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Ballys Total Fitness


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I'm actually suprised at this. They (Bally's) are not a financial institution, or utility company. I see no reason for them to pull your credit or report to any credit bureau.

It's not like they're granting you any credit at Bally's OR should mark you down for "being late". They'll just suspend your membership until you pay up.

Am I missing something here?

(Keep it a POSITIVE trade-line as long as it's reporting.)

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Bally's sets their gym memberships up as installment contracts. It is usually X dollars upfront, then x dollars per month for 36 months and voila, you've now paid your lifetime membership in full. Then you only owe monthly maintenance fees. So, they are granting you access to the gym based on the promise to fulfill your commitment to pay for your membership.

Just a heads up. I joined the week I turned 18yrs old, knowing I was going off to college in less than a year. The cancellation clause in the contract kicks in if you move more than 25 miles from the nearest Bally's, so all I had to do was send them proof. I moved to school, sent in the proof, and then spoke to someone at Bally's who said my membership was officially cancelled.

Four years go by with no mail from them and no calls. Then I graduate from school, go to get a car loan, and there is Financial Credit Collection on my credit report, claiming I owe them $2000 for the membership. Needless to say, I was young and naive, and didn't have anything but a verbal promise. They claim they never received my paperwork. After endless letters and phone calls, I sent a cease and desist. I never did pay them their money- but I had to endure 7 years of this thing on my credit report- and 9 years of letters from Asset Acceptance/Financial Credit Corp.

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I've heard that about Bally's jq. They're famous for not letting people go in the way you described.

And it makes sense that they should report, really. If you sign a contract for x amount of years, you have to pay them for x amount of years. If you don't pay them or quit, you've broken your contract and still owe them money for the remainder of the contract. Anyone you pay regularly and could conceivably end up owing money to has a logical reason to report. It's just that usually these non-traditional "creditors" only bother to do so when you don't pay; they rarely do so to your benefit. Cellphone companies are the same way... if you sign a contract and therefore owe money if you break it, they should report every month. They only report when you don't pay.

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And it makes sense that they should report, really. If you sign a contract for x amount of years, you have to pay them for x amount of years. If you don't pay them or quit, you've broken your contract and still owe them money for the remainder of the contract.

I totally agree. I posted that portion in response to someone asking why they should report if they are not a creditor. They are a creditor-Bally's is different than almost all other gym memberships I have had. If you don't pay at most gyms, they'll deny access until you do pay, plus maybe a late fee. But Bally's is selling you a sales contract based on an installment loan. And they've been known not to play fair.

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I actually posted what I said in response to the same question. They SHOULD report. Your post was a perfect illustration of why. They ARE, in effect, a creditor. They'll stop reporting when that contract term is up, regardless of how long you continue to attend the gym after that.

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Off Topic: BALLY TOTAL FITNESS HOLDING CORP has made publicly available the Company’s FORM 10-K, FILED NOVEMBER 30, 2005 (available on-line at their website). Within this annual report are contained declarations including, but not limited to, acknowledgements of NON-COMPLIANCE and possible FRAUD in relation to certain industry standards and regulations, including financial reporting.

They are currently under investigation by the SEC and the U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE.

I would sure like to know that their account of what is owed is accurate, or that any alleged account was handled ethically, based on what's in that report.

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  • 1 month later...

Bally's is notorious for not allowing people to get out of their contracts. I signed a 3 year contract and had trouble paying the bill for a few months. It was reported on TU and I had a very hard time getting out of my contract even after the 3 years was supposedly up. I had to get a backdoor fax number from a disgruntled Bally's employee to send my cancellation request to their corporate office before they would let me out of my contract.

My advice is not sign any contract longer than 1 year and certainly not any contract with Bally's. A shorter contract might cost you a few extra bucks per month but it is well worth the peace of mind.

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