5 On Your Side

Wake Forest Man Calls Five On Your Side After Gym Opening Delayed

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — Doing yard work is about the only exercise Winston Harrison says he gets and he wants to change that. So, that is why an April advertisement for Beyond Fitness caught his eye -- $299 for two years.

"It sounded like a pretty good idea," Harrison said. "I wanted to get in shape."

Located just two miles from his house, the gym was still under construction when Harrison signed up. He says the sales representative told him the gym, located in Wake Forest, would open in June. That was fine with Harrison -- except for one thing.

"I wanted to protect myself in the event that the gym, for some reason, did not open, in the event that there were delays in the process -- because I went there with the intention of joining a gym as soon as possible," Harrison said.

So the sales representative "X-ed" out and initialed that part of the contract.

As it turned out, Harrison needed that protection.

In June, Harrison said he was told the gym would not open until July or August. Then, in July, he heard it might not open until October.

So, Harrison called the company's corporate office in Cary to cancel the contract, but said the person he spoke to told him he was not entitled to a refund because he signed a two-year contract.

Harrison says he explained the sales representative had crossed out the non-cancellation clause, but his explanation did not do any good. He says the representative hung up the phone on him.

"It's unreasonable to think that a person's gonna sign up for a gym membership and then have to wait four, six months before the gym opens." Harrison said. "I mean that is just unreasonable."

When Five On Your Side called Beyond Fitness, a representative refused to discuss the case, but the company did send Harrison a letter that says he "didn't follow procedures" and was not helped because he "screamed" at the person on the phone.

Beyond Fitness now says Harrison will get his refund if he sends his cancellation request in writing. Harrison says he has already put it in the mail.

A spokeswoman with the fitness company says the June date Harrison was given was just a "suggested date" and that right now, the company does not know when the club will open.

Last year, members complained after pre-paying for memberships at Beyond Fitness's Fuquay-Varina location and then having to wait for months for the club to open.

As for the company, as a whole, Beyond Fitness has had about 205 complaints with the

Better Business Bureau

since 2003. The company said it is not many, considering it has 70,000 members.

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