In February, I joined the Biloxi gym Planet Fitness and wrote this post mocking some of their more inane practices. Since then, going there was uneventful and boring; nobody there so much as said “Hi,” but neither did anything make my experience there awful.
Things changed when I walked in one day about two months later. After being greeted with the usual request for my gym ID number, I was told that my membership had been canceled. In fact, it had been canceled over a month earlier — on April 30 — with no notice to me. Why? The lady at the front desk could not tell me. She called the owner, but it took 15 minutes to get an answer. Finally, the reply came that my account has been canceled “in reference to some things that were said on the internet.”
Wow. Really? If that’s referring to what I wrote, it doesn’t say much for the self-esteem of the owners of this Planet Fitness that they surf the internet looking for comments about their gym and then boot any members they can identify. But it says even less about their respect for their customers that they would actually cancel my membership — without telling me — based on an old blog post. I am starting to understand their business model, though; the $60 sign-up fee is a sweet deal for them if they can cancel a membership after two months.
But guess what, Planet Fitness? That’s disrespectful to your customers. It creates an atmosphere in which they feel unwelcome and — yes — judged. This is not the only problem with Planet Fitness, as others have summed up here, here, here, here, and here. But it’s the worst: a basic refusal to treat customers with respect.
Since June, I have twice been promised that the franchise owner, John Landry, would call me back with an explanation. It has been two months and I have never heard from him, nor can anyone tell me how to reach him.
Edit (9/28/09): On Sept. 16, Mr. Landry finally called me back. He agreed to refund my sign-up fee.