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Former Gold's Gym Members Upset About Sudden Switch to Work Out World

Massachusetts Department of Consumer Affairs Spokesman said gym's alleged behavior was "shady business."

When Roslindale Whitney Randall took a job in Medford last September, she was pleased to learn that she would be able to consolidate her life by using the Medford Gold’s Gym, as stipulated by her contract with the West Roxbury Gold’s, where she had been a member for three years.

So, when shortly after the New Year, she went for her workout in Medford, she was shocked to hear that her membership was invalid.

Randall learned that the West Roxbury Gold’s Gym had, two weeks prior, become a new facility, called Work Out World, an upstart fitness facility franchise with 20 locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. By virtue of the switch, Randall was unable to use other Gold’s Gyms.

This bothered her - but what bothered her even more was that this was the first she had heard about the switch.

“I was primarily upset that I had been given no notice that a large change was taking place,” she said. “It just seemed like a really poor business practice.”

Details of the switch – and its timeline – from Gold’s to Work Out World are unclear. Work Out World manager and co-owner George Moses did not respond to more than a dozen calls requesting an interview. Work Out World employees were also informed of why a Patch reporter was calling, and the focus of the article. 

It is also unclear as to how the contract signed by members with Gold’s Gym transitioned to Work Out World. According to Randall, upon going to cancel her contract, she was told she had been charged for January and would be charged for February, because she had not given 30 days notice to the gym’s billing company, ABC Financial. She was charged despite the fact, she said, that they said if she wanted to continue using the Work Out World facilities, she needed to sign a new contract.

“That’s where I felt really confused,” she said of the contractual situation.

Randall said that Gold’s told her that her original contract said “something to the effect that if the gym closes, but there is still a facility on the property, then the contract is valid.”

“There’s a weird loophole that I think is somehow built in,” she said.

Massachusetts Department of Consumer Affairs Spokesman Jason Lefferts said that there would be reason for the contract to be terminated, if the transition “caused any substantial changes.” Lefferts said such changes may include changes in pricing, in operating hours, in the gym’s equipment, or a change in services.

The term “substantial changes,” Lefferts added, is somewhat vague. However, Randall – and other former Gold’s members – may have cause for reimbursement because the transition does not allow them to use other Gold’s facilities. He recommended that if a member felt their services had seen substantial changes, they attempt to find reimbursement through the gym, and if the gym refused, to contact the Attorney General’s office.

Even if the contract was still valid, Lefferts said, not alerting members to the change reflected poorly on the gym.

“It’s certainly shady business, at any rate,” he said.

Randall was not alone in her lack of awareness of the change. One male member from Jamaica Plain, who still uses the gym (and therefore did not wish to be identified) said he was “very surprised” to see the gym had changed its name when he returned to working out after the holidays.

 

Pat February 21, 2011 at 03:00 PM
I am also a member there and am very upset. We were given to notification of the change and it should be up to me if I want to be a member. Also a $25 fee was taken out of my account for "Golds Gym yearly dues" in January. That was put in by George and his brother a year ago or so to pad their pockets. That was a scam. Also when I called ABC they told me I could not cancell my membership.
Andrea S. February 21, 2011 at 04:07 PM
I switched to WOW was told that the fee was $11.oo per month, the next month was billed $105.00, I called the gym, was told to call ABC financial, was told that I had signed 2 contracts when I had only signed 1 for the West Roxbury gym, also that I had agreed to the 49.99 per year fee that I did not agree to. I did get all my money back after going into the gym, yelling at them and leaving my membership card on the desk. I agree they are very deceptive and it then took until the end of January for me to get my money back, the worst place ever.
Bill February 22, 2011 at 08:13 PM
What a scam George and James Moses run. Like Pat said, they lined their pockets with the $25 enhancement fee and did nothing for the gym. Work Out Worlid isn't much better, along with the ABC Financial company that they use for billing. All they can tell you is to refer to your contract, what contract, never received one.
John Lester March 13, 2011 at 01:19 AM
The two clowns that run this place are complete douche bags. No notification of the switch over and no notification when signing a new contract with WOW that the old contract with Gold's was still valid. A simple "hey, you need to cancel your Gold's account" would have been a basic act of customer service. But what do you expect, the two guys that run this place are complete douche bags.
Isolina Modesto July 20, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I agree 101% with you J. Lester
Ken Kansky December 17, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Needham Gold's was switched to Work Out World and then recently closed it's doors with no notice given to their membership and a phone number on the door for ABC financial. I was told my membership would be accepted at Work out World of West Roxbury and started my commute there and then their 24 hours status changed to regular hours even more recently due to some non discript Boston Law? Was I notified about this change no. No calls no email, Very shady business practice....I'm about ready to invest in home gym equipment. I am not sure of what my next move is until late December when the New Year's resolution deals comes out. They should start paying me for not honoring the contract that I did sign as physical location changed as well as operating hours on mutliple occassions.

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