My husband and I signed up for a year long contract for personal training beginning November 30, 2007. We wanted what they promoted: 'exceptional service and creative programs, Body of Change Personal Trainers can design a program to help deliver you best results.' (from their 5 Benefits of Personal Training brochure). Nick, the associate that performed my initial free work out session, told me that I would receive customized exercise programs, nutrition assessments, and monthly body assessments--and I believed him.
These statements were misleading. None of what Nick expressly told me took place. It was said that I would see better results faster with a personal trainer than without one. I was told by Nick that I would work mostly exclusively with himself as my trainer, although there may be times that he would not be available, and at those times, I may be assigned a different trainer for that individual training session.
When I told him that my finances were low, and that I was not sure I could afford a program like this, he told me that I would save money on health care costs, etc., because I would be in better shape and healthier. He also offered to give us 2 free sessions on his own time, and I thought that was very generous of him. I wanted to talk to my husband about this before I signed us up, but I was pressured into signing the contract immediately, without speaking with my husband first, because if I changed my mind, I had three days to cancel. Nick seemed like an honest person, and although I did feel pressured at the time, I felt that he really believed in this program and if he believed it would be so beneficial to me, I could trust him. I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and his personal interest in myself and my husband, so I signed up. When I talked to my husband about it, he was not happy (we really would have to penny pinch to make this financial commitment), but I told him all the things I had been promised, and he decided that we would make the financial sacrifice because we felt we would really benefit from the constant motivation from our trainer (Nick), the personal program developed to meet our specific goals (neither one of us has real weight loss goals, we want to build muscle instead, which we were assured could be done with a program tailored for us), and the superior instructionwe would achieve with a trainer what we could not achieve on our own, because we do not have the knowledge and training to know exactly what we should do to reach our goals. We signed up to have two training sessions per month, with, we thought, Nick as our principal trainer.
We received one free training session from Nick. The next time we came for our free session with him, he passed us on to a different trainer who took us through a generic cardio/weight loss session (incidentally, I have never seen this no-name trainer at the gym since that day). Nick told us that the next time we would do a strength training session with him. This was a little annoying because we were anxious to get started on building a program and getting evaluated, etc, but we thought that would happen the next time. When we arrived to our first paid session, Nick told us he had been promoted to manager and would no longer be our trainer. He referred us to Kathy, a new trainer at this gym, and we had yet another initial session with a different trainer. She seemed to really be on top of things, and to know her stuff, and she told us that the next session we had with her, we would do a serious evaluation and get started putting together a program to reach our goals.
By now, a month had gone by since we signed our contract and we still had not received any of the things we were promisedno evaluations, no measurements taken, no personalized program, no diet tips, and effectively no training. We were starting to feel less than motivated.
The first week of January, we arrived to the gym for our scheduled evaluation session. Our trainer was not there. None of the other trainers were available to work with us that day. So we worked out by ourselves, and went home. We rescheduled for another day. We arrived for that session, and our trainer was not there again. Again, none of the other trainers were available to do a session with us. So we worked out ourselves and went home. I should mention that is extremely difficult for us to get to the gym because we have an infant, and the child care is only offered for certain hours in the morning and evening on certain days, so in order for us to get to our appointments we really have to schedule them into our month. It is not possible for us to just come back later that day or whenever someone happens to be available.
We rescheduled again. By now it was the end of January, 2008. 2 months had gone by and we had received only one training session, no evaluations, no personalized programs or instruction, etc. The money continued to be drawn from our bank account on the 30th of each month, as per our end of the contract, but we had not yet received the services promised. At the beginning of February, we arrived to the gym for another scheduled session. As we were pulling into the parking lot about 5-6 minutes before our session, we received a call telling us that our trainer was not there. Again, there would be no other trainer that could give us a training session.
My husband went to talk to the manager about canceling our account. We are extremely disappointed in this company, we have not received any "exceptional customer service", and we are designing our own personal program by default because we can't get any of the trainers to give us any training, even when we schedule it in advance. We have been paying for services we have not received. We were given false information about the Body of Change "personalized training", we have wasted a huge amount of time and effort getting to the gym numerous times to be stood up by our trainer without any prior notification. The manager told my husband that we could not cancel our account without paying for 50% of the remaining sessions which would come out to over $200.00. We knew this at the time of signing up, and we did not think we would have any reason to want out of the program before the year was over. However, at that time we did not know that we would not receive any personal training for our money.
After explaining our position, my husband was tole there was no way around this, and that we should give them another chance. Since we have already paid for 5 sessions that we have not received, we decided there was no other option but to try again.
So today, February 4, 2008, I went to the Body of Change counter to reschedule yet again. I asked to be put with Kathy, since she is "our" trainer. I was told that she no longer works for the company. I was asked who I would like to train with. I told the associate that I did not care at this point who is was, but I would like it to be somewhat consistent since I have never had the same trainer twice. He said this was not going to happen, because the turnover was so high. He told me that trainers only make $6.00 per session, so they don't stick around very long. I would not be able to have a trainer that I could count on working with on a regular basis, but I would still be able to get sessions, just by different people. At this point I was extremely angry. What kind of "personalized program" has a person work with a different trainer every time? This makes absolutely no sense'I would have to explain my goals and my previous program to every new person every time, and they would not know anything about my physical condition or personal likes/dislikes, injuries, strengths, previous workouts, etc. And this was not at all how the program was presented to me at the time I signed the contract. If it had been explained to me truthfully, I never would have signed up.
Body of Change has falsely advertised their company and their program. Because of my above mentioned extremely negative experience, I am past the point of "giving them a second chance". I do not trust this company. Regardless of the contract I signed, based on the experience I have had, and the fact that the only option given to us by the manager is "take it or leave it", I feel there is no other way to resolve this issue. Because Body of Change is in breach of their contract--in that they have misrepresented themselves, and based on this mis-information, I agreed to pay for services I have not received-I am canceling my monthly Electronic Funds Transfer and I am quitting the program. I am also considering writing a report to the Better Business Bureau.
Orland Park, Illinois
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