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Joined a gym - Quandry
Old 11-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #1
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Joined a gym - Quandry

Yesterday, I visited a recently-constructed local club, about 2 miles from my home, of a large national fitness health club chain (800 clubs). I got the tour and the pitch. In the course of the conversation we discussed my lifestyle and the fact that I travel a lot and also winter in FL. There's a club not far from my place in FL which is why this particular chain has appeal.

The manager presented me with 3 options -- 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year memberships. As one would expect, the best value was for a 3-year one-time payment, with the option to renew at a reasonable price annually thereafter.

I signed-up for the 3-year option, and paid by credit card after he had me sign and initial the contract (which was displayed on his computer screen) in three locations electronically (using the credit card terminal).

He printed out a copy of the contract, folded it up, and handed it to me....welcoming me to the club....and chatting about when I should come in for a personal instructional session on how to use the equipment, etc.

I took a look at the paper contract when I got home. I was a bit taken aback when I saw that I had paid for usage in a single state (my northern home state). I immediately called the manager and asked him about this. He said any time I am planning on traveling out of state, to give him a call and he can change my home state in their system to whatever location I am traveling to....and then let him know to change it back when I return home, thus assuring that I can access clubs elsewhere when I am on the road.

While I was in the club, the manager never mentioned it but I'm guessing that there must be other tiers of membership -- for people who travel out of state and wish to use other clubs. Since we spent a lot of time chatting about Florida and my other travels, I know he was fully aware of my interest in using other clubs in other states.

Of course, offering me [only] a menu of 3 in-state memberships from which to choose makes them much more attractive price-wise.

I was thinking about this after the phone call...what if he leaves the club within the 3-year period of my contract? There's no record anywhere of this 'unspoken agreement'....in fact we never discussed it when I was in the club.

Thoughts?

omni
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:34 AM   #2
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I'd cancel it. Also, they will try and keep the hook in you after the 3 year period. I had a membership to a national chain in Houston, when I moved here the only thing that got me out of it was that they didn't have a gym in town.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:44 AM   #3
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Just to be clear, I used to belong to a gym (at the same intersection as this new club) that I used often (3 times a week). They closed that location a few years ago and I've been gym-less ever since. I still walk 4 miles 3x a week but am needing strength-training, etc.

I'm interested in finding a gym but it has to be close by otherwise I know I'll think of excuses not to go or "out of sight/out of mind".

This new place meets my criteria of being close by. The club in FL is a few miles further away from my condo, but it's 'close' as far as gyms in that neck of the woods.

My concern was with being sold a membership that clearly does not fit my lifestyle (traveling out of state, a lot. In fact, I'm in my home state only 3 to 4 months a year.)...but the 'hook' was offering me the 3 lower-priced [in-state use only] deals....and then the manager can change my home location in their system when I let him know I am headed out-of-state.

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Old 11-03-2016, 11:45 AM   #4
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you could get a few kettlebells - those are a lot less expensive than a gym membership
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:45 AM   #5
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I'd cancel as well. Despite the concerns you mentioned, I wouldn't sign for 3 years without knowing how well I would like the facility and its membership.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
Yesterday, I visited a recently-constructed local club, about 2 miles from my home, of a large national fitness health club chain (800 clubs). I got the tour and the pitch. In the course of the conversation we discussed my lifestyle and the fact that I travel a lot and also winter in FL. There's a club not far from my place in FL which is why this particular chain has appeal.

The manager presented me with 3 options -- 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year memberships. As one would expect, the best value was for a 3-year one-time payment, with the option to renew at a reasonable price annually thereafter.

I signed-up for the 3-year option, and paid by credit card after he had me sign and initial the contract (which was displayed on his computer screen) in three locations electronically (using the credit card terminal).

He printed out a copy of the contract, folded it up, and handed it to me....welcoming me to the club....and chatting about when I should come in for a personal instructional session on how to use the equipment, etc.

I took a look at the paper contract when I got home. I was a bit taken aback when I saw that I had paid for usage in a single state (my northern home state). I immediately called the manager and asked him about this. He said any time I am planning on traveling out of state, to give him a call and he can change my home state in their system to whatever location I am traveling to....and then let him know to change it back when I return home, thus assuring that I can access clubs elsewhere when I am on the road.

While I was in the club, the manager never mentioned it but I'm guessing that there must be other tiers of membership -- for people who travel out of state and wish to use other clubs. Since we spent a lot of time chatting about Florida and my other travels, I know he was fully aware of my interest in using other clubs in other states.

Of course, offering me [only] a menu of 3 in-state memberships from which to choose makes them much more attractive price-wise.

I was thinking about this after the phone call...what if he leaves the club within the 3-year period of my contract? There's no record anywhere of this 'unspoken agreement'....in fact we never discussed it when I was in the club.

I'm fairly certain the state law here allows for contract cancellation without penalty within 3 days.

Thoughts?

omni

I can't believe fitness centers are still using this business model. In my (Raleigh, NC) area, there are tons of different clubs all offering $9.95/mo "memberships" with no contract - start/stop as you please (30-day notice). I go to one 3/4mi from my house.

I thought that multi-year business model was long gone......
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:11 PM   #7
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I can't believe fitness centers are still using this business model. In my (Raleigh, NC) area, there are tons of different clubs all offering $9.95/mo "memberships" with no contract - start/stop as you please (30-day notice). I go to one 3/4mi from my house.

I thought that multi-year business model was long gone......
There are plenty of clubs around here that offer this model. They tend to be the nicer clubs with swimming pools, aerobics and yoga classes, spinning (cycling), etc plus the usual free weights and various workout equipment.

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Old 11-03-2016, 12:23 PM   #8
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CANCEL!!! This place sounds awful.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:31 PM   #9
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What happens when the manager leaves? Gets canned for changing clients home state or something?
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:38 PM   #10
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This sounds simple to me.
I would immediately cancel it.

Then I would go back to the manager and see if they offer a different type of membership that would better fit my needs.

If they do, I would get a printed copy of the agreement to take home and read carefully overnight. If I were happy with it, then I'd bring a signed copy back and enjoy the membership.

Without all those conditions, I would keep my distance.
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Old 11-03-2016, 01:02 PM   #11
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I would also cancel . Gyms go in and out of business . A three year commitment is too long . Lot's of gyms in Florida offer seasonal membership or monthly $19.99 specials.
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Old 11-03-2016, 01:57 PM   #12
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I would also cancel . Gyms go in and out of business . A three year commitment is too long.
What she said. A couple around here offer $9.95/month memberships on a month-to-month basis. The one we go to, while more expensive than that, also offers month-to-month membership. No way would I have agreed to pay for a three-year membership in anything, time has a way of messing with plans.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:11 PM   #13
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I'd cancel and either get it changed by the manager to any gym or go to another gym.
I belong to a national chain gym also but I can go to any of their gyms. It was part of the sign up for me. Think you have to pay extra for it now. What I don't like, and fight with them every year, is they want my credit card, to "make renewing easier". I go in and pay cash every year.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:15 PM   #14
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I would call a corporate office and get the real scoop. And cancel it, if it does not meet your needs.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:43 PM   #15
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Cancel it now.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:10 PM   #16
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Gym sales people are one notch below car salesmen.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:16 PM   #17
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In our area, a local, nationwide gym has had a ton of turnover. The verbal contract won't do you any good. You already mentioned it is new, it may not last. I would be very leery of a long-term contract.

One caveat maybe if they annotate your membership, but still, future managers may not care.

cd :O)
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:29 PM   #18
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Gym memberships are the worst for auto-renewals and chasing ex-members for money long after they no longer use the club and thought they cancelled. Unless you have in writing that the membership covers use of other clubs, it effectively doesn't. A manager (often a short time employee) who promised something verbally on behalf of out of state clubs has no standing and no way to get other clubs to honor that promise. What you have is a written agreement that says one state only. When the manager is long gone and you try to activate your backdoor other state option, which agreement is going to hold - the written one state or the verbal sort-of from the manager no longer there?

Cancel and get a contract that says what you actually can and cannot do.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:42 PM   #19
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To respond to a few comments that were mentioned upthread. I have no issue with belonging to a gym long-term. There used to be another gym (Vic Tanny, later Bally's) nearby to which I had belonged for 20 years. When Bally's closed in 2011 (locally...perhaps nationally, too), they sold their book of business to another nationwide chain, but the closest location was about 25 minutes away, so I didn't opt to remain a member.

This new club has been here about 18 months. They built a new stand-alone building for it. I'm guessing that they are planning to be here for at least 3 years. (Nationally, they have 800 locations.)

FWIW, the 3-year rate works out to ~$22/mo. which is a good deal for a large club with a lot of amenities. I checked other clubs in the area. Those that change $15-$19/mo have no pool, no aerobic/yoga classes, and no spinning/cycling classes....all things that are offered by the club I joined and all of which I plan to utilize. This club also has a full-sized basketball court, 3 racquetball courts, etc. which I do not intend to use.

As I am single, part of the reason for joining a club (versus buying kettle bells or weights to work out at home) is to leave the house and go out and be where there are other people. It's too easy for me to isolate. As it is, I live alone. I go for long walks by myself. I often go out to eat or to the movies by myself, etc. I do get together with friends at least weekly, but they are mostly still working or live 45 minutes or more away. In Florida, I know folks who live much closer and all are retired, so there I have a much more active social life "in season".

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Old 11-03-2016, 06:37 PM   #20
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I have a membership at the same club and pay $21.89/mo for the national membership. Manager was fired shortly after I joined. I have used it in Washington and Arizona so far.
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