T Nation

Gold's Gym Deceptive Sales

I signed on with Gold’s a while back and was tod if I ever move, the membership will transfer to the other Gold’s gym.

Today I found out that was a bunch of crap. They said their membership does not transfer, but if I sign a contract at the other gym, they will cancel my current membership. I may get double billed for a month or two by the time they get the membership canceled.

Thats crap man. I don’t want to get locked into another contract for a year or more with Gold’s, and I definitely do not want to pay another several hundred dollar initiation fee.

Man, I swear I hate getting into a contract with a business.

You have to watch that stuff and read the fine print. The Gold’s, Powerhouses, and World’s up around here all pull that crap. Unfortunately, if they’re the only deals in town, you’re stuck.

Pete:

I could really use more info on this, since “Gold’s” is the main player around here.

I thought they had “Universal” Memberships…in other words, membership to ONE allowed you to go to others.

Is that wrong? OR are there different TYPES/LEVELS of membership you can purchase?

(I often have wondered about that because “Gold’s” are actually individual Franchises).

Any thoughts?

Mufasa

[quote]Petedacook wrote:
I signed on with Gold’s a while back and was tod if I ever move, the membership will transfer to the other Gold’s gym.

Today I found out that was a bunch of crap. They said their membership does not transfer, but if I sign a contract at the other gym, they will cancel my current membership. I may get double billed for a month or two by the time they get the membership canceled.

Thats crap man. I don’t want to get locked into another contract for a year or more with Gold’s, and I definitely do not want to pay another several hundred dollar initiation fee.

Man, I swear I hate getting into a contract with a business.
[/quote]

I once had a gym membership at a place I moved a state away from. Found out after a few months that they decided to take the liberty of finding my single payment check (I only signed for 6 months), and use the numbers to withdraw monthly dues from my account. They refused to refund the money, stating that their contracts are automatically renewing. I, of course, didn’t have a copy due to the move. Only way to cancel it? Can only be canceled in person, or by sending a certified letter. And THEN, they would have to charge for two additional months after cancellation.

After several, VERY angry phone calls at their inept personnel, and almost having to speak with the owner of the chain, they accepted my certified letter, and ONLY charged me for one additional month.

I HATE gym contracts. The sooner I get a home gym, the better. Even though it was technically my fault for not checking the contract thoroughly, they did a piss poor job of trying convince someone in another state that I should pay for dues with them.

I have access to 3 different Gold’s in my area. I think it is related to Franchise and I can only go to the gyms under that particular franchise, but I am not really sure how that works.

I actually frequent a different Gold’s from the one I signed up with, but the one near where I am moving is not one I am allowed to atttend.

Now if you are on vacation, you can go into any Gold’s for the day/week you are on vacation. At least that is what they tole me when I signed on with them.

One more thing, I saw a sign on their wall about upgrading membership to Platinum or something and you will be able to frequent something like 130+ Gold’s. I will check that banner ad out and report back when I hit the weights again on Monday.

For the most part it is a decent gym, although I complain about it from time to time. Much better than other options I have like Sport & Health, or Planet Fitness. I would really like to have the option of finding something else though. It seems DCtrainer has a decent gig I could get into. I would just like the option.

This is horse shit. I hate businesses that pull this kind of shit. It always seems to “take 30 days” to cancel anything. Why? All they have to do is punch a few keys on the computer and it’s done. Pure horse shit.

Sorry to hear about the problem, Pete…and thanks for the feedback.

By the way; this type of thing has been a NATIONAL problem that the 50 Attorney Generals offices have been fighting for years. (I think that the “poster child” was “Bally’s” for Membership abuses).

The AG’s can deal with Chains as a whole, but not with the THOUSANDS of individual contracts that must be out there.

If you can’t get satisfaction at the Local Level (which is the best bet); I would contact the Virginia AG’s office.

They are typical bureaucracies; but they definitely would like to know about problems with Gym memberships.

Mufasa

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

I could really use more info on this, since “Gold’s” is the main player around here.

I thought they had “Universal” Memberships…in other words, membership to ONE allowed you to go to others.

Is that wrong? OR are there different TYPES/LEVELS of membership you can purchase?

(I often have wondered about that because “Gold’s” are actually individual Franchises).

Any thoughts?
[/quote]

There’s two different types of Gold’s: Corporate and Franchise. Corporate Golds’ tend to be a little more up-to-date and fancy, while Franchises are hit and miss when it comes to quality of equipment.

While the memberships are not universal per se, you can get travel passes to access other Golds’ in the area. These last for about 2 weeks before you have to get another one. Now, from what I was told, if you belong to a Franchise and try to go to a Corporate Gold’s, the Corporate Gold’s can still charge you an admission fee. This did not happen to me when I tried a Corporate Gold’s, but I was ready for it in case I was charged.

In short, if you’re confused, ask direct questions to the people who work at the gym. They’ll be more than happy to be straightforward AFTER you hand over your money.

[quote]mazevedo wrote:
This is horse shit. I hate businesses that pull this kind of shit. It always seems to “take 30 days” to cancel anything. Why? All they have to do is punch a few keys on the computer and it’s done. Pure horse shit.[/quote]

It is pure shit and the only reason I even allow it to happen at all is because…I personally need to workout and building a home gym that matches the weight I use just isn’t practical at the moment. I honestly don’t care if they rip off people who never workout, but I feel they do serious trainers a huge injustice by trying to trap them into contracts like this.

I had Bally’s Presidents and First Ladies try to fuck up by credit FOR YEARS because I signed a contract when I was 17 years old. It was one of those “work out here for free for two weeks and then decide if you want to join” type things. I was of course broke and being 17, was dumb enough to sign the contract pushed in my face by some sales guy who was looking to make his monthly quota. I assumed that since I never went back after two weeks there would be no repercussions. I find out a year later that this has been turned over to a collections agency and the price I owe is hundreds of dollars.

It wasn’t until they were sued for pulling the same crap with others (who ended up reimbursing me at least 200 bucks for “pain and suffering” for over 5 years of credit damage) that this particular debt disappeared from my credit report.

I will never use another one of their facilities and if it wasn’t for Gold’s being more “forgiving” to military, I wouldn’t own a membership there either. 24 Hour Fitness is the only place that hasn’t screwed me.

[quote]mazevedo wrote:
This is horse shit. I hate businesses that pull this kind of shit. It always seems to “take 30 days” to cancel anything. Why? All they have to do is punch a few keys on the computer and it’s done. Pure horse shit.[/quote]

I worked at Gold’s for two years. I believe on the back of the contract, it states that each gym is privatley owned, meaning each rate will be different at every gym. I told that to whoever asked me, then again I wasn’t a sales person so… I just was working front desk at night.

The 30 day cancellation thing is basically your “30 day notice” to cancel, so if you do it after you have been billed for example on the 10th and cancel on the 12th, you would get billed again next month on the 10th and your membership would be cancelled effective on the 12th of the next month. It says on the back of the contract. Everything is in print. Sometimes the sales guys don’t always tell you everything, that’s why you gotta read ALL of the print on the back before signing anything.

Sorry they misinformed you, I would be pissed off too. Good luck straightening all the bs out.

Speaking of pissed off members, how’s this for bad? Gold’s here just recently closed up basically with no notice to any members, staff, etc. The owners were the only ones who truly knew what was going on, the rest of us were up in the air. I had to find out the damn gym was going out of business through the newspaper, and even then I had no idea what was a rumor and what was true. The damn owner was still taking $$ from people, selling memberships, etc from people even a week before he even knew the place was going under. So if someone (This really happened) committed for 2 years for himself and his wife for $1000, he was S.O.L because he paid in cash and there was no way he was getting the $$ back. Why? Because the owner had no $$ to give back! It was a bunch of horse shit let me tell you.

I still haven’t even gotten my last pay check still, and this happened about a month ago. I’m in the process though. It was a shitty situation to say the least. ALOT of pissed off people.

Did you pay on credit card and do you have any installments left? If you do and they actually lied to you about the membership, you should instruct your credit card company to dispute the charge.

WR:

Any idea if they would have been better “protected” by paying with a Credit Card?

“Cash is King”…but it seems like in this World, you have to be DAMN CAREFUL!

The “Gold’s” in our area are pretty solid. There is HUGE population growth and a Local Air Force Base that keeps them busy.

All four have also existed for years. Nonetheless, you guys have helped A LOT with what to watch out for as I consider membership.

Another thing WR; do they tend to allow you to take contracts home to read?

Mufasa

[quote]Petedacook wrote:

I actually frequent a different Gold’s from the one I signed up with, but the one near where I am moving is not one I am allowed to atttend.

[/quote]

Just out of curiosity, why are you not allowed in that particular gym, if you don’t mind saying?

[quote]TornadoTommy wrote:
Petedacook wrote:

I actually frequent a different Gold’s from the one I signed up with, but the one near where I am moving is not one I am allowed to atttend.

Just out of curiosity, why are you not allowed in that particular gym, if you don’t mind saying?[/quote]

I think it is a different franchise or something. Not in the “Network.” Can’t say I know for sure.

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
WR:

Any idea if they would have been better “protected” by paying with a Credit Card?

“Cash is King”…but it seems like in this World, you have to be DAMN CAREFUL!

The “Gold’s” in our area are pretty solid. There is HUGE population growth and a Local Air Force Base that keeps them busy.

All four have also existed for years. Nonetheless, you guys have helped A LOT with what to watch out for as I consider membership.

Another thing WR; do they tend to allow you to take contracts home to read?

Mufasa[/quote]

Oh I’m sure that if they had paid with electronic transfer that they would’ve been reimbursed somehow; maybe not from the gym but the bank maybe? I don’t know for sure…

I believe that there has never been a problem with someone asking to bring a contract home to read, but I think alot of people don’t ever take the time to actually read the thing before signing the name. They just take what the sales guy says for what it’s worth.

Unfortunatley alot of people got screwed over. Not every gold’s is like this, this owner just had many problems with his business and I’m sure they will haunt him for many years.

Thanks, WR!

They have been noted to be one of the Top Franchises one can own (Gym or otherwise).

Do your research on your location and the population you will most likely serve, and most franchisees do pretty well.

Mufasa

Chances are, the three you’re allowed in are all owned by the same person, so he lets those memberships access his/her other gyms. The Gold’s I’m a member of (convenience, not choice) is owned by a guy who has a total of 4 gyms in the area, but there are at least 2-3 others that don’t, and would never honor the membership.

A franchise gym is basically an owner/operator who pays a fee to hang the name over the wall so they can get more memberships. I’m sure there’s more privileges than that on the inside, but that’s what it comes down to.

When my wife and I were buying a house last year, I had to clear something up with Bally’s that she had taken out 10 years earlier at the age of 17. They were terrible before they finally got sued, and I still had to pay a little to get it off of her credit report, the bastards!!!

Yeah…

Again…“Bally’s” was the “poster child” for the 50 Attorney’s General Offices on membership contracts in the Gym industry.

Apparently they had messed up a LOT of people’s credit with their practices.

Mufasa

[quote]Professor X wrote:
mazevedo wrote:
This is horse shit. I hate businesses that pull this kind of shit. It always seems to “take 30 days” to cancel anything. Why? All they have to do is punch a few keys on the computer and it’s done. Pure horse shit.

It is pure shit and the only reason I even allow it to happen at all is because…I personally need to workout and building a home gym that matches the weight I use just isn’t practical at the moment. I honestly don’t care if they rip off people who never workout, but I feel they do serious trainers a huge injustice by trying to trap them into contracts like this.

I had Bally’s Presidents and First Ladies try to fuck up by credit FOR YEARS because I signed a contract when I was 17 years old. It was one of those “work out here for free for two weeks and then decide if you want to join” type things. I was of course broke and being 17, was dumb enough to sign the contract pushed in my face by some sales guy who was looking to make his monthly quota. I assumed that since I never went back after two weeks there would be no repercussions. I find out a year later that this has been turned over to a collections agency and the price I owe is hundreds of dollars.

It wasn’t until they were sued for pulling the same crap with others (who ended up reimbursing me at least 200 bucks for “pain and suffering” for over 5 years of credit damage) that this particular debt disappeared from my credit report.

I will never use another one of their facilities and if it wasn’t for Gold’s being more “forgiving” to military, I wouldn’t own a membership there either. 24 Hour Fitness is the only place that hasn’t screwed me. [/quote]

To top it off, the contract was never valid because it was signed by a minor. For the contract to be valid, you would have to affirm within a reasonable time after you turned 18. Not paying and not using the membership is most certainly not a way to affirm the contract.

Out of curiosity, how much does an annual membership cost?