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Update: Max Fitness Gym Managers Leave Town, Decatur Clients Still Billed

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - A viewer asked us to take action on her behalf regarding a membership to a gym in Decatur. She told us last month 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.

WHNT News 19 decided to take action on yet another complaint against Max Fitness Gym Wednesday.

"When I got here yesterday afternoon the door was open and I went in and there was nobody at the desk," explains Mary McMillan who says she hasn't worked out at Max Fitness in more than 6 weeks but on Tuesday, was billed $49.99.

McMillan says she called and was told to come cancel her membership be when she tried, no one was at the front desk. When we showed up again Tuesday with cameras rolling a woman inside the building hid and refused to identify herself simply saying the Max Fitness franchise owners had long left town.
As we waited for the aforementioned cancellation forms from the unidentified woman who had just disappeared behind closed doors, another customer showed up with the same complaint. The woman at the desk instructed both customers to fill out forms and fax them to Max Fitness corporate offices in Augusta, Georgia.

"Well, maybe we'll get somewhere now," McMillan sighed.

But the duo left the building with the same confusion they arrived with.

"The lady threatened that the sheriff will be at my door?," puzzled the other gym client. "How the hell? They owe me $300," he scoffed.

Jitu Patel says his gym charges totaling lore than $300 have already been sent off to a collections agency demanding payment.

"They say I have a contract. I came 3 times and they said they'll cancel it and nobody has put the paperwork together until today," Patel huffed.

Mary McMillan shrugged, "It may be a lost cause but at least people need to know what to look for in a gym and what's going on here."

WHNT News 19 made calls using all the same avenues Mary McMillan tried. Unfortunately, we were met with the same result - no response. We were told by the property owner Tony Burks weeks ago that they planned to reopen the gym under new management soon - no word on if or when that will happen.

Burks says two men had leased the building to open the fitness center, but left town earlier this year owing him money. Burks says the two men who leased the building are Jeremy Bowers and Robert Jenkins. We found Jenkins in May - he now works for Max Fitness out of the corporate offices in Columbus where he sells franchises, just like the one in Decatur. In the meantime the best advice if you're a Max Fitness customer and you're continuing to be charged for services still unrendered - you should get in contact with your bank as soon as possible to discuss fraud reimbursement.

The number for the Max Fitness offices in Georgia is 706-322-0808.


  • Anonymous

    Just to clear things up a bit here……Mr. Burks is the problem. HE is in charge of all of this now. Also, the 2 gentlemen that “left town owing money”,did so after giving Mr Burks months and months to hold up his end of the bargain in regards to building repair. They gave him huge advance notice that they would not continue to pay him, or stay on if he did not follow thru. This man is a fraud and coward. He should own up and take FULL responsibility!

  • anonymous

    Tony burks, the owner, has collected the money since the two gentlemen left. The two gentlemen in which your station seems to keep attacking came to the gym in August and made great improvements to the gym and put thousands of dollars of their own money into the gym to turn it around. Tony burks refused to keep his part of the agreement on which he was to do improvements on the building, the racket ball floors, as well as provide new equipment. The two gentlemen left after loosing thousands after being completely fooled by this man. These two men do not and have not had receivables or payments from members since they left nor are they or corporate in any way involved in Tony Burks inability to maintain his gym. Tony burks is the one still charging members, And because of his inability to keep his word two young inspiring men lost everything and now are being blamed for his misfortune after trying to help him.

  • credit is a crime

    Okay WHNT I appreciate your taking action and other local reporting but please, for the love of god, have someone proof read these stories. There are many grammar and spelling errors and for a professional news site to not be able to edit is sad. I don’t want to be “that” poster but seriously if you make mistakes in your native language, what other mistakes are you making in your reporting…. just saying.

    I almost joined this place and am so very glad I walked away. I have always distrusted automatic revolving charges for services and if there is ever a gym that offers reasonable ‘pay by the day’ access as well as auto-withdrawl membership fees (for those that want them) I would be there.

  • Nuclear Mike

    The real lesson here is…NEVER give any business direct access to your bank account to withdraw any payment, NEVER!

  • BadNewsGirl

    If Tony Burks is indeed the villian, then the two men who had the franchise need to come forward and tell their side of the story. They need to clear their name. Why don’t they contact the TV station directly?

  • Anonymous

    Just to clarify what has already been said. Burks is in charge, the other two are not. The gym was thriving under Jeremy and Robert but Tony decided not to hold up his end of the bargain by fixing up the building. The building has been owned by Burks for many years while several gyms have occupied it, World Gym, Family Fitness, River City Fitness, and Max Fitness etc.

  • L

    I had a membership to this gym last year and after the roof started leaking on me in the middle of a workout, I cancelled my membership. The next month, they still pulled the bill out of my account and after fighting with both the owner and the bank, I ended up haivng to cancel the particular bank card they had on file. I’ve had several friends say the same thing has happened to them. It was a poorly maintained facility with terrible customer service so this… really doesn’t surprise me at all.


    I think the building needs to be bulldozed. I’ve been going there since 2008 and it has always leaked, so bad sometimes that hallways had to be closed. The water has been shut off numerous times because bills did not get paid. The electricity was shut off at least once that I can remember. All these problems are on the building owner. In all the years I was there I never once saw this man and could not identify him if I could. I killed my fair share of brown recluse spiders in that place too.

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