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I signed up at the Anytime Fitness (club 1596) in Waukesha, WI (901 Meadowbrook Road) on 4/20/09. The contract stated that I was signing up for 15 months. I paid in full on my credit card: an amount of $486.11. As per the written contract, this membership ended on 7/20/10. I used the fitness center for about 8 months, then I bought some of my own equipment to put in my house and I stopped going to the fitness center sometime around 12/09.

I pretty much forgot about the membership until I got a packet in the mail from ABC Financial Services on 7/6/10. They decided to extend my contract and switch my billing to monthly statements.

I immediately called ABC Financial Services and they told me I needed to call the local club to handle membership cancellations. I called the local club office and spoke to Stephanie Stencil. She, along with the owner, had originally signed me up for the contract back in April. She stated that I had not given 30 days notice of cancellation and that this cancellation should have been in writing. Therefore, she was extending my membership to 8/19/10 and charging me $41.95. I went looking for my contract to find out where this 30 day policy was. I read the contract back and front. No where was a 30 day cancellation policy stated.

I decided to e-mail Deb Kneser at dkneser@wi.rr.com. Deb is one of the owners of the club that sends out monthly club newsletters from her RoadRunner account to all club members. I sent her the following message:

You are one of the owners of this establishment, correct?

I would like to discuss where in my contract I have to give 30 days

notice of cancellation or get charged $41.95. I have read the front and

back of my contract and the only terms it deals with is if I move away

or if the Club closes.

I paid a year in full and according to my contract (pink copy), my

contract expires 7/20/10. Why is my contract being extended to 8/20/10?

I have not used the club for the past 7 months. I calculate this $226

for not using any of your services.

Why can't you cancel my contact and we call it even? Even if there was

a cancellation fee, it should be $32.40 since the original term was 15

months @ $486.11.

Please let me know when either you or Kerri are available to discuss

this matter in person. I can come after 5PM Monday through Friday.

Thanks,

Adam

That e-mail was sent the night of 7/6/09. I waited the next two days, expecting an apology about the mix-up and cancellation of my membership without the $41.95 charge. I went into the club the night of 7/8/10, not hearing anything from Deb. I spoke to an older gentlemen and asked him when Kerry, the husband of Deb and co-owner of the club, when he would be in. He told me within 1 week, but that I could leave my name and my phone number and that Kerry usually visits the club on a daily basis to check in.

I did not hear from Kerry at all until I got an e-mail on 7/14/10:

Hi Adam,

I will try to address ALL of your concerns:

First, when you signed up in April we were offering "Three Free Months"

(which you received), that's why the membership was for 15 months;

therefore, your calculation of $32.40 is incorrect.

Second, at the time of signing every member is told about the "Renewal

Program" and the thirty day notice we need in order to cancel. If you

recall, there are three options a person has at their disposal; 1)

cancel w/30 day notice, 2) continue on a month to month basis, or 3)

take advantage of any other specials that we may have at that time. A

thirty day notice is very common in this industry as well as others.

Third, your analogy of potentially losing $226.00 for not using the club

is a choice that you made. We can not force members to workout. The

club was and is available to all of our members 24/7!

Fourth, the cxl clause regarding moving or if the club should close its

doors is correct. You'll also notice that there is an early cxl fee of

$50.00 as well.

Now, this email is not an attempt to discredit you or cause ill feelings

towards one another. It is an attempt to answer your questions from my

point of view as a business owner. I have worked with many members who

have had issues come up in their lives and we do our best to make the

situation a win-win for everyone involved. Therefore, I'm willing to do

a couple of things for you in an attempt to satisfy your situation.

1) If you would like to continue your membership on a month to month

basis I will reduce your monthly dues to $34.95 per month starting in

August.

2) Once we receive your July 20th payment of $41.95 I will personally

cancel your membership. You will still have use of the club until

August 19, 2010.

I've attached the "official" letter from our billing vendor (ABC

Financial) so you have a copy for your records. If you have any

questions please feel free to call, email, or stop in.

I hope this answers your questions. Please let us know what you decide

so we can set the process in motion.

Thanks,

Kerry

As you can see from this e-mail, there is absolutely no compromise on his part (win-win: where?). He already knew I wanted to cancel, so why he would offer to extend my membership at a reduced rate is behind me. Do I remember what was verbally said 15 months ago? No and neither does he. I sent the following reply to him at both his club and home e-mail addresses:

I will bring $42 in cash tomorrow after 5PM. Since you are in tomorrow,

I would like a letter with your official Anytime Fitness letterhead with

my name, my account number, that I have paid $41.95, that this is my

final payment and that my membership is cancelled. I would like you

then to sign it and staple a receipt to the letter.

You know as a business man that anything said verbally isn't really good

for anything. That's why contracts were made. I made this contract 15

months ago and haven't been to your club for 7 months.

I never said I lost $226, but I have not put wear on your equipment,

used your electric, your water, etc. I'm still trying assess what your

damages are, whether I give you 2 weeks or 4 weeks notice.

I'm sure you've checked my FOB history and seen I haven't stepped foot

on your premises in 2010. However, you insist on extending my

membership 1 extra month knowing I won't use it.

Now I am where you are coming from. Thank you for putting this in

writing.

Adam

The next morning I decided to call the corporate headquarters of Anytime Fitness to see if they could intercede on my behalf in this situation. I spoke to a Tracy Lefebvre around 8:30AM on 7/15/10. The only thing Tracy could do she stated was call the owner and have the owner call me. I told her I was already going to visit the owner that night and that he was not backing down. She repeated this "solution" over and over, eventually saying that she would request a copy of contract from Kerry. When I asked her what would happen when she wouldn't find the 30 day clause, she said "I can't comment until I see the contract".

I asked her what her direct extension was so I could back to find out what the results of the investigation were, then she asked why I would call her when the club owner would call me. It was clear talking to her that she did not want to get involved past having the club owner call me.

On Thursday, 7/15, I went in at 5:30PM and spoke to Kerry. I asked for my cancellation letter. He claimed that his e-mail account was down on his Anytime Fitness account. He also claimed that he did not get my e-mails from the night before and that kkneser@wi.rr.com was not his address, but kkneser1@wi.rr.com was. Being in IT for 12 years, this sounded like a load of ***, since Roadrunner e-mail can be checked from any Internet browser and his Internet was working at the club and the e-mail was sent to this address and his wife's.

He then asked if I wanted the cancellation letter sent by e-mail and I told him I was staying all night if I had to: I wanted this taken care of tonight and in person. I asked him to craft a letter on his club's letterhead with my cancellation request and receipt of the money. He started typing this letter out. For whatever reason, when he heard I was paying with cash, he aborted his letter and again went back to the ABC "Secondary Status" cancellation letter that he already sent to my e-mail 2 times before with the $41.95 amount.

He seemed to be on his agenda again, never asking which letter I wanted. I'm sure he didn't care. I asked him to sign the bottom of the letter which he did. He wasn't really rude during my interaction with him, but he does give off an "air of arrogance".

On Friday 7/16/10, I contacted ABC Financial to produce a history of my payments and after 8/19/10, a final cancellation letter. According to the representative Shoshanna, Mr. Kneser should not be able to bill me anymore.

Since Tracy would not do anything for me, I thought maybe someone above her might be able to. Through some Internet searching, I happened upon some internal Anytime Fitness PDFs called "Success Packs". These packs were described as a "newsletter for Anytime Fitness franchise owners". I found the e-mail addresses of high level executives such Jeff Klinger and Chuck Runyon. With more digging, I found that Jeff had left the company (probably the best move in his career) and that Chuck had taken over as CEO. His e-mail is chuck@anytimefitness.com. The document was 5 years old, but on a whim I e-mailed him with all of the information at hand and scanned copies of my documentation. A week went by and nothing from our friend Chuck. I decided to e-mail him yet again and then I got a call and e-mail from a Janet M. Willett (janet.w@anytimefitness.com, 651-438-5057). Her title is listed as Customer Solutions Manager. She proceeded to tell me there was nothing she could do: Mr. Kneser is an independent owner of this club and he can do what he wants.

She proceeded to tell me that he faxed a copy of the contract and that there was a cancellation clause on the contract. I asked her if she read the contract herself instead of just listening to Kneser: it was a cancellation policy relating to the club closing or getting a pro-rated refund if I moved away from Anytime Fitness. Neither of these applied in this case. I could hear her getting upset with hems and haws in her voice (did she think she could bluff me?), with her final proclamation: " it's his club and he can do what he wants: that's it".

If you look at their web site, specifically http://www.anytimefitness.com/en-us/corporate/contact, they have this:

I want to report a specific issue with a club.

To report a specific issue with a club (e.g., great service, cleanliness, poor service), or if you can't reach anyone at your home club, please contact:

Anytime Fitness Corporate Offices

"¢ Hours: Monday - Friday | 8:00am - 5:00pm (Central)

"¢ Phone: 800-704-5004 (toll-free) | (651) 438-5000 (direct)

The question is clear: if the local club owner can do anything he wants, why even put that on your corporate web site? Janet must have the best job in the world: blame the local club owner when ever anything comes up. She doesn't have to solve any issue, ever…just blame, blame, blame someone else!

I opened a case with the local BBB in Wisconsin and played ping-pong with Mr. Kneser with pretty much a copy and paste response as he did back in July. Looking at the 30 Anytime Fitness clubs in Wisconsin, only 2 of them are BBB accredited and the ratings for each are either B+ or F, meaning they are OK or just down right horrible. I figure that most people just pay the fee and be on their merry way.

Anytime Fitness has taught me a very valuable lesson: NEVER EVER SIGN UP FOR A GYM MEMBERSHIP, EVER! I even saw a $19.95/month Golds Gym membership signup at work a few days and I just laughed. Take out a loan and get your own equipment or find a gym that takes cash with no contracts (yeah, good luck with that).

Monetary Loss: $41.

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Anonymous
Columbia, South Carolina, United States #1328767

I signed up for Anytime Fitness in January while I was at school.When I tried to cancel when I moved back home they made me provide drivers license (normal), pieces of mail with my home address on them (ok whatever) and bank statement for two months (WHAT??) to cancel even though I moved 1,000 miles away.

They still have not believed me and wont let me cancel.DO NOT GO HERE

Anonymous
Chico, California, United States #1298584

I travel to work and some clubs try to increase my rate but i feel the members harge at sign up should be honored.

Anonymous
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada #1235086

this is all you lost.I let my membership expire at golds gym only to find out they automatically renewed it and then wanted 200 to cancel.

they also told me that it would take about 2 or 3 months for the letter that i needed to write for cancelling to reach corporate , so 200 + another 90 or so for 300.

i cancelled my credit card and now i have a collection notice for 585 from golds.it lowered my credit score by at least 100 points.

Anonymous
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada #1205836

I hear what you're saying.I've had a *** of a time trying to cancel.

I asked the employees at my gym in Edmonton how to cancel and they said simply send them an email. I did in July a month before my contract ended. No one responded so I went to their website and emailed again through there. Again no one responded.

I went in to the gym and called twice and each time they've said they would send it off yet I've heard nothing else. Then Anytime Fitness took $72 out of my account which has made me unable to pay rent. I went to the bank and had them reverse the charge only to have them take it out again. I'm still trying to get my cancellation through.

I feel like I've been understanding enough especially since I was told when I started that I could cancel anytime (pun) with 30 days notice only to be later told that was inaccurate when I tried to cancel early.

But I accepted it and let my contract continue.I'm tired of dealing with it and will never join another gym again.

Anonymous
#1125362

Eta: Before you try telling me to "LEARN TO READ YOU'RE CONTACT, MORAN!" [sic]...I've reviewed my contract, and it says nothing about a "30 day cancellation" or "must put membership on hold forever" policy AT ALL.

But there *is* checkmark and initials are next to the monthly rate for the ability to cancel any time.

Regardless, the owners of these places can't send everyone through to collections, or waste too much effort on chasing every last disgruntled person who freezes them out.

Anonymous
Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada #1125357

AF was giving me the royal runaround about canceling my membership for months last fall, even though I specifically signed up for the higher monthly payment that apparently allowed me to cancel "any time".

So a month after my contact year was up (August 11) I went in to cancel and they said they couldn't, but that they'd put my membership on hold for three months and to come in on November 11th to cancel.

They charged me the 63$ for August anyhow and I let it slide. I go in on November 10th and again they try to say they can't cancel my membership and it's too late to stop payment for November.

Eff THAT. I called my bank the instant I walked out the AF door and froze any payments that Anytime and ABC Financial might try to withdraw.

The Manager called me a few times after I did that, but I calmly and smugly explained that I was *VERY* sorry- but I'd had to put his payment on hold for three months and that I needed any further requests for payment 30 days in advance, in writing and that the document to be mailed on an odd numbered day, registered mail, in order for me to process said request.

Haven't heard from them since.

Anonymous
#1121742

I left LA fitness because of contracts and the owner of my local anytime told me I wouldn't have to have a contracted.When I went to cancel he told me I have 4 months left on my contracted....

And he told me he doesn't recall our situation.But he should since he's known me for years

Anonymous
#1121114

Same thing happened to me.I let it go to collection.

When they called and I explained the situation, they dropped it.

And I have never heard of anything since.It must happen a lot with Anytime Fitness.

Anonymous
#1101640

I am having great difficult cancelling membership and my bill of $245 (up from original $180.) has been sent to a lawyer who is threatening taking me to court where I'll have to pay his fees and court fees.I am severe arthritis and joined to stay as limber as I could but broke 5th metatarsal of right foot, fell on cement stairs and fractured tibia plateau and aggravated old ski injuries of torn medial and lateral meniscus, so both legs were in braces.

That made me limp and aggravated back which has had laminectomies of L3, 4, and 5 with fusion. Recent MRI showed that more surgery above and below fusion is necessary to stabilize back. I've an appointment with hip surgeon to arrange right hip replacement and shoulder surgeon to arrange left shoulder replacement, both to be done this year. I've had left hip replaced already.

There are no machines I can use at Anytime Fitness or videos to watch. Gentle yoga made back worse! I'm on Hydrocodone for pain. Just bought a preowned car that was easier to drive and get in/out of.

Anytime Fitness just wanted to give me a 3 month waiver so I could get better….but there was one thing after another.

They didn't get that I'm not "getting better" but worse! They can't help me.

I go to PT and have exercises at home.That's all I can do.

Anonymous
#1073480

The same thing is happening to me...i had to cancel my debt card so they don't get anymore money and the gym was rude to me and making fake appointments for me with instructors during my work schedule...i will never trust these people again.

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