Friday, August 28, 2009

Beware of joining Equillibrium Gym or small gyms

I just got an SMS from the Equilibrium gym asking me to join and get free useless crap. And so I thought its worth mentioning my past experience with them...

I'd caution anyone thinking of joining these small boutique gyms like Equilibrium etc.. They frequently offer 1 month free gym fees - but slug you into a 12 month or 24 month contract which you can't get out of even if you get eaten by Godzilla. Payment is usually deducted from your credit card account directly. Meaning, even if you lost or change your credit card - the deduction will continue irregardless.

The payments are also deducted using a 3rd party broker - meaning, you won't see "GYM X is deducting xxx amount" from your account. In this case of Equillibrium they used a company that was similar to my phone company details - which lead to a lot of confusion.

These small gyms also do not issue out warning letters to its clients who have stopped coming - in fact, once the contract is set in - they really don't care whether you come or not. You could be dead or stuck on a remote island- but so long as the credit card is stocked with cash - the deductions will carry on. They don't care.

Even after the contract has ended, canceling the membership is harder than getting out of the Hotel California. Two years ago when I left for a long overseas trip I sent a letter to the gym to cancel the contract. Apparently, that's an invalid method. According to the fine print in the contract. you have to personally show up at the bloody gym and speak to the manager to "discuss your reasons for quiting".

You can imagine my surprise when I found deductions were still carrying on 1 year later. Why? Because I had to personally see the manager and please explain.

Anyways, its a good point to study the contract carefully and read your credit card statements just as carefully. Its not always good to assume things - esp. over contracts.

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