November 17 2012 by Ellen Roseman
Extreme Fitness loves to lure people into its gyms. But the price of admission can be higher than you think, especially if you have purchased a coupon for a two-month trial.
My advice: Don’t go into one of these locations without a friend to record what’s said. The high pressure selling can be unbearable.
Luis is a 22-year-old Brazilian man, with limited English skills, who’s in Canada on a student/work permit. His nightmare began after he bought a $24 voucher from Buytopia, entitling him to a two-month executive membership, including two personal training sessions.
He went for a fitness test at Extreme Fitness on Yonge St., near St. Clair, in Toronto. Then, he was induced to sign a contract for a year-long membership at $869, plus a service agreement for $3,036 worth of personal training (32 sessions) and nutrition training (four sessions).
“He was led to believe that he had to sign up in order to redeem the voucher,” says his partner Norman. “He said he was pressured into signing a contract because he wouldn’t be able to achieve his fitness goals in only two months.
“He was led to believe that this ‘full membership’ would activate only AFTER the two-month trial ended.”
When he realized he couldn’t afford the costly package sold to him, it was too late. He was already locked in.
Norman told Extreme the terms of the contract were not explained clearly and there was no proper disclosure on how to cancel. He got nowhere. The club manager said he was wasting his time and her supervisor was away for two weeks. The manager of health services brushed him off.
“After 13 minutes, he hung up on me and would no longer take my calls. He claimed everything was done fairly and Luis understood what he was signing. He refuses to cancel.”
If you read this blog, you know some fitness chains can’t be trusted. It’s like an 800-pound Sumo wrestler going into a ring with an inexperienced lightweight. The customer doesn’t stand a chance.
These group buying deals are persuasive, bringing people through the doors who might never come otherwise. They think they’re getting a no-strings trial. Boy. are they wrong.
I’m posting a few more coupon complaints below. And I’ll update you on Norman and Luis, since I’ve also asked Extreme to cancel the deal.