NORWALK, CALIFORNIA -- Despite being very hesitant to sign a binding membership contract for a gym exactly because of the horror stories I'd heard about Bally Total Fitness' poor customer service track record and fee controversies, Bally's was the only gym close to my house at the time, and the 3-year contract is all they were offering to new members. Since then, I have been a loyal customer to BTF for nearly the 3 years, never missing a payment in that time. This past September, I moved to a different state that has no Bally's available anywhere in my area.
I followed every step and stipulation regarding cancelling my membership once I moved, correctly and timely, I.E. Sending the required written notice plus a copy of my lease showing proof of my new residency within days of moving in. From my first phone call to them asking for the address to where I was to send all of my cancellation request information, I was given the wrong address and incorrect information about the cancellation fee pertaining to my situation, and every phone call since I have been consistently given incorrect and/or conflicting information about the cancellation process and my membership cancellation status.
Two managers have told me to expect a reimbursement, however, I received a bill in the mail instead, a month after I submitted all of my paperwork. I called and disputed the bill, not understanding why I had an outstanding balance in the first place (I was ALL PAID UP before I moved), and no one could explain it. I have made at least 5 lengthy phone calls since mid-September (they will put you on hold for 30-40 minutes, easy), and here I am, today, STILL without official on-paper confirmation that my cancellation has been settled.
Even though another manager promised to call me back to update me on the status of things, I haven't heard from anyone since October 7th. So, I called today (November 23rd), and what a surprise! They have a completely different amount due, and this time a firm NO on any form of reimbursement, again, more conflicting information, saying my cancellation had been processed incorrectly the first time around (by them), and that this time, the new amount due is correct. This has been a nightmare, especially since BTF can and will go after your credit for the smallest balance due, which I am doing everything in my power to avoid here.
I have been a responsible, loyal customer, and you wouldn't know it by the way BTF has handled my cancellation process request. I am writing this as a cautionary tale to anyone considering getting a membership at Bally's. Save yourself a world of run-around and heartache, and go with another gym, one that doesn't bully its customers into signing LONG membership contracts with mafioso fine print, then ruthlessly try to penalize them when there is an unavoidable life change that would require the contract to be dissolved. They are, in my opinion, unscrupulous and greedy, trying to nickel and dime their loyal members, and for what?
THIS IS JUST A GYM, PEOPLE!!! Lest they forget. It should be as simple as this: You don't pay? You don't get in. BTF has the WORST customer service, and has treated me like a number, not a name. I will tell all of my friends and family to NEVER walk into a Bally's, and if you get sucked into a deal with them, take heed, you have been forewarned, and God help you if you move or die within the time frame of your contract. Run, don't jog, away from Bally's.
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 ** 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 workout 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 principle 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!
THORNTON, COLORADO -- Shopping For a New Gym? My Summer 2014 BallyTotalFitness Experience. Spending the summer in Thornton, Colorado, I had to temporarily join another gym. For convenience, I joined BallyTotalFitness. I originally joined Bally in 1984, in New Jersey. During the 80's and 90's Bally WAS the place to be. I cannot speak for Bally across the country, but I can speak for the Thornton and Westminster, Colorado clubs. The condition of the clubs is poor. Maintenance seems non existent with a number of machines that either do not function or function roughly.
The Thornton club has the strangest shower heads that spray the water so wide, it becomes a dance to get the water to actually hit your body. The Westminster club has maybe two showers that function correctly with pressure that is so low at times you question whether you turned the water on at all. The other showers are like spinning the wheel on Wheel of Fortune trying to find where the hot and cold water flows. The Westminster club also has the largest men's steam room I have ever seen, BUT it operates when it feels like it, so you may sit in there for 15 minutes before it turns on.
On the positive side they have some very good class instructors although when an instructor stops teaching a class, the online schedules don't seem to be updated. Arriving at a club for a class that is no longer there can be disconcerting. The final straw to my dissatisfaction with Bally is their payment policy. When canceling a membership you MUST cancel within the 10 day deadline or else. I wrote to Bally and requested a refund for the month I was not going to be in Colorado and they stuck to their policy, no exceptions. Granted I was late on the cancellation and maybe I should just be kicked in the ass. It was around Labor Day weekend and I was distracted. Shame on me.
So when shopping for a new gym be sure to inspect the club, check the machines you know you use often and make sure to check out the showers to be sure the faucets work properly. With so many more choices today like LA Fitness, Gold's, Planet Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Pure Fitness, there is no need to settle.
In addition, some of these gyms have temporary membership options for travelers or those who are working in the area temporarily. If you want to skip fees all together look up Recreation Centers. While traveling through Albuquerque, I joined one that has numerous locations all over the city for $13 a year!!! Best of luck with your fitness goals!!!
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I purchased a Bally's membership for my son for Christmas for the past two years. I paid biweekly and the charge was $14.99 which is reasonable. However, my debit card was due to expire so I attempted to call with the new card information. It took me more than a dozen phone calls to reach someone that could help me with this. After spending more than half an hour on the phone with this person, my son attempted to enter the Bally's gym that he works out at and they told him that he couldn't enter due to nonpayment. He immediately called me from his cell phone. I spoke with the girl behind the counter and she gave me a phone number to call.
Meanwhile, they allowed my son to work out that day. I called the number and was given a runaround with the options menu. I tried every option available to try to solve my problem and nothing worked. I tried to get to a '"real" person but that was fruitless. I ended up calling my son back and talking to the girl again. She attempted to make the changes (expiration date) and we thought it was all set. My son visited again two days later and the same thing happened. It took nearly two weeks to get a simple thing such as a change of expiration date resolved.
Lately, it's been over 90 degrees in the city. It was so hot in the facility (because it is not air conditioned) that my son almost hyperventilated and passed out. He vomited after his workout from the heat. We recently found a more suitable gym and attempted to cancel the Bally's membership. We pulled out the contract and it stated that they needed a 10 day advanced written notice mailed by certified or registered mail. So I did that.
15 days later, my bank account was charged again for the biweekly dues. I attempted, once again, to call to straighten things out and request a refund. I called 8 times. Each time I got to the end of the navigation menu only to be told by a recording that there is an overwhelming number of phone calls and to please try my call again later.
Finally, I decided to email them to tell them that they needed to refund my dues. I supplied them with the receipt number from the certified mail that I sent. I received a return email telling me that no refund is due because per the terms of my contract, I needed to contact them via mail. DUH! That's what I did. This place is lacking the proper customer service to make it a worthwhile establishment to even bother to deal with. I'm sure some of the other facilities in different locations and cities are nicer or worse. However, when it comes to the financial aspect of it all, avoid Bally's to avoid headaches!!!
NORWALK, CALIFORNIA -- I Joined Bally Total Fitness in 2007 with a month-to-month membership with no contract. I decided I did not like Bally's and so I canceled my membership in January of 2008. For months I received spam mail from them trying to get me to renew my membership so around June I called in to complain and tell them that I did not want any more offers, spam mail, or advertising from them and for them to completely take me off of their mailing lists. I was put on hold for OVER AN HOUR only to speak to a supervisor to tell me that they can take me off their mailing list but that they could not delete my information from their system.
I thought I was completely done with Bally's but in September I got a BILL from Bally's saying that I owed them money even though I had cancelled my membership nine months before and had asked to be taken off of their mailing lists!!! They had the nerve to charge me even though I had ended my membership with them nine months earlier!!! I called in furious because what they were doing was actually illegal and it is obvious that that kind of mistake in billing is not accidental. They told me they had to file a claim and that a representative would get back to me. Two weeks later I called again because I had not received any calls from them.
I had to spend another two hours on the phone just to clear this all up. At this point I thought that it was all over but throughout 2009 I received offers in the mail to renew my membership and I called in twice to have my name removed from their mailing list. In 2010 I received offers from them and tried again to be taken off their mailing list but they continue to spam me.
Today it's January 22nd and I just got another spam letter from them asking me to renew my membership. STAY AWAY FROM BALLY'S AND TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS WHAT THEY WILL BE IN FOR! It is the work company I have ever had to deal with and not only that BUT THEY ARE DISHONEST. They will bill your credit card after you're membership has ended and never stop mailing you.
LYNWOOD, WASHINGTON -- On Saturday January 29, 2011 about 6 pm in the evening - - I took my brother with me to show him equipments in the fitness center. I am a member, and he isn't so I asked for a guest pass, and one of the front desk employee gave me guest pass. However, the other employee started to make it as if he is doing a favor for us. Business is business and favor is a different thing.
His comments were very judgmental and unprofessional and he refused to let my guest in. His reason was the guest pass can be used after a 1 day wait time. Which is totally new "rule" which is applicable only if they like you. YOU CAN'T COUNT ON WHAT THEY ADVERTISE. UNPROFESSIONAL, UNWELCOMING place. I wouldn't recommend to anyone and I am planning to use a different fitness center.
I joined Bally's 2 years ago with the promise of if I got a friend to join and we both paid for 1 year, the second year was free. This turned out to be false. After many calls to corporate I was told "Sorry, there was never a promotion like that." My son was a member also, he and I both cancelled our membership in June of 2010, with letters of cancellation. They tried to coerce him into staying with them with the promise of 6 months free. He said "No thank you." A year later he discovers they had been charging his account every month for membership.
Phone calls to corporate (at least 15 calls) were answered by different people and different responses. They said to send a letter to them and they would refund his money. A certified letter was sent. After 2 months of no response and more phone calls and apparent "supervisor" said they would not refund any money, and they had not received any letter. Their only offer to make it right was to give him "the 6 months membership that we offered him when he wanted to cancel". Calls and visits to the manager at the local Bally's, Tacoma, WA were of no help either. I am so frustrated and would not recommend anyone to enter into a membership with Bally's!
My daughter, husband and I joined Bally in March 2011 on a trial basis. We were told that we could 'cancel anytime' and there would be no penalties. On April 14th, 2011 I cancelled in writing per their requests. I called 6 days later to follow up. I received a notice we had cancelled. (They tried to charge my Visa and were denied.) Since that time they have successfully charge my Visa each month on 3 memberships. I spoke to a Rep (Mike) on 6.6.11 and was assured all 3 memberships were cancelled; they would credit my Visa $64.00.
On June 16th they credited me $32.07 (not $64.00) and the very next day took out for all 3 contracts and through July 8th have continued to do so. I tried to go online today but my membership number is not recognized. We have never received a card nor have we ever used the facilities. I am quite frustrated.
I had the same problem. Signed up for monthly special, no long term contract but when the time to cancel OMG. I am paying for a dirty facility, bad service, old and outdated equipment. So I called to cancel my contract. I waited on the phone for more than 20 minutes to find out that I have to write a letter to the company. My solution is BBB. Complaint to BBB is the real answer. I recommend everyone that's having the same issue to do the same and hopefully the company will get it and change the way they do business.
JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY -- Great advertisements and talks prior to enrollment but completely sucks once you enroll. Remember to read word by word your contract and after going through the contract for a week, then enroll if you are OK with conditions. Very simple though they say 10 day cancellation notice, it actually requires 2 month prior notice.
Lot of hidden costs and clauses, inconvenient cancellation/termination process, not suitable for personal work-out plan unless you hire a personal trainer. There is Bosu ball in personal training area but not available to members. Nice resistance ball in personal training area but small and bad ones for members. If you just want to do junk weight lifts and inappropriate cardio, this is the perfect place - crowded, stinking, lengthy cancellation terms, costs more in long term, bad equipment.