Bally Total Fitness - Still scarred from what happened in 1998!
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK -- This is how bad Bally's is. This incident happened almost 15 yrs ago and I sill remember the misery it has caused me and CANNOT believe they still operate like a-holes in 2012! When I was a freshman in college at Oswego State University my friends and I would use the campus gym to exercise. In Mid-December of 1997, we got a full month off for winter break so I went home to Rochester for the holidays. I didn't want to miss a work out so I went to my local Bally Total Fitness and asked the Membership Rep if it was possible to just use the gym for a month as I only would be in town for my winter break. She told me that I'd have to sign a contract since they didn't have monthly memberships but that canceling would be easy as I just had to show I lived X number of miles from their fitness center and I would be released from my contractual obligations. I paid the monthly rate, signed the contract and then in January of 1998 when I was back at college, proceeded to cancel my membership with Bally's. They cooperated with the cancellation but charged me $50 to cancel. This is a fee I was never told about when I signed the contract. Mind you $50 is not that much money but for a broke first year college student, it kind of is. To break it down - $50 plus the amount I paid for the month I used the gym, turned out to be quite expensive, and had I been properly informed of the $50 fee, I would have never agreed to sign the contract and would've gone elsewhere. Aside from the financial strain, I refused to pay it for the principal of it - I was never explained that I would have to pay the fee. In the end, I disputed the $50 fee with Bally's and they turned over my account to a collection agency. What did that lead to? Countless calls from collectors, letters, and stressful nights, not to mention outrageous interest rates that took $50 and somehow skyrocketed it to over $3,000! Despite having an impeccable payment history with my credit card company, utility bills, and with rental landlords, I suffered horrible credit b/c of Bally's and had to wait until my late twenties before my credit improved. I am sad to read that after all of these years Bally's has not changed and they are continuing to hurt people and negatively impact so many lives. The worst part of all of this is that the gym was a fantastic gym but the positive experience I had there is completely tarnished by their contractual and billing practices. Bally's WILL SCREW YOU OVER so before you give them blood make sure you grill the membership reps with any and all relevant questions and get EVERYTHING told to you, PRE-contract signing, IN WRITING!