4 On Your Side investigates Planet Fitness

Posted at: 02/25/2013 10:50 PM
Updated at: 02/25/2013 10:51 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Like most moms, shortly after Jessica Lockhart had a baby, she wanted to lose weight. Drawn to the inexpensive membership, she joined Planet Fitness.

But, three months later Jessica got ill and had to cancel her membership. She called Planet Fitness and worked out her cancellation over the phone.

That was a year ago. Imagine Jessica’s surprise when Planet Fitness auto-drafted her bank account this month for $146.

4 On Your Side looked into the Albuquerque area’s Planet Fitness franchises and discover they have a D-minus rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It turns out, nearly 60 people have complained – many of them with the same billing issue.

"In the advertising they say 10 dollars a month, no contract and you see a hidden contract in there.  There are some service fees and annual fees that are attributed to the ten dollars a month," Brian Baca, president of the Better Business Bureau explained to KOB.

4OYS wanted an explanation from Planet Fitness and spoke to franchise owner Rick Glassman.

Glassman pointed out the fine language in the membership contract. It says in order to cancel a monthly membership, the member must provide written notification. Jessica Lockhart thought she had handled the cancelation over the phone.

"She's 31 years old, about to be 31 years old.  You would think she would pay attention. I feel like my experience in the past with complaining customers and this particular issue is they're trying to beat the system," Glassman said.

It’s true that Jessica did sign the contract that contained those tiny words. But she insists she honestly thought she could cancel over the phone, and so did all those people who complained to the Better Business Bureau.

Planet Fitness did offer to refund a portion of Jessica Lockhart’s bill 4OYS also looked into the Planet Fitness franchises in Las Cruces. The Better Business Bureau graded them with a F.