Gym complaints up 90%

If you know me at all then you know I’m biased against the gym. The Better Business Beaureau has some more fuel for my anti-gym fire. Complaints received by BBB about fitness clubs have risen more than 90% over the past 5 years, largely due to billing complaints.

  • 41.5% due to contract disputes
  • 31.7% due to billing issues

Consumer Reports followed up with a survey to its subscribers that showed

  • The happiest customers were those who used a local or independent gyms (YMCA, community centers, yoga studios, etc)
  • Life Time fitness was the only big chain that made it to the top of the Ratings. Bally Total Fitness was at the very bottom
  • 16% of respondents reported contract or billing problems
  • 38% had trouble cancelling their memberships

My only experience with a U.S. gym was 24 Hour Fitness in Austin, Texas. My only complaints are about the personal trainer I saw for a few weeks. But to her credit, she was always on time and always made me push myself. My complaint is that she didn’t listen to “my needs” and she treated me like I didn’t know anything about food, nutrition or basic physiology. She was always focussed on looks over fitness. “This one’s great for toning.” Toning is bullshit. I was there to be a better runner.

Aside from that singular case, I actually really loved the gym. They had awesome yoga classes, even some at 6am so I could go before work. And the gym itself was clean and spacious (everything really IS bigger in Texas). I also got a sweet work discount, paying less than $30 per month which felt like a steal, a way better use of money than Cable TV.

Still, I think I need to start a How to Get Fit Without the Gym series. But that’s for another time.

On a completely different note, I think there is a ghost in my house that keeps turning down the burner on this pot of beans I’m trying to cook so I can make a 7-Bean and Lager Chili with Vegan Cornbread. But first I must go to the pool, which is, sadly enough, located in my local gym.

Link to Joining a Gym? Complaints to BBB reveal how to get fit while avoiding the pitfalls
Link to Gym complaints soar

5 thoughts on “Gym complaints up 90%

  1. monica

    Right, I need to get on that. And on my health/veggie-conscious grocery list helper. Thanks for the encouragement. =) I like your blog, Jul (speaking from one expat to another). Germany is far more “exotic” than the UK… I hope to live in a non-English speaking country someday SOON.

  2. Josh

    I’ve had two memberships with 24-hour fitness and one with Bally’s. The first 24 hour fitness was a real pain to cancel until I learned a trick. Say you’re moving to a place without a 24-hour-fitness (also works for Bally’s). I just give my parents zip code in rural Virginia. They look it up and find there really isn’t one for hundreds of miles and let me cancel with no more arguing.

    I disliked both gyms but only because they were so busy at times. I guess I am just greedy but I can’t stand when I can’t do a specific order of exercises I have laboriously laid out the day before. I’ve switched to working out in my apartment (a bench and a few heavy dumbells) and am very happy with it. My wife calls it the “man cave”.


  3. monica

    Josh, that trick also works for canceling credit cards… just say you’ve moved countries and they’ll stop pushing. =)

    I’m envious of your home gym… I wish I had a space at home for yoga. I’d call it the “zen cave”!

  4. Sherry Beck

    After giving the required 60 day cancellation notice via postal mail with receipt, Fit for Life continued deducting the gym fees from my bank account for two months. After a lot of haggling by phone with their accounting office, they agreed to stop hitting my bank account,however they did one more time and with another phone call they finally stopped. They refuse to refund the first two withdrawals even though I have proof by receipt of ending the contract which comes to almost $80. How can I get my moneey back?


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