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Beware of California Fitness. Please advise

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  1. #1

    Beware of California Fitness. Please advise

    Hi all HK newbies and lovely locals

    I'm just hoping to warn that if you're looking for a gym, be very careful when dealing with California Fitness. Recently I visited their Central gym. They were very aggressive and would even mislead you on their personal training service

    I was given unreliable quotes for personal training at other gyms by one of their employees, which turned out to be false. They would also threaten not to give you the introductory rate if you decide to join later rather than on the spot. Unfortunately for me I succumbed to their pressure and joined based on their false information

    I would advise that you call them and negotiate the rates over the phone before even consider visiting the gym. Also always push for corporate rate for membership. When it comes to money, these people don't respond to civility and you need to haggle hard

    Unfortunately for me, I am stuck with a personal training contract that is beyond my means and a membership that I don't really need

    Oh yes, don't even bother seeking redress from them if you have been miss-sold. Their position is that so long you signed the contract, and their employees have read out the terms and conditions, you are stuck with it. They will not even accept the fact that if you had been lied to or misled into joining. They will not be transparent with you over their "internal investigation" process. They would not invite to speak to you in person over your grievance so it's very one-sided. The only way to seek redress is through Small Claims tribunal, the Consumer Council and maybe your local LegCo member

    If any of you have faced similar issues, or know someone who have, please advise how I'd be able to seek redress


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Gold Coast Marina

    Did you not read all the thousands of posts on here first which highlight exactly the same issue? It's not exactly news.

    Rob2020 and carang like this.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    I second MI07's comment. There's an abundance of stuff on this site about these places and their practices.

    Fair play to you though in at least trying to help any others not get scammed.

    If you are aware beforehand of how these places operate then there is no need to do anything about it. Find out what other people are paying for the membership you want. Go in there with a figure in your head and if the sales rep's don't come near it then walk out. Ignore anything they say except for the price they quote you.

    I went into a branch a while ago. They did all this nonsense of writing down amounts on a blank piece of paper and then dramatically scribbling it out and writing a lower amount. They followed this by pretending to call their manager to authorize a lower price. After about thirty minutes of haggling and several "reductions" the special price, that they could only give me on that day, was still higher than what my local wife had been quoted, within three seconds, on the phone the day before.

    Last edited by arrowsmith; 12-06-2013 at 11:57 PM.
    MovingIn07 and carang like this.

  4. #4

    @arrowsmith. Thanks. I think your comment is somewhat fair. I should've done due diligence on sites like Geoexpat to prevent similar problems with other unscrupulous vendors

    Separately, I think it's a matter of principle to at least try to do something about it like trying on the Small Claims tribunal, etc, rather than just sit there and do nothing

    Maybe calling before hand the vendor should be a starting point for any big purchases

    It's been a culture shock for me how some people can behave so here (though a minority) when selling stuff even though I'm of Asian origin. Most of the time I have been able to deflect these pushy sales people. But those guys at Cali were one of the kind!!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    What are you outraged at exactly?

    Were you happy with the terms offered when you signed the contract? If not why did you sign it, if yes why are you unhappy now?

    I imagine it was just $XXX per month and XXX PT sessions at $XXX each.

    Pretty easy to look at that and judge whether you think it's a good deal or not regardless of what the sales rep says.

    wayland likes this.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    The OP has a point that this practice should not be tolerated regardless how 'common' it is but then it is the responsibility of the buyer to read the contract that he signs and compare the terms & conditions with what he was told before.

    Furthermore a buyer should always compare prices beforehand and not sign something on the spot because he feels pressured by some "special offer". Although such tactics are often build on deception it would be hard to prove.

    carang likes this.

  7. #7

    @MovingIn07. You're right in pointing out I should've done some research before hand even though I'm a HK newbie. Separate unrelated point, just because it's been known to many how doggy Cali is, doesn't lessen the merit of my grievance on being mis-sold

    Still I'm curious why despite being in the press, Cali hasn't been compelled to change their behaviour. I guess inadequate law as per your comment "changes however will not bring consumer law into line with developed countries" is part of the problem, but perhaps the society as whole has not done enough to effect change

    Will read more of the discussions on here next time. Cheers

  8. #8

    @arrowsmith. Well I was actually outraged by the fact that the guy at Cali gave me quotes of personal training rates at other gyms that turned out to be unreliable and misleading and forced me to decide on the spot. It turned out other gyms could offer cheaper prices

    I actually wanted to do more research online and calling other gyms before deciding but this bloke had a way with me somehow

    In short not happy with the dishonest approach used to trick me into signing up, rather than the terms written on the contract per se

  9. #9

    @Raccon. Fair point

  10. #10

    @Ja_lee. Meeting quotas is one thing. Acting dishonestly to meet quotas is another

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