MURRELLS INLET, SC- Angry gym members are keeping the local Better Business Bureau office busy these days. President and CEO Kathy Graham say complaints about gyms are unfortunately very common. Her office is currently investigating five complaints for the Ladies Choice Fitness Center in Murrells Inlet.
"Notoriously throughout the BBB system, I would say health clubs are in the top 20, every year, for most complained about," says Graham.
On February 8, Ladies Choice Fitness Center told its members the gym was moving.
"They said they were relocating due to a significant increase to their rent at Inlet Square Mall," said long-time member Ruth Wagner. She says it caught her by surprise.
Gail Peterson says she was caught off guard too. Peterson renewed her membership just two weeks before, and staff members never mentioned the upcoming move.
"They accepted $240 from me, which was my renewal," says Peterson.
Wagner and Peterson say it took about two weeks for the new gym to open. They say they were disappointed because the new space is smaller, and then there's the real deal breaker: "The classes we all enjoyed are not there," explains Peterson.
The gym's management says the studio for the classes was under construction and it would be a few weeks before they could start offering classes again. A few weeks was too long for some of the avid class-takers.
"Most women joined another gym. We can just can't wait. It's already been a month," said Wagner.
Wagner, Peterson, and other members have since tried to cancel their membership and asked for a refund by mailing a certified letter to the address listed on the contract. Neither Peterson nor Wagner have heard back.
"It's very frustrating," explains Peterson.
Graham says her office is following the BBB's usual protocol. "We are currently investigating," she says.
She explains this case is entirely separate from the recently defunct Ladies Choice in Myrtle Beach. The Murrells Inlet location has a different owner and operator. Based on what Graham knows so far, these members have a good chance at getting what they want.
"Based on their contract, yes, it does look like they can get their money back," Graham says.
According to the Ladies Choice Fitness Center's owner, they are following the contract. If a member contacts the gym within 30 days since the announcement of the relocation, the membership will be canceled and the member will get the appropriate refund.
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