Vancouver Bally's gym closed, members still paying

Vancouver Bally's gym closed, members still paying

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Imagine showing up at your gym but it is suddenly closed - and you're still paying dues.

It is happening to people in Vancouver.

KATU has learned that there is a state law that could help those gym members. However, the law only applies if a comparable gym is not within 10 miles of the closed facility or if they signed a contract of more than a year.

Take Andrea Moore, who recently signed up for a second three-year membership at Bally's Total Fitness in Vancouver.

"I think it's horrible," Moore said. "It's wrong."

Moore said all of a sudden, on Sept. 4, the doors were locked and a bankruptcy notice was posted. That's a move by Bally's that instructor Kim Graham had little time to deal with.

"We all got about two weeks notice," Graham said.

Even though the club is now closed, some members tell KATU they are still getting charged dues. They also say the company is urging them to visit other locations.

"They [tell us] 'we've upgraded your membership so you can go anywhere in the country,'" Moore said. "Well, I don't need to go anywhere else. I should go here."

When this location closed, gym members said they were told the nearest location is less than 10 miles from there. We put that to the test.

See the test on video

The nearest gym, at Mall 205 across the interstate bridge in Oregon, does indeed fall within the 10 mile guideline - but only as the crow flies.

Still some members said the law isn't fair. For them, it boils down to convenience.

"I didn't want to drive 30 to 40 minutes away for another gym," said Ken Gregg, a former member. "Ninety percent of the time I ride my bike here ... I'm two blocks away."

Most of the "former" members just want Bally's to refund them their fees, so they can find a new place for their lifestyle.

"I wish they'd come back or open," Moore said. "I'd rather have a club then my money. But if they're not going to open the club, then I'd like a refund so I could join somewhere else."

There are still a lot of un-answered questions from Bally's. Officials did not return our phone calls.

A former employee said some members have gotten their money back. However, the people we talked to said the company just isn't responding to them at all.

The Attorney General's Office said since September its office has received 26 complaints in regards to this closure.