Man charged hundreds for cancelling free membership

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A month after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette ordered Family Fitness to stop charging people excessive cancellation fees, 24 Hour News 8 has received a new complaint.

The cease and desist notes more than 100 complaints against the business in five years.

This time, the member accuses the gym of trying to charge him $250 to cancel a membership he won at a country music festival in June.

“Basically they said it was a free two-year membership (and) that the only cost that would come was equipment clean up,” Dallas McGee told 24 Hour News 8.

That clean-up fee is documented in the contract he signed after receiving a call that he and his girlfriend each won a membership for the Byron Center location. He said when he signed up for the raffle, a representative told him they’re working to get more members because it’s one of the newer locations for Family Fitness.

According to the contract, McGee would be charged $24 a month for the equipment maintenance, and a “club annual enhancement fee” of $44, which would’ve been charged this October.

After having the membership for a month, he decided the membership wasn’t worth it. He hadn’t used it and needed to save money for a move.

McGee was directed to an email on the gym’s website in order to move forward with a cancellation and was surprised by the $250 fee that would come with it.

“I’ve got a house payment and kids, car payment. I mean I’m not paying $250, whether it’s a one-time fee or not, for something I won,” McGee said.

The contract only has his name on it, but he asked to cancel both his and his girlfriend’s membership. Correspondence reviewed by 24 Hour News 8 seems to show canceling both memberships, because they’re exactly the same, could actually mean $500 total. McGee said he has not paid the fee and he is refusing to do so.

We tried to follow up with Family Fitness about McGee’s membership, but only managed to reach a voicemail.

A manager at the Byron Center location told 24 Hour News 8 he’d like to help McGee because they want to take care of their members, but acknowledged the corporate structure.

The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan told 24 Hour News 8 Family Fitness still ranks in their Top 10 for businesses that receive the most complaints each month, and they still recommend reaching out to the BBB if you have a problem with your membership.

“The Department continues to interview affected consumers and will take the necessary steps of opening a formal investigation or filing a suit against the chain based on the actions of Family Fitness now that they have received the Cease and Desist,” the Attorney General’s office said in an email.

Any new complaints can be filed online at the department’s website.

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