After going round and round with the people at Washington Sports Club a few weeks back when I discussed how ridiculous the concept was to CHARGE someone for DOWNGRADING their membership, as well as charging them to change home clubs, I had a great conversation this afternoon with the General Manager at the club over on King St. who said himself that he'd like to see the fees removed.
To recap, I joined Washington Sports Club about 5 years ago when I lived in Arlington and got the passport membership which allowed me to workout in Arlington and Germantown where I worked. Over the past 5 years they've steadily raised prices such that I'm now paying around $83/month. However, I now live and work in Alexandria and have been working out at the club on King St. with no need to workout at any other club. As Lauren and I have been trying to find ways to pinch some pennies, we decided 3 weeks ago that it was time to change to a regular membership and lower the monthly bill by $20/month to $60 something. Well, when I called to make these changes, I was informed that there was an $80 downgrade fee and a $40 home club changing fee. When I informed the account manager who I was talking to that $120 seemed like an awful lot to downgrade and change my membership they told me that when they make the changes in the system, they HAVE to assess a fee, that there was no other choice. So I responded that if they HAD to assess a fee, they could credit my account 2 months of membership free to makeup the difference. The account manager wasn't sure what he could do and thus I instructed him to cancel my membership.
After working out one morning at the YMCA, I decided that while it would be cheaper for us to both belong to the Y, their workout facilities are just not the same nor anywhere near as good as what you'd get at WSC. So, today I decided to talk to the General Manager and he was quite helpful, agreed that we shouldn't have to pay a fee when we've been loyal members and promised to take care of it for me this week. As he admitted himself, it's easier for them to get me to stay than it would be for them to acquire a new member.
Finally, someone who gets the value of a customer... It's a shame it took a few weeks of frustration to get there.