• Report: #198931

Complaint Review: 24 HOUR FITNESS

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  • Submitted: Fri, June 30, 2006
  • Updated: Tue, January 29, 2008

  • Reported By:CHINO California
24 HOUR FITNESS
685 W FOOTHILL BLVD UPLAND, California U.S.A.

24 HOUR FITNESS, FAMILY FITNESS Beware: Twenty years of automatic teller withdrawals is not enough for 24 Hour Fitness. UPLAND California

*Consumer Suggestion: No "membership levels" in Family Fitness contract

*Consumer Comment: I have my original Contract

*Consumer Suggestion: Need a copy of your contract with 24 Hour Fitness

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Not all ex-employees at brainwashed!!

*Consumer Comment: Your first mistake

*Consumer Suggestion: 24 Hr Fitness TRIED to Rip Me Off, But Failed

*Consumer Suggestion: 24 Hr Fitness TRIED to Rip Me Off, But Failed

*Consumer Suggestion: 24 Hr Fitness TRIED to Rip Me Off, But Failed

*Consumer Suggestion: My suggestion

*Consumer Comment: Advice to stop automatic charges to your bank account.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Rick, Rick, Rick

*Author of original report: Extra! Extra! Ex-employee of 24 Hr Fitness fights battle for corporate Giant.

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: 24hour fitness

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I acquired a membership at Family Fitness in Rancho Cucamonga in the Summer of 1986 and shortly thereafter added another membership to my package for my son.

Besides paying a considerable chunk of change for "ALL INCLUSIVE / LIFETIME" memberships, there is also a monthly automatic teller withdrawal of $ 17.00 US removed from my wallet.

24 Hour Fitness purchased Family Fitness many years ago and immediaetly closed the facility close to my home in Rancho Cucamonga and built a new "SPORT" facility later.

I have since moved to Upland, Ca and the closest facilty of 24 hour fitness was 14 miles away until the opening of the Upland store in 2006. To my dismay, I'm not allowed to use that "SPORT" club unless I pay more money, but I can drive 14 miles to the "SPORT" club in Ranch and use it.

Now, I know that $ 17.00 is not alot of money to pay for a gym membership, but, your word is your bond even if it costs you to keep it.

It seems that 24 Hour Fitness has "NO PROBLEM" dipping into your bank account, but "DO HAVE A PROBLEM" providing the services promised.

Rick
CHINO, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/30/2006 11:56 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/24-HOUR-FITNESS/UPLAND-California-91786/24-HOUR-FITNESS-FAMILY-FITNESS-Beware-Twenty-years-of-automatic-teller-withdrawals-is-no-198931. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 13Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

No "membership levels" in Family Fitness contract

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

Several of the responses stated that the victim should have known that 24 Hour Fitness has different membership levels for different levels of clubs. This is missing the point. 24 Hour Fitness did NOT have different levels of clubs at the time the victim entered into the "all clubs" contact. I am in exactly the same situation as the victim. I entered into an all clubs contract with Familty Fitness when there was only ONE type of club. At that time, "All clubs" meant ALL clubs in the entire chain.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, Family Fitness changed its name to "24 Hour Fitness", which it promoted as part of a system-wide upgrade of its facilities and hours. Several years later, 24 Hour Fitness acquired a small chain (4 or 5 clubs) of health clubs named the Sports Connnection. After the takeover, those clubs were renamed 24 Hour Fitness Sport. At the time, there were over 100 24 Hour Fitness Clubs, and only a handful of them were 24 Hour Sport. Subsequently, I noticed that almost all most new clubs opened by 24 Hour Fitness have been "24 Hour Fitness Sport" Today, that ratio is closer to 1 to 1.

I went to a 24 Hour Sport shortly after Sports Connection was acquired by 24 Hour Fitness, and they accepted my "All Clubs membership" without a problem. I stopped working out for a number of years, during which time 24 Hour Fitness automatically deducted its monthly fee from my ban account each month.

Recently, I decided that I needed to start working out again. I went to the 24 Hour Fitness in my neighborhood, a "Sport" which opened several years ago. They scanned my membership card and denied me access. They stated that my "All Clubs" membership was not valid at that club, and could be used only at certain older basic clubs. They said that under company policy, my membership is now considered to be only a "basic clubs" membership, and that if I wanted to use this club I needed to upgrade to a new type of "all clubs" membership for a large initiation fee and a monthly charge that is more than triple what I have been paying for all these years.

I explained that my membership was for "all clubs" and that it pre-dated any different levels of clubs. This fell on deaf ears. I was told that they would not let me use the club unless I upgraded my membership.

24 Hour Fitness is certainly within its rights to create different levels of clubs, charge different fees for their use, and create contracts that that limit a member's access to "all clubs" within a specified level. However, it cannot retroactively apply such provisions to "all clubs" contracts" that it entered into in the past. Any such limitations should apply only to "all clubs" memberships entered into from that point forward. 24 Hour Fitness's clumsy attempt to evade honoring existing contracts by attempting to rewrite the definition of "all Clubs" after the fact, appears to be fraudulent.
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#2 Consumer Comment

I have my original Contract

AUTHOR: Going2baja - (U.S.A.)

Suzanne - I have my original contract and would be interested in talking to you. My local 24hr Fitness also wants me to pay extra to be able to use the new Sport facility. My original contract says nothing about only being able to use a classic or basic membership. I actually live a mile away from the new facility which is also the new home of the company headquarters.

Please help out anyway you can. I'd to be able to use the new facility but I don't want to have to pay something I shouldn't have to.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Need a copy of your contract with 24 Hour Fitness

AUTHOR: Suzanne - (U.S.A.)

I am an attorney and am looking into filing a class action on this issue. Does anyone have a copy of their original contract with 24 hour fitness?

If anyone has a copy of their contract I would like to speak with you.

Thanks.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Not all ex-employees at brainwashed!!

AUTHOR: S - (U.S.A.)

I worked for 24 for 3 1/2 years. You think they treat the members bad, you should try working there. The guy that used to work there obviously worked at the corporate office. That way he never had to listen to a client complaint in person....makes it a lot easier to say NO when you don't have to see the person.

Biggest thing he got right was to call in and tell them you want to cancel. During my time with 24, members could cancel at the club with anyone. Then they only wanted managers to fill out the cancels. However, for them it just keeps getting worse. They loose members faster than they can hard close new ones. Now, you can't do anything at the club (even though your membership says you can). Their customer service (ex-employee trying to defend them) got so bad, they hired an outside company to handle cancelations for them. Now when you try to cancel over the phone, they will offer you ANYTHING to keep you as a member. Just call the 1-800 number they give, tell them you will cancel if they don't give you access close to home, see what happens.

It's sad that they don't show more respect for people that are good long time clients. Truth is, we would have preferred that you cancel your membership. That way, when you come back, they can sell you a new one and collect more huge upfront fees.

The other thing EX-employee talks about is what a current membership is worth. Fact is there is no true number. The other thing I hate about them is they charge every member a different rate. THERE ARE "SPORT" MEMBERS PAYING $20 A YEAR FOR A MEMBERSHIP". You pay that much in a month and don't have the same access at they do. YES...$20 A YEAR. I sold those memberships, I know they exist. In addition, they now have about 5 or 6 different "levels" of clubs. That way they can upgrade you each time they offer a newer club.

Don't feel bad. The older clubs were real gyms. They had equipment...and plenty of it. That is what people wanted. As you mentioned, the new (better) clubs have MUCH LESS equipment. Throw in a 2 lane lap pool and a miniature basketball court, take out over 1/2 the exercise equipment, call it Sport, and you can charge more????

No offence, as long as people keep allowing themselves to be hard closed by using car sales tricks, they deserve what they get. Shop around.

One thing that was well known to all 24 employees was the desire for the company to go public. There are so many long time employees claiming to have shares it's stupid. Here's a not so big secret....There business practices are so bad, the SEC won't take them.

There are businesses out there that appreciate your business and are willing to earn it. 24 is NOT one of them.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Your first mistake

AUTHOR: Diane - (U.S.A.)

Your first mistake was to ever sign up for a 3 year membership when you are not certain about how the fitness center will work out for you.
There is also the possibility the credit card company can charge back the original amount they credited to you if there is some loophole that 24 HOUR FITNESS can argue.
I am one that does not like to have any bad marks on their credit report, and collection agencies have fairly and many times unfairly dunned people's credit, particularly if you have not directly received a release from them --one outcome are "liens" which raise their ugly head at the time you want to make a sizeable purchase, car, residential or commercial property.

Do not sit so easy that your problems are all over.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

24 Hr Fitness TRIED to Rip Me Off, But Failed

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

I joined 24 Hr Fitness in Dec.2006. Instead of allowing them access to my bank account, I paid the full three years in advance, with my Visa card.

Three days later, after using the club twice, I realized it was not going to work for me. I just didn't like the set up, it was too hot, the parking was a nightmate, etc. I also had a membership at -----, which I liked much better, even though it was a longer drive. I decided to just keep going to Bally's and cancel my 24 Hr Fitness contract. I had a 5 day cancellation period, according to my contract.

Luckily, I mailed my notice of cancellation from the Post Office and paid the fee for "proof of mailing". Of course, 24 Hr Fitness never did credit my Visa, so I sent copies of all my info(contract and proof that I mailed my cancellation notice within 5 days)to my credit card company and they credited me back the full amount and collected from 24 Hr Fitness.

So, I got my money back!

However..........almost as soon as I got my credit from my credit card company, I started receiving phone calls from 24 Hr Fitness, trying to collect the fee for my original contract. The first few times I explained that I had canceled on time, but after that I just quit talking to them.

Now, in April 2007, I am suddenly getting notices from a collection agency for 24 Hr Fitness.
I'm not worried, because I can prove I canceled on time and they can't prove I was ever in one of their facilities after I canceled. But, who needs the aggravation?

I'm so glad I did not give them access to my bank account, because I would have had to close it, and go through all the mess of changing over my legitimate automatic payments. And, it's much more difficult to get money back once it has been taken directly from your bank account.

BEWARE OF 24 HR FITNESS! If you are going to join, have your monthly payments charged to a credit card, NOT automatically deducted from your bank account.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

24 Hr Fitness TRIED to Rip Me Off, But Failed

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

I joined 24 Hr Fitness in Dec.2006. Instead of allowing them access to my bank account, I paid the full three years in advance, with my Visa card.

Three days later, after using the club twice, I realized it was not going to work for me. I just didn't like the set up, it was too hot, the parking was a nightmate, etc. I also had a membership at -----, which I liked much better, even though it was a longer drive. I decided to just keep going to Bally's and cancel my 24 Hr Fitness contract. I had a 5 day cancellation period, according to my contract.

Luckily, I mailed my notice of cancellation from the Post Office and paid the fee for "proof of mailing". Of course, 24 Hr Fitness never did credit my Visa, so I sent copies of all my info(contract and proof that I mailed my cancellation notice within 5 days)to my credit card company and they credited me back the full amount and collected from 24 Hr Fitness.

So, I got my money back!

However..........almost as soon as I got my credit from my credit card company, I started receiving phone calls from 24 Hr Fitness, trying to collect the fee for my original contract. The first few times I explained that I had canceled on time, but after that I just quit talking to them.

Now, in April 2007, I am suddenly getting notices from a collection agency for 24 Hr Fitness.
I'm not worried, because I can prove I canceled on time and they can't prove I was ever in one of their facilities after I canceled. But, who needs the aggravation?

I'm so glad I did not give them access to my bank account, because I would have had to close it, and go through all the mess of changing over my legitimate automatic payments. And, it's much more difficult to get money back once it has been taken directly from your bank account.

BEWARE OF 24 HR FITNESS! If you are going to join, have your monthly payments charged to a credit card, NOT automatically deducted from your bank account.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

24 Hr Fitness TRIED to Rip Me Off, But Failed

AUTHOR: Lori - (U.S.A.)

I joined 24 Hr Fitness in Dec.2006. Instead of allowing them access to my bank account, I paid the full three years in advance, with my Visa card.

Three days later, after using the club twice, I realized it was not going to work for me. I just didn't like the set up, it was too hot, the parking was a nightmate, etc. I also had a membership at -----, which I liked much better, even though it was a longer drive. I decided to just keep going to Bally's and cancel my 24 Hr Fitness contract. I had a 5 day cancellation period, according to my contract.

Luckily, I mailed my notice of cancellation from the Post Office and paid the fee for "proof of mailing". Of course, 24 Hr Fitness never did credit my Visa, so I sent copies of all my info(contract and proof that I mailed my cancellation notice within 5 days)to my credit card company and they credited me back the full amount and collected from 24 Hr Fitness.

So, I got my money back!

However..........almost as soon as I got my credit from my credit card company, I started receiving phone calls from 24 Hr Fitness, trying to collect the fee for my original contract. The first few times I explained that I had canceled on time, but after that I just quit talking to them.

Now, in April 2007, I am suddenly getting notices from a collection agency for 24 Hr Fitness.
I'm not worried, because I can prove I canceled on time and they can't prove I was ever in one of their facilities after I canceled. But, who needs the aggravation?

I'm so glad I did not give them access to my bank account, because I would have had to close it, and go through all the mess of changing over my legitimate automatic payments. And, it's much more difficult to get money back once it has been taken directly from your bank account.

BEWARE OF 24 HR FITNESS! If you are going to join, have your monthly payments charged to a credit card, NOT automatically deducted from your bank account.
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#9 Consumer Suggestion

My suggestion

AUTHOR: Kelly - (U.S.A.)

Take a look at your contract, make sure you have everything documented then sue them in small claims court for the amount owed. The case would be heard in whatever city the contract was signed in. Maybe if enough people jump on this bandwagon 24 hour fitness will stop their thievery.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Advice to stop automatic charges to your bank account.

AUTHOR: T - (U.S.A.)

This is mostly a response to Chris who sets an inapporpriate expectation of the part your bank plays in this process.

The gym debits your account in one of two ways: via a system called ACH (Automatic Clearning House) based on the routing number and account number you provided them by either giving them a check or filling out a form or just telling the information to them. The other way is via a debit or credit card, though this way is pretty uncommon for gym memberships.

If they are debiting you via ACH, banks often have a stop payment policy to both do a one time stop payment or a "permanent" stop payment depending on the situation. For example: The bank I work for will do a verbal request for a one time stop, and a 6 month stop if you send us something in writing.

This Chris guy makes it seem like it's the bank that's doing the debit and the bank that pays your direct deposit, and the bank that is letting all this occur. While the bank may play the part of holding the account and processing the transactions, the instructions ultimately comes from the debitor (24 hour fitness) not from the bank. I have found time and time again that businesses prefer to pass this recurring debit issue off to the banks as if they were not the ones "causing" all this trouble when instead THEY are the ones REQUESTING the funds from your bank account.

Anyway, I know that's a bit off topic, but I think except for the bank information he was spot on. I would also suggest you get your hands on the contractual terms of your membership and review to see if there is some sort of clause that can assist you. In my case, I got to cancel my membership because I lived more than 30 miles from the closest gym.

Good luck!
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#11 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Rick, Rick, Rick

AUTHOR: Gary - (U.S.A.)

Now Rick someone gives you some advice on how the process works, gives you suggestions, explains answers to your "why" questions, and you come back at them in a negative way. Now if you would have read your contract, you would known everything that he stated. You agreed to all the terms and conditions, your contract clearly stated that you would only have access to an "Active" level or "Fitness" level gym. Moral of the story, read what you sign, or YOU WILL FAIL IN BUSINESS... I worked for them for about 1 yr in the corp office, so I know the ins and outs... I got tired of people like you calling in complaining about 24 Hr Fitness taking your money... Read your contracts, check your bank statements... You do that, you will fine... Have a nice day
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#12 Author of original report

Extra! Extra! Ex-employee of 24 Hr Fitness fights battle for corporate Giant.

AUTHOR: Rick - (U.S.A.)

How nice of you to respond for 24 Hr Fitness Chris from Avondale. Makes me wonder why you're an ex- employee.

I see that working for a corporation for 5 years has made you, an Ex-employee of 24 Hr Fitness, an Expert on Honor & Integrity in bussiness and the heretofore secret inner workings of corporate finance.

The fact that Chris answers all reports of this kind on behalf of 24 Hr Fitness makes me question his motives. Is he in fact, an Ex-employee, a corporate shill or just a lonely guy with nuttin' ta' du?

Thanks for pointing out that I gave permission for 24 Hr Fitness to access my account, even though I believe that I mentioned that fact in my original report. Now that youv'e reminded me, I'll make sure and deny them access AGAIN, just for esses and gees.

Let me take a momment to point out that regardless of what "YOU"
believe is a fair amount to pay for a gym membership, it is not the amount that "I" agreed to pay for services NOT rendered.

Your Clintonasque attempt to re-catagorize my gym membership from "all inclusive" to "fitness" won't hunt either. Sometimes the word "is", means, "is".

I also mentioned the fact that I pay a LOW monthly fee of $17.00(emphasis on low)in my original report, so let"s not try and confuse the issue with your $ 40.00 figure. The fact that I was denied access to a gym after paying for it for twenty years does not make your point valid nor does it alleviate the problem of an fitness center full of $ 40.00 per month posers lounging around on the equipment, hoping to get noticed.

Had 24 Hr Fitness asked for cost of living increases over the years, so be it, at least it would have been the honest thing to do, however, they didn't do that. Instead, they continued to take the money knowing full well that most people never use their gym memberships. Then when you decide to use it, they deny you access.

I'm really glad that you feel it fair to Cheat people Chris, with your uncanny corporate savy I'm sure you will go far in the political arena but you will probably fail in bussiness. Regardless, it's now a mute point with me.
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#13 UPDATE EX-employee responds

24hour fitness

AUTHOR: Chris - (U.S.A.)

I understand your pain, having to drive 14 miles to work out is not fun at all. I worked for the company for 5 years so I'm pretty knowledgable to all the rules. When you purchased your membership in 1986 you joined what they call now a "fitness" level gym. When they closed down the rancho "fitness" gym and built the "sport" level gym down the street, 24hour fitness gave all of its existing members of that gym "sport" access to that gym only.

When You moved if you had (as you said "all inclusive") the all access "fitness" membership then you would be able to use any fitness level gym. The sport gyms are bigger gyms ie.. over 30k sq ft. and they have extra stuff like pools, basketball courts, spinning so thats why they have an extra cost. 24hour fitness allowed you the right to use their rancho sport club because you were a member at the fitness club. now when they opened up the rancho sport club everyone who joined after that had to pay the sport level rate (which by the way is about double of what your paying..i belive its $40 monthly for 1 person).

My personal recomondation is to have your membership transferred to your new club. you should call corp. they can do it for u over the phone. Just remember to be really nice to them.

and remember they dont have access to your bank account. you gave your bank permission to pay 24 hour fitness every month. the same people you entrust with your pay checks are the ones paying them every month.

well good luck..
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