Goodbye Bally Total Fitness

I have had a membership here for quite a while.  I have enjoyed it and used it quite often.  However, I have lately started doing more “whole” exercising like riding my bike, playing with my kids, swimming, walking, etc.  Using actual movements and body weight as resistance, the hope is to get in shape without much risk of injury.  Case in point, I have a pain in my left shoulder that will come back from time to time and has been aggravated by pressing weight.

To cancel your membership with Bally, they do not tell you anything on the website except to call in.  Of course, that is so they can try to keep you as a member.  In many cases you can set the account on inactive, for $4 a month or transfer to another person for a “one time fee”, in this case $100.  If you outright want to cancel, you need to do it in writing like so to the following address:

Bally Total Fitness
Attn: Cancellation Dept
PO Box 96241
Washington, DC  20090
[Your name and address]
RE: Member# 
To Whom It May Concern:
Please cancel my membership and stop all automatic withdrawals.
Hope that helps.

Customer Service

I recently read the blog of a good friend of mine discussing how important good customer service is and how we as consumers can make better choices with our money to support the places that deserve our money.  While reading her remarks, it occurred to me that we are all in a customer service position of one kind or another even if we are not directly in the service industry.

I am an accountant and I work for an HVAC installer.  Technically I am overhead.  I don’t make any money directly for the company by selling our services.  However, I am part of the “face” of the company.  Anytime our receptionist cannot figure out who should get the call, it is forwarded to me.  I have a unique opportunity to make a good impression for the customer.  I could easily say it is not my department, not my job, or something else equally as lazy, but I try and understand exactly what it is they are looking for, give them the direct line and name of the person that can help them best and try to get them connected.  If all else fails, I’ll get their name and number and get back to them with 24 hours.

I also have a lot of contact with our customers and vendors.  In any business, we all need certain information to get our job done.  I know exactly which of my vendors can deliver and which don’t.  The same with the customers.  I make every effort to be the type of contact I am looking for, meaning if someone needs information, they’ll have it from me in 24 hours, or a really good explanation why I cannot deliver.  In this tight economy, there are many other businesses that do what we do, many may even be cheaper.  There is nothing you can do for the person who is just shopping for a bargain, but you can make a huge impact for those businesses looking for a company that is responsive to their needs.

We are all in the service industry.  Each day we make an impression on customers and vendors.  Better to make sure it is a positive one.

Capital One you sneeky little devils

I have been paying my credit cards off for a while now and finally got it down to one. I have some accounts with Capital One so I thought it was a safe bet. Earlier this year, CO decided to increase everyones rate across the board since those poor defenseless banks just aren’t getting the billions in profits they once were. I don’t think I got this notice, but I have no way of knowing for certain. The notice in not put on any of your regular banking statements, so most people did not get a chance to “opt out”.
What’s that you say? Opt out of a higher rate? Yes, if you did not respond, they take that to mean you are cool with having your rate increase. In my case by 236%. Is the legal? Yes, Ethical, certainly not. So after two days of calling, you get sent to the same place with a “Senior Account Supervisor” who cannot do anything to change your really high rate. They have no supervisors with more authority. In short, you are stuck.
So here I am with a minimum payment that is only sightly higher than the interest they are getting (I pay more than the minimum always.) If I were some poor soul who did not understand this, it would take almost a decade to clear that debt. As it is, I will just work harder to clear the debt and then start working to close my accounts. How very sad they just don’t like customers.
I finally got a personal loan and wrapped that account up.

Insurance idiots

So here is my story…
I got a bill from a small clinic we visited a few times. I called to let them know that they were charging me too much. I would be happy to pay the addition fee over my co-pay, but not the total amount they bill the insurance for that was denied. 
She tells me, “Well that was the cash price, the amount we billed insurance was required under our contract with them.”
“Wait, you are billing my insurance twice what I could just pay out of pocket, when we all knew the insurance company would not pay it? Did you tell me there was a “cash price” that was only a little more than my deductible?”
“Well sir, you hand us an insurance car, it’s not our job to tell you”
“Who else would know?”
It’s not just insurance companies…it’s also the 1) incompetent underpaid staff working the counter or 2) small clinics trying to make as much as possible.

Me and Discount Tire

So I bought four new tires in February from Discount Tire off of Beltline and 121 and as I drove off I noticed there was a slight wiggle in the wheel. I thought it was just the feeling of new tread that needed to get worked out. A couple months later I find the time to go back since it was time for a rotation and the wobble had gotten worse. I told them about it, they said they were fine so I drove off. The problem persisted so I made it back in June determined to get this fixed. The charged me for a “road force balance” and sent me on my way. I went a few miles down the highway. turned around and came back, still not fixed. The looked again and told me a “control arm bushing” had worn out ant the horizontal movement might be causing the problem. I had that fixed, but, you guessed it, no better. In all my time buying tires from DT, I had never had a problem and I have bought many plus a few set of wheels. So I had looked for any other problem feeling they just could not be that incompetent.
So I had enough. I took the time to get me car down to my Uncle (Bill Shores of Bill Shores Automotive, convieniently located in downtown Fort Worth.) He went over it and noticed, just by sighting the tire, that not one or two, but three were out of round! So, I took my car back again (all to the same location on Beltline). I told them I wanted all new tires and for the trouble they had caused me, I would like them to upgrade the tires. I was informed that they would happily replace the tires (I had bought the warranty so they had to anyway) but to up grade would cost me. Was I asking too much for the trouble I asked? No, but they could only discount the upgrade, not give it to me.
So I took my tires and left and then wrote a gently worded letter to the regional and home office. I received a call from the region and worked out a deal to keep me a customer. I went to the location on Harwood and was treated really well. I can still recommend the company, but I would avoid the location in Irving on Beltline and 121. They don’t seem to care much if your are happy even if you have working tires. I know the one on Camp Bowie was always great.