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Some Fitness Connection customers billed $2,900 fee

Posted July 24, 2013

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— Some members of Fitness Connection in Raleigh say they discovered charges amounting to thousands of dollars to their credit and debit cards – something the fitness company is blaming on a processing error.

Josh Harwood, senior vice president of operations for Titan Fitness, the parent company of Fitness Connection, said Wednesday that Visa customers being charged an annual maintenance fee of $29.99, were inadvertently charged more than $2,900 by Vantiv, a third-party credit card vendor.

Vantiv Vice President Ken Thorsen said that no cardholders were actually charged and that what customers saw on their online statements were authorization holds.

Harwood said the overcharge was a nationwide issue affecting customers of many other companies as well.

Titan's chief executive officer, Jeff Skeen, however, said the issue affected about 2 percent of Fitness Connection customers, but he would not say how many that was.

Any late or insufficient fund fees resulting from the error, Skeen said, will be covered.

"Although this is not our fault, we will make sure our customers are 100 percent covered and protected," he said.

Anyone affected by the charge should send their full name, phone number, the name and location of their gym, the amount of the fees incurred and a screen grab or copy of their credit card or bank statement showing the charges to refund@jonasfitness.com.

Fitness Connection is located in three states, with more than a dozen locations in North Carolina, including three in Raleigh, one in Cary and one in Durham.

24 Comments

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  • Mon Account Jul 25, 2013

    I've had many billing issues with them in the past. Most common: they charge me a late fee because they claim that my CC was declined (when I'm no where near my credit limit).

    I go to the gym, talk to a human, they refund me the late fee (saying they'll only do this once), then magically my card works on their next attempt. This happens at least twice a year.

    I also went to talk about getting my monthly fee to go to $9.99 from my current $37 (old contract). I was told I have to pay a $200 enrollment fee and a yearly charge to stay as a member. I asked why I have to pay to enroll in a gym in which I'm already enrolled... and was told that I'm enrolling to not have a contract. How do you enroll in something that isn't a contract?

    I've been seeing their $9.99 offer getting less restrictive so I may go back and try again. If not... there are much cleaner gyms around here that don't pull these games.

  • LastSon1981 Jul 24, 2013

    This is why I workout at home accumulating a decent home gym isn't hard or expensive if you do it over time.

  • Wacky_dood Jul 24, 2013

    "Anyone affected by the charge should send their name, phone number, the amount they were charged and a copy of their credit card or bank statement showing the charge to refund@jonasfitness.com."

    Can you imagine the number of overseas hackers frantically trying to hack this account and get access to all that information? I would never send this information via email.

  • Hubris Jul 24, 2013

    "funny how many companys are insisting on charge card payments and rotating payments on the cards-and then there is always a screw up-in their favor-" Rachel

    True. I never hear of it going the other way around where the consumer gets a load of money.

  • JuicyDeetts Jul 24, 2013

    Rachel - For security reasons banks or credit card companies will not provide that information if you are not the account holder and can verify security. Thus, the actual account holder that was wrongfully charged must provide that information.

  • rachel Jul 24, 2013

    funny how many companys are insisting on charge card payments and rotating payments on the cards-and then there is always a screw up-in their favor-and then the victim has to prove they don't owe the money or provide documentation- why doesn't this company do the work and provide documentation to figure out who they owe money too? Its not the victims job.

  • Wilson Andrew Craig, III Jul 24, 2013

    Luckily the SECU alerts me whenever there is an "odd" charge on my checking account. I have never had to take the initiative with either that, or my AMEX account. One time AMEX alerted me to 4k worth of fraud and THEY took care of the issue. Why I love credit unions, and why I love AMEX.

  • HomeBrewDude Jul 24, 2013

    King - with you 100% there. A company should never made that statement "... not our fault" Bad PR there. Imagine someone traveling an having a hold on their card because someone did not do their job. I would be irate. If you are paying your gym a maintenance fee - look elsewhere. In this case, the right thing would be to waive everyone's fees to make up for the bad press here.

  • Wacky_dood Jul 24, 2013

    "Anyone affected by the charge should send their name, phone number, the name and location of their fitness club, the amount they were charged and a copy of their credit card or bank statement showing the charge to refund@jonasfitness.com."

    Huh?!?!?

    I'm with most you--why should the victims have to gather all this and turn it over to the same incompetents who screwed up in the first place? And why don't they figure out who they "inadvertently" overcharged? If it was the same amount, it should be trivial to check their system for anyone billed $2,900 that month.

    ""Although this is not our fault, we will make sure our customers are 100 percent covered and protected," Skeen said."

    Who's fault is it? If you hired the processing company and they're making these bogus charges in your company's name, then it's your fault.

  • Legal Lady Jul 24, 2013

    This happened to me. I get texts from my bank when my balance changes so I look last night around 9:30 and see the $2,900.00 charge. I called the gym and the girl that I talked to said that it was a mistake on the "corporate level" and it would be fixed by the morning. Luckily she was right and everything was back to normal by 7:00 a.m.

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