Passage Fitness / Fitness First – 2/5 stars

Sep 19, 2009

My experience with Gyms has been what is commonly known as a love/hate relationship! I remember signing up to Fitness First, just as with Ross and Chandler with a gorgeous young lady, only in Tottenham High Road, and then not go to the gym for nearly a year. I then decided to start going, “for real”, and actually did manage to consequently go for 4-5 times, a week, and only for my masters, I decided to focus entirely on my studies, and henceforth, cancelled my UK subscription.

When I returned to Luxembourg, after my dad fell ill, I decided to go back to the spirit of health and a better body, and subscribed to Passage Fitness, their Luxembourg pendant! And boy, did I go to the gym 🙂 – 5 times a week, every morning before going to work, and I did manage to return to nearly perfect weight and good shape (although round is a good shape too), but then ruptured a bone whilst snowboarding, and fell out of the habit. I did return occasionally until I started having my serious backproblems, and have not really been to the gym in nearly a year. After consultation with my doc and physiotherapist, I will start again now!

Why this rambling though you might ask? Well, let me tell you about my breakup with Passage Fitness then, as well as I recollect and from my point of view!

Some of my automated payments have not gone through this summer – this happens – and as I have just completed a change of career, I have not really taken an interest to anything but transfer of knowledge at the old workplace, and best possible start at the new workplace! I have also received texts, but all the while decided to handle their messages only once I return to the gym, the week after my first week in the new position. They however decided it would be a good idea to call me as well as text me, on a saturday afternoon which is very uncommon in Luxembourg, and I told the lady about my plan and that I was not expecting this to be an issue as I had not really been to the gym in a year due to my back-injury.

She kindly informed me then that with doctors’ notes, I could actually block my subscription until I was better again, and that my best bet would be to see someone from Administration for this for potential refunds (1 year is over 700€), but she insisted I only talk to someone in Sandweiler. So I went to Sandweiler, spoke to a nice lady to whom I explained my issue and hopes for a good solution, and all she decided to reply was that “unfortunately, this cannot be done retro-actively”. When I insisted that I would have told them about this had I only known about it, she merely repeated her first sentence.

I then informed her that this was not a satisfying response to me, that although I was actually understanding her position with international guidelines and the such, I was hoping she also understood I wasn’t happy about this. I also then told her I needed to consider how to proceed and consider my future with Fitness First, thanked her, and left. 2 minutes later when I just go into the car, she called me and asked me for payment of the 2 months. I then repeated I needed to think about my decision, and she insisted on me not being able to go to the gym if I did not pay (which I had understood the first time round), and this led me to take the decision – on the moment of “heat” I admit – to cancel the subscription which I told her nicely, but firmly that same instant. For some, this episode would be business as usual; to me, this is really quite offensive, and only then did I start to listen to people around me and it seems more and more people are offended by this organisation.

However, and this is the absolute positive for me, and hopefully an incentive for anyone out there that goes to the gym, I realized my calculations were wrong all along!

Why would I want to go to the gym?

  • to use some machines, and the choice of machines has been drastically reduced in the past year for me
  • not to shower where others have been showering all day without cleaning after themselves
  • not to meet sweaty people of the opposite sex
  • not to be chased down for payments in the worst possible moments
  • not to watch TV on small screens whilst filtering out surrounding noise
  • not to pay a small fortune each year

I guess my point needed these reflections in order for me to bypass their convincing messages, and today, when I make my financial calculations, this is what I get:

Now, a few conclusions, if instead of going to the gym, I had purchased each of the 4 articles mentionned above, I’d still have a surplus of 1300€. If instead of subscribing with Passage Fitness for another year, or with any other club, I can still purchase a multi-exercise device and a bike and keep a surplus (of ~30€). And next year, I can nearly buy my own sauna! All the while, never again needing to shower or sweat in somebody else’s “filth”.

Therefore, let me tempt every each one of you: if you have the space, and have a bit of financial reserves, why pay a company for the privilege of using their machines when you can own your own?

And marketing-wise, what do we learn? When a customer expresses a service failure, you do not to insist on the moment for any outstanding payments and send a “threatening” letter 2 days later. Fix the issue first, then fix outstanding payments.

(2 stars for making me realize I needed to work out and for the prices they offer students)

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