Monday, February 18, 2008

24 Hour Fitness - an object lession in crappy customer service.

What is it with the modern corporate gym and crappy customer service? A friend of mine recently joined 24 Hour Fitness and has had a less-than-spectacular experience there.

When she joined, my friend purchased a package of 10 personal training sessions. She was assigned a trainer without having the opportunity to talk to the available trainers and get a feel for who she'd like to work with. But the trainer she was assigned to was the head trainer for that club, which must be a good sign, right?

Wrong. The guy canceled one training session only a couple of hours beforehand (24 Hour Fitness' stated policy is that sessions must be canceled 24 hours or more in advance), and just flat didn't show up for 2 other sessions. When he did show up, he sometimes had a "trainee" with him, and the two would carry on off-topic and inappropriate conversations during the session.

The final straw came when my friend tried to schedule an appointment with the trainer. She was busy with work all week, but told the trainer she'd like an appointment for Friday. The trainer responded that he was available now. My friend responded that she wasn't available now, but was available Friday or over the weekend. She never heard back.

So, extremely frustrated, my friend decided to go to another 24 Hour Fitness location. The other location said they would honor her sessions, and set her up with an appointment for her next workout.

But the new trainer at the new location didn't show! So, now completely dissatisfied with 24 Hour Fitness, my friend decided to try to get her money back for her unused training sessions.

Now the real fun begins. My friend called the original location and explained the situation to the manager. The manager said he would look into the situation and call her back. The next day, nothing. Day after, nothing. My friend called back to check in, and the manager wasn't in the office. She left a message for the manager to call her back. Surprise, surprise, she didn't hear back.

Now my friend is really pissed. So, since phone calls obviously aren't working, she decides to send a letter. She calls the gym to ask for the manager's last name (to address the envelope) and the gym's mailing address (again, to address the envelope). But she's told that they can't give out the manager's last name, and when she asks for the mailing address, the person on the phone says "I can't give you that because you asked for something else first." Are you kidding me?!

So that's where the story stands right now. My friend has left yet another message for the manager, and if she doesn't hear soon she'll have to send a letter to 24 Hour Fitness' corporate headquarters, which is kind enough to list a mailing address online.

The whole situation is absolutely ridiculous. She paid for a service, the service was not provided (or if you want to be generous, it was provided in a completely unacceptable way), and now 24 Hour Fitness is basically doing everything possible to prevent her from even finding out what her options are to resolve the situation.

It's amazing to me that these places can be as successful as they are with such poor customer service. (And don't even get me started about the equipment available in your average corporate gym. That's a whole 'nother post.) One of my secret dreams has been to open my own gym (can it still be a secret dream if I write about it on the internet?), and stories like this make me think that it can't be too hard to compete with the huge gyms. All I'd have to do is make sure the front desk employees smile at people and the trainers show up on time, and I'll be light years ahead of the competition!

Has anybody else had a bad experience with a big brand-name gym? Or a great experience? I'd be interested to know if this complete lack of interest in the customer's satisfaction is mainly a local thing or if the malaise has spread across the nation.


1 x 295

Push Press
2 x 175

3 x 350

3 x 5 x 60

3 x 5 x 97.5

Comments: I have a tendency to go a bit straight down on Squats, letting my knees drift forward and decreasing the ability of my hamstrings and glutes to contribute. Fix it! I feel like I'm starting to get Push Press a bit better, specifically the transition from leg drive to shoulder drive. Deadlift was nice after my grip failed me last week. (Grippers are on the way, so that should help!) Accidentally moved up by 5 lbs instead of 2.5 on Chinups, but got all the reps. Dips a bit lopsided -- work on even grip and shoulders straight ahead.


Charlotte said...

Wow - your poor friend!! I'd be irate. I hope she really does write corporate headquarters. That is ridiculous. As for my gym - I go to the YMCA and I figure I get what I pay for. Which is to say that I don't pay much so I don't get much. But then I don't ask for a lot either. Plus I love helping out on their community projects - makes me feel like I'm making a difference here.

virgomatic said...

my experience with 24hour is that when iD GO' in to work out during slow times the idle trainer would always come over and try to "help" me with terrible advice on form. it got so bad I quit going and became a sloth.

julie said...

I go to 24 hour fitness, don't like them, but do the classes, and they're closest to me. I used to belong to the YMCA, which is very nice here, and not cheap, but it's no longer convenient to where I live

m said...

I had to have an attorney I worked with write a letter to Bally's to let me out of my contract and take an item off my credit report. They couldn't seem to get that 100 miles IS more than 50 miles from a club.

Jillian said...

I have had a very similar experience at the Hollywood, CA 24 hr fitnessclub which I am still trying to get resolved. It is a similar situation in which the head manager is nonresponsive and I have also gone as far as to send multiple letters via their website, also with no response. If your friend has any luck, I would like to hear about it.

Scott & Piper said...

Wow! I was just trying to track down the HQ address for 24 Hour along with a name for the president of HR and ran acrossed this blog. I have had a very similar situation happen. In fact I was brushed off so much my husband went in to try to get to the bottom of everythng. trainer turned out to be less than desirable...he lied about our situation and now I look like the fool. Basically we were told...too bad you want your money will never happen it says so in the contract (you literally have to die) but we'll give you more training sessions even though we've drug your name through the mud and you'll be VERY uncomfortable ever setting foot in our gym again. Great...24 Hour Fitness is a joke, they lack professionalism and the most basic of all things...respect for a paying client.

Codybrink said...

24 hour waste of time
Recently I had a bad experience with a company called 24 hour fitness. They fired my trainer, and I wanted my money back for unused sessions. After pleading, yelling, protesting outside the business I have received none of my money back. I am now dealing with the Attorney Generals Office to try to receive my refund. I'll I want is my money back and never to set foot within their establishment again. I guess if they want to play hard ball I will play right back.

I did some research on the company they already have 4 class action lawsuits against them. For everything from unethical/ illegal billing, sexual harassment, and unpaid overtime to employees. How embarrassing.... Need I say more.

Anonymous said...

I have asked the 24 hour fitness club in Buena Park, twice, to have the club manager contact me but with no results for last 2 weeks!

2 weeks!

These folks have a soft cushy job so they really do NOT give a rats butt about their clients.

Crappy Customer Service!

Semper Fidelis

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