GRANDVILLE, Mich.—A Grandville gym closed without any warning to their members, and some say they were still being charged even though they didn't know their memberships were sold to another gym.
“It’s the whole constitution of morals. If you are going to leave a place and not inform your customers, the ones that are giving you funds to keep your business running then you don’t deserve my money,” said Jennifer Green.
Green signed up for Forever Fit a little over a year ago because of the convenience. She was able to walk there from her house, and the price was right for her budget. She liked that it was small, and that it wouldn’t be overcrowded. Also, she loved that you could bring a friend, it was open 24 hours and she could bring her children.
She signed up for an initial $100 fee, and then it would be $12 each month after that until June 21, 2017. Shortly after she signed up she got pregnant, and took a hiatus from working out. However, one day on her way home she noticed it looked empty. She took a closer look, and it was closed. Green said she got no notice whatsoever.
“So I called my bank to see if they were still charging me,” said Green.
Her bank looked into it for her. They called around and found out that Family Fitness was withdrawing money from her account. The bank said that Forever Fit sold their contract to Family Fitness. She called the Family Fitness corporate office and was told that they had legal grounds to do what they did.
Green contested that her contract said nothing about a gym shutting down and still binding her to her agreement. The corporate office told her that there was nothing they could do. They said they didn’t solve issues over the phone, and she had to e-mail them her complaint instead.
“I was distraught about it because I feel as though if you’re corporate and I am calling you personally, you are supposed to help me with the issue. I shouldn’t have to send an e-mail to an unknown person. On top of that, not getting a reply,” said Green.
Green found out that there is a $79 cancellation fee. She said this was unfair for a few reasons. Family Fitness was in a different location that was inconvenient for her, she didn’t want people passing around her personal bank information, and she was never warned her gym would be closing its doors.
“I talked to my husband and said we are going to call the problem solvers because I know we are not the only ones that this is happening to,” she said.
The FOX 17 Problem Solvers tracked down one of the former owners of Forever Fit, Paul Granzotto. He said he split from the two other owners, Michael Dow and Jason Ober, over money issues.
FOX 17 found the ruling on that court case. Granzotto took Ober and Dow to court and won. The judge ruled that Ober and Dow did take out a loan for $14,900 in Granzotto’s name without him knowing. Also, they neglected to pay him back $2,000 he had given them for a personal loan. Dow and Ober said there was a lot more that was going on with this situation, and mentioned forged documents they found too late, but they didn’t have a lawyer or the funds to fight it.
Granzotto claims that Dow and Ober knew they were on the verge of closing and neglected to tell their clients.
“They knew what they were doing. They had probably gone and talked to Family Fitness, and said hey this is what is going and we need money,” said Granzotto.
Granzotto’s lawyer, Phil Glovick, said there is no doubt that Dow and Ober stole a lot of money from him.
“We’ve already litigated it, and it’s very clear,” said Glovick.
Glovick said he is in the beginning stages of looking into the deal made between Forever Fit and Family Fitness.
“It appears that Dowd and Ober may have sold personal information to Family Fitness, and we are investigating that, but if that is the case we are going to take action,” said Glovick.
The Problem Solvers got in touch with Mick Dennis from Family Fitness, who said they bought the Forever Fit contract legally. He said he was trying to help Dow and Ober out. He said they used to work for Family Fitness, and he felt bad their business had failed.
FOX 17 Problem Solvers tracked down Ober and Dow at the new gym they are opening in Hastings called Hastings Fitness Club. They admitted they did not alert their clients. They said they were getting threats from people they owed money to, and wanted to get out of there quickly. They said it wasn’t malicious, just a first attempt at starting up a gym, and admitted it didn’t go well.
“We were trying to do a good thing by letting them honor these peoples’ contracts so they weren’t out the full amount,” Jason Ober said about selling their contract to Family Fitness.
Ober and Dow went on to say that Family Fitness bought their client list for a very small amount of money.
After the Problem Solvers got a hold of Family Fitness, Mick Dennis agreed to help Forever Fit clients out of a frustrating situation. He has offered them a lower cancellation fee, and even let Green out of her contract for free.
“I really wasn’t thinking of going this route. If they had just answered their phones we could have resolved it,” said Green.
Dennis said he got about 300 clients from Forever Fit. They have received a good amount of complaints, but they have had 50 people extend their contracts with Family Fitness after enjoying their facilities.