one sales person gave his pitch and explained that, as incentive to signing up before the place is even finished, I get a coupon for $100 off the initial sign-up fee. At the end of his pitch he presented me with three different programs available, with different prices. This was all handwritten in ballpoint pen on a plain piece of paper, which seemed a little strange to me.
I asked if there was a brochure or someplace where this was all written down so I could think about it, and he said he could write it down for me, but if I didn't sign up right then and there I would lose any chance of getting a discount! I explained that I had only come in for information, and that I was not prepared to make any decisions today, but he explained that they (the sales staff) are not allowed to extend the time limit. You have to sign up on the day of the visit.
I told him I did not appreciate being pressured into something I wasn't ready to commit to, and I handed back the coupon. He tried to backpedal, asking how long I needed to think about it, would a day be enough? Or two days? Something just seemed suspicious, like if I thought too long about it I'd see the catch or figure out the flaw.
MASSACHUSETTS -- My daughter is a college student and she wanted to join a gym for 3 months to keep in shape for the soccer season. She told the sales person that she would not need the membership after the 3 months because she would be back in college, playing soccer and would have no time to go to the gym. The sales person assured her that the best and cheapest way to go would be to sign up for a 24 month membership. All she would need to do is call a toll free number to cancel. It would only take a few minutes and she would be cancelled, NOT!
At the end of the three months she called to cancel. They told her she couldn't unless she had moved more than a certain distance away and if there was any gym (not even theirs) within 25 miles, she would have to go there! She went there to discuss things and got nowhere. They continued to charge her debit card an additional $200 dollars until my daughter cancelled the account to get them off her back. She paid for 6 months. Now, they have her in a collection agency trying to collect for the additional 18 months. ($638.84) Massachusetts General law, Chapter 93A, deals with Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices.
Basically it's against the law for a sales person to knowingly make false statements, misrepresent, in order to induce a consumer to engage in a contract. It is a misrepresentation and it's against the law. There are damages and they could be triple if the court really wants to slap this company for unfair and deceptive trade practices. Anyway, they haven't heard the end of this angry parent.
WALL, NEW JERSEY -- Work out world's cancellation policy and general customer service is horrible. I joined at $5 a week and was told no problem to cancel. It turns out that a certified letter is required on top of that they charge for an additional 30 days. I joined for only a few months and had to stop for health reasons and they charged me an annual fee on top of the regular fee which was never Bally disclosed. Most of the gyms have very young people at the front desk and many have no customer service training which reflects the overall character of Work Out World.
I was charged a maintenance fee on top of my monthly fee with no warning at all. I understand it is in the very fine print of the contract. When you are signing up they give you the details of all the fees but make sure they leave that part out. I was talking to an ex-employee that told me they do that on purpose.
I just had three friends join and they told me they were not informed either. When I called Middletown today the person that spoke to me said it should have been mentioned when signing. I said it was not and he said, "Well that is your word against theirs," and I said, "well I had another person in the office with me, and they did not hear it." I have until next April for my membership to expire. I think their practices are very unprofessional and you should post your complaints anywhere you can.
I sent out a memo in my company and posted a bulletin in the lobby of a very large professional building.... and this will continue until they treat their customers with more respect.