Fitness club members spinning with rage

Most people tell me they want to get out of a fitness club contract. They think they’re signing up for one year, but keep getting payments charged to them in perpetuity.

But this week, I heard from a fitness club member who wants to get his contract back again. He was cut off for the crime of complaining too much about his club’s shoddy maintenance.

I’ll let Paul explain his case below. But I just want to say he’s one of several members of the Dunfield Club in Toronto, recently taken over by Extreme Fitness, who have written to me lately. Others are upset about the marketing campaign, which they think is misleading, and the overcrowding that results from excessive promotion of low-cost introductory rates.

Then, there’s always Premier Fitness and its attempts to keep collecting fees from people who assumed they had long finished with their memberships. That story never dies.

38 thoughts on “Fitness club members spinning with rage”

  1. I was a Dunfield Club member for 24 years. I never signed a contract with Extreme Fitness, which took it over last year. I believe I was “grandfathered” in.

    The most recent ocntract I can find is dated September 1994 with the original owners, Racquet Sports Ltd. It has a clause that states: “RSL shall have the right to terminate this agreement at any time upon written notice to the member to the extent that it is in the best interests of the membership to do so.”

    To my knowledge, we have to give the club 30 days’ notice if we want to cancel. In my situation, the expulsion was immediate and without warning.

    I believe the general membership benefited from my efforts to get broken equipment repaired. And I believe my eviction may have a chilling effect on other members who want equipment repaired or maintained. That’s definitely a bad thing.

    Here are some things I complained about last month to the club’s manager:

    –The whirlpool was unavailable to members four days in a row.
    –The newspapers weren’t being delivered and there weren’t enough magazine racks.
    –The four new upright bikes hadn’t been oiled and were squeaking away.
    –The top floor was stuffy and humid in the morning. Before it used to be the most comfortable floor in the club.

    I said there were some people at the Dunfield who were so discouraged that they wanted to write to the company that owns Extreme Fitness, Falconhead Capital and its CEO David Moross. I thought that would be terribly embarrassing for everyone. I mean why in the world would a CEO like Mr. Moross concern himself about that day to day operation of an individual fitrness club, unless there were serious management problems.

  2. I have been attempting to cancel and they are rude. They insist a meeting with the Manager is necessary, which I refuse to do as I have been intimidated by them before. I do not understand how they are allowed to continue to operate in such an abusive manner. Please help.

  3. I’d like to know and, in fact figure out how to run a poll of, how many victims of Premier Fitness’ business tactics are out there? There are so many cases on the same theme, billing beyond their authorization, not allowing members to cancel, sending Steven Walter’s law office, threatening people with ruined credit ratings, sending burly men to pound on people’s doors etc.

    Has anyone out there successfully pursued claims against Premier Fitness? If so, I would like to hear from you and engage with your lawyer or whatever. I cannot seem to get them to cease and desist from the harassing tactics. All we want is for them to show up in court, but they prefer harassing victims first into submission. S.O.S.

  4. In relation to Taso Pappas’ defense of possible misleading advertising by Extreme Dunfield …

    Mr. Pappas says “we have also stated in all of our disclaimers that amenities vary by location.”

    When I think of amenities in respect to fitness clubs, I think of things like hair dryers, day care, soap, television sets, etc. These are items that are ancillary to the operation of the club.

    But if you look at Extreme Dunfield’s latest brochure, what is pictured is clearly NOT the Dunfield Club.

    One picture shows a balcony of fitness equipment overlooking a floor filled with stationary bikes. The Dunfield has no such balcony.

    Other photographs are equally appealing, but weren’t taken in the Dunfield.

    What Mr. Pappas calls amenities, I call basic gym equipment. I suggest Mr. Pappas crack open a dictionary and look up the word amenities.

    His statement that “amenities vary by location” is misleading. What should be published is “facilities and equipment vary by location and are not necessarily as pictured”.

    Mr. Pappas’ use of the English language reminds me of what President Bill Clinton said once: “That depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”

  5. We receive flyers for Extreme Fitness almost every day. We decided to check out the $8 offer. It was $8 for 2 months and then went to $136 a month. If we joined for a year, it would only be $96 a month.

    We expressed concern that this was far too expensive, so they brought in a manager to pressure us. The manager said he could give us a special deal for $50 each per month (no towel service and we could only use one location) . Also, he would throw in a special deal where we could try the club for 10 days (we had to give payment, though). I believe it is the law to allow a 10-day trial period where we can get our money back.

    We said no and left. They kept calling and asking us why we didn’t want to join. The whole thing feels so slimy and underhanded. It’s disappointing that businesses are allowed to be so shady like this.

  6. I wish to respond to NM’s issue with GoodLife Fitness Clubs. It is impossible for any large company with thousands of members to please everyone. That being said, Goodlife is one of the most reputable of fitness clubs. From my experience with them, I believe NM’s complaint to be unfair.

    First of all let’s consider the discrepancy in members monthly fees. I am paying less than is NM. People who joined Goodlife a couple years before I joined are paying even less. I am not complaining about that. NM should consider all the facts. I had to pay a large initiation fee to get my lower monthly fee. The fee NM pays is his contractual fee. I pay my contractual fee. The only thing Goodlife is guilty of is honouring contracts. In my opinion, NM would only have a valid complaint if new members were being enrolled at less than he is paying. That is unlikely. But if it were so he could always cancel his membership and join up again at the lower rate.

    New members join at a rate based on today’s competitive environment. It would be folly for Goodlife to charge new members less than the competitive rate when they have access to over 50 clubs in the GTA and when Goodlife is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading the equipment of existing Goodlife and former Ballys clubs.

    The other issue NM has is the condition of the Bloor Park Club since its purchase from Ballys. I must admit that I have not been to Bloor Park. However, I find his accusations difficult to believe as they run contrary to what I have experienced at other Goodlife Clubs. Of the clubs that they purchased from Ballys that I have been to, they have replaced the old machines with new state of the art equipment. The clubs are clean and well run. In particular, I have noticed a big improvement at Parkview and the gym is not overcrowded.

    If NM is not happy with Bloor Park, there are many other Goodlife clubs to try. If NM is not happy with Goodlife, he can always switch to a competitor. There is plenty of competition out there.

    I am sure that the good people of Premier Fitness would love to have his credit card number in their files.

  7. I recently was told that Premier Fitness was an inferior club, that GoodLife is like McDonald’s and that Extreme has the best instructors. This description was from a long-time Extreme instructor who is absolutely fantastic at step. His classes are fast (usually) and have excellent choreography. The problem is that he’s only at the Thornhill location of Extreme and the step studio is Extremely hot (23 to 25.5 degrees celsius). The ceiling fans are not effective.

    When I started there last November, it wasn’t bad for temperature, but now it is way too hot. I don’t think there is any ventilation and there’s certainly no air conditioning (they keep reminding me it is winter). The general manager has stopped answering my emails. The other members tell me the room is stifling in summer.

    I sent an email to Jacquie Walters about the problem (heat) and I am hoping to have a resolution soon. She and some of the other old Sports Club managers have always been reasonable and have tried to help.

  8. Concerning the Parkview Club:

    I was informed earlier this week that my personal trainer contract was void, because it has now met a one-year expiry as per contractual guidelines.

    On several occasions I have asked to be furnished with a copy of this contract, but have received no reply.

    The only notification I received was an email from my trainer stating the contract has expired. This was surprising as there was no mention of any medical exemption, which was the primary reason for the delay in using my sessions.

    Personally I don’t believe the “Manager” can provide me with a copy of the contract I signed and I certainly don’t believe the “Manager” amended my contract to reflect my medical clause. The irony in my medical situation was that I opted to visit your in-house chiropractor for treatments and even he told me to stop all workouts.

    Initally I was so ticked off that I cancelled my weekly squash lessons. But after I thought about it, this debacle created by your Fitness Trainer Manager in no way reflects the great service the Parkview Club offers and I will not stop using other services due to this mess.

    Their response:

    “Hello. I have spoken further with your club, and the problem with this whole issue is that your sessions expired while you were still with Sports Clubs of Canada.

    “Because of this, we have no contract or documentation stating when sessions were used or expired.

    “I totally understand where you are coming from, but it is hard to ask Goodlife to be responsible for something that was totally SCC’s business before we ever came into the picture. I do not have a copy of the contract you signed with SCC, as we were not given these when we took over.

    “I know you are looking for a resolution to the situation, and I apologize that it seems there is not much your club can do as far as these personal training sessions go.

    “You mentioned you wanted your lawyer to review the contract, which I think would be a good idea. However, we do not have a copy at our end of any contract you signed with SCC. If you can find something, than let us know what your lawyer says or if there’s anything else you need from us.”

    So much for being a member in good standing for over 20 years. My decision has been to join the mass exoudus from the Parkview and join Pure Fitness — as at least 30 long-time Parkview members have done.

  9. I signed a one-year membership with Fitness Express club here in Vancouver. I didn’t renew my membership for the next year. Today I got a call from collection agency, asking me to pay $135 for cancellation and for not renewing my membership. This is a ripoff.

    I am angry and disappointed. This is not the right way to for health clubs to make money.

  10. How to fight and win against Premier Fitness by knowing the law and understanding your rights as a consumer:

    Premier Fitness has a lot of experience pushing the envelope of the law and intimidating former members into paying additional dues that are not justified. Threats include:

    1) You are bound by a signed contract, therefore it’s your fault for not reading the fine print;

    2) Threatening to destroy your credit, your reputation to your employer, garnish your wages from Revenue Canada; etc.;

    3) Having a collection agency, specifically Michelle Smit of Stephen Walter’s law office, hound you incessantly, sending burly men to pound on your front doors and finally

    4) Threatening to take you to court.

    Do not give in – make your stand, know the law. They are counting on greater than 95% of such false claims against cancelled or lapsed memberships to either cave under the above listed threats. They hope former patrons just won’t want to deal with the stress. Do not give in.

    It’s laughable when we read triumphant blogs of former members having ‘reasoned’ with Premier Fitness and settled on a reduced amount! Ridiculous – that’s not a win, that’s giving in and emboldens Premier Fitness to continue this unlawful practice.

    Here’s how to use the law to protect yourselves, if you believe you have been unfairly treated and victimized by this unscrupulous scam artists operating as a fitness club:

    1) Signed contracts, automatic renewals: No matter what the contract says, the club cannot renew your membership automatically. It must provide a renewal notice at least 30 days before your contract ends, and it must give you the chance to refuse renewal. Check out the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Bureau at 416 326 8800 or toll-free 1800 889 9768 or

    Premier Fitness has consistently used that ploy of accumulating four months of so-called ‘late-fees’ and issuing a late payment notice, even though your contract ended or was cancelled or whatever — this will not hold up in court. You pay for services used and if you have not used the club after your membership ended or cancelled your contract, why are you paying?

    They have magnetic club access membership cards, and their system contains evidence against themselves to prove you have not used the club since your membership ended. There’s a consumer law for that too. Fight – make your stand. Write to the Registrar, Consumer Protection Branch at 5775 Yonge Street, Suite 1500, Toronto, Ontario M7A 2E5 and make your case and request they investigate Premier Fitness.

    2) Threatening to destroy your credit rating: First, this is almost always an empty threat but if they do carry it out, this is how you protect yourself: request a free credit report by the two credit reporting companies in Canada: Equifax Canada Inc. ( and Trans Union of Canada. View your credit information – chances are Premier Fitness has not made a report against you or made a dent in your credit rating to damage your credit. Take pre-emptive measures. This “Consumer Credit Report Update Form” comes with your free credit report. Complete and return it by letting these two agencies know that should a false claim/report be made by Premier Fitness/Stephen Walters Professional Corporation – that this “false claim is in dispute”. This will be on the record for all other credit grantors to see.

    3) Incessant collections calls and letters from Michelle Smit – the collection agency ‘Stephen Walter’s Law Office’ hired by Premier Fitness: Collection agencies are governed by Collection Agencies Act. So they are regulated in the times they can call; they are not allowed to pay you a visit to your home; they must properly identify themselves, the client they represent and the amount owed (that is not the case with this agency); and they cannot call you before they send you a letter. Do not bother returning Michelle Smit’s call and trying to negotiate. There is no reasoning, or negotiating with them – all collections agencies want is to earn their commissions, typically 10%. Therefore, the more they collect the more commissions they make. You will be wasting your time.

    Instead, call her back and tell her that all communication from this date onward must be in writing and must be via registered mail and that you will not entertain any further communication over the phone. Put that request in writing back to Stephen Walter’s Law Corporation via registered mail also and copy Premier Fitness’ head office in Mississauga, Ontario. If they break any of the Collection Agencies Act’s rules, write to Consumer Protection Branch of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (above #1). Check out the Collection Agencies Act and its regulations. Also, report Stephen Walter for the conduct of his practice (since his name is used for collections) to the Law Society of Upper Canada:

    4) Threatening to take you to court: Please let them know that you ‘eagerly await a court date’. First of all, Michelle Smit and/or Stephen Walter’s collection agency is paid a commission of approx. 10% of whatever they can successfully scam. To take you to court for any amounts less than $1,000, they have to pay court fees and other associated fees that can total >$1000+ and with no assurances they can win against you (therefore recover these costs) especially if you have facts on your side and demonstrate you have been a victim of unfair and unlawful business practices.

    Go to court (it will be small claims court), represent yourself – you don’t even need a lawyer. You should be aware that Premier Fitness has a lot of legal experience of pushing the envelope of the law even challenging the court’s interpretation of the law. Even when you win a ruling, they will appeal, contest the ruling and you’ll wait a long time before you see any refund or monies from them, they are masters at knowing how to delay payments. It will be both a moral victory and also a removal of that potential threat of damage to your credit rating – a hot button they push consistently.

    Just google “Premier Fitness Issues” or other search strings and you’ll read countless horror stories out there about this professional scam artist disguised as a fitness club. In the event the ruling goes against you, you can simply employ the same tactics to give Premier Fitness a taste of their own medicine, but know the law, get legal advice to know how much you, in turn, can push the envelope.

    Can you imagine if more than 50% of all the former members they attempt to scam take these actions – what will happen? This scam by Premier Fitness will no longer be sustainable.

    In the meantime, protect yourselves by ensuring everything is in writing; read all the consumer protection laws readily available on the web by the Ontario government and finally, our advice which we’ve used successfully — fight, use the law to protect yourselves. If you are right — why cave in?

    Why am I writing this? I am simply hoping. Hoping that my experience and posts will help others go through a little less painfully what I went through. Hoping that if enough members understand better their rights and the law, they will know they cannot be scammed. Hoping that Premier Fitness stops their unfair and unlawful business practices. Hoping that no one should get hurt, live in fear nor stress out over a business founded by a man – John Cardillo with a criminal record who managed to have that criminal record expunged. And finally, hoping that members do not give in, because each additional monthly fee Premier Fitness successfully extorts from you, know that you are paying for Mr. Cardillo’s extravagant lifestyle of nice estate homes and exotic cars.

    Henke, Toronto Ontario

  11. I have canceled with GDF in july 2007 and never was given a cancellation contract, so i canceled the withdrawals from my bank.

    In january 2008, i received a letter from GDF saying i owed them 52 dollars + 20 dollars more for insufficient funds. I replied that i had canceled 6 months earlier so they kept charging me anyway 2 other months.

    I went to the club on Hazeldean road, Kanata, and they were rude and said i never canceled cause i had no contract stating so. Of course i got mad and demanded cancellation contract and was refused.

    Now i’m being pursued by a lawyer on their behalf for 142 dollars. How far will this go, I wonder. How many other people have to have their names dragged in the mud by this so called BEST LEAD BUSiNESS in Canada. What can i do to get rid of them and get my credit rating back!

  12. Count me in as a former long-time Dunfield Club member (22 years!) who was burned.

    I renewed about two years ago for ONE year and cancelled after the year was up, but they continued to charge my bank account. I sent many emails but no response. Called them but was told to email. Finally was forced to close my bank account! Called and emailed them again.

    Thought it had been dealt with. Now calls are coming in daily from some company called ICC? Automated messages, requiring me to call back. What’s that about?

    Class action suit seems appropriate.

  13. You would do well to read up on the Consumer’s Protection Act on what your rights are, especially Section 95 in regards to cancelling within the 10 day cooling off period.

    Additionally, check for more info should you need assistance with your challenges with Extreme Fitness. The forums there are generally quite helpful.

  14. I got into a very similar situation as Paul above. I ended up complaining about some issues at the Bay/Bloor location and I was threatened with expulsion from the club after a 4 year membership (which started with Bally’s). In hindsights, I should’ve probably taken the “expulsion” and gotten out of the contract if this is how they treat their customers!

  15. Im sorry to hear about the Paul. As well as the countless individuals who have been burned. But lets face it you need to
    b)Hold on to your CANCELLATION form !

    If you have any problems its probably because you haven’t been following one of those steps. In Pauls case I hate to say it but Im most definantly dont think that he was terminated because of his complaints. If your emails are as sarcastic as how you would complain in person, then Im sure its more than that got you booted.


    “If I don’t see it its not illegal” – Homer Simpson

  16. Here is a letter I recently wrote to Extreme Fitness:

    Extreme Fitness Inc
    8281 Yonge Street,
    Thornhill, ON L3T 2C7

    RE: Customer Service at North York location

    My name is Danny and I am a teacher at a private language school in the same building complex as the Extreme Fitness at 4950 Yonge Street. I recently visited this location with one of my students that was promised a refund. I decided to go with her after she came to me in tears asking for help dealing with the management of Extreme Fitness.

    The problem started when she was complaining of staff treating her poorly because her English is not perfect. She was promised a refund and was told that she would receive this in 2 weeks. 3 Weeks later I visited the location with her and was told to wait for a general manager. After waiting 10-15 minutes, I went back to the front desk where I was told that one manager was in a meeting and the other was still finishing his lunch. The receptionist pointed to a gentleman that was eating his lunch out of a microwavable container. I waited at least another 10 or 12 minutes for this manager to finish his lunch before attending to us.

    When meeting with us, Al Emadian was clear that he did not care at all that he was losing a customer and was quite arrogant as he quoted to me that Extreme Fitness has 10,000 members in this city. What he failed to realize is that I receive dozens of foreign students every month, many of them inquiring about fitness centers. We always refer them to Extreme because of the close proximity.

    The way the management of the North York location treated my student is unacceptable. They treated her as a second class citizen because she has an accent. She also claims that people there were using vulgar language. Most importantly, it is an unacceptable practice for a manager such as Al Emadian to keep people waiting for over 20 minutes while he finishes his microwaved lunch.

    My student has since received her refund after a long battle, but due to Mr. Emadian’s behaviour I will not be sending any future students to Extreme Fitness and I have already instructed all current students to cancel their memberships. The reason I am writing this letter is because I want Extreme Fitness to understand that the company will be losing business due to the neglectful behaviour of Al Emadian.

    Danny Cota

  17. I was a member of Premier Fitness in Brampton. My membership was to expire in January 2010. In October 2009, I faxed a written notice to Premier asking them not to renew my membership after January 2010.

    I was even willing to go to their location and cancel in person, but whenever I told that I wanted to cancel my membership, they would say there is no appointment available for next week (it was a tactic to make it difficult for people to cancel the membership). I even have a confirmation of fax transmission.

    Now Premier fitness sends me an email in May 2010, stating that my membership was renewed and I owe 4 months of charges (Feb. to May 2010).

    I have provided them with copies of cancellation letter of Oct 2009 and evidence of transmission of fax, but of no use. They use the threat of spoiling one’s credit history to extort the money.

    I would suggest that other people never use Premier Fitness, as it is a nightmare to deal with them.

    Regretfully, Jag

  18. Dear Fitness Buffs:
    I was a loyal five mie daily trekker until I joined in 2010. In my second month, I was harassed by a gang who began
    targeting me at this club. My fitness trainer breached his contract with me to keep our sessions during business hours; I was advised not to return. Now the club wants all
    thw sessions paid for tho I can’t book when I want. Is this a scam? Head office told me I was “paid up” when I stopped my sessions, with a reassurance I stil had an active membership. How can I get them to stop sending me bills after I was told I was all paid up?
    A frustrated cient.

  19. Hi, my husband and I paid up front to be members at this gym on Jan. 29th, 2010. We were advised that we had a 10 day cancellation grace period.

    We cancelled that same day once we saw how poorly maintained the equipment was. It is now Aug. 15th, 2010 and we have yet to receive any of our money back.

    We have gone in person a couple of times, called numerous times and no one will assist. I would never recommend this gym to anyone.

  20. I joined Premier Fitness (Kingston) last January for 1 year and had a trainer. I suspended my membership in May until September (for the summer) with the blessing from the gym.

    I recently received an email from their corporate office stating I owed $300+ and threatening small claims court.

    Now, 2 weeks later, I received a letter from some lawyer stating I owe $1,100+ and will be sued.

    I was warned not to join, but this is nuts. I won’t be paying!!

  21. This gym is by far the most disgusting place on the planet earth. I have been to all locations, and they are just sickening.

    The managers change every week, with trainers being treated like dirt with a high turnover rate. Really, they should shut the business down because there is no ethics or honesty at all.

    If you earn a paycheque well over $200,000 and have $15,000 to spend on training a year, you are going to get swallowed and spit right back out by this money eating machine.

    I have noticed within the past year that all trainers are not certified. Where did all the older trainers go with real certifications and real training? Managers are snakes…

  22. I just noticed a PSC Fee was debited to my account two days ago. I was not expecting this expense and called TD to inquire about this charge.

    I was informed that it is a gym fee charged by Premier Fitness. I cancelled my membership in January 2010.

    I had thought it was a bank charge, but the unusual timing of this debit this month drew my attention. Upon back tracking, I found this PSC fee was increased in May 2010.

    Please check your bank accounts and pass this forward to friends. I am going to immediately contact Premier Fitness.

    If anyone else has had any success in obtaining a refund, please let me know. Thank you!

  23. I was forced into getting a trainer after I told them I needed time to think it through. They told me no problem and you have time.

    When I went back to tell them that I wouldn’t be going through with the trainer, they told me I can’t back out and I have to pay it.

    I haven’t taken any training with the trainer and trying to resolve this problem. They are charging me for it.

    Plz some1 help me.

  24. I have been a member at almost every major gym there is to offer. Extreme Fitness, LA Fitness, Premier Fitness, Bally’s, Curves, and now, I have been a member of GoodLife Fitness for 5 years. In all honesty, GoodLife Fitness has been absolutely exceptional and I highly recommend them. Having had similar issues as many of the above people, I understand the hardships it presents. All we want to do is lead a healthy life but dealing with ludacris situations like such doesn’t make it easy!

    Anyways, I am not saying Goodlife is perfect but the thing that makes them different is they care. I have gone to several of their clubs and every single person is friendly and respectful. Even when I had some financial issues to be dealt with, the associates were prompt, professional and very thorough. Again, they are not all perfect but they correct the mistakes they make and ultimately, they follow the law and stick to their contracts.

    And for jahan zeb, usually with any kind of purchase like personal training, there is a 10 day money back guarantee. if you had spoken to them within those 10 days, by law they have to refund/cancel the agreement.

    Hope this helps!

  25. I joined Premier Fitness and signed a contract that authorized the company to make automatic transactions of $19.46 on my credit card on a bi-weekly basis.

    I asked if I could pay by debit and they completely dismissed the request, almost forcing me to pay credit card.

    The first transaction that showed up on my statement was on May 20th in the amount of $38.98, as they supposedly required “First and Last”.

    Then another payment of $38.98 and an additional payment of $19.49 happened on May 26.

    Another payment went through on June 1st for $19.49, then another on June 6th for $19.49 and another payment for $19.49 on June 9th.

    In the span of only 20 days, my card was charged six times, two transactions of which were double the amount I agreed to pay bi-weekly!

    I have called my Credit Card company and reported this as a case of fraud and withdrawals without consent. The representative from TD Canada Trust’s resolutions department then referred me to the BBB.

    I would like my account with Premier Fitness closed as soon as possible and all alleged account fees cancelled as soon as possible.

    I spoke with the Gym Manager named Alex about this already. He said he couldn’t do anything to help me and referred me to the Accounts Payable and Customer Service Representative named Heena Bhatt, who argued that the charges were a mistake in the computer system.

    She refused to comply with my request to cancel the contract, even though it was breached on their end numerous times. She said she could not do anything for me.

    She asked me to send her cheques for the remaining amount owed on the account. I refused. She said she wanted to hang up the phone because she couldn’t do anything else.

    I hope that you can help me with this horrible issue.

    I am requesting that first and foremost, my account be closed with Premier Fitness as soon as possible, and not forwarded to credit collections agencies because they have breached the contract, which was the reason why I am trying to cancel it.

    I would like a refund for the money they have taken from my account without my consent as “advanced payments due to a glitch in the system” because they were unauthorized. This was a breach of trust, as well as contract.

  26. I cancelled my Premier Fitness membership back in March 2008 due to an illness that I developed. When I called Premier to cancel (from my hospital bed) I only received the run around and was transferred every time I opened my mouth to verbally cancel my membership. At the end of it, I was exhausted and at my wits end. I contacted my bank, and my bank manager told me that Premier was into some illegal schemes regarding over-billing and continued taking of dues. At her suggestion, I stopped payments for anything to Premier but allowed Premier to take the remaining installment payments, from my credit card, to pay for any remaining balance owing on personal training sessions. Since then, that particular credit card has been cancelled.

    In late 2008, I received some sketchy collections notices after those credit cards payments were finished with Premier (inconsistent amounts and contact information for people who did not work at Premier Head Office or with phone extensions that did not exist etc.), on and off, until last notice and last straw in late 2009. A former fitness trainer, that I still have contact with, told me to ignore the notices that Premier could not send people to collections because they were heavily in collections themselves.

    Today, I got a call from NCR demanding $378.00 (notably, letters from Premier before then would range from $950-1340). I called my lawyer and he informed me that they had no grounds for collections as any remaining claims by Premier were beyond the 2 year statute of limitations for collections activities.

    I called and advised NCR that I would be pursuing legal action if this collection activity continued, gave them my lawyer’s name and contact information and they were remarkably polite in contrast to the first call placed today.

    I also googled NCR and found MANY complaints regarding both Premier and NCR for harassment and extortion. If this continues, I will be taking my lawyer’s recommendation to sue both Premier and NCR with slander of my credit rating and for personal damages. I called NCR to follow up and spoke to a manager. He told me he did try to call my lawyer but my lawyer wasn’t in. As well, I told this NCR manager that I would be seeking damages and I was told, by this manager to “get in line because I wasn’t the only one wanting to sue Premier”. What does that tell you about both Premier and NCR!

    Ironically enough, when I signed up in 2007 I wanted to pay for my full year up-front and with cash, but was told by the manager at Premier that they did not allow it….wow, I know for the next time…beware of any business who doesn’t accept up-front cash payments!

  27. If funds have been pilfered, as some suggest, why are you folks sitting back and letting the pilferers keep those funds? Take action, U.S. style, using Canadian rules of law.

    If the facts in matters of alleged improper billing, overbilling or whatever the case may be, are such that they are sufficiently common so as to satisfy the test for certification as a class proceeding, that is the remedy that ought to be pursued. Class action proceedings have been designed to combat precisely this type of menace. They are the answer to the woes people complain of – IF these claims have merit.

    On the matter of class litigation, there are three things that would be helpful for a representative plaintiff to contemplate.

    The first is the naming of the defendants. The class action pleadings could name defendants other than the corporate entity. Going beyond the immediate corporate entity, which could quite possibly be nothing more than a creditor-proof shell, wakes people up immediately. So, with sufficiently articulated causes of action to support the claims, the pleadings could for instance name the directors and officers, all related corporations, any employees and directors of the related corporations, the financial institutions who’ve processed the payments, and credit card companies.

    Second, the claims in the class action could be pleaded as not only breaches of contract. They can also be pleaded as breaches of the Consumer Protection Act, the Competition Act, and as unjust enrichment (restitution) claims. All of these other causes of actions support class proceedings.

    Third, the process of discovery in which the defendants will need to disclose extensive documents under the Rules of Civil Procedure, may uncover sufficient evidence to expand the remedies sought to include the remedy of \disgorgement\ of funds improperly obtained. This will immediately wake those up who have been the beneficiaries of possible ill-gotten gains. For instance, if some people have bought houses and investments with pilfered monies, a court can engage in a tracing exercise to seize those assets.

    No more fooling around!

  28. I posted my issue regarding Premier Fitness back in August of 2011.

    I visited the Bunting Rd. location and met with Glenna (New Manager) and resolved the issue with her. However, she did employ the most-commonly used tactic that she would “get my file pulled out of collections if I purchased a 1 year membership for $299.”

    I told her to put everything in writing and brought it to my lawyer. My lawyer scoffed at it and instructed me to tell them that “I would NOT lower myself to their subhuman extortion techniques”.

    I went back to Glenna and issued her a statement from my lawyer. She supposedly called Corporate Office to have my file pulled from NCR; however, NCR still continued to call and threaten me for more money until I threatened them with a letter from my lawyer…that was last October and I haven’t heard from them…KNOCK ON WOOD!

    Watching the news today and found out that Premier Fitness is in Bankruptcy Protection and Receivership…quelle suprise! Doors could close as early as Saturday.

    With this new development, what will happen to those who didn’t know how to fight back? Will underwriters/undersigners start to come after innocent people who signed “contracts” but can’t seem to get out of them, and will they be harassed by these underwriters/undersigners too?

    It will be interesting to watch how this unfolds.

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