In 2008 I purchased a lifetime policy with 24 Hour Fitness for $700 for the first 3 years with the explicit intent of "locking in" a $99 renewal in perpetuity. This month, I received a letter that my rate will be changing to $149 per year. The back of that agreement has solely 1 section addressing membership increases. The section reads "24 Hour may increase your dues once per calendar year. The increase will be calculated at not more than 5% of your monthly dues." This is meant for people on a month-to-month rate. As far as my contract states with 24 Hour Fitness, my $99 renewal should continue.
I called customer service, the agent was rude and said "If you do not like it. Don't renew." I asked to speak to the manager, she said "he will tell you the same thing." He did! I was told that the rate increase was an "annual fee" that is being used to update and maintain all of the gyms. I searched my contract for language on "annual fees." There is none. I was told by the manager that I "didn't understand the difference" and was told that I had the option to not renew. I understand that, I told her, but that would negate my investment of $700 at the beginning to secure this rate.
I want 24 Hour Fitness to acknowledge that coining a rate increase of 100% on "annual fee" is misleading. I would like to receive my agreed upon rate of $99/year (with a 5% increase if needed, per the contract) and hope that people who put so much money up front to secure a lifetime fee would have the loyalty of their organization to follow through on long-term agreements. Changes of long-term agreements should not be reached arbitrarily and unilaterally, especially through transfer of ownership. The members are the ones who suffer through this.