Robb Hicken: What to do about Body Renew's closure

July 17, 2014 

Robb Hicken

Gym members stand outside locked doors to Body Renew, which has locations across the Treasure Valley. The sign, posted last week, clearly states that the gyms are closed until further notice.

Gym owner Dakota Routh told news reporters the closure was simply about money - not shady business.

With nearly 5,000 members, Routh said, there was some trouble with complaints. He agreed the business was financially in trouble. Body Renew has an F rating because of unanswered complaints filed with Better Business Bureau.

BBB suggests:

• Collect your paperwork. Information about disruption of service, possible closures, forfeitures or loss of dues and fees are outlined in spa and club contracts. Review your contract information.

• Stop automatic payments. Clubs and spas frequently offer discounts when you allow them to make automatic debits from your bank account or charges to your credit card. Contact your bank or card issuer to stop these.

• Submit a complaint with the Better Business Bureau stating your losses and subsequent claims. By putting your information in writing, you substantiate your loss of member fees and dues.

• Ask about membership transfers. When a fitness center closes, sometimes other businesses in the area are quick to accept or honor memberships (in part). You can contact the spas or fitness centers to see if any options are available.

Johnny's Fit Club spokesman Rich Scott said an agreement that club has with Body Renew allows members to register and use Johnny's free for a month. Idaho Fitness Factory has agreed to allow Body Renew members to access any of its facilities until Aug. 31 at no charge.

Before you sign any agreements to extend your contract or sign up for a new membership, remember that not all gyms are good for the same people. Consider which one would be best for you.

Begin by checking business reviews with BBB. Look at how long a gym has been in business and the number and types of complaints.

Here are some other things to think about:

• What are the hours? Can you go before or after work?

• Is the location conducive to making it to the gym several times a week?

• Does the gym have equipment that meets your needs?

• Will it let you have a trial membership for a few days or a week before you sign the contract? Many gyms will give you a free trial. Some will let you pay month-to-month at first to determine if the gym is right for you.

• Are bathrooms, showers and equipment clean?

• Is the staff caring and helpful?

• Is there a trainer to help you?

• What is the clientele? Some gyms consist of people serious about working out. Others have people who are there to get dates.

• How busy is the gym? Will you have to wait to use the equipment? Visit during your workout time.

• What if you are sick or injured? Will the gym freeze the membership?

• What if you move? Can you get a refund or move your membership?

• What are the membership fees, monthly dues and length of the contract? Take the shortest length of contract. Too many people end up not using the gym for one reason or another.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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