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AG: Peak Fitness may only accept monthly payments

Posted May 29, 2009

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— Peak Fitness will stop selling prepaid memberships and collecting other advance payments, effective Friday, the state attorney general’s office announced.

The agreement came as a result of a lawsuit filed by the state against the health club chain. In the past five years, the state has received more than 500 complaints regarding Peak-related health clubs, Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

The consent agreement is the second against Peak Fitness this year. In January, the chain agreed to designate a single point of contact to handle consumer complaints, clearly post contact information for Peak’s billing company, give advance notice to gym members and the Attorney General’s office when a health club closes or transfers memberships, and purchase and maintain appropriate bonds for each health club.

Since that time, Peak Fitness has closed gyms in Charlotte, Garner, Knightdale, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. Also, Peak Holdings, a subsidiary of Peak Fitness, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.

In May, the company’s bond holder canceled the bonds required by law for each club to reimburse member payments if the club closes. As a result, the state filed suit, prompting Thursday’s action.

Peak Fitness can continue to operate but can only collect money from customers who pay month to month for their membership. Until the company can get bonds, it is barred from selling prepaid memberships.

"We wanted to make sure that consumers were covered," Cooper said. "Consumers should not be left out in the cold when a health club closes its doors. We want to make sure they get their money back. If there's no bond, they can't get their money back."

Health club members can report problems to the state Consumer Protection Division at www.ncdoj.gov or toll-free at 1-877-5-NOSCAM.

12 Comments

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  • ncsu44 May 29, 2009

    *sad not saw

  • ncsu44 May 29, 2009

    Gold's didn't change its name, Beyond Fitness just bought the locations and Peak bought Beyond Fitness who was as crooked as it gets. Gold's is still a reputable gym.

  • ncsu44 May 29, 2009

    awwww how saw for Peak. As a former employee, I am glad the AG is cleaning them up but they have a long way to go.

  • thecatsmeow May 29, 2009

    No wonder they had to keep changing their names. It was Gold's Gym, Beyond Fitness and now Peak Fitness. I got screwed by them also a few years ago. I'm glad the AG's Office is kranking down on them.

  • msudawg May 29, 2009

    We joined the Garner location and then started going to the Knightdale location, well they are both now closed and they expect us to go to their downtown location which is 30 miles from my home in Zebulon. I have attempted to cancel my membership and IF you can get them on the phone they tell you they will cancel it but then they hang up on you and never send you confirmation that it is cancelled. I guess I am going to cancel my credit card that is charged and then let them try to get more money out of me. Peak Fitness is doing this all over the Southeast, opening clubs and taking memberships, bringing in used equipment and then closing the doors with no notice. They take memberships up until the day they close and lock you into a contract, they need to be put out of business immediately.

  • TStills May 29, 2009

    Couldnt happen to a nicer group.

    A couple of years ago, my wife and I went to tour their downtown facility. We opted not to join at that time, but a few weeks later, she received an invoice in the mail saying she owed them for membership dues. I inquired about it and asked to see a copy of the contract and it turned out they had forged her name on the contract. I called them out on it and they dropped it and offered to give her a membership at a reduced rate. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Needless to say, im not shedding any tears over their hardship. In fact, Im hoping to read about it getting worse in the days and months ahead.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning May 29, 2009

    While disappointed with the no notice closing in Knightdale, I have to say I was impressed with the way Planet Fitness helped out. They still keep the number for Peak complaints or questions posted up front.

    Because I was making sure Peak wouldn't bill me again (I paid monthly because I felt safer) Planet showed me as canceled. Planet let me workout last night anyway and I can sign up next time if I want.

  • recpt May 29, 2009

    I joined Peak, and paid 2 years up front, because of the Thursday night Zumba classes in Garner. Now it's closed and that is so irritating. I found out after the fact. No notice, heck, the instructors didn't even know until they tried to go to work the next day. Is there anything I can do?

  • wraltv May 29, 2009

    ABOUT TIME!!!

    Not that it matters, but how do you know about the "missed connections" Paul?

  • HappyGirl08 May 29, 2009

    As far as I can tell they are crooks.

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