Fitness First are liars, thieves and commit Direct Debit fraud

Fitness First and liars, thieves and Direct Debit fraudstersOh yes.

Around 3 months ago now I cancelled my Direct Debit to Fitness First – not because I was quitting, but because I was trying to phase out the bank account the debit was taken from. Once that was done, like a good boy, I rung them to let them know I had cancelled it and gave my reasons why, and they were fine with that. Great.

The next month I went in and paid over the counter. All was good.

Until about the 7th of this month, when I received a letter from my bank to inform me of a failed Direct Debit charge to my old account. WTF? I take a look, and the Fitness First DD has reappeared.

A quick call to my bank confirmed that the Direct Debit had been recreated, by none other than Fitness First. This, apparently, is perfectly fine as long as they inform me they’re going to do it. I received no such warning (of course I didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t have let them use an account I knew would be empty, right?)

And so I ring Fitness First in Leeds. They can’t help me, I need to speak to head office. Great. I speak to head office, and I’m told the only people that would set up a direct debit is the club themselves… You can probably imagine how I’m starting to feel by now.

I ring fitness first, and get the same guy, who straight away tells me that the woman I need to speak to is on holiday for a week.

“You have no-one else there that can talk to me about Direct Debits?”, I ask.
“No, only ****** and she’s away till next week”, he replies.

What a way to run a business. Oh, but it gets better.

Next week I ring back, she’s ill. I ring back at the end of the week, she’s still ill. The next week I leave it for fear of being driven to insanity, and when I ring back on the friday, she’s gone for the day. Sigh.

Finally, the next monday I get hold of the elusive ****** – one of the most clueless, unhelpful muppets I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with. I explain whats happened and point out that due to their unlawful attempt to take money from me, I am now a £30 bank charge down. Her instant response?

“Banks can’t charge you”

A few seconds of silence followed while I tried to process this. “What do you mean?”

“Banks can’t charge you, it’s illegal”

Deflection, a great tactic. Take the blame away from yourself and pass it onto someone else. This may have worked, had I been an idiot.

“I think you’ll find” I responded, with possibly a hint of smugness in my voice, “The courts have decided that bank charges should be governed by contractual fairness rules, and now the office of fair trading are deciding whether or not charges are fair or not. Its not illegal, and regardless I don’t think you should be trying to palm the blame off for your mistake”.
(recited from memory so may not be a 100% accurate quote – although ironically, I’d been reading up on the bank charges court case just a couple of nights before 😉 )

The next 15 minutes of conversation were a blur. The conversation went back and forth, with me pointing out as a result of her actions Fitness First had broken the law and that I should be compensated for my loss, and her saying she couldn’t “refund” me because they hadn’t actually taken anything. It escaped her (about 10 times) that I wasn’t asking for a refund, I was asking for 1-2 months free membership to cover the cost of the bank charge, the multiple phone calls and the trip to the bank to get it all sorted.

Needless to say, the call ended with her offering me nothing. It did sound hopeful briefly when she went to speak to her manager, but she came back to tell me they weren’t going to give me anything (in as many words).

And so I ended the call. I called the head office back, hoping that someone there would be intelligent enough to realise that they were about to lose a £30 a month paying customer for the sake of their blatent idiocy.

But no, unfortunately the people there were no better. I was offered a Fitness First “freeze” discount – which meant I would get next months membership for £8 – providing I paid up the month I’d missed. But lets be honest, what sort of offer is that?

And now its got to my final effort. I’m trying to arrange to see the manager of the club to see if she has the gall to try and justify Fitness Firsts actions with me face to face. But unfortunately, after leaving several messages with the front desk she still hasn’t called me back.

And so there you have it, Fitness First in Leeds are liars. They commit Direct Debit fraud and refuse to accept responsibility, and when you catch them with their fingers in the cookie jar they’ll try and palm off the blame. And if that doesn’t work, they’ll repeat the same bullshit until you’re too angry to continue the call. And if you do have the patience to continue the call? They bring out the big guns – they basically tell you to f*ck off. A little harsh, but technically true. I’d like to think this was a one-off, but the crap she was feeding me almost seemed a little too scripted.

So if you’re a member of Fitness First and you decide to cancel your Direct Debit, keep a close eye on your bank account. You may end up getting a nasty surprise a few months later.


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225 Responses to “Fitness First are liars, thieves and commit Direct Debit fraud”

  1. Mate – stuff like this makes me really really angry!!!!

    If you properly cancelled the DD how on earth can FF set up a new DD without your permission? I’d be off to the solicitors if I were you!


  2. mou

    I forgot to add in the original post (I was a bit angry when I was typing it) that I didn’t get a single direct apology. A think she said “I’m sorry you were charged by your bank, but…”, but no real admission that they f**ked up.

  3. Nathanael

    Did you try reporting it as fraudulant activity to your bank?

    I know that most of them take a very dim view of people doing that, but they are required by law to look into it. (Which is why they may not have mentioned it).

    You may not believe it was willfully fraudulant, but you can certainly construe that it might have been.

  4. Stacy

    I have just had the same happen to me apart from it wasnt a DD set up again but my card details taken and money taken out of my account twice, and still havent been awarded a refund!!! this was 2 months ago :@

  5. mou

    @ Nathaniel

    Not yet, but I think I will. I gave them a chance to sort it out, and they basically f**ked me about – again.

    @ Stacy

    If you send me an email, I’ll send you back the phone number of the guy I spoke to. He seemed a bit more clued up than most of the muppets Ive spoken to in the last 2 months, so maybe he’ll show a little more sympathy…

  6. sma

    I don’t think this happens in Leeds only…the same thing has happened to me just a couple days ago…they charged my account even though I had cancelled my direct debit…paid them fully and told them that I did not want to carry on anymore…the 3 months were enough…bt wen my statement arrived i wz truly shocked…i hav no idea wt 2 do nw n m worried they will do the same next mnth…i did call them bt no1 has returned my call since saturday 🙁

  7. mou


    Keep bugging them. Keep bugging and bugging and bugging. One thing Ive learnt is when they say they’ll call you back, its a barefaced lie. Even when they have you on hold they offer you a chance to leave your number and they’ll call you back – 3 times I tried, never received a single call.

    God f**king damn them to hell, I can’t believe they’re able to get away with treating their customers like shit time and again. Someone should call watchdog!! lol

    • emz

      How true! I left 4 messages over a week to be called back from Head Office. wanted to speak to someone before my June payment came out. Well they never phoned back and I finally got through to late to sort out my payment. Would not recommend!

    • Jordan Catto

      They did call watchdog..
      They were on about a month ago…
      I’ve been having problems with them recently.. So I sent them this 😀

      Dear sir/madam

      I am writing to notify you, in accordance with my verbal contract with Jamie (Head of sales), that I will be terminating my membership one calendar month from now. The last payment you will receive shall be tomorrow, on the first of May 2012.

      As explained numerous times to members of your sales team prior to joining, I am joining the army, and was only intending on using the facilities for a period of approximately two months. I was assured by all I spoke to, including Jamie, that this was not a problem, and could cancel at any time, with one calendar months’ notice. This was also brought up during the registration, over the phone, with Jamie. This formed part of the verbal contract I agreed to. The terms and conditions provided over the phone, never contradicted these agreements.

      I am also aware, of the fact that I never signed any form of contract, or was presented any written terms, before completion of contract.

      There is no question of me continuing to comply with terms that I never agreed to, so I would like to inform you, that I will be cancelling the standing order, after the aforementioned payment, that you are due.

      I hope that this can be resolved quickly, and efficiently, however, I will see this through.

      Kind Regards

      Jordan Catto

  8. Leah

    I have just had exactly the same thing. I cancelled my direct debit and wrote to them cancelling my membership as my 3 month contract was up, and just checked my bank balance to find that they have taken £44 directly from my debit card without telling me! I phoned the branch in High Wycombe where I was a memebr and she said ‘oh yeah, you have to give us 1 months notice’. Bull S*IT! I am just waiting for a call back from the manager who is on ‘conference call’. I’ve gone overdrawn and so a bank charge of £25 will be sent to me now because of them

  9. n@tskiiii *

    I was thinking about joinin aswel , iv just been on the web looking for gyms . This is one im steering clear of .

    P.s watchdog would be a brilliant idea !!

  10. LINDA

    ive jus bin 2 my bank n my direct debit as gone up by £2.50.Not alot u mite is wen u on a budget n uve ad NO warning of da increase.Ive bin a memba of FF since it opend in my ome town(gota b mur dan 5 yr).2 me FF do nothing 4 loyal customa,s jus rip em off.I will b sortin dis 2mz.Will i get anywer? I doubt it,untill i threaten 2 leave n den ill ave offers frown @ me left rite n centre.Derrr!Y dint i try dat sooner,i cud kick misen.LOL!X

    • Kassie

      It’s such a shame that I have to squint and frown my brow to understand what you’re saying…. it’s like reading a text from one of my teenage daughters and I am familiar with short texting (and I aint that old either) but it’s soooo not right for a message of this kind… it’s so much easier for everyone to read it in proper English… sorry, P*ssed off tonight and not in the mood for a different language!! K

      • Evie

        haha was reading this and i thought exactly the same Kassie, well said! 🙂

        • What has happened to the English language.I agree with Evie what a load of verbal rubbish.It would be easier to understand Welsh or Polish

      • I find these poor examples of the English Language, all too common. Do people not kknow how to write a proper letter any more? Shame.

  11. Rosie

    This is strange as a similar thing has happend to me and thought id look it up and found this website….i cancelled my direct Debit as i had no money in my account and didnt want to be charged but the next day i rang up and paid £30 to fitness first over the phone. however iv just checked my bank statement and they have took another £30 out the next day…but i have not given them permission to do this nor did i ring up and pay it again! so someone has taken my bank details…i rang fitness first and they said only one payment has been made…so where has this other £30 gone?!!!!!

  12. adam stanley

    i am just another who has had problems with fitness first with them taking money without informing me, ihave spoken to the same idiots as the others, to try to resolve the problems but to no avail.they have well trained staff in the art of buck passing, lies, and bullshit, and i think they need to be put on tv ie watchdog or something similar to show what a shower they are

  13. Liam Miller

    I recently left the Portsmouth Fitness First because i was moving 120 miles to go to uni.

    Handed in my letter of leave and gave 30 days notice as per terms and conditions. No worries here. A month later they take out money from my account even though i have quit. So i cancel the direct debit thinking they were just being slow.

    Some days later i get letters saying they didn’t recieve my months members fee and i owe them money. (The bloody cheek of it). I phone them up and explain that i have left and they owe me money which they unrightly took. Spoke to a lovely lady on the phone who said that they have recieved no evidence that i have quit but they will look into it and stop the letters.

    A couple of weeks later i get another letter saying they have passed on my details to creditors! :-O

    I phone them up again this time speaking to some misrable bloke. All he says is if i cannot provide proof that i quit i will have to pay up!

    Why? All because some twonk on the reception is too inadequet to file a letter.

    The manager is on holiday and the staff are “too busy” to look into it themselves . . . . (why am i not surprsied?)

    Needless to say i am down this weekend and on the monday so when the manager gets back he is going to be on the end of some choice words. I don’t expect this to be easy but then i’m not going to play easy either. Those thieving ******** are going to refund me. And thats a fact.

  14. Anon

    Mate, I have had the SAME problem.

    Signed up to FF with a friend in Luton, both of us gave 2 different sets of bank details … obviously I gave mine, and my mate gave his.

    1 month had gone, I was double charged? I thought it must of been a mistake so notified the staff who said it’s been sorted.

    Now the 2nd month came, I was double charged … so I am now £60 down. Right so, now I enquired properly and spoke to the girl that handles direct debits, she was nice and tried helping me out.

    BUT BUT BUT in the end I was told that my friend had been signed up on to my account so the money for his membership was coming out of my account … how the hell that happened I have no idea? we both filled in 2 seperate sheets so obviously their staff cocked it up.

    I was then told to get the money off my friend who obviously gave me it and then I had to manually cancel the direct debit myself.

    I still go to fitness first, but I thought i’d tell you my experience … I am sure that its illegal for them to put some one else on my account. I even have a carbon copy of my ‘sign up’ paper and no where does it say my friends joining the gym ON my expense! … TWATS.

  15. karen

    omg.. they really are cheaters.. fitness first in camberley.. doing the same as well..

  16. RL

    Fitness Frist have been equally appalling in dealing with my membership transfer – and it’s funny to hear how these phrases are familiar. Perhaps its something they are thought?! I’m currently on the phone to the Head Office and getting no response. Finding it hard to believe “your call is very important to us”….

  17. Paul McCann

    Hi Guys,

    Used to work for these bums. Believe me this happens everyday! When you fill out a cancellation form in club and are required to give one months notice, (pretty fair) the staff are suppossed to forward it to the admin dept. In most cases they do. Make sure you ask staff for photocopy!!!

    Fitness first are not a gym. They are a telesales team that happen to be next door to a gym ( what my manager told me on the first day!!!) The company base all their training and coaching around selling memberships. They use targeted sales tactics to get you hooked in from the “free day pass” to the structure of the call to the “Close” in the club, all designed to get you signed up for a year. After that they couldn’t give a damn whether you get fit or not.

    Over 25% of all those signed up never use the place and after the 12months is up, do they contact those customers. No way they just let them keep paying.

    Go join your local leisure centre, much better value for money!!!

  18. ann

    guys am really annoyed about the situation that has arise
    i think we have been moped of our money.
    i am facing the same situation at the moment and can u imagine they dont even care when ever i go there and ask to speak to the manager no one is never there. …forget the head office there is no responses ……..
    i am jus wondering if any of you kn were we can go or who we can connact to get them pay for what da a doing i will be greatful cos i need my money back pls help ……..thanks

  19. git

    just finished reading all these comments and they’re typical off what happens in sunny sydney australia not to mention the rest of australia as well.down under they’re known as finance first and as the ex employee said thats all they’re interested in period.the government here has a department of fair trade and practices which is for any citizen to complain to, who feels they’re getting ripped off by any business for whatever no cost to you on your behalf they will investigate your complaint and make a ruling.believe me it never gets to that stage because as soon as you mention you’re going to make a formal complaint to the department of fair trade and practices it’s as though you’ve said the magic words to end all your problems.all of a sudden everything is sorted and they’re so sorry for all the heartache they’ve caused, but in saying that any moneys owed i always tell people to get it in cash and believe it or not they’re only too happy to do that for the way the success rate of the above rave is 100% and it is accomplished in a matter of hopefully you have a similar government set up that you can use and play hard ball otherwise you’re just going to get dicked around.otherwise get together and go to a local tv program that thrives on stories like this as they absolutely hate bad publicity of any nature

  20. I can’t believe came upon this website just by chance.My 21 yr old son is having the same problem.He joined fitness first at the beginning of the year,and had 2 payments taken out of his account within 2 days,so he phoned and they apologised and said it would be refunded at the end of the week.Anyway 2 weeks went by and still no money refunded so he told them they had broken the terms under the contract and he was entitled to cancel his membership because of this and they told him by law he was entitled to do this and they would definatly refund him his money.This was7 months ago and inbetween then we have had letters threatening legal action letters demanding payment and one from a company sayin he had 7 days to make payment before being passed on to a company that recovers debts, oh and he did get a refund on the 5th nov before they activated the account the day after and took payment again.My son has made numerous phone calls to the actual gym and head office which was a waste of time because you cant speak to a manager at head office cos none are there,what a load of tripe.How can they carry on taking money out of peoples accounts and get away with it something has to be done to stop these thieves cos thats what they are.I personally am going to email watchdog and let them know what is going on and if anyone out there wants to do the same,then I think this is the only way we stop this company from carrying on doing this.

  21. robert

    I have had similar problems with the old dds at ff.
    For a national company you would expect much better customer service.
    This is unfortunately a typical and predictable response we now receive from customer service centres.

    I am so sick of these untrained idiots masquerading as customer service representatives.

    The blame lies with the owners/managers that set up the system, these stalling tactics and delays earn them fortunes with your money in there account.
    Leave ff and find a real gym that will take you seriously and treat you with respect.

  22. sian jones

    I’ve had the same problem in the wrexham club.

    someone rang me and set up a membership. Upon hearing their bad reputation i called the next day to cancel. The girl told me id have to come to the club with a letter! I must point out at this time that i hadnt signed anything to join so why did i need to sign something to cancel ???? so i went in just 3 days after (within the 10 days cancellation period) handed in the letter and completed a cancellation form. this was in august. now in decmber i get my first piece of correspondance from them a letter asking me to call cause i was in arrears due to the direct debit being cancelled !!!!! ive rang written and been into the club but oh they have no record of me cancelling ! what a suprise ! My best friend works there and even she cant get this sorted. this is ridiculous and im in the middle of writting to the local paper the office of fair trading oh
    watch dog

  23. Ameen

    I cancelled my direct debit 4 months ago and they have continued to charge me for each month. I signed up for 12 months which was a big mistake as the gym in portsmouth is sh*t! Between the hours of 4 p.m and 9 p.m it is impossible to go in the free weights section, and the everytime you try to use the sauna its always switched off. DO NOT sign up to fitness first, a whole lot more hassle than its worth!!

  24. Walid Deeb

    I will support ANY member who wishes to take these thieves to court. So rude on the phone, one lady- Lorraine shut the phone on my face!
    They will eventually pay the price for this. Write to bbc watchdog…

    Direct debit thieves is what i call them
    BBC watch dog need to do something about these criminals

  25. Karen

    London Mayfair branch has got a manager, who will call you and lick your ass to get you in. After I have paid, he didnt even bother to show me around. He promised to call for induction (always called on time before I paid-did everything to get me sign up), but never heard from him.
    Next day I came and ask him `Can you please get sb to show me around?` – He asked me to wait and than busy PT rush me around, try to promote himself, to get me spend more money.
    The week later, I visited the gym after my work. THERE WERE TWO CLEANERS RUNNING AROUND WITH THE VACUUM CLEANERS, and all mats were wet. Why dont they do it after the gym opening hours?
    Most of the videos on the treadmils are down, the same songs repeating over and over again.
    Fitness First is dissapointment. Hope they wake up soon, before they loose all af the customers.

  26. Darren

    I signed up to fitness first not a few hours ago 🙁

    I took the 3 month Gold

    Is there anything I can do to prevent losing money?

    • irene regan

      I am wondering with all these complaints why no one has contacted watchdog. These crooks need sorting out once and for all.


  27. Kris

    Well thank god I found this site now as I was going to sign up tomorrow and thought I would check out what the costs were. Looked on FF site and became suspicious when they did not give prices and just said “contact your local gym for more details.” Luckily I am in sales so thought I would try and find out more as I know of this tactic, then found this site, so looks like I will be joining the local leisure centre gym now….phew!

  28. Andrew

    I’ve been a member of FF for several years, recently moved to London and attempted to transfer my membership to Holborn in October. My new employers now pay towards the membership which naturally reduces my previous DD. Completed the DD mandate in October, nothing happened, then checked and the person who completed the form at Holborn had noted the date of change to take place as of October 09 instead of 08! Despite several attempts at the gym to complete a revised form it’s still not happened (‘not my remit’, ‘manager not here’, ‘manager just left’ and so on, get the picture). Seems a ploy to obtain more money for my membership. FF customer service sadly lacking – complain on their website and you can get ignored too!

  29. jules

    Im Having problems with Wrexham FF!! dropped membership payment down to the £14.95 level and they are still taking out £24.95 It’s been going on for 3months now.
    1st time they said they wud refund me within 28days, dat came+went dey took yet another overpayment out, still no refund. Went in to see them demanded my (now 2 refunds)bk and I was promised it would be in my account within 2days……yes u guessed, it failed to appear! right! Decided to give my months notice also cancelled my last DD and informed them of this, said if they deduct my last DD that wz due from what they owed me that would only leave them owing me £5. Yesterday to my horror i find out that they have taken another £25 WHAT? HOW? !!!! phoned the bank and apparently FF can and did fleece me legally and even if i cancel/renew my card they can still take my money! Bank advised me to go see FF. Have done and am told no more payment will come out as i am no longer a member after my cancellation. Staff really do have degrees in BULLSHIT trust me what has been said about FF is totally true, they are not interested in yhou once you’r a member!! Wz fobbed off with the usual MUPPET DRIBBLE and i am told my refund will be chased up….. will it????? I have so little faith. tomorrow i visit Trading Standards about them let’s see what happens.

  30. jules

    By the way guys, FF were recently in our local paper after a complaint that they had allowed under aged teenagers to sign up for direct debit membership!! How LOW do FF GO eh?? Begining to think they are ALIENS out to destroy YOUR bank accounts!!


  31. Jess

    The same thing happened to me when I tried to leave, sent them 1 months warning email then I apparently owe them £100 in order to terminate my contract. I cannot see anywhere in my contract that if I am relocating to a part of the country that does not have a fitness first (thank God) that I have to pay them for the priviledge. I’ve been through the whole months of them sending me debt collection although they were sneding them to my neighbour!! So i didn’t receive anything from them for months- they said they did not get my first letter- I sent one recorded post to eventually get a response. I think their head office is run by a bunch of people who have exercised so much their brains have worn away. DON’T EVER GET A MEMEBERSHIP WITH FITNESS FIRST- I may be fit now but my mental health has seriously been challenged! Start smoking instead it’s cheaper……and less stressful.

  32. jules

    Been reading more about FF and be warned they do not accept e-mail as notice.

    TRADING STANDARDS say to phone head office explain what the problem is and follow up with recorded delivery containing (photo copies ONLY)of any relevent info ie= contract, noting times, person spoken with etc also take a copy of the letter to your local FF.

  33. jules

    WARNING TO YOU ALL………………………………..

    DO NOT FREEZE UR MEMBERSHIP, this only extends it!!!!

    DO NOT DROP TO A LOWER TARRIF, this extends ur contract another 12 months!!!


  34. Angie

    I phoned my local FF in July 08 as my 12 month contract was coming to an end, and I wanted to cancel it.

    I was told that I needed to do this in writing, explaining my reasons for leaving and include my membership card with the letter.

    This I did and posted it off. I heard no more at all, so automatically assumed that it had been done.

    Having taken a few months to get some other direct debits sorted out in my account – I decided that I was going to close the account I had.

    Just this week come back from holiday to find that the Direct Debit has bounced as there were not enough funds in the account. As far as I was concerned, I’d cancelled the account with FF.

    Anyway, a row went on over the phone and I decided that (along with my friend) we’d go into the branch and sort it out.

    They said that the manager has locked the filing cabinet and had gone for the day, but has now booked me an appointment for Wednesday next week.

    I must admit, they did apologise for what had happened, but said they needed their manager to deal with it.

    We shall see what happens on Wednesday – I wasn’t very happy at the time (have calmed down a bit now though).

  35. jules



    Our problems are escalating with them, supposedly had confirmation from them that my membership IS cancelled LIARS!! I asked for the confirmation & they signed a 3 sheeted piece of paper presumably 1 for me 1 for them & 1 for head office. Had it up to the back teeth with them. After visiting Wrexham branch asking about this cancellation sheet as to wether it needed to be sent off they said it didn’t!! Well im no thicko so took it round to my solicitor, it’s in his hands now.

    Oh yes & in the meantime we have had a letter stating we are still a member & to pay our membership up to date!! Ha what happened to the cancelation then ??? LIARRRSS!!

    Dont understand why they did’nt just thief the money off us like before!

    ANGIE seek advice from trading standards or OFT (office of fair trading) before you sit and wait for them to do something……….. Otherwise FF will take advantage of dragging it on getting yet more money off you.

  36. Blaise

    Same, here, havent used the gym, as the poorest service ever???? never actually had even told what to do, so, the dozen poeple walking around acting like gods gifts got on my nerves, purchase few “deals” without getting the so called free stuff as “they ran out” ???? so decided to pay the rest of my year as i agreed. BUT… 3 months before my year due, i leave notice…. check and told i have to leave another, only 1 month before ???? do that, i am told i have to take an appointment with the manager ??? but left town so travel back, and now told to send another notice in writting, i do that, then travel back there to check, still 1month to go ???? and then call head office as my letter disappeared and so i am told to go to the bank an cancel the direct debit. Unhappy with the service, i call head office and i am confirmed to do so… When finally relief its over …. Guess what, i receive a letter that i owe them money ???? call them again and still i am now in final requesr for payment before collection procedures. SO YES, SORRY BUT FITNESS FIRST ARE THIEVES, and god you do have to be STUPID TO WORK THERE. certainly INCOMPETENT. shame coz it could be good if they had ANY care for customers.

  37. tunnel rat


    Has anyone successfully cancelled their membership?

    What are the steps we have to take for a successful termination of the contract?

    And how can we prevent FF from continually taking payments off us through DD?

    All help appreciated.

    • anon

      I managed to quit successfully, but only because I’d heard they were amoral and would screw you for as much money as they could. I wrote my month’s notice, and on it said “I am sending copies of this letter to my bank manager* and my solicitor**. The last payment will be taken from my account on 1 April 2008, and my direct debit will be cancelled on 2 April 2008”. In my letter to the bank manager, I explained why I was doing this (i.e. I’d heard it was hard to quit FF), and if FF tried to take money from me after 2 April 2008, the bank was to inform me asap.
      Cancelled the DD, never heard from FF again.

      *I did do this.
      **I didn’t do this, I don’t have one. But it’s still a good idea to let them think you have legal representation.

      Basically, you’ve got to let them know that other people will be receiving proof that you cancelled. They then (hopefully) won’t dare try to do anything illegal and then claim “they didn’t receive the cancellation letter and there’s no proof it was sent”.

    • hi,i’v just reiceved a letter from a dept collecting sevice saying i owe ff £52,I told them i was leaving in december, i’d finished my contract and was paying month by month dd.So i recieved a letter in january saying i owe £29.95 i rang them and told them the situation only to recieve in febuary a letter from a dept collecting agency saying i owe £52,the £29.95 and the rest for canceling the dd,they said i had to give one months notice and as for the contract it did’nt matter even if you don’t sign another contract it automatically extends,so they’ve got you by the balls so i’v had to pay for a service i’v not very careful with these people,it was’nt value for money before and now they’ve put it up ?? i won’t be going back to hillsborogh..sheffield AGAIN…

  38. Staff

    Hi, How to put this,
    I have recently left fitness first were i have been for the past 7 months as a sales manager, Not to far from leeds infact.
    All i can say is Fitness First policies are completely out of order.

  39. M Brown

    This is scaring the hell out of me.. I cancelled my membership, I got my mum to take a letter into the Romford branch and hand it to someone, she got their name and everything. Having notified cancellation, I cancelled my direct debit. FF then attempted to take a payment by DD on 21st Jan and then again last week. Having failed at that, they then took a payment off of my card, which I phoned and complained about to Head office as I did not get any notification from Romford that I owed any fees. Someone from the branch was supposed to contact me by the weekend and surprise surprise they haven’t done so. I have just gone to the lengths of cancelling my bank card and getting a new one issued with a difference card number in order not to have any further problems with this company. I would seriously advise against signing up, it has caused me so much grief already and I’m £37 down.

  40. Gemma

    I successfully cancelled my direct debit with ff in hull after the year was up. I rang up just before the month and spoke to a woman and was told i had to send it in writing. I did just as a simple letter and then cancelled my direct debit after what should have been the last payment.I then later received a letter off them stating i still owed them a months membership fee which i just ripped up, threw away and ignored. I received another few letters again ignoring them and have never heard anything from them since. I was thinking of signing back up but now ive def changed my mind.

  41. jules


    knowing what they are like u could find they get a debt company onto u. It’s wrong but from info iv seen on the net about FF they could do :-0

    My solicitor is still waitng for a response from FF not supprising really…they are NEVER helpfull, customer service is appauling!!!

    oh yes by coincidece my solicitor had problems with FF last yr so hopefully my corner will be fought well.

  42. Guy

    Dear All,
    I am currenlty experiancing the irrisponsible behaviour of ff. I left the country on business urgently nd thus could not get into the branch to cancell. i rang the branch manager and explained who happily agreed ot let me e-mail my canelation ( his suggestion) now 2 months later they are threating me with debt collectors within 7 days. I suggest as I have done you e-mail all of these stating your objections on a regular basis until action is taken. it is an absolut disgrace. I have sent ll of these inept anagers a e-mail and have recieved no response. I will ontinue to send one per day to each of them followed by a calll at the end of the day util either they fold or have a solicitor bar me from contacting them.

    Contact: John Gamble (Managing director)
    Telephone: 01202 845103

    Contact: Colin Waggett (CEO)
    Contact: Charlotte Clark
    Telephone: 01202 845103

    Contact: Sarah Dillon
    Telephone: 01202 845103

    • Emily

      I’m also a victim here. Any replies from the CEO? I’m thinking of emailing the shareholders as well of there’s no reply.

  43. jules

    Hi everyone;

    just wondering if any of u guys have managed to get FF off ur backs with succsses?

    We had a txt from FF 2day saying they haven’t recieved our January payment!!!

    They have actually already thieved that payment by using our switch card details(they’d had this on a previous occasion)! Called my solicitor and updated her. FF are not giving any response to her letters as yet!!

  44. Mick

    Fitness First gyms are run by kids and greedy sales people.
    These days never do Direct debits..
    Cash is King

  45. Sarah

    I had the same problem with AA. I cancelled my breakdown cover when it came up for renewal as i got rid of my car and went to university. Everything was fine, but a year later (yes, a year) when the cover would have been up for renewal had I not cancelled it, AA used the details they had of me on file to set up a direct debit for breakdown cover on a car that was no longer mine! When i called them to point out the mistake and demand a refund, they instead cancelled the direct debit and took the full years amount out of my bank in one go. I called them back and they tried to charge me a £30 admin fee for a refund. I didn’t get all my money back and proof that i have been permanently deleted from their systems until I got trading standards and the fraud department of my bank involved. my advice is to contact everyone and get as many centres involved at one time – trading standards, banks, watchdog, local and national press etc. you’re more likely to get a results from the company is you tell them you have contacted these people.

  46. jules


    Ur brill, I e-mailed John Gamble on the address u gave above never expecting a response knowing the hasstle i have had with them!

    I had a response and his team have been dare i say it GREAT. My solicitor has been ignored/avoided by wrexham FF maybe now we will be able to have closure on this mess they have left me in!!

  47. diane

    Thank goodness I decided to look at the ff website before joining up and came across this.Its disgusting the way you have all been dealt with (or not as the case maybe) I will definately not be joining now.

  48. Egill

    I signed up for 3 months okt 2008. I have been trying to quit my membership since Jan 2009.

    I had called them twice to cancel my membership.
    Of course calling does not work.
    So I went down there.
    The guy on the front desk at my local gym lied to me when I wanted to fill out that stupid cancelation form. He showed me his Computer screen where it said my membership has been canceled. I asked: Dont I need to fill out a cancelation form? He: No, there is no need to do that your membership has been canceled. So I asked if I would be charge in March and he said no. This was in start of February. I also canceled my DD at my Bank!

    I was charged for March. Them using my credid card details and reinstalling the Direct Debit.

    So I called the Manager of my gym in Covent Garden to day to try sort this crap out. He basicly was no help at all and told me to call the Head Office. I did that as well. Where she said that I had given them the premission to take money of my account because I was gona contenu my membership with them!
    Wich is untrue, I been trying to cancel it.
    She told me that they are gona charge me for April aswell! Im going down to my local gym after work and give them shit!

    They will have charged me for 5 months if they do April aswell without me even using the freaking gym.

    x5 £47.50 = They get free £237.5 from my account.

    FF does not give a shit about you! They just want your money! Do not join this gym!

  49. Diddy

    Just a thought though. Did you instruct your bank to honour any payments out of your closed account? If not, then it is the banks fault as well and not entirely Fitness First’s.
    What you should have done is instruct your bank that any direct debits from the account you were closing should be monitored and any that continue after closure should be rejected and you informed. You obviously did not do this and therefore it is also your fault.
    Fitness First made a mistake.
    You and your bank were negligent.
    End of story.

    • mou

      Hi Diddy

      The account wasn’t closed, I wasn’t using it for direct debits anymore and so it was empty. And no, I didn’t instruct my bank to “monitor my account”. To even suggest I should is ridiculous – I cancelled a direct debit payment to a “reputable” company, and they screwed me. I shouldn’t have to take precautions like that – otherwise why didn’t I just close my account completely and be done with it? Direct Debits are supposed to be a safe, easy way to make payments and they have a code of conduct for companies using them.

      So no, I wasn’t negligent because I did everything I’m required by law to do. And my bank wasn’t negligent because they tried to take a Direct Debit from an active account. Fitness first made a mistake? Read the comments above, and check out the other sites that talk about the same things happening – if this was a mistake every single time, then Fitness First may be acting negligently themselves as its clear the people they are allowing the set these direct debits up are untrained and unaware of the rules surrounding them.

      Theres no-one to blame here but Fitness First. End of story.

  50. those a**h***s won’t care about their members after you’ve signed with them! see my horrible experience here

  51. John M

    Check out the “Direct Debit Guarantee”. Most big banks are on the scheme. If there is foul play by either bank or originator (FF for ex) you can demand a full immediate refund from your bank.
    Bank usually denies all knowledge. Then tell them that you’ve read about the scheme on their website.
    Press hard and bank will credit you charges and incorrect debits there and then.

  52. Annonymous

    Fitness First Uxbridge – Beware!! hopeless customer service and daylight robbers… Similar DD problems!

  53. shaz

    want the best ashford kent
    … we had free trial did NOT set up direct debit …. canceled but they tried to take the money, they threatened court for the loss of a whole years fees, got debt collector firm calling …. all because they said they had DD set up
    they asked if we had our copy of the form … we couldnt find it said no. so they produced theirs with a Signature in the DD box ….. not ours
    luckily we did find our copy and were able to prove to head office that Ashford FF had FORGED the signature
    they refunded the DD costs and promised to investigate
    never heard again

    • mou

      Thats crazy! By forging a signature surely that could be classed as fraud?

      Have you reported it to the police?

  54. Seb

    I have had the same problem with my Direct Debit… But more recently I have just quit “FITNESS LAST PAYMENT FIRST” as I received an abusive TXT message from a personal trainer because I had to cancel a training session because I was ill… I made the complaint to the Head office in Poole which is the GYM I am a member at…the women offered me very little in the way of an appology, be it membership reduction or something similar, the only thing she offered me was advice.. “WHY DONT YOU USE THE GYM IN BOURNEMOUTH”, I felt like saying why don’t you “F**K OFF”…I cancelled my membership and was informed I would have to pay an extra months membership…..Where do I stand with this???

  55. Seb

    I have had the same problem with my Direct Debit… But more recently I have just quit “FITNESS LAST PAYMENT FIRST” as I received an abusive TXT message from a personal trainer because I had to cancel a training session because I was ill… I made the complaint to the Head office in Poole which is the GYM I am a member at…the women offered me very little in the way of an appology, be it membership reduction or something similar, the only thing she offered me was advice.. “WHY DONT YOU USE THE GYM

  56. Deleep Kumar

    This is the same type of thing happening in US, This month I found out they charged extra $20.00 from my account, I called and requested an explanation and the women said that is an ” enhancement” fee . I asked her why would thay charge me enhance their business, If they want to enhance the business and attract more clients they have to take it out of their profit and expand the business, they are nothing but Highway robbers- Please, please make sure to read all fine prints in your contracts before signing it, otherswise you will be trapped like me. I am also going to cancel my direct debit.


    I CANCELLED my membership 19 MONTHS AGO by signing all the relevant forms etc. I stopped using that bank account so had no reason to check it.

    This week I have relised to my utter madness that Fitness First did not cancel the membership and have continued to charge me £24 every month for the last 19 months, thats £456 they owe me!!!!!

    Tried numerous times to speak with the various people at Fitness First Head Office…am getting absolutely nowhere! Keep getting put on hold by them, phone calls not returned, rude staff members who keep trying to make excuses.


    £456 is owed to me by Fitness First. How would you feel???

  58. Alex

    The difference between direct debits and standing orders is that a dd can only be changed or moved with the agreement of both parties, read the dd agreement that is standard with any dd.

    Unfortunately you’re in the wrong by changing your dd without first informing the other party (in this case ff)

    • mou


      Thanks for your comments. However, its worth pointing out that you are wrong. I base that on the fact that I have a Direct Debit agreement in front of me that states:

      You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by writing to your Bank or Building Society.
      Please also send a copy of your letter to us.

      What you’re probably referring to is Fitness Firsts insistence that you give 1 months notice before ending your contract. However, I did not end my contract, I just switched bank accounts. I informed Fitness First of this at the time, which raises the question – why did they agree I could continue paying over the counter, instead of insisting there and then that I give them my new bank details?

  59. Frustrated of Camberley

    Fitness first are a sham!….I cancelled my DD and they took a card payment without me or my card being there.

    I think this is a shady practice, but reading the very small print on the back of the contract they can apparently do this. Their customer service is dreadful, they don’t call back and the airheads who work in the one in Camberley need some customer care training asap…maybe sitting on a reception desk looking gormless is all they are fit for.


  60. Sian


    This is a reply for Jules, or anyone else having problems with the wrexham branch.

    In the end I requested copy of the application form which i did actually get (very suprised) and the application form had the wrong date of birth, address(my neighbours) and had been signed(not by me as the sale was over the phone and I never went in to sign anything)…but they still had the cheak to say it was my membership !!!! to add insult my name was spelt Sain ! so not only did i have a membership in the wrong name, the wrong address, the wrong date of birth, but everytime i rang and they asked for security questions, they broke DPA cause non of the answers i gave them where the ones they had ! but yet they still insistied I had a membership !

    Even took my passport in to show that it wasnt my signature on the application. But they must be blind as they thought the signature was the same !

    In the end the only thing that worked was a family memeber going in and threatening solicitors !

    They have now thankfully left me alone (took over 6 months though and I think I’m one of the lucky ones).

    Wrote a letter of complaint recorded deliverly but didnt get a response never mind an apology !

  61. Nelly

    They have to be the most shocking fitness outfit I have ever known!

    I signed for both my Mrs and me with the verbal agreement that we may have to leave 9 months after joining as my Mrs UK visa was not guaranteed (shes a kiwi)…The agreement was – If the visa was not granted or we decided to move back to New Zealand we qualified as we were moving outside of a 10 mile radius. All we would have to do was to complete a form, prove we were leaving and give at least a month notice….Sounds easy Aye!!!

    This is backed up by

    We decided we would move back to NZ as our 1st child is approaching….All through our membership I have been liasing with staff at FF (We now call them F***ing F***wits) over the matter. They said Yep! no problem just bring your proof into FF Cribbs Causeway, Bristol. We will copy all the documents and forward them on to some other clueless W***er at head office (Not exactly what they said but might as well have been).

    My partner and i have now been out of the UK since January, and my folks have been threatened to be black listed/As have the Mrs and me – Bayliffs around ect ect…My Bank account has been closed – my fingers are worn down by emails – Voice like Macy Gray from talking about it/complaining…what is going on??? I have been passed around from pillar to post but nobody has a clue what year it is – let alone why i am still being persued

    The deatils taken in to FF included – flight details – Passports (Visa’s), Frieght information, NZ Bank Accounts, Proof of where we were going to live plus my legal info for my NZ Visa….and I signed the leaving FF form…What else did they want – Me to buy them a seat next to me on the flight out here to prove we had left???

    Anyway Im still trying to sort this crap out! Avoid FF and if anyone has any ideas what my next step could be…it would be greatly appreciated…

    Word of warning Dont trust smart arsed managers at these branches either – They are no different to the 16 year olds on front dest or musclebound scrubs on shop floor

  62. Dylan

    I cancelled my membership at Kingly Street in London (they force you to go to the gym and do this and fill out a form in person) and stopped my direct debit payments. They telephoned me to say I owed them an extra month’s payment, and asked me to go back to the gym to pay. Since then, they’ve started up a new direct debit on my account and taken two months’ money!! Spoke to Kingly Street and they said they had no record of my cancellation form, and that the new direct debits are started by computer, and there’s no way they can stop it!! I do consider this fraudulent activity on my account and they’d better refund that money quickly.

  63. Dylan

    Went to the gym today and attempted to leave for a second time. They charged me £131.50 — two months’ membership and £25 penalty for missing payment in January. That’s on top of the £86.50 taken from my account in February and March after I tried to leave the first time. Sweet. Settled in full because I don’t want any new direct debits appearing. Hopefully that’s an end to the sorry saga, we’ll see.

  64. jules

    or anyone else needing to contact NON MUPPET FF staff!!!

    Please see the one of the above thread by GUY DATED feb 20th 2009.

    I did manage to have some success contacting one of the e-mails given,amazingly I actually had a response and I ask’d them to speak with my solicitor regarding the problems they had given me>

    At todays date they have solved part of my issues but I guess my solicitor is still continuing to have as much difficulties as the rest of us as it’s all still ongoing……… why am I not supprised??

  65. keller


    Fitness First really isn’t that bad.
    To be fair, when you join up you do agree to all the terms and conditions of the membership which are stated in black and white on the back of the membership form.

    If you want to cancel you do need to fill in a departure form, like it says in your terms and conditions, this will also act as proof of cancellation as you cannot proove that you have sent in a cancellation letter.

    You also get a signed receipt which states the cancellation date.

    In terms of credit card payments, again we give Fitness First permission to take card payments when we join up.

    I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about. There are some really lovely Fitness First across the country and some really lovely staff members who are passionate about Fitness and really do care. Why so negative. You wouldn’t have joined in the first place if it was that bad, seriously.

    • mou

      To be fair I don’t have a problem with most of the staff, and to this day I’m still a member – but only because the only alternative is £20 a month more and I don’t go regularly enough to justify it!

      The problem most of the people here have had is the bizarre, inconsistent and deceitful cancellation policies some of the clubs seem to operate. It doesn’t matter how much the fitness staff care about you, treating paying customers the way they’ve treated some of these people is a disgrace and just plain unacceptable.

    • Kassie

      It’s nothing to do to with the lovely staff in ‘some’ of the branches, it’s to do with the fraudulent and illegal measures they take to get money from us…… they are shoisters 100%!!!!!

  66. Himani

    Hi all,

    I joined Fitness First, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon- India (asia). The executive while propsosing the offer very conviniently forgot to tell me that by taking my credit card for crediting the joining,admin and membership fees they are not only swiping it but also making me involuntarily sign up for direct credit (ECS). I did not sign up anywhere for his ‘facility’. When I confronted the excec. about this, he said that he told me. Not only this, but he also told me that i need to continue my membership for atleast 10 months else I will be penalized with INR 5000. These guys are FRAUD.

    I have called my bank, gotten my credit card cancelled and complained against these people o blacklist them.

  67. keller

    yeah, but there are horror stories with most big international companies, take mcdonalds for example, how many times ahve you heard that they do things to your food or that there’s chicken fat in the milkshakes?

    • mou

      So, Keller, are you saying that because “all companies make mistakes” that justifies their actions?

      Yes, I’ve heard of horror stories from places like McDonalds where dead animals turn up in food, etc. And do you know what happened next? McDonalds apologised, compensated, launched a full investigation and promised it would never happen again. Regardless of whether it did or not, they made the effort to at least look like they gave a fuck.

      What do Fitness First do when they fuck you over? They deny it. Then they threaten you with court action. How many McDonalds customers were sued after finding mice in their burgers? Your example actually helps to highlight how poorly Fitness First handle PR.

      So let me ask you a question Keller – if you followed Fitness First’s terms and conditions, cancelled your contract exactly how they asked you to then found out 2 months later they’ve re-set up the Direct Debit, are denying you ever cancelled and are threatening you with court action for non-payment – how do you think you’d react?

      • jules

        Here Here Mo 🙂 ur so spot on with what u say, oh yeah great thread u set up…. just wish I@d come across it before joining FF!!

        As for u “KELLER” are u the son of Fitness First or are u just from LA LA LAND?

        It’s very obvious you’ve not read all the above thoroughly, actually it’s all probably beyond your comprehension!!! If u read properly, you will see that a lot of people did follow through the correct procedures and even then FF could’nt get things right.

        So ms or mr KELLER untill you have been misled, lied to, ignored, given false information by FF Muppets……… DONT EVEN GO THERE as you haven’t got a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  68. keller

    I have read, I do not live in any lala land or any such thing. I am also not stupid so plese do not try to insinuate that I am, I was in no way rude to any of you guys

    If you did follow the terms of cancellation properly then you qould have a signed copy of the form you’re meant to fill in to cancel as PROOF.

    If payments do continue, you have proof.

    I stumbled across this site by accident and thought it was OTT to talk so harshly about a company that has helped millions of people world wide

    Whcih gyms do you even go to?

    • Dylan

      Keller. Since you ask, I’ve have joined the gym at my local university in London. It’s spacious and well equipped, cheaper than FF, it smells nice, the changing rooms are lovely, and it never seems to get busy and certainly doesn’t get rammed at lunchtimes and after work. Perfect!

    • mou

      Keller, I am well within my rights to cancel a Direct Debit whenever I wish – Fitness Firsts terms and conditions do not say that I have to continue using the same bank account for the rest of my life!

      And since I wasn’t trying to cancel my membership – something you’ve failed to grasp thus far – there was no need to fill in a “departure request form”. I spoke to the head office and I spoke to the club, and both did not have a problem with me cancelling and paying over the counter.

      Regardless of my actions, my bank informs me that Fitness First are NOT within their rights to re-set up the Direct Debit without first informing me , which they didn’t do. And I would assume that the call I got from the head of their customer services team shortly after I posted this article means they may well agree with me.

  69. Moh

    I have been caught by the traps set up by FF on direct debit. My membership was cancelled in September and I have received official confirmation from the head office. I have then cancelled my direct debit online as well. I was very happy until in April I found on my bank statement that money has been taken from my account and a direct debit set up again. WTF!!!Head office told me that it was an admin mistake…Under the data protection Act I am asking personal Information held on me including all my account details. I am unsure of how long they can keep these information on their system but as far as I know they can’t set up a direct debit on your account without your consent. There is a breach of the act and they are using your personal details inappropriately and without your knowledge.
    I will seek advice from The information commissioners office ICO and see if there has been any breach of the law and will take matters even to court if there is the need.I believe they are governed by the FSA and I will report it to all governing bodies.


  70. Keller

    Fair enough.
    I don’t howver agree that these are acts of fraud tbh.
    If your membership, for whatever reason doesn’t get paid and you fall into a cancelled status then in order for you to be reverted back to an ok status a DD mandate mut be reestashed, if you don’t want the money to come out of the DD account then you need to credit your membership account so the monthly cost comes off of that rather than out of your bank account.

    But you are required to fill in a form for this, no form no proof.
    Thisworks ied the details, but n your favour if you chang

    • mou

      Fair point Keller. I’m now going to quote a couple of things I’ve already said:

      I spoke to the club, and both did not have a problem with me cancelling and paying over the counter

      (Do you think if, as you say “for you to be reverted back to an ok status a DD mandate mut be reestashed”, they should have told me this, instead of lying and saying it’d be ok?)

      my bank informs me that Fitness First are NOT within their rights to re-set up the Direct Debit without first informing me , which they didn’t do

      (By resubmitting the direct debit, they are stating that I have given permission for the payment to be set up. I gave no such permission – in fact, I told them that account was no longer being used – so they lied in order to get their fingers into my bank account, which constitutes fraud.)

      Keller: Do you work for Fitness First? Stating:

      for you to be reverted back to an ok status a DD mandate mut be reestashed (sic)

      … shows an inside knowledge of the Fitness First billing processes, so I assume you work/have worked for them? It doesn’t matter either way to me, I have no issue with the desk staff/personal trainers.

  71. Keller

    but they do fuck everyone over

  72. Keller

    Having read all of re comments people have left. Mou, what your saying is true and yes what ff do sometimes is wrong. But there are some things that people are moaning about that tbh they agreed to when they joined. I’d imagine that the staff are so unhelpful and more of a hinderence because that’s how they’ve been trained. They probably think that members will give up trying and just keep paying

    The best thing to do if your thinking about joining a gym and have the money to invest in your fitness is to buy some free weights. Buy mens health/fitness magazine and do it yourself.

    That way fuckyou first can’t rinse tour money unlawfully

    • mou

      Sadly, you’re right – most of the gripes people have with Fitness First (not included the points I listed above) are noted in the terms and conditions. Although I still can’t help thinking that when the Direct Debit guarantee says you can cancel at any time by informing the company, Fitness First have a damn cheek insisting you jump through hoops filling out forms and having them signed by the manager, just so they can insist that you have to pay another months fees because its too late to cancel that month – some people have been told this 5 days after their billing date, implying Fitness First administration takes over 25 days to cancel a membership. I call bullshit on that one.

      One day I firmly believe they’ll piss off the wrong person, who knows the law well and can challenge it in court. And when it does, Fitness First are going to open themselves up to a number of legal challenges for back-dated refunds. And they’ll have no-one to blame but themselves…

  73. seema

    A friend and I joined the Luton branch for 3 months last Novemeber. No one told us that at the end of 3 months you have to inform FF to cancel the contract! After 3 months I cancelled my DD on line. My friend did the same. Then we got text messages from FF asking us to go and see them. When we went to the Luton branch, they told us that they had got my membership fee from my bank but not my friend’s, and asked her to pay up. I went to my bank asking them how FF managed to get money while I had cancelled my DD. They said that since FF had my card details they could get the money, although I had not signed for that transaction. This is fraud, they were not supposed to do that.

    If you want to join the Fitness First pay over the counter, don’t give them your bank account details.

    I had to give another month membership fee, they said if i did not they would ask a debt collector to do that for them.

    If it is a 3 month contract why did I have to notify them? Why the law does not protect us while so many people are pissed off with fitness first.

    How about starting a petition against them?!

  74. I went to cottons near london bridge last week and some rude as fuck polish girl serving on the counter there was about to be punched through the plate glass window – by me !
    Their staff are pretty rude. They seem to bite their lips and seeth when serving you.
    Pay them more or get rid of the dead weight i say.

  75. Citizen Wayne

    Must-see Fitness First protest video on Youtube – we’re all in the same boat it seems….

  76. Josh

    Like many others I signed up for what I was led to believe would be a 3 month contract. I made it explicitly clear to the guy signing me up at the London Charing Cross branch that I only wanted 3 months, not any longer as I was due to deploy to Afghanistan shortly after! He said this was fine and assured me 100% that the contract I was signing was only for three months, all I would need to do is cancel the DD. He took my debit card number to ‘take pay admin fees today’ but said don’t worry about that we won’t use it for anything else mate’.
    Come three months I cancel the DD and think nothing more of it. However following that, much to my horror they begin taking money off my debit card. Thinking there had been a genuine mistake I calmly and politely called customer services, the operator informed me almost gleefully that I had actually signed a 12 month contract. I reminded her that I had been sold a 3 month contract and asked her to bring the paperwork up on her screen and check it for me. ‘no, why should I?’ she replied. I was quite taken aback by this response and asked her to repeat it, which she did adding ‘you should have read the small print’. I politely remarked that this was unfair at which point the phone was put down on me!! It dawned upon me at this point that I was unlikely to ever see the money again and that I had fallen victim to a carefully orchestrated scam.

    The usual run of endless telephone calls to branch, head office back to branch again ensued without result. When visiting the charing cross road branch for the final time to complete the membership termination forms I had what remains the single most shocking if not down right disturbing customer service experience of my life. I explained, in a calm and polite manner again to the woman that I felt I was being treated very unfairly and warned that I would be reporting this to trading standards. She started talking over and down to me whilst I was mid sentence and I interjected with a simple ‘but’ then before I could say anything else she squared up to me aggressively to within half an inch of my face and shouted ‘IF YOU TALK OVER ME AGAIN ILL HAVE YOU REMOVED FROM THE PREMISES, IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?’ within earshot of other customers. Pretty disturbing stuff. She appeared pleased that they had managed to con me and kept repeating ‘well let that be a lesson to you, read the small print next time’ as if they had a right to deliberately mislead me and mis-sell me a product. In fact they appeared to be suggesting that they had done me a favour by exposing my apparent naivety.

    As a finishing touch, as I was leaving, clearly in an agitated state by this stage she grinningly called out some sort of contrived company slogan along the lines of ‘remember to keep a little fitness in your life, bye!’ a pathetic attempt to provoke me and dig the knife in a little deeper. Psycho bitch. I see from Wikipedia that there are instances of staff (allegedly) actually assaulting members.

    That day I filed my report to trading standards and the office of fair trading. This happened almost 2 years ago, but it is a testament that to this day I am sufficiently revolted at this company enough to seek this forum out to post this as a warning to others. I’m aghast to see that the same things is still happening.

    If I had filmed the downright misleading assurances given to me during sign up I’m confident that this would constitute sufficient evidence to arrest those involved for offences under the 2006 fraud act (I am a former police fraud investigator btw). Steer well clear of this company and spread the message religiously to all family and friends. This company need to be put out of business to protect the public, they are down-right evil and are totally void of humanity. Through forums like this, particularly in the current economic climate, we can help achieve that.

    • Sam Danielles

      Dear friend,

      I may not be linguistically sound in English as much as you are in expressing the actual emotioanl catastrophy youve experienced, since I am quite new to UK.
      I work for a high street bank and personally help hundreds of customers to cancel direct debits from FF. I am pretty sure that the numbers can be attributed to 80% of all DD cancellations.

      While being thankful for you, for not using filth in this public forum (although needed) I must share some understanding with you.

      Fitness First, Virgin media and few other companies come first in stripping customers to the bone, once they tie em up for a contract. As a bank we are well trained to handle complaints and we are well trained to speak to people. We learn and study a lot about how to keep the full transparency of any contract, and if we found that a customer is sold a product “accidently” (which is ridiculous anyway) we refund all the charges paid by the customer, and every front office employee is fully authorized to do such an arrangement.

      I came from a Sri Lanka, to work in the UK, since the country itself is a genuinely welcoming place and it is a real pleasure to work with british people.
      But, as one of the most pathetic and dusgusting example of real British Quality of customer-care & and social ethics, this organization amazingly survives to be a real cancer in the society. There are enough customers to feed its market for these fraudsters and I am fedup of makin hundreds of indemnity claims for DDs taken out by FF.

      I am pretty confident that your dissatisfaction has never been compensated by any organisation (OFT or any regulatory body) and it has simply gone to your history as a dirty memory. Am I correct?
      As for most customers, you also might have absorbed the loss and the disgrace, with the hope that you will never ever deal with such shit again. Am I true?

      Well, as a person dealing with some regulatory bodies, I am not that tollerant towards such tumours.
      Fingers crossed for results of what we have already done..



  77. jules

    josh wow!!

    ur treatment was real shit and im shocked although i shouldn’t be seeing as i’ve read all the above threads & also my own treatment. I pray and hope somebody eventually knocked off the Psycho’s block for the atitude she gave you and probably everyone else!!

    Update on me was………………. no response to numerous solicitor letters and i’ve let it drop saddly. only reason is, I have because since dear “GUY” revealed the e-mail addresses on the thread (further above)I amazingly had our contract cancelled and arrears wiped off. I never received the money FF owed me but I feel thankfull they are off our backs now thanks to me contacting John Gamble directly!!

    Like you Josh I still read these threads to see if the low lifes are still treating people the same………………and they are!!!

  78. Keller

    Fitness first only care about themselves and don’t give a flying fuck about any one else. Even working there is a nightmare. They may be one of the worlds leading health clubs/bull shitters but we are in a recession. And with the amount of law suits that they have stacked up against them they will go down. Their response to the recession was to raise the membership prices not once but twice in the past few months. Raisethe prices of all there merchandise. Shut earlier on Fridays Saturdays and Sundays. Oh and cut all the staffs hours and increase the targets. Shitness first 100% no doubt

  79. Kassie

    The bastards are trying to screw me!! I cancelled my membership afer a year back in May last year, didn’t realise until December that they were still taking the DD from my A/C. I immediately cancelled my DD and then started to receive the threatening letters. I had a huge discussion with the manager (London City Branch – Devonshire Square EC2)and she said ‘lets leave the account as it is and I’ll put it on hold for 2 months and we’ll discus then’….. she also offered me private trainers for free etc etc…. anyway, the 2 months freezing have just expired and I checked me on-line bank statements and lo behold… Fitness F*cking F*cksters have taken 39 quid from my account, through a flammin direct debit, one that I have given no authrorisation or acceptance to and after reading all these messages, I defo agree that it is fraudulent. My bank hve been great and are fully refunding the money to me but we’ll see what happens with FF with regard to my complaint!! Will revert…. Karen.

    • Sam Danielles

      I am tired of replying to the responses, but i need say this to you.
      I work for a bank where 90% of DD cancellations we do are FFFF (you know what it menas)
      As a bank we are fed up of indemnity claims, but FF is a real virtue of a national level headache to all of us.
      Keep all dealings (may be ff may be with a bank.. anything..) on PAPER BASED RECORDS and make a complaint to the office of fair trading (

      when there is a sufficient number of such shouts come to OFT, they raise it as a major case and you will be compensated for every loss u confronted.

      Its simple and makes a big sense to the future foolish customers who go to FF to get their fat burnt..

      do it today itself.

  80. satisfied

    In all of the responses iv read i totally disagree i enjoy fitness first and the service it gives u shunt of cancelled ur direct debit u should of informed the club first!! idiot

  81. Keller

    Fitness first are nothing but money grabbing shits. Get your bank to do an indemnity

  82. Jules


    Wait and see what happens when YOU CANCEL ur membership!!

    I fear you could be caught out the same…..Dont run before you can walk!!”

  83. KB

    I am SO mad at fitness first!

    My little sister joined on 5th May on a 3 month contract. On the day she joined, they said she had to write a cheque for £37 to cover her first month because of the date she had joined and the time it would take to set up the DD. They also promised her an induction before she was able to start using the gym equipment.

    The next day she went for her induction, as promised, and as the staff were “busy” they told her that she didn’t need an induction because my mum was a member too, she could “show her the ropes”!!!!!

    Then on Saturday 9th May, just four days later, she decided that she no longer wanted to go. Bearing in mind you get 10 days in which to cancel. So we phoned the branch and they said we’d have to go in and sign the cancellation documents in order to cancel. So we went straight there, only to be told that the “membership manager” was unavailable and that she would call us back on monday! My sister left a signed note with them, outlining her joining date, and her cancellation request date with her telephone number.

    By monday, we had stil not heard anything, so, conscious of the fact that we were running out of time due to the 10 day period, she visited again. The membership manager pulled out a copy of her contract and said that she couldn’t cancel as she had joined on April 18th (over 10 days ago) and that she was tied in to a 12 month contract. Luckily my sister asked for a copy of that contract because it most definately wasn’t the same one she had.

    When she got home, she realised that Fitness First had changed the date on their version of the contract, and backdated it, as well as changing the contract term from 3 months to 12 months!

    So, if what they are saying is right, and she really did sign up to a 12 month contract, why is the amount that she is paying higher!? They offer a discounted prive when you opt for 12 months over 3 months – so why is that the case?!

    As you can imagine, I was livid! Thats forgery! I have written a very angry letter to them, requesting cancellation immediately, and giving them a copy of both my contract and the fitness first version, and threatening them with legal action. I have also contacted Watchdog – after reading all the negative comments that seem to be plastered all over the internet about this company.

    To make things worse, they have gone and banked her cheque – leaving her £37 worse off!

    Any suggestions on what we can do next!? Although her DD has been cancelled, I now fear that they will try and take money from her account by re-setting the DD.


    • Sam Danielles


      First, I feel sorry for the bitter experience you had, and also I am thankful for you for writing this Blood-boiling story.

      In such a case, since you have all the documentation for the contract and the contact details of the people involved, you are on the track of being in a strong stance of making this a real National case. Rather than getting into solicitor-messes, make a full and formal complaint to the Office of fair trading (

      Send the paper based documents of all the complaints you made to FF. At the same time keep records of all of them with you. Inform FF that you are “disappointed for not resolving the issue in an aggreeable manner”

      I have assisted hundreds of my clients to compose such complaints and this approach is legal and formal. Fraudsters deserve expulsion from the UK.

      Feel free to drop an e-mal to me.

  84. Keller


    I used to deal with this kind of thing all the time.

    fitness first, unsuprisingly operate on a target/budget basis. for things like cancellations, including cancelling insude 10 days, even though by law you are intitled to a comfort guarantee whenever you sign yourself up for something.

    the member manager has a budget for the amount of leavers they are allowed to have that month in order for their club to go through budget so the general manager and the member manager get their bonuses and make their club look good.

    they will break the law without thinking about it to hit their targets so that they get their bonuses.

    legally you are entitled to see whatever is written on your membership profile whether it is a bout you or it is just general notes.

    it will say on there what time and date your sisters membership was uploaded onto their system,

    now there is the off chance that (iv seen this
    done befor purelybecause they need to hit their daily sales targets) that fitness first will upload a false membership into the system. what they will then do within the next few days after entering that membership is find a new joiner and apply the new members details onto the existing profile, however, that profile will say whether that profile has been altered like that, it will record all changes that have taken place for that member from complete membership transfer to changing a phone number, and you are intitled to see that information

    if they say you arnt tell them that you iknow the law and you have spoken to other branches regarading this matter.

    if you need further help write back and i’ll be more than happy

    • Sam Danielles

      Thanks a lot for the clarification.
      I am Sam D and work for a major bank..
      In the same way, these faults of FF can be simplified as follows..

      1) Breaking the rules of “The Law of Contracts” by imposing unlawful tricky arrangements on the customer, assuming that the customer will ignore it.

      2) Not having a unified, widely accepted, reputed and a fully transparent contract policy.

      3) Having a higher level of tempted and “beyond the red line” employees to deal with such issues.

      4) Lack of an experienced, and responsible person to regulate the FF operations. (almost most of the customer-sensitive operations are in the hands of young junk and irresponsible emplyee population.

      5) Name is posh. Facilities are posh. but the back office is red-handed..

  85. Jules




  86. Keller

    agreed, although i do think that all southern fitness firsts are the worst places to exercise in the country

    especially having worked there

  87. Sam Danielles

    I am Sam Danielles and work for a big high street bank in the UK. Everyday I help hundreds of customers to cancel direct debits. No doubt, No exaggerations, 75% are FF: fitness first (FF means a lot to them as I know.)I will now tell the bank’s legally accepted policy for DDs. (rest of the major cancellations are virgin media, scotish power and mobile contracts)

    Having a skinny body, I also dreamt about going to FF and growing some flesh for my body, but.. after the above statistics and the heartbreaking stories I felt its worthwhile to lift a heavy stone and build muscles than using hi-fi fitness centres..

    Read carefully:

    1)If a DD payment leaves your account heavily overdrawn, (by an amount closer or more than the DD)it will bounce back and the bank charges fall within few weeks. Charges depend on the bank, and might range from £20 to £40.

    2) If the DD is comfortably paid out but leaves the account overdrawn beyond limits, then OD charges fall on.
    ***Bank charges are fukin disgusting for all of us but that is how the systems work legally..
    3) If we pay a DD, it usually taken out exactly on the agreed day, but sometimes, FF seems taking it before hand, leaving the customers financially uncomfortable.

    4) It is upto the FF to decide the date and the amount, of the DD (but within reasonable limits. It is unacceptable to charge as high as £175 without informing, a customer who expects a regular DD of £29) But the DD has to be authorized by the customer by a signed DD mandate, or a telephone call. (they should keep the record for proof)

    5) If a DD is taken without informing the customer, and beyond the agreed limits, (while pretending to the bank as if the customer has given concent) that is considered “fukin disgusting fraud” (FDF)

    6) All of you are free to make proper complaints to the Office of fair trading ( Ring 08457 22 44 99 before complaining, to get advice.

    7)If anybody wants to know more about such payments and the technical or legal side of such arrangements, please feel free to write to, and I am more than happy to help.

  88. Keller



  89. Oz

    Lucky i did my research. Me and a friend were looking to join a gym but it definently won’t be FF because they are scammers!

    But hey, they offer free boxing lessons:

    Believe in emotional blackmail:

    Will steal from the sick:

  90. Jordan

    Thank the Lord for this webpage. I was so close to joining these rip off merchants! In fact, I googled for their very site and found this page. I rang a friend about 15 minutes ago who I knew visits FF and hey presto in his own words “parted company with the to**sers 2 months ago” and yes another case of money grabbing. Dear Watchdog, PLEASE investigate! I intend to take my family’s business elsewhere even if a little further.

  91. Charlene

    FF are disgusting.
    I to am having the same problems. I gave a months notice to cancel my DD, FF tried to take the payment which was denied as i had cancelled it with the bank.
    FF then took the money out of my account using my card details. I am so angry and the bank say there is nothing they can do.
    FF are a awful chain of gyms with rubbish service, and even worse health and safety.
    They don’t give a damn about their members, and quite frankly its digusting to realise is goes on all the time

  92. S.

    We joined FF in Germany and we are equally unsatisfied. I created a blog in order to bring together all our problems, because it it just not possible that FF treats us like shi*!

  93. Tips for quitting FF

    I managed to quit FF successfully, but only because I’d heard they were amoral and would screw you for as much money as they could (I googled “quitting Fitness First” and read countless horror stories, such as the ones above). I didn’t realise that there was a one-month notice period until reading these stories, unsurprisingly this hadn’t been mentioned when I signed up.

    I wrote my month’s notice, and on it said “I am sending copies of this letter to my bank manager* and my solicitor**. The last payment will be taken from my account on 1 April 2008, and my direct debit will be cancelled on 2 April 2008”. In my letter to the bank manager, I explained why I was doing this (i.e. I’d heard it was hard to quit FF), and if FF tried to take money from me after 2 April 2008, the bank was to inform me asap.
    Cancelled the DD, never heard from FF again.

    *I did do this.
    **I didn’t do this, I don’t have one. But it’s still a good idea to let them think you have legal representation.

    Basically, you’ve got to let them know that other people will be receiving proof that you cancelled. They then (hopefully) won’t dare try to do anything illegal and then claim “they didn’t receive the cancellation letter and there’s no proof it was sent”.

    PS. I must say, however, that the FF on the Walworth Road in London was, when I was a member, run by a bunch of nice, friendly people. No complaints about them!

  94. Hampshire Bob

    I just wanted to write a quick note to say I was plesantly surprised by the way Fitness First deal t with my issue.

    I went into my club and cancelled my memebership but found my self being chased for further payments. I tried calling the number given on the letters I was being sent and was told someone would call me back but they didn’t. When I got another letter, I emailed the MD and explained that I had been told to cancel the direct debit by the club when I completed the depature form but since then was being chased for payment.

    The MD imediately wrote back apologising, promnising to review procedures and assuring me that I owed no money.

    I wasn’t expecting this response after reading the posts on this site, so I thought I would say that sometimes they do work to resolve issues quickly. Perhaps it helps if you go to the top.

    • mou

      I’m sure Fitness First are pleasant to the majority of their customers.

      It just seem the be the place that when they screw you, they tie your wrists to your ankles and go get a broom handle. There doesn’t seem to be a middle-ground with them.

  95. Gareth Evans

    They delibartly make there systems complex and their staff do outright lie. Fitness First are trying to rip my fiance off at the minute. She cancelled her contract (after her commital term) months ago. Now they are saying her letter was never received and she and she still owes them for the last several months. i might get a good there with a hidden camera and become a whistle blower.

  96. Sajid

    Fitness First is a big scam!, they give 10 days free trial. When i signed up i asked them can i cancel my membership within these 10 days and they said YES. When i came to cancel my membership they said that the manger is not it come back tomorrow. So i came back and still the same answer “Manager Not in In” They told me she will be back on Friday.. so here i come Again on friday… they kept me waiting for like half an hour and then guess what they told me? …”SORRY MANAGERS NOT IN TODAY..SORRY WE WILL CALL U ON MONDAY” On Monday i was waiting for there call but the didnt call! F**** LIARS BIGGEST SCAMMERS I EVER KNOW is FITNESS FIRST!!!

    and now they sent me a letter from debt collecters ..they asking for £400 !!!!!! SUCH BASTA*s

  97. Teresuvector Sydney Australia

    Hi. Just tried to cancel AFTER my 12 month period expired, and the bimbette at the counter REFUSED to sign acknowledgement of my 30 day notice-in-writing (I guess so that she could conveniently ‘lose’ it). She said it was their policy and I should read my contract. I went to another FF outlet, and the person on the counter was more obliging – she signed and gave me the copy. In any case I joined another gym in Sydney CBD – Anytime Fitness, and they seemed much more ‘laid-back’ in their approaches and lacked the FF high-pressure sales culture. FF is an example of a greedy, narcissistic organisation – the type that actively contributed to the GFC.

  98. jacqui

    OH MY GOD!I only signed with these guys the other day but imnot due to start my membership until the 10th Sept! really don’twant togoaheadafter reading these comments.I will be looking into cancelling before i even join and changing my bamk details so they cannot even think of pinching money of me!!! i thought it as weird how i have had two phone calls trying to get me start earlier….lots of sales tactics!!!!

  99. Rupert

    Fukin bum. il give u £30. amount of time u been on here typing away like a pussy u could have made a lot more elsewhere. thatl teach u. bum

    • mou

      Memberships are now £42, mine is frozen at £29.

      12 months of £13 savings = £156 saved.
      Time spent typing posts = 40 minutes.

      Can’t believe its taken this long for someone to try and troll me. Well done, now crawl back under your bridge.

  100. W B

    Charlatans the lot of them. I went in to simply ask how much their memberships cost. Nope, you cant enter the building until you’ve given a name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, the works. Next thing this slimy little kid crawls along and tries to sell me everything the gym offers. After convincing the guy that I won’t be joining on the spot simply because I have another gym contract which I need to give a month’s notice to, he says ‘OK, I can only do this on your first visit, but if you sign up today, we’ll refund the amount next month, but ONLY if you sign up today’ He rattled on about first visit incentive etc etc. Fine, done. A month passes, no money in my account. Why? ‘Because you have to visit the gym 10 times in your first month’. If the little swine told me that, it would have been helpful. I have no leg to stand on since it was pointed out to me in fine print. And not only that, take a look on the website, that offer is open to everyone. Thieving greedy bunch they are, their sales people will outright lie to you in order to get your money and their commission. And to add insult to injury, the gym is a complete joke! Hardly any of the lockers work, toilets are constantly blocked and making a stink. Gah what a bad choice, should have stayed at SOHO gyms!

  101. ihateff

    I had similar problems with the Colchester Branch. I found it so stressful that I eventually quit trying to get my money back. I was so angry at them and I’m a pacifist, but they nearly convereted me. Unbelievable.

  102. Dips

    All FF branches operate the same way. I think there is only one way out. Close your bank account and reopen a new one. That way they would never come to know what your new bank details are. Hope this solves! though it may affect your credit checks! can’t help though. Atleast this would not make me feel cheated or thieved anymore!!

  103. Chris

    Same thing happens to me in FF France. They keep taking direct debit even if I am not using the club and I have sent resignation letter

  104. Fahad

    Same happened to me. Me and my wife we signed up for 3 months at Fitness First in Leyton, London and then cancelled our memberships during 2nd month (I gave them 1 month advance notice, honsetly).

    But, only to be noticed that they charged us 4th month fees!!!. I contact the club manager, Richard, and he said that he will sort out this issue, because cancelled my membership through him. Then we ask me to contact head office’s ‘refund dept’, but they seems to lack any respect for customers and refused to do any thing about this issue and asked me to go back to club manager. Club manager is unable to solve this issue so far with his “Area Manager”, not sure if he even contact his area manager.

    This whole saga was started back in May 2009 and its Dec 2009 now and we still £96 to fitness first and they are refusing to refund it back to us.. what a shame!!!

  105. Chris

    How are they able to get away with this? there customer service is non existent…..complete crooks!

  106. lime kiln close-fitness first peterborough victim

    i am another victim and do not want to repeat what you have already said.

    Inshort, my DD was charged again and again and cant get my money back.

    i have written to bbc watchdog,maybe we all should and they will investigate.

  107. sds

    fitness first are proper basterds thats what they did to me direct debit fraud. the fucking mother fucking basterds. if i dont get my money back im gona fuck them off in to court.the basterds, there mum must be proper whores the son of a donkeys, pigs and dogs and bitches.

  108. Mohammed

    The same happened to me exactly. I was “googling” and find this website. Although I have cancelled the direct debit, I was charged ! I am very angry How the bank ignored my instruction and cancellation and how the idiot scammers first fitness use my detailes without informing me ! this obviously stealing with bank support ! I advise you to look for GYMs that are trustworthy with customers not an organized stealing business !

  109. I like fitnessfirst, had no probs cancelling my membership just went in filled out a form and when I wanted to re-join I didn’t ave to e-pay a joining fee they let me re-join for free as an ex member , god gym staff to all level 3 PT.s

  110. Michael

    I hadn’t been to my gym for a while and when I went back it was suggested to me by a member of staff that I try a Personal Trainer – in fact I could have a free session first to try it out. I needed the motivation to get back into training so I took up the offer of a free session and then decided to have a course of 5 sessions at £140 followed by another 5. The PT was okay though not brilliant. I opted for another 5 sessions and had already decided that these would be my last 5, mainly due to the cost. On the third session of the last course, the PT didn’t turn up. I was quite pissed off with this as he had done this before (though he texted me to apologize later). There was no contact from the PT and to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered to contact him. On my next visit to the club, I enquired about the PT and was told that he didn’t work there anymore. I asked what was going to happen about my remaining 3 sessions and was told that I would have to contact the PT directly as it had nothing to do with them!!! I haven’t contacted the PT but have emailed head office to ask for a refund for the 3 outstanding sessions and have had no reply. I’m going to the club today to cancel my membership. I’m disappointed in FF as prior this, I had no problem with them.

    • LH

      Fitness First do not answer emails or letters! I have mailed them on several occasions and they never reply unless you keep on at them.

      In December 2008 they changed my DD from £26 per month to £32 without my permission. Having failed to get their Customer Services Manager to do anything about it (all he kept saying was that it was “Very strange” and that he’d “never heard of such a thing happening” (even though I told him that they did exactly the same thing to a friend of mine – twice!).

      Anyway, this (supposed) Customer Services Manager never sorted it out, even though I asked him on several occasions and each time he said he was going to check it out. He then disappeared never to be seen again, as do so many staff.

      Finally, this month I raised it by letter and email. A week went by and still no reply. I resent my correspondence to the MD and got an automated response saying that either he or a “member of his executive team would be in touch shortly.” Another week went by and I found out today, by chance, that they have refunded excess to my account. However, still no correspondence let alone an apology, and I have no idea how much they will take from me next month.

      So… not only watch out if you cancel your DD with them, but also that they don’t put it up without your permission whilst you are a member. There are at least two of us who have experienced this, but I’m sure there are many more out there.

  111. James

    More fun. Left FF in December and cancelled direct debit – all OK. I asked (on 2 occasions) for the final months bill to be sent in the post so I could pay. 48hrs after they agreed the second time to send the bill they instead passed the case to credit recovery. Still no invoice from FF. After calling to discuss they agree it’s ‘unfortunate’….and promise to send another.

    I’d like to think it’s a simple mistake but you have to wonder after so many people have problems.

  112. Keith

    I am in the process of contacting Watchdog, Consumer Direct and the Office of Fair Trading – I will pass this URL to them.

    Also checked with the bank: the direct debit “reactivation” means that FF have committed a breach of the DD regulations – an illegal act. The bank should sort this out and ensure that funds are returned. If FF do this too often they will find themselves unable to use DD facilities.

    • Simon Silva

      How did you get on with contacting Watchdog, Consumer Direct & the Office Of Fair Trading?

      I used to work for the company, and unfortunately the truth is they are a nasty little company.

      There are so many things wrong with the way the company deals with their members/customers, and their staff for that matter!

      The list of injustices is very long.

  113. ron

    Hi I’m in Perth, Australia. My 16 year old brother has a friend who joined FF using his bank account for direct debit, because he knows his account number from paying him before. My brother never authorized the direct debit, and never signed anything. He only found out when the bank charged him dishonour fee for the direct debit. How could this even happen? He called FF and they weren’t really helpful. The bank agreed to refund all the money and block FF from direct debiting in the future though.

  114. Dan

    The are known as shitness first for a reason. I have cancelled my dd after the manager of the branch I joined at said that was ok. Since then I have had a series of agressive calls from the head office saying that I couldn’t cancel my membership. Nasty little company….

  115. Gazzala

    I am interested though not altogether suprised by your experience with Fitness First. I had to quit the gym because of health issues. I emailed Fitness First and the only time they ever responded was when they were chasing the monthly payments. It was after the third attempt that I was told to contact head office. I did this in writing to avoid any confusion, attaching the previous emails and letters. No response was received.

    Though Fitness First did pass on my account to a debt collection agency. I then responded directly to them and it was only then that Fitness First wrote to me asking me to phone head office. This I did and I was asked to provide a medical certificate/note. I obtained a note and once again wrote to the attaching the note. I heard nothing from them. So I wrote to them again and once again no response. So I wrote to the debt collection agency attaching all the paper work and notifying them that if their client does not make contact with me I will presume the membership to have been cancelled and no further payment due.

    It’s now April 2010 and yes you’ve guessed, I haven’t heard anything further from either Fitness First or the debt collection agency. Needless to say I will not be joining Fitness First once I have fully recovered – it really comes across as highly unprofessional. NO I am not impressed with Fitness First!

    When I initially joined Fitness First I was told that if I attended a certain number of times I could have my first month free and also have 3 one-to-one training sessions. hOn the day of my first PT session I was phoned by a member of staff informing me that he would not be able to do the PT session because he was leaving the club very soon (serving his notice) so he would pass my name onto his colleague. I arrived at the club and waited and waited and still no trainer. So I approached the desk and the trainer had not even arrived a the club. So reception staff phoned her and to my suprise she had another member booked in and was not even aware that she had to do my one-to-one session.

    Two weeks later guess who I saw at the club? The very same PT who said he was leaving the club very soon and was unable to do the PT session. The lazy liar I though. He strutted about posing and flirting, not doing any real work. I was really cross about having been passed around from trainer to trainer all because this poser was too bone idle to do any work. What does that say about the staff that Fitness First employ?

    So what happened next? Well a trainer happened to be standing near the reception desk and he only took on the task out of politeness. It was awful situation to be in as it was so obvious that he was no in the least bit interested in the PT sessions that he was lumbered with. The first session was rubbish, all he did was BMI and chatted to me about diet WOW!!!! The second was a workout and the third a really short workout. He then tried to get me to buy more PT sessions at extra cost – you have probably guessed what my response was to that. It was just a publicity ploy to attract unsuspected members of the public to join Fitness First.

    This was no the only blunder by Fitness First. I was supposed to have been reimbursed the first months fee if I attended a certain number of times, this I did and I was still charged for the first month. When I asked at the desk I was told it was the fault of the person who signed me up. I thought if they share the success then surely they should share the failure too instead of passing the buck – very unprofessional. I eventually received a manual payment, though very late.

    My experienc with Fitness First has not been a positive one and it really has put me off completely. It would be useful to know if someone else has had the same experience or has any advice.

  116. lucie

    wow so its not only us! my partner and i have had so much trouble with this horrid place im so angry with them!!! i cant believe that they are doing this to so many people and yet no one seams to be getting anywhere, i think we ALL need to report them to watchdog and see if they can help, maybe togther we can get them. they took out 3 payment for 3 months then we recieved letters and were told over the phone that these payments were not paid!!!

  117. Clay

    I had a similarly bad experience, after being a member for about 2 years and introducing 3 new members I gave notice I was leaving the UK.

    I told them about 3 months before I was leaving, but they said just cancel one month before you leave. I did this just after a payment and then they said you have to give 1 month from the date of your next payment (even though I really gave them 3 months notice).

    What a rip off, I paid them so I wouldnt have any credit issues (effectively another 2 months). Then I get a letter after leaving the country and the debt collectors are chasing me for more money.

    In reality they owe me money, but what can you do?

    I have a friend who had a similar issue.

    You cant trust Fitness First.

  118. jj

    BEWARE and don’t let Fitness First DELHI sell you any long term memberships! Realize that FF Delhi Club has limited long term members who have remained with them because of convenience owing to proximity; else, the club would definitely have ‘very’ limited long term members. They only seem Customer friendly to the new ‘hunts’, later, there overall manager Vikram Aditya Bhatia expects the Customers to follow his [disguised as FF’s] rules and regulations some of which are somewhat one sided. Many of FF Delhi members have repeated complaints about
    – Dirty towels
    – Damaged and often partially working beverage machines
    – Damaged exercise mats
    – Badly stinking exercise mats
    – Periodic breakdown in steam/sauna
    – Rude support staff
    – Smelling toilets and exercise rooms
    and Vikram Aditya Bhatia defends these complaints sighting the newness of the club. He cleverly also sights the number of customer’s he caters to and the limited resources he has. Vikram Aditya Bhatia FF Manager has portrayed the FF brand to come across as ‘2nd grade’ service provider in INDIA! Checkout reputed competing clubs first! Please beware and don’t buy into any of FF Delhi attractive long term plans!
    J Jamshed
    Member FF DELHI

  119. Sophie wilkinson

    Oh my god, I’ve had pretty much the same experience & am paying 35 quid for nothing. I was a member for 8 years & will NEVER go back

  120. Nick Warner

    I suppose I am just another unsatisfied customer but my problem was that I believed a short (3 month or was it 4 ?) well anyway – I would get a free one month refunded IF I attended a certain number of times in a month AND registered online with a key “Fob”. Well Try as I might I never managed to get my membership “registered” – I mean it felt like a scam – you know – the computer was always busy – never actually allowed me to log myself in AND it had to be done within 10 days! Well try as I might at all times of day and night and bearing in mind I couldn’t actually Prove I was not able to log in – I started getting ratty and annoyed – no one could help me. So I withheld payment- cancelled my membership – oh but no I couldn’t – It was explained – I would have to keep paying until my arrears were paid – for ever – and only then would my bonus month ( for being such a good member ) be refunded! I am exasperated!

  121. josh

    I was tricked to sign 1 year contract instead of 4 months… I tried so hard to sort this out but they never let it happen…

    Fitness First Is a terrorist company, I’m so upset !!!

  122. Simon Silva

    I love the ‘Shitness First’ idea, because it’s so true.

    Fitness First are thieving barstards and I actually used to work for the company a few years ago and you wouldn’t want to know half the stuff I know about how they deal with their customers!

    I am now a member and keep getting letters every December saying my membership is going up by £1 or £2 each year with a different reason for this each year.

    I’ve just received another one this week saying my membership is going up by £5.50 due to the new VAT law in January 2011.

    I’m definitely going to try and phone the to argue this and will cancel my membership if they don’t keep it at what it currently is, as I’m not sure how they are allowed to take more money at the start of each year, shouldn’t your membership rate stay on monthly amount you signed up on?

    Has this happened to anyone else?

  123. Bron S

    Fitness First (Membership Fee Increase)

    Their Head Office has given me just 2 and half weeks notice that they are increasing my black label membership (because of the VAT increase) by £7.80. This is an increase of 15%, I don’t know how they can justify this when the VAT increase is just 2.5%. In the contract terms and conditions it states that they must give 1 months notice of any fee increase (which they have breached). Unfortunately it doesn’t state by how much they can put up the membership fees (typical).

    I’ve been advised by Consumer Direct, to write a letter to Head Office (recorded delivery) and not to cancel the Direct Debit (DD) but allow the increased DD to go ahead in January as otherwise this will cause alot of other problems.

    The sad thing is, I enjoy the Gym and the staff there are nice, but the administration side of FF has really messed me about before and now this. I suspect that I will be forced to accept the increase until I can cancel my 12 month membership.

    If I get a reply, I will post it here.

  124. Marta

    Hi all!
    I have also been affected, I’ve just sent a complaint to FF, awaiting reply.
    In the meantime I have opened a facebook group where we can all join forces. Please join: Fitness First: Fight the unfair price increase!!/home.php?sk=group_162784420433451&ap=1

    • I have been trying to get a VAT receipt from Fitness First since the end of December. They refuse to issue one. I tell them this is against the law and they still refuse. Any suggestions?

  125. gw

    oh no just signed a 2yr contract not sure i wanna stay after reading these letters is there any way i can get out of the 2yr contract any advice appreciated

  126. barua

    debit card fraud, rubbish service, I moved from birmingham to nottingham, my address is 11 miles from the nearest gym in macklesfield, but according to their calculation it is 9.9 radius miles, I called them, delivered a letter, no answer, at last I got red letter from credit collector agency, I have to pay all extra 5months, but not getting any service, please anyone do not join in this gym.

  127. Loop

    Buying their service the worst decision I ever made.. They have worst staff and managers that even the manager shouted me “GO AWAY YOU’RE NOT WELCOME TO MY CLUB”. What the hell after paying them they gonna shout like that..

  128. J

    I went for a one day trial in Manchester and the guy kept calling again and again and finally took my bank details saying that all you need to do is come to branch and we will fill up the formalities with you. Next thing I know £38 has already been deducted from my account. When I went to the Manchester branch to ask how the girl at reception said yes you are a member now and £38 is joining fee. But I never signed any membership contract, whole thing was on phone. This has got to be illegal in UK. anyway I then cancelled (though I hadnt signed anything in first place so they must have FORGED my signature) using my 10 days introduction but am scared they will reinstate the DD. This company should be BANNED!!! Should I report to police?

  129. Damo

    Don’t trust them. Although I can see above that no-one does.

    They sold me a ‘month’s free membership; up front – this is in Australia, but the corporate culture is global, I’m sure.

    When I went back and looked through it, what they had done was chosen their words very carefully… and lied at the same time. When they advertised ‘free first month’, that was a lie… the sales pitch when they took me through it in detail was that “a payment wouldn’t be taken until 28 days after I started using the Gym”. HOWEVER – they charge in arrears, so although I joined on the 1st, and my first payment is taken on the 28th – that payment covers the previous 4 weeks of 1st-28th, so it’s not free – it’s membership that I’m paying for, I’m just paying at the end of the month instead of the beginning.

    They offer 3 free Personal Trainer sessions if you take out ‘Fitness+’ membership. Fantastic – my plan was to book one whenever I wanted to review my programme. Except that the first session is no more than a discussion of your goals, sat in the lobby; second is to start the program, and third is increasing it – all within the first week. So it’s not so much free sessions, as just starting out, to reel you in.

    If you’ve seen “Dodgeball”, then this is “Globogym”. Pure and simple. And actually, my PT looks a lot like Me’Shell from the film!

  130. Yolande Dubow

    I’m now onto my 11th Court matter with them. the lost on appeal tyo the NSW Supreme Court and were ordered to pay my costs… They took me to Bankruptcy twice… and still won’t pay ?>

    This is a private conversation cause I settled the Federal court Bankruptcy matters on a deed of release not to talk publish or allow others to do so!

  131. Anyone tried to get a VAT receipt out of Fitness First?

  132. Kezza

    Hiya sorry to hear about this. I think maybe you should get in touch with dominic little from the bbc he rips these companys and get ppls money back! My younger bro recently terminated his employment from fitness First as they were using youngle people like my bro to get clients like yourselfs and charging the young ppl £350 a month to be a instructor with them. My bro is really good at recruting and thought he had built up a large client base untill he discovered all the clients that rung in to make appointments with him were refered to other instructors who had been with them longer!!! Discusting but theres even more my bro did what any sane person would have done and quit this sh+tty job and they had the cheak to charge him for one more month so another £350 was taken. I think i might have to find out if it was a dd after reading this and try get his money back so thanks loads to the person who took the time to write this blog x

  133. Mr C

    I have been a member of Fitness First for a little over 2 years.

    In November 2010 I wrote to them to cancel my membership.

    Feb 2011 Direct Debit was still being taken by Fitness First.

    I canceled the DD, now they are threatening me with county court action unless I pay for March 2011, they have also reinstated my DD against my wishes .

    They are a horrible, horrible company.

  134. Charles Paterson

    Same as most people on here. Issue after issue.

    1) Transfered my membership to a different club in order to finish the 12 months membership, fair enough, they can have that.

    2) Price went up twice, once without any warning. When I moved from a platinum gym to a blue the price stayed the same, even though it’s a downgrade. That defiantly showed in the equipment!

    3) Cancelled my membership in club in February because the person behind the counter said that would be the easiest way. She said the last payment will be in March.

    4) Still got charged in April and May. When I called to see what was happening there was ‘no record’ of my cancelation. I would be quite intrigued to see their recycling. April was still within the 12 months, so that’s fair enough, could they give me back May? NO, although I was allowed to cancel with the last payment in June.

    5) Rather than have more issues I asked just to cancel on the spot without any more payments. Therefore they keep my already stolen money and don’t steel more.

    6) Instead of ‘customer care’ it is more ‘customer carnage’.


    1) They have lost a customer that was going to return in the future.

    2) Personally I will like to tell as many people as possible about this so that they don’t make the same mistake (money potentially lost in other peoples membership.

    3) Other, already members, are going elsewhere where this kind of behaviour doesn’t happen.


    1) don’t join in the first place

    2) If you cancel by post make sure it’s recorded delivery, otherwise they will throw it away. ‘lost in the post’

    3) If you cancel in the gym keep the scrap faded bit of paper they keep you as a receipt, because they will throw their part away.

    4) The phone is the best bet.

    5) If you have cancelled by any of these methods it’s worth checking both in the gym and on the phone to save being taking for a ride.

    Hope you’ve enjoyed this rant,

    Don’t make mistakes!


  135. jose

    My partner sign up with fitness first in March 2011 and was told when signed in that she had 30 days to cancel and that she would be entitled to 2 or 3 sessions with personal trainer. After 1 and a half week of going to gym, she had no call from trainers and decided to contact the gym to cancel the policy, they said it was fine and she cancel the direct debit.
    We have now received letters from fitness forst claimming she was on a 12 month contract and only had 10 days to cancel the policy, therefore we now have t pay for 12 months although we believe we were miss-sold the package. As well when she sign up, she was told the 12 mnths was the option available , and as we just found that she could have gone for a shorter period.

    we spoke to fitness first and they said they will carry on chasing payments and will not write off the contract.

    this has all started with them approaching my partner on the street to have a trial day on gym, and from that they have pushed for a 12 month contract, and although we dont want to use premises anymore, do we now have to pay over £500 to see contract trough ?

    the worst is, they get away with all this stuff all the time, and what can we do about this ?

    i think we should complain to watchdog and see the end of this bad attittude to costumers…

  136. ana

    Fitness first are full of Shit…
    They talked into a trial day too, and they kind of pushed me to sign up with them, as they were offering a lot of promotions, they didnt even explained the cancelation period and they misslead me in signing the paperwork.

    Little time after, i decided to cancel with the gym, it was all ok over the phone, and 1 month after this i had to pay for the full year, although i told them i dont want to use gym anymore and they are saying the contract s valid.

    They claim they are not regulated by any institution, can we make a complain to the office of fair trading ?

    Do not join them, they will make your life very difficult if you want to leave or if you are no available to carry on going to gym.
    I have hard they even follow suit in cours agains a woman with a tumor because they refused to calcen membership.. how can they get away with this crap ???

    Shitness first might as well be Financial First..
    I am going to Watchdog to complan about them, i hope you guys can join up..

    • Daniel

      I would just like to add my experience with these criminals. I had a monthly debit with them and I explained that I couldn’t afford it anymore. Well this black guy seemed to understand and he was fine with it. To cut a long story short I had to pay for one final month so I did. Anyway I was told by someone else that I could carry on using it until my membership ends. So what happens? I go back there to use the gym and get told by yet another person I have to pay 60 quid up front to be able to use it for the rest of the month! May I just remind the jury that I was told that I can carry on using it until the end of the month, well I told them that and they brushed it off like such a policy didn’t exist?! Suffice to say I didn’t pay it, and fortunately for me my debit was finally cancelled I managed to escape Fitness First unscathed! Be warned though once they have a hold on you they will not give it up easily!

  137. Adam Joy

    Just had exactly the same experience as many others. They have taken money out of my account illegally today, but refuse to deal with it over the phone. When I asked to speak to a manager I was told it is Fitness First “policy” not to allow that, but a manager will call me back in 24 hours. When I refused to accept that and stayed on the line insisting she put me through, she hung up on me. They are scum.

    • Asia

      Hello there, I have terrible experience with them as well. I’ve started in Feb 2011,
      I was approached after my 3 days free pass and same as mentioned above “When they advertised ‘free first month’, that was a lie… the sales pitch when they took me through it in detail was that “ – huge fat lie and loads of misleading!
      I’ve decided to bought their BodyFirst package .. silly me…with mentioned above 3 free Personal Trainer sessions – completely useless..
      I’ve finished my BodyFirst commitment on 10th April and I’ve not get promised refund within 11 weeks – I was told when I was buying BodyFirst that after finish my BodyFirst commitment money will be back on my account max up to three weeks..
      I’ve been constantly told that my BodyFirst Refund was pressed or that there is backlog in head office etc etc a lot of excuses and meaningless words and promises.
      How come there were some people who finished their BodyFirst commitment even one month after me already have their money back but not me?
      Enough is enough, I was fed up of being played and mislead by Fitness First, and I’m completely disappointed unprofessional approach to customer.
      No promised phone calls, no emails with explanations, nothing showing good will from Fitness First side to fix the issue.
      I was keep asking on each my visit in FF from 4th May, so it is 20times or more what is going on and why, my recipe confirming finished BodyFirst commitment has been copied twice in this particular FF Club and nothing happened, until I gave the, official letter that I hereby inform that I’m cancelling my direct debit as well as my contract with Fitness First due to don’t keep the terms of agreement of BodyFirst by Fitness First, long term ignored my issues and totally disrespectful treated myself as a complying customer with small sentence below “Copy of this letter will be send also to WatchDog to check deeply all other scam actions provided by Fitness First”
      They came back finally with apologizing letter and money appears on my account on 24th June … Silly me again looks like…thought that I’ve finished with them…
      Today I’ve found out that even I candled my DD two weeks ago and they admitted they fault etc they manage to take monthly charge again – this time using my Debit Card No.. How cheeky is that..
      I was in my bank now and I need to wait until transaction will went throw and them my bank will try to get it back from them

      Really, guys we have to do something with it,
      I heard that they have already been in WatchDog but looks like nothing changed.. we have to try raise this issue again with WatchDog

  138. Gabby Co

    You have to be careful when signing up to gyms. Always, no matter how boring read the small print and always visit the gym first on a one day pass or 7 day pass to see if you will like it and it’s for you.

    I am a fairly regular gym goer and over the years have been with Fitness First who I would not go with again, La Fitness (been with twice) and just as bad as Fitness First, and Holmes Place now Virgin Active. These places are expensive. They make money by you not going and getting you to sign up to expensive contracts.

    Even the leisure centres are constantly. I now have joined a low budget gym for 12.47 per month a former Fitness First gym and behold karma does come around Fitness First are closing a number of gyms next month including Wrexham, Telford, Fenton so obviously many people do not like them. Good luck.

  139. Kevin N

    Same here cancelled in november 2010 then realised they werestill taking direct debits out of my account so went down in person wrote the letter and cancelled again also cancelling my direct debit. They have since used my debit card to take payment even though gym is closing. contacted bank who have cancelled my card and i hope this stops the fraudsters, Fingers crossed

  140. Patricia

    I went to Fitnes First club at begining of May to freeze my membership due to pregnancy. The lady I spoke to told me she cam do it from the 1st June and I won’t be paying a penny until 1st December. I was really happy it was so easy and she was really nice. I asked her if I need to sign anything but she said it’s all sorted. On 19th June when I checked my statement I found they charged me £31 as normal for June. I went to the club again on 23rd June to axplain that my membership is frozen and I’ve been told they don’t have any records about that. They asked me who frozen my membership but I didn’t know. I said that I asked the lady if I need to fill anything but she said it’s all sorted and they agreed that they don’t give any forms. Then they said they can freeze my memb from August because it’s too late now for July so I need to pay for another month as well. That’s £62 now and I cant even use the gym as I’m in 33wks! I rang the customer service to see if they can do something and I heard the same story. They don’t have any records saying I frozen memb on May and they can’t do anything. It’s so unfair! It must be the way to win this case as it’s not my fault their staff can’t do their job properly. How can I trust them now that my membship will be frozen from August. Please help…

  141. Les Allan

    Found your blog whilst searching for “Fitness Frauds” Head Office number.
    My wife had never even joined,enquired or even walked past a Fitness First centre.However FF managed to set up a Direct Debit and take £50 from her account!They have no record of her and it’s been murder trying to get a refund.
    Their so called Customer Services department are seriously inept,unhelpful and basically unintrested.
    Promised returned calls never materialise.And they will just fob you off with “We’ve done all that we can this end.It’s up to your bank to sort it out”.
    We’ve cancelled the direct debit,filled in the indemnity form and reported it as fraud.We’ll see what happens from here.

    • Asia

      I did cancel DD as well but they have used my Debit Card No… I was in bank and I report this Debit Card as overused without my premission so they blocked it and I’m waiting for new one as well as I’m waiting how it all is going to be end… – I’ll let you know

  142. Joel Davey

    myself and my partner joined Fitness First, over a year later we sought to cancel the membership, we went through the usual method writing a letter handing it into the branch manager etc.

    Now some two months later even after I had manually cancelled the direct debits from our accounts,they have taken two payments of £32.65 from my debit card.

    Over two hours spent on the phone already trying to sort this mess out and I get different responses from different people.

    The call staff some pissed off too they must deal with Angry customers like myself all the time!

    I’m a web designer and SEO guru, I’m going to do some backlinking on this thread, lets get this above their website in Google and really stick it in their noses , anyone else who reads this please link to this thread with the words “Fitness First”.


    • mou

      Thanks pal. So far the interest I’ve had in this post so far has been enough to push it to half way up the front page when searching for “Fitness First” in the UK – it’s good to know 100+ people a day are getting the full picture on FF before they part with their hard earned cash.

    • Helen Seymour

      I just wanted to add something here. I was a member of Fitness First in Hull for a year and, although I liked the gym itself, the staff (and policies) were utterly incompetent, deceitful and basically couldn’t give a s**t. They basically go out of their way to make it as difficult as possible to cancel. either through barefaced lies (I can’t deal with this… the person you need to speak to is on holiday… I’ll call you later in the week… blah blah), blatant incompetence or pure evasion. While I was lucky enough not to lose any money, they did make it incredibly difficult. They clearly hope you’ll just give up trying and go on paying them money.

      I didn’t even realise how terrible the customer service was until I joined Virgin Active (Leeds). While this is not as nice a gym as FF, you feel much more valued as a customer. A few months ago I cancelled my membership at Virgin, expecting a similar amount of hassle to FF.

      Guess what? I emailed asking to cancel, they said ‘it’s done, thanks for being a member’ and they never took any money again.

      Why can’t FF manage this???? Sleazy lying scumbags.

  143. Fiona Price

    I was a member for 10 years-I left (giving notice) and a few weeks letter I received a nasty threatening letter from a debt collection agency.

    When I phoned the debt collectors Fitness First had employed I was
    shouted at down the phone by an aggressive man.

    Fitness First are a disgrace using debt collectors and allowing people to be intimidated.

  144. Claire

    Hi all! I wish i had read this before I attempted to cancel and more importantly before I joined!!!!
    I have been with FF 18 month and wanted to cancel my membership as I really did not enjoy the experience and there were always problems with the facilities. I handed in a letter at the end of January and all correspondence from FF stopped. (I usually had texts after I had missed the gym for a few days which asked me if everything was alright and advertising their personal trainers) I thought great, I will leave it a month and cancel the DD in the bank. A month came and went and due to receiving nothing from them and work being so busy I presumed all was cancelled and sorted. How stupid was I? I checked my statements mid July and of course the payments had come out every month since I handed the letter to them! I decided to go into branch and ask why it hadn’t been cancelled to which the response was “i don’t know, you need to fill in a form” So they obviously read my letter but chose to ignore it as they could not explain why all the texts to my mobile had stopped. The awful guy on reception asked me to leave my number and a time as management would have to ring me today. I did so and you can probably guess what happened next!!!! They did not ring on the 28th july so I cancelled my DD and today on the 8th August I have finally received that phonecall and have been told I now owe a months membership for cancelling. I explained my case and the young girl was subject to some choice words and is now apparently ringing my ex gym to find out where the letter is which I gave them over 6 months ago. I am not holding my breath as to whether she will ring me back today and I am guessing they will not find the letter!!!!!!
    It is absolutely disgusting!!!!

  145. Tricia

    I wish I had read this before even bothering to join.
    I signed up on the body first deal which is supposed to refund the cost of 3 personal training sessions after going to the gym 20 times and completing all three sessions within 3 months. They didnt have any slots available for my third session but the girl who booked it said they’d extend the offer so I could have my final session. I then tried to get my money back.
    I’m being told I didnt complete the sessions in time. I ask them to investigate and gave them all the details of the girl who said I could but neither the club or the customer service manager is even willing to look into it.
    The club manager hasnt even called me to sort it out!!
    And the customer service team hasnt even bothered to ring the club manager to find out what happened. They were more concerned that I cancelled my direct debit.
    Which I did, because I wont pay money if they wont honor their contract!!!
    They are so frustrating!!!!

  146. Seph

    I also had my problems with Fitness First. I joined and within the same month they closed the yoga studio for several weeks for refurbishment after I had made of point of saying that half of the reason for me joining was to take a yoga class regularly. Long story much shorter: I called the gym about seven times to speak to the manager about this. Someone always took a message and he never got back to me. I cancelled my membership, not because they closed the studio, but because they ignored me. Then when I both mailed (postal mail) and emailed the main office, they ignored me as well.
    When I cancelled my direct debit with my bank, the next month Fitness First just charged me anyway as if I had walked in and purchased another month. They used my bank details I had given them when I first signed up. Luckily, Natwest turned that around and refunded me my money, and I immediately cancelled my debit card, that is, I reported it lost, and got a new one. Then they sent my debt to a collector.

    Everyone should get the message that Fitness First is a horrible business that will not treat clients well and will resort to stealing your money in the case of a dispute. Stay Away!


  147. Lhen

    Baka naman ung mga nag kumuha ng pera ninyo eh mga resign na sa FF at kinuha nila ang files ng mga members…

  148. Jake

    For current/future ABS-CBN members, here’s something for you:

    For the record, I have nothing against FF in general but I have a BIG PROBLEM with one of their veteran personal trainers. His name is JOVEN GOZUM. At first, I thought highly of him because he has been in the branch for eight years and he is considered as one of the best and respected personal trainers there.

    The only problem? He has been talking crap behind my back for 4 months because he’s so insecure whenever I talk to his girlfriend, who is the receptionist, in the gym. And from what I know, that is not allowed. I’ve been letting it go until I’ve had enough of it. I even stopped communicating with that girl and yet, he still won’t stop.

    Thanks to my sources, which I’ve befriended along the way, here’s what he has “said” to me:

    – During our first meeting outside FF, we were conversing until…
    Me: You said you’re here since 2003, may I ask how young are you?
    Joven: Pare, hindi ako matanda ah. Nambubugbog ako. Marami akong kakilala.
    At the back of my mind, I’m like… Okay, maybe he got offended by my question since I don’t know him. I let it pass.

    – A former employee has told me that he has been talking crap behind my back. He would call me “T@NGA”. I believe this is a bad word in Filipino language and how dare he say that about me.

    – The same former employee told me that he calls me the bald-headed “white boy” since I’m Chinese. I didn’t get offended by this since “white boys” are referred to Americans. I guess he can’t distinguish an American and a Chinese. But still, it’s an obvious racist remark.

    – This really bothered me as I think it came from my comment regarding my BodyFirst PT, Rommel. During my first meeting with Joven, I told him that Rommel might have felt bad when I didn’t continue my PT sessions with him after the BodyFirst (3 sessions) and that whenever I greet him, he would ignore me. And from what I have heard from the same former employee, Joven has been spreading rumors that “sinisiraan ko si Rommel” and other PTs. Obviously, Joven’s circle of friends are the veteran PTs so I doubt they’ll believe my side of the story. Again, since these are supposedly “rumors”, I let it pass once again.

    – Two separate employees talked to me and said I’m not the only one he back stabs and that they have heard Joven talk crap about fellow employees. In my mind, I just thought this is an internal problem within FF and, again, I let it go.

    – This one just ticked me off and it just happened a week before the time i’ll be posting this. A PT, a member, and I were all talking together and we were just discussing random stuff. After that, I went back home. What shocked me was that the member messaged me and told me Joven asked the PT if I was badmouthing him in our conversation. The PT said “no” and defended me. After that, the PT told me that Joven specifically said that he wanted to pass a message to me saying “susuntukin ko siya sa gym”. I tried to confirm this from the PT if it’s true and the PT said, it is.

    Since I’ve had enough of this nonsense, the next time I went to FF, I talked to the Management. Since the employees, who tipped me, requested that I should not include their names because they don’t want to be included in the issue, the Head PT dismissed my concern as pure “chismis”. I then talked to a Manager and suggested a 3-way confrontation with Joven. As usual, to save his job, he denied everything. And from the way he spoke, it’s as if nothing really happened and that I’m the one who’s badmouthing him. In the end, the Head Manager came and dismissed this as just a misunderstanding between the two of us and that his girlfriend be transferred to another gym because that is against company policy.

    Even though I badly wanted to get out of FF because of safety concerns, they wouldn’t let me since they still require me to pay the termination fees. I still have 4 months left to finish my contract and now, not only I have to workout in the gym, but I also have to be aware of my surroundings since I’ll definitely be Joven’s target.

    My advise to the current/future members of this branch, be wary of Joven’s attitude. From what I’ve observed, he seems to be the egoistic/narcissistic type of person and he is using his seniority to intimidate and bully people. Not me, NOT ANYMORE.

    This is my side of the story and going to the gym has never been stressful.

  149. Elena

    I can feel your pain. Those Fitness First f*** still took money of my account even after cancelling my Direct Debit. I called them many times to cancel my account but they don’t care. They have no customer service what so ever. They don’t even know the meaning of that word. They only care about getting rich and ripping people off. If you landed on this page don’t join this lame company. It will only give you grief and bring miserable moments in your life.

  150. Jason Moore

    I feel your pain mate. I tried to cancel myself and my gf memebership after 6 months cuz i was moving to somewhere that FF wasnt within a commutable distance. was told I couldnt for which i accepted and have since paid £360 of my hard earned money for six months of a gym membership i cant use. my own fault you may say and i agree. However they are now chasing me for a further £60 because i am supposed to give them 30 days notice to cancel any membership! unbelievable! After giving them £360 for not using their facilities once in 6months you think any decent company would say they understand your situation and defer the charge i have been told that their will be no way ANY charge will be deferred and I am still waiting for a manager to call me back as I am not backing down on this. NEVER have anythin to do with these money grabbing BAst***s. And dont even get me started on their customer service.



  152. tony Beatson

    got the tee shirt mate , dont even mention fitness first to me , they are a money grabbing bunch of idiots ,could get no sense on the phone ,passed from one person to another , to cut a long story short ,am still £££s out of pocket

  153. Greg

    Hi, I was one of these sales consultants for roughly a year. I witness countless dodgy deals and fraudulent activity. Luton fitness first, seems to have been a hub for this sort of behavior, although i am aware it happened all over the region at the time i was there.

    At about 6 months into my sales job i made a formal complaint about the way the Luton club had been operating. I wrote a 3 page letter complete with photos of text messages from senior managers autherising and instructing members of the sales team to sell ‘dodgy’ memberships. I gave this letter to my Regional Manager and and requested that he investigated my grievance

    Fitness first senior management are well aware of the the sorts of sales activity that happens in their clubs. My Region manager had visited the club roughly 30- 40 times since in that period. He had been present in the sales office when figures where on the board and he received daily feedback of what kind of membership were being sold.

    Fast forward 3 months and i was managed out of the company.

  154. Amy

    Well I cancelled and confirmed September was my last payment but the D/D took today as well, so I emailed using the form on the FF website but knowing what they are like from friends and this forum I decided to call to check. So I called up on 01202 845000 the less expensive alternative to 08445713403 and after listening to the dandy warhols for 10 mins I got through to someone. I explained I was told it was cancelled in August and the last payment was September she put me on hold and checked and said that this has already been raised as an error and the refund is already being processed, I said can I have a confirmation letter also as I was told I would be sent one before but didnt get it, she said an email is being sent … I doubt it will be this simple so I will give you the update of if this D/D gets refunded or not.

  155. Amy

    didn’t get the email so I called again today they said the email was sent today even though yesterday she said it was sent then and the reason I haven’t got it is because it has to be checked first, and when I mentioned that I didn’t get the first letter last month and I was told I had the email sent yesterday he just carried on talking over me not even a token “sorry about that” same as the woman yesterday when I told her about the error, they have clearly been trained not to apologise, either that or they are plain rude.

  156. sally

    Same goes to london weight management. All them are BIG LIARS!!!!!

  157. Mike

    My experience was that I knew I was approaching the end of my contract term. I duly called my local club (Stockton On Tees) who confirmed I was no longer a member and based on which, I cancelled my direct debit.

    You can probably imagine the rest; give it 2 months later, they have got a credit recovery company after me now for non payment of subscriptions. Complete Numbties!!!

  158. Dey

    get this – my mum who is 75 years was conned into signing up to a 12 month membership. she suffers with cronic knee disorder, is registered disabled and can hardly walk. she filled out some forms whilst under pressure and found out fitness first had put her on a contract. they ended up only offering half the amount back (£149.70 instaed of £299.40)….even with a doctors medical report….ruthless

    • Ian Rockett

      They did exactly the same to my daughter, i am in the forces and posted 1 month after they sold her the contract – one word – WANKERS

  159. Andy

    Haven’t been to FF for best part of a year due to lack of time with new long commute and finally after giving them a years worth of money for nothing cancelled my DD. 10 days later theyve used my Visa card to take another month. Unbelievable.
    People seem to be very tolerant as I think the whole thing of even expecting a notice period is completely unethical – if you cancel your DD it should be end of story – you just can’t go to their gym anymore.Not having to jump through their hoops related to tinmy print on a contract.
    Looks like i’m gonna have to get a bew bakcard to stop these fraudsters.

  160. maris

    After going through all comments here, I will find other ways to increase my fitness, I guess…. I was about to sign up with FF, but after reading here, it would be not smart to do so. Don’t want the headache of dealing with their scamming ways.

  161. Anonymous

    I’m contemplating cancelling my membership after my 12 month contract has ended. Now I’m going to be more cautious concerning the actions they will take..
    I’ll inform them beforehand before the contract ends. While surfing the net I’ve seen lots of complaints! Its not just Fitness First, but its been a while since my family had issues with Virgin Media and their staff can be very rude.

  162. Manikanta

    They are thieves, I landed up in a similar problem. They have no ethics.
    I have to bear them for a while and I will quit Fitness First and I will never recommend them to others after all that I went through !

  163. jim barnes

    Go in and smash the place up with a baseball bat then throw some acid in the receptionists face. Then chop her head off and stick your hand inside the neck so you can operate her mouth.

    Start shouting “Banks can’t do that – it’s illegal” in a high pitched voice, whilst operating her mouth in front of the security cameras.

    All you have to do then is send the video tapes to head office and tell them that you are a reasonable guy and all this could have been avoided – but they had to push you too far.

    • Fitness first the shitest gym

      To be honest its not the fault of the receptionist, The real culprits are the managers of each branch who are full of shit and whole load of lies. Its about time that fitness first gets called to watch dog as they have a lot of explaining to do, but even then they will get away with murder…
      They will never learn

  164. Angry_in_wales

    This has just happenned to me…a DD has just been re-set up following the cancellation of my account the proper way three months ago. No signed mandate or such the like…Watchdog Trading standards and every national newspapers money section will be getting a letter from me tomorrow. Simply furious

  165. Ian Rockett

    Reinstating DD seems to standard practice at FF And an illegal one(without informing you). As well as exploiting you girls by selling them inappropriate contracts.
    Get the word out – leave well alone.

  166. I HATE fitness first

    Worst company in the world! I became a personal trainer last year and was convinced by one of their managers to work for them. Worse decision of my life, you have to pay them £130 a WEEK in rent, and when you leave (after 4 weeks was completely bankrupt!) still have to pay them another 4 weeks. The mangement are the worse people I have ever delt with! I have a passion for fitness, they dont! The equipment was all broken, and when you reported it, they did f**k all about it. Their more worried about trying to find new members then actually looking after the ones (or there staff for that matter!) they already have. Had them calling up every day after I left trying to get the extra money off me which I ended up having to pay. I can’t ever say a good word about them, just stay as far away from them as you can!! I have seen what really goes on in their offices and can confirm to everyone reading this that they are as bad as the people on this page have said!

    Fitness first…more like sales first!

  167. Hi, i wish i seen this forum before signing up, I was told i could cancel my membership after 4 months before i signed on the dotted line, I informed FF in december 2011 that i lost my job ,I have been told lie after lie since then!! Come back in in feb 2012 to cancel my membership and was to call in at the end of feb, when i did i was told that i didnt give them 5 days notice so this brought me into march.I made numerous trips to the gym and phone calls but to no avail. finally in april 2012,I simply had enough. I cancelled my dd , emailed the gym a copy of my p45 and informed them that i cancelled my dd .I was told to send them a copy of my p45 and when they received it my membership would be terminated immediately.I was given the wrong email adress 5 times by the staff also!! Eventually i was given the correct address and sent the email to the branch and it was forwarded to head office.I heard nothing until the 9th of may 2012.The gym sent me a text message to contact them regarding my membership.And so the saga continues.

  168. After another conversation today at my local ff branch, i was told the branch manager left yesterday, and that another manger pops in once a week to check things. They then told me that someone had gone to coffee, was out sick, didnt know if the other person was in the building..?Its funny but the same excuses that i read about here came up..Coincidence i don’t think so! Eventually after some persistence i was given the number i wanted.They informed at head office that they received my email with p 45 attached last month(April 2012) and as of this month (May 2012) my membership was cancelled.I received confirmation of this, sent to two different email addresses and a letter from the gym would be sent out today also.I recorded the whole conversation as back up.;)

  169. Vikki

    I was stopped yesterday in the town centre by two Fitness First representatives, advertising a ‘free pass’ to the Kilmarnock gym. After saying no once, obviously, the two continued to harass me. Too polite to just walk away (yes, I know, I’m an idiot), I eventually gave them my name and a contact number. After going home, I thought it might actually be a good idea, since prom is in four weeks time. I then had a look to see what the charges would be per month, and couldn’t find much of an explanation on the site. I decided to search further, and found this page. After reading all of the comments about how badly they have been treated, I am now thinking twice about taking the free days pass. Much better off just joining the gym in the local leisure facilities.

    Thanks for sharing this with everyone, you may have saved quite a few people a large amount of money.

  170. Ines H

    I cancelled my membership with Fitness First(Streatham London) more than 1 year ago, I used a savings account, which I do not frequently check. They have continued to charge me 51.95 for the last 2 years! I would not recommend anyone using Fitness First they are clearly fraudsters!! I have basically had 1500 GBP stolen by Fitness First.

  171. Mikael

    There’s a website that can give advice:

    I’m currently battling to get my direct debits back from another fitness centre (Greens Fitness in Liverpool). But it’s the same thing – signed up for a direct debit, changed jobs, sent a letter telling them to cancel direct debit, they didn’t. Found out I was paying for around 8 months membership even after I had gone abroad.

  172. Never joining a gym again!!

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to share these experiences and WARN POTENTIAL FITNESS FIRST CLIENTS. Seriously guys stay away from them and tell everyone you know to do too! Its the best and most rational thing we can do- I have also been suffering quite a while with them keep taking money after cancelling the Direct Debit. I am thinking of shutting down my bank account altogether and opening a new account with a different debit card number etc. These people have lead me to desperation as you can see and I really hope word gets out there on how awful services they provide!! KEEP SPREADING THE (bad) WORD 🙂

  173. Brandon

    I work for fitness first within the London region and can tell you one thing; this business is corrupted from top downwards. My personal advise would be to stay clear of this place. It’s funny how dodgy a company could be and no one attempts to bring this to the public’s attention. But seriously, stay clear from this company.

  174. jean

    Ilost my gym card at Fitness First whilst running on the treadmill.I reported it and the person on reception did not look too interested.I had to ask for a temporary card to open my locker.On consecutive visits, I enquire if they found my card.’no’.Another time I rang the gym about my card being found and the answer was still ‘no’.I suggested if they look under the treadmill where I was running,probably they would find it.I asked the receptionist what will happen when I need to visit the gym.He said I would have to pay £5 for a replacement.I said, ‘no’, the card was lost on site and not outside the gym.In early December 2013 I told the receptionist I would like to cancel the membership.I subsequently cancelled my direct debit at the bank(I know that they would try and take January 2014 payment from my account). I had phone calls and emails about my cancellation of my membership.I told head office that I cancelled because I was not receiving good customer service and also I have spent over £1000 on my membership and I wanted to have a break.They said that I have to pay January payment.I told them that during January I would be admitted in hospital,
    the lady at head office requested the hospital admission ltr as proof that I’m telling the truth.I am at the moment in plaster of both feet and constant pain.

  175. David Cowper

    I have quit pro-fitness gym in Lowestoft,Suffolk Whapload Road because of some major attitudes of staff and gym members what ever you do don`t sweat or stink because the local bullies will attack you behind your back and there was two gym instructors going along with I found this disgusting attitude very bad,this place should be closed down for there none caring attitude and I certainly will not be setting another step in a gym again after this:235 Whapload Road Lowestoft,Suffolk pro-fitness gym more like a joke of a place avoid this gym do not sign up spread the word.

  176. Malcolm Payne

    Fitness first are liars off the first degree all they care about is taking money I canceled my membership with them three months ago and they took money From me even tho its finished it seems to me all they care about is screwing people over

  177. katherine

    Great article. Thanks for the info, it’s easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a direct debit form,I found a blank form here

  178. Jay

    They defrauded me too. I cancelled my membership and they continued to charge for the next 6 months…amounting to £500! I emailed the branch but they haven’t bothered to reply. I’ve now emailed the head office but I’m not holding hope. But I will persist as this is theft

  179. esteve

    Hi, My name Esteve and i just want to share my experience with everyone. I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never really paid any interest to it because of my doubts. Until one day i discovered a hacking guy called Paul. he is really good at what he is doing. Back to the point, I inquired about The Blank ATM Card. If it works or even Exist. They told me Yes and that its a card programmed for random money withdraws without being noticed and can also be used for free online purchases of any kind. This was shocking and i still had my doubts. Then i gave it a try and asked for the card and agreed to their terms and conditions. Hoping and praying it was not a scam. One week later i received my card and tried with the closest ATM machine close to me, It worked like magic. I was able to withdraw up to $3000. This was unbelievable and the happiest day of my life. So far i have being able to withdraw up to $28000 without any stress of being caught. I don’t know why i am posting this here, i just felt this might help those of us in need of financial stability. blank Atm has really change my life. If you want to contact them, Here is the email address or call him +2349052116664 And I believe they will also Change your Life

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