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Big Gym Ripoff  Comment Icon 122 Broadcast on Friday, January 7, 2011
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Has your gym made your bank account the biggest loser?

The fitness industry in this country is huge, worth more then 2 billion dollars a year. As the new year arrives, many Canadians may be thinking of joining a gym. But before signing up, watch the season premiere of Marketplace. In his debut with the program, Tom Harrington investigates the sneaky charges and over-billing that have been plaguing the gym industry for years.

Just how bad is it? Marketplace commissioned the first-ever poll on this topic in Canada, and uncovers a startling percentage of Canadians are getting ripped off.

Canadians are clearly fed up, so we also asked people to fill out an online survey, telling us their stories in our Big Gym Ripoff Search. The results are clear. The gym with the most complaints is one of Canada's largest chains.

Watch as we tell the unsettling story of an industry gone awry through the experiences of three frustrated people who, despite their best efforts to cancel, keep getting charged.

Your Comment (122)
In reply to a comment from KG

Take your bank statement showing the amount coming out to the collection agency along with the cancellation receipt showing you cancelled if you still have a copy of your contract take that in to. If they gave you a receipt of cancellation showing you have no balance owing and there is a date you have all the proof you need right there

I too am getting chraged just got a letter saying to pay at premeire in yorkdale....so annoying...

In reply to a comment from John Diamond

I too am in a similar situation and need some guidance.
It was over a year ago I cancelled and after a year went by, I see this huge amount trying to come out of my account. I called the bank and find out it's them and I put a stop payment as per the banks suggestion. Immediately I call the location and spoke to the accounts mgr. She tells me to come in and writes me up another cancellation slip. I didn't think to keep the original but have the current one. It states $0 owed on it and the mgr tells me I'll be fine now that she's done the cancellation slip. To my surprise, I get a call from a credit recovery place and they're tell me I must pay or my credit will be affected. This isn't fair and I need help to fix this immediately.

KG

In reply to a comment from G.

Pay cash and they will make you pay more than the standard rates by some 30% or so.

you should do this survey in Calgary and Edmonton, I'm pretty sure I know which club would come up as the worst.

I saw this show last night. I worked in the Fitness industry for almost 18 years in Alberta, 13 years ago, it is about time some of these thing are finally coming up.

In reply to a comment from G.

They do not accept cash - only debit or (better) credit cards - easier way to over-billing your account. I'm also Premierfitness victim.

My daughter was also a victim of not only Premier but of Good life...Good life owed her $100, which she promptly got...and Premier sent her a cheque for payments they had taken (not the full amount however...)...but good enough for her. If you have no valid contract with these people challenge them to prove they are entitled to remove funds from your account.

This is not the first time Premier has been under fire. The Hamilton Spectator did a week long article about Premier back in 04 I think.
As a freelance fitness instructor and trainer, I worked for Premier for 15 years starting in 93', just when Premier was starting to open multiple chains. I have nothing good to say. Many times over the years I would have to drive to head office to pick up pay cheques that were late for whatever reason. Anyone who was considering getting a membership I would always, and alot of contract employees did the same, always tell them to pay with cash. Don't give them any numbers because, I believe, it was common practice to continue taking fees after cancellations.
And to feed the confusion, management changed every six months at individual locations. I was working at 5 locations at one time instructing and training. Maintenance contractors will not do work for Premier unless they are paid up front. Can remember Hydro at the doors with the clippers one morning unless they came up with payment then. Wether still true, Cardillo has his own equipment company too so all his equipment is mostly his own and sub standard accept for a few gyms in prime locations that have I'll have to say have some of the best equipment available.
As most instructors and trainers, we travell to 2 or 3 different gyms in a day I continue to tell people, when considering a fitness membership at a gym, you can generally judge the quality of the gym by the number of salesmen in the front of the house than instructors and trainers in the back of the house. If the latter is greater, you might be ok. DON'T GIVE THEM ANY NUMBERS!!

I used my credit card when I initially joined Snap Fitness. I then paid cash and my credit card actually expired. Snap asked me to give them my new card information, for which I refused and then they asked for a void cheque, which I also refused. I cancelled my membership after two years and found that after I closed my membership, Snap Fitness charged a fee to my old credit card. What really surprised me was that charge was allowed to go through by Mastercard! The credit card companies need to protect their clients from transactions such as these.

I have never had a gym membership anywhere, but I have had dealing with the chains owner. I suggest with the power of facebook...start a don't get ripped off by premier fitness fan club.

pay cash!

GOD BLESS MARKETPLACE!!!! A couple days ago before this was aired I was a victim of Primier Fitness in Yorkdale for trying to cancel my membership in May 2010, I began to get billed on my credit card under "Curzons Yorkdale" Been wondering who that was for a couple months and realised that it was primier fitness, called and complained and they asked me if I had a copy of the cancelation and all because I wasnt able to keep the copy of the cancelation, I had to recancel my membership, and they had still continued to bill me, This time I showed them the copy and they didnt had one. It seems like they purposely "misplace" there copies expecting for the consumer to loose theirs and go back to square one. I had to go through the Better Business Bureau in order to have my complaint processed.

BEWARE OF PRIMIER FITNESS!!! They will try everything they can to screw you where the sun dont shine.

Premier Fitness...I was a member...was happy it was near my work and all was good....then the equipment was going down hill the showers and other things crapped out....then the gym "closed for renovations"...I still had time left on my membership and so did a bunch of people that worked with...well guess what they closed the location and did not inform any of us and when we called were told that we could go to another location....some of us do not have a Premier Fitness near our houses...i my case the closest one was about 45 mins away by car without traffic.

I gave up no refund nothing....then I was at kids fest and I was walking past a Premier Fitness booth and when they asked for me and my child to come play a game for a prize I said no and my child asked why and I told her right in front of the Premier Fitness staff and other people in the booth.
some of the other people that were filling out forms at the booth walked away and tossed the forms in the trash...
at least I hope that I have saved someone else from that club.

I told my wife to use post dated cheques NOT a credit card so they could not keep charging. Well guess what, they used the account number off of the cheques to debit our account!!
The bank said they couldn't block every debit from Premier only specific debit amounts. Guess what, Premier changed the amounts so they could continue to take our money. The bank refunded our money each time so we were out nothing but that costs all of us. They suggested we change our account and they would help us switch over all of the regular monthly payments coming in and going out. I said NO, it was not our fault and I was not going to modify what we had to do. I sent Premier an E-mail telling them to stop debiting our account. If they continued I would raise it to another level and charge them with fraud. It stopped for 2 months and then started again. My wife said we'll go back to the bank and see what they can do. I said NO, I told them I would raise it to the next level and that's what I'm doing. I called the local police. Someone from the fraud section called me and I explained exactly what was done and the process I'd taken. They said to send them one more notice to stop so there is no mistake and so I would have another record of it. I called and left a message, I E-mailed and faxed a copy of the E-mail telling them I had gone to the police and had been advised to give them one more notice and if they did not stop I would be pursuing fraud charges against them. I received an E-mail 2 days later saying my wife's membership had been cancelled and no further debiting of our account would take place. It's been a couple of years now and I still check our account and there has been no more debiting.

Can a collection agency take you to court over $50?? and if so, will there be "legal fees" that I have to pay if they win?
Can they affect my credit score if they have acknowledged by email that they received my cancellation letter and I made a partial payment for an amount that I shouldn't have been charged in the first place (they kept charging me after I cancelled and I agreed to pay a portion but not the full amount).

In reply to a comment from Rachelle

Thank you for your comments and insight Rachelle. You're quite right. It would have been too much for them to cover all situations and gyms ... but a 20 second comment at the end like:

"We examined the big box gyms, but smaller mom and pop type gyms might have more flexible policies because of local ownership and management, so compare before you buy and see if those smaller gyms are right for you" ....

That's it!! That would have made the whole story a little fairer to the industry as a whole instead of lumping us all into one 'shady' group of tricksters and schemers ....

Steven

You think being overcharged is bad. You should read this CBC story

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2011/01/12/ottawa-gym-membership.html

I can't believe people are attacking Marketplace for uncovering these scams! At no time did they blame all gyms; there are some great gyms out there that operate in a professional manner. But I know personally that a couple of the top gyms in Canada are completely crooked. So please, even if you are a member of the best gym in the country, do not try to stand up for ALL gyms. Obviously, some of you have never had your credit obliterated by a conniving gym and a bank that won't cover your back. I had a perfect credit score before I ever got involved with Extreme Fitness. They duped me with a "Free 3-month trial gift" and refused to cancel my membership one-month into my gift, even though I was leaving the country for the next year for work. It was incredibly difficult to deal with while away from home and it got way out of hand. It's been hell getting back on track especially on a modest, self-employed musician's income. Its been a couple years of scrounging and living tight, but I'm just now, finally back in decent standing. Anyway, many thanks to Marketplace!

Some people enjoyed the following comment, so I thought I would repost it:
=============================

One way to avoid unilateral service agreements is to rescind them. That can be done by imposing your own unilateral service agreement on any cheques you write to such companies.Obtain an inkpad and rubber stamp with the following words written on it in 6-point or smaller type:

Your negotiation of this cheque constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions can be found at: http://wp.me/pvvc0-6Q in Section 2.

Of course, you can use your own link, and write your own terms, but the above will do for most people.

In reply to a comment from Steven

What are they supposed to do to present both sides interview and show multiple other business or good chain gyms? It's not like there even saying all gyms are like this. Also the show is only 22 minutes what do you want? It doesn't make sense to say hey this gym is de-frauding you but look it's competitors aren't. That sounds more like an attack ad. As for including it in their survey. Yes they could say here are the bad gyms and here are the good. But I also didn't hear Marketplace themselves say at any time that all gyms are this way.

Oh and Millie Mom. I'm very curious what proof do you have that there stats are wrong? Do you work for Premier or one of the banks not helping there customers? Is that the real reason your so pissed off? Makes more sense then your just someone with no vested interest in gyms or Banks who thinks there giving false stats.

I pay on a monthly basis at Premier, funds are withdrawn during the first day of the month, in the last few months I have noticed withdrawals happening a few days or even up to a week prior to the billing cycle. I have inquired and asked management about this, they have no clue or answers, what a joke. Also watch out for bi-weekly payments type of billing, gyms usually try to con you to opt for this type of payment schedule, which usually equates to three extra payments a year.

I had some billing issues of my own and I had to cancel my credit card to solve the problem. My question is though, why can't the bank or the credit card company deny the charge if you specifically tell them you don't want the transaction to go through?

In reply to a comment from Steven

Agree with you Steven. SHAME ON MARKETPLACE! How many more viable businesses are they going to defame and place into bankruptcy by their irresponsible reporting. Reported stats are false. I would recommend all business owners put their money together and take CBC to court. A guaranteed win! Just what we need more unemployment in an already depressed economy.

I had been a member of Xtreme fitness for years and cancelled without a problem, however last week I went back because they gave me a 10 day pass but had to sign a new contract. They really pressure you. I went yesterday to try to cancel before the 10 day cooling period is up and was told they don't do cancellations on weekends and only the manager deals with cancellations...stay tuned.

I'm quite disappointed with the scope of this investigation and story ... Yes, we know of the questionable tactics and shoddy billing policies used by the big box gyms that they've employed for years ... But what of the fair treatment provided to members by smaller international franchise clubs?? I'm a small business owner of just such a club where I know just about all of my members by name or face. I don't lock them into long term contracts. They can pay month to month for as long as they want to stay. I have very fair billing, freeze and termination policies and the two billing issues I've had were settled within the hour because as the gym owner, I have direct control of the club's money and bank accounts. Why weren't these smaller clubs included in this investigation and story?? Our franchise has over 1400 clubs worldwide. 21 clubs are in the GTA alone from Burlington, to Oshawa, to Alliston with 14 more slated to open within the next two years! We hardly rank as a 'small time player' in the industry, yet nothing was mentioned of these smaller clubs and the benefits they have over the larger big box clubs. It would have been a fair and balanced report if these clubs were looked at, reported on or at least included in your satisfaction survey.
Shame on Marketplace as our National Consumer Watchdog for not having presented the whole picture here!!!
Steven

My finace signed us up to go to Premier last year to and they said to him that he needed a credit card to be on the account in order to join. He asked to pay in full by debit and they let us. A month later I got our credit card bill and about $120 - 150 was charged listed under a company with only 3 letters like scn or something. It took me a week to find out through the credit card company and by searching online to figure out what the place was that charged us and when I found out it was Premier I flipped out! Once we brought it up to the guy who signed us up it took him over as month to get head office to pay us back and they couldn't reverse the charge they had to send out a cheque and then we had to pick it up at the location. We unrolled after the year was almost up and sent them a legal letter which was also sent to our lawyer. Unbelieveable.
I would never ever sign up for any club unless the goverment comes out with a new protection law or something - so bogus.

In reply to a comment from Adam Hrankowski

This has made my day! Love it.

Had a problem with Extreme Fitness. Similar to others' problems. Ended the membership but they continued to charge me three months later. Turned out they had closed the wrong account. A mistake is mistake, but not dealing with the mistake adds insult to injury. When I got nowhere with phone calls and emails I filed a complain with the Better Business Bureau, put a stop payment on the account, and suddenly found I was getting personal phone calls from the manager to deal with the issue. I just wanted my money back, and I finally did.

So my advice to anyone facing this problem, file a complaint with the BBB, and put a stop payment on your account. I know pay a year in advance through a corporate plan with Goodlife, and it's much better this way.

I have had a hate-on for Premier Fitness for years!
When I joined, they never had any towels for their towel service, most of the machines were often broken, I couldn't find two of the same sized weight because patrons were stealing the lower end weights, and I would often get a hard time because I had a temporary pass.... because the machine that THEY owned was broken and couldn't give me a permanent pass!
I brought my complaints to the manager and asked to have my membership canceled. He refused. I had no idea where to go or what to do.
So, in anger, I paid for the entire year.... while paying a membership at a slightly more expensive but MUCH better gym (because they really DO exist!).
My personal trainer at the time told me that when I canceled I should hold on to my cancellation form for at least 3 years because they can start charging your credit card if you don't have proof you quit. So I still have it to this day... and that was 6 years ago.
These giant gyms have no regard for customer satisfaction because they will always sucker in more people to pay their bills. The word needs to get out that these gyms aren't worth their cheap rates.
My advice? Ask for a free week long pass from the gym to give it a try. If they refuse, say "thanks, but no thanks".
I'm not usually a big fan of marketplace, but I give big kudos to putting this issue out there! I think a lot of people suffer in silence.

I have had Goodlife memberships more than once. In order to cancel I had to meet with the manager who offered me incentives to stay. When I refused he gave me paperwork confirming the cancellation. I was a little annoyed at the time that I couldn't just give a cancellation letter, but in hindsight I'm glad I got proof. I've never had a problem with them and neither has anyone I've known. Ever since Toronto Hydro took a payment from an account I had cancelled two years prior I have avoided pre-authorized bank debits whenever possible. At least with credit cards there's some protection. This episode has taught me to always get confirmation from a company whenever cancelling any service.

I am a proud employee of one of the nation's largest fitness companies. I can honestly say that most of the issues which I deal with on a daily basis from our members stem back to the member's themselves misreading the contract. Anyone signing a new contract has a certain time period in which to read through the entire contract and decide whether it is right for them. I personally haven't had an issue with anyone rescinding and being continuously charged after cancelling. Also, the terms and regulations, along with any penalty fees and charges are clearly outlined on all of our contracts. That being said, there have been a few issues on occasion with some payments/service fees that may have been mistakenly taken from some people. However, providing the company is at fault, it is a fairly easy process, with our company at least, to have that reversed.

I suggest, for anyone who is thinking of joining a fitness facility, or even current members, that they request a copy of there contract. Each member has the right to have a copy of everything that the gym has on file for them. With documentation to back you up, there is no reason you shouldn't receive a fair solution to whatever issue you may have.

Also, again speaking for our company, we have short-term memberships available for those who require them. Also, we have many options to reimburse or hold membership payments for a variety of reasons, be they medical/work related or otherwise. Be sure to ask what your options are. And if there are any questions you have after reading your contract within the right of rescission period, which haven't been explained upon signing the contract, your questions should be answered with a simple visit or a phone call to your club.

I feel that giving a bad rap to the entire fitness industry due to the actions and results of relatively few, is a disgrace. The obesity rate among adults and children alike in our country is becoming staggering, and discouraging people from entering the fitness industry with a very bias report is , in my opinion, disgraceful.

If everyone realized the amount of tax dollars which could be saved in medical costs, by prescribing even a slight increase in phyisical activity for most canadians, people would see this report for what it is - an unfortunate case of believing what one sees on television.

WOW! I thought I was the only one. Every time I hear the words Premier Fitness I cringe!
I was one of those people that they kept on charging after I had cancelled in writing and I closed my bank account to stop the charges. THREE years later I received a letter in the mail stating that I owed them over $3000! I was shocked, I called their head office and was told that they would take me to court for the money UNLESS I signed up for a new contract and then they would call off my debt.
I cannot believe this is legal! On the advice of a friend I filed a complaint with the better business bureau and a few weeks later got a call from Premier saying that I no longer owed them money.

In reply to a comment from A Proud Employee and Former Member

I am currently trying to cancel my membership with Premier Fitness. The Manager made an appointment with me,(both he and a certain woman have been there or at previous locations together for years. He called me, found out that I wanted to cancel, and made an appointment with me to see him.
I showed up, and spoke to the girl at the front desk. She said that she would let him know that I was there. Half an hour later, still no manager. I called the club using my cell phone and spoke to the same woman at the desk who informed me that the manager had left an hour and a half ago.
She had not informed me that he was not there, thereby wasting my time. It has been a week and still no response.
These are not part time or short term employees.

In reply to a comment from A Proud Employee and Former Member

Why don't you just pay them a wage instead of commission then that would stop

I cancelled my account, had the paper signed and photocopied by the gym manager. and they still charged me for the next 3 months. since i had paid by visa initially, visa wouldn't do anything until they had this documentation, but since i had signd a contract, they said their hands were tied. So i went in and raised hell in the gym and refused to leave the gym until they returned my money. They offered me membership for the next 3 months- "free of charge". but i had already paid for it!!!! Needless to say, i did not leave until they gave my money back. Which i did! every single person i have talked or know has had the same problem at this gym.

frustrating that the police and government dont do anything

I am a former supplier of Premier Fitness. I'm sure the members have noticed that some of the gyms are either in poor condition or always under uncompleted renovation work. That is because the suppliers (like the members) get ripped off. Work is not always paid for and/or cheques get returned. I'm sure there are many complaints registered with BBB, labour relations board, etc. Maybe Marketplace should investigate.

Dam this Blog is AWESOME. If you wrote this any better i would think you were a super human. lol nice.:)

I am having a problem getting my money back from Good Life Fitness, they have been taking money out of my account for a year, who do I see, I am getting no satisfaction from the club itself.

All I got to say is GOODLIFE is #2 they have alot more gyms DO THE MATH ........

from my case, cancelling bank account will never stop the gym for tracking you down. i had membership with Extreme Fitness 2 yrs ago and had it cancelled right after my first contracted year. they were still charging me on my bank account so i put a stop payment on it, a couple months down the road Extreme send my info to some collection company which really screwed up my Becon score. at that point i didn't want to deal with headache but to pay for a settlement of quarter year membership fee.

In reply to a comment from Adam Hrankowski

this.... is brilliant.

So this show basically tells the tale of what most insiders know about Premier Fitness anyway. What the show did not detail or discuss is the great locally owned operators out there who DO NOT steal from members. I own a club with over 2000 active members and any dispute we have ever had gets cleared up in a private office on the customers first visit. The ironic thing is 99% of the time there is a billing issue it is because a member has had an NSF Charge, or had no room on their credirt card when it was time to run their monthly dues. This is not the operators fault. There is an obesity problem in this country and people talk about one year contracts being unfair , and getting " locked in " for a year. Why is there a law in Ontario that allows a max one year membership to workout in a gym and get healthy, but I have to sign up for 3 years on a cell phone plan. Something is wrong with that. In my opinion , I had hoped this show would have blown the cover on Premier and Goodlife for what they are, yet still encouraged people to research and join a local gym where the owners are on site, live in their neighborhood, and will support their fitness goals without milking their bank account.

In reply to a comment from Bo Forbes

If you scroll down, two guys made the point that the ranking wasn't quite fair - GoodLife has the second highest number of complaints but by far the largest number of gyms - about a half a complaint per gym versus four complaints per gym for Premier, so GoodLife, on average, is one of the better gyms. (Not to excuse what they did to you.)

I use to work for Premier, some of the locations do there own paperwork (not many but a few)
I have found that the ones that send there stuff to head office are the locations that have the double charges and the cancellations not done. When anyone goes to cancel for any gym (ecepically Premier) bring the cancellation notice to your location and have the person you give it to sign and date that paper and get a copy. As far as the banks go you can put a stop payment on that payment instead of closing the whole account. The one thing that I got from this show was that the people selling the memberships really have no idea what the hell they are talking about they just want you to buy the membership. Another thing that some of the former employees don't tell you is that they don't always get the money they have earned, cheques have bounced on there employee's.

Great show, congradulations for bringing this to everyone's attention. Too bad that the bad guys don't care about customers, just the almighty dollar! I am currently trying to end my membership with Golds Gym and I'm getting the same runaround as you mentioned on your program. I've done everything I can to do it right, have kept notes and letters in case they try to scam me, and still I have received no confirmation that my membership is ending. But the only sure way to keep them from taking more money out is to CLOSE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.

I'm not surprised to see Goodlife Fitness on your list of unscrupulous fitness companies. When they purchased several Ballys locations in the GTA I got shortchanged 6 months of membership. On site staff gave me the brush off and so I called the Goodlife head office in London. The manager was dismissive, arogant and completely unhelpful. Goodlife claims to have been voted one of Canada's top 50 companies a few years back. What a joke!

I have worked for, and represented Premier Fitness with PRIDE and DIGNITY for nearly 6 years. I have been a manager for 4 of those years. I have managed 3 separate club locations, and have had a pleasant experience along the way. I have been involved with, and signed up thousands of members throughout the years. I have NEVER had a single customer come back to me, and say "you didn't explain this, or why was I charged this?" NOT ONCE!

Unfortunately a lot of these complaints levied again our company stems from misrepresentation of employees trying to make a "quick buck" through commissions! Employees that more often than not work for the company for 2 or 3 months, then decide that they would like to move on to other gyms to misrepresent. Let me clarify, I have seen many employees come and go, and the ones that go, normally go from gym, to gym, to gym, commonly referred in our industry as "gym rats"! And "rats" they are. Stealing the "cheese" from their employers, and clients alike. Leaving unsuspecting clients with complaints about the brand, and company name.

I take great pride in working with this company, and take customer service as my #1 priority. I truly believe from EXPERIENCE that being honest, and truthful from the beginning is the only way to build a long lasting relationship. And anybody reading this, can relate that last point to any aspect of their personal lives. We will grow this business, and continue to help people achieve their life fitness goals, despite the adversity we have faced recently.

In crunching some of the numbers brought about by this segment, I ask you to note the following;

Over 250,000 members.
Around 35,000 cancels processed per year.
Over 40,000 new members signed up per year.
200 complaints out of 35,000 people who have canceled, leaving a percentage of less than 1%?

A common analogy I often refer to when speaking with members upon signing them up relates to CBC's next segment "Canada's worst cell phone bill". Personally I have carried a cell with Rogers Communications for the past 12 years, without renewing once. Perpetually billed for the past 12 years. As a 'once happy, to frustrated, then disappointed, to almost canceling, back to being a happy customer' I can relate the "term, agreement, or contract" to my customers. If at the end of the 1, 2, or 3 year(s) term you enter into upon purchasing a cell phone, do your payments, or service automatically suspend itself, or does your carrier continue to bill until YOU, the customer decide to cancel, or suspend service? We all know from personal experience what the answer is!

I will be tuning into this weeks episode because I have nothing better to do on a Friday night, and look forward to CBC's next smear campaign. BAD NEWS will always sell. And a lot of what has said has been edited to suite the "story", and peak the audience's interest.

In closing, I would ask that all existing, potential new members, or anybody with questions relating to this story, go into your closest Premier Fitness club, and ask to speak directly with the manager. He or She will be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions. We have nothing to hide.

In reply to a comment from Johnny

Not sure if it's [i]alot[/i] or not. On the other hand, I am sure [i]a lot[/i] is two words.

In reply to a comment from Bryce

I have had both, terrible experience with Premier Fitness & great experience currently with Cardio-Go (in Toronto). While I believe that the experiences may differ from club to club (at every gym), the case made by this episode is the way the corporate office (of Premier) ultimately treats their members, despite how ethical or un-ethical the individual managers at each club may be. I am one of the *victims* of such case (at Premier) and had lost all my faith in the gym business for a while on top of the money (thank goodness I insisted on paying in cash up-front so at least I did not have to suffer some of the other cases with bank accounts/credit cards), until I found my new gym (Cardio-Go). I love my (current) gym!!

What a great show you did. I had a really hard time with Goodlife after cancelling as per their terms after knee surgery. What I am really writing about is the fact the Goodlife advertised on your show the week before the show aired and they were second on the list, very close behind Premier, and Goodlife was never named on air. You have a fantasic show and great topics but I am left with the thought at least of, that you endorse them as crediable since you will allow them to pay you. Goodlife owes me 487.00 and Marketplace seems to be in bed with one of the devils. Too bad, I was a big fan of the show. Reminds me of when the Heart and Stroke took money from companies to put their HeartSmart label on unhealthy food. Shame Shame Marketplace.

What are you talking about all these charges. Actually I worked at Premier Fitness as a Account Receivable Collector and felt so sorry the way including me how we collected money from innocent members and ex members in an unprofessional manner. Further more who ever was unable to collect the money whether it genuine or not had to leave the company with out proper cause.

I totally agree, the Ymca is a great gym to check out. And you can cancel at anytime and not be locked into an agreement. I would have been a member there for years and have no complaints. Definitely buyer beware if you sing up anywhere else.

Whenever I see one of those glossy adverts in my super-mailbox, I just stuff it back in the general mailslot. About a dozen per month. I didn't ask for it and I don't want it. I shouldn't be responsible for the disposing of it.

In reply to a comment from Experience

As a professional in the Fitness Industry, yes, it IS our call, and our responsibility to try and motivate people to come into the gym. I can tell you, from personal experience, that the fitness industry IS, in fact, the new health care system. Having been medically classified as 'morbidly obese', I can tell you that commitment and motivation is absolutely number one!

In reply to a comment from Michele Verdenik

It's great you are very happy and congratulations to you for your success. The actual problem is not during membership, but when you try to end your membership and the gym keeps taking money from your bank account.

I was a member with Premier Fitness at one time. I was double billed one month and trying to get the money back was a nightmare. You have to deal with the staff at the club and they talk to head office who never seem to know anything. However the experience made me wiser and when I cancelled I covered myself and had no problems. I would recommend taking the following action when you are cancelling from a health club particularily psc.

1) Get a cancellation receipt from the club noting the last billing date.

2) If you are having your monthly payments billed to your credit card contact your card company and advise them you are cancelling form the club.Send the credit card company a letter staing you are not authorizing any payments from the club after the last bill date.

3) Send a registered letter to the club telling them you are cancelling your membership and you have advised your card company you are not authorizing payments after the agreed upon date.Send a copy of this letter to your card company. The process may cost you 10 bucks or so but will save you alot of hassle.

Good luck.

This guy who repped the club said that he has 35000 cancelllations to deal with? is it me or is that alot of cancellations. It should tell you something about the club & the nerve of this club to claim to be one of the best 50 managed businesses in Canada.(according to their website).

Cardillo, you are an embarassment. Too many steroids in your youth clouded your brain sense today.

While looking at figures for the top 5 gyms, it occurred to me that the rankings would be very different if the numbers of complaints were adjusted for the number of clubs each chain operates.

Goodlife, which is listed at #2, had 125 complaints but has by far the largest number of clubs (275), which roughly equates to less than half a complaint per club. Premier, listed at #1, had 198 complaints but operates only 55 clubs, which equates to just under 4 complaints per club. The clubs numbered 3-5 actually do worse by comparison, with 5.5, 2.5 and 6 complaints per club respectively.

I appreciate that this poll's methodology does not lend itself to making any conclusions regarding which chains are "best" and "worst" no matter which criteria are chosen - but just as population demographics are published in "per 100,000" figures, I suspect the results of the poll would be quite different if converted to complaints per number of clubs or complaints per number of members.

Just a thought.

It took months before we could get out of Premier Fitness! We signed cancellation forms and had to give them 30 days notice, so that was 2 payments. Even past that date, they kept taking money out of our accounts. Despite, telephone calls, faxes, stop payments we had to close bank account and cancel credit cards.

CBC is being unclear about these numbers here. Is there any relation between the number of people surveyed relative to the membership of the gym? Where is the sample size in this table?

This is particularly telling because of the differences between the Premier Fitness and Goodlife numbers. Goodlife has only 63% the number of complaints as Premier, however Goodlife also has 5 times the number of gyms! This suggests that Goodlife is actually the number 1 best gym out of all contenders, assuming an equivalent random sample of members was surveyed from each gym.

Did CBC do their statistics properly? Probably not. The media almost never gets mathematics / statistics correct. Most likely the data shown here proves absolutely nothing other than the fact that you should not give payment pre-authorization to a gym.

I've worked in the fitness industry for 18 years. There are lots of bad practices out there. When looking for a gym I would a) never give my banking info for direct withdrawal, b) look at their equipment to determine if they repair and maintain it, and c) do a thorough inspection of the showers to ensure they are maintained. I find those are great indicators of how the gym is run. The number of years that employees have worKed for the company is also an indicator of how well employees are treated. I would highly recommend corporations that run fitness centres not for profit, like municiple centres or the Y. Always check to see if you are locked in for a year, many places will now offer no-commitment terms.

I have only ever had a positive experience with my gym membership. I think this is an unfair representation. NOT ALL CLUBS ARE LIKE THIS! There are alot of clubs/owners out there that are operating great facilites and are completely ethical. It is alos up to the consumer to do their due diligence as well. I love my gym!

The culprits in this case from my knowledge aren't the independent run or ma and pa gyms, it's the shady corporations like 'premier fitness'

This isn't a smear on all gyms, but just like everything else in this world a few have tarnished the majority. I know 5-10 people who have had difficulty with gyms taking payments from bank accounts or credit cards after their membership was supposedly cancelled. Paper work had been signed, etc...but the gym continued to take payment. This is bad business anyway you look at it. You can call the bank every month and have a stop payment on the amount of you membership. But then they gym will increase or decrease the amount by a few cents to still get their money. This is stealing and fraudulent!! What common person has the time or money to pursue charges against a large cororation, very few...so the only options are to cancel credit cards or close bank accounts. This is a huge inconvenience because you have to get in touch with all of the ethical businesses you desk with and give them your new information. It's too bad that all gyms are being branded with the same iron because there are a few unethical corporations out there.

Prem

My Goodlife Fitness contract expired but they continued to bill me for services I was not using. The TD Bank blocked payment but they called me everyday for a year on a $50 bill. The contract I signed had a one year term but was in fact a lifetime contract - self renewing every year. Beware folks these creeps aren't into fitness but bilking good people out of their funds!

It's not only the gyms but also the cell phone companies, etc...and what makes it so sickeing is that they get off with it! I thought Canada had laws to protect us small people? Will anything be done about Premier Fitness? That CEO guy should be held accountable for his wrong doings! His business partner was very rude and defensive in his tone. He obviously didn't watch or listen to what the club people were saying! The best of luck in getting refunded:)

I watched the episode and i couldnt believe how dead on you were i worked for premier fitness for 1 year i worked cutomer service my job was to do the cancelation and any billing issue's i cant even tell you how many cutomers came in and said they were doubled bill so many time's i tell you if theses customers didnt notice it on their statements nothing would be done, I would call head office and as why these people were double billed they could never give a straight anwser and as for cancellations i was told by one of the admin workers at head office that the first cancellation never goes through. The refund cheques ? if you come in and you are over billed or did a 10 day cancellation when i did up the request forms and sent it in together it was never done i would have to email and call all the time to try and get these refunds i had people coming in saying they were supose to get a refund 6 months ago. It doesnt even stop there its not just the customers its the employees we only would be paid once a month and even then it would be a couple days late we dont even get direct depoist its a cheque this company has like 37 gyms but his ottawa location suffers the most i think this gym has wrong advertising it says its newly renovated only have of it is, machines are broken and haven't been fixed and these customers are geting charged up the ass for what ? I am very glad that this episode aired it now shows this company for you they really are .

I have been with the YMCA on and off over the years and never had problems cancelling once. The staff for the most part are friendly and helpful. I am currently at the gym again.

I cancelled my membership at Extreme Fitness at Yonge/Sheppard in writing. They cancelled me. However, I moved due to divorcing my ex-wife and I moved. Turns out I forgot to pay the rest of my personal training sessions. I quit in January 2006 and a collection agency for the gym contacted me June 21/2008 about the personal training sessions. I paid the collection agency as I acknowledge the fact that I used them and forgot to pay it ($300). In December 2010 the same collection agency called me demanding I pay $300 for the personal training sessions I already paid for back in June 2007. I called Extreme Fitness and got the run around (I still have proof I paid). I advised the collection agency that I paid, they said I didn't, Extreme says I didn't pay. I told both of them that it was paid and if you want, sue me. The Statute of Limitations have passed anyway to take action against me (but I've already paid) and I refuse to acknowledge the debt. Never again will I ever join a gym.

I am SO happy this series was done - despite already knowing who the 'winner' would be.

Proctor and Cardillo are disgustingly transparent in this report - not even addressing the questions and accusations at hand. Rather, they dart around the issue blatantly claiming no responsibility for the companies wrong doings.

This company is an outright scandal and I can't understand how they even maintain employees (myself being an ex-employee of PF) and how they maintain such a large database of members.

my daughter got caught up in the 'personal trainer' speech,and can not get out of the contract. any ideas. HELP!

I think that in any industry there are levels of service and ethics. The ethics of BMW dealership might be better than that of a sleazy used car lot.
The gym culture has grown from these low-end gyms, who do these types of scams. This culture has been going on so long, that many staff from these types of places, have moved own to open their own "gyms" with the same terrible ethics. The bottom line is quality boutique gyms or executive clubs operate at a higher level of ethics.
If you are lured in by "$12 a month" or "no payments for six months", expect a scam or fine print. Look for clubs have one location or higher end "clubs". if you can't afford it, join a YMCA or recreation center.
The irony is, you'll end up paying more at these fast food fitness gyms, so bite the bullet and go with quality.
These horror stories amaze me, as this seems to be such common knowledge yet educated people keep going back. A good gym is going to cost you more money, they won't do "deals" but you will get professional and fair treatment.

Now that it is obvious that gym fitness centers are abusing (verualy engaging in criminal activity in my opinion), perhaps the Alberta government will CANCEL the fitness tax deduction for people who join such corrupt and greedy fitness centers. Why should taxpayers become the abused through such sleazy business practices. In Alberta, we have that tax fitness deduction recently created but if this is the case (corruption business practices) then lets demand that the Alberta government do away with this tax deduction that is feeding this greedy industry.

One way to avoid unilateral service agreements is to rescind them. That can be done by imposing your own unilateral service agreement on any cheques you write to such companies.Obtain an inkpad and rubber stamp with the following words written on it in 6-point or smaller type:

Your negotiation of this cheque constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions can be found at: http://wp.me/pvvc0-6Q in Section 2.

Of course, you can use your own link, and write your own terms, but the above will do for most people.

In reply to a comment from kelly

kelly, Is the bad name deserved? It certainly sounds from Premier Fitness that it is. It`s a huge shame for `your` industry that the owner of Premier Fitness was so defensive. If he had appologised and said he`d look into each and every complaint, he might have done something to help `your`industry. Instead, he basically denied, ignored, and said the complainants were liars. I love gyms, but I will never join a big chain gym. I`ll stick to my small time gym, the Y or the City recreation centre. I think Premier et al deserve their `bad names`. Thank you Market Place.

everything about Premier is True. I worked there for 2 years and quit because of not only how they treat their members, but how they treat their employees in regards to pay, vacation, T4's ect. John Cardillo is the worst person to work for. He once picked apart a receptionist in front of 100 or more employees a head office meeting because his uniform shirt was a little big on him. He also sent one of his head office employees home infront of everyone because he hadn't done exactly what was asked of him. Those things should be kept private and between boss and employee.
we would be paid on avg. every 41 days. Chqs would bounce,we wouldn't get paid what we were supposed to, we were in charge of going to mississauga to get our chqs. He always conveniently was out of town and not able to sign the chqs around pay day, and I once had to put all the chqs into envelopes when I went to pick up my clubs chqs. They said if I wanted to get my chq I had to stuff all of the envelopes. ridiculous.

I couldn't stand to see people being screwed over. I would get complaints about being double billed numerous times a day. I hope people see this and quit Premier asap.

Great Story, how ironic that I was watching your report while on Gold's Gym Eliptical Trainer.
I too like most of your posts had a bad experience with a gym, mine was World Health out here in Western Canada.
They too after cancellation agreements signed by both parties kept dipping into my bank account for sums of money that were in the hundreds of dollars & disguised under some cryptic acronym. All Fall, I was on the phone to VISA to have the charges reversed and was successful. They prey on people for small amounts and intimidate them with legal letter-heads in the mail if you don't comply. As you saw in the report last night, they rarely show up for Court, so stand up and don't accept this kind of fraud. They'll only take advantage of you if they can.
Good report - got my heart-rate up!

They should be looking into the lawyer(s) that assist these companies!

I am amazed that people would go into 'C' level gyms, having heard all the stuff about billing issues and still join. At this point it's common knowledge. The issue is that there are three levels of clubs really and you get what you pay for. The public needs to understand this. There are gym chains, executive clubs and private clubs, with executive clubs being the middle level. It might cost you a little more per month to join this type of executive club, but you will get a higher level of professionalism in all areas. With any "deal" like $12 bucks a month at a volume "gym" there is a catch. There is always a catch.
An executive level "club" will cost you between $79 and $110 per month, to avoid these issues. They don't do price deals, but offer professional service, management and billing. The irony is that in most cases, you'll end up paying as much at a lower end gym anyway. Try a club, not a gym.

i was a member of gold gym in saskatoon early 80s my membership was 400.00 for 2 years when it came time to renew i heard a rumour they were shutting down the day the sales guy called me i said no thanks pressure he used on me never worked next day they were out of business....i go by a golden rule do not give any banking info out to anyone or personal info and change credit cards every 2 years you will be protected good job c b c

In reply to a comment from Lindsey

Yes, as a former banker I agree with Lindsey. Firstly, it is so important that customers always check their bank statement as soon as it is received. Better still, follow their accounts on electronic banking. The best way to stop the debits is to put a blank stop payment on, to stop all debits from the fitness club. From experience I know the next debit will have a late charge, etc. added on, so the amounts they debit will vary. The consmer does have 90 days from the debit date to dispute a pre-approved payment (PAP).

I had been a member of Curves for Women for many years and never had a problem with them. I only paid monthly, gave one month notice when leaving the club, and was never billed again. I would never join a club where you had to pay one year up front, and/or be forced to give your financial information ie ) visa or bank account.

Here I was grumbling about the few broken down treadmills for the past 2 weeks. I think I'll give all the Y staff a hug today.

I was inquiring about some programs for my kids at the front desk. The first thing she asked me, "so you want to suspend the account"? If a regular staff at the Y can suspend/cancel accounts at the terminal, why can't these fitness chains?

Its a shame they didn't interview some of their creditors. I use to work in advertising, and we had trouble getting paid after fulfilling their campaign!

I used to work in a gym...eye-opener.
1. Some gyms have members who are using incorrect techniques in work-outs, and staff/trainers do not approach to help.
2. Some gyms have up-to-date eqt, then sell sugar water and sugary products disguised as smoothies, health drinks and energy bars.
3. Some gyms have great personal trainers who work for peanuts and a moody boss who insists they smile all day.
4. To take out a membership: I would bring a witness AND tape recorder to use while signing up for when they go over the contract in detail (which they are supposed to do).
5. No reason at all to pay gym fees, travel to and from, touch gym eqt that others (who don't wash their hands after using restroom) have previously touched, or stand in bare feet in shower, when you can work out at home, with friends, use free materials online, etc.

What percentage of respondants said they were completely happy with their previous membership and were not over charged at all? Or was this survey made up entirely of unhappy ex-customers?

2 WORDS:

"CLASS ACTION"

Some of you with stories about this fitness company or others should consider speaking with a class action lawyer. Sounds like plenty of evidence is available.

Government should tighten regulations against this, esp. misuse of banking information. Fines or limits on automatic debiting should be used.

Many businesses know you are less likely to cancel if it comes out of your account, they can get a few more payments that way. That does not make it as bad as described in the story.

Many studies suggest most people don't use the gym enough to get your money's worth; many want you to be impressed with expensive machines and slow, safe improvements, rather than tell you to work harder with heavy cheap weights, which would be quite effective for many people. A recent Men's Journal magazine (nov 2010) makes some of these points and speaks of how the industry wants of course to keep you reliant on them for longer.

Honestly, I work for a fitness company at the Head Office and most of the issues that I come across are from people that didn't read the contract, don't understand how their bank account works and can never make their payments so they always have an outstanding balance on their account. Yet, we are trying to rip them off? Hardly. Mind you yes, if there is a discrepancy with a members account and we as a company are at fault for that mistake then we are more then willing to correct that issue for the member and offer compensation to the member because we value each and every member. I do not work for Premiere however, but this is shedding unfavorable light on other fitness clubs and scaring people into thinking that we are just out to get you.

If you read your contract front to back and have an understanding of our responsibilities as a company providing you with a service, and your responsibilities as a member then everything will work in harmony. Plus I must add that once you sign the contract you are as a consumer protected under the 2002 Consumer Act and are given 10 days from signing the membership to cancel it without penalty.

We are not out to get you, we are trying to provide people with a way to live a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for listening.

Called a 24 hour Premier Fitness location recently in Oakville about membership rates. The guy ask me right away "How much can you afford?" I'm like what?? Again, he repeated this to me then asked "How old are you?" I couldn't get a straight answer from this employee on membership rates. This location by the way requires a seperate membership from Premier Fitness.

I joined a gym a couple of years ago and remember now that the guy who signed me up gave me some bank account advice -- as he was insisting I give him my banking info. So that's probably another ploy.

Anyway, all was well for about 3 months till one of those special "thank you for being members" parties where there was a game that resulted in me getting a private consultation and being sold tanning. Well the consultant ended up being very shaming to me. I felt very apprehensive about going but was locked in for most of the rest of a year.

Basically I could barely show my face there again. I was not motivated to go at all. Then when the year came up, it took me an extra month to get out because they told me I had missed the deadline to get out by a day. So another $76 for another month I didn't use.

Luckily that was the end of them taking payments but they still send me their fitness email blasts --- probably to get me to sign up again.

Nope. Not doing that.

Re: Cancellation
Registered mail or having someone at the fitness club sign for the cancellation is the best method. I recently cancelled my PSC and the last payment was deducted so we'll see if they try their antics... if so, I will cancel my credit card immediately and hound them day & night.

In reply to a comment from Marie-Eve

This is true, I have many friends that use the Y and they have never had any problems with them.

I work at a bank and I have to do stop payments and close peoples accounts every week because of gyms taking out fees that they have cancelled. I have started to warn people that come in to get a direct payment form that if it is for a gym to think twice.

An additional reason why Canada is full of authoritarians including the system. All Gyms are the same, offering the same product with differentiate services like cellphone companies. I will neither sign a contract nor provide any bank account information, ever! I am the customer, I decide when, how and what I want. The best solution for this kinds of dirty and authoritarian business is to: eat healthy, run, exercise in your own home, play sport, walk, drink water (no soda), bike, and sleep well. You will do a great deal of favor for yourself to get fit and not to be caught up with the stress and frustration dealing with these greedy people.

In reply to a comment from kelly

Not all gyms or trainers are the same and if you are conducting your business honestly and fairly then you've got nothing to worry about. People still need places to work out and professionals to educate them in health and fitness. The educated consumer will find the good gyms.

This program was so pertinent for me as last Wednesday I went to a Good Life gym intending to sign up. During the meeting with an employee, I voiced my concern about the gym having access to my bank account and she advised me to open another bank account solely to pay my gym fees. I thought that was reasonable, as if I opened a Presidents Choice bank account I could just put money into the account to cover the bi weekly gym fees. Also it would be convenient as my local Good life gym is above a Loblaws store and the bank is right there so I could deposit the cash on my way into the gym plus I could grocery shop using the Presidents Choice card. I would be interested to hear if anybody else has gone this route. I haven't signed up yet but was going to go with the 6 month option with 6 sessions with a personal trainer.

Fantastic information shared. This is my story exactly and I have heard many other stories similar to this about Premire Fitness. I hope that there have been many viewers watching this and getting the information before the make the mistake of joining.

Thanks John Cardillo for giving our industry a bad name.

There was recently a Fitness One branch closure at Main and Danforth in Toronto. Many members of that branch are still not aware that their banking information was "transferred" (or sold!) to the closest gym - Mademoiselle/Premier without their knowledge or permission. In the months prior to the closure, the gym was pressuring women to join with excessive phone calls and an extended 100 dollar promotion; all this just before closing down. Many of us cannot be refunded and have difficulty confirming with the new staff that they DO NOT have our banking information...... This concerns A LOT of women....

Finally!!! So glad someone is bringing this to light. I tried to cancel with Goodlife Fitness, I was pressured into staying but because of a move out of province explained I needed to cancel. The rep said there were no issues and she would cancel. The next month I received a $100 charge on my credit card, when I called, I was told this is the cancellation fee... something that was never discussed 1. when I signed up 2. when I cancelled at the club.

In reply to a comment from Lynda- Gym Owner

Unfortunately you are taking a rather arrogant viewpoint. What people decide around their fitness goals and how they decide to enact them is not your call, it is theirs. Too many people have been ripped off by unethical gym owners and they are smart to be careful. If you assume, as you seem to, that the client is wrong, then sooner or later the client will be smart enough to walk away from your business.

In reply to a comment from Mitchell

I agree with "trainer/Kinesiologist"
Your trainer was obviously not qualified.
I am a trainer and I have 5 year honours degree in Kinesiology and Health science, I have certs with the canadian society for exercise physiologists which is the highest you can get in Canada.
I have lots of experience and have been in the industry for 6 years .
There are very qualified people out there. Just like with anything you buy, you need to make informed decisions. If someone hires a trainer, they should ask what their qualifications are how much experience they have especially if they are uneasy. A trainer will have no problem if you ask them these questions .

You are being very ignorant with your statement

I have been through the ringer with Premier Fitness over the years and this episode of Marketplace echoes my experiences with this company. Following the agreed to terms and conditions of the club, the cancellation of my membership was without question an arduous, unnecessarily complicated and sometimes comical process. Due to the close proximity of the company headquarters to my place of business, I would frequent them to try and get my questions answered and refuse to be intimidated by snooty and confrontational staff when I clearly knew I was in the right. Don't back down or give an inch. GoodLife Fitness is the best...

Big box gyms have their place in the world, but I used to work for one and didn't enjoy it at all.

As a personal trainer, my objective is to change lives. It's difficult to do that when you charge outragious rates that most people cannot afford in this economy. That is why I branched out and began my own personal training business.

Great report! Really enjoyed seeing someone expose a few of the underlying truths of the "big gym" market.

I am very interested interested in this episode. I've been in the industry for over 10 years and worked for 3 separate companies private and corporate. The industry is not perfect an there is a lot of completes that are lagit. Most clubs have blogs created by the members. Read them. Most concerns are real. Speak to more than one friend about their experience of any gym you are considering joining. Always have a paper trail. Don't take a Managers word. Get it in writing. If it soulnds to good to be true it mostly likely is. At the end of the most fitness clubs are want to help you and make a quick buck in the progress.....

I am def looking forward to this episode! I don't think it is fair to assume that all gyms are collecting bank information from members in order to pull a fast one on their bank account. As a gym owner of a small town club that was started from scratch I can attest to the fact that the reason I personally price and market my contracts different from my paid upfront dues is because of the whole foundation of fitness being a lifestyle, and something you should incorporate into your life for the long term; not just when you feel like it. Most legit gyms will have clauses stating ways to cancel for reasons like moving far away, or medical emergencies. For planning and budgeting purposes written notice is required and fees often apply but as an owner (that was a long time gym member)I think this is a fair to deal with the common fickleness of our industry. People are very good at finding excuses and scape goats in this industry. In my opinion in compares to cancelling a food order once you've already put it in, or cancelling a golf club membership because you are too lazy to walk the course. I am not saying that all clubs are legit, but please don't judge the entire industry based on the clubs that take advantage of clients. Do your research, and be an educated consumer, just like you do/shoud do when spending money in any other industry!! And as far as personal trainers go, please keep in mind their education and their role as your planner, counseller, motivator, goal setter, coach, and biggest fan...our job is a challenging one and often in the bigger clubs the personal trainers themselves see very little of the fees that you are charged...AGAIN, something you should investigate and question before signing up.

In reply to a comment from Michele Verdenik

I agree! Most YMCA's fees are very upfront and you can cancel without penalties. Not all gym's are the same. Just like when you are shopping for a dree or a shirt, you have to shop around for the best gym for you.

In reply to a comment from Mitchell

obviously your personal trainer was not qualified and you need to learn about the amount of education that goes into being a 'qualified' trainer. go pay for a qualified trainer!

In reply to a comment from Mitchell

Regular physical activity and a healthy eating IS the next health care system. You are frustrated by gym memberships that cost a little over 1$/day; Think about how you would feel if Private Fitness Agencies go under, and then YOUR taxes are used to pay for the Nations gym memberships...

In reply to a comment from Mitchell

Regular physical activity and a healthy eating IS the next health care system. You are frustrated by gym memberships that cost a little over 1$/day; Think about how you would feel if Private Fitness Agencies go under, and then YOUR taxes are used to pay for the Nations gym memberships...

Never let gyms have access to your bank account, that's asking for trouble. A friend of mine was hired for a 30 minute women's gym and used to tell people she lost 75 pounds and claimed to be able to teach how to exercise. Neither were true but she was convincing. I am also tired of the ancillary sales of intestinal cleanses and weight loss powders with all kinds of fantastical claims. Just as there are sad get rich quick schemes there are sad get thin quick ones but these can damage more than your wallet. Caveat emptor.

Thank You for doing this! My girlfriend signed up for a Premier Fitness membership for a year and the salesman told her it cancels automatically after the 12 months. She paid all dues for the period and canceled her membership. She received a bill for 450$ after a year. It is not really the fact that they did not notify her about the unpaid membership bills monthly, nor the fact that their employees immediately started to threaten her with collection agencies when she e-mailed with questions that really made me mad. What caused my ever long hatred for that company is the fact that they lied that she called them multiple times regarding her contract, and she was notified about them over the phone. Of course, the record of those conversations does not exist. I've read multiple accounts of people having the same experiences not only with Premier but with other big gym chains. My advice is if you have to sign up to a big gym always pay up front whatever amount you owe them and NEVER EVER give them your credit card, hell, use a fake name to be totally safe.

I tried to get back into the same gym I was amember of a year ago, and they would never tell me the price of memberships over the phone, they want you to come in. Even a car saleman will tell you the price. Red flags or what? I gave up.

I joined a gym last March. The membership fees were clearly explained to me and were definately affordable. There has never been any problem with the charges that come out of my bank account. I also hired a personal trainer, and, although it was expensive, those costs were clearly defined as well. It was the best thing I ever did. I have lost 77 pounds to date and have never felt better. I thank them every day. Don't judge all gyms on the say of a few people with bad experiences. Perhaps they did not listen to all the specifics when they signed up.

I am sick of exaggerated gym membership fees & overpaid personal trainers who have no business in the medical and health care field.

Not all Gyms are the same. there are a lot of good opertors out there who are not trying to lock you in rather trying to deliver fitness in a fair manner. Such as allowing you to stop your membreship for the times you are not using or for medical reasons andnot locking you in to a term also with no comission based staff

attended shapes fitness winniopeg nairn location for approx 6 months, went into the pembina location one day to find out that my membershgip was suspended, after countless phone calls to "head office" apparently I had dropped some weights and my membership was terminated.No one would even talk to me. They still wanted me to pay my years membershiop. I had to change bank accounts and I still have this debt linked to my credit score.

In ~2007, approximately 2 years after stopping my family membrships to Premier Fitness, in Hamilton, Ontario, the head office removed ~$750 from my bank account in three separet transactions. I contacted my bank and they reversed the transactions. I should have reported this to the RCMP fraud deparatment.

My son cancelled his membership, but they continued to withdraw the monthly payments out of his account.Is that not theft! They did not pay him back any of the money once we finally were able to stop them from taking the payments out.

I work as a credit card dispute agent for one of the largest banks in Canada and we have a database loaded with information on all the companies that scr*w people over in Canada. There are two major gyms that continue to charge people even if they cancel. I've seen the one chain charge customers hundreds of extra dollars and make it almost impossible to get proof of cancellation.