GREEN BAY − Over a dozen former customers of Xperience Fitness have filed complaints with the state related to the sudden closure of the gym.
At least 15 complaints were filed in Wisconsin with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) after Xperience Fitness closed on June 29. On that day, the company communicated via email that it was closing all locations in the state and transferring memberships to one of its competitors, Planet Fitness.
Michael Domke, director of the DATCP, said Xperience Fitness did nothing illegal by transferring memberships to Planet Fitness, and his office helped understand what the company’s responsibilities were.
“We worked closely with Xperience (Fitness), they reached out to us to tell us they were closing,” Domke said.
However, the abrupt closure left many members surprised, and the complaints were filed in regards to their “new,” and unwanted, memberships with Planet Fitness.
Domke said most of the complaints were from those trying to cancel their transferred memberships, mainly because of Planet Fitness policy of not accepting cancellations via phone.
“All the complaints we received, we were able to either get the refunds they requested and assisted with the cancellations,” he said.
However, some members argued that Planet Fitness was reluctant to cancel transferred memberships and return the money already charged on their credit cards.
A man in Appleton filed a complaint after not getting results
Julien Gauthier, who lives in Appleton, said he called to cancel the subscription in July and was told that, due to the company’s policy, he needed to go in person.
“I was travelling, so I couldn’t go in person at the time,” he said.
Gauthier said he disputed the charges made to his credit card after the closure. The money was returned, briefly, but then appeared again on his credit card in August.
“When I called the credit company they told me the Planet Fitness had sent a blank contract to reinstate the charges,” he said. “I told the person on the phone, that’s a blank document, it’s not signed by me.”
Gauthier said he had already blocked the charges on his credit card when he went to cancel in person on Sept. 26 at the 2700 W. College Ave. location. There, he was told there was something wrong with “the system” and was asked to sign a document to register him in their system so he’d be able to cancel his subscription.
“I said, ‘I would never sign anything with you for the rest of my life,'” Gauthier said. “Then I got very confrontational and they said ‘OK, OK we will cancel it once the system is fixed,’ and begged me to leave.”
He said that after that incident he filed a complaint with the DATCP to get back the enrollment fee that was still pending.
“What they are doing is really, really bad,” he said. “Because it took me about 90 minutes of my time, I had to fight Planet Fitness and my credit card company.”
Green Bay family faced similar issues at Planet Fitness
Matthew and Ashley Muza were formers members of Xperience Fitness. They had a plus membership and a Kids Club membership, which allowed them to bring their children to the gym.
“We chose Xperience because of that, the kids had a play area, they could go in the pool with supervision,” Ashley said. “It was very family oriented.”
Matthew said he was shocked when the gym closed, and they didn’t received a notification.
“I found out about it the day after it happened, on a Facebook post,” he said.
The Muzas said they decided to cancel the membership at Planet Fitness because it didn’t have the same amenities, and because it has a policy that children under 13 years old are not allowed on the premises.
“They advertise it right on the door,” Matthew said. “They are not child friendly, and that’s fine.”
But when Matthew went to cancel, he said the company had transferred his and his children’s memberships both as adult accounts.
“I have two little girls, one is 8, and the youngest is 4,” Matthew said.
He, too, was asked to sign a document before he could cancel his membership, and was told he would have to wait 14 days to get his money back.
“If nothing happens in those days then we’ll file a complaint,” he said. A few days later, he did get his refund.
Here’s how to get assistance and file a complaint
Domke encourages customers who are having problems canceling memberships or getting refunds to go to the DATCP website and file a complaint.
For information on protections customers have you can access the fitness fact sheet at the website https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Publications/FitnessCenter129.aspx.
There’s also a consumer complaint which can be filled out and filed at https://mydatcp.wi.gov/Complaints/complaint/create/da42c589-da19-e511-af89-0050568c06ae.