Cathy Bryant was ready to kick off 2021 with a weight loss challenge.
The Cape Coral resident found a gym deal advertised online for a challenge at the Gulf Coast Fitness Center in south Fort Myers.
“It was supposed to be for 45 women only, flexible schedule, mornings, nights, 15-plus classes a week, they offered,” Bryant said.
Instead, she found a group of 100 people crowded into a studio. Dozens of women feel duped and now want a refund.
“Last night was not safe,” Bryant said. “It was not small. It was not what they promised and there’s a lot of mad people.”
Bryant said the classes promised to be for small groups. Meal plans and body assessments were also part of the package as long as people went to class three times a week.
“I don’t know how they thought they would fit 115 people in one class,” one woman said.
The owner, Joseph Cienfero, said he doesn’t have the money to offer the refunds. He said he brought in a marketing company, Gym Rescue, to attract more members.
“But they oversold it,” Cienfero said. “They over-promised and now we’re in this situation.”
Participants in the 16-week challenge paid $118 upfront and then $59 each month starting in February. The gym also offered personal training and dietary recommendations.
Cienferro said Gym Rescue had everyone’s down payment.
Gym Rescue told WINK News it was the gym’s responsibility to deliver on the promise, but they said they would return members’ money.
Regardless, Bryant said she is disappointed.
“It’s like I finally decided, OK, I’m gonna do something for myself, I’m going to try to, you know, take care of my health and do something good and I’m just really disappointed,” she said.