CBS 5 Advocate

Fight to pay nothing upfront for health club free trials

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Paola Edwards says she's learned a good lesson about health club free trial offers and ways to avoid having to wait for possible refunds. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Paola Edwards says she's learned a good lesson about health club free trial offers and ways to avoid having to wait for possible refunds. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Tolleson woman says she's learned a good lesson about health club free trial offers and ways to avoid having to wait for possible refunds.

Free trials are a great way to learn about a gym. Some require you to pay something in advance and give you your money back in full if you don't join after the trial. But refunds can sometimes be delayed; that is why it is smarter to try and pay nothing upfront.

Paola Edwards says she was working her way back into shape after having a baby a year ago. She accepted a free trial from the LifeTime Fitness location in Goodyear. The deal included a discount for paying in advance. If she decided not to join after the trial expired, she'd get a full refund.

"The $198 was the discounted enrollment fee, and then if I decided to stay, it would be my first month of membership," Edwards said.

Edwards says after one visit to LifeTime she realized it was too far from home. She texted her rep to cancel and asked how soon she'd receive her refund.

"He said by the end of the week. I told him on Sunday and he said no later than Friday, that's when you're going to get your money back," Edwards said.

When next Friday came, no refund. LifeTime insists the refund has been processed and they say they're sorry for the delay, but five weeks later, Edwards still doesn't have her money. She's beyond frustrated.

"I have to send texts, call, check my account every day to make sure it's there and it's not," Edwards said.

Next time she wants to check out a gym, she plans to still fight for the discounted enrollment fee, but will negotiate to make all payments later.

"If I get an offer for a free trial, that's what I'm going to expect, a free trial, no deposit," Edwards said.

The gym may not agree. They may insist on payment upfront to get the lower enrollment fee but you'll never know unless you ask. You just might get the deal you're looking for and avoid a delay in your refund if you decide not to join.

LifeTime got on this issue the moment CBS 5 News contacted them. They cut through the paperwork and deposited the refund in Edward's account within 48 hours. CBS 5 News thanks LifeTime for quickly resolving this matter.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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