LYNDHURST, Ohio - Urban Active Fitness has been the subject of numerous consumer complaints at Better Business Bureaus in several states over the past three years.
However, in recent months, the fitness company has met with leaders at 10 Better Business Bureaus, including the Cleveland BBB, looking to solve its billing issues.
These billing problems have had a big impact on dozens of Northeast Ohio consumers, like Angela Schrieber. Schrieber is a former Urban Active Fitness member, who at one time, worked out at the Lyndhurst location.
Schrieber took all the proper steps to cancel her membership back in early spring, but later discovered automatic deductions were still being taken out of her checking account.
"I said this is fraud, I didn't sign any kind of charge slip," said Schrieber. "They took money out of my account for three months after I canceled my membership.
Schrieber claimed she made 30 calls to Urban Active Fitness with no results.
"It's tough being on a set income every month," said Schrieber. "I'm a divorced mother with two small children, this was my car payment, food money, my gas money."
NewsChannel5 responded to Schrieber's complaint and called Urban Active Fitness headquarters. The company responded immediately, issuing Schrieber a $600 refund.
Schrieber is far from alone. The Better Business Bureau has logged 698 complaints about Urban Active Fitness over the past three years; however, the company has made major changes.
Urban Active Fitness has "closed" 498 BBB complaints in just the past 12 months, improving its BBB rating to a "C-minus."
5 On Your Side spoke with company CEO Coby DeVary. DeVary explained the vast majority of billing complaints have been solved by improvements in communication between gym locations and corporate headquarters. DeVary also sited "improved operating systems, and personnel realignment," as other reasons for the upgrade in customer service.
"We will continue to improve until we receive and 'A' rating," said DeVary.
Consumers need to do their homework before signing up for a gym membership. Read the contract carefully, and make sure you fully understand the cancellation and membership transfer policy.
Talk to several gym members, and get complete reviews on the quality of the equipment, service and cleanliness.
If you'd like to know whether your health club is "making the grade," just click on our NewsChannel5 interactive map for the latest reviews on your fitness club.