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How to make sure you’re not paying for gym services you’re not getting

HOUSTON – Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered all gyms and fitness centers to close last week, but you may have noticed your membership fee being auto-drafted from your bank account.

Consumer expert Amy Davis tells you what you need to do to make sure you are not paying for those services that you can’t use.

By now, most big gyms have decided how they plan to reimburse or settle up with members for this period of time that they are closed, but not everyone is happy with what some gyms are doing.

There were hundreds of complaints on 24-Hour Fitness’ Facebook page all echoing the same anger.

“You are a bunch of thieves. Many companies are doing the right thing, but you are deciding to line your pockets,” one complaint read.

24 Hour Fitness has more than 430 clubs in 14 states. Instead of freezing customers’ memberships while they are closed, they alerted members via Facebook they would be extending memberships for the same time period gyms are closed, but they’re still charging customers.

Other fitness businesses like Erin Hines’ pure barre locations on Voss, in Sugar Land and Kingwood, are offering digital classes or allowing customers to suspend payments and their membership until they can pay.

Other gyms we checked are doing the same, including Planet Fitness.

Fitness Connection is freezing all memberships and not charging customers.

Life Time Fitness said all active memberships will get a prorated credit on their dues for the number of days its clubs are closed.

If your gym is not offering to freeze your payments or another solution that you are comfortable with, you should send a letter to the company’s corporate office demanding your dues be frozen or prorated. You can also send a complaint to the Texas Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection.

If enough people complain, the AG’s office could compel the gym to reimburse its members for the days it was not open.

You'll also find a list of other gyms and how they are handling membership fees while they are closed.

Planet Fitness

“As your long-term partner in fitness, we have proactively frozen all memberships on your behalf, and you will not be charged any fees during this time”

Fitness Connection

“All membership billing has been automatically frozen for the duration of the time we will be closed.”

Lifetime Fitness

“Based on recent orders from federal, state and local government authorities regarding COVID-19, all Lifetime destinations are closed. Club reopening is dependent upon governmental guidance and we will update you as we learn more. Active, club-accessing memberships will receive a prorated dues credit for the number of days the club is closed.”

24 Hour Fitness

“In compliance with local government and CDC recommendations, we have temporarily closed all locations. Be assured that memberships will be extended for the same period of time that our clubs are closed.”

Orange Theory

If you are a member of a corporate-owned studio or a franchise studio that has closed, your membership dues will be suspended immediately. This will happen automatically; you do not need to contact the studio.

Gold’s Gym

We can’t find anything on their page about COVID-19.

Memorial Athletic Club

The website mentions will be closed until the 31st but nothing about payments.

YMCA

Dues will not be drafted until at least April 15, according to the non-profit.

The YMCA Cares team have been calling members to give them the following options regarding their dues:

  • Keep membership dues as they are because of the other programs the Y is still operating (primarily child care for healthcare and first responders).
  • Suspend dues payments until the Y can offer the services they most use.
  • Cancel membership.