5 On Your Side

Wake Forest Residents Finally Getting Results From Health Club

Posted January 26, 2006

— The resolution to finally get in shape always comes with the New Year. For many people, that means heading to the gym. But many people who wanted to do that almost a year ago paid for memberships at a new gym that still isn't open.

Five on Your Side first told you about delays at the Wake Forest location of Beyond Fitness in August. Ever since, we've been hearing from members who paid money as early as last February. They've put up with months of delays.

But Five on Your Side found out the Town of Wake Forest revoked the company's permit, so construction has stopped. But there is some good news: some members are now getting refunds.

One of those is Leslie Gates. She enjoys walking for exercise, but wants more.

"The doctor said you need to be doing something on a regular basis, so I started looking around for a gym," said Gates.

Gates didn't have to look far. Beyond Fitness was supposed to open a Wake Forest location right behind her work. In April, she paid $299 for a two-year membership. She says she was told the gym would open by early June.

When it didn't, Gates called the corporate office and says she was told it would open by August. That didn't happen either, so Gates says she continued to call.

"I would leave in my message, 'Just please, somebody call me back,'" said Gates. "'I just am asking for the courtesy of a return call so I know where you stand. When is this facility going to open?' So they knew exactly what I was calling about. And no response."

Finally she called Five on Your Side. When WRAL went to the location, there wereunfinished walls, lots of equipment, and trash -- similar to how it looked in August.

Gates is one of 11 people who complained to Five on Your Side. Twenty-five filed complaints with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Cooper's office is investigating. He said the company agreed to follow the law and refund some members' money.

"Under state law, a company gets six months to open their doors," said Cooper. "If it's beyond six months, then people are entitled to a refund."

Cooper said the company has returned some $20,000. The day after Five on Your Side sent Gates' complaint to the Beyond Fitness corporate office, she finally got a call. Last week, the company sent her a $299 refund.

She said she is happy to be done with the club.

"Beyond Fitness is beyond me now," said Gates.

No one from Beyond Fitness would talk with WRAL about the situation. Any member of the Wake Forest facility who paid at least six months ago can call Beyond Fitness at (919) 816-9853 ext. 110 to get a cancellation form and a refund.

Five on Your Side also tracked down the owner of The Factory -- the shopping center where the gym is supposed to open. He said a deal is in the works to get new owners in the space. He wants to find someone who will honor the memberships.


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