I have been a member of Gold's Gym in Arizona since 1998 (or so). Currently, I attend the Gold's Gym in Mesa, Arizona which is a franchise gym carrying the Gold's Gym name. In February, 2006, I decided to look into using a personal trainer at my gym because I needed to lose some weight. I approached Danny, the personal training manager at the time, and discussed my options. He informed me at that time that if I signed up on a 6 month "agreement" with them, I would pay $40 per 30-minute session with a personal trainer.
Being a single parent and the ONLY bread-winner in the household, I am ALWAYS aware of every penny I spend. I calculated out the money that I would spend and realized that I could afford it, but for ONLY 6 months. I asked Danny about the specifications of the "agreement". I specifically asked him if the agreement was an open-ended agreement or not, meaning was it for a specific time frame (6 months); or was it a rolling agreement, meaning after the initial 6 months it would "roll" to a month-to-month agreement. He stated that the agreement was for ONLY 6 months NO MORE and if I wanted to continue the agreement, I would have to sign a new agreement and commit to whatever fee was current at that time. I even clarified this issue with him because I did not want to be stuck in a situation that I could not get out of.
Danny also informed me that the "agreement" was for one trainer, only one, to work with me consistently for the 6 month time frame and the end goal would be to teach me to "train" myself so that I would not need a trainer after the 6 months. I agreed to these terms, and ONLY these terms, and I was told at that time that they would get me a copy of the agreement at my next meeting with my trainer. I met with my trainer, Jon Willis, the next day as scheduled.
I asked for my copy of the agreement and I was told by Danny, "oh, I didn't get to that last time. I'll get it to you the next time you come in." Little did I know that this was going to be the standard response to my request for a copy of the agreement.
Well, shortly after my training began with Jon, he had a family emergency that he was not able to get out of, which caused my trainer to be switched, which I did not know about until I arrived for my session. I was then "taken on" by Valerie. I was not happy with the change without my approval but I went with it. Two weeks into my time with Valerie, my son (10 years old) had a health emergency (he broke his arm at school) arise that caused me to take him to the emergency room for treatment.
I called Valerie as soon as I knew about the inability to attend my scheduled training session that day. I was told that since I did not give 24 hours notice, that it would cost me a session (they removed one $40 session fee from my credit). I did not understand that decision because it was a life or limb emergency with my son. I HAD to go!
About one week later, Valerie called me for an issue that suddenly arose that caused her to have to cancel our session scheduled for that day. She was severely apologetic for having to cancel the session but offered nothing to compensate me. That made me begin to question the whole agreement. How come I was penalized for having to cancel a session with less than 24 hours notice but the trainer could cancel within 24 hours before the session but not have any penalty attached?
Shortly after this incident, Valerie quit and I was again "taken over" by Dominic, the personal trainer manager at this time, because no one else could "take me." He made it clear to me that he was looking for another trainer to "give me to" because he did not get paid for training clients. After two weeks of training with Dominic, I was "given to" a new trainer, Lindsay. She was a good trainer but, at this point I was so upset for being "passed off", and every time without my consent, I could not fully accept this new trainer.
In 6 months, I had 4 trainers, yes FOUR trainers. that averages out to about 1 trainer per 1.5 months!!!! The time that should have been taken to accelerate my weight loss, was taken up by learning to work with a new trainer and their different training habits. Six weeks is not nearly enough time to get ANY results, let alone the results I was promised by Danny when I signed up. In fact, I only lost about 5 to 10 pounds in the 6 months I trained with the personal trainers and I was RELIGIOUS about my nutrition and cardio work out.
I then realized that the personal trainers really did not share my goals. it was all about the money. They did not seem to care if I got any REAL results because then they would not be making any money off of me. The less I achieved toward my goal, the longer I would pay.
At this point I was so dissatisfied with the whole experience, that I was happy when I reached the 6 month mark. However, my problems had only just begun. I asked Dominic what I needed to do to find out what the date of my last session was and what I needed to do to ENSURE the agreement I made with them in February was OVER.
He gave me the Affiliated Acceptance Corp, Client Services number (800-233-8483) and told me that I had to call them to find out the official date of my last session. I called the number on Thursday, September 21st and spoke with a representative (she never gave her name which should have been my first clue that it wasn't going to go well) and was told that I had to give a 30-day WRITTEN notice to cancel and that I would still have to pay the $480 that was "due".
I told the lady that I had reached the end of my 6 month agreement with the personal training team and that there SHOULD NOT be any more debits to my checking account and to stop the $480 debit that was scheduled. She then informed me that she "couldn't do it" because my "contract" rolled over to "month-to-month" after the 6 month mark per the "contract specifics". I was then, very rudely asked, "didn't you READ your contract before you signed it?"
I informed her of what I was told by Danny at the beginning of the agreement and that I did not HAVE a copy of my "contract" because I was NEVER given one. I was then told, "Well that's not our problem." I then informed her that I would just place a stop-pay on the $480 through my bank because I had a credit with the personal trainers for 16 visits ($40 x 16 visits = $640) and they could just refund me the difference.
She said that that was not possible, no refunds are possible for ANY REASON and that if I placed a stop-pay on the $480, the account would 1) remain open, 2) I would incur more charges and fees, and 3) that I would be sent to collections. I was totally speechless, I then asked her, "So basically, you want me to pay for services that HAVE NOT been rendered and ARE NOT and WILL NOT BE desired. She then responded, "Yes! And those services will be on credit until you decide to use them."
I told her that I DID NOT want to use them, ever, I just wanted my money back. To which she replied, " That's not going to happen EVER! I guess you will just have to eat that money." I was so upset and flabbergasted at what I was being told, that I had to take a second to take a deep breath. She took the breath as a sign of hostility and informed me that she was not going to argue. Right before she hung up on me I was told, "you should just pay it. it will only get worse for you."
I called back Affiliated Acceptance Corp. on Friday, thinking maybe I could get a hold of a supervisor and complain about the treatment I received from this representative. Supposedly, I got the manager and I began at the beginning. I was told to write a letter to them requesting immediate cancellation of the personal training account and that I was to send it to the attention of "LeAnn" (fax number 573-374-9972) and she would IMMEDIATELY cancel the membership and stop the $480 debit from "going through".
I immediately wrote the attached letter to "LeAnn" and faxed it to the fax number I was given, requesting confirmation of receipt of the fax. I never got confirmation of the receipt of the letter, so I called "LeAnn" at the 800 number on Monday, September 25th. I spoke with LeAnn and, at first, she was very nice and accommodating. Then she said she would file the cancellation so that it would go into effect 30 days from now.
I, of course, then told her the entire story over again because I did not think she understood my request for immediate cancellation. She said, "I don't know what you want me to do about it but you WILL NOT be refunded ANY money. And if you stop-pay the debit scheduled to go through today, we will send you to collections and we will get the money. It just depends on how much you want to spend." I checked my checking account with Wells Fargo Bank and the $480 debit did go through on Tuesday, September 26th.
I then called Dominic back at the Mesa Gold's, I was upset and in tears, and I asked him to help me. He said he couldn't but to call Dale, the Regional Manager of the Gold's Gym Personal Trainers, and speak with him.
I called Dale the next day and explained the situation. I told him everything that Danny told me when he signed me up and he said, "Well I train my managers to point out the 30-day roll over and everything, so you have to be wrong about what he said. Besides, he's gone now so it's only your word, do you have any proof?"
I then pointed out that I had had 4 trainers within 6 months and was changed without my consent each time and he said that he could not help that "people quit." Once I got to the end of what was going on, he asked me, "So what do you want me to do?" I was totally floored! I then told him I was asking for his help to get my money back, to which he responded, "I can't do that. you'll either have to use those credits or eat your money." I then told him, that if I lost that additional $480, that my bills would have to go unpaid. He said, "Oh don't lay that off on me! You made the decision and knew what the consequences were!"
For the ENTIRE time I have been a Gold's Gym member, I have promoted Gold's Gym to no end. But, after the way I have been so TOTALLY disrespected by this whole situation and treated so wrong, I do not know if I would EVER consider promoting this Gold's Gym and/or it's "special services". I have been a loyal and faithful customer of the gym for MANY years but if I have been treated in this manner. how many others have been treated in a similar manner and just taken the abuse?
All that I am asking for is not only the money back for the ALL of the visits I have credit for (now totaling 28 visits at $40 each) but also that I no longer incur ANY more charges for this.
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