What is it with fitness clubs?

September 14 2007 by Ellen Roseman

There’s a law in Ontario that fitness clubs can’t sign up members for more than a year at a time. They get around the rules by charging a monthly amount and insisting that clients agree to automatic deductions from a bank account or credit card.

Then, after the year is up, some clubs keep deducting the monthly payments. And they make it really hard — almost impossible — for members to cancel.

Here’s an email from Bruno about a well-known fitness chain. He got so fed up he wrote to the landlord of the mall where the club is located, to see if it would take action:

I am very frustrated with a tenant in one of your malls and I felt I should bring this to your attention. In late January, I went into Premier Fitness at Yorkdale Mall and spoke to someone about cancelling my membership. I was told my membership would be cancelled as of February.

When March rolled around, I noticed that I was charged on my credit card for February and March. I went to Premier Fitness at Yorkdale, but they told me not to worry and everything would be fixed. When May rolled around, I noticed two more charges on my credit card. By now, they had charged me for four months without my authorization. My membership had expired in February and they toke it upon themselves to keep charging me.

The amount owed to me is $48, not a large amount, but it has been outstanding since February. As of Sept. 8, I have yet to receive anything. All I got were excuses: “The girl who does the refunds is off.” “The girl who does refunds was fired.” “We have a new person working and she is slow.” They kept giving me the runaround. I made several visits to the gym. I have also made several calls to them, but they would never call me back.

I am bringing this to your attention because they are your tenant and they represent Yorkdale Mall. I feel that they are not representing the mall in a good light. This experience has made me question what kind of retailers you permit in your centres and question whether I want to shop at an Oxford property in the future. This experience has left me questioning what kind of retailers/business you permit in your centres.

Even if I don’t get my money back, I just want just want to bring this to your attention. I am sure I am not the only one who has a negative experience with Premier Fitness. They currently have an “unsatisfactory record” with the Better Business Bureau of Midwestern Ontario, which processed 190 complaints about them in the past 36 months.

Let’s hear from readers. Have you had an experience like this? How did you get the fitness club to stop billing you? Tell others how you used your wits to stay financially fit.

233 comments

  1. MikeP

    Sep 15 2007

    My wife went to our bank and stopped payments to her gym (GoodLife) the same day she told them she was quitting. I hand-delivered a letter to the front desk detailing why they cannot continue charging her after she’s quit, given that her first year on her contract had expired. The nice young lady behind the desk told me, “but it says in the contract they can,” at which point I informed her that I’m no lawyer, but my reading of Ontario’s consumer protection laws was such that their practise of doing so here is illegal, regardless of what it says in the contract.

    A manager was standing behind her at this point, saying nothing but (I believe) trying to look intimidating, with his arms crossed and a gruff expression. She tried to tell me she was sure that GoodLife would do nothing illegal (I wish I had so much faith in every single other employee at my company), so it must be OK.

    Sure enough, we got a letter from GoodLife a month later saying they had not received payment. After that, we heard nothing, although we’re checking our credit ratings. That was 6 months ago now, and since we’ve not heard from any collection agents, I guess their lawyers must agree with my wife and me.

    So, short version: if you’re in Ontario, read up on the Consumer Protection Act. If you’re past the first year on your contract, I believe that you are entitled to cancel at any time, without being charged for that extra month. If you’re not in Ontario, your mileage may vary. Put a stop payment on your account with the bank (it’ll cost you something, most likely) and deliver a letter to them, either registered mail or get somebody to sign a dated receipt for you, and don’t let them try to intimidate you.

  2. William

    Sep 17 2007

    I visited an Extreme Fitness location in response to one of their flyers about the great limited-time offer they had going on. (I get these almost every month.) From the moment I walked into the office, it was high-pressure tactics the whole time. The sales consultant was almost insisting I sign right there and then for an offer I didn’t think was so great.

    I also noticed that the contract was a “perpetual membership” which means they will continue to bill you until you request them to stop (yeah, right). I gave some crazy excuse to get myself out of there and vowed that I’d never go back without a wooden stake and a cross.

    These fitness clubs only want one thing: money.

  3. WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo.Com

    Sep 17 2007

    I have to echo the comments made so far. I signed up at Yorkdale’s Premier Fitness for a 3-month membership because I was in the process of moving (possibly) and didn’t want to make a long-term commitment in case I did go. They were fine with the 3-month membership, but when I wanted to renew for a further 3 months (at the highest monthly rate they charge, which I accepted for the shorter term), they said it wasn’t possible.

    Not only that, but some girl called every two weeks thereafter reading a script. And every time I had an objection, there would be a 5-second pause while she flipped through some kind of flipchart to find out what she should read in response.

    Every two weeks I would tell her I wasn’t interested, yet she kept calling back – always at dinner time, I might add. It was actually farcical – what else could they do wrong to further tarnish their image? :)

    I’ve really had it with health clubs – time to join some rec leagues!

  4. SW

    Sep 26 2007

    Here’s a letter I wrote to Carlingwood Mall in Ottawa about their tenant, Premier Fitness. For myself, I will be making Carlingwood my “shopping place of last resort” until such time as I hear that the deteriorating situation has been addressed.

    Dear Sir,
    I wish to bring to your attention a matter that has proven so upsetting that I no longer feel comfortable and “at home” shopping in your mall.

    Last week, I went to your mall to pay my annual fees at Premier Fitness that are due on Sept. 25, 2007. I learned for first time that my annual rate had nearly doubled. Unlike in all previous years since joining the health club, they would not be honouring the annual rate for dues as promised at the time of my initial subscription many years ago.

    When I complained about the lack of notice, I was told that no notice was required. This despite the fact the former and the current contract specifies that “notice will be given at least forty-five (45) days before [a price] increase goes into effect”.

    I should mention that the dues I have been paying would appear to be very attractive to a member that makes substantial use of the fitness facilities. However, given that my use is infrequent and primarily focused on the use of the hot tub to treat certain arthritic conditions in my hands and rotator cuff problems with my shoulders, the rates on a per visit basis are likely higher than most members pay.

    You can image my chagrin at being told that I should willingly accept the doubling of the rates. I was taunted by slanderous claims that if I was not willing to do so, it was because I was “too poor” to be a member or “too cheap” to pay the new going rates.

    When I reiterated my position that my preferential rate as a longstanding member should be honoured (at least until due notice was provided in accordance with the terms of our current contract), I was told that Premier Fitness was a private company. They could do what they wanted with respect to rates and if I did not like it, I could take my business elsewhere. This was said in a loud intimidating manner.

    The verbal intimidation was followed by physical intimidation, as I was volubly and almost forcibly encouraged to leave the manager’s office. Never one to respond well to such intimidation tactics, I became equally voluble and probably shriller, as I was quite satisfied to have other members witness the shabby treatment afforded to allegedly valued clients.

    The physical intimidation that followed resulted in my being almost pinned to the wall by the manager’s bulk, while being taunted with repetition of the slanderous remarks mentioned earlier and unsympathetic references to my likelihood of suffering a heart attack if our voluble exchange continued.

    Since I do suffer from high blood pressure I realized that there was reason for concern and, in trying to extricate myself from being pinned, I pushed on the manager’s left wrist. This must have triggered some knee-jerk reflex, because I was physically pinned in a manner which I would guess is standard procedure for club bouncers.

    This eventually ceased when I insisted that he take his hand off me and after he had called for Mall Security to come. With a few parting words about my intentions to pursue the matter with my lawyer and with the Better Business Bureau, I left the premises of my own accord.

    At the top of the stairs I met with two of your security staff who, in sharp contrast to the Manager of Premier Fitness, treated me with sympathy and respect. Their tone and behaviour was exemplary.

    I am bringing this to your attention because Premier Fitness is your tenant and they present Carlingwood Mall in a very negative light. This experience has made me question what kind of code of conduct you apply to retailers in your centre. I know this experience has already resulted in my avoiding visiting the mall in favour of directing my business to competitors of your other tenants.

    I have learned via the web that Premier Fitness currently has an “unsatisfactory record” with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Ontario. The same is true for BBB Midwestern Ontario, which apparently processed 190 complaints about them in the past 36 months.

    I have brought this matter to your attention because I have subsequently learned that there is a growing number of disgruntled members and former members and the cumulative effect on other businesses in your mall might warrant monitoring and possible future intervention should the deterioration of treatment, services and some of the facilities (locker room, lobby and showers, especially) continues – items that are to be maintained in a manner that is “substantially similar, with respect to quality and provision of services”.

    Respectfully yours, SW

  5. Vincent

    Sep 29 2007

    I’d like to offer some effective tactics. A couple of years ago, I found that my credit card was charged by Premier Fitness in a manner that was not authorized in the original written contract — I’ll spare you the details because that’s not the point of what I’m about to tell you.

    Premier Fitness refused to refund the disputed amount. So, I called VISA and first said that I’d like to dispute this charge. VISA’s customer service rep told me that any dispute should be directly between me and the merchant and VISA is not going to be involved. So, I realized that I used the wrong terminology.

    I changed my words and told them that this is not a dispute over defective merchandize, but an unauthorized transaction — as in fraud, and in someone who charged my credit card out of blue without my knowledge and without my buying anything.

    This time, VISA agreed to investigate. They sent me a form to sign to start the process, and soon credited the disputed amount back to my VISA. The form says that, if VISA’s investigation shows that the alleged transaction was legitimate, the credited amount may have to be reversed and I’ll end up paying after all. I was fine with that, because I was confident that I didn’t sign anything to authorize Premier Fitness to charge my credit card in the manner it did — I still have the original contract signed between me and Premier Fitness to prove it.

    Now I had already heard plenty horror stories about fitness clubs. So, to be absolutely sure that my credit card won’t be charged again, I called VISA the 2nd time and told them that my VISA card is lost — they promptly shutdown my account for all future transactions, and issued me a new card with a different account number, for free.

    Needless to say, my wife quit Premier Fitness after that incident — and today I eagerly spread this bad story about Premier Fitness to anyone who’d listen. My wife joined other clubs. But she now only pays by cash, and never give out credit card number or chequing account number to any fitness clubs. The only form of documentation she provides is the driver’s license for the purpose of identification, but *never* *any* financial account number.

  6. Paul

    Oct 3 2007

    As a Fitness Club owner myself, I would just like to say that not all clubs operate in this manner. I opened my gym as an alternative to the big club B.S, and I don’t do pre-authorized memberships like the other clubs.

    I also put right in my membership forms that after your contract is up your membership is done, no questions asked. Sometimes you have to do your research before joining a club, and make sure ahead of time you know what you’re signing up for.

  7. Sarah

    Oct 4 2007

    I have had the same problem with Premier Fitness. The difference is I was under the impression that I had a one-year contract and unless I renewed it, I would not be charged. After my one year passed, I noticed my credit card was still being charged and my attempts to stop the payments by calling the club didn’t work.

    Since I was away and couldn’t deal with the issue any better way, I called the credit card company and claimed my credit card was lost and they cancelled the account and sent me a new one. I did not hear from the club until a year later, when I received a notice that I owed them more than $1,000 in membership charges and claiming this would go to a collection agency in 7 days if not paid in full.

    When I realized the contract I had signed was ongoing, hence the charges, I tried to get in touch with them to resolve the issue. After many phone calls and visits, they offered a $150 settlement if I agree to sign up with them again. I did pay the $150, but never signed up with them. Now that I know what they have done is illegal, I might have to go and get my money back.

  8. PS

    Oct 4 2007

    In May 2006, I joined the new Pavilion Fitness Centre in Thornhill for an annual fee of about $700. In April 2007, I stopped going as I believed my membership had expired or would soon expire.

    But in a letter dated Aug. 17, 2007, I received a threatening letter from Bond Street Collections telling me I had 10 days to pay $217.48 on an outstanding account balance. I happened to be away at the time, and did not physically receive the correspondence until Aug. 29. At that time, I tried contacting the Pavilion many times to find out what happened.

    I left numerous messages for their customer satisfaction manager, who did not return my calls. I then received a call from Bond Street Collections, telling me I had to pay the balance or my file would be passed to the Credit Bureau.

    Not wanting bad credit for the first time in my life, I called Bond Street Collections. They told me it was up to Pavilion to recall the file, and up to me to drop off a letter terminating my membership (which I did immediately). I left another message for Pavilion and did receive a message back saying they were holding my file until we could chat.

    On Oct. 1, after spending the entire month of September trying to contact Pavilion, I received another call from Bond Street Collections telling me to pay up. I explained the situation and they took one day to deliberate. They then called me back yesterday (Oct. 3) to tell me they reduced the amount owing to $185, due on Friday, Oct. 5, or further action would be taken.

    Today, I left a message for the Pavilion’s GM, but I doubt he will return my call. The irony is that all I wanted to do was ask them if I could, as per one of their enrollment policies, retroactively put my membership on hold for 90 days and pay the full $700 enrollment fee for a one-year membership beginning Sept. 1, 2007. They allow members to pause/hold their memberships to account for injuries or personal matters.

    Truth is, in May I was dealing with a severely ill family member and an office relocation (I was a little preoccupied). Isn’t it silly that they would make my life miserable for $200 and miss out on $700?

    Bottom line is I no longer want the membership and I want them to drop the $217.48 balance, in light of the fact that I have spent a month of my life chasing them to resolve this. As I told the Bond Street Collections representative, I feel like I should be sending them a bill for my time.

    I know I signed the contract, but isn’t this like the “negative option billing” practices the cable companies were involved in a few years back? Why didn’t the gym send me a letter telling me to rejoin? Why did the first communication come from a threatening bond collector?

  9. CL

    Oct 4 2007

    The real problem is with credit card companies rules then. In Australia you advise the bank and credit card and if they will withhold payments to the retailer unless they can show a legitmate charge – it’s the law.

  10. GH

    Nov 2 2007

    I am currently experiencing problems with Premier Fitness. I have three back injuries from an old car accident which have worsened over time and felt I wanted to get in shape rather than end up in a wheelchair before I was 50. I thought getting trained by a Personal Trainer would be a good thing to prevent potential injury.

    I had an old membership with Premier, since I could never seem to find a manager in the facility at the time I was there to ‘allow’ me to cancel, so I thought I would inquire. I got sold a $2,500 package with promises of a Certified Kinesiologist to work with me.

    I waited over a month for someone just to call me, which only happened after I complained several times. I got a call from a young man who said he was going to be my personal trainer. I assumed he was a Kinesiologist. Rather I find out that he is only certified by “CanFit,” a weekend course that anyone could take.

    I was apprehensive, given my back condition, but was assured by Premier that he was well qualified. Sure enough, within 3 weeks, he persisted in loading up the machines with heavy weights which resulted in a tear to my quadricept, my back condition flared up and I developed tendonitis in my right knee and shoulder (still unresolved). My chiropractor was furious and insisted that I not continue until after he had spoken with the PT. This resulted in the PT offering only minimal assistance to me until one day he simply quit, advising me that Premier had not been paying him in a timely manner.

    Again I waited and waited for someone to call me to offer me the services of another PT. This never happened. I waited almost 2 months for a call and only when I asked about cancelling my membership was I told that I was in a contract and not able to get out until all the fees were paid.

    I advised them that I was injured by their employee and no one had offered any services, so at this point I was not wanting to risk another poorly trained PT who would have to learn about my condition.

    Premier continues to refuse to let me out of the contract, despite the fact that they broke the contract. I was doing everything I was supposed to and I had paid for all of the sessions I had used. They are now trying to have me pay for the remaining unused sessions. I don’t know if this is legal, but it sure seems unethical. I find it hard to believe that they are willing to have me back with the potential risk of my being injured again.

    I am going to contact the Consumers Protection Department to see if they can help. I sure would appreciate it if anyone can offer any other ideas. However, I thank everyone for their comments here as I found this website very helpful.

  11. Ellen Roseman

    Nov 3 2007

    GH, I’m sorry to hear your story. Your experience with a poorly trained person injuring your back and a greedy club not willing to let you out of a contract is distressing. You should be able to win a refund in small claims court.

    But before you prepare a legal case, try the Ontario ministry of government services (formerly consumer relations), which administers the Prepaid Services Act. They take on complaints about fitness clubs and often get results. These companies are right up there when it comes to ignoring consumer rights.
    Good luck.

  12. MK

    Nov 3 2007

    I am currently a student at Ryerson University. Finances for a student are always an issue. I signed up for personal training and nutrional fitness sessions at Extreme Fitness, on the condition that I was allowed to cancel within a 10-day period.

    During this time, I had many school-related engagements that I had committed to and I also fell sick during this time. Still, I tried to contact the club representative who signed me up by phone. I even went in person to the club, but found the employee had a day off.

    Amidst all this, I tried several times to get other personnel at the club to cancel the contract. I spoke to the personal trainer by phone and talked in person to the another club representative of equal status. When I tried to explain this to the person I had dealt with from the start, he said that none of this mattered and that he wanted me to pay the full amount.

    I consulted a legal counsel, who first gave me the impression that the result would be in my favour. But when they could not help me further, they said they would refer me to a paralegal. The legal counsel also told me the paralegal had already said he believed this did not look good and most cases of this sort result in the customer paying the club.

    I visited this location on Nov. 3 and was able to reduce the amount owed by about 80%, but the total amount owed is still absurd. Any help you can provide me will be much appreciated.

  13. GH

    Nov 4 2007

    Thanks Ellen,
    I appreciate your comments. I have read the information on the Ministry’s website and have followed their instructions by writing to Premier explaining the situation and requesting that they refund me any charges that I have not used. I will let you know their response and if I get a resolution. Thanks again for your help.

  14. Martin

    Nov 12 2007

    Hello Ellen:

    Interesting comments about fitness clubs.

    My son and I are members with Premier Fitness in Kingston ON. and were enjoying our membership for about a month until I noticed the club started running out of cleaning supplies to wipe down the equipment after use.

    I confronted the staff numerous times but only get “we will look into it” or “we just fired our cleaning staff and are looking for replacements”. I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

    One day last week I was in the facility and noticed gum and a Bandaid on the floor in the locker room, upon looking a little closer I also noticed blood, only a small amount but nonetheless it was there.

    I notified a manager about the situation, who notified another, then I went to work out. About an hour later after my workout, I went back to change and noticed the area had not been cleaned up. I tried to talk with the general sales manager at the front desk, who would not come out of his office to talk with me.

    I don’t really want to leave the facility because the equipment is really nice. However I don’t feel there is much choice. This place is dirty.

    I have tried to call Premier Fitness head office, but I cannot get through to any one on the phone. The number recognition system doesn’t seem to work and no one picks up when I dial 0 for the operator.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    M

  15. GH

    Nov 16 2007

    Hi again, I just wanted to post an update on my issue with Premier Fitness to share my success. As I mentioned above, Ellen, I took your advice and read the Ontario Government’s Consumer Services website and found the two areas on contracts and fitness clubs very interesting.

    Specifically I was most pleased to find the part that pointed out if any service provider fails to provide the contracted services for more than 30 days, the contract is considered invalid. Premier did that to me twice so I knew I had a case.

    I used the letter template on the website and put my concerns and request to be let out of the contract and get a refund of the money for unused services immediately. Within two days, I got a call from the club telling me my membership and contract were both cancelled!!! Amazing how quickly that worked.

    When I asked about a refund, I was told that the matter would be directed to the accountant and they would let me know “when” the money was going to be refunded, implying that it would be refunded. I took that as a good sign, however it hasn’t happened yet. I am going to follow up with them tonight as I see the Chiropractor that is on-site at that Premier Club where I had been a member. I let them know that I am willing to take this to small claims court, if that’s what it takes, simply on principle.

    Anyway, I felt I had a victory in my fight and wanted to share. Thanks again for everyone’s comments and especially you Ellen for your guidance and this very helpful service!
    GH

  16. GC

    Nov 19 2007

    After reading all of these negative comments regarding Premier Fitness, I really am on the fence in terms of signing on for a one year contract. I am currently a member of an independently owned club and was considering transferring over, the facilities are nice and new, but it does not seem worth it for all of the legal concerns.

  17. David

    Nov 20 2007

    Wow this is insane, how many people have gone through the same thing i have with Premier Fitness. I have a similar situation i am dealing with right now. I signed up for a 1 year contract with Premier. The Contract came to a close and they did not give me notice and kept billing my credit card. Fortunately my credit card was lost by the fourth month and therefore they could no longer bill my credit card.

    I informed them that I no longer wanted to be a member via phone. I did not give them written notice. However from further research on the consumer protection act and my talk with the minisitry of consumer protection, they informed me that once the 1 year mark is passed that my contract is over unless i receive notice in the mail, which I never did. I have written to Premiee Fitness stating that I do not owe them anything and that if they do take this matter to collection as they are threatening to do, that I will take any neccessary action…

  18. Ryan

    Nov 23 2007

    My wife is going through the same thing in Premier Fitness Islington, they refuse to cancel the account (it was faxed to them a month ago) by giving excuses that the right person is not there to do it. Worse thing is that she was verbally abused and laughed at by the girl (“Amy”) who answered the phone , and was even told “Go ahead complain I don’t care “.

  19. ilker

    Nov 25 2007

    Premier has done it again… I just wanted to share my experience with them. Actually it’s not resolved yet.

    In 2005, I signed a one-year contract with them and knowing the horror stories (both my wife and another friend had been victims of double charges on credit cards and never had a refund), I explicitly wrote down on the contract that I did not want any automated renewal of membership. I paid down the full yearly amount in cash… The manager at the time of the signing assured me it would not be renewed.

    I used the gym for a couple of months and, because of my schdedule and work life, I stopped. Never heard anything from them for 2 years until this June, when someone from Premier headquarters phoned and told me I owed them money in membership fees. I explained the situation and told them there was a mistake.. I they had checked the contract, they would have seen that I explicitly stated I did not want any automated renewal. He said they would check and let me know in couple of days.

    No one called me again. I called back a couple of times the following week and I was told that if I did not hear from them in two days, that meant it was resolved. Since I did not want any renewal, I thought I was off the hook and safe. I was wrong…

    I received a letter on Nov. 20, this time from the club manager, saying I owed them $700. If I did not pay in 3 days, they would send it to a collection agency and also to the credit bureau. I was shocked and angry. I looked everywhere for our copy of the contract but could not find it.

    I visited them the next day with my wife and sat down with the assistant of the manager. I wanted them to explain the letter. First they said I didn’t have a valid credit card number in their system (no surprises as I did not provide one). Then they checked the account and the notes and there it was. I paid the full amount for the first year, but the computer showed automated renewal and it was still active. So, every day the balance was increasing. I repeated the story.

    There was a note in the account from headquarters, saying they needed to see the contract and they would call me back. Yet it was not enough for them. Even there was a dispute with the membership amount, I said, they should close the account so that the balance would not grow. Their reply was that without a payment they could not do it.

    Then I insisted they find the original contract. The assistant manager asked for a day to look into it. The next day I got a call saying they needed more time. I agreed as long as they would hold off on the collection agency threat. The next day I received another call. This time, I was told they did not have time to look for the original contract and unless I paid the amount they would go with the collection agency.

    I asked if she could send this in writing, or at least send me a contact name from headquarters for further escalation? Nope, they would not do that. This does not make any sense to me. Can they ruin the credit score of anyone who ever used their services without having any proof?

    I complained to the Better Business Bureau and I’m now waiting for their response before I complain to the Ontario ministry of government services. I’ll let you know how the events unfold…

    thanks!

  20. GH

    Dec 1 2007

    Hi again,
    Another chapter in my ongoing saga with Premier Fitness. I was absolutely flabbergasted to find another charge on my credit card for the so called “cancelled” membership and contract!!

    I went to the club on Friday night and demanded to speak with the accountant/billing person who was supposed to “take care” of my refund. He started with the usual “why can we not provide you with the unused services?” nonsense. I flipped on him and told him that I had written to the Corporate office, as well as sending my concerns in writing to the Ministry of Consumer Services, and that this was no longer up for discussion, they had breached the contract, not me. As soon as I mentioned the Ministry complaint, he changed his tune!! He called in the General Manager, who immediately worked out how much they had overcharged me ($1,400) and wrote up an order to have a refund issued.

    I told him “I’ve heard this before,” to which he replied “I’ve heard that before, too,” saying he was tired of hearing that people were being left with unresolved issues. To make a long story short, he promised to have a cheque for me on Monday. I got him to put it in writing that they are going to refund my money.

    Once again I remain hopeful, but I’ll only believe it when I have it in my hand. I think they should consider themselves lucky that I’m not suing them for damages and asking for a full refund plus costs of the physiotherapy that I am now paying for as a result of their incompetence and negligence. If they don’t make good on this latest promise, that’s where this will end up. Someone has to stand up to the tyranny, since some fitness clubs feel they have the right to reign over their customers. Good luck to all who have been affected by this kind of bad faith business practice.

    My learning from this is to put everything you say in writing and ask for everything they say to be put in writing. And if they refuse, take it to the next level!!

  21. Philip

    Dec 10 2007

    I too am in the Kingston Premier and it stinks. It’s so darn dirty. One month after I sign up, the whole place is falling apart and no one seems to care.

  22. Karen

    Dec 12 2007

    Contact the Ministry of Health regarding the cleaning of machines. Perhaps there is something under communicable disease prevention that forces health clubs to provide sanitization safety for their members.

    If not, take your own mini-spray bottle and mix 75% rubbing alcohol and 25% water. It may eat away at the equipment vinyl over time, but a person’s got to do what a person’s got to do to protect themselves. Contact your member of Parliament as well to get these sleazeballs either shut down or regulated the way the food industry is.

  23. LN

    Dec 17 2007

    I had a bad experience with a gym in Oakville, Body Wise Health Club. I had no intention of joining, as I was only attending once a week for one month for some dryland training with my dragon boat crew. This arrangement was clearly understood between me and the gym.

    I paid my one-time-only fee of $50 by credit card, which was my first mistake. I later found out that all my other crew members paid by cash or debit. I was the only one of the 20 crew members who got caught by the gym’s fraudulent behavior.

    I did not notice this additional fee of $52.43 on my monthly CIBC credit card statement, as my husband and I share an account and he travels extensively. In fact, the name came out as “Body Wise Heal”. I admit this was my mistake, but how would I ever expect this to happen? However, I did not notice until I reviewed several statements in succession.

    As it turned out, I had been making unauthorized payments for 20 months totalling $845.30 (two months at $52.43 and 18 months at $41.73). CIBC Visa would only refund me $41.73 for the month I made the discovery.

    The staff member at Body Wise Health Club repeatedly dodged my calls. I spoke to the director and he seemed sympathetic and would “do something about it”.

    During this time, Body Wise Health Club disappeared from their location in Oakville and moved on to the Burlington Racquet and Fitness Club. Each time I called to speak with the director, “he had just stepped out”. I left messages on his voice mail, but he never returned any of my phone calls.

    I also filed a complaint with the Consumer Service Bureau. Their intervention prompted the director to send me a letter, where he agreed to reimburse me $400 and to release me from my “membership”. ( I never signed a contract to become a member.) Again, many failed attempts at trying to reach him.

    I gave up.

    I know my situation is so common, but still very frustrating. I don’t know what I am trying to achieve by unloading this on you, but maybe if the Director of Body Wise Health Club is made accountable, fewer situations like this would arise.

    There is some comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one who has been a victim and can do nothing about it.

  24. bonnie

    Dec 20 2007

    At St. Catharines Premier Fitness, I had a personal trainer who has her Kinesiologist Certificate. She was training me on machines and I told her the weight was too much for me because I am a 65-year-old senior.

    She kept telling me to do it because she has another female client who is 86 years old and does what she was training me to do.

    I thought she had this certificate and knew what she was doing. However, I ended up with roto-cuff and tendonitis in the shoulders.

    As a result, I have been undergoing physiotherapy and taking anti-inflammatory medication. The doctor provided me with a note to stop using the machines and the physiotherapist told me to stop using the machines.

    I asked for a refund in October and have been given the runaround ever since. Any help would be appreciated.

  25. bonnie

    Dec 20 2007

    I sent a letter to the club in St. Catharines and the head office, informing them I was going to resort to social activism because of their inaction.

    I am going to have a professional sign made up with the following message:

    BEFORE SIGNING UP WITH PREMIER FITNESS, CHECK WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU.

    I was going to stand in front of the fitness club and hold up my sign. They couldn’t ask me to leave because I am a paid-up member. If they want me to leave, they can refund the money I am entitled to.

  26. JH

    Dec 20 2007

    I had a recent experience with Premier Fitness that I felt was worth relating to your readers.

    I have been at my current gym now for about 5 years, and decided it was time for a change.

    A close friend of mine, and his girlfriend had just joined Premier Fitness off Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga, Ontario. Naturally, it seemed like a reasonable choice. It was large, modern and there was a gym near my house, and my girlfriend’s house north of the city.

    My girlfriend and I attended one of the locations at the Meadowvale Town Centre for a tour. The sales representative who gave us a tour had a unique marketing style to say the least. As I asked questions, he told me he would “get to it later” and that “it was his tour and he would do it the way he wanted to, and then would answer my questions.”

    The sales representative gave me a 3-day trial pass good from December 10 to December 13, 2007.

    My girlfriend was not impressed, and actually took it upon herself to fax the head office with a complaint.

    On Monday December 10, 2007, I attended a second Premier Fitness club located just off Erin Mills Parkway, to test out the facility with my 3-day pass.

    I spoke with “Tony,” whom I was later told is the assistant manager. He gave me a brief tour of this club and then we discussed contract rates. I was told that the rates were $17.50 bi-weekly with a mandatory $50.00 physical assessment fee. As a public service employee, I was also eligible for a rate of $19.50 bi-weekly with no physical assessment fee. Taxes in, both amounted to more than $500.00 per year.

    I told “Tony” that my friends had recently signed a contract for $429.00, and that I wanted the same rate. He told me that my friends could not have paid that amount. I was perplexed, but told him I would think about it, and speak to my friends to make sure that $429.00 was in fact the rate they paid.

    As luck would have it, my friend was in the locker room. I related my conversation with “Tony” to my friend. My friend confirmed that he and his girlfriend had each paid $429.00, taxes in, for a year’s gold membership.

    My friend and I returned to the front desk and spoke with “Tony.” My friend gave “Tony” his membership information so that he could confirm the facts for himself.

    “Tony” stepped into a back room and appeared to be speaking with someone and looking the information up. “Tony” came back and then stated that while he believed my friend had received the rate in error, he would honor that rate with me. I told him “that’s what I wanted to hear.” To seal the deal, I asked him to write the price down. “Tony” then proceeded to write down the promised rate with his name beneath it, on the front of my 3-day pass. The pass was then returned to me, and I have retained this pass for my records.

    The evening of December 10, 2007, my girlfriend advised me that “John,” the general manager of Premier Fitness called to speak with her regarding her complaint. “John” told her to come in and see him, because he would arrange for a rate of $17.50 bi-weekly, and waive the mandatory physical assessment fee of $50.00.

    On Tuesday December 12, 2007, I returned to the Erin Mills club with my girlfriend and “Tony” met us at the front desk.

    “Tony” informed me that he had looked at my friends account again and discovered that he been a member in the past and that was why he had received the reduced rate.

    He then proceeded to renege on his promise to me, and told me he would not honor the contract price of $429.00 per year. We argued briefly, and my girlfriend interjected, stating that we would bring the issue up with “John.” We were told that “John” was not in the office at that time.

    Over the next few days, my girlfriend called and left several messages for “John.” She was finally able to speak with him. He told her that he had been unable to return her messages because he could not make out going long distance calls.

    We arranged to meet with “John” on December 19, 2007 at 3pm to discuss the membership. We called to confirm that “John,” was in fact in the office as planned. He told my girlfriend that he had a meeting; however, “Tony” would meet with us.

    She told him that we did not wish to deal with “Tony” any further. He then stated that we could meet with another manager, “Darlene.” Frankly, we were not pleased that we had to meet with a new, third person but decided we would plead our case with “Darlene.”

    We went back to the Erin Mills location and met with “Darlene.” She was polite and professional, and had two contracts ready for us to sign. She explained that “John” had arranged for us to pay a rate of $17.50 bi-weekly and that the mandatory physical assessment of $50.00 was being waived. Total price was approximately $480.00, taxes in.

    I then proceeded to explain that I had been promised a price of $429.00 per year by “Tony,” and showed her the 3-day pass where he had recorded the price for me, as proof.

    I briefly relayed our experiences to her and “Tony’s” stated reason for reneging on his promise. I explained that while my friend had been a member years ago, his girlfriend had never been a member. Both had paid $429.00 for the year, and I could not understand why, (A) they would not honor the deal “Tony” had promised me and (B) why I should have to pay more than another member paid a week earlier.

    She then proceeded to leave the room, stating she would call “John.” She returned and explained that “John” had sought and received special permission from the head office in order to waive the mandatory physical assessment fee. She told us that no other offer would be forth coming and that they would not honour the $429.00 price.

    My girlfriend and I thanked “Darlene” for her time, refused the offer, and left the building.

    I intend to forward a formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau of Ontario, but frankly, I do not expect a satisfactory resolution. I believe I had a legal and binding verbal contract with “Tony,” and that the club should honour that contract. Barring that, I may consider filing a civil suit for breach of contract in small claims court.

    Buyer beware!

  27. ilker

    Dec 21 2007

    I told my story on Nov. 25 on this page and said I’d let everyone know how it unfolds…

    Well, I gave up and paid the money. There was no response to BBB from the business and I did not want to have a bad credit rating and deal with a collection agency.

    I think I’ll still go to Ontario Consumer Protection and complain. I hope something can be done about health club membership scams in this province.

  28. Ellen Roseman

    Dec 21 2007

    Premier Fitness is the topic of many complaints here. And since I get more mail about this fitness chain than any other, I decided to see if I could help readers.

    On Dec. 5, I called head office and left a message for president John Cardillo. The next day, vice-president Al Guarino sent me an email with the following news:

    “You left a message for Mr. Cardillo recently asking for some help in responding to some consumer questions that you have received. His secretary forwarded your message to me so that I may be of help to you. Please provide me with the consumers’ names and their questions. I would be happy to help you.”

    I’ve been forwarding lots of email to Mr. Guarino and I’ve heard nothing. So, I tried him again this week. His reply:

    “We are actively working on the files that you sent us and should have several completed within the next week.”

    Stay tuned as I keep trying to get these complaints resolved.

  29. GH

    Dec 21 2007

    Hi again Ellen,
    Thank you so much for contacting Premier!! I truly appreciate it and I’m sure everyone else posting here does too. It already sounds like you are getting the same kind of response that I and many of the other people here are reporting. However, I truly hope you are more successful that I’ve been.

    I regret to have to post once again to let you know that I just came from the club asking for the refund that I have been repeatedly promised and have walked away empty-handed. The General Manager, who made the promises of a speedy resolution about 3 weeks ago, has since ‘resigned’. The Fitness Centre Manager who promised to resolve the issue two months ago has also ‘resigned’!!

    You may remember that the General Manager who swore he would resolve it 4 months ago was moved to another facility. And don’t forget the original Kinesiologist who was sent to Calgary, and on it goes. I wonder if that is how they keep anyone from ever resolving anything. Don’t leave anyone in place long enough for them to accomplish something!!

    Anyway, tonight’s events top everything that I have experienced to date. I spoke to the new “Acting General Manager” who proceeded to tell me that my complaint was nothing more than “Consumer Bullshit” and that I would have a hard time proving my claim that I was injured by a Personal Trainer. After trying to explain my concerns, I became completely flabergasted and left the office in tears.

    Luckily I had an appointment with my Chiropractor, who became very upset to hear of the verbal abuse that I had experienced by the ‘Acting General Manager’! The Chiropractor, as you may remember, saw me immediately after I was injured when the Personal Trainer had loaded up the leg press machine with over 200 pounds and told me that it would be okay for me to press that much weight without any warm-up, so the injury is well documented. (I don’t weigh anywhere near 200 pounds.) I’ve reached my limit.

    Incidentally, Mr. Cardillo and Mr. Guarino are the very individuals that I forwarded my letters to two months ago, asking for the refund when I first contacted the Ministry. Even though tonight I was again promised that I would have the money on Monday, I have decided that I am going to proceed with the Ministry complaint and also with the Small Claims Court as you earlier suggested. Nothing seems to get through to these people.

    I’m truly astonished that Premier feels that rather than resolving an issue for $1,400, they would prefer to risk a possible $250,000 fine from the Competition Bureau and a possible small claims court decision where I would ask for a full refund of the Personal Training cost, including interest accrued on my credit card plus the cost of Physiotherapy, and that this would a more desirable outcome. After speaking with a lawyer friend of mine I believe that I could be successful in recovering a substantial amount of money in court.

    I’m very disappointed to feel forced into making this decision, but I feel I’ve been more than reasonable and more than patient in this matter. I will continue to keep you posted as I hope others can learn from my misfortune. Thanks again, Ellen.

  30. JH

    Dec 22 2007

    Just an update. I have filed an official complaint with the Better Business Bureau and I am researching a civil suit. If you don’t already have it, I found that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has some great advice.

    I have also attempted to fax a letter to the CEO of Premier Fitness, detailing the actions and ethics of his employees. Unfortunately, the fax number that I was able to find on their website, 905-602-9922, just rings and rings. Perhaps someone has the email address of the CEO or a working fax number. Thank you.

  31. Ellen Roseman

    Dec 27 2007

    JH, Premier Fitness makes money by being hard to reach.

    Forget sending a fax. Send an email to executive vice-president Al Guarino at aguarino@premierfitness.ca.

  32. JH

    Dec 31 2007

    Thanks, I sent my email to Al Guarino today. I appreciate all your help. I will let you know when, and if he responds.

    JH.

  33. JH

    Jan 1 2008

    Well, I emailed the VP and have confirmed that executive buck-passing is alive and well. Here’s my response below to Al Guarino’s email.

    I appreciate your speedy reply. However, it seems somewhat pointless to submit my complaint to the “shabby used car dealer” whom I dealt with at the club level initially, particularly when that “shabby used car dealer” is apparently the assistant manager. Joining another club is clearly the remedy here. I will endeavor to ensure that all of my friends and associates are aware of my experience. Perhaps you would like to check out this blog. It details a number complaints leveled at your organization, including mine.

    http://blog.ellenroseman.com/?p=67#comments

    Sincerely,

    J.H.

    al guarino wrote:

    Thank you for your letter. I have asked management at club level to review and respond.

    Happy New Year!

    Al

  34. stacey

    Jan 4 2008

    I wish I would have read this before I got my membership.

    I just paid for the three-month deal for $90 and, of course, I didn’t read the contract.

    Should I try and get out of it now? It’s good till March. I am really at a loss on knowing what to do.

  35. A.R.

    Jan 4 2008

    Ryan, I just read your comment about the Islington location and I’m having similar issues. Please advise me on what your wife intends to do.

    I also spoke to Amy…who doesn’t think it’s particularly important to return my calls. She doesn’t recall me coming in on Sept. 17 to cancel my membership because she sees “40-50 people a week” (according to her), but she passes comments like “well, you didn’t leave here angry when you came in” and addressed me with comments like “WERE YOU IN THE SAME CONVERSATION?!?!”

    Her note (written by her, of course) in her computer says that I would call back in a few days to confirm my cancellation. I originally cancelled because I have moved. Now, she wants to give me two months of membership at the Islington location…I live a half hour drive away (and that’s on a good day).

    I have left 3 messages today alone at the Corporate Office…they don’t think it’s necessary to have an actual customer service rep for their company.

  36. Joanna

    Jan 4 2008

    Stacey, according to the consumer protection act, you have ten days to change your mind and cancel. If you do so within ten days, they have to refund your money.

    I did this with Fitness One (Dufferin Mall) when I found out after joining that I had to move. I am STILL waiting for my refund, but as they are committing fraud — they legally only have 15 days to issue you the refund and it has been over two months — I am confident that my credit card company may be able to help me.

  37. JH

    Jan 12 2008

    Success. A representative of Premier Fitness called and apologized to my friend, his girlfriend and my girlfriend and me for the membership mix-up. Then they offered us the original agreed-upon price of $429 all-inclusive for a gold membership. We signed up today, but paid it all at one time.

    After listening to the many complaints, I realized I didn’t want this company in my bank account. Thank you for help. I am sure that my email, your website and the complaint to the BBB was the reason for the 360-degree turn. Looks like the small guy finally won one. Good luck all.

  38. Chris Pal

    Jan 14 2008

    Everyone chatting up this board seems to have one thing in common (maybe more than one), the fact that Premier Fitness has scammed you somehow. As a recently resigned Customer Service expert and employee, I would say that 75% of you would be correct, possibly more.

    In my four months’ experience at Premier Yorkdale, I’ve seen firsthand the kind of unacceptable business practice that goes on there. If you think what you’re going through is bad right now, believe me you’ve but only scratched the surface.

    Like anything in life, you’ll find good and bad any place. Many staff members go out of their way, as I did, to assist customers. The handicap is simply the attitude, availabilty and lack of order of the Premier leaders.

    I will list the most common customer associated problems below, things to do/account for;

    1. Billing discrepancies

    (a) Fitness assessment fee

    –Ok, this fee totals $106 with taxes. You are obligated to pay this as it is clearly in your contract (even if wasn’t explained) It either is paid as a lump sum or divided into 4 x $26.50 payments, or 2 x $53 payments. No getting out of it, but you may be able to negotiate a rescheduling of these payments with a CSR or manager/sales rep.

    (b) Double billing

    –On occasion, Premier head office does make the mistake of double billing. Don’t confuse double-billing with a bi-weekly plan or assessment fees. Just bring in your bank statements (can be printed online or acquired at your bank) and Premier will refund them, if you can prove it. HOW LONG? Well, they take exceedingly, disgustingly, horrifically longer than they should! You should know under the Ontario consumer protection act 2002, the merchant has 15 days to refund you any amount owing. If you really want that money ASAP, step up your game and demand that you should get it. Do what you need to do to press your rights!

    (c) The Dreaded Auto-Renewal, and pre-authorized debit

    –Upon agreement of contract, Premier’s sales reps are told to acquire a method of pre-authorized payment from you. This is perfectly acceptable and logical for those of you who wish to finance your payments during your 12-month obligation period. I happen to like the idea, but many uninformed people give it out without the knowledge of Auto-Renewal. That is partially your fault for not reading section 8, where it states that the contract will auto renew. I always told customers about it and hopefully I saved some people some grief.

    Poeple complain they have been charged for “out of the blue” to their bank or credit card. After 8 months (sometimes more) of not attending the club, they notice $18.75 every 2 weeks CSC on the card statement. You pick up your phone and ask your bank, “What is this charge here?” They will pass the buck over to Premier. So you angrily speed your car to Premier, sit patiently and try to contain your anger as you wait for a CSR (me). I exit my office and courteously invite you in as I try to add some levity to the boiling situation. We sit down and you tell me the story (I already know it btw): “I did not use this gym for a year,” Stacey says, “and I did not know about the auto renewal,” she adds. I say I understand your situation, Stacey, and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done. I quickly pull out a copy of a contract and point out that your membership perpetually auto-renews and you agreed on this. We sit and bicker for 30 minutes, maybe. YOu ask to speak to a manager. Anyhow, you lose with this approach.

    However, there is a loophole written in section 8 (auto renew), which says the member will be given written notice at the address noted by registered mail 45 days prior to auto renewal. Premier’s contract states they will mail a letter to you advising you of the auto renewal. So let’s say they mail the letter and do their part. Who is to say that the mail was not lost? Can Premier prove that they mailed it to you? If they can, can they prove you received it? NO THEY CAN’T. THe reason I am suggesting you exploit this is because 95% of you have been bamboozled by this shady policy and it’s not right that 6 months later you owe $500.

    Say that to them and if they use fear tactics — “we send you to collections/ICC Canada” — mention that loophole and say you have to take me to court as I dispute this amount owing. Go represent yourself. You don’t even need a lawyer to win this. Don’t be a sucker and pay them based on auto-renewal, please. Small sums like $30 or $40, I would just pay them. But when it grows to $200 and so on, then it changes the game. Do not let them exploit you. Know your rights under the Consumer Protection Act. If they have not given you a chance to auto-renew, you by law do not have to pay.

    2. Cancellations

    (a) 10-day Cancellation

    Under the Consumer Protection Act, you have 10 days to cancel from the day you receive a written copy of the agreement. Pretty straightforward. You’re able to cancel with anyone who works in the system there, not just your sales rep. They may attempt to question you, but you don’t need a reason. All you need to do is say “cancel me and goodbye.”

    (b) 30-day Cancellation

    Premier states on their contract they need 30 days written notice to cancel an agreement and they will honour that! So if you are up for auto-renewal, make sure you come in and cancel with a CSR at least 30 days prior to End of Term. Get a receipt proving you came to cancel. If you receive any future misbillings, then you will be refunded via cheque.

    I’m certain there are other categories I’ve not included. I do hope that this will help you.

    If you’ve any questions, e-mail Tereon_mmo@yahoo.ca

  39. Jeff B

    Jan 17 2008

    Need Advice,

    These guys are unbelievable. I too have a similar story that I wish to share. I was a member at the Islington location in Toronto in October of ’06. Long story short, I moved in February ’07 and wanted to cancel my membership.

    I called a few times and they said I had to go in and do it in person. I went there 3 times and finally got to see AMY. So we discussed it for a few minutes and then I pointed out to her that in section 9, there was no start date entered in my contract or renewal date and I wanted out. She agreed with me and we signed a cancellation agreement.

    I thought everything was fine as they stopped charging my credit card. Lo and behold, 6 months later I see a charge for $350. Of course, I absolutely go through the roof and call my credit card company. They took the charge off my card and advised me if I didn’t want this to happen again they would issue me a new card number, which is fine.

    I received a call yesterday (Jan. 16) from a guy claiming that he is from the law department at Premier Fitness and that it is in my best interest to call him back. In my move, I lost my cancellation notification, but I do still have the contract and my billing history of them not charging me any fees for 6 months after I cancelled. Anyone have any advice for me on this?

  40. Tina V.

    Jan 19 2008

    I had a one month free trial at Premier Fitness at Victoria Park and Danforth. At the end of the free month, I was contacted by and spoke with someone from Premier Fitness about continuing or cancelling my contract; I knew that it was necessessary to give them written notice.

    The individual I spoke to told me not to worry about the written notice and I didn’t and quickly forgot about it. Almost two years later, out of nowhere, I received a number of telephone calls and later a collection letter saying that I owed them money. I forget how much because frankly I ignored their demands. They wanted to know if I could prove that I cancelled my membership. I want to know if they can prove I didn’t???

    As it happens, my credit card had been lost. Otherwise, I am sure they would have billed me, just like they have many of the others who have posted here. As it is, they are threatening to damage my credit rating. I did attend one meeting with the manager of the club, who rolled his eyes and winced when I commented to him on what a lousy job he has and how the company’s policies were unethical and usurious. The club manager gave me the head office telephone number and I decided not to bother with contacting them, as I expect only frustation and I do not worry about my credit rating as I am not a borrower.

    I would like Mr. Guarino to acknowledge that collecting on far-fetched contractual obligations and double billing are part of his business plan. This is how Premier Fitness beefs up their bottom line. Had they truly been concerned about my lack of payment, they should call me when the payment was due and not a year and a half to two years later after the amount has accumulated. Try doing that with your mortgage, rent, car payment etc.

    Thank you, Chris Pal, for pointing out the many ways that Premier directly benefits from auto renewal, double billing and cancellation policies. Please, Mr. Guarino, let the consumer know how often errors are made in the financial favour of the consumer?

    It is my view Mr. Guarino you do not know how to run an honest business.

  41. IB

    Jan 21 2008

    Ditto. Same problem as all others.

    It seems to me that Premier Fitness is one company deserving of a class action lawsuit. The company appears to operate from the premise, if we are threatened by class action, we will settle the individual’s dispute. They know most people don’t have the time or money to carry through and just want their money back. As someone previously employed in customer service, I know that for everyone who complains publicly, there are dozens of other unhappy customers who just pay up.

    Pleas to operate their business in an ethical manor have no results, because they have no conscience. They have no heart. Their only concern is their bottom line. Hopefully, they will pay one day financially for all the grief they put thousands of people through, by a class action lawsuit.

  42. Lynda Bennett

    Jan 28 2008

    Joined GoodLife Fitness (Riverlink Ipswich Qld) 6 months before they opened. During this period, my spine was crushed. They continually took money out of my account, refused to cancel contract, told me to put it on hold or on sell.

    I put it on hold and it has been on hold for 10 months. Now they want a $75 cancellation fee, medical proof that my spine has rods inserted and a letter from my doctor, again.

    I feel that considering this all took place before they opened, they should waive the cancellation fee on compassionate grounds.

  43. Rebecca Theal

    Jan 29 2008

    I joined Premier Fitness in St. Catharines over 3 years ago. After a year of going, I decided I did not want to continue so I went into the club to cancel. They said I would have to see someone before I could cancel my membership. I waited 20 minutes and of course no one became available. I went again on other occasion and the same thing happened.

    I told the receptionist I wanted to cancel and went home and stopped payment on my automatic withdrawal. Now 2 years later, I get notice from the club that I owe them $900. Do I have any rights or do I have to pay this so it won’t affect my credit rating?

  44. Alex

    Jan 29 2008

    I was a member of Premier Fitness for a few months. In fact, I went there with one of my clients to work on his recovery.

    What I cannot understand at two Premier Fitness clubs — one in Fairview, Burlington and the other in Stoney Creek, Hamilton — is why they have such impolite, rude personnel. Actually, a hairless brainwashed “pack of muscles” in Stoney Creek was quite aggressive regarding my profession and my right to go there with my client, even with a membership. I’ll avoid in the future those Premier Fitness clubs and their impolite Neanderthalian managers.

  45. Juanita

    Jan 31 2008

    Well, me too.

    I joined Curzons (Brant St, Burlington) way back in November 2003 and stopped going in February 2004. The place was OK, but I now say the experience was unfortunate due to the recent threats directed at me (yeah, that’s right 4 years later!!!).

    I VERY CLEARLY indicated to the manager when I joined that I DID NOT intend to renew. I joined for 12 months simply because they refused to allow me to join for a shorter duration. I paid up-front in full, $426.93. I also expressed my concerns that I DID NOT agree to any further charges ever.

    The manager was really nice and assured me that no further charges would be billed to me ever (he even offered me a free club t-shirt). I’m looking at the original contract right now and the authorized payment portion was not filled out. Furthermore, I did not initial the portion agreeing to pay the $426.93 via monthly installments or to allow continued billing after the expiration of my membership.

    The manager filled out the guaranteed monthly renewal fee portion and told me this simply ‘locked in’ his offer of a monthly rate and an effective date in case I chose to join again when my membership automatically cancelled in 12 months. All seemed well until they said they needed a void cheque in order to process my membership, blaming it on head office. I VERY reluctantly provided the cheque.

    When I decided not to go any more, I had no trouble finding the manager. He spent a considerable amount of time trying to convince me to keep going and to pay for boxing lessons on top. Four years passed with repeated offers in the mail to join again. I got lots of exercise recycling them.

    Then on Jan. 24, 2008, I received a ridiculous threatening letter from Premier Fitness Head Office claiming I owe them $187.63. I’ve never been there before and assumed they had mailed me in error. The Collections Officer from Head Office, Ronak Varma (905)602-9912 ext 2247, who has given me until Feb 10, 2008 to pay, had to inform me that Premier is Curzons. He also said that he had been taking monthly payments from my account for the past 4 years until the account became invalid.

    This is absurd. Not only have I no record of them taking payments from me (the amount of which I was unaware), but the account number he claims to have used has never belonged to me or anyone else in Canada. My local bank branch and I determined that they fraudulently set up a membership for me by combining the bank’s transit number and institution number so conveniently acquired from that void cheque they weren’t allow to use and – voila – a fake account number!

    Surely they wish I had signed the approval for automatic payments, seeing as though a real account yields real payments.
    They are now saying that I owe them, because payments were made on the second membership and therefore we have a contract. Perhaps all the readers should check their bank statements closely because someone has been paying for those pesky boxing lessons.

    I did as most of you have (called, drove there, intended to write the president)! Don’t bother, I ran out of paper printing complaints about Premier and quickly realized that I’m one tiny voice in a huge crowd of people saying the same thing.
    Luckily they didn’t get my money. However, that might just be worse. Instead of trying to collect from them, I’m now trying to protect from them.

    According to Premier, Steven Walter’s Law Office and Inter Canada Credit have strongly threatened to thoroughly destroy my credit rating with Equifax and Trans Union Canada. This is ridiculous. If I had been aware four years ago that they thought we had a contract, I would have terminated it immediately.

    This is where I must plead with any of you considering joining. In my opinion: Pay CASH ONLY, even use a fake name if possible. Trust me, they’ll probably accept cash, seeing as though they owe so much in tax money to the government. This is likely why so many of us are being attacked over invalid obsolete claims. They want money and will do anything to get it hoping to scare people into paying.

    I did everything right and still have a problem now. I read the fine print. You can’t win with this company unless you keep paying them. They don’t even care if you go and work out. The police have apparently investigated and it’s still continuing. I went to another location today and asked about joining and termination of my contract and was told the same thing as four years ago. “You simply stop coming and that’s it.” This is not true! I recommend getting a ‘free and clear’ letter from them or this could carry on forever, it seems.

    Anyone for a class action suit?

    The best they could offer me on Brant St. was to reduce the amount that I don’t even owe them. Head office has offered to waive the amount entirely if I join for 12 months and pay $423.98 in person at head office. Are you kidding me? After being treated so poorly, do they really think I’m that stupid to engage in another contract with them that I’ll ultimately be fighting to terminate in 2013?

    I’m not sure what to do, aside from hiring a really good lawyer. Maybe I’ll get that damn t-shirt!

  46. Gary Gray

    Feb 9 2008

    I wanted to let anyone who is reading Lynda’s comment about GoodLife Fitness know that she is talking about a chain of fitness clubs in Australia, which is not related to the Canadian chain.

  47. Juanita

    Feb 14 2008

    I must add to my previous comment. It reads incorrectly in regards to the void cheque Curzon’s requested. I did provide them with a cheque as stated in my comment, however it was not a void cheque but rather the method of my lump sum payment. I VERY reluctantly provided it but felt it was better than paying cash.

    As far as an update: So far I a have written several times to several individuals both within the company and third party, we are now awaiting a response from the company.

  48. Unhappy with PF

    Feb 20 2008

    I joined Premier Fitness in London last August. In the month of January they charged me an extra payment of $283 and then two more payments for $25. I went in with my credit card statement and told them that they overcharged me. The general manager, John, said that there was a problem with mastercard and not them. I called my credit card company who said the problem was with Premier Fitness. I went back in half a dozen times within two weeks and each time the general manager, John; the health and nutrition receptionist, Amber, the accounts payable clerk, Elliot, and the other accounts payable clerk, Brad, told me that they didn’t have a record of the payments in their computers. Amber even told me that she would get to the bottom of it being that she’s a woman and therefore more efficient than her male colleagues. Well, she did absolutely nothing about it and then went on maternity leave the next week. Everyone at Premier Fitness keeps putting me off by saying that they will talk to head office and get back to me. Surprise, surprise, they never call me back.

    I called head office over a dozen times and either no one answered or I was transferred and then no one answered.

    I’ve disputed the charges to my credit card company, reported Premier to the BBB, and I’ve cancelled my credit card – I’m sure within the next week head office will call to threaten me. However, I’m not going to let them continue to put random charges on my credit card. Go right ahead and report me!!

    I can’t believe that Premier Fitness has so little regard for their customers. Truly the worst company I’ve ever dealt with.

  49. Juanita

    Feb 21 2008

    In reply to ‘Unhappy with PF’, in my opinion:

    Perhaps you could contact the company in writing, requesting that the unauthorized overpayments be returned to you. If you create this paper trail before they contact you for more money (that you don’t owe), maybe it will help you avoid some of the issues with them. Good luck.

  50. Bonnie

    Feb 29 2008

    I have been a Premier Fitness member at the Kingston club since September ’07. I pay $51 and change every two weeks for myself and my kids. I also paid the $100 assessment fee.

    My problem is that my husband was recently diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer and because of the drastic financial change in our family, I went to the club this morning to cancel my membership. At first, the young fellow at reception asked me a million questions and told me that I had signed up for a one-year contract. I asked for a manager and of course was told that no one was there.

    Luckily, I saw the Operations Manager Tom coming through the front door. The way I was treated was absolutely disgusting. He didn’t have the decency to take me into the office and I had to explain everything to him about my husband at the front reception desk. Not only did he not have an ounce of caring in him, but he proceeded to basically call me a liar by saying “Do you know how many people could come in and say that?”

    Help anyone!!! I just can’t afford the membership any longer and I obviously can’t deal with them.

  51. trina

    Mar 3 2008

    I have been debited in my chequing account the amount of $2,400 that Premier Fitness continues to withdraw from my account. I have cancelled at the gym and sent three faxes to people at the home office. I am not going to do it legally. I cancelled two years ago.

  52. Unhappy with PF update

    Mar 8 2008

    An update:

    I dropped off a letter to Premier Fitness demanding a refund, cancellation of my membership and deauthorizing them from charging my credit cards. Asked them to contact me immediately and they never did.

    After talking with the credit card company several times, I was issued a full refund. Premier Fitness now has 45 days to prove that the charges were not fraudulent.

  53. Sheena

    Mar 11 2008

    I have an issue with Premier Fitness…bet you haven’t heard that one yet?!?!

    I signed up almost 4 years ago for a one year membership at the brand new location in St. Catharines, with personal training sessions and boxing lessons. I specifically said when the contract was initiated that I was not to be billed for the boxing until the Boxing studio was open. I was assured by Scott, the manager at the time, that it would be open within the next couple of weeks.

    A couple of weeks later, the ring still wasn’t open. I went into the gym and cancelled the personal training and boxing and switched my membership to another location in town because of child care services. I was told by the girl at the desk, no problem, it will be taken care of… stupid me for believing it would be taken care of.

    A year later, I switched back to the original location because they finally had their daycare open. Upon returning, I was told that I owed $508 for boxing and personal training. I told them it was cancelled, but nothing happened. I spoke to the manager and he basically told me too bad.

    I have registered a complaint with the BBB and after 1 month of no responses from Premier, my case was closed. Premier has now sent me to collections and destroyed my credit rating.

    I am in the process of seeking legal counsel and I have also set up a group on Facebook to voice my concerns. I have no problem paying for services that I use, but I refuse to pay for services that were not used, earned or that should have been taken care of when I cancelled.

    Why should I have to suffer for an employee’s lack of training in taking care of these kinds of issues?

  54. Billy

    Mar 14 2008

    Are there any ‘good’ fitness clubs in the GTA that don’t have such a tarnished reputation as PF?

    Can we hear from some members of rival clubs (i.e. Extreme Fitness, Goodlife Fitness, System Fitness, YMCA etc.) ?

  55. SA

    Mar 14 2008

    I recently got money back by going to Ontario ministry of consumer and government services, as you suggested.

    I had bought a one-year membership and used my credit card to pay for it. Didn’t read the fine print which said, “Thirty days’ notice required to cancel membership.”

    My membership card had an expiry date on it. When the year was up, I stopped going. I assumed the billing on my credit card was for parking and let it go for more than a year!!!

    When I finally checked with my credit card company and found out what the acronym on my bill was for, I went to the club to demand my money back. They were firm at first and then backed down and said I could have the equivalent in extended membership, but I didn’t want that.

    The company I was dealing with is The Women’s Club. They are associated with Mademoiselle Women’s Fitness and Day Spa, Regency Fitness and Racquet Club, Premier Fitness and Curzons Fitness.

    I was out about $1,500. I know I’m guilty for not reading the fine print and for not checking my credit card more carefully. But they’re guilty of making money based on the fact that they know the public will do that.

    After I went to the Ontario government, I got this response.

    Dear Ms. A,

    We have received the attached response from Ms. Elda Waters, General Manager, explaining the company’s position, including an offer for $784.41.

    Please note that I have spoken to her about the offer and was unsuccessful in my attempts to persuade her to give a full refund. Her refusal is based on Section 11 and 11(4) of the Prepaid Services Act, which states as follows:

    Notice re renewal
    11.(1)Where a contract provides for renewal and the operator does not deliver to the customer a notice reminding the customer of the provision required by subsection 4 (2), the provision for renewal does not apply.

    Idem
    (2)The notice under subsection (1) must be delivered at least thirty days before but not more than ninety days before the end of the contract.

    Idem
    (3)A notice under subsection (1) sent by registered mail to the customer at the last known address of the customer that the operator has shall be deemed to be delivered on the day that it is mailed.

    Monthly renewals
    (4)Subsection (1) does not apply to a contract providing for successive monthly renewals where the customer has the option of cancelling on one month’s notice or less. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.22, s. 11.
    —————————————————————
    I explained to her that our position is, and has always been, that the above refers to a contract that was originally a month-to-month contract and not a contract that was originally a yearly contract, which as stated herein below requires a renewal notice. She refuses to accept our understanding of
    the legislation.
    ————————————————————-
    Information in contract
    4.(1)A contract must set out,
    (a) the name and address of the operator and the customer;
    (b) a description of the services contracted for by the customer that is sufficient to identify them with certainty;
    (c) the price of the services contracted for;
    (d) the conditions upon which the contract may be renewed, cancelled or rescinded;
    (e) if payment is to be by instalment, the number of instalments, the amount of each instalment and the total additional cost, if any, for payment by instalment; and
    (f) where any part of the services are not available at the time the contract is signed, the date that the services will be made available and the name and address of the person holding the trust funds pending availability.

    Renewal of contracts
    (2)A contract that provides for renewal must also provide that it is not renewable if the customer notifies the operator in writing, before the time for renewal, that the customer does not want to renew. R.S.O. 1990, c. P.22, s. 4.

  56. joanne

    Mar 27 2008

    I am one of many people who are planning to take Premier Fitness to court in a class action lawsuit because of their continual illegal behaviour.

    The gym cannot carry on their activity unless we as consumers sit back and allow it to continue. It is our legal right to bring them to justice.

    The problem is that no one wants to half the time or they don’t realize they can do something about it. If we were to take money from a bank account, would we not be charged with fraud?

    I don’t understand why people do not take the evidence they have to the police and charge them. Charge the gym, as well as the person who is doing it in accounting, plus the managers etc., as accomplices.

  57. Juanita

    Mar 27 2008

    In response to Joanne:

    I agree with you. However, in my experience, it may not be as easy as it seems to charge this company or perhaps any other for that matter.

    After contacting the Fraud Division of Hamilton Police Services, who themselves have already investigated this company with respect to its alleged fraudulent business conduct, I was told they could do nothing. Apparently, as I was told, it is between the company and myself and it is not a police matter.

    I then politely expressed my understanding that fraud is a matter for the Fraud Department to investigate. The officer again explained that they could do nothing. I should go to court.

    Astonished, I had to agree to disagree. I thought it was a cut and dried case, but I guess not. Instead, I’ve tried other avenues in dealing with this issue.

  58. David Feid

    Mar 28 2008

    Dear SA,
    I was wondering, did it cost you anything to contact the Ontario ministry of consumer and government services? I signed up for a membership late last year and seein all these posts on message boards about premier continuing to take money out of your account after you cancel is alarming.

    I am definitely planning to cancel my membership when the one-year term is up now that I’ve read about all these scams they pull. I would like to know how to start a case with the Ontario Ministry as fast as possible so that I can get the ball rolling for when they try to scam me.

  59. Samuel Platter

    Mar 29 2008

    My first encounter with Persechini Fitness, located in Newmarket, Ont., was in 1990. My wife and I decided it might be a good idea to join a club. A very short time later (within a week or so), I landed a new position and my wife just started her new position.

    We really didn’t have the time to go, but that didn’t stop Persechini from keeping our $108 deposit. Yep, you guessed it…no refund.

    My mother ran into a similar situation with the very same club. She had joined in hopes of losing some extra weight and possibly getting back into shape. She had paid a year in advance, based on a special promotion the club was running with the Town of Newmarket employees.

    Within two months of joining, my stepfather became ill and needed constant care. My mother had very little time to herself, let alone time to spend at the fitness centre. She approached Persechini’s and informed them of her situation and obligations. Their response was, we can give you 3 months free after your commitment is fullfilled, but offered nothing else.

    My third encounter with these people came when my son joined in January 2007. He was obligated to a time frame of a year, and afterwards they were to continue to withdraw from his bank account until he notified them in person and in writing he no longer wished to be a member.

    Life gets extremely busy, and don’t we all wish that our lives evolved around a greedy fitness centre. My wife stopped payments a month after my son’s obligation was fullfilled, but didn’t notify them in writing that we wished to cancel. Now they demand $48, because we didn’t come in.

    The man who owns this club is Joe Persechini, who also started the Persechini Run for Easter Seals way back when. You would think a guy who does all this kind and wonderful work for kids would be a little more understanding and a lot less greedy and uncaring. Did he do all this charity work for his giant ego and the business bottom line, or did he really care for the kids?

    After all my experiences with this guy, I tend to think the real reason for his kindness has been mentioned in my previous paragraph.

  60. Juanita

    Mar 29 2008

    In response to David Feid:

    You can download the ministry complaint form for free. They can’t help you though until the club has scammed you. Notify the club before your membership is to expire if you wish to cancel your membership; your original contract should tell you how much notice to give.

  61. David Feid

    Mar 30 2008

    Dear Juanita,
    Thank you for your reply. Now I was wondering, would CC’ing the credit card company with a notice of cancellation be helpful in situations like this? I think sending my notice by registered mail as well as in person might be a good idea.

  62. Ian

    Mar 31 2008

    I am a member of Extreme Fitness in Pickering. They double charged me for a month. When I went to talk to the manager, after he checked all my bank statements, he filled out the forms for the refund and told me that I will have the refund in 2 weeks.

    Now, after almost 2 months, I still did not get the refund. When I tried to talk to him, he is not there or conveniently very busy at the time.

    Although this is not about a large amount, I’m a student and every dollar weighs a lot. I believe that if I do my part to respect the contract, they should do the same.

    Although I did not have any problems with them other than this, because of the poor management from this location and the lack of a head office to deal with complaints, I will never consider recommending them to anyone.

  63. Juanita

    Mar 31 2008

    David, I cannot give you legal advice. However, in my opinion:

    If Premier has your credit card # or bank account #, you should try to have them changed immediately. As far as CC’ing, make sure Premier sees everyone you CC and include your credit card company, bank, club manager, head office etc.

    I think you’ll have more luck using registered mail than in person, as they will likely not make themselves available to you.

    As long as you follow the terms of your contract, Premier will look foolish trying to get money out of you if everyone else agrees you are no longer obligated to pay them for anything. This is where the Ontario consumer ministry would come in to play.
    Good luck.

  64. Juanita

    Apr 2 2008

    Update:

    Premier has settled the issue!

  65. Ellen Roseman

    May 2 2008

    This email came in today from a student, who wanted to warn others about her experience with Extreme Fitness.

    ————————————————————–

    It started last summer, when I had made the mistake of filling out one of the ballot boxes provided by Extreme Fitness in many differrent locations across Queen St. and Richmond St. in coffee shops and resturants in downtown Toronto. The ballot box said, “WIN ONE YEAR FREE MEMBERSHIP AT EXTREME FITNESS.”

    I decided to fill one out, considering that I felt I needed to get into shape. It would be great for my bones (since I am close to having osteoporosis) and overall good for my heart because I am a patient at Sick Kids Hospital and my doctor had advised me to get into shape.

    Somehow I had “won”, which I feel is a lie. I beleive that everyone who fills out a ballot is called and lied to, so they can join Extreme Fitness and the gym can lock them in for a long time and take their hard-earned money.

    When I went for a first-time orientation to view the gym and its equipment, I was approched by a friendly, and perhaps too friendly representative, about how Extreme Fitness works. When we went to sign a membership agreement, she told me I had to pay $129 per month, PER MONTH?! Being a first-time gym member, I was ignorant enough to believe them and think this was actually a fair deal. And she didn’t tell me anything more.

    So I decided it isn’t bad, at least I thought since I had no knowledge of gyms and their fees or contracts, that even if I stayed for 2-3 months it would be okay. That was enough time for me to get into shape. and healthy, and I could cancel my membership afterward.

    Now I walk around and see some gyms, especially Extreme Fitness, with signs on their website and gym claiming statements like “$18 PER MONTH. JOIN NOW WITH NO ANNUAL FEES AND CONTRACTS!!”

    Before signing the contract, I tried reading it, and when I did so, the representative distracted me by saying, “This is just what it says and this is the date you start, and I will give you three months free, and it says that right here, so don’t worry about that and can you sign here, please”? With her interupting me, and sweet talking me, such as always mentioning how pretty and cute I am, I didn’t bother reading the few lines below and was dumb enough to sign the contract.

    When I got home, after travelling 2 hours on public transportation, I realized the lines below said I was locked in for “9 obligatory months” and that I was required to pay for them and could only cancel my membership 14 days before the final obligatory payment. When I realized on the back of the contract it said “Buyer/Member may rescind this contract within 10 days of signing membership with handwritten notice to Extreme Fitness,” I decided to call the representative and let her know that I did not want to continue if I was bound for 9 months, $129 x 9 months is almost a grand, and I am a student who doesn’t work during the school year and uses all her money for books and tuition. Going to University isn’t easy.

    So I told her I would like to cancel. She told me that the part of the contract I was worried about didn’t apply to me and I could cancel any time. I could cancel whenever I wanted.

    A few days later, I went to work out at the gym and I saw her in person. There I spoke to her again, letting her know that I wouldn’t be working during the school year. She was positive that the part of the contract that bound me in for 9 months didn’t apply to me. She said, “of course it doesn’t. Don’t worry about it,” with a fake smile and mentioning again to the receptionist how “cute” I was.

    Finally, my friend (who signed up with me) went to the manager to speak to him about the contract because she felt it was a little odd and wanted to cancel. He said he couldn’t because she had come in too late (the 11th day after signing the contract.) She told the manager that she was lied to by the representative who had said that part of the contract did not apply to her, and that we could cancel at any time we wanted.

    We tried to get in touch with the representative for 3 days. When we went down there a week later, we called the gym before going and the receptionist said the manager was there. When we got to the gym and said we wanted to speak to the manger about our membership, all of a sudden it was the case that she wasn’t in at all, we were misinformed, and that she was “sick” that day.

    We had travelled 2 hours to get to downtown Toronto, so hearing that drove me crazy! When we finally got the chance to speak to her and the manager 3 days after the “sick” incident, she bluntly lied with a straight face and said I had never spoken to her in person, and I had never spoken to her over the phone. I even left a message on her voice mail in the gym, and for some reason she had her voice mail set up the day that we came to speak to her and the manager!

    SHE LIED TO OUR FACES, AND IN FRONT OF THE MANAGER, SAYING I NEVER SPOKE TO HER ON THE PHONE AND IN PERSON!! So what, am I crazy? I just see things and people, and talk to them in my own mind? I am making up stories?

    After arguing with them for an hour, I got them to charge us (my friend and I) a lower rate of $80 a month. A LOWER RATE?! When I spoke to the other members in the gym, 20 of them said they paid $40 a month, while 45 said they were paying $75 and were not happy with the membership, and were bound in so they HAD to use their facilities, kind of like me.

    In the past 8 months that I had to pay, I only used their facilities for 2 months because they have rude trainers who don’t help you out unless money from your pocket is being given to them. And the represenatives make you wait almost 30 minutes just to talk to one of them.

    Today, I went to cancel my membership. It clearly states on the contract, “THE BUYER/MEMBER MUST CANCEL THIS RECIPT 14 DAYS, BEFORE THE FINAL OBLIGATORY PAYMENT GOES OUT TO EXTREME FITNESS. EXTREME FITNESS REQUIRES 14 DAYS WRITTEN HAND NOTICE TO PROCESS A CANCELLATION OF A MEMBERSHIP.”

    I went to speak to the sales manager, who told me that I was too early and I could only cancel 2 weeks AFTER my final payment went out. I told him clearly that the membership said I have to come in 14 days before the final payment. I was coming in today because I have a friend’s wedding to attend, and I didn’t want there to be any problems.

    He told me, “I have been working here for 11 years, I know the rules, you have to come in 14 days after June 1st”. I stood my ground and said no, what was written on the document I signed is what I want. It makes no sense for me to come 14 days after my final payment when my contract clearly states I have to come in 14 days BEFORE my final payment.

    He rudely told me I could argue with him all I want, but I have to come in 14 days after June 1st. When I asked him to give me that in writing, with a date and signature, he rudely got up to get an administration form and said, “You’re 21 years old and you have no respect!” Which was disrespectful, because he doesn’t even know my name without looking at my membership and he’s assuming that I am rude?

    I decided not to accept that as a final answer and waited for the manager, who was supposed to be in at 11 am. We waited until 1:30 pm and he finally walked in the door. We told him our issue, and he took our cancellation notice, and provided us with a membership cancellation recipt. FINALLY!

    I just wanted to say, after telling you my story, that this gym is NOT what it seems. These people love to manipulate, and lie to people in order to get their hard earned money.

    City-TV News did a story about hidden fees and contracts in gyms…THIS IS YOUR PROOF RIGHT HERE! I paid almost $800 for 8 months (whereas some people only pay $200 for a YEAR in some gyms/community centres) for a gym I didn’t even USE!! As soon as you have a problem with the membership or you want to quit, the representatives switch personalities like a chameleon switches colours. They become rude, disrespectful and tell you in an authoritative manner, that it’s Extreme Fitness’ way or the highway.

    The manger is ridiculous. It has occurred on more occasions than one that we have waited for him for 2 hours just to speak to him for 10 minutes.

    These people place their ballot boxes all around the GTA and suck in more people who want to feel good about their bodies and life. Instead, they sweet talk and manipulate people into signing a contract that is something completly different than what they signed up for. They are manipulating people ONLY for their business gains. They lie, they cheat, they’re rude, and disrespectful. EXTREME FITNESS IS AN EXTREME SCAM!!

    Many gyms, including Extreme Fitness, have hidden fees, and contracts that are not 100% accurate and PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU SIGN AND ASK QUESTIONS ALWAYS! Better yet, don’t join gyms at ALL! I don’t want anyone else to get in the mess that I did. You lose money and it’s mentally stressing!

  66. Jason Drowden

    Jun 22 2008

    Extreme Fitness is the worst I have ever experienced. They mislead you into signing a one-year contract and it costs way more than they tell you.

    The gym is also oversold, so it is packed and half the machines do not work.

  67. Greg

    Jun 24 2008

    The Kingston Premier club is really dirty, like someone has mentioned above. The showers are some of the dirtiest I have ever seen, and I am a student :) Half of them are broken. A good number of the machines also do not work. Cleaning supplies are never available.

    The fitness test nonsense is also annoying. I just kept ignoring their threats to not let me into the club, because I simply do not have time to work around their hours for that appointment.

    When I moved and could no longer get to the gym, I tried talking to the management to see if I could pay out a portion of the remaining contract. They offered to let me pay the full amount and then cancel my membership instead.

    Premier may have a pool, but Kingston GoodLife is a thousand times better. The staff actually treat you like a person with a smile and hello when you walk in. GoodLife is an older gym, but is clean and well-maintained. I am going back to GoodLife.

  68. Corrupt gyms

    Jun 30 2008

    Hi, I was reading all of the comments made on this blog. If you want more info on corrupt gyms and how to combat their scams, you can go to corrupt gyms on blogger.com. Or you can simply email me personally > gymscorrupt@yahoo.ca <

  69. TC

    Jul 8 2008

    Thank you for the stories. I was thinking about getting a membership there but after readings TONS AND TONS of stories about people being ripped off and treated horribly in the process I have definitely decided against it.

  70. Cindy

    Jul 11 2008

    I’m interesting in joining a gym but I want to know…is there any gym in Toronto worth joining?!? I don’t wanna get scammed…

  71. M

    Jul 14 2008

    Promising-looking renovations at the Ottawa Carlingwood Premier are proceeding at a glacial pace. Some welcome modernizations to the machines and facelift to the workout area last year improved the club, although the workmanship was embarrassingly poor.

    Nice-looking renovations to the men’s locker room are slowly, slowly proceeding. It might be a valid excuse for not cleaning the original showers (still standing), however the destruction and renovation of this space has been going on for many, many months. Those showers that still work are mostly in darkness because the club is too cheap to replace three light bulbs. And it is easy to see why they don’t, since the tile grout and shower curtains are covered in black mold, the filth in there is beyond belief, and it usually smells like feces. I am informed that the showers are cleaned every night.

    New potential members should be warned that this situation isn’t likely to improve in the near future, given the track record.

  72. Lisa L

    Jul 25 2008

    I was a member at Premier Fitness for 12 years. I switched to the location in Heart Lake (Brampton) in 2003 after my daughter was born, as they had a pretty good daycare centre with nice staff.

    Llong story short – the billing issues and a terrible manager (Natalie) after 3 pretty good ones before her – drove me and my family out of there. My complaining about the state of the place and siccing the health inspectors on them made my cancellation quite smooth!! Be a thorn in their side and they’ll be happy to let you go!!!

    I joined the Brampton YMCA and they are wonderful. I have been with them since 2006 and have no problems. It’s clean and the machines work. Everyone bends over backwards to help you and so friendly!

    My family also goes to the YMCAs in Mississauga, Markham and Peterborough (near our work and trailer) It’s great you do not need to pay extra to use the same gym in other cities! I highly recommend the YMCA!

  73. Karen

    Jul 31 2008

    My daughter joined VI Fitness Centre, here on Vancouver Island, in January. She indicated that she would be attending school on the mainland, more than 30 kms away, in September.

    She asked about the cancellation policy. In the contract, it states “This Agreement may be cancelled only if permanently moving outside the Nanaimo area or outside a 30 km radius…”

    She was told it would be best to sign up for two year plan (vs a one year plan), thus saving $10 on her monthly dues. That girl no longer works for VI Fitness Centre/Nanaimo. How convenient.

    The contract also states: “Any membership cancelled, after 10 days and within term, shall be adjusted as PER CONSUMER CONTRACT REGULATIONS and any monies owing shall be payable prior to cancellation.”

    Guess what that means? Don’t know? They didn’t either, so they asked and were told the customer would only lose one month’s payment if they gave 30 days notice. WRONG, it’s 30% of the remaining term.

    BEWARE, some gyms are fraudsters, this is one of them. Happily, the salesgirl has collected the commission and the gym has collected 30% of the year my daughter didn’t need.

  74. M. D’Souza

    Aug 10 2008

    The only piece of advice that I can give is to pay for the year’s dues in FULL cash. DO NOT give out any credit card or banking information. Premier Fitness is known to scam people and charge their credit cards even after the cancellation. BUYER BEWARE!!!

  75. Jed

    Aug 13 2008

    I am coming to the end of my first year with Extreme Fitness (Dunfield location – Yonge/Eglinton). If you’re considering that location, I would think twice about it.

    The place has been under constant reno’s, which have been running months over the original timelines. It seems like the staff turnover has been high since Extreme took over the club last year or so, not a good sign. If you do a google search for Extreme in general, you will come across many of the same complaints/stories that are on this board, regarding contracts/fees etc.

    My personal experience hasn’t been too bad, beyond the issues above (although I haven’t actually cancelled yet! Going to make sure to review that section of the contract and then probably change my cc # for good measure), although I’ve been frustrated with the above location. Getting the membership was a high-pressure sales job, and so was the ‘fitness assessment’ – got tagged teamed by two sales people in a closed office, wasn’t impressed.

    Front desk staff aren’t too helpful and I witnessed some pretty poor displays of customer service. At the time of signing, I walked out of there with a different and more expensive product than I intended on getting, which I am more pissed at myself for than anything. I consider my time with Extreme as an expensive lesson in becoming a better consumer and I’m looking for a smaller gym with a real priority on customer service and good business practices. I would work out at home but I also like to get out of the house. Show me a place with a personal touch, clean facility, professional friendly staff who believe in their business, with decent equipment and layout, I’ll be there.

    Unfortunately, these shoddy companies are turning lots of people off fitness clubs. This also hurts the good places, and if your motivation to work out is low to begin with, it means you’re probably not going as much (and being as healthy) as you might have, to your detriment.

    My perception is that there are too many big gym chains around GTA and that market saturation will weed out the shoddy companies. Interesting how you don’t see an established company like Goodlife flyering the heck out of everybody. I suspect their business practices are better on average that Premier/Extreme/others and therefore they’re not scared of losing customers in the long run.

  76. Nicole

    Aug 15 2008

    I got a gym membership at Premier Fitness in April. I had no problems until yesterday, when I went to a group exercise class at their new Dixie/Dundas location and was told I had to pay extra to use that club.

    My contract says this is a ‘gold membership’ and I can use all the clubs. I prepaid my membership for a year, so I don’t see why I would need to pay extra. The explanation I got was that this was a newly built club! Has anyone had that problem before?

    On another note, while reading my contract I realized there’s a line that says: ‘I agree to undergo a cardio-med assessment as required by the club’s insurance policy every three months during the first year of the membership.’ It costs $100+ GST. So far, my credit card has not been debited by that amount, nor I was asked to take that exam. Does anyone know about this?

  77. Monia

    Sep 12 2008

    I have a problem with EXTREME FITNESS. I went for a visit, just a visit, and they asked me a lot of questions.

    I said, “why do you need this?” He said, “Don’t worry, it’s just for the form.” He asked me to sign. I said why. He said, “Don’t worry it’s just for the form.” I said, “Then it’s just a visit. I’m not ready to be a member.” He said “Don’t worry, I’m waiting for your OK.”

    He wanted my credit card number. I said why. He said, “Don’t worry. I won’t be using it. It’s just in your file. It’s ready. I’m waiting for your OK.”

    You know what, I wasn’t ready yet, so I never called them. But now I have a bill from Extreme Fitness on my credit card and they just told me, “There is nothing that we can do for you. We have your signature.”

    BUT I trusted them and I never said OK. And when I tried to talk with the general manager on Richmond Street, he was so rude…..

  78. jamie

    Oct 28 2008

    Ok. So I signed up with Premier Fitness about 3 years ago under 1 year contract on Markham rd and 14th. That place was closed down about 2 years ago.

    About a month ago, I received a call from Premier Fitness in Scarborough saying that I signed up for a personal trainer. I don’t have a contract with me, but as far as I remember, I didn’t sign up for a personal trainer. I asked them for a copy of the contract, but they refused to provide it to me. They’ve been making constant phone calls saying if I don’t pay them $700, they’ll take it to the Collection Agency and this will affect my credit rating.

    I need help on how I can fight this. This sounds a little illegal to me that they are unwilling to provide the copy of the contract, and also that I owe them $700.

    I asked them where they are getting this number, and they said it’s in the computer.

    I need an advice. Help!

  79. andrea

    Oct 31 2008

    Premier Fitness is terrible. My experience, briefly:

    I joined them on March 8, 2004. The last time I went was in late February 2005. I was transferred out of Toronto for work in March and made numerous calls to the club at (what was) the Skydome. I made a trip back to Toronto, visited the gym to cancel in person and was told I couldn’t do that. I was never advised of what recourse I had.

    Premier continued to debit my credit card until October 2006. When I had to replace the card, obviously the charges stopped. On Oct. 9 of this year, I got a form letter from Premier Rogers Centre stating I owe them fees of $1,273.18.

    I sent them a registered letter to Head Office, indicating that they in fact owed me $1,033 (est.) for dues taken out after the end of the contract. I got an email from the employee at the gym today and it contained some factual errors, which I didn’t understand – that they got a fax from me (I never sent one). Basically, they say they’re sending it to collections on Nov. 9.

    I emailed the guy from the gym back and got this nonsensical answer (spelling errors are his).

    “In response to your registered letter: You continue to tell us that you cancelled the account yet you are not providing us with proof of any such activity. Furthermore, you are absolutely correct, we cannot contract you for any longer than a one-year period at a time. As such, your contract is to buy an ongoing service that can not be cancelled inside of a one-year period. Thereafter you are not under contract, you are simply required to provide 30 days notice of cancellation.

    “It is during this period that your debt has accumulated and the amount remains as a valid deliquency. As the biweekly dues out of term are an ongoing part of the original agreement, there is no renewal of contract, meaning providing you with a notice would be a courtesy, not a requirement. Although it is standard proceedure that everyone receives mail out anyway. Your debt remains at $1,382.18, with a charge-off date of November 9, 2008.”

    A friend of mine is a law clerk and she advised me to send Head Office a registered letter and go after them, hard. Register a complaint with the ministry, contact the media, call the credit bureaus and have a notation put on your file.

    Wish me luck. I am seriously angry about this. I’ll post back and let you know how it goes!

  80. Kevin

    Dec 10 2008

    Try for one of the prepaid annual corporate memberships. As a teacher, we can buy these from Edvantage, with Goodlife, our own consumer clearing house.

    I pay once a year ($329) and it expires if I don’t pay again. I do not pay Goodlife – I pay Edvantage. Other corporate memberships work like this as well.

    Another friend of mine went to Goodlife and negotiated a cash up front membership. He got the corporate rate (under $400 for the year) and paid in cash – not debit, not credit.

    Cash is king, people; everyone, even Goodlife Fitness, will do a cash deal. Read the contracts if you go month to month, as they all have these extended payment loopholes in them, which are surprisingly legal, even in Ontario.

  81. Ray

    Dec 10 2008

    I was offered a free trial for 10 days by Premier Fitness. If after that I wanted to join, I would have to provide my credit card information.

    I didn’t go for a single day. So after 10 days, they called me and said that I owed them a fee for the whole year! I said I didn’t even join – and they said that the membership started when I took the free offer.

    Anyway, I am getting letters and phone calls from Premier, and they are threatening to give my information to a credit agency. What should I do? They don’t have my credit card info.

  82. Lior

    Dec 16 2008

    Ray:

    Read the contract and see what it says. You should also email Ellen with all the details.

    Premier are definitely first class shysters. From all the negative publicity in this place alone, I’m surprised anyone in their right mind would still join Premier health clubs.

    Luckily I get a corporate membership to Goodlife from my employer. You pay once a year $325 for the top package without having to disclose any account information.

  83. CatherineEthier

    Dec 18 2008

    Catherine,
    I joined Persechini Fitness in 2005 and was granted corporate membership for around $400 in the first year. I had to suspend my account in the past during business and personal trips and never had any problems till this year.

    I pay $48/ month, which amounts to over $500 / year. My mother, who resides in Europe, had a heart attack and I had to fly to Europe. Also my mother takes care of my minor Canadian-born autistic son and I had to handle the situation with the child as well.

    I called Persechini to suspend my account as usual and explained the situation that I was simply not sure what would happen from this point on. I was told that there wouldn’t be any problems; however on my credit card statement appeared a $20 charge.

    I emailed to the club for an explanation and I received a response from Lana McGrath (General Manager) that Persechini had a time stop fee of $20, that they never charged me in the past on the many occasions that I stopped my membership and this charge was not written down anywhere. Further, she made probably a $30 phone call to Europe at 10 p.m. local time to make me wrong and imply that I am a liar and her manager had explained to me this charge on the phone.

    I am practically shocked how this business is run and how club has gone downhill. When I emailed that I wanted to address the issue to Mr. Persechini, I received an email that he would direct me to her and she cancelled my membership and would refund the $20 fee.

    Tell me how this makes any common sense, when a reputable business would cancel a $500 membership over a $20 dispute.

    I asked a friend to call Persechini himself and explain the situation. Apparently, they hung up on him 3 times.

    I am shocked by the weird behavior and Lana’s changing the story all the time. I never had to deal with this woman before, but it does not sound like adhering to good business practices. How would it sound to you if someone claims to have a fee that is not written anywhere , but just charged out of the blue….. weird … weird … weird.

    I have been told Persechini sold the club a year ago… not sure…..

    Cath

    Lana’s response:

    I am the person you would want to speak with, Joe would refer you only to me. It is unfortunate that you feel that way.

    As discussed, I spoke with Rick regarding this matter and his explanation of time stops to you at the time of request. I did apologize if this was not communicated to you. In addition, the club has refunded your credit card for the time stop fee.

    Time stops are offered as a service to members over and above their membership contract, there
    is a $20 fee. This should have been charged to you in the past. Service offerings, terms and pricing can and do change at the club’s discretion.

    As requested in your phone conversation with me earlier, we have credited your card for the $20 fee, and have cancelled your membership. You will see no future billings.

    Regards,
    Lana McGrath
    General Manager

    Quoting “C. E., P.Eng., MSME , LSS MBB” :

    > Re: unauthorized charges
    >
    > Good afternoon Lana,
    >
    > Could you please let me know who is in charge of you and provide me with
    > the contact information or I will take the matter directly to Mr. Persechini.
    >
    > The fact of the matter is that there has not been a fee to suspend the
    > account in the past and further such fee has not been discussed with me when
    > I called to ask for the account to be suspended. I do have an audio record of all my
    > phone conversations. Your record has me authorizing this charge and is inaccurate
    > and does not have my signature. Insisting on this matter based on hearsay is
    > impolite and sounds like you are calling me a liar. I feel extremely
    > uncomfortable by the fact itself that the club has gone so downhill.
    >
    > I am looking forward to your written response.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > C.E.
    >
    >
    >
    >

  84. CatherineEthier

    Dec 18 2008

    I was told the quick solution of your billing problems: call your credit card company and tell them you lost your credit card. The old one gets cancelled and you get a new one that the gym cannot bill.

    As well, you might ask for a refund and dispute the charges with your credit card company.

  85. Jill Smith

    Dec 22 2008

    Does anyone have the e-mail address for Ellen Roseman?

    I’d really appreciate it.

  86. Ellen Roseman

    Dec 22 2008

    Hi there, Jill. You can write to me at eroseman@thestar.ca.

    You can find my email address on the right side of my blog under Contact (just under the photo and search box).

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  87. Brian

    Jan 2 2009

    Premier Fitness run by John Cardillo is the biggest scam operation going, and it seems to keep going despite the myriad of complaints found here.

    RUNAROUND is the key word in the company manual. Their unscrupulous business practices involve continuing to bill for membership services long after they’ve been properly cancelled.

    When you go back to them to complain, they make whatever excuse they haven’t given you already, refer you to employees who are “new” or “slow” or ask you to get this document from your bank or jump through so many hoops that many people finally go away, since the amounts are never worth the time and energy required to recoup

    John Cardillo intentionally rips off anyone who makes the mistake of doing business with him. I wouldnt save him if drowning or even apply the brakes if I saw him crossing the street.

  88. Rebecca

    Jan 5 2009

    This column seems to be about Premier Fitness. My issue is with Fitness One in Toronto.

    They have abused the renewal clause in their contract. They did not send me any advice 30 to 90 days before the 1 year contract expired, yet continue to debit my bank account almost 2 years after the 12 months expiry date.

    I called the club and the receptionist advised me to come in. I said I could not come in, the contract was illegally in force and I would be sending a registered letter. I did so, using wording from the Consumer Protection Agency website.

    I received a voicemail message from the manager confirming receipt of letter, yet they continue to debit me. I have left numerouis voice mails to everyone on the head office directory and no call back.

    I also tried the accounting department, but they have just outsourced to a US company that has no knowledge of anything at this time.

    I finally closed out the bank account since their debits caused other items to bounce, including insurance debits.

    They owe me in excess of $300, not much but if I add in NSF fees, I will exceed that. I will bring them to small claims court since the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada will not help. (I was trying to use them since the money was coming out from my bank account and banks are regulated by them.)

    I also posted a blog on the Internet with others about how horrible this outfit is: Fitness One, Peter Street, Toronto, Ont.

  89. Christine

    Jan 6 2009

    Extreme Fitness are a bunch of scammers! Is it THAT hard to cancel a membership???

    I went to the Danforth location to cancel a membership that I didn’t even want. Around May 2007, I decided to TRY out the gym. A representative named TYLER told me that I can try out for a month and if I’m not satisfied I can cancel within that month. So I was thinking “oh ok that sounds like less pressure” and of course I “joined”.

    About 13 days later, I came back to withdraw from this membership because I just realized I really don’t have much time. I was told to wait in the seating area for the manager. About 45 minutes passed by and one of the receptionists said “oh I didn’t know you were waiting for a manager”. That just made me angry. WHY WOULD I WAIT IN THE SEATING AREA IF I’M NOT WAITING FOR SOMEONE??

    Anyway, I complained and magically I saw a manager right away. Now this guy was totally trying to prevent me from cancelling. He said the employee named Tyler did not exist and there was never an employee by that name. As if I imagined that name myself.

    So he didn’t let me cancel because TYLER LIED and I was supposed to cancel within 10 DAYS, instead of 30 DAYS. What a difference. I was three days late AND I was lied to.

    Now I’m stuck paying for a full year! That is at least $600. I was so furious! I came back a year later to cancel and of course I had to wait for a very long time. No one seemed to address me until I complained. And of course I magically saw a manager after I complained.

    This manager did not give me his name, but he had light brown spikey hair with lots of blonde highlights with a Blackberry on his right side. I will always remember his face. This guy was ABSOLUTELY the most rudest “manager” I’ve ever met. I think his name is Tom. I was waiting so long and he didn’t even apologize.

    I just wanted to cancel my membership and leave because I don’t live in Toronto anymore and I’m pregnant as well. So I feel very uncomfortable waiting. Suddenly like 2 minutes into our conversation, I get interrupted by one of his employees and now the manager had to go do something. He didn’t even apologize again! He just said “wait here” and left!!

    I asked him if this was going to take long and he just snapped with SO much attitude. I didn’t expect this childish behaviour coming from a manager that is supposed to represent the image of Extreme Fitness. His reply to my question was, “oh do you want to try to sit here and squeeze blood out of a rock??”

    I was so shocked by this remark, which made me so angry. I really hope they would FIRE him. NOBODY addresses their clients like that if they want to keep being in business. He was being so rude and sarcastic.

    Now I know how Extreme Fitness deals with their customers and I will definitely let all my friends and co-workers know NOT to go to Extreme Fitness because they never heard of common courtesy, manners or even customer service. I DEMAND an apology letter from this company, that location, and as well from that manager for his poor behaviour towards a client. This is NOT how you should handle any situation by adding fire to it.

    I want to let the world know NOT to join Extreme Fitness. They have so many complaints under their belt. PLEASE expose them!

  90. Brian

    Jan 8 2009

    Rebecca & Christine:

    Your experiences are not unique, and if you’ve looked at the numerous other posts, I guess you’ve already seen that.

    Any contract can be cancelled initially after the 10 day “cooling off” window, but after that the renewal & cancellation terms that are generally included in most standard form contracts apply.

    Even though they tell you at the outset you can cancel after one year (or 30 days or 90 days), this will not happen automatically when that time comes. It works the same as rent or a lease. After the initial term, the contract will renew on a month to month basis until formally cancelled in writing by you.

    This is the part where gyms differ from better businesses: The hassle in actually getting the cancellation completed when the time comes. Yes, it always seems it’s not done properly by you, you’ve spoken to the wrong person, haven’t done it on the correct form, blah blah blah..

    From the gym’s perspective, someone who is cancelling a membership is not someone who they’re likely to see money from ever again, so you see them trying to extract whatever money from you as they can.

    If you go away happy or pissed off, who cares, since they probably won’t see you or your money again in either event. That’s why they leave you waiting, “lose” your cancellation request, “accidentally” bill you, whatever. It’s the final cash grab before separation!

    And they will let it continue as long as you let them. As you’ve heard, working within the gym’s internal cancellation framework is an exercise in futility, because it will seldom be done correctly in their books. The best method (unfortunately) is to close that bank account, cancel the credit card, deal with the financial institution and not the gym.

    To recoup your money, lawsuits are the only way. Fortunately here though, small claims court lawsuits are very cheap and easy to do. If you really want to get the attention of the “higher ups” at the gym, drop off a small claims court lawsuit at the front desk, rather than waiting hours for a manager. It will also make you feel exhilarated !!

    A small footnote about my own personal experience – after Premier dipped into my bank account and “accidentally” took out 5 payments in one month, and after I had almost 6 months of not getting anywhere with managers, waiting rooms and hoping for a call back, I went to the small claims court in Mississauga, filled out the form, paid the $35 and dropped it off at Premier head office, personally.

    Funny thing, after 6 months of a runaround and nobody wanting to call me, I had 2 messages from them on my answering machine by the time I drove from head office back to my house, including one from John Cardillo. This guy knows exactly what he’s doing, and knows he will continue scamming people and get away with it. If you ever meet him, ask him if he’s ever accidentally overpaid the way he accidentally overbills.

    Only with a small claims action do you swing things back in your favour. Looking at it from the gym’s perspective again, it costs them nothing to have you sitting around getting angry in the waiting room, and it costs them nothing to ignore your calls.

    However, if they have to pay one of their lawyers (thousands) to defend a small claims case for a few hundred dollars, it now becomes cheaper for them to pay you off and make you go away. Even if they win the case, they’ve paid out more in legal fees, so it makes sense for them now, and only now.

  91. AJ

    Feb 5 2009

    ANSWER TO YOUR PROBLEMS:

    IF ANY GYM IS CHARGING YOUR CREDIT CARD WITHOUT YOUR AUTHORIZATION THEN ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS DISPUTE THE CHARGE WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY AND LET THEM DO THE WORK FOR YOU. THE CC CO. WILL FORCE YOUR GYM TO PROVE THESE CHARGES ARE VALID WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME FRAME AND IF THE GYM COMES BACK WITH NOTHING THE CC CO. WILL CREDIT YOUR ACCOUNT AND CHARGE BACK THE GYM. CONTINUE TO DO THIS UNTIL THE MATTER RESOLVES ITSELF…AND IT WILL.

    SAME GOES FOR YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. TALK TO YOUR BANK AND LET THEM KNOW YOU NEVER AUTHORIZED THE WITHDRAWL FROM YOUR ACCOUNT.

    BUT ENSURE YOU HAVE DONE YOUR PART, SEND AN EMAIL AND A REGISTERED LETTER TO YOUR GYM ADVISING YOU WANT TO CANCEL YOUR CONTRACT. DOCUMENTATION IS CRITICAL TO HOLD UP YOUR CASE. AND KEEP IN MIND DEPENDING ON YOUR CONTRACT THERE MAYBE A CANCELLATION FEE OR OTHER CHARGES FOR PULLING OUT BEFORE YOUR CONTRACT ENDS. ALSO MAKE SURE WHAT THEY CHARGE YOU FOR CANCELING EARLY MATCHES WHAT THEY CHARGE YOU IF NOT FOLLOW THE SUGGESTIONS ABOVE.

    READ BEFORE YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE. IF YOU DIDN’T GO BACK AND READ IT AGAIN!

    MOST IMPORTANTLY DON’T GIVE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT # FOR AUTOMATIC WITHDRAWALS. I THINK CREDIT CARDS ARE THE SAFER ROUTE BECAUSE IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG YOU CAN DISPUTE YOUR CHARGES WITH YOUR CC CO. BUT $ DEDUCTED FROM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT IS YOUR MONEY AND WHEN ITS GONE, IT IS HARDER TO GET BACK. BE PRUDENT AND USE COMMON SENSE!

    GOOD LUCK ALL!

  92. Jennifer

    Feb 21 2009

    What is the use of having a Consumer Protection Act when fitness club operators do not abide by the law??

    I recently joined Fitness One at Dufferin Mall and within the ten day cooling off period elected to exercise my right of rescission and canceled my membership. The full year’s membership was paid in full (by debit) on signing up.

    When I went in and completed Fitness One’s cancellation form in person, I was told that ‘head office’ would have to process the cancellation and I could expect a refund in full by way of cheque in the mail. Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is my understanding that a refund should have been received within 15 days. That was a month ago.

    I have called and emailed the club along with the executive office repeatedly and no one has bothered to reply. I have also notified the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Protection without response. This is terribly frustrating.

    Is there another course of action I should be pursuing?

  93. susan

    Mar 6 2009

    I work as a trainer at Premier Fitness. Our paychecks are never on time.

    I was told on hiring that they would be automatic deposit and I signed for this. Five days after the deposit date, we finally got a paper check.

    Every month, we wait for someone to drive to head office to pick up the checks. They are always 1-4 days late.

    Commissions on sales are almost always short, with some excuse. Whenever we are booked and someone cancels or doesn’t show, we don’t get a cent.

    Also even if we work over 37 hours, we don’t get statutory holiday pay. They try to claim it’s because we are contract workers, but they deduct EI and tax at source so we are employees. if the economy wasn’t so bad right now, I am sure most would quit.

  94. Lindsay

    Mar 20 2009

    In October, I won a “free” one month membership to Extreme Fitness. When I went to claim my prize, the woman did the usual speech. She told me she was going to give me three months free, and then if I chose to continue I would be charged.

    Once she asked for my Visa, a red flag went up, and I explained to her that I would not be continuing after the free months because I am a student and there is no way I could afford it. (I remember repeating the fact that I was a student.)

    After I explained this, she replied, “I understand, we just need the Visa and I.D. now so we have it on file, then if you do decide to continue we don’t have to do the paperwork. Standard procedure.”

    I was too trusting. As I was signing the papers, I believed what she was telling me. I believed the papers were for liability purposes, but they were actually for a contract. The verbal agreement did not match the written one.

    I pay for my own school, and there is no way I can afford a gym membership, as I had told her. I went into Extreme Fitness to speak with the manager, but of course, he did nothing.

  95. adrian

    Mar 25 2009

    Hello there, this is my first post but I am very angry with this people. I purchased a membership to Premier Fitness in November 2008.

    At the assessment session, they sucked me in to buy a Personal Training Program for $1,200.
    I thought that was a good thing to do at the time and I agreed to pay the money, $200 every 2 weeks.

    I had an evaluation session with the trainer (Andre), one that the Health Centre Manager told me is free, in late November. After that, I had three more appointments with Andre.

    First on Dec. 16, the trainer was late by 50 minutes, so we have to reschedule.

    On Dec. 22, the same trainer called saying that he had a car problem and he cannot come.
    On Dec. 29, when I got to the gym, they told me they had a meeting at the head office and the trainer was not available.

    On the same day, I let them know I wanted to cancel my Personal Training Program for breach of contract. At the time, I had already paid $600 to them and I did not receive any service.

    Since then, I tried to get my membership canceled and have my money refunded.

    Today, on March 25, a guy is calling me from their head office to tell me that my credit card is invalid. When I told him that I am canceling my membership, he said that if I do not pay he will send me to collection.

    I am going to court with these guys, but also I will do my best to give them a very bad name out there, so the people can be aware of what can happened if you get involved with Premier Fitness.

    Anybody had the same problem like me?

  96. Jennifer

    Apr 6 2009

    I am experiencing all kinds of nonsense with Fitness One at the Dufferin Mall location.

    I purchased a membership mid-January and canceled it within 10 days. Unfortunately, I had paid the membership fee in full at the time of signing up. I am now doing battle to achieve a refund.

    Under the Consumer Protection Act, a supplier has obligations on cancellation:

    79. (1) A supplier who is required to comply with subsection 96 (1) of the Act shall do so within 15 days after the day the consumer gives notice to the supplier in accordance with section 92 of the Act that the consumer is cancelling the consumer agreement. O. Reg. 17/05, s. 79 (1).

    Apparently this company has no intention of abiding by our provincial laws. It has been three months of unanswered calls and emails and I’m still waiting for the returned funds (which I was told would be handled immediately at ‘head office’ on cancelling).

    After reporting the company to the Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Affairs, I finally heard back from somebody at the company by the name of Angel (apparently Angel has no last name) and another gal by the name of Tamara Burns. These ladies apparently work in the accounting department.

    (If you are having similar trouble, you can call this number and leave a voice mail message but rarely will you ever get a live person, 1-866-828-1521 xt. 283, and you certainly don’t expect a call back. You can also email Angel & Tamara at angel@currentcredit.com or tburns@currentcredit.com.)

    After months of being given the runaround, I have now been advised that I will have to deal directly with another accounting firm based in Ohio! This is an independent company that is subcontracted by Fitness One to handle their accounts/receivables.

    I spoke with Joyce at the following number, 419-476-9754, ext 239. Joyce explained that refund cheques are cut in Ohio and then sent back to Canada to Fitness One’s head office for approval and signing prior to being mailed out to the disgruntled customer. Joyce provided me with yet another number for the gal who actually writes the cheques in Ohio, 419-476-2000 – Linda.

    If anyone is having similar difficulties with Fitness One and would like to work collectively towards some kind of resolution, send me an email – cottage-lover@hotmail.com – Jennifer.

  97. Mohammad

    Apr 12 2009

    My only advice for anyone who is interested in joining any of these clubs… is simple. Make a one-time payment for your membership.

    I have always paid cash when dealing with Premier Fitness. When the year ends, there are no hassles or problems. I visit my local gym and make my annual payment again.

    Recently, I was not able to renew in November due to some injuries, so I waited a few months and renewed when I was ready. I received no calls from them to renew either.

    Understandably, they do have some issues with their fees. However, I am very impressed with the facilities. Premier Fitness is worth the money!!!!

  98. B. Mapplebeck

    Apr 13 2009

    I have also had problems with Premier Fitness here in Oshawa. My common law wife’s 2 teenage daughters were members there for a short time. They were even nice enough to send someone to the house with the paperwork, as my common law wife is disabled.

    Unfortunately, I was not around for this as the contracts that were given were not even real contracts. But we thought ok, all good, at the time.

    A year later, we decided to cancel the contract with them as neither of her daughters continued to use the places after a few months. So we called, cancelled the contracts and I even went so far as to go there myself and cancel them in writing.

    A month later, her bank was charged 3 times in less than a week for various amounts of money from the club. We called about it, basically got blown off and treated very rudely. So I called the parent company and got the same response.

    To make a long story short, they went into her bank account 6 times in 2 months, removed between $60-300 every time. We eventually had to close that account to stop them.

    Once we closed the account, their “recovery” department harassed us for over a month until I told them we were going to sue.

    Last I ever heard from them.

  99. Josh

    Jun 23 2009

    Also had problems with Premier Fitness in Mississauga at the Dixie Club. Signed up for a 1 year membership, paid in full. After finding the facilities and service to be mediocre at best, and talking to several friends who had had issues I decided to do a bit of research. The nightmares I read about this company made me go back 3 days after signing up to cancel the membership under the 10 day cooling off period provided by the Consumer Protection Act.

    At first they gave me the run around – only the “manager” Steve Phelps was authorized to cancel a membership and that I would have to come back on a weekday. So I went back to the club on a weekday and surprisingly enough Steve wasn’t there, he was at a meeting but was supposed to be back by 12 and that I should just come back another day. I declined and instead sat in the lobby with a book. At 12:15 I again asked to speak to the manager and found out that he had another meeting and wouldn’t be in that day at all. After some shouting and threatening to disrupt the salespeople from signing up any more customers they eventually agreed to cancel my membership, but refused to refund my money, claiming that the VISA terminal couldn’t reverse the charge or credit my card back the amount I paid. (visa has since told me that this is a complete lie)

    The woman who signed me up Purnima Datta proceeded to laugh at me, saying that I wouldn’t get my money back and that i should just accept one of their offers to extend my membership an extra 6 months for free or to transfer it to a friend. Only after threatening to contact the Consumer Services Agency did they say they would refund me any money, and even then it would come in “3-6 months” and not the 15 days required by law.

    I have kept detailed records of every phone call, and person who I have spoken to at this organization. Oddly enough nobody at head office ever answers the phone or returns voice mails. I have also sent cancellation notices and demands for a refund by registered mail within the 10 day period so that there is concrete proof that they received my cancellation notices.

    I am shocked that a company this crooked is still in business.

  100. Melanie

    Jul 21 2009

    The last story by Josh is virtually identical to mine. I work in a local retailer in Mississauga, in the Erin Mills area.

    Recruiters from Premier Fitness arranged a visit to our store in March 2008. I was cornered and received an aggressive sales pitch to join them. I started off declining, so they changed their sales pitch and instead began targeting my emotional side, which I stupidly fell for.

    I tried afterward to walk away and lose the recruiter, but he followed me everywhere and continued the pressure, till I signed up.

    I didn’t feel comfortable signing up and after financial analysis, determined that it was an extra expense that I couldn’t handle. So I tried to exercise my 10 day trial period and went into the the Meadowvale location to cancel.

    I was sadly informed that I had to go to my home branch to cancel, which was at the Dixie and Dundas location. I was stunned, since I had 2 other locations closer to me than this one, which was a half hour drive away from my area.

    I headed to the Dixie-Dundas location and spoke with Steve Phelps. the manager, citing my consumer rights under the 10 day cool off period. He would not honour my request to cancel and instead proceeded to talk around it, offering to delay my payments by 3 months.

    After a half hour with him, I got suckered into a contract. Foolishly, I ended up paying for a membership that I never once used for a full year.

    At the end, to prevent them from auto-renewing my contract and continuing to charge me, I marched back into the Dixie-Dundas location to file a formal application to cancel my membership. This time, I was told that Steve was not in and that I had to come back on weekdays. I refused and demanded to have another manager serve me.

    A young employee offered to sit with me and proceeded to fill out my request for a cancellation of membership. He also tried to talk me out of my decision until I told him very firmly, repeatedly, to cancel me now. He reluctantly filled out the paper but said Steve had to sign it off for approval before submitting it to the head office.

    Two weeks later, another payment came out. I made a stop payment and again took the 30 minute drive back to the location. Again, Steve was not around, so I met with the same young guy who had served me originally.

    He said my contract hadn’t officially ended yet, because I had not been charged for the first 3 months. I was angry because I didn’t want my contract extended in the first place.

    He told me that the request had been sent into the home office and would be canceled on my new extended contract date. At most I would have owed them for 3.5 weeks from the stop payment till the end of my second contract.

    Three months went by and I never heard anything from Premier Fitness. I thought it was finally over and was surprised it worked after all the horror stories I read about them. That was until last week, when I noticed another payment had come out, this time for 7 weeks’ worth.

    I tried calling the home office customer service, and the accounting department, and wasn’t surprised when no one answered.

    I am amazed that a company that treats its members this way is still in business. I work in retail and customer satisfaction is a huge priority. I have joined and canceled with many other organizations in the past and never had a issue with any of them.

    Best advice is to do your research on the organization before you sign any contracts, and prevent paying for something needlessly for life!

  101. Zed

    Jul 21 2009

    Seriously.. is there anything that can be done? They break the rules, lie, bully and still remain in business. Wow.. I’m in the wrong profession – I should start up a gym!

    With all of these horror stories, there must be something that we can do whether its a collective attempt or solo.

  102. Nicole

    Jul 24 2009

    My husband and I signed up at Premier Fitness in Kingston. The contract does state it’s for a year, but nowhere does it state that there is a early termination fee or that you’re required to pay the remaining balance for the year.

    Not realizing this, we put a stop payment through our bank. Twice, the company went into our account and took out 4 different amounts.

    The first one was two payments of $184 and the second time was two payments of $254.

    We didn’t realize that the stop payment was only good for 6 months, but we did get our money back.

    Here’s the thing: Premier Fitness can get access to your account, even if there is a stop payment, because all they have to do is change their name to get in.

    We have left several messages to head office and no response. My husband went into the fitness club and they told him there he owed $130 or so. Then why are they going into our account and taking whatever they feel like taking?

    We are going to go to the police if it doesn’t get resolved. We now have the one account on hold so they cant take any more money.

    We are trying to get the release form signed from them that says they can’t take any more money from our acount and if they do, then they can be charged.

    Really, this company doesn’t have a leg to stand on because the contract is very vague. It also states we would receive written notice of renewal, which we didn’t get — but they are still billing us.

  103. VK

    Jul 28 2009

    The St. Catharines location! The gym itself is ok, go work out, do what needs to be done. But, a BIG BUT, management and staffing are shady.

    My boyfriend gets a termination notice, not even a week’s notice. The place he works for is going under and there’s no extra income to pay for gym membership any more!

    We go in, say we need to cancel ASAP, screw your 30 day policy. We as consumers don’t get 30 days termination notice, so in a recession like this, a 30 day notice policy should be revoked.

    What do I get when I go in, cuz you have to make an appointment to see someone, which is total BS, you get told the “I understand that it is hard…”

    No, you don’t understand, you have a job, and what you are doing is taking the roof over our head by saying we have to pay a gym.

    Well, I hope they start housing people, cuz we will live at the gym then if we have to pay them over our rent. Are you serious!?

    Throw out the 30 day policy and have a realistic approach, not sucking money out of peoples’ wallets, when they need it in order to live and to keep the roof over our heads and food in the fridge.

    That $70 a month may mean nothing to them, but that means anything from gas, to groceries, to rent, to fixed bills to us.

    It’s a very unrealistic corporate gym. I’m guessing it’s b/c they owe royalties to many people.

    We will hopefully bring this location down to ground, and then they will really understand not having a job any more.

  104. Kathleen

    Aug 24 2009

    I joined the Premier Fitness Club in September 2008 and they were screwing up my payments and taking payments out pretty much whenever they wanted.

    I cancelled in August 2009 before my contract was supposed to be up in September 2009. I went into the gym and spoke with the manager. I had the form filled out to cancel the membership and I gave them the remaining balance that was due from August to September 2009 in a cheque, which they cashed on Aug. 4, 2009.

    When looking through my bank account activity, I found that the gym had tried taking out money on August 21, 2009, and they changed the payment from $18.11 to $18.17 to try and get the money out, but there was a stop payment on the account.

    I tried several times when I was with the gym to contact the manager and all I heard was that he was in a meeting or he wouldn’t be back for this amount of time.

    I also have tried calling the head office and customer service line and all I get is a ring and no one answers, or a busy signal for their corporate head offices and answering machines. How do you deal with this? I am so fed up!!!!!!

  105. Nabs

    Aug 26 2009

    I had to go through the Premier Fitness act too in June 2008 at the Dixie/Dundas location.

    They refused to cancel my membership within the 10 days and later when I spoke with Steve Feltt and Purinima, they accepted that yes, it should have been cancelled. But since I was now past the 10 days, they wouldn’t do anything about it!

    Both of them offered me 3 months off, or if I bring in 2 clients they will cancel my membership! What nerve of these people.

    Reporting them to the BBB does not accomplish anything, because the BBB really has no authority. Their rating is now down to an F, but that still does not stop them from conducting business.

    I sent a complaint to the Consumer Protection agency in Dec 2008 and they are investigating it. In the meantime I keep getting letters demanding payment.

    The best thing I did was not give them my credit card or banking info. I am positive this saved me from a lot of hassle. I hope the authorities shut them down very soon.

  106. Chocolate

    Sep 5 2009

    I signed up for a membership in 2008 and I fulfilled all the conditions of the one year contract.

    Nonetheless, Premier Fitness dug its hands into my account without my consent. They then threatened to send my account to a collections agency.

    A couple other things to mention as well. Their staff and in particular, the manager at the Premier Fitness Dixie/ Dundas, is totally unprofessional.

    A message to anyone reading this blog. If you are planning on joining a gym, don’t join Premier Fitness.

    If you have been a victim of Premier Fitness, DO NOT hesitate to get your voice out there. Get online and blog, write to Ministry of Consumer Services and tell your friends to stay away from this company.

    I cannot emphasize how important it is to warn the public and to make people aware of this company’s practices. It is only by making enough noise that hopefully, this company will be held accountable for its practices.

  107. Paralegal

    Sep 25 2009

    OK, everyone, please listen to me. My wife and I are also victims and noticed they tried to take over $300 on two occasions within the last seven days. We did not have a membership there since 2006. All of a sudden they start electronically taking money out of our account!!

    If everyone is serious here and want to get justification regarding this lame company… here is how you do it. You really have to be diligent and want them to go down for their inappropriate actions.

    Everyone on here has to get together and either travel or get involved with each other and go to various chains where they got screwed and walk with a sign in front of their business. For that matter, also at head office.

    Believe me, negative publicity is not what they want in front of their clubs. This is the only way, people. Get stickers made up for your car and park it at the entrance to the store. If cops come, drive to get a coffee and go back there and do it again…

    Police cannot arrest you for freedom and human rights to express yourself in a good fashion. I know I will be going with my FJ Cruiser and my wife’s Mini and getting stickers made that say “Premier Fitness Are Thieves.” My email is devil.1970@live.com

    If you don’t want to contact me… don’t complain. We need to do something about this.

  108. Wendy

    Oct 2 2009

    I cannot believe these stories! I was about to join a Premier here in Kingston, but thank you for saving me!!!

  109. negrito

    Oct 8 2009

    Called at Carlingwood mall inquiring for the price of a one year membership, the lady on the phone does not have that info I have to talk with a sales person. I told her explicitly not to call me back and not to keep my phone number on her records. 1 hour later I was getting a call from one of their sales people, I told the guy I know about all their bad practices plus they were calling me back not complying with what I asked. If they call me again I will report them to CRTC and the do not call list.

  110. Trev

    Oct 15 2009

    With regards to Premier Fitness, and most fitness clubs, it’s not the clients but also the employees who are victims. At Premier, pay cheques are almost never on time. Usually 4 to 7 days late, and we get paid once a MONTH. Commission cheques almost never come in, if they do they’re usually the wrong amount. We have to attend mandatory meetings (which is fine, only we’re NOT paid to attend these meetings). I have to constantly cancel with clients when I have these meetings, since they usually start at 8:00 a.m. (when I start) and last about 4 to 5 HOURS long.
    Premier likes to pride themselves like they care about customers service. If you cared, you would let good trainers who give a crap about getting their clients result do their job instead of having meetings which are pointlessly long (most of the time we’re just sitting around waiting in the meetings while the CEO’s leave to talk on the phone. Did I mention they don’t have to be on time to these meetings but we do, or we’re fired.. yeaah ok).

  111. Tony

    Oct 16 2009

    As with Karen (July 2008) my wife is now having a bit of a run-in with VI Fitness For Women, but at the Courtenay, BC branch.

    Right from day one, they tried to rope her into a personal trainer commitment that would be $100′s more than the 1 year contract she signed. The cost was masked in with some “free sessions” and so the total was not immediately apparent until we took a good look and said screw that!

    Later she talked to some other members who were not quite so lucky and had unwittingly committed to it, more than doubling their membership cost. In spite of that, while going there she enjoyed it and even volunteered to work in the childcare as our daughter sometimes would go there.

    When she took a full time teaching job, she no longer had time to use her membership and so asked if she could suspend it until the summer when she would have time to go. They politely said no friggin’ way which was a piss-off, but we made our bed by signing so we’d ride out the 1 year contract.

    Come September when the year was up, we expected that would be it and if anything they would badger us over the phone to renew, but nothing. Then we get another monthly payment taken out for October!

    My wife calls and they said, “Oh, well, we just continue the membership unless you cancel. No, you can’t cancel over the phone. You need to come in and do it in person when there’s a manager here. No, we won’t refund your October payment and it’s past the 30 day notice period, so we will also charge you for November…Did you want to renew your membership with us and sign on for another year?”

    Say what? I guess people are insecure about themselves enough that these ripoff artists stay in business, despite giving the shaft to paying customers! Disgusting.

    I’m willing to bet they get 1/2 their revenues from people who are trying to get out of their ridiculous contracts! I wish people around here would just look outside and realize we live in an area where you can exercise outside year round and these places don’t even need to exist for all but the dedicated muscle-toners and body builders.

    I will never step foot in any gym unless it says “Community Recreation” over the door from now on, having read all your posts and involuntarily donated $100 to these tools.

    Hopefully this will be the end of it ’cause my van will be parked on the street in front of the gym with a big “VI FITNESS WILL RIP YOU OFF!!” sign taped on the inside of the window otherwise.

  112. Kari

    Nov 17 2009

    My fiancé signed up for a one year membership at Regency Fitness Club in Brampton early in 2007. He paid the full year amount (on credit card UGH!) and told the girl that he would definitely not be renewing his membership because we would be moving to Toronto within the year.

    She said this was not a problem and even crossed off the section of the contract relating to automatic renewal.

    We did end up moving to Toronto in February 2008 before the end of his one year membership and that was the end of that…or so he thought.

    At some point during or after our move, he threw out the old contract with Regency, not thinking he would ever need it again.

    Fast forward to May 2009 (a year and a half after this one year membership had expired) when he suddenly has a charge of $80 something on his credit card under the name “CSC Brampton” (unfortunately he didn’t catch it then).

    Then from June until October of 2009, he was charged $15.83 twice monthly until he finally realized he had no idea what these charges were. At this point he had been charged over $250.

    After disputing these charges with his credit card company, he realized these charges were from Regency Fitness. The credit card company said there was nothing they could do because he had not cancelled his membership and that this dispute is between him and Regency. They obviously called Regency who just lied and said he hadn’t cancelled his membership and failed to mention the year and a half gap between when his membership expired and when these random new charges started to appear on his credit card.

    After making many phone calls to the Brampton and head office location and getting the runaround, he decided to drive to the Brampton location to try and get a refund.

    They told him there was nothing they could do and if he wanted to avoid further never-ending charges to his credit card he had to “pay” them ANOTHER $15.83 to cancel his membership!!! He did pay this as he saw no other option.

    He asked them for a copy of his contract, which they said they can’t find! We still don’t know whether these charges have officially stopped yet.

    I know this is all illegal and there are so many similar stories on here, but has anyone been successful in getting their money back from these scam artists?? I am a very persistent person and even though it is only $200-$300, I feel like I can’t just let them get away with this. Please help!!!

  113. frustrated

    Nov 27 2009

    These clubs are big FRAUDS. I saw online in one of the forums that Goodlife Fitness charges $25 for membership and they have been charging me $60 every month for almost a year and more now.

    I am quite upset about this and am wondering what I should do. Since they don’t publish their rates on their websites, I dont know how to confirm this and if this is true, I am wondering what legal recourse do I have?

  114. SP

    Nov 30 2009

    While this is not the biggest fraudulent situation you have seen, I’m still concerned about how Premier Fitness is handling this situation.

    On July 31, 2009, I closed my Premier Fitness Membership account at their 6677 Meadowvale Town Centre office in Mississauga. The agent provided me written confirmation that my membership was closed and no further charges would be incurred, including no 30 day penalty charge.

    I have, however, been charged in error the amount of $18.38 on my VISA Bill posted on Aug. 3.

    After contacting the club several times in August, September and October, I still have not received the refund. The agent escalated to her manager and attempted to ask her Head Office to issue me a refund.

    I’m not getting any luck on getting a response. I also can’t seem to find any Ombudsman contact info from Premier either.

    Any situations on how I can handle this?

    ————————————————————

    Thanks for letting me CC you on my communication with Premier Fitness a few weeks ago.

    I believe CC’ing you on the communication to Customer Service/Collection Supervisor Janice Cuschieri, janicec@premierfitness.ca, has made the difference in getting this expedited.

    I received my refund and have cashed it successfully.

    I remember you mentioning having some challenges getting anyone at Premier Fitness to respond to your inquiries.

    Perhaps Janice might be the Premier Fitness contact that can assist other folks with billing related questions.

    A $40 donation is about to be made to the Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund on behalf of “On Your Side”.

    I think your articles and warnings to consumers should be required reading for all who live in the GTA. In other words, thanks for all the work you have done for us.

  115. Elizabeth

    Dec 1 2009

    Now that I have read all of these comments, I truly feel like kicking myself for ever getting involved in a fitness club.

    My problem is identical to many others’ and it involves Fitness One on Danforth and Main in Toronto. I have been waiting almost a year for my refund and have made all the phone calls, I have all the paperwork duly dated, I have copies of the registered letters and so on.

    I think we need to collectively file a lawsuit or something. Why is it that we, the victims of all this scamming and fraud, have to go through all the stress and effort to prove our case? We haven’t done anything wrong and yet we are enduring all the aggravation and hassle.

    Does the Consumer Protection Act have no teeth in this province?? I wish there was a way to inform other members of the public about this problem so that they would stop joining these clubs and put them out of business.

  116. Marie

    Dec 18 2009

    Unbelievable! I can’t believe so many people are going through such similar issues with all these different gyms.
    I signed up for a 2-year contract with VI Fitness in Nanaimo, BC. I ended up getting pregnant a few months into my contract and was told I needed to bring a doctor’s note in to freeze my account (the monthly payments would come out but the months missed would be added to the end of the term). So I made a doctor’s appointment, had my doctor write a note for me. I brought it in to the gym. A few months later when I was no longer pregnant and had my husband watch the baby, I went to the gym, but had to unfreeze my account first. They searched my file (on the computer and paper), and they weren’t able to find the note. They’d lost it. Basically they told me I needed to bring a new note in. I’m sorry, but with a new-ish baby, I had better things to do.
    Fast-forward to June, 2009. My membership was up, so I figured that would be the end of my payments. Wrong. But I didn’t check my credit card statements to check to see what had been billed to it. October 2009, I did check to see what had been billed. It showed that I’d been billed for my membership to VI Fitness for the months of July through to October. However, August came back as an NSF charge. So I phoned VI Fitness and asked to talk to the manager. He told me that it takes 30 days to cancel a membership. So I’d be billed for November, too. AND he wanted me to pay for the NSF charge. I said heck no! So he told me he’d call the head office and get back to me. A month later I finally heard back and he said I still needed to pay the NSF fee. The call was dropped due to my phone dying, so I sent them an email basically saying that I wanted several free passes, my money back or I’d be going to the press. I got a call 10 minutes later saying they cancelled my membership. I’m still going to the media! I’ll update when I hear back from the media!

  117. Sven

    Jan 7 2010

    Regarding Fitness One. Stay very far away from the club – I was a manager there and one of the staff was accused and ridiculed infront of all the managers for being a thief.

    Apparantly she issued fake memberships and kept the cash. Not suprisingly she was fired. The kicker is she was re-hired. She is able to make great sales and they need the cash.

    There is no way these guys will refund cancelled memberships and they have in the past even double billed customers without any remrorse.

    Stay far-far away. they are thieves

  118. Jason Rogers

    Jan 13 2010

    Here is a hint…

    If any gym is asking you for your debit card, void cheque, or a credit card from which to withdraw monthly payments… just say no and offer cash instead, or post-payment (have them issue you an invoice every month or something and then you pay it at your own convenience).

    If they won’t budge, they’ll most likely screw you out of your money…

  119. Former Employee

    Jan 14 2010

    As a former employee, I now tell everyone I know to never get involved with Premier Fitness, and if you do, PAY CASH!

    On the employee side, we got paid once a month, and this paycheque was always late-sometimes up to a week! Our commission cheques were also late, and NEVER correct.

    They would always say that people cancelled or their credit cards were NSF, and yet when you went to look into their client file, they HAD in fact been charged and so now the company just makes MORE money because they didn’t pay their employees the commission they deserve.

    This company owes me thousands of dollars because of unpaid commission. Their T4′s also come in the day before our tax returns are due. Employees at this company walk in and out, DAILY.

    When in meetings with our lovely president John Cordillo, we don’t have names. He just wants to know our numbers for the month.

    Several times, if employees didn’t sell enough for that month ($15,000), or had something to say that he didn’t like (such as a valid complaint), they were fired on the spot in front of everyone there!

    When complaints arose, he would respond “I don’t care, take me to the Labour Board, they already have a room full of complaints about Premier”. Makes you wonder what kind of connections are had if even the labour board doesn’t take action against this company and close them down.

    There is NO ONE qualified to work there, especially in the Personal Trainer area. 95% of my co-employees had their “weekend” trainer’s certificates, IF THAT! Coming from a background with a Kinesiology degree myself, I was disgusted.

    On the consumer/member side: I have often heard that when requests to cancel/refund memberships are receieved at head office, they are THROWN OUT!!!

    Eventually, I left the company, because of not being paid properly and working with these unqualified idiots who were put in charge of these poor members.

  120. George R.

    Jan 15 2010

    I have a good fitness club story. A while ago, I went to Extreme Fitness because I got something in the mail that had a deal that was too good to be true. It was, so I left.

    I went down the street to Riverdale Fitness (Danforth & Jones), talked to the person who was on the desk and was really impressed by her manner. No pressure, really nice and helpful.

    My partner and I joined right there and then and have been very happy with the club. It’s not big & flashy, but it’s clean and has everything that we need to keep in shape.

  121. Marie

    Jan 20 2010

    I have an agreement with Mademoiselle Fitness Spa in St. Catharines, The form is illegal. There is no expiry date, nor does it state how many payments.

    There was to be no charge until 2010. I was billed in Dec. 2009. They are dipping into accounts.

  122. martin

    Jan 22 2010

    Got burned by VI fitness in Victoria.Hidden sign up fees and cancellation fees.Billing when the account was on hold.Continuing to bill when the account was closed.Don’t give these guys your credit card info for auto billing because they will burn you bad.

  123. RonDon

    Jan 26 2010

    PREMIER FITNESS: This is the biggest ripoff anywhere.

    I am a teacher who should have known better. For about 4 years I was a member of the Hamilton Mountain Club on Upper Wentworth. My son joined as an add-on to my membership for a summer.

    I cancelled my membership over 5 years ago. Today I received a bill from Premier, indicating my son owes $1,700 for past due fees. He has not even been near the club.

    I have a heart problem and this about did it for me. What can I do about this ludicrous bill?

  124. Anne

    Jan 27 2010

    Thanks for the warning! I did the tour and sales pitch and they wrote up a quote on their computer. But I walked away because I wanted to research other local gyms.

    A few days later, I received a general mailer (delivered to all residents in town) offering a free month. I am half way through that now and am impressed by the facilities (a very nice pool) but freaking out at the horror stories described here.

    Thanks to you, I will even cancel my temporary membership in wrting and ask for confirmation that this has been cancelled. I did not sign anything and they have no banking info or credit card info. But I am worried that they might just mail me a bill or mess with credit scores anyway, based on the info they did get during the sales pitch!

  125. Leah

    Jan 30 2010

    I had a pay as you go membership at VI Fitness for women in Victoria. First they billed me for a sign-up fee of $51 that was just added on after the first month. Then after I gave writen notice to freeze the acount while I was away on vacation, the billing continued and I had a hell of a time getting my money back.

    All these outfits seem to use the same trick. They get you to sign a contract and get you to auto bill it to your account or credit card. Then they make it very difficult to cancel.

    And the credit card company was no help. I told them that this company was charging my account without permission and they told me unless I had a cancellation in writing, I couldn’t stop the charges.

    I even changed my credit card number. Finally I dumped Mastercard completley to get the charges stopped.

    These fitness clubs are borderline criminals and the Government needs to step in and put a stop to this bull.

  126. Evan

    Feb 2 2010

    Someone posted above suggesting that Janice Cuschieri was the person who could be most helpful in resolving a complaint.

    Well, following several voicemail messages and two registered letters, we’re still waiting to hear back from her. The title customer service manager/supervisor is absurd.

  127. Beadybelle

    Feb 5 2010

    Okay, now that i’ve heard some of these situations, I feel better knowing I’m not the only one!!

    My situation is a little similiar to GH’s. I was conned into a crazy amount of personal training sessions. When iI tried to come in to reduce them, the manager in charge was not in or was at a meeting.

    So reluctantly, I went for training. The trainer was horrible. He never paid attention and was alway chatting with other trainers, plus my sessions would be cut short due to lack of equipment. Also, he would cancel on the day of the session.

    Recently, I got into a car accident and haven’t been able to go to the gym. I really wasn’t enjoying the service, so this was the perfect excuse to cancel my membership.

    The manager, of course, was busy in a meeting. When I finally told him my situation, he told me I needed a doctor’s note.

    The way these guys operate, I wanna make sure I have my ducks lined up in a row before I do anything drastic.

    So PLEASE any suggestions??

  128. Jenn M

    Feb 13 2010

    Hi Ellen

    Seems like Premier Fitness is still up to their old tricks. Horrible management practices. I had a concern with my account and I dealt with a lady by the name of Shelley at the London club. She fixed my accout and promised to call me back within a week. She did not so I followed up with her to ensure that the 3 months free she promised me was on my acct. After Christmas I was told that Shelley was no longer with the club. I said well Shelley and I I made an agreement and settled my account. I was informed that Shelley did not have authority to make that agreement with me. My response was how was I supposed to know what could and could not be done. Now they are telling me I owe them $180. I have since canceled my membership as they wanted me to pay an annual membership which I refused since I have a month to month agreement.

  129. Adrianna

    Feb 15 2010

    I signed up with Premier Fitness today. I like the gym. It’s clean. It appears to be well-taken care of and the people are friendly. However, I refused to give my credit or chequing information. That is my right. I paid my year in cash. However, I was told that the balance (the mandatory assessment fee of $52.00) had to be paid via credit or cheque. After much disagreement, she couldn’t (according to premiers policy) take cash for this amount, I agreed to bring in a pre-authorized one-time payment for an account I rarely use, and would close the day after it comes out. I will not use my “normal” account, and there is no way I would ever use credit in a gym or for anything that may recur. My mother always told me that if you can’t afford to pay cash in full, then you really can’t afford it. And, having had one bad experience with a gym a few years ago, I absolutely refuse to give them anything they can use, or destroy.
    Other than that, I am happy with my decision. However, the payment choices will be mine, and I will certainly control who has access to my money.

  130. Evan

    Feb 20 2010

    Adrianna, why on earth would you empower and enrich a business with such a track record as well as clearly trying to get their claws into your information. If I have to open an account, which I will close the next day, in order to protect myself from parasites, I would never DREAM of willingly giving them my business.

  131. Almost Scammed

    Feb 21 2010

    I signed up for Regency Fitness which is a subsidary of Premier Fitness of course back on the day of US Thanksgiving. Having heard of previous scams with gyms, I REFUSED TO GIVE CREDIT CARD info. I had the cash however, and I thought I had a great deal, the City of Brampton charged more. I was able to pay the whole lump sum, having read scams a few days in, and being pressured to sign a $2,000 contract for personal training, I read Section A on the back of my contract and saw some pretty nasty tricks. So I called the GM 15 mins the next day and cancelled with the normal form and what not. Refund would come in 6 weeks….I left and I thought it was all over.

    Christmas Eve comes along and I get a letter in the mail saying I owe $300 for a Personal Training, and if not payed by Dec 31, they’d take legal action, the letter was dated Dec 8, and I decided to ignore it, although I tried calling Regency Fitness and told me to speak to a person I could never get a hold of. Luckily, to this day, I never got a call or letter demanding anything more, and they kept telling me that my membership and PT were cancelled.

    Around the beginning of February, I was getting fed up with getting told that they would call me when the refund check came in. So I decided one day when in the area of Dixie/Eglinton to pop into their small head office to just question. Now here’s the best part:

    I walk into the front lobby, and like what happens when you try to call them, NO ONE is at the FRONT DESK. In fact a phone sits there, and tells you to call a number, which again no one ANSWERS. So I was standing there puzzled, some people come out of a door that says “Employees Only” and they asked if I was waiting for anyone, and I said I was wondering about a refund. They told me to go upstairs through the door they just came out of. I walk up nervously, and see some person up there, I asked about a refund, and gave my name, and in about a minute or two, VOILA, my check with my full amount returned to me. Of course, I photocopied that check before putting it in the bank, and that is it.

    I then took my refund and went to the City of Brampton, who offered the whole deal, squash, everything, for $399 and that’s taxes included. Much cheaper than what I paid at Premier, and I know here I cannot be screwed. I now have city wide access to all facilities, while the exercise equipment may not have all the bells and whistles like personal TVs at every machine, it does the job well enough.

    As for Premier Fitness, be very cautious when dealing with them or any other club, here are some ground rules about clubs. If they insist that you must take a tour, say the 4 most magical words “I’ll be back later.” and then make a B-line to your vehicle. Good luck everyone dealing with fitness clubs.

  132. PC

    Mar 3 2010

    I too have had the PREMIER FITNESS nightmare. I signed up with them for 1 year and when the year was up I cancelled.

    Three years later, I got a letter from them saying I owe them $1,000+. I called and told them I do not owe them any money because I quit their club long ago, I told them if any collection agency called me, I will take them to court.

    I also went to their office and made loud noise. They do not like that.

    Anyway, I went back again to join because I really need to try to stay in shape as I get older. When I went in, they told me I could not get the rate of $299 for the year because I had owed them money in the past. Not only that, but there was another person on my account that owes them money also.

    I got up to walk out and told them I was not paying more than that amount. She stopped me and called the manager and he said to give me the $299. I told her I wanted the arrears removed from my name before I did that and I wanted it in writing, which she did…

    One year later, I took my friends there to renew my membership and for them to join. Now we faced another crisis because the manager Steve and his side kick Purnima told us we should just pay $42 for 2 weeks for the three of us. They could try the gym and if they liked it, then we’d sign up.

    My friend made the mistake of giving her Visa. Without her knowledge, the club marked the Visa slip void and took 3 payments and told her she had signed a 1 year contract. She could not cancel or it would go to collection.

    They also said it’s a family membership for the three of us, even though I told them repeatedly that I was paying separately. So now they are stuck with a membership that they did not want and can’t get out of. I told my friend I would take them to court if it were me.

    I am getting off the contract because I injured my wrist and according to them, I have to bring them a doctor’s note to say I can’t work out or they would charge my friend for 3 people.

    NOTE TO EVERYONE…BEWARE OF PREMIER CLUBS AND PAY CASH. NO POST-DATED CHEQUES OR CREDIT CARDS, PLEASE!!!

  133. BA

    Mar 3 2010

    I tend to fight back when treated badly by a company, so I thought I would also give support to a (rare) situation where a large Health Club did the right thing:

    - I had a valid “lifetime” membership with Bally, bought in 1987. Bally was bought by Goodlife 3 years ago.

    - Fearing that Goodlife would not honour my contract, I paid 3 years in advance (a grand total of $98, or $36 per year!).

    - Three years later (this week), Goodlife contacted me because they had no records of my contract – just my $98 payment.

    I braced myself for a fight. First I spoke to the club manager, then customer service.

    Customer service indicated it would take some escalation to get this resolved. I feared the worst.

    Within 24 hours, they had escalated the issue. They probably could have blown me off based on the absence of paperwork, but I think they knew my position was valid. They decided to do the right thing.

    Here is the letter I sent to Goodlife:

    I would like to compliment your team for handling a very difficult membership issue. The issue required GoodLife to “do the right thing” even when there was not a lot of evidence to support this. (It involved a very old Bally contract.)

    I fully expected a corporate position / policy discussions and a fight, but instead had a thorough and fair review and a just decision.

    You should elevate this to your CEO and tell him that Sharon in customer service and Tony, the branch manager in South Common, are doing good work.

  134. MLYNN

    Mar 4 2010

    VI FITNESS SCREWED THE LAST PERSON OVER.

    I signed a one year contract, it ended in Feb 2010, and I was unaware that I had to cancel 30 days prior to the last day in February.

    I checked my online banking info and my account was minus -$47.20. I was NOT PLEASED AT ALL. I called and the manager at the Westshore VI Fitness was unapologetic (but she said she was sincerely sorry, I DIDN’T BUY IT).

    She said that this happens to a lot of people, and that there was nothing she could do about it. I said I want to cancel NOW, she said I had to email or come in. I work, so when can I get in to cancel this? I said it was Bullsh*t and I would come in and hang up.

    I called my dad whose credit card was on the account as back up payment. They didn’t charge him, but he emailed “head office” wherever that is, emailed them saying we wanted the money back or we would go to the press ASAP (and at this time I have a local news station interested in my case and this website, and my friend’s cases with VI FITNESS).

    They said that it would take 2-3 days to determine whether the bank denied their request for the payment or if the bank accepted it and gave them the money. They called my dad and said the bank denied it, but my bank account was still minus the money? WHAT?

    I called my bank and they said that they let the transaction go and VI FITNESS took the payment. THEY LIED TO ME AND MY DAD ON THE PHONE! I have a printout and all hell is going to break loose.

    PLEASE DON’T SIGN UP AT THIS GYM! My friend had $700 taken from her credit card, months of payments all taken out at once, NOT IN THE CONTRACT, loss of paperwork for training sessions, numerous cancellations. DON’T GO HERE.

  135. MLYNN

    Mar 4 2010

    It’s really sad to think that a gym like VI FITNESS, there to encourage women to feel good about themselves, inside and out, to help them lose weight, get healthy, would screw so many women around. They don’t care about the clients.

    The women working there all care about the money, the money, the money! They have zero sympathy for the people and don’t care at all. Who in their right mind would think its okay to pull what they pull? They all have a brain, they all have a conscience.

    I think its hilarious to see SO MANY positions posted on craigslist about the gym and hiring new people, it says something about this company. I WILL UPDATE THIS PAGE when they give me my money back. I AM SO ANGRY.

  136. staff.

    Mar 5 2010

    I’m an employee at Premier… thought I’d leave something for you…

    1. double billing. not a mistake. the company does it so they can pay their employees because premier makes no money.

    2. employees have very high turnover because we don’t get paid on time.

    3. you are allowed to write over the auto renewal part on your contract and write 1 year only.

    4. you are allowed to pay in full cash and never bring us billing info.

    5. we actually cannot waive an assessment fee.

    6. no one likes to sell paid in full memberships cuz we dont get commission on it.

    7. we don’t make any commission without your billing information.

    8. we don’t mean to rip you off, but as sales staff our base just sucks so much that if we don’t rip you off we don’t get a decent pay… if we get paid at all.

    Sorry, just a bit of a guilty conscience :)

  137. staff.

    Mar 5 2010

    I forgot some stuff:

    The club cannot issue cheques… only head office can. They do. I’ve seen it! It just takes a really really long time because they can’t afford it.

    The club’s general managers are normally great people. It’s not their fault. Don’t take your anger out on the customer service reps because all they do is write stuff on a piece of paper and send it to head office. They don’t actually process anything.

  138. Sue

    Mar 5 2010

    “staff”

    “3. you are allowed to write over the auto renewal part on your contract and write 1 year only”

    You mean the actual general manager can write over this? Or even the reception can do this? And can they delete your credit card info off your account (esp. if you have already paid in full)?

  139. Keanu

    Mar 10 2010

    I just became a member of Regency Fitness and Racquet Club, Brampton and I am so disappointed with their service. I joined the club only for squash and now they have their other locations closed for renovation and they have booked the squash courts for taekwondo. No is ready to listen at the location and gals are very rude, they just walk on you while you are still talking. Any suggestions ?? Can I pull these guys to court? Its mental harassment and totally waste of time. Thanks K.

  140. Newmarket

    Mar 15 2010

    Everyone must read this website to get the facts about all sizes of gyms. I love how clubs (i.e. PREMIER-Newmarket) have revolving specials monthly and plenty of pressure to join. At Leslie/Davis Dr they tell you that if you don’t sign now your info(from the wavier to see the joint) goes on file and you are not able to take advantage of any specials for 6 months!!!! what is that BS….. Play sports, jog and by some free weights… eat a balanced diet enjoy life like ING says….. save your money :)

  141. Just another Premier Member

    Mar 28 2010

    To the honest staff who took the 5 minutes to write to us, thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing!

    Exceptional facilities and services overall at the Dixie/Dundas Premier Fitness Club… But just like some of you, I am waiting on a refund and a confirmation that my credit card will no longer be charged for 2 programs. We cancelled within the first 10 days…as per contract.

    After a few calls, I have sent my first letter, hoping to hear back from the corp office…I shall not fail to keep you all posted. Hopefully I will be one of the lucky ones!

  142. Just another Premier Member

    Mar 31 2010

    I am so happy to share that I had a reply about my refund the very next MONDAY after I had sent my 1st e-mail communication to the corp office of Premier Fitness re Dixie Club directly from accounts payable and CSR team manager.

    Thank you !!! My cheque is being processed and the club will call me directly as soon as my refund is ready – Shall keep you all posted !

    A Happy MEMBER -melanie d

  143. Tatiana

    Apr 15 2010

    Premier Fitness is the Biggest SCAM ever!!!!

    When my husband and I went to sign up for it last year, we’ve been served immediately as soon as we said that we want to become members. We paid in full for me and my husband was paying the gym fees bi-weekly, untill the year was up, although we’ve attended only 3 times in the whole year.

    Now when we finally got to the end of the year, we’ve gone right away to cancel the agreement. Guess what? Apperently they have a “special person” up there, and that person is the only one who can cancel the contracts!!!

    But we’ve got a little problem here! That person is never ever available for you!!! After going there and calling them about 20 times.

    Finally we’ve got assistance and the “Sweet Talker” was so “compassionate and felt so sorry for us” that we’ve used the gym only for 3 times that from her “big, generous heart” she honoured us with 3 months of free attendance…

    And here it comes: Our bank account continued to be charged during this “free period”, so I guess you have to “pay” to get something “for free”.

    We went today to cancel this SCAM contract with Premier Fitness and the answer from one of the representatives was “I can’t cancel it”. We asked her “What about the girl who helped us sign the contract, she can cancel it?”. The answer was no!!!!!

    Apparently you have to know rocket science in order to be able to print a freakin’ cancellation form and give it to the customer. We weren’t able to stop this scam today either.

    I write this review to protect other people who plan to sign with Premier FItness! DON’T DO IT!!!!! THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF!!!! I just don’t get it how they are still in the business????

  144. Tatiana

    Apr 20 2010

    In January of this year (2010), my boyfriend walks into Premier Fitness located in Yorkdale to see the gym.

    Rayan, the Sales Rep #343, is hungry for a sale/commission and offers my bf a great family deal. Since my bf was indecisive and unsure, Rayan offers him a 10 day trial period. He says that after 10 days if he is interested, he can come in to sign a contract for the family deal.

    Throughout this entire process, Rayan took down his contact info and he also signed an agreement that Rayan had explained that it was for trial period that they had discussed…..

    Five months later, after never returning to Yorkdale-Premier or any other Premier, we received a call from their accounting department. They were demanding payment for our so-called “outstanding balance” of $283 and if payment was not made within A WEEK, this would be forwarded to collections agency.

    After days of going back and forth with Head Office (Rhina, who’s unprofessional, rude and I can keep on going but I’ll save it for a blog on just her) and with Jennifer at the Yorkdale Club, I am informed that what was signed was the Family deal contract (that we did not have a copy of) for a MINIMUM 12 months.

    Therefore, it does not allow me to cancel ASAP but only at the end of year, when we will supposedly owe $830. Thank goodness, they do not have our banking information!!!

    Conveniently the Sales Rep no longer works there and no one knows how to contact him to settle this.

    Premier Fitness are the biggest SCAM ARTISTS I have ever come into contact with. I am actually shocked on how they are even able to pull something off like this with all the idiot/brain dead/morons working in that club. This will not be end …. we’re taking these jokers to COURT!!!

  145. Cass

    May 3 2010

    FITNESS ONE …Queen and Peter Location:

    Thanks for everyone’s insights and comments, this site has taught me a lot, and given some comfort to me as I know now I am not alone. Unfortunately, I am only here because of the shock I received this evening, which propelled me to go online to see if anyone else was a victim of such a scam.

    This evening I received a call from a collection agency that was calling to collect $1,200 from me for monies owed because ‘they say’ I did not cancel my contract in 2006. So 4 years later, they decide to sue me.

    This is completely out of the blue as you can imagine, and I did cancel, but threw out my copy of my cancellation year or so ago. Who keeps those kinds of things! I know better now.

    Their basic argument is that the contract is on auto renewal and that I never delivered a written confirmation of cancellation. And now suddenly it is with an agency. This guy there was really great too. Off the record, he completely understands where I am coming from, he is just the messenger, let’s face it, and said also off the record that he suddenly has a file that has approx, 2,000 people in there.

    He is, I am sure, one of a number of agents with files that big. IF they collect on just his alone, all of these fake renewals then that’s millions, so big bucks.

    This is to me incredibly fraudulent and I intend to fight it. I wanted to a) start putting the word out there, and b) I will be posting on Craigslist and other places to get the word out.

    My main question is, do I have a leg legally to stand on? Although I don’t have proof of written cancellation, I did not receive any notice from them regarding renewal, and isn’t that a protective loophole? That isn’t completely clear to me. So if anyone can clear this up for me I would be most appreciative.

    C

  146. Kelly

    May 3 2010

    I worked at Premier — for too long. The paychecks were 3-4 days late in 2007, and in 2010 they are 10 days late- and these are monthly checks.

    We had to drive to Mississauga to get the checks, often just to get yelled at and refused and told to get out by Mr. Al Guarino, ‘don’t like it? take us to court” .

    They are decreasing the trainers’ pays from $17-$25/hr down to $15/hr illegally and they don’t care that its illegal. If you had or have a trainer there who doesn’t show up, it’s probably because they either haven’t been paid at all or they just got their pay slashed!.

    John Cardillo, the owner, has often been heard to yell at employees calling them f—-g c–s and worse. A bunch of slimeballs!

    By the time staff realise it, they are on the hook because by Feb. 25th you are barely getting paid for the work you did since Jan. 1!!. They try not to pay stat holidays and expect managers to work 60 hrs a week with no overtime pay.

    Mr. Cardillo has a huge mansion and about 6 expensive cars. One day at a meeting, he was yelling at his chauffeur for not having remembered to “start my wife’s Bentley every week”!!

    Don’t work there! Don’t work-out there!!

  147. Michael Ferrer

    May 20 2010

    On Thursday, April 15th, 2010 at approximately 5:15pm, the following circumstances transpired at the Extreme Fitness location on Danforth and Pape:

    During the middle of my regular workout, the Health Center Manager, who goes by the name of “Dinelo”, accosted me and my training partner and friend, David Andrew Nicholson. In front of a myriad gym members and employees, he vehemently told us to get out of the club right then and there. When we asked why, he accused me of “training” my training partner and went on the say that, “…it wasn’t allowed…he had been watching me train him for the last 6 weeks…” Meanwhile, my friend and I have been training together for the last 2 years at that exact same location uneventfully! In fact, prior to Dinelo’s recent promotion to Health Center Manager, he has been privy to witnessing my friend and I train together for at least the last year!

    I believe Dinelo has had a personal agenda against me ever since he was wearing the “personal trainer” hat. On several occasions, he has tried to bully me in the gym. About 6 months prior to the termination of my membership, he approached me and told me to “keep my voice down and to not count my reps out loud because it was “disrupting his client’s breathing”. Meanwhile, it was he who had moved his client closer to where my training partner and I were doing our exercises. Also, I was counting out my reps in a regular voice and tone. About 1 month ago, he tried to make me a bring a piece of apparatus (an aerobic stepper) up to the second floor and said if my training partner or I didn’t bring it back upstairs he would kick us out of the gym. Meanwhile, the stepper originated on the floor I was using it on.

    I am a prominent and distinguished member of the Toronto District School Board. I have been an Educator in the elementary panel for over 9 years. As it happens to be, I am a very accomplished national level bodybuilder and fitness trainer. I own and operate a personal training business, http://www.michaelferrer.ca out of “Fortis Fitness” located at 276 Carlaw Ave. So, am I being punished because people know I’m a professional trainer? Therefore, regardless of whomever I’m training with, I may always be perceived as “training them”!

    The General Manager at Extreme Fitness (Tim Nielson) will tell you that he has to side with Dinelo because he doesn’t work the “back end” and is therefore not able to comment on what does or doesn’t go on, on the gym floor and that he mainly works “front end” sales. He will also refer to an incident that transpired on Sunday, March 21, 2010 at approximately 11:30am, wherein the head consultant “Jason” told me that I “looked like I was training someone”. I told him the truth: That my studio was out of commission for one day, so two (2) of my clients (who have memberships with Extreme thanks to me) had no place train, so after my own workout, I helped them both get familiar and acquainted with the gym floor. Jason told me that this practice wasn’t permitted; I told him that I understood and that was the end of that. In fact, that morning, Dinelo ran up to me as if to grab me by the shoulder but Jason stopped him just before he could touch me and told him that he had already spoken with me, that we had an understanding and that everything was cool.

    I beg to ask, after Dinelo is Health Center Manager for three days, all of a sudden I’m “training” my own training partner that I’ve been training with for the past two years? It’s blatant discrimination if I ever saw it. A misuse and abuse of authority at the very least! How can such prominent organizations such as Extreme Fitness, condone this type of discriminatory practice?

    In the final analysis, I’m not looking for reinstatement into the club. In fact, it would be quite uncomfortable to be training in the presence of such discriminatory practice. What is however perplexing to me is the nature in which the accusation was conveyed. Dinelo called us out in the middle of our workout, in the presence of neighbours, friends and cohorts and accused us of doing injustice! He raised his voice, interrupted our workout and embarrassed us in front of the entire (30 odd person) population of the club! I asked him if we could discuss this in private after completion of our workout and he replied, “No! I want you guys to leave right now! Do you understand the meaning of leave? You two can not finish your workout.” He continued to be confrontational with me by standing in my way when I tried to rack my dumbbells.

    To make a long story short, I feel that my image of being an outstanding member of the community was tarnished and my reputation as a solid professional trainer was compromised and for what? There is no proof of his allegations and there never will be because the fact that I was training with a friend, was in no way in breach of the membership contractual agreement. I plan to pursue this matter through a civil litigation suit, claiming defamation of character and arbitrary public humiliation.

  148. Sue at Biofit

    Jun 2 2010

    Just got burned with the Burlington Fitness and Racquet Club: without my authorization they took information from a cheque of mine and set up pre authoized debits to my account: I never signed a form allowing them to do this: and had to call the police.

    They have some nerve.

  149. Heather

    Jun 14 2010

    You are absolutely right about VI Fitness (Courtenay specifically) charging the monthly fee well after my two-year contract was finished!

    I called about it and they said it was on the back of my original contract! Right..who keeps that sort of paperwork around for two years and who ‘really’ reads it all? And why should I have done so, ‘knowing’ that the manager at the time explained it to me as a two-year contract..period!!?

    I was frustrated and the person I was speaking to said not to be rude and I asked her just why she thought I was rude. She said, ‘you are raising your voice’…oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to whisper..excuse me!!

    She said I could bring a letter in cancelling my membership and I said I didn’t have time to bring one in; that’s why I wasn’t using the fitness centre for the past 6 months, just waiting for this two-year contract to be over with!

    She then said I could email my cancellation. I am still waiting for a reply and I haven’t seen any reply as yet.

    I also paid $1,500 for a ‘personal trainer’ and was given a 21 year old part time trainer/student who stuck me on machines for 1/2 hour and stood by gazing off half the time and losing track of what rep/set I was on…that’s very expensive training as I got 30 sessions!!! Even Oprah couldn’t afford that! What a total ripoff!

    I hope everyone can take a moment and read what a total scam these fitness centres truly are. I will keep you tuned in as to whether I ever receive a reply to my email and whether they continue to charge my charge card.

  150. Tammy

    Jun 19 2010

    Premier Fitness, in Kingston, yet again….I had a one-year membership with them…loved the layout of their facitility and their classes….but here were my problems:

    1. It would take at least 7 tries to find a treadmill that worked…and when I did find one that appeared to work, when I would get halfway into my timed 5k (I was training for a race), the treadmill would shut down and smell as if it was burning…I reported this at least 6 times over the period of 6 months…never repaired.

    2. Cable machine broke 6 months into my one-year contract…at the end of the year, it still had not been fixed or replaced.

    3. Classes were constantly being cancelled because their one head-set was not working and the instructors protested it not being repaired by not doing the classes.

    4. Smith squat machine was inoperable the entire length of my contract…would not fix it !

    5. They kept taking out $52.00 for some assessment fee..I authorized it one time only…but they took it out 4 times !

    6. The pool was always shut down – the sign said for repairs, but I have later found out that it was begin it was not suitable to swim in and was closed down by an outside agency by law !!!

    My contract ended in December 2009….This is now June 2010…I got a phone call from a manager at Premier Fitness asking me about my experience…I told him honestly what I thought of their club as I had done several times already.

    He said that yes, there were some shady dealings going on at that time but that management had been changed. He assured me all the machines had been fixed. He assured me that they had hired someone who was certified in pool operations. He said they hired a man who was there solely to fix equipment, order parts for machines, etc and that machine-down-time would be very minimal. He assured me class schedule would be full and active. and he set up an appointment with me to get my 14-day free pass with no strings attached…

    Well I was curious to see if they had cleaned up their act…he set the appointment with me for yesterday morning…when I got there, I was told just to give him a few more minutes and he’d be there…shortly I was approached by a female trainer who informed me that she had called him and he was not coming in until 3 pm.

    She said she could look after me and wondered what I was there for. I laughed and said I was here to see how much the management and facilty had improved and to take advantage of a 14-day pass, but it’s not showing much improvement so far and I’ve merely walked through the door. But still I continued on to get my 14 day pass…

    She assured me that only one staff member was the same….I’m surprised that she would say such a thing as the guy at the front counter was the guy that gave me my membership in the first place…and that was not the person she said was original staff !

    So I’m going to try that 14 days and I’ll let you know if it’s improved…if I join again, which I doubt that I will, but if I do, I will not give any bank info….if they want me, they will have to accept cash…and they will have to offer me one helluva deal for a membership !!!!

  151. Brittany

    Jun 24 2010

    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write a review about Premier Fitness!

    My fiancee and I went to the one in Hamilton yesterday and we have begun the process of becoming members. Thankfully we did not give them any banking or credit card information!

    The guy who helped us out said that we could pay next week once we had the cash to pay up front. But instead of doing that, we are going to go in tonight and tell them thanks, but no thanks!

    So thank you again to everyone for saving us from a scam! We will stick to riding our bikes around the city :)

  152. Multiple Egg Baskets

    Jul 2 2010

    I believe that they finally caught on to the rules, because I know several people that instead of cancelling have been able to freeze their contracts. It works out to be a win-win for both people because they technically didn’t lose a customer.

  153. JM

    Jul 8 2010

    I asked Premier Fitness to freeze my membership, and the employee didn’t do so on the computer. I felt so bad that I couldn’t find the request paper.

    If you are signing a contract with them, get a voice recorder and keep every documents.

    In addition, has anyone had to give them 30 day cancellation notice?

  154. CorrineB

    Jul 14 2010

    So regarding Premier Fitness in Kingston… Shady, shady dealings out of that place.

    I signed up last March (2009) and had the typical membership with personal training package forced on me at sign up. All of my fees were to be charged to my credit card, which I kept a sharp eye on.

    Yes, there were a couple of discrepancies (the fitness assessment was charged 3 times, not once etc) but getting them fixed was never a huge hassle.

    I fell behind in some of my payments after my year contract was over, but since I had wanted to continue to use the gym, I set up a payment plan with ‘Jim’ in the accounting area (I say area because it’s not really a department per se). I did so via post-dated cheques for a specific amount each time. HUGE MISTAKE.

    At some point, someone in Premier Fitness’s accounting department decided to use my bank account information on my post dated cheques to do an unauthorized debit of $350 from my bank account.

    I immediately called my bank and reported the fraudulent activity and they reversed all charges and I closed my account. Then I called the club to speak to ‘Jim’. I was told he was not in until 10 am. So I waited until 10:15am and called and said he was not going to be in that day.

    Tried to call the next day but still ‘Jim’ was nowhere to be found. So, during my lunch break, I went to the club and asked to speak to the manager. I was directed to a gentleman named ‘Kevin’ whom I had never seen at the gym before.

    Told him what had happened. Demanded a reason or an explanation for the illegal withdrawal and demanded the closure of my account. He wrote up a paper (just one flimsy little sheet of paper) that said account was cancelled. He photocpied it and gave me one.

    He said he was travelling to their Head Office the next day and would call me once he returned. I think he got lost at their Head Office because he never contacted me again and on future attempts to find out what happened, the club claims no one named ‘Kevin’ ever worked there.

    So now my blood is boiling. Not only did I have to cancel my bank account, but I am still getting calls and harrassing letters stating I’m going to be sent to collections if I don’t pay the fees that have somehow mysteriously appeared on my cancelled account.

    I am researching the Consumer Protection Act and plan to place a complaint in to them as well as with the Better Business Bureau.

    Any suggestions on what else I can do in this case?

    Thank you~!

  155. Maria Reyes

    Jul 14 2010

    My oldest son had an accident while traveling outside Canada and did not come back for many years. He had an open account with Premier Fitness. After they sent his account to a collection agency, I agreed to pay in total if they closed the account.

    They didn’t close the account and now they even charged my younger son, who was invited by my oldest son under his membership for a couple of times to the gym. My youngest son was 16 at that time.

  156. GoodLies sucks

    Jul 15 2010

    I signed up with this gym for what I thought was a month-to-month membership. That’s what the sales agent said. Turns out I signed a one year agreement.

    I then wanted 6 personal training sessions to learn about free-weights and proper-form. I asked the “training manager” to speak with me regarding this.

    She wanted to get to know me and talk about my goals. I thought I was getting good service, then I told her that I was a part-time waiter (mid-20s) and that after these six sessions I would have to think about how many I could afford later. It would probably be something like once a week or bi-weekly.

    She then tried to hard sell me on 5 sessions a week….that’s $1,00 a month. She kept going on about goals and what it takes to achieve them and I had to say “no” about 10 times before she got the message.

    I then re-iterated that I wanted a trainer that I liked and who could teach me free-weights because who needs lessons for machines? Anyways, I managed to get out of her office intact and bought the six sessions.

    After I met with my trainer and asked him about free-weights, he replied that he couldn’t help me with free-weights because he needed to observe me really closely whenever I used them and he didn’t want to be liable for me hurting myself. Also, because I didn’t book enough sessions, he couldn’t oversee my progress in this way (I never saw a trainer in the free-weights section once).

    So I canceled all my remaining sessions and the next day went in to cancel my membership. Like most of you, I was confronted by the $100 cancellation fee, paid it, and was assured that because I canceled today, no more money would be taken out of my account. Lies.

    Today after reviewing my chequing account information, I found another withdrawal for $27. Tomorrow I will be going to the office to ask why this is happening, and ask for my money back. I will post my findings. Glad to find this site.

  157. GoodLies sucks

    Jul 15 2010

    Btw, this was the Goodlife in downtown Kingston, Ontario.

  158. Judy

    Jul 19 2010

    Has anyone experienced the following situation with Premier Fitness and do you know if there is anything I can do.

    I signed up and after awhile notified I was no longer using the Club. Meanwhile I know longer used the CIBC account that the funds where coming out of. I just received a call from the Collection agency informing informing me I owed $1,600 in charges from the CIBC. The fitness club was still taking funds out of a count after I changed my bank. The funds we all credit charges because there was no money in the account. They would try a few times a month to take the money out and charge. Is there anything I can do? The collection agency said CIBC does not have to notify you if you have an pre authorized deduction. Which of course it wasn’t.

    Please let me know what I can do.

    Thanks…

  159. Katherine

    Jul 22 2010

    Notice to past Fitness One members:

    VIJAI SOOKHAI

    I have also been contacted by the NCR and the above lawyer with regards to “unpaid membership fees” for a Fitness One (Toronto, ON) membership that was cancelled approximately 3 years ago.

    To former clients of Fitness One who have been contacted by Vijai Sookhai, Barrister & Solicitor, please be advised that it is indicated on his letterhead that he is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in the area of civil litigation.

    I have contacted the Law Society of Upper Canada to confirm this and he in fact, is not a certified specialist by the Law Society in any area of law. Vijai Sookhai is misrepresenting himself as a leader in the field of civil litigation.

    You may confirm this yourself by referring to the website below or by contacting the Law Society at (415) 947-3315.

    http://www1.lsuc.on.ca/specialist/jsp/directory1.jsp

    Secondly, Mr. Sookhai’s business contact information provided on the Law Society’s website does not match the address indicated in his correspondence.

    Lastly, Mr. Sookhai’s communication with former clients of Fitness One is intimidating and threatening and contradicting to the Rules of Professional Responsibility set by The Society of Upper Canada.

    “2.02 (4) A lawyer shall not advise, threaten, or bring a criminal or quasi-criminal prosecution in order to secure a civil advantage for the client.”

    I encourage all those affected by this scam/quick cash grab, to not only submit your complaints of Fitness One, but to also put forward a complaint regarding the unethical nature of the lawyer who has been retained by Fitness One.

  160. Sheri

    Jul 23 2010

    I, too, have been contacted by Vijai Sookhai! And yes, his letter is very threatening, including a clause that says, “when Fitness One wins, you will be obliged to pay all court costs.”

    I joined Fitness One in 2005. As I pay for a full year, in full, in advance, the girl was very confused as to how to set me up, but she did it. I did not receive any renewal notifications.

    I renewed my membership in 2006. In speaking with the employee on that day, she seemed more informed. She advised me that Fitness One has two types of annual memberships. One renews monthly at the end of the 12 month term. The second runs for 12 months and then the contract has ended. I asked for the latter as my company pays me for the membership. There’s no point in paying monthly.

    I then was married and shortly after, I went on maternity leave. Upon returning to work, I went back to the gym. To my great surprise, there was an amount owing on my account.

    I said I wanted to renew anyway as the amount wasn’t very much and I knew I would be reimbursed by my company for the current year. She referred me to a manager.

    The manager gave me a new form to fill out, something that I have done for every renewal. This one says on it that it is a term membership. He left while I was filling out the papers and returned a few minutes later to tell me the following. He had closed the account in my maiden name. He said that he would rather keep a customer than go out and find a new one, so in the interest of customer service he was forgiving the balance owing. He then created a new account in my married name.

    I decided that I wanted to cancel my membership, as time is now an issue between work and my son. I wrote the gym a letter and I received paperwork back from them saying that the account was closed.

    Funny enough, the manager I spoke to on that day told me that I had a Term Membership so I did not need the paperwork. “Fitness One will have no recourse to come after you,” she said. I asked for the papers anyway.

    Four months after this cancellation, I received a call from a credit agency. Now Fitness One is claiming that I owe them money from the original sign-up in 2005!!! I sent the cancellation form. It was rejected, as now this membership is not under the same account number as the sign-up under my maiden name.

    I told the representative from the credit agency that when the married name account was created, I was assured that the maiden name account balance was forgiven. He said he wasn’t there for the conversation and couldn’t help me.

    I went to the manager at the gym that approved the closure and opening of the new account. He claims to not remember me. He told me he would contact the creditor and have my account put on hold as he looked into it. I guess he didn’t??

    I then received a phone call from a solicitor, saying that I had to pay. Once again, he mentioned that the account in question is 2005 – 2006. The first thing I did was fax him the renewal from 2006 that proves not only that I paid but that this membership should be a term membership. I did not hear back from him, so I followed up myself. He claims that he did not receive the fax.

    I then received a letter in the mail from Vijai Sookhai. I wrote to the collection agency to ask for a copy of the original contract, which I understand that they are legally obligated to send me if I ask. I also asked for, in writing, the date that Fitness One claims this account is owed. I also want to see Return to Sender envelopes from any communications in regards to renewing. I have received nothing.

    If this goes further, I’m hoping that the shoddy paperwork, lack of communication and convenient lack of memory skills go in my favour.

  161. SB

    Jul 26 2010

    Of all the mistakes I made in my life, joining Premier Fitness ranks right up there.

    About 6 years ago, I decided to join a fitness club. Since Premier Fitness on Millcreek Drive in Mississauga was new and near to me, I decided to check it out.

    Going in, I had read a lot of bad press about Premier Fitness and how difficult it was getting out of their contracts, but I was convinced that it would not happen to me if I was extremely careful.

    Of course, upon signing up, the girl wanted me to give her a voided cheque enabling them to withdraw monthly dues.

    I declined and said the only way that I would join would be if I paid the whole thing up front for one year by cheque.

    She finally agreed, and it was understood that when I wanted to cancel my membership, all I had to do was advise them one month in advance in writing and that would be it. Perfect!

    One year later, I arrived at Premier Fitness with my letter in hand and said to the girl on the other side of the desk “I’m handing in my letter of resignation”.

    She took it and, I assume, just dropped it in the trash. She never indicated that there were any other forms to fill out.

    I walked out and have not heard one word from Premier Fitness since. NOT ONE WORD.

    No letters saying “we’ve noticed you haven’t been around lately”, we’re enclosing a list of classes you might be interested in for the Fall (or Spring, or Summer or Winter). NO!

    They just very silently kept siphoning off over $50 a month from my account under the acronym ‘PSC’ for 5 years!

    How you get Premier Fitness out of PSC is beyond me and, apparently, no one at Premier knows either, including John Harrison, Managing Partner of Premier Fitness.

    However, perhaps too many people were catching on because on Oct. 1, 2008, they changed their name to ‘Health Holdings’ (sounds a little like a Health Insurance provider, don’t you think?).

    Back to those lifetime mistakes I have made – another one was not checking out, in detail, all the transactions that were coming out of my bank account.

    When I finally did go to the bank last week to query these withdrawals, I was explaining my tale of woe to the teller and saying I had no idea what ‘PSC’ was.

    The woman at the teller beside me said “I am sorry for eavesdropping but PSC is Premier Fitness and I know because I got ripped off myself”.

    The $3,316.32 is gone. Mr. Harrison has assured me of that and absolutely nothing can be done.

    The reason I’m writing this letter is in hopes that it will bring awareness to anyone who is considering joining a gym. I want to expose the unpleasant experience I had with Premier Fitness.

    A Fitness Enthusiast No-Longer

  162. Vlad Malik

    Jul 29 2010

    I had a membership at Extreme Fitness (Thornhill location) a couple of years ago. After my contract expired, my membership was rolled over to a monthly scheme without telling me.

    I informed staff and managers (they all seem to be managers anyway) that it was illegal for them to bind me to any commitment over 1 year. In the case of a “monthly renewal”, I was by law to be notified in writing, which did not happen.

    The head manager listened to me, said they were well aware of the law and had teams of lawyers that ensure they were. I told him it was clearly stated on the government website. He said they didn’t have internet, just email.

    I said I’d log a complaint. He said, go ahead. Long story short, he hung up.

    I spoke to Consumer Affairs, who were surprised at their behavior, as they keep a careful eye on this particular industry. I ended up logging it with the Better Business Bureau, which had a quicker turnaround.

    Extreme Fitness immediately agreed to refund the money. After some time, no money in my bank account.

    I replied again, saying the issue was not resolved and they had committed another violation by failing to refund me within the legally stipulated time.

    Finally, I got my money back. Never again am I getting involved with those people.

    What bothers me is that, while I have my $80, it was a real hassle. Worst of all, nothing changed. They still overcharge people. They still fail to mail those renewal notices or process refunds on time.

    Their staff are still uninformed with regard to the law that governs their business (sometimes I think tight pants and a certain type of personality are about the only prerequisites for that job). They never admitted they were wrong and were not forced to.

    Moreover, my case is not logged against them on the government website, because the money involved was under the threshold. Even if they ripped me off for $5, that is unacceptable.

    Who is going to investigate them and punish them? Who is really going to force them to change their behavior?

  163. Rex

    Aug 19 2010

    I was a former staff member of a Premier Fitness location, but don’t want to give my location/real name because they actually monitor these websites to see if their staff members say anything bad.

    You all have not even scratched the surface of the company. The employees have it worst, by far. Here’s a quick list of what my coworkers and I went through in my 8 years as a trainer there:

    1. Never been paid on time, EVER!!! Pay period keeps changing so much, no one really knows when it’s supposed to come.

    2. Last tax season, my manager told me to not list in my paperwork over 50 sessions from different clients, so they could record less money made that year, and not pay as much taxes.

    3. The AC was borken all summer and the heat was stuck on in the health centre, over 100 degrees/ Was fixed…….next season.

    4. Employees must go to head office to get their paycheques. I have fond memories of taking the bus to Mississauga from Scarborough.

    5. Management, on a monthly basis, holds over deals and puts them on months that they have slow business. This means I don’t get to see my money untill they decide to put it on.

    6. The reason I quit was because they cut my pay by $5/hour and took away my commission for a structure with smaller bonuses. They ended up firing everyone who made over $17.50/hour before this plan.

    7. The owner of the company at a meeting called me a useless tool and a juice head, as well as insulting racially and personally virtually everyone in the room.

    8. Most locations have no receptionist or a part time one hired for 3 hours a day after school, when we rely on them to handle our schedule.

    9. To call in sick I had to give 24 hours notice, or I didn’t get paid the day I came back.

    10. Waiting still for my vacation pay from 2 years ago. Was paid my first vacation pay 5 years ago, in $15 installments over the course of a year.

    11. Told if I don’t make the owner $10,000 a month in deals, I’m fired.

    12. Threatened with my job every day I came in and harassed by management about deals, money.

    13. Manager told me to either train all my clients his way or I’d get fired.

    14. Ordered to train a client who filed a harrassment complaint with the company against me, just because she had a crush on me, and she was a big deal and wouldn’t go with anyone else.

    This is the short list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  164. Kelly

    Aug 26 2010

    Does anyone have a copy of the Premier contract (or can you scan one)?

    I have not been a member for over a year so I probably threw it out. I specifically would like a copy of Section 8 (the auto-renew section).

    I too have received no communication from the club until 13 months after my one year contract, and then, from some ‘Frederick Scott Turton’ saying I owe over $300.

    I want to show the Section 8 to my lawyer to see if I’m under any obligation to them. Thanks!

  165. Jay – jfjunior

    Aug 28 2010

    My wife almost got caught in this scam. One day she came home and told me that the GoodLife Fitness needed her account number so she could sign up for exercise classes. I said “no way” you won’t be providing any account numbers or signing on to anything.

    They kept calling her at home. When I finally had enough I answered the call and advised her that she would join only if she could pay with a monthly cheque, but no PAP or signing of contract. Well, they never called again.

    I used to be a member of the YMCA and I loved it. I could cancel my membership anytime. Unfortunately in my town there is no YMCA, so I ride my bike every other day and I use the pool at the community centre. With that routine I lost 10kg in weight in the last three months and nobody has control over my bank account.

  166. Kevin

    Sep 2 2010

    I’ve also had terrible experiences with Premier Fitness in Carlingwood, Ottawa, Ont.

    In January 2009, I went and signed up for a membership after being pressured to do so by constant pestering. Afterwards I realized it would be much cheaper to just go to a community centre that is only a 10 minute walk and exercise there.

    I went back a week later to cancel my membership. The receptionist assured me that he would cancel my membership. I was charged ~70 dollars a week afterwards, which I assumed was the cancellation fee and I didn’t think much about it.

    Now, 20 months later, I receive a letter from a lawyer for Premier Fitness that says I owe Premier Fitness $505.31 and if I don’t pay, they’ll take legal action.

    Because I didn’t ask for a written letter stating that I cancelled it, and because the ~70 dollar fee (which I now have no idea what it was) wasn’t a cancellation fee, I have no evidence to prove I didn’t go to the fitness club EVER.

    I never set foot inside the gym, never touched a weight and I’m being threatened by legal action to pay them $505.31.

    Anyone have an idea what I can do? I sent in a complaint to the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Ontario.

    I’m still quite worried that they’ll take legal action. It’s Sept. 2nd and I had until Aug. 31 to pay. What should I do?

    Since I’m not used to dealing with such scum, I just took their word that they would cancel my membership and I didn’t ask for any written proof, so I don’t have any evidence showing I cancelled my membership.

    In short, with no proof I cancelled my membership, Premier Fitness is threatening legal action if I don’t pay them half a grand.

  167. Tiny

    Sep 15 2010

    I’m also fighting with my bank about some fees and dues from unknown CSC trying to take 907 dollars and 505 dollars

    I’m now -$200 in nsf fees.

    Plz help me.

  168. Judy

    Sep 16 2010

    I am writing regarding a major employer in Ontario that has been continuing and increasing illegal practices without being fined/closed by the government, to the point where I and many others can only conclude that they are “paying off” someone at the Ontario Labour Board.

    That is a huge concern as it degrades the whole trust in our labour system.

    Premier Fitness has over 50 fitness centres in Ontario and has been in business for over 20 years.

    There are well publicised documents online and in newspapers, such as the Hamilton Spectator in 2004.

    There are hundreds of consumer complaints about credit cards being double charged, false documentation on billing, changing post dates on checks in order to cash early, etc.

    There are hundreds of employees and former employees who have laid charges with the Labour board about:

    1. Late pay. I worked at Premier from 2006-10. When I started, paycheques were regularly 3-4 days late (they have to be picked up at head office on Dixie Rd. and brought to either the owner or the CFO to be hand signed). The paycheques in 2010 are 2+ weeks late.

    2. Paycheques are short, often by $700.

    3. Employees are regularly screamed at and threatened. I was just for trying to obtain the 10-day late paycheques for my employees at the club in Burlington.

    4. They paid no statutory holiday pay to employees until 2009 at all.

    5. There are demands to be on call/work 60+ hours a week.

    6. The pay rates for personal trainers went down by $10/hour without notice.

    The CFO’s attitude to any employee concerns such as not receiving pay (Al Guarino) is “so let him take us to court.”

    I was at the head office many times for meetings or to obtain paycheques.

    Every time, there were at least 2 contractors there trying to get paid for work done either to the new clubs being opened or repairs to the old clubs.

    In 2009, the leasing agent removed all the photocopiers in all the clubs, due to lack of payment.

    The owner has phoned supervisors at 3 am to rush to their club, saying “the landlord is locking the door for lack of paying rent. Put a sign up saying there’s been a flood.”

    The owner, John Cardillo, has a record of physically assaulting employees. He was pulled off a male elderly employee after beating him bloody.

    Why is no government agency, police, newspaper or radio station touching this company and allowing the pay to get later and later??

  169. Ziggiman

    Sep 16 2010

    Tiny, I had two CSC – dues/fees charges to my chequing account back in February of this year. Had no idea what is was but the bank accepted the error and refunded me. After reading the above (PSC and your CSC) I am very suspicious. I paid by cheque for the entire year 2009 but stopped going due to injury in the summer. Now Turton says I owe them, they will not accept cancellation without payment, and the Premier guy wants to sign me up for more!!!
    Could they have somehow set up automatic withdrawal without my approval with the information on the cheque I gave them?? You mention CSC I’ve read PSC above which is all too much of a coincidence.

  170. Lyn

    Sep 20 2010

    As a former employee of Premier Fitness I can tell you that getting out of a contract is almost impossible, they will avoid doing the paperwork at all costs and continue to bill you.. threats of legal action (they dont care- you are one in hundreds. The Consumers Protection Act has been investigating them for years and they have hundreds and hundreds of complaints. DO NOT GIVE THEM your banking or credit card information… PAY CASH or go elsewhere … this is a headache you just dont need.

  171. Anne

    Sep 21 2010

    In 2006 I joined FITNESS ONE at Dufferin Mall and had auto monthly withdrawals from my bank account. After a couple of years I got married and moved north. No FITNESS ONE there
    so I joined Goodlife.
    I called the thieves at FITNESS ONE head office to cancel my membership explaining my new situation. The lady took the details and assured me I was cancelled. I thought no more of it….
    Hello! I happened to glance at my CIBC account and they had
    deducted the 25.every month for a year.
    I called the thieves and they laughed at me – I threatened to go to the media. You owe us money – we don’t owe you.
    I cancelled the withdrawals for any amount. (my girlfriend
    is a bank teller and says always stop payment for any amount -
    not the exact amount as they can go in for 5 cents more and get it)
    One day I went into the Mall in scarborough where
    I worked out-closer to my previous residence demanding
    to be taken off the computer — she asked me for my membership card – it’s destroyed as I belong to another club.
    You must give us 25. for a new card before I can look up your name – stupidly I gave the thief my debit card from another bank and she gave me a receipt – found my name on the computer and told me I had to pay several hundred dollars before they could remove my name.Then may I have my 25. back? We don’t carry cash – you have to go to head office…
    Months past when I noticed that this company had gone into the
    other account at another bank and had withdrawn monthly payments without my approval. They found the account number from the debit card. The bank manager stopped payments.
    Each month I am charged 25. to the tune of hundreds of dollars.
    One of these days I will call the Ministry and meanwhile
    watch these scams reported in the media as we speak.

  172. Mike

    Sep 25 2010

    Hi,

    I just went through nightmare experience at Premier Fitness at 3100 Dixie Road in Mississauga. I came in few days before end of my 1 year contract to deliver written cancellation notice. They had me speak to the General Manager. I handed in my notice and asked for a proof that such notice was delivered. He tried to persuade me not to do it but after some time he filled out request form that I requested a cancellation in 30 days. (which would make it go past my 1 year contract and I would have to pay them for one extra month if I signed it.) I refused to sign it because in the contract it says that I just want to get the proof that I delivered my cancellation notice. I asked them to give me the acknowledged that I gave them the notice and let’s just end it there. The manager refused to write the acknowledged for me but after some hassle gave me a form and said: “Write whatever you want and I will sign it.” I wrote whatever I thought would be acceptable and as I was writing something unbelievable happened, the manager apparently tried to put me off my guard and said: “Why are you such a jerk?” Really these are the exact words he used. I just finished writing the thing and asked him to sign it. It was the worst experience of my life. But, I think it is not over and they will still charge my credit card as he threw the paper directly to garbage when I was leaving with my copy. So obviously they will try to get the money from my Visa. How can I protect myself? This is pretty crazy, stay away from Premier Fitness on Dixie, Mississauga. I do not know about the rest of the staff there but their direct manager definitely looks and acts like a lightweight criminal.

  173. Ziggiman

    Sep 26 2010

    Can anyone verify that CSC shows up on the statement as the vendor in an automatic bank withdrawal.

  174. Tiny

    Sep 27 2010

    Well to my surprise it just happens to be the Carlingwood mall Premier fitness club thats stealing from me
    they took out 20 dollars then tried 903$ then 507$ then 40$
    then 3$ that last one put me at -120$ 5 nsf chargs
    Royal bank said they can forgive one of the 40$ amounts
    this is my situation: im on Disability for almost 5 years
    i get 1k a month they stole my last 80 $ of grocery money
    and pretty much the rest of my food for this month

    i contacted my bank and was forced to make my account deposit only till i figure this one out

    the lady at Premier told me i had an outstanding balance of 1600$
    she told me its from my auto-renew clause in my contract
    she then took my # down and said the manager would contact me
    He never did!

    so now im broke and more broke

    i wanna sur them for damages soo BAD

    Just so you all know this is the first time in 4 years they try to make a withdrawal hence i havent lived in Ottawa in 4 years the void cheque and the auto renew gave them instant access to my funds

    theres has got to be a law that prevents them from picking on someone disable anyways ty everyone for your info

    singed Mr Tiny

  175. Tiny

    Sep 27 2010

    New facebook group to file together as one in a class action lawsuit against Premier:

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=2543371276&ref=search

  176. Sam

    Oct 23 2010

    I am one of the former Premier Fitness employees who left because of late pays and immoral activities.

    I was finally phoned about my claim to the Ministry of Labour and told they ARE planning to prosecute the company due to the hundreds of claims.

    Finally.

  177. NU

    Oct 25 2010

    I went last week to one of the Premier Fitness clubs asking for information. The receptionist gave me a tour and everything seem good.

    But now after reading, I couldn’t believe the number of complaints and everything they go through to squeeze a last cent from members.

  178. Jason

    Oct 26 2010

    My wife and I joined in 2005 and paid for a full year up front. We then paid for an additional year at the end of that term in full, but changed the contract so our billing would be a reduced monthly rate of $25 per month after the second full year.

    In December 2007, we froze our membership over the phone (against their policy but they did it anyway). I thought this was indefinite, but here is where the problems start.

    In February 2008, they started billing our credit card again without my knowledge. But my card number had changed, so it kept bouncing back to them NSF.

    Most businesses would call their customers to let them know there was an issue with payment after 1 or 2 months and we could have solved it then and there.

    They sent my wife and me a letter about a year later, claiming we owed them $576 each for unpaid gym charges and if that wasn’t paid, we would be sent to collections.

    At the time, I thought they were trying to intimidate us into paying and swept it under the rug. They are now claiming we owe them $1,700 because I didn’t cancel my membership. I am only now fully understanding how that works.

    I have not been to the gym in over 2 years and would have assumed that my membership was cancelled when they sent me the letter claiming we owed them $576.

    I truly feel that I owe them nothing as it was handled very poorly on their part and not communicated well from the start. Perhaps shame on me for not reading the fine print. But who does?

    I have also noticed that in the Ontario consumer protection act, it says they cannot sign us up for more than one year and any auto-renewals must be communicated to clients at least 30-45 days prior to the renewals starting.

    Is this true? Do I have a case to fight this? Will this destroy my credit rating?

    I would appreciate any of your feedback.

  179. Jayce

    Oct 28 2010

    This might be of interest to all of you…CBC is doing an investigation into these gyms that keep ripping us all off.

    Check out their website and submit your experience. If enough of us do this, there is a chance that being in the media eye with a negative aspect could help switch the dirty ways of these gyms!!

    http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/blog/2010/08/take-our-survey-big-gym-ripoff-earch.html

  180. Sammy

    Oct 28 2010

    The Hamilton Spectator did an investigation into Premier Fitness and its owner, John Cardillo. The story has since been pulled from their site but when you dig enough, you can find anything. I’ve posted it here for you all to read.

    The Boss
    John Cardillo is described as a savvy executive with a dark side and a soft side

    NATALIE ALCOBA, STEVE ARNOLD, STEVE BUIST, TARA PERKINS AND JOAN WALTERS
    The Hamilton Spectator

    (November 17, 2004) — His legs are like small tree trunks. The chest looks as if it was chiselled from marble. The pose highlights rippled muscles across the entire body, boasting of power and strength. The picture staring back from an old clipping shows a young and confident John Cardillo, in a 1978 “local boy wins bodybuilding title” photograph for his hometown newspaper.
    Those days, before he founded one of Ontario’s largest chains of fitness clubs, Cardillo enjoyed his local celebrity, using it as the basis for a small group of health clubs bearing his name. Born in Italy and raised in St. Catharines, Cardillo started pumping iron in Grade 10 to gain enough muscle to make the Denis Morris High School football team. Within two years, he’d put on 100 pounds of muscle and within four, he had an impressive collection of trophies, including Junior Mr. Canada, Mr. Ontario, Mr. Junior Ontario, Mr. Atlantic and Mr. Niagara, twice. By 1978, Cardillo had emerged from a year in physical education at university to take the first steps toward becoming a fitness entrepreneur. A first gym in St. Catharines became a string of small clubs from Niagara to Peterborough. Today, the 142,000-member Premier Fitness chain is the focus of a police fraud investigation, over a storm of consumer complaints. Police are probing allegations the chain improperly withdrew money through members’ pre-authorized payment plans. Complaints to government and Better Business Bureaus include claims that Premier makes it difficult for members to get out of contracts when they’re entitled, and fail to provide proper refunds when they are warranted. Premier has said improper activity with members’ accounts simply does not happen, and that most other complaints result from club members misunderstanding or being confused about their contract obligations. The Spectator’s investigation into the Premier Fitness empire has generated more than 125 calls and e-mails from disgruntled consumers, who all describe similar problems with the chain.
    More than 700 consumer complaints and inquiries about Premier companies have been lodged with the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services between 1999 and 2003. Dozens of lawsuits, small claims court actions, labour ministry complaints and Ontario Labour Relations Board rulings have also occurred — over claims of unpaid wages and outstanding supplier invoices. Cardillo is proprietor of an Ontario organization with clubs in 27 locations, using the brand names Premier Fitness, Mademoiselle Fitness and Day Spa, Curzons Fitness, The Women’s Club and Regency Fitness and Racquets Clubs. The 46-year-old entrepreneur declined to be interviewed for The Spectator’s five-part series. Friends and critics say Cardillo is a man of contradictions who has remained essentially the same since his early days. They describe him as a man of impressive determination, business vision and a personality that includes both soft edges and a darker side.
    Joseph Burnett, who is chair of Burnac Corp., and one of Canada’s wealthiest men, has known Cardillo for more than 10 years after meeting him in the shop of the Toronto tailor they shared. Burnett has since become a business mentor. “He’s extremely bright,” Burnett said. “I found that he was very honourable and, in my opinion, he was just a very fine person.”
    As a business operator, Burnett said, Cardillo continues to show the drive that took him to the winner’s podium as a bodybuilder, demanding nothing less than the best from everyone who works for him. “I’ll put it this way, I believe he is fair, and I believe he is relatively a humanitarian,” Burnett said.
    “But I think that what will get him more than anything else, if he finds that people around him … have been less than honest … he won’t tolerate that.”
    It was Burnett, in fact, who convinced Cardillo to bring Premier to Hamilton, a market Burnett got to know by opening two giant food stores under the Super Carnaval banner before selling out to Loblaw. Burnett has also built a number of apartment buildings in the city. “I told him very simply originally that he should go to Hamilton,” Burnett said. “I told him this was the ideal town for him to be in, I mean with one or two of his clubs.” On a personal level, Burnett notes Cardillo’s family orientation: “Let’s face it, as I know his past … he did not have a very good relationship with his father. Only because of the fact that his father was from the old school and he (John) wanted to be something more than just somebody that’s working in a plant somewhere,” Burnett said. “However, he was very, very kind to him. He’s looked after his family and others around him for many years.”
    Many of those who knew him earlier in his career describe Cardillo as practical, dedicated and very hands-on. “I’ve been in business a long time and I could see he had the qualities that would be successful in business,” recalls Seymour Tomarin, the businessman who financially backed Cardillo’s start in Niagara. “He’s determined and has a very practical approach to making things work.” – see next post for 2 of 2 Reply With Quote LOG IN TO THANK No one has yet thanked seekingjustice for this post.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Apr 28th, 2008 02:41 PM #27 seekingjustice
    Newbie

    ——————————————————————————–

    Join Date:Apr 20th, 2008
    Location:Ontario
    Posts:7 Part 2 of 2 John Cardillo
    From http://www.thespec.com/printArticle/263154

    In their joint venture, Cardillo did the day-to-day work of selling memberships and running the club, with Tomarin a silent partner.
    “He was always there early and at the same time he was working out and competing in bodybuilding championships. He had his hands full but he was able to be successful from the beginning.”
    Sharing in that early life was Patti Davidson, the girlfriend he met in 1978 and married in 1981. While Cardillo drew attention to the club with his wins on the bodybuilding circuit, Patti designed exercise programs, taught modelling, did the books and cleaned up the clubs.
    But that happy story of a young couple working together spun out of control in 1983, when Patti left their Niagara Falls home, filing a divorce petition, claiming physical and mental cruelty — put-downs, obscenities and grabbing that caused pain.
    Cardillo specifically denied all those allegations in his own sworn statements. The couple each filed petitions for divorce in 1983. Ultimately, the divorce actions were dropped in favour of a uncontested action filed by Cardillo, citing grounds of separation. The couple were divorced in 1988.
    But in affidavits filed in court after the couple first split in 1983, Patti complained her husband harassed her and her parents so badly in the months following the end of their marriage that she moved to Burlington, hoping to “have some peace.”
    In one affidavit, Patti’s lawyer said Cardillo appeared at the Burlington store where his wife had found work and “seriously assaulted” her.
    During the attack, Patti said in her affidavit, she was thrown against the stucco wall and choked while Cardillo screamed that she either come back to him or sign over her interest in their house and her shares in the business.
    “When I refused to do his bidding, he threatened to kill me. He said no matter how long it took, he would kill me and any other guy I ever went out with in my life,” she said in an affidavit. “He said he did not care how long he spent in jail, it would be worth it.”
    She escaped with the help of other store owners attracted by the noise.
    In an affidavit of his own, Cardillo admitted simply, “I attended at my wife’s place of employment and conducted myself generally in the fashion described.”
    He blamed it on discovering his wife had a boyfriend and his belief that she had lied to him. Criminal charges followed.
    In March 1984, he pleaded guilty to attempted obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to six months in jail. A few weeks later, another month concurrent with the first sentence and two years of probation were added for assaulting Patti. In November 1984, he pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Patti’s alleged boyfriend and was fined $1,500. He was released from jail in May 1984.
    Despite these convictions, Cardillo swore in an affidavit filed in a 2000 civil lawsuit involving a former girlfriend that he does not have a criminal record. This is because Cardillo has been issued a pardon for his past criminal behaviour.
    Just after the breakup of his marriage, Cardillo also said publicly in a 1985 Globe and Mail article that Ontario’s attorney general considered him to be a member of organized crime. Cardillo was quoted in the Globe as saying he had recently been notified by the attorney general’s ministry that he was the subject of court-authorized wiretapping for a period of three months.
    A 1985 conviction for failing to file income tax returns was not the first time Cardillo was accused of financial impropriety.
    In an affidavit related to her divorce petition, Patti described an incident in February 1982 when she went with Cardillo to the main branch of Credit Suisse in Zurich. She said he put $100,000 into high yield term deposits “composed of unreported income pursuant to the Income Tax Act which John Robert Cardillo had obtained through his businesses and upon which no income taxes had been paid.”
    She said in the affidavit that bank statements on this account were to go to the home of Patti’s aunt in Niagara Falls, N.Y., while withdrawals were only to made by Cardillo or his mother.
    Cardillo said in a sworn statement at that time: “I adamantly deny innuendoes and remarks contained in my wife’s affidavit that I engage in income tax evasion …” Patti countered, “he seems to have forgotten that I was also the bookkeeper for his corporation and many of his personal financial dealings and know of his income tax evasion …”
    Her affidavit said Cardillo “also took substantial sums out of the company in cash of which there was no record for income tax purposes.” She said she was “not referring to small amounts of money. I am referring to thousands and thousands of dollars.”
    The publicity that followed his arrests severely affected his business, Cardillo has said, forcing him to sell his interests.
    While people who know him today talk of Cardillo’s determination in business and devotion to his family, allegations of temper control still surface. In 2000, a former girlfriend named Susan Davies sought a restraining order against him on the grounds he “has an anger management problem.”
    That affidavit formed part of a “palimony” suit — Davies wanted compensation after living with Cardillo for four years until he suddenly ended the relationship in order to take up with another woman. The suit was settled for a package of awards that totalled more than $258,000.
    Dale Wishewan of Edmonton, a co-founder of Booster Juice which leases space in several Premier clubs for its juice bars, describes Cardillo as “a very intense person. He’s very much the prototypical type A personality, too, which most of us (entrepreneurs) are who end up quite successful at what we’re doing.”
    Cardillo is also more prone to respect people he considers his equals, Wishewan said.
    “I do know that if he considers you to be an equal in any way, you get way more respect than otherwise. I just know that he prefers to deal with the people who can make the decisions, through his eyes.”
    Cardillo now works the business of Premier with his second wife, Giselle. She is formerly a partner of Media Management Group Inc., The Power of Women. The company created and produced high-profile business and personal development events featuring high-powered women such as Gloria Steinem, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett and Benazir Bhutto.
    Today, the family lives in an imposing brick-and-glass house in the Caledon Hills of north Brampton. Land registry documents show Cardillo bought the 1,800 square metre mansion for $2.275 million in April 1990 from Woodpark Developments Ltd., of Agincourt. He paid $1.875 million cash and financed the rest with a vendor take-back mortgage. There are no mortgages on title now.
    The house sits on a street of mansions, but is the only one that’s gated. It is shielded from the street by evergreen trees, a wrought iron fence, keypad access control and watched by surveillance cameras.
    The family’s vacation home is on Florida’s swank William’s Island. It was purchased in October 1997 for $686,200 US. The property, in an area near Miami known as the Florida Riviera, was encumbered with a mortgage of $445,000 but that was discharged Dec. 29, 2000.
    In October 2001 the title to both properties was transferred to Cardillo’s mother.

  181. SC

    Dec 3 2010

    My complaint is in regards to personal training offered through the Athletic Club and not to the one year agreement.

    I signed up for a personal trainer, with the option of cancelling within 10 days. I chose to cancel my trainer 2 days later as I wanted to spend the money on something else. That was September 3rd.

    It is now December 3rd and I apparently owe them 3 months worth of fees (over $500).

    Robbery.

  182. Melissa

    Dec 31 2010

    Nobody had a problem with Fitness one for women???

    Those AHs didn’t return my money for one year when I canceled my membership very much within their 10 day cancellation policy. After many walks to the gym, I found out that they marked their books that I canceled after 2 months. Made me go thrice to head office.. gave me a check the second time.. for an account that didn’t have any money in it!! The third time – they moved the head office to somewhere else…and it was a huge nightmare just getting in! went there with a steely resolve to get my money back.. waited for 3-4 hrs and finally got my money 10 months later – but only because I didn’t give up!!

    Those AHs operate with the sole idea that almost all customers eventually give up!!!

  183. Marcy

    Jan 3 2011

    Thank you all for your warnings. I was about to sign up with Premier Fitness. I will stay far away from them and go back to my old gym. NOTHING is worth this. My sympathies to the employees.

  184. Dustin

    Jan 8 2011

    Wow, I just decided today to “google” premier fitness complaints. I’m not surprised by any of this. My experience mirrors every other including the ridiculous pressure they put on you when you first go in to check out there facility and inquire about a membership. My wife and I went in to get a membership and potentially a personal trainer. It was like a swat team ! We said no thanks to the manager, then he called in some other guy , then a girl.. it was to the point where we just said yes to get outa there knowing that we would just cancel the next day.. how bad is that! We tried to cancel the next day and they said the manager wasnt there.. well.. I saw him hiding ! What a snake ! I said “there he is !” He had no choice but to discuss our cancellation. I told him my wife has changed her mind and doesnt want training so we want to cancel. He laughed and said ” are you sure you’re not making her cancel” I wanted to jump across the table and smack the guy but needed to sort the paperwork out first. Ohh I forgot to mention that he also implied we NEED a trainer.. that we weren’t fit.
    What a joke these people are… where do you find such employees willing to screw people over.
    We had the membership for quite some time and have had no good experience after walking through their door.
    We decided to cancel and called first. They said we needed to come in to cancel and sit with a manager (which is crazy) who has time for this ? We made an appointment and not to my surprise – the manager was not even working that day. LIED TO AGAIN ! I got quite upset and left . It seems pointless…like talking to a wall. Its almost funny in a way. My wife and I dreaded going in there to try again and again.
    I even tried different locations (islington and dixie/dundas) Mark was the idiot I had to deal with at Dixie and I perhaps it was AMy at the islington that stood me up.
    I wrote and email to the customer service manager (from the website) and had 0 response. I had no choice but to tell my bank to stop payments. The club then called when they realized and I told them about my experience and they asked me to come in again! LOL – you have to be kidding!
    Bottom line – I would not even recommend this club to my enemy! DONT JOIN ! and if you have and are trying to get out of it just tell your bank to stop payment and document your efforts!
    Never again..
    D

  185. r

    Jan 9 2011

    There is something badly wrong with Premier Fitness. I really don’t understand how they could still be so successful despite what is clearly a terrible reputation on their part.

    My own personal story? They tried to overbill me but I had closed the account in time. They then tried to send me to a collections agency claiming that I had a couple hundred dollars in overdue fees. Fortunately, I had the signed documents on hand to dispute this claim.
    They backed down shortly after.

    These people at Premier are ridiculous. They need to get prosecuted for what they are doing. The evidence is overwhelming.

  186. Sammy

    Jan 10 2011

    http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2011/biggymripoff/

    It’s done! Premier was voted worst fitness club/most fraudulent! Enjoy!!! :)

  187. Helen

    Jan 24 2011

    I am an executive assistant at a company supplying Premier Fitness. The games Premier Fitness plays to make suppliers deliver goods is just out of this world.

    Of course, they wouldn’t pay, but they want suppliers to ship.

    At the company I work for, I witnessed a conversation between my boss and the owner of Premier Fitness. Other than every second word out his mouth was f…k, his behaviour qualified for abuse.

    My boss kept his composure during the verbal onslaught and tried to reason with Premier’s owner, but to no avail.

    I can just imagine how Premier Fitness members are being treated.

  188. NV

    Jan 28 2011

    I would like to complain about my recent experience with Goodlife Fitness.

    I have been paying $60 a month for a single gym membership when I should be payiong $30. Long story short when I tried to get this issue resolved. I got the run around from the people at Goodlife Fitness head office. The agent that I sooke to James decided to cancel my gym membership and hang up on me after I tried to complain and asked to speak to a supervisor and manager.

    He advised me along with other agents that they do not have managers or supervisors. This is obviously untrue. After I found the name of the Manager of Member Experience. Mr Brad Lindsay. He avoided my calls and asked an agent to call me back stating that he does not accept phone calls from people he doesn’t know.

    What a great manager- guess he should change his Linked in profile…
    (http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/brad-lindsay/8/8bb/716)

    Customers beware- DO NOT SIGN UP TO GOODLIFE FITNESS. They are a huge corporate conglomerate who does not give a damn…

  189. Vic Bartram

    Feb 4 2011

    I had a bad experience with a fitness club in Newmarket, Ontario, back in the early 90′s, and have had no real reason to re-visit a deal. We ended up puchasing some of our very own fitness equipment, and could work out at our leasure, which worked out better for all of us-especially with are our different schedules.

  190. Kimberly

    Feb 11 2011

    Ugh! The frustration at dealing with Premier Fitness! My story is really no different then anyone else’s, so I won’t elaborate on the horrific details.

    I’m really looking for some resolution stories. Was anyone able to locate contact infomation for someone who can actually help?

    The representative I was dealing with on the phone was no help. He actually kept insisting I listen to him, and what THEY had on their records!

    Help! Please!

  191. Patrick Hu

    Mar 27 2011

    Here is my letter to Premier Fitness Club based on the suggestions from the rep. of Ontario Consumer Protection Agency:

    Premier Fitness Clubs
    5100 Dixie Rd.,
    Mississauga
    L4W 1C9

    Dear Executive Vice President:

    On March 23, 2011, I received a Final Notice dated March 11, 2011 from your company claiming that I owe your company $264. The Notice did not explain why and how I owe that amount of money.

    As far as I can recall, around two and half years ago, I signed one year service agreement with one of your clubs located at 3100 Dixie Rd, Mississauga, and I fully paid the one year service charge on the spot. After one year I never sign or authorize to sign any service agreement with any of your clubs. I have not been to any of your clubs in the past one and half year.

    When I called the number left on the Notice on March 23, 2011, I was told by the lady on the phone named Ashley that the case has been sent to a collection agency and I have to deal with them. She did not explain anything to me.

    I went to your head office located at 5100 Dixie Rd, Mississauga, on March 24, 2011, inquiring about the Notice and I was told that there is nothing to explain to me, I have to deal with the collection agency.

    Here are the problems about your company:

    1. The Final Notice is the only notice I received.
    2. The case was sent to the collection agency before I received the notice.
    3. No one wanted to explain or prove why I owe the money.
    4. Intimidation tactic was used repeatedly in order to force me to pay the money.
    5. Poor customer service with regard to resolving the issue.
    6. Never being informed about the Auto Renew clause in the contract.
    7. Never being reminded of the renewal option after the one year membership expired.

    I sincerely hope that you can stop the phone harassment from the collection agency, apologize for the mistake, withdraw the $264 claim which does not bear merit, and cancel my membership contract if there is one.

    I look forward to your immediate reply. You can contact me at my home telephone number at xxx-xxx-xxx.

    Yours truly

  192. Nic

    Apr 28 2011

    These are terrible stories. My boyfriend also experienced difficulties at Premier.

    He received a notice around mid-April, letting him know that they were sending his case to a collection agency for not paying for over 1 year. He received no notice (of course Premier says they did send one).

    He kept leaving messages at head office, with long delays between responses. The best they say they can do is to reduce the charge by a certain percentage.

    They told him this information 3 days before the matter was to be sent to a collection agency.

    I am disgusted that a company would treat its customers in this fashion.

  193. W.L.

    May 2 2011

    I have recently become a statistic to premier fitnesses schemes. I had a membership with them from june 20th 2009 – july 2010, i had referred a member in which case i was suppose to recieve an additional 1 month free.

    However, when i went to use the premier fitness facility within carlingwood shopping center 2 weeks before my supposed expiry date, i was notified by the front desk that my membership had expired and i had an outstanding balance of $18. This was a surprise to me because when i got my membership, i purchased it as a fathers day special and paid my year fee in one lump sum.

    Being the easy going type of person that i am, i paid off my fees and used up the rest of the month before finding another training facility.

    on july 2, 2011 i recieved a call from a representative at premier fitness asking me if i enjoyed my time using their facility and if i would consider renewing my membership. I told them that their facility was ok and could use some improvement and i was not interested in renewing my membership and would like to cancel it. The representative was fine with this and that was that. So i thought.

    It is now May 3rd, 2011 and i received a letter in the mail from premier stating that i owe them $371.69 by May 4, 2011 for an “Account closed status”. I am going in to speak to them about this in person later on today. Hopefully i can get this straightened out, but from everything i have read, i do not feel that this will be a one shot deal.

    I am VERY surprised to read that so many people have had this happen to them and not only that, this is illegal and why has no one brought them to court and sue them for millions?

  194. cynthia

    May 23 2011

    I can’t believe this is still going on. Gyms ripping off their customers has been ongoing for many years – this is nothing new. How do they get away with this? Why are these crooks allowed to stay in business? Where is the protection for consumers????

    I enjoy working out at a gym, but I am soooo tired of this. I was with Premier Fitness and was disgusted with their dirty gyms and ripoff tactics to keep getting $$$ out of customers that cancelled legitimately.

    I took my membership contract, wrote a cancellation letter and took my gym card in to make sure my contract was cancelled.

    I got the manager (who conveniently disappeared every time I called ahead to meet with her – ARGH!) by dropping in unannounced and saying I wanted to sign up for a new membership.

    I then gave her my cancellation information and made her photocopy the signed document indicating the cancellation with her signature. I had no additional billings after that to my credit card and it’s been 5 years now.

    After that bad experience, I reluctantly joined Fitness One for a really good rate and was with them for 4 years before the gym started to go downhill.

    The gym constantly went through managers, HUGE SIGN of a gym ready to go under, the cleaning staff was let go and the gym became filthy. Showed up for a workout one day and the gym was shut and all the equipment was gone!

    My credit card was still being charged, of course. Tried the head office. No response, so I called every Fitness One that was still open until I found one person who told me my membership and the Fitness One database had been sold to Premier Fitness!!!!!! I almost died.

    Got in my car with contract in hand, gym card, cancellation letter and demanded to see the manager. She was actually walking by when I arrived and talking to a staff member who introduced her to a potential client.

    I made sure she saw me looking at her and pointing to her and said to the receptionist “that’s the manager?” The receptionist agreed and I told her I needed to speak to her.

    Once I met with the manager, I demanded the cancellation with her signature and photocopy. No billing since and it’s been a year now.

    One other important fact for everyone: Don’t give your credit card to any gym. Pay the entire one year membership cost and make sure it says for 1 year only on the agreement.

    Very important: Call the credit card company and report your card stolen. No more automatic billing. It’s a hassle but it works.

    If you try to be honest and stop the charges by reporting the club, the credit card company will not help you – they back the CROOKS!! Sad but true, time to turn the tables and play hardball too!

    If a gym won’t take my cash for a one-year membership, I move on!!!

    Hope this helps someone.

  195. dsinicropi

    Jun 23 2011

    I also signed a contract with that company. My contract said 12 months, but kept
    charging me. I even asked them to tell me the exact date it expired, and never went back. I got threatened so I had to give them more money.

  196. maksys

    Jun 24 2011

    One more story about PremierFitness….I signed off contract in February 2011 only for Islington location. One day at the end of May, I came to work out and OPS! Gym closed.

    There was letter on the door about gym relocation with promises to open new location at Kipling&Queensway on 15 June. However today is June 24 and new location still does not work.

    They provided access to any other available location with no additional charge. I picked up the contract, which printed such a small font, and started to read it somehow.

    In the item 4, Schedule A, it is written that: “Should the member choose not to accept the relocation, then the Member will have no further obligation for monthly membership dues, effective the date of relocation.”

    After reading it, I came to their office at Dixie 3100 and spoke with Manager Purvi Patel, asking her to cancel my membership according to contract item 3, because new location is far from me and now is 5.5 km. That is not acceptable because I don’t have car to drive so far.

    She submitted request form to cancel membership and told me to call in 2 days (it was Friday 17). I was calling each day since Monday and reached her only on Thursday 23.

    She told me again to call on Friday. On Friday, she again told to call on next Monday….Funny?

    This is not all. Having looked at my banking statement for June, I noticed they started to charge me not bi-weekly but each 6 days, and did it after I submitted request and though I have last month’s money paid.

    Asking this Purvi to explain why they started to charge me each 6 days, she answered that this is for July.

    I did not get anything in regards with this and she told again to call on Monday. So, as far as I got from reading all this stories, I am in trouble now…and have no clue how to finish this story.

  197. Carolyn

    Jul 8 2011

    I joined Goodlife Fitness and cancelled a year and a half after the end of my contract. I had a good time at the gym, but found I was using it less and less. I had no problem cancelling my credit card payments. Staff were friendly. I would try them again in the future if I wanted to join a gym again (use a home gym now).

    I think it’s horrible to make people go through so much pain and stress with a gym contract, and I cannot believe so many people have had the same issues – corporate policy? Bad management?

  198. bobsuruncle

    Jul 16 2011

    These fitness clubs have been operating in a shady manner for as long as I can remember.

    I used to deal with Premier about 15 years ago. Once I cancelled my membership, they were still dipping into my cc.

    When I told them about it and after months of calling, the charges were still not reversed, and it took many calls before a resolution took place.

    STAY AWAY from PREMIER or any of their affiliate clubs (ie. Madamoissele (sic)spa.

  199. Cathy

    Aug 31 2011

    I worked at the Appleby Line location of Premier Fitness in Burlington, Ont., for 3 weeks last year as the nutritionist.

    I wanted to quit after 2 days, but stuck it out for a whole week before giving my notice. I did not like what I witnessed in regards to the high pressure sales environment.

    More importantly, most of the people I saw for appointments who were on their Dr. Weight Loss diet plan were complaining the diet didn’t work.

    They had people on obscene amounts of protein and all my questions regarding the plan were ignored and I was instead coached on how to sell more nutrition plans.

    I was given many different reasons why my pay was late and I had to threaten them with legal action before receiving my 3 weeks pay – months later.

    A bad experience all round.

  200. Cathy

    Aug 31 2011

    Oops, meant to say at Premier Fitness in my earlier post!

  201. Anetta

    Sep 1 2011

    I have been with Premier Fitness for over 12 years; and I must say my experiences has beeen very positive.

    Premier cares about its members and they are always looking for ways to serve its members better. Why don’t you give Premier Fitness a chance.

    I believe Premier Fitness is the only neigbourhood ‘grassroot’ facility. Thank you Premier! most of us do love you.

  202. John

    Sep 18 2011

    Why does anyone bother honouring these contracts?

    When I wanted to get out of my contract with the Canadian GoodLife Fitness, I just opened a new checking account and closed the old one. Try getting the money now lol. Or if it’s on CC, just claim it was lost and get a new one.

    They never even bothered to send me to collections, and if they did, just dispute the amount owed. They’re not going to bother taking you to court for such an amount.

  203. Lorne Marr

    Sep 19 2011

    Anyone who is victim to this kind of ill treatment should definitely threaten them with legal action.

    I’m in Ontario, and the Consumer Protection Act here is quite respected as I found several times.

    On the other hand, I have been using Premier’s services for quite some time now without any troubles. I’ll definitely be careful if I’ll be switching to another spot. Thanks for the heads up.

  204. BonnieV

    Oct 4 2011

    I echo the sentiment of most on here.

    I am trying to get out of a personal training contract because I will be leaving the country to pursue schooling and they are suggesting that I pay $4,000 to get out of the contract.

    I find that penalty to be a bit ridiculous, seeing that I have not used the the personal training at all and cannot afford to pay that kind of money.

  205. RobM

    Oct 29 2011

    This is the 1st time I’ve ever commented on one of these website. GoodLife Fitness has great gyms—but unethical business practices.

    They continually phone the house at all hours looking for membership—and then once we did sign up and pay in full by credit card, they somehow were making automatic withdrawals, though never authorized to do so.

    I have Royal Bank looking into this illegal activity, but might have to close the account out, as others have apparently done .

  206. gw

    Nov 20 2011

    LA fitness was rude and totally ripped me off. They actually conspired with another private person to rip me off.

  207. Sam

    Nov 23 2011

    Pavillion Fitness in Thornhill, Ontario (130 Racco Parkway) is the worst club with the most idiots, rude employees and manager. They will mess up your payments and you’ll never get your money back. Very unprofessional.

  208. susan b

    Jan 1 2012

    Anyone know about the signs being taken down at Premier Fitness locations all over – at least Hamilton and Burlington as of Jan. 1, 2012?

    The sign was gone last night.

  209. stella

    Jan 4 2012

    It’s funny…i just wanted to join a gym this year. Never been. Ever.

    I wanted to go because I felt like my solo effort wasn’t working. I’ve been trying insistently to lose weight for years, but now it’s just turned into living longer and having the energy to literally jump out of bed in the mornings.

    I casually started searching on google for gyms, first in my area and then Premier Fitness locations. Somehow, I ended up here:)(thank god!)

    I could not believe all the comments. Talk about discouraging! seriously! but it will be a little easier now, as I know what to expect and I can go prepared.

    I am really hoping, however, that the small gym close to my work is a good one. I’d only have to walk 15 minutes!! Wish me luck!!

  210. Fabien

    Jan 4 2012

    I’ve been going to Premier for a few years now. I pay yearly and only in cash.

    Premier has been taken over by Physiomed Fitness. They are rehab focused, best way to put it I guess. Their full body assessment is a couple of sessions and they are very expensive.

    I heard that their new memberships would cost a couple grand, but all memberships involve personal trainers and all the bells and whistles. If you just want to use the weights it’s $24.50 bi-weekly.

    They’re honouring current memberships until time for renewal. That means in August, I’ll be looking for a new place to work out.

    I hear pretty good things about LA fitness. I shudder to think of what will become of all those complaints to the BBB and consumer relations and unresolved charges.

  211. Tammy

    Jan 5 2012

    I am so glad to hear that Premier has been bought out. I hope it changes that gym for the better.

    I joined for a year, years ago. The gym ended up being under construction – with most of the equipment unplugged and shoved up against a wall – for the better part of my year there.

    The classes were fine, though several instructors required participants to pay extra (to them directly, in cash).

    Like many others here, I had problems getting them to stop charging my credit card after my year was up, despite sending a registered letter a month in advance informing them I was cancelling my membership.

    I eventually launched a complaint through my credit card company and Premier agreed to refund the money. (I’m still not sure I got all of it back, but I was pretty young and just glad to take what I could get and go.)

    I was a Goodlife member for years. I actually liked the gym, although I realize it’s a huge corporation with the same hard-sell tactics as many.

    My chief complaint was that they raised their rates on me several times without warning, and steeply. (Never give a gym access to your chequing account. Big, big mistake.)

    However, at least Goodlife didn’t call me six times a week and send me piles of junk mail asking me to sign up for personal training, which Premier did. Good riddance to that gym.

  212. Peter

    Jan 6 2012

    Premier Fitness is gone. It has been bought out by PhysioMed and re-branded as PhysioMed Fitness.

    I have been a patient of Dr. Scott Wilson since 1996 when he had just one clinic at Premier Fitness’ old location on Davenport Road. Dr. Wilson is a very good person with your health as his primary concern.

    Over the years, he and I have become good friends and I know for a fact that he works extremely hard to ensure that all of his patients get first class care.

    He is currently working very hard to shed the incredibly horrible reputation the Premeir had and give his new business venture a reputation that everyone involved can be proud of.

  213. hs

    Jan 13 2012

    I had a gotten a membership for a year with Premier Fitness. I had heard so many horror stories about extra payments so i decided to pay for the whole year with cash.

    Every time I went in to work out, I either got someone trying to get me to upgrade or saying “we don’t have your banking information on file and need it to complete your membership”.

    I very firmly told them i have paid it cash for a full year and they will not be getting any credit card numbers or account numbers.

    After 8 months of dealing with the constant attempts to trying to get me to buy extra personal fitness trainer packages, and being told you will lose weight and not look fat, I finally stopped going.

    When they called to try to get me to renew, I had the pleasure of saying there is no way i will be renewing. I have joined a gym in a hotel and the customer service there is wonderful. You go in, do your thing and leave.

    It’s a smaller gym but it’s open 24 hrs, plus it has a pool, sauna, etc.

    I recommend people look into smaller gyms. I have never regretted changing over. Plus they are very clean and have towel service.

  214. Sheila Gregory

    Mar 5 2012

    Here’s the latest problem with Premier Fitness, which was operated by Physiomed for such a short time.

    Apparently, a deal to sell Premier to Physiomed was not completed and ownership/operation has been put back in Premier’s hands.

    The facility in Newmarket at the 404 plaza has had its doors locked since Feb. 26, with memos posted on the front door providing members with contact information for a Premier employee.

    I called last week & left voicemail but have not received an answer. Really, I just want to continue paying my fees and go to the gym. I really have no beef with them except that I am currently locked out!

    Any information on this situation you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  215. Ellen Roseman

    Mar 9 2012

    Here’s a Star story about Premier Fitness and the acquisition that didn’t happen:

    Publication: Toronto Star
    Day: Tuesday
    Date: 3/6/2012

    Sale of ailing fitness franchise falls apart

    Premier on the market as rebranding unravels

    By Morgan Campbell, Toronto Star

    A deal intended to rebrand beleaguered Premier Fitness Clubs has dissolved, leaving the potential buyer bitter and forcing debt-saddled Premier to sell its locations.

    Premier chief financial officer Neil Proctor confirmed on Monday afternoon that the embattled fitness club franchise has been selling off its 30 franchises over the past two weeks.

    He says 18 spots have been sold so far, while the three or four least profitable gyms will probably be shut down for good.

    Proctor expects to sell the remaining locations in a week. The proceeds will go to pay off a list of creditors that includes landlords, leasing companies and the Canada Revenue Agency. Whether those creditors will get all that they’re owed still isn’t clear.

    “The original chain that existed last year doesn’t exist anymore,” Proctor said, adding that anyone who had prepaid for a membership will be reimbursed.

    “The locations are worth what they’re worth. If a potential purchaser isn’t around or an owner-operator isn’t around, unfortunately we’ll have to close it.”

    In December, wellness firm Physiomed agreed to buy Premier’s assets. In January, it began rebranding gyms as Physiomed Fitness.

    The CEO of Physiomed hoped a renewed emphasis on customer service would win back customers turned off by Premier’s tarnished reputation.

    In 2004, Hamilton Police investigated Premier following numerous allegations that the company had continued to deduct money from bank accounts of people who had cancelled their memberships.

    Three years later, the federal Competition Bureau fined Premier $200,000 for a series of misleading advertisements.

    But even as the rebranding moved forward, problems from Premier’s past kept popping up.

    In January, Premier and Proctor pleaded guilty to violating the Employee Standards Act and were fined $130,000 by a judge in Brampton.

    The charges arose from complaints by 38 current and former Premier employees that the company failed to pay them wages totalling $76,000.

    What happened next depends on who you ask.

    Proctor says Physiomed backed out of the sale when revenue in early January – one of the most lucrative times of year for fitness clubs – didn’t reach expectations, and turned to BDO Canada Ltd. as a receiver.

    But Physiomed CEO Scott Wilson says his company became alarmed when it realized the size of Premier’s debts and even more concerned that it owed back taxes.

    He says he decided that putting Premier into receivership was the best way to satisfy creditors while Physiomed worked to finalize the sale.

    Either way BDO, which signed on as receiver on Feb. 10, backed out of the deal a week later, short-circuiting the Physiomed deal and throwing control of Premier’s assets back to Premier.

    Now Wilson wonders if his company will ever get a return on the time and money invested in trying to take over Premier.

    “We’re the biggest victims in this, ” Wilson says. “We’ve spent millions of dollars trying to upgrade clubs and carry bridge costs with the anticipation that we were going to own this asset … The two months that we ran (Premier) basically becomes nothing.”

  216. Bob Wilson

    Mar 12 2012

    A valiant effort, Physiomed, but sadly, anything that Neil Proctor and John Cardillo touched is worthless. Those two couldn’t run a lemonade stand, much less a huge chain of fitness clubs with thousands of members.

    It’s probably for the best anyway. The lingering effects of being associated with Premier Fitness might haunt you forever.

    Better to start from scratch than to pick up the pieces from those two idiots.

  217. Michelle

    Mar 13 2012

    I had this same problem when i left Premier Fitness, they just kept taking the money. I ended up closing my bank account.
    Thanks M

  218. Lynda

    Mar 18 2012

    The phone number for the Head Office of Premier Fitness is no longer in service. I’m trying to cancel my membership. I really don’t want to cancel my Bank account and set up a new one (too many automatic deposits and withdrawls for work/insurance/Gov’t) Two of our location in St. Catharines have closed. The remaining location is no where near me and is way too small. I’ve had it with this company.

    Ellen….what can we do to cancel our memberships? I can’t be the only one in this situation.

  219. Someone

    Mar 18 2012

    Amazing how one scam business tried to take over another. Premier sells out to Physiomed who is so excited to take over and then backs out. I hope everyone knows that Physiomed is right up there as scammers.

    First off, a Physiomed clinic my friend went to for a MVA injury was pulling scams with insurance companies for money. They were working with a Peel cop. They got shut down.

    Physiomed was also BANNED by Air Canada for over billing their employees on orthotics. That’s just the start.

    They also increased the fees when they took over Premier.. seriously?

  220. GOLD

    Mar 19 2012

    I couldn’t be happier than to see Premier Fitness FINALLy close their filthy facilities and leave the industry.

    John Cardillo has beeen a SCAMMER for many years.

  221. jane

    May 7 2012

    Hello. As you are probably aware, Premier Fitness closed. In Milton, Ont., they closed our club and didn’t open under a new name.

    I went the night before they closed and was told that since my payment was bimonthly, they would stop charging my credit card.

    Well, Premier did stop, but Fitness Management continued. We told our story to AmEx and they stopped payments to Fitness Management.

    Yesterday, I got an email from National Credit Recovery Inc., which said I was still in a contract with Premier Fitness and I would still have to honor the contract until I could close it.

    Since there are no more Premier Fitness clubs, I called several that were bought out privately. They told me since they were not Premier, they could not cancel their contracts.

    I have not been able to get hold of Premier Fitness or Fitness Management.

  222. hernanday

    Nov 21 2012

    If a gym sent me a membership fee after I cancelled, I’d send a bill right back for wasting my time fee.

    Why do some people feel because they incorporate a company, they have a license to steal?

  223. susie

    Dec 4 2012

    Today was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had.

    It all started when two of my friends told me that they saw a posting saying they were hiring at Extreme Fitness. I applied onlibne and received this email on Nov. 18, 2012:

    “Thank you for applying at Extreme Fitness. Your application has been forwarded on to the appropriate hiring manager for review. You will only be contacted if they need further information or to schedule an interview.

    “As a token of our appreciation for considering Extreme Fitness for employment, you can redeem this email for a 14-day trial membership. For details, print this email and take it to your local club.”

    Sincerely,
    Extreme Fitness

    I went with the coupon printed on Nov. 19. I dropped off my resume at the front desk to Samantha, a representative, and asked if I could use the coupon.

    After almost one hour speaking to Samantha about my diet and lifestyle, I said I was in a rush. She told me I had to book an appointment with her to try the facilities.

    I went in on Nov. 21. After she showed me the gym, she told me that the only way to get a free trial was to sign up for a membership.

    I underlined that I didn´t want to sign up any contract if I couldn’t cancel it afterward.

    She called an assistant manager, Jeff, who assured me I could cancel the membership before the credit card charge went through. He agreed to postdate my credit card for two weeks from that day (Dec. 5).

    I explained that I worked at a well recognized supermarket, so he gave me a discount, saying it was the best possible deal he could offer me. But he confirmed they wouldn’t charge me anything until Dec. 5.

    I signed a contract (unfortunately I did not read it in detail and I take responsibility for that).

    After a week (Nov. 28), I went to meet Jeff and said I wanted to cancel my membership. He asked me about the reasons.

    Then, he told me that they may have two months for free for me, but he had to ask next time because he had a meeting.

    Could I use the gym until Dec. 5, I asked, and still be able to cancel then? His answer was “of coursee, not a problem!”

    I went on Dec. 3 to cancel. Jeff was not there, since he was on vacation. I met with a general manager, Al, who told me that it was too late to cancel!! I couldn’t believe it.

    He told me that I had to pay the first monthly payment of $59 plus tax!!!!

    He was arrogant with me, saying that Jeff never said a 15-day trial. In the contract, it’s clear that you have 10 days for cancellation.

    He said I must to pay the first payment right away and I need to bring the earlier payment form in order to switch my Visa credit card I gave the first time they asked me to complete my “trial.”

    Ellen, the thing is how bad I felt today, trying to deal with the general manager. I think he wasn’t polite at all and was always putting me down.

    I couldn’t express my feelings in the best way as English is my second language. Now I don’t know how to deal with that, but I must to talk to Jeff next Monday after his vacation.

    I appreciate your time and consideration!

  224. Paula Dow, Extreme Fitness

    Dec 4 2012

    Hi Susie, your membership was incomplete when sent to Head Office, so it was never set up.

    The billing information provided could not be used for pre-authorized payments.

    Please accept our apologies for the inaccurate information the club provided you.

    We can confirm you do not have a valid membership with Extreme Fitness.

    If you require further assistance, please let us know.

    Yours truly,

    Paula Dow

    Manager of Member and Club Services

    Extreme Fitness Inc.

  225. Nadine

    Feb 28 2013

    Hello, I currently have a gym membership with National Fitness (previously Premier Fitness) at Carlingwood Mall in Ottawa. I paid the full membership fee for the year in Dec. 2012 and am still being charged biweekly payments!

    This has been an ongoing issue since I brought it to their attention at the beginning of the month.

    I even wrote a letter that the Carlingwood manager said he would send to the head office, since there was nothing they could do on site about it!

    I called today, a week after I gave the letter, and they said they were waiting to hear from the head office. If I am charged yet again tomorrow and have to pay for stop payment of my account, I will be livid!

    I cannot believe the poor customer service I have received and the incompetence of the staff at this location.

    I understood the manager is new and the owners are new to the location, but surely somebody should know what they are doing? Or is this just a scheme to steal my money?

    If anyone else is having issues with this gym, please share.

    Frustrated,
    Nadine

  226. Linda

    Jun 7 2013

    Premier Fitness at Carlingwood Mall in Ottawa closed their doors without notice to us. My daughter lost $450 that she paid in cash.

    Does anyone have any contact information so we can try getting her money back? Of course we tried head office: “The number you have dialed has been disconnected.” Any comments would be helpful.

  227. Kevin

    Jun 20 2013

    Hi Linda,
    I’m in the same boat.. had paid full about 2-3 weeks before closure. I emailed Tim( t.chapman@national-fitness.ca ) from one of the Stoney Creek locations.. wrote him a long letter explaining my situation. Was told 4-6 weeks to process refund. its been that long now and have emailed another account as well ottawanational@gmail.com awaiting a reply…

    I have heard the company has declared bankruptcy. Surprise surprise! I’m sure all there fitness equipment is held under another corporation and they are “renting it” just like many other small private gym have done (Florida Fitness) .. If you look them up on BBB website they have several recent unresolved complaints due to “cannot find company to resolve issue”
    They are quite wise to not have a social media page such as Facebook as it would be pretty ugly.

    Good luck !

  228. Tim

    Jul 31 2013

    Kevin please contact me directly @ tim@cardiomed.ca I will ensure a refund is issued immediately.
    Thank you for your patience….
    Tim

  229. Jeremy

    Oct 9 2013

    I am in the same position. I have been trying to get reimbursed for the money National Fitness, Carlingwood Mall, owes me. Dealing with them is a nightmare.

    I have been attempting to deal with Tim Chapman and am getting the runaround… It has been almost 3 months since I first contacted them and STILL nothing.

    Has anyone had any luck with these people?

  230. Jrovi

    Jan 30 2014

    I find it quite amusing to see how many people post here complaining about their contract being renewed. Then they admit they did not know it would be renewed because they did not READ THE CONTRACT.

    You people who sign a contract that you have not read are negligent and stupid. This is the consequence of your actions (your being charged large amounts of money for a renewed contract that you signed and agreed could be renewed by signing it).

    It is your own fault and the only one you should be blaming is YOURSELVES FOR NOT READING A CONTRACT THAT YOU WILLFULLY SIGNED.

  231. Jrovi

    Jan 30 2014

    People these days don’t take responsibility for their actions. They sign a contract and then blame the company for their own negligence. They do not bother reading the contract.

    Grow up. You are adult men and women. Start taking responsibility for your own actions.

    Next time, read the CONTRACT! Do not sign it unless you know you can honour the TERMS of the CONTRACT. Period.

  232. SH

    Apr 8 2014

    I had an unauthorized payment of $1830.60 charged by Erin Mills Fitness to me last Dec. 13 for services that were not provided.

    I was scheduled for a fitness evaluation, where I was required to fill out and sign several service agreements for the evaluation (complimentary by Groupon).

    A no point was a service of $1830.60 discussed. And at no point had I given an authorization for this payment to be charged.

    The person conducting the evaluation urged me to try out a personal trainer because of my health issues.

    Before scheduling my first free personal training session, I was told I had to provide a credit card number for security and insurance reasons before I was able to use the equipment.

    However, I didn’t provide him with a credit card number. I was not carrying one and I needed to discuss this with my husband.

    The entire evening I received calls from him, which I was unable to return.

    The next morning, I was contacted again, and after seven calls in 20 minutes on Dec. 13, I was reassured that it was only for security/insurance reasons that he needed a credit card number. My mother gave hers.

    On the service agreement, I filled out my information as asked. I was asked to sign it while the middle was still empty and no payments or any authorization for payments was given. I was not given a copy of the agreement.

    In addition to this, the personal trainer did not show up for the first free session scheduled by him. To this date, I have not been provided with even a single session of personal training, yet I have been charged fully.

    He had filled out the form over the phone and assigned a payment date for the day after I had signed the agreement, without my knowing or authorizing it.

    Now they refuse to refund the charges. I have taken it up with MasterCard, which is collecting interest on this.

    The BBB can’t really do anything. I just need advice as to what I should be doing to get this sorted.

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