Bally Again Open in U. City -- But Don't Hold Your Breath for a Refund


So it wasn't exactly the promised 5 a.m., but the long-awaited reopening of the Bally Total Fitness on Forsyth Boulevard in University City did actually take place on Tuesday.

We've been reporting on members' frustrations as the health club -- known as the "Clayton Bally's" for its proximity to that municipality -- was shuttered by fire more than five months ago. Even as members continued to be charged monthly fees, the club stayed closed. Adding to the frustration, members say that communication from the gym was either nil, or downright misleading.

Indeed, Daily RFT began looking into this story a few weeks ago and was twice given "firm" dates for the club's reopening that proved erroneous. Most recently, we were assured that the club would definitely reopen at 5 a.m. November 2 -- but, as members report, the club was locked at that hour, without so much as a sign on the door to explain what was going on.

The good news, however, is the club did eventually open that day, apparently around 11 a.m. And Daily RFT finally heard back from a Bally spokesman. Pete Marino tells us that the six-hour delay "had to do with getting the appropriate permits" and that, going forward, the club should be open normal hours.

As for members who believe they should not have been charged during the five-month closure, Marino didn't offer many specifics. "I think everybody should call the company's 1-800 number and have an individual conversation with a member services representative to talk about their specific situation."

When told that members had done that, and were still reporting frustration, Marino promises that all is not in vain. "We've had a number of instances I'm aware of where we've made concessions to people," he says. "If people still aren't satisfied, they can call again."

Saying the fire was a "completely unfortunate situation," Marino says the new club is a "very significant upgrade" and that Bally trusts members will be happy once they give it a chance.

If not, apparently, there are always "concessions." That toll-free number, for the record, is 1-866-402-2559.


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