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Ghost of Bally Total Fitness bills woman for 29 years

Don't Waste Your Money
Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2017-01-05 10:31:34-05

Every year during the holiday season, health clubs roll out super deals to get us to join.    

But a Fairfield, Ohio woman is regretting joining a gym, because it has kept charging her money even years after it went out of business.

Wanted that 80's Workout

The 1980's were a time of big dance movies like Flashdance, bigger hair, and even bigger workout routines.

A young Lvonne Leary decided to join Bally Total Fitness, at their gym on Colerain Avenue in Northgate. "In 1987, I bought a lifetime membership to Bally's," she said.

She signed a contract, agreeing to pay just $53 a year for her "lifetime" deal. It turns out it really was for her lifetime.

But bills showed up year after year for that membership -- her most recent one now over $90 -- even after the entire Bally chain went bankrupt and closed all gyms.

So she called the number on her bill, and was stunned by what she learned.  "When I called to ask them why do I still have to pay this, since it has been almost 30 years, they told me it was a lifetime membership and I would have to pay it the rest of my life."

Can't Use Gym Near Her Home

Ironically, the shopping center where Leary used  to work out 25 years ago at her old Bally currently has an LA Fitness. In several states, LA Fitness bought all the Bally clubs and member lists.

But unfortunately she can't use it, because her membership has nothing to do with that club.

Instead her contract was transferred to several different clubs over the years, all over town, the most recent in Western Hills, more than 30 minutes from her home.

"I think it's absurd," she said.

So we tracked down the current holder of her contact, FX Fitness, which agreed to finally let Leary stop paying, 29 years after she got the Flashdance bug.

Now she has a warning for everyone about signing lifetime contracts.

"I told her a lifetime was 20 years in my book, not forever,"  she said.  But if a company has your name on a "lifetime" document, beware: they may legally be able to charge you as long as they are in business and you are still breathing.

As always, don't waste your money.
 

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