The sudden closure of True Fitness has become one of the most talked about news recently.
Since awareness towards living healthier lifestyles has gone up, it’s a surprise that a chain that was recruiting aggressively—reportedly even 2 days before closing—has shut down with minimal notice.
You can find True Fitness’ final statement or leave comments on their site here. The gist of it was:
- They’re shutting down.
- They’ve made arrangements with CHi Fitness for members “to continue with [their] fitness regime with them”.
Following True Fitness’ announcement, CHi Fitness has since come up with their own statement to clarify important factors in their developing deal with True Fitness.
There is a fair bit of information but it does raise some important questions about what has been unfolding.
1. How many months of CHi Fitness memberships equals a lifetime membership?
What we know based on their statements is that True Fitness has plans to buy monthly memberships from CHi Fitness. According to emails sent to users, True Fitness will not be returning any of the money paid beforehand, so this transferred membership will be the substitution instead.
What about those who bought a lifetime membership from True Fitness? CHi Fitness do not offer lifetime passes, so we wonder how will these translate over.
2. How will these new CHi Fitness memberships be distributed to True Fitness alumni?
Will these memberships be given out to members in relation to how many more months of workouts they’re owed? Or will everyone be given the same number of monthly memberships to streamline the process?
3. Will True Fitness only be giving out a total of 2,000 monthly passes to their ex-members?
In CHi Fitness’ statement, “True Fitness has approached CHi Fitness to purchase 2,000 monthly passes to CHi gyms in Klang Valley (except Nexus and Bangsar Shopping Center branches) to be passed on to their members.”
And since CHi Fitness sells memberships by the month, does this mean that True Fitness will only be giving out a total of 2,000 monthly passes to be split among their ex-members?
We don’t have a definite number of members that True Fitness had with them during the shutdown, but judging from how True Fitness runs their business (memberships that ran for years), 2,000 monthly memberships will probably not be enough to compensate their ex-members for the months that they’re owed.
Will they buy more memberships after these negotiations are concluded, or does this mean that True Fitness members are, at most, only getting a couple of months out of the whole deal?
4. Can CHi Fitness even accommodate the new surge of True Fitness ex-members?
There aren’t a lot of True Fitness outlets if compared with CHi Fitness and the like, but what True Fitness lacked in numbers, they certainly made up for in location size.
So if we go by the “2,000 monthly passes” number that was quoted in the post, can all of the CHi Fitness outlets even accommodate the surge of True Fitness members that will be coming in?
4. What are the talking points under negotiation?
The details of the negotiation will probably never be revealed to us, but it does make you wonder.
5. What do they mean by validity?
Based on the wording of the statement and email sent out by True Fitness, they said that:
“The validity of these redemptions for membership months and personal training will be for 24 months from 3 July 2017 or until all membership months and personal training sessions have been utilised.”
Does this mean that members have 24 months to redeem their leftover memberships? Or can members only redeem 24 months out of whatever total months they had left? The wording seems to imply the former.
6. What does this mean for True Fitness outlets in other countries?
Before this hit us in Malaysia, the same thing actually happened in Thailand. And very soon after, it happened in Malaysia. Currently Singapore’s True Fitness is making assurances that business is as usual in Singapore, but people are definitely getting wary.
7. Where can the “online” redemptions be made?
True Fitness has said in their statement that redemptions with CHi Fitness can be made online, but there is no indication as to where, for now.
8. What’s going to happen to True Spa members?
As far as I can tell, CHi Fitness does not have any spas under their label. And even by True Fitness’ own admission, they’re still “looking for a reputable service provider to service [members’] un-utilised sessions. We will be getting in touch with our affected members when we have more details.”
If the gym members thought they had it rough, it seems like the True Spa members have it even worse because there is no word as to how they’re going to be compensated, and they too can’t get their cash back.
9. Why are True Fitness members sending their enquiries to CHi Fitness in droves?
For this one, the answer might be obvious. True Fitness has not provided many outlets for their upset clientele to air their grievances. The mass-email that was sent to True Fitness members provided an enquiry email link that apparently doesn’t work, or doesn’t always go through, according to comments and posts in a closed Facebook group.
(For now, according to the post, enquiries are to be made here.)
10. If negotiations are still underway, why did True Fitness preemptively announce that memberships will be transferred to CHi Fitness?
Has there been a miscommunication between the two parties? Or did one of them jump the gun?
In CHi Fitness’ statement, they clarified, “As of now, we have not finalised the sale.”
The second statement issued by True Fitness also stated, “we seek the kind understanding from members not to proceed to or contact to any CHI Fitness Centre until 3 July 2017”.
They might have made the CHi Fitness announcement in an attempt to reassure their users or stave off their customers’ complaints, but now many are suspicious instead, wondering if the deal will even go through.
11. Why wasn’t all of this prepared sooner?
Businesses have their ups and downs. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, the decision to shut down True Fitness’ operations in Malaysia could have come as a surprise to management as well.
But I doubt that the process of shutting it down can be as sudden as “shutter all of the doors the next day”.
So when True Fitness realised that they will have to shut down all operations, perhaps a few months back, why didn’t they make preparations for a smooth transition from the very beginning?
Surely, they knew that they were playing with sensitive cargo here (especially since there have been statements from ex-members stating that their cards are still being charged for their memberships)
In fact, according to multiple reports, instructors have not been paid in months, and in some locations, even laundry and air conditioning has been choppy at best.
Ex-members of True Fitness are raring up to file a class-action lawsuit against True Fitness to seek reparations for their losses thanks to all of this.
Perhaps if True Fitness did better in their due-diligence and performed their utmost to ensure a smooth transition for their ex-clientele, they could have mitigated some of the backlash. For now, the affected constituents will have to wait and see how it all unfolds.
We’ve contacted True Fitness for their side, and will be updating if there is a response.
Do you have any other questions raised from the statements issued? Let us know in the comments.
Feature Image Credit: Compiled from CHi Fitness and True Fitness.