Fitness World responds to consumer concerns

A number of former and current members were reporting unknown charges

FW Fitness BC Ltd. acquired the rights to Steve Nash Fitness World earlier this year | Hayley Woodin

Fitness World says it will dedicate more staff to address member concerns and cancellations after a number of consumer complaints regarding unknown charges.

BIV reported last week that former members of Steve Nash Fitness World – which was acquired by a group of investors and rebranded as Fitness World over the summer – were being charged for memberships they believed had been cancelled. One member, who told BIV he had spent six weeks trying to contact a Fitness World representative, reported seven charges in a single day.

In an email from Fitness World to members, the company acknowledged that some members saw multiple charges on the same day or consecutive days.

"This was a reflection of ... bi-weekly dues being billed for both payments in September. Members will now be billed on their regular billing schedule," the email states.

In response to member questions and feedback, the company says it has expedited its refund process, extended the hours of certain clubs and made a direct phone line available.

Members can apply for a membership cancellation and refund online. They can also request a membership freeze of up to three months for a fee.

While Fitness World will honour the expiry date of prepaid memberships purchased from Steve Nash Fitness, the company told members Thursday that it will not extend the expiry date of a prepaid membership.

"Fitness World is a new company and ownership group. We’re happy to honour the expiry date of prepaid memberships purchased from SNFW, but we will not be extending the expiry date. Following expiry of your prepaid membership, you may sign a new agreement to renew your membership. Fitness World is not offering prepaid memberships at this time," the email states.

In a separate announcement on Thursday, Fitness World said it intends to hire 200 new employees by the end of October. 

Approximately 1,300 workers were terminated by Steve Nash Fitness in March of this year. 

In its bid to acquire the company – which owed creditors in excess of $40 million – the current ownership group of Fitness World said it would offer employment to at least 65% of those former Steve Nash Fitness employees.

This was later reduced to a commitment to hire back up to 50% of the 1,300 workers who had been let go.