Some customers who were charged by Fitness World after cancelling their memberships have been waiting to get their money back for months, despite the company’s commitment to expedite refunds.
Those former members claim the company, which acquired and rebranded the assets of Steve Nash Fitness World earlier this year, has failed to follow through on paying them what they are owed.
"I'm not convinced I'll be getting any sort of money back. I think they are just waiting people out until they eventually forget or give up,” Joshua Guidi wrote in an email to BIV.
Guidi says Fitness World agreed to mail him a cheque for $108.95 back in September after he noticed seven separate charges from the company come through in a single day. The amounts – which ranged from $2.03 to $31.48 – included prorated membership dues and other fees Guidi says he never agreed to.
Despite following up with Fitness World multiple times by phone and email, Guidi says he is still waiting to be reimbursed more than two months later.
Maria Kavouras has also been waiting months for a refund Fitness World said it would process. Kavouras was charged $29.80 in September after she cancelled her Fitness World membership in-person the month before.
Email correspondence from a representative of Fitness World confirms her membership was cancelled on September 30. An email dated two weeks later confirms the company will cancel her membership, and states that Kavouras might experience another charge while the request is being processed.
As of mid-November, Kavouras had still not received a refund.
In response to customer questions and feedback, Fitness World emailed members in early October with an acknowledgment of the company’s delayed response times. In that email, Fitness World said it had added more staff to address member communications, enabled staff to process cancellations in-person and expedited its refund process.
The company said cancellations would be processed within three business days, and eligible refunds within seven business days.
BIV has reached out to both Fitness World and Avenue PR – which has represented the company in the past – for comment.
According to Consumer Protection BC, if a business has changed its services since a contract was signed, consumers have the right to cancel their contract.
Examples provided by the regulator include a business closing or moving, or if a certain amenity is no longer offered.
The fact that several former Steve Nash Fitness locations have closed permanently may qualify as a material change.
If a consumer wishes to cancel their gym membership, Consumer Protection BC advises consumers to fill out its cancellation form and send it to their gym in a way that provides proof of delivery, such as by email or registered mail.
A business has 15 days to respond.