DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - A viewer asked us to take action on her behalf regarding a membership to a gym in Decatur. She says the building is full of mold, the water has been shut-off, and the roof leaks which has caused damage to some of the equipment. She says she canceled her membership, but the club kept withdrawing fees from her bank account.
This is the Max Fitness Center on Highway 31 south in Decatur. When we visited the facility Monday, it was closed. One sign confirmed what the viewer had told us, that the water had been turned off. Yet another sign indicated a tax lien had been placed on the property and the equipment inside.
Although there were a couple of cars in the parking lot, no one would come to the door. We did however speak with a man who said he had done maintenance on the building and was there trying to collect some of his equipment, but he said the locks had been changed. (josh st. antoine, trying to collect equipment) "Oh yeah, there's a lot of leaks on this building and stuff. Very, it's not been kept up at all, got a lot of problems in here with mold and stuff," according to Josh St. Antoine.
Turns out Max Fitness is a franchise operation based in Columbus, Georgia. Its website says there are gym operations in a number of states, including 5 locations in Alabama. We called the corporate office today but no one would talk with us.
We then called the owner of the building, Tony Burks, and he told us two men had leased the building to open the fitness center, but left town earlier this year owing him money. He says he hopes to reopen the gym and try to keep the business afloat. Meanwhile the two men who leased the building are Jeremy Bowers and Robert Jenkins. Well, we found Jenkins. He now works for Max Fitness out of the corporate offices in Columbus where he sells franchises, like this one.
The viewer who wrote to us claimed the corporate billing office had debited her account 4 times over the course of about two weeks, for a total of almost $150. She says because the debits were unauthorized, the bank has refunded her money. We suggested that she file a police report.
We contacted the Better Business Bureau. They tell us the corporate offices of Max Fitness in Columbus, Georgia, have an "A-plus" rating with them. They have records of 13 complaints and say 12 were resolved by the company, and the other - the company made a good faith effort to resolve. However the Decatur operation has an "F" rating, the result of two complaints filed this year that the local operators never responded to.