When you’re trying to streamline your life and jettison subscriptions you no longer need, it can feel like some companies put up roadblocks to make it harder than needed. If you’ve ever tried to cancel a membership at gym chain Planet Fitness, you know that the company makes you come by in person to do the deed.
TikTok creator Jesse McKenzie (@mrgreenhair860) says he used to be a general manager at a Planet Fitness location, and he’s tried to help viewers avoid the hassle of canceling through a recent viral video.
The video has almost 408,000 views and more than 10,000 likes as of Monday.
@mrgreenhair860 #stitch with @Taco reacts Also don’t take a job at PF it’s a terrible company to work for. #planetfittness #companysecrets #fyp ♬ original sound – Jesse McKenzie
The video was made in response to creator @tacoreacts’ TikTok asking people to share company secrets that no one should know. “
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while,” McKenzie says in his video.
When McKenzie worked at Planet Fitness, he says, they would often get calls from members who were upset that their subscriptions automatically renewed. Those people often wanted to cancel over the phone, “and you get told over the phone that you can’t cancel over the phone and you need to come down to your gym in person,” he says.
While that’s pretty much true, McKenzie says, there are ways to avoid an unnecessary trip.
If you’ve moved far away and physically can’t make it into your old gym, McKenzie says you can tell Planet Fitness and they should send you an email address to which you send verification of your new address.
McKenzie’s other “trick,” though, might be hit or miss, depending on your gym.
The first two times a customer asks to cancel over the phone? McKenzie says Planet Fitness employees will say “No dice.”
“What my personal district manager told us to do was wait for them to ask a third time. That’s it,” he says.
If you ask a third time to cancel without coming in, Planet Fitness may send you an email address you can contact to complete the cancellation. That email, McKenzie says, would have gone straight to him when he was a general manager.
He says, “If they send you an email, if they send it to you in writing, you have to f*cking cancel it. You can’t keep it going.”
McKenzie clarifies that the procedure applied specifically to the district in which he worked. “I can’t speak for Planet Fitnesses all around the world,” he says.
The creator adds, “And this is the most important part: Do it before the 10th of every month.” Even though you get billed later in the month, bills start processing on the 10th, he says.
One commenter wrote, “Gyms refusing to cancel any other way but in person is a big scam we r refusing to acknowledge.” McKenzie replied, “Agreed! It shouldn’t be legal.”
Another commenter wrote, “Like I can sign up online but can’t cancel online. I already feel shame for cancelling, let’s make it worse by having to go in person.” McKenzie replied, “They don’t give you key tags either. You have to use your app to check in. Why is everything available in the app except a cancellation button?”
“I kept a PF membership for 2 years without using it because I didn’t want to go in and cancel,” one viewer commented.
“They made to where you can mail a letter and cancel now. I just canceled my membership by canceling my debit card. I ain’t going in person,” a comment read.
A commenter wrote that it seems like Planet Fitness is trying to make the cancellation process more difficult. “They are definitely trying to make it harder. We had multiple meetings about it,” McKenzie confirmed.
“I work for a bank … I get this call at least once a day about unauthorized planet fitness charges,” a comment read.
In an interview with the Daily Dot via TikTok message, McKenzie said he’s seen the frustration caused by Planet Fitness’ billing system firsthand.
“Most of what I said in the video is actually explained when you sign up. The only thing people probably didn’t know is if you ask multiple times they’ll give you the email address,” he said. He clarified again that he can’t guarantee it’ll work the same at every location.
“As far as the reaction, I thought it might get more views than my other videos, because of the subject, but I didn’t expect it to take off,” McKenzie said. “I’ve seen some horror stories in the comments.”
Some commenters suggested that customers cancel the credit cards tied to their membership in order to stop the billing. But McKenzie warned, “The problem with that is they require your checking account when you sign up. They might let you slide at sign up, but they’ll eventually insist you bring it in. … So if you cancel the card and they have your banking info they can still charge you.”
According to the FAQ on the Planet Fitness website, “While we hate to see you cancel your membership, our cancellation process may vary club to club, so the best first step is to contact your home location to confirm the cancellation policy. For most locations, you can visit your home club in person to cancel your membership or send written notification via mail to your home club requesting to cancel. Some members may also be eligible to cancel their membership online based on their membership type and location of their home club. If you have additional questions, please contact your home club or our Member Services department.”
The Planet Fitness website also confirms that “the club must receive written notice delivered by the 10th in person or through mail” in order to avoid charges on the 17th of the month.
The Daily Dot reached out to McKenzie via TikTok and Planet Fitness via email.