I work out at the Peak Fitness on Laurens Road in Greenville, SC. On 5/08 I asked a group of personal trainers that work there how much it would cost to have someone train me in the gym to help me get into a routine.
Immediately they set me down with a lady named Wanda Bobo who began to ask me all types of questions and measure my waist, weigh me, etc etc, all the while telling me how "great" I was going to look. It was an immediate, unexpected sales pitch.
I assumed she would be my trainer because she was talking to me but soon I realized she was a sales lady for the trainers. She began throwing numbers at me...figures in the hundreds...and mentioned monthly payments. At this point I made it very clear to her that I was not interested in making monthly payments or any type of permanent personal training.
I specifically told her that I only wanted to pay for a few visits to have someone teach me how to use all of the weights and get a routine designed. She told me that they did not offer only a few visits for sale, that they only offered contracts with montly payments. At this point I noticed that she kept changing the terms of her offer. At first, she would offer say, a contract with payments of $200 per month.
Then, after I didn't take the offer, she would offer $100 per month "as a deal to me." Then she changed her story again, and offered me 12 PT visits for $330. She said my other option would be to pay 239 dollars for 8 PT visits in one month and then have $100 monthly payments for subsequent months. "You can cancel at anytime before the month is over." She said. I told her, "What I think I will do is take the $239 because I really dont' want to spend anymore than that, and I will cancel after the month is over." So essentially, I was buying 8 PT visits for 239 dollars.
Under these agreed upon conditions, she filled out a contract which I signed. My mistake was not reading all of the fine print on the contract paper. (Which was all over the front and back.) I only saw the $239 downpayment and $100 monthly we had agreed upon.
A month later when I called to cancel, she was noticeable less friendly and said, "YOu cannot cancel your contract with me, you have to call the corporate office (Professional Fitness). Here is their 1-800 number." At this point, upset, I called the number she gave me and spoke to customer service.
A man informed me I had signed into a year long contract for a total of 1000 dollars that could not be cancelled without 30 days notice via certified letter and a buyout fee of a percentage of the total amount. I drove over to the gym and spoke to Wanda, who, at this point, denied ever representing the contract to me differently than a year long contract. We ended up in a heated argument.
She produced a sheet of "company policies" that she had never showed me before, explained about the inability to cancel without sending a certified letter and a buyout fee, etc. She then described herself as a "god-fearing woman" who would "never lie to anyone." I was not convinced.
I immediately changed my credit card number and called the company explaining that the contract has been misrepresented to me and that I would not pay. I was unable to find anyone in customer service who would work with me on the issue and I kept getting transferred from one representative to another and being put on hold. Finally I spoke to one man who told me that if I did not pay I would be sued.
Soon after, I sent a certified letter to the company that deals with the accounting issues (peak performance....) and said that I wanted my contract cancelled and would not pay any more money due to misrespresentation of a contract until the matter was settled. No one contacted me after this point.
I only had one personal trainer session. Let me add that it only lasted 15 min and included such tasks as "Sprint to the wall and do 20 jumping jacks." Honestly, I could train myself as well or just take an aerobics or lifting class for free at the gym. When I went to Peak Fitness on Laurens road to get a receipt for my one training session, the trainer, Mike (black guy with dread locks) was very rude to me, refusing to provide a receipt or sign a statement saying he had only trained me once. I had to demand one and refuse to leave until I got it before anyone would even try to help me. He also began to actually LIE and say that I had "been in with him lots of times." I stood there in awe that he could actually lie to my face.
Recently, Peak performance has sent me a demand letter threatening to sue saying I owe them over $1000. I had hired a lawyer and refuse to pay for something I never agreed to. I'm not sure what will happen next.
DO NOT use the personal trainers at Peak Fitness unless you want to blow a ton of money. NEVER sign any contract with Professional Fitness or Peak Performance. These people are trained to take your money and have lawyers that help them. It is a designed financial trap into a contract you cannot cancel. These people should be sued for fraud. Trust me, BUY A BOOK, read it, and do what it tells you to do at the gym and you can get in shape for free all on your own with the same results. The trainers are just after your money. They can't teach you anything you can't teach yourself with enough research.
Greenville, South Carolina