I used to think that Volant Fitness in Downingtown was a great investment in a home-town gym, but as it turns out, they're just another of the myriad of money-grubbing impersonal fitness corporations earning their keep off the forgetfulness of their auto-debited members.  Admittedly, it's been quite a while since I've visited Volant Fitness. Since April, when we started seriously thinking of moving, I haven't had any time for that, not that I was a very regular visitor before then. But I did call to cancel my account because it was a $50 monthly drain down which my money poured.  My call to Volant was a bit odd. They told me that the person responsible for cancelling accounts was not there. I assumed this was necessary so that they can convince you to keep paying for nothing, but at a lower rate. More likely, it was a ploy to keep me unable to cancel so I would continue to have the fees drafted from my credit card. I left a message in the general manager's voicemail, and in the turmoil of moving preparations I never noticed that he didn't return the call.  I would see the charges from Volant gym on my bank statement periodically during this period, and sometimes call them to try to cancel. Each time, there was no manager available.  Finally yesterday, I figured I would visit the gym itself to cancel my membership. They couldn't deny me if I was standing in front of them, could they? Yes, they could.

Once again, I was told that the manager that handled cancellations wasn't available. But at least he told me when the guy would be back in - today.  So today I drove back through Downingtown to the gym to cancel my membership with Volant's manager. But he was in a meeting, so the same guy I talked to yesterday who couldn't handle it became "authorized" to do it.  As he looked up my account, he noted that I was a month behind on my membership dues. I was a month behind on the membership I haven't used in a year, that I wouldn't use because I've moved, and that I've tried to cancel more than once. Moreover, there would be no cancellation until my account was up to date. They would continue to charge me for additional months on an account that I've told them in person that I have no intention of ever using again.  Plus, next month's charge would be applied tonight.  I asked, in light of all of these circumstances, that Volant simply forego the charges for this last month, cancel my membership, and let everyone go on their way. Appealing to human decency is a tactic that I'm not above when it's merited. But no, that didn't sway him either.  When the general manager finally surfaced, he was just as rigid as his previously authorized agent. He felt that Volant was entitled to my money for providing the service, regarless of whether I had used it. Nevermind that I had tried to cancel it prior to then, and could not do so due to his unavailability, and that I would not have used it and did not use it during that time.  I suppose that this whole scenario should have been what I expected. Why would I expect personal service from a company that survives solely on the premise that people don't make use of their memberships? After all, they tried to sell me the services of a personal trainer in the guise of a "1-hour gym tour" when I first signed up. So much for small town service in Downingtown, even for long-time members in otherwise good standing.  The gym itself is fine, and although I'm sure they've raised their rates since I signed up at their opening, they have a good deal. If you feel comfortable dealing with folks who consider five years of membership meaningless, then I suggest you check them out.

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