Anytime Fitness Fails at ABCs

Remember my May and June posts railing on Anytime Fitness for its near inaccessibility? They’ve really upped their game. Now, the franchisee-run operation is truly inaccessible. Incommunicado. At least they’ve learned to do something right — treat their members with disrespect and run their business with the customer service associated with the penal system.

Since my move to New York City in September, I’ve been trying to cancel my membership. According to information from the Minneapolis franchise owner, and the corporate Web site, if a member moves to a city without a club within 15 miles of their residence, the membership may be cancelled. And, according to the Web site, not only can you reach out to your club via phone or email (MplsWarehouse@anytimefitness.com) — please feel free to email them on my behalf — to cancel your membership, you can also reach out to ABC Financial Services to work it out, as they are the contracted financial services firm that controls the automatic withdrawal of funds from your bank account to keep your membership active. You see where I’m going, right?

True to my experience with both of these corporations to date, each is equally inept at managing client relationships. Voice mails? Unresponsive. Emails? Unresponsive. Certified letters? We’ll see, I finally just sent three — to the CEO of each corporation, and then to the local Minneapolis club, as well, to serve as official written notice of my request for cancellation based on my relocation. When I finally got management on the line at the Minneapolis club, it was apparently new management, had no idea I even existed, was perplexed by the fact that I was a Minneapolis club member but living in Manhattan, and no idea how to handle the situation. You can guess how painful that conversation was.

When I finally got representatives at ABC Financial Services on the line, each of the three individuals I spoke with claimed ignorance of the cancelleation policies and freedom from having to help me, even though the Anytime Fitness Web site directs its members to them for questions directly relating to my situation! Funny, both organizations are incredibly skilled at making certain that monthly withdrawal from my checking account happens with spotless regularity — and they’ve even raised their rates due to a MN taxation issue without contacting club members. Funnier, still, that cost increase hit my checking account separate from my monthly membership dues with no problem at all. There is nothing more frustrating than watching a company you loathe successfully withdraw funds from your personal checking account.

Something, however, tells me that if it weren’t for technology’s ability to cover human flaws, this whole Anytime Fitness franchise operation would die so quickly that CEO Jeff Klinger wouldn’t be receiving any awards. And the fact that he was awarded anything with “visionary” in the title is completely beyond me. Maybe he should look beyond his own bank account and little fitness fiefdom and use that visionary prowess to see exactly how poorly the club franchises he spawned are being run. Running a business isn’t for everyone, so if a club owner is relying on “easy money and little management time” because of the business model, maybe he/she should think again. Or actually, maybe they should just think.

That’s it. Just think. Use your brain. Get it together. Answer a phone call. Reply to an email. Know company policy. And respect your members, Anytime Fitness and ABC Financial Services. If you cant’ do that, then get out of the business. And for God’s sake, get out of my bank account!

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