Letters to the Editor

Good news about Bally Fitness closure | Letters

Bally closed its doors Dec. 8, following the company
Bally closed its doors Dec. 8, following the company's recent acquisition by L.A. Fitness. Located at 32818 1st Ave. S., Bally hosted multiple U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments and local high school competitors throughout the year.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

I would like to respond to Ken Harris’ letter “Boo to Bally closure.” I have been a member of the Bally Total Fitness for over 30 years and went to the club on 1st Avenue South.

I signed up for a membership that allows me to use the club for about $5 a month, which I thought was a great deal.  When LA Fitness bought out Bally, the only information I saw was a sign at the Bally club desk saying there was a transition going on as LA Fitness took over. No mention was ever made that they intended to close the club, and I did not find out about it until I read it in The Mirror.

Later I received letters from both Bally and LA Fitness, but neither told us what we wanted to know — namely, whether LA Fitness was going to honor the terms of our Bally club memberships.  Apparently, Ken Harris got the impression that they were not and that is why he wrote his letter. I was fortunate because my membership expired just before the sale and I renewed for three years — but the $64,000 question was, what happens when my membership expires in November 2014?

When I attended the LA Fitness club on Enchanted Parkway South, I spoke to a former Bally club member who told me that a class action lawsuit was filed against both Bally and LA Fitness in Philadelphia to force LA Fitness to honor the contracts that members had with Bally and that LA Fitness finally agreed and the lawsuit was dropped.

I called LA Fitness and spoke to a representative who knew nothing about the lawsuit, but did affirm that LA Fitness would continue to allow members to renew per the terms of their Bally membership agreement.

The other good news is that LA Fitness clubs are a major upgrade from the Bally clubs. As everyone probably knows, Bally had major financial problems and their clubs were old, run-down and poorly maintained. They also made bad

management decisions like replacing the large men’s lockers with smaller lockers even though a locker shortage did not exist. When a member lodged a complaint or an inquiry, it was ignored. For example, when I left, the men’s shower room had a broken shower handle, a clogged drain and lights were out. In sharp contrast, the LA Fitness club is brand new with newer equipment, more equipment, larger lockers and is very well maintained. The one drawback the LA Fitness clubs have is, unlike Bally, they have no tennis courts.

In spite of that, I still believe it is a win-win situation for the former Bally club members.

Gary Robertson, Federal Way

 

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