Complaints about clubs nearly double

Complaints about clubs nearly double
Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) logo.
PHOTO: Consumers Association of Singapore (Case)

Before you follow through on your resolution and sign up for that fitness club membership this year, think twice - it could be a source of frustration.

According to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), the number of complaints for clubs nearly doubled last year.

Case received 1,148 complaints about the club industry, which consists mainly of fitness clubs, from January to November last year.

For the same period in 2015, clubs were the source of 590 complaints.

This surge in grievances has propelled clubs to the fifth-most complained about industry this year.

The other four categories, in ascending order, are contractors, electrical and electronics, beauty and motorcars. (See below.)

Case told The New Paper that the bulk of complaints were due to the closure of California Fitness, which shuttered last July .

Said a Case spokesman: "Case received around 600 complaints from affected members, who had unutilised gym membership and personal training sessions with the fitness club."

But a spokesman from fitness club True Fitness said that this rise in complaints about clubs can also be attributed to the convenience of reaching out to Case.

Said the spokesman: "Many people find Case to be an easy option to get their complaints heard and attended to, especially when they are not able to settle their issues with the respective establishments to their satisfaction."

To improve customer satisfaction, True Fitness has implemented several initiatives to improve customer satisfaction, like developing an app to help members track their classes and opening up feedback platforms.

Fitness First, which has 16 outlets here, also prioritises the feedback of its members.

Its regional manager Andrew Phillips said: "By interacting with our members on a personal level, using channels like social media and sending targeted surveys to members via E-mail Direct Marketing, we've managed to draw out helpful insight on what works and what doesn't."

While clubs have seen a surge in complaints, the travel industry has seen the opposite happen. Figures from Case reflected better public sentiment when it came to companies in the industry, with 569 complaints received from January to November last year.

In 2015, Case received 955 complaints for the same period.

Miss Alicia Seah, director of PR and communications at Dynasty Travel, said reasons for this drop include greater transparency in tour prices and pre-departure briefings by travel agents.

Setting up an in-house customer service division to address issues also helped prevent complaints, she added.

Additionally, Ms Jane Chang, head of marketing and communications for Chan Brothers, said that reminding customers to purchase insurance and having a quick response time to incidents has lessened complaints as well.


Categories with the most complaints

January to November 2016

1 Cars: 2,963 (last year: 2,675)

2 Beauty: 1,563 (1,551)

3 Electrical & electronics: 1,320 (1,535)

4 Contractors: 1,227(1,343)

5 Clubs: 1,148 (590)

6 Furniture: 1,051 (1,154)

7 Cellphones: 766 (772)

8 Maid agencies: 724 (844)

9 Telecommunications: 640 (764)

10 Travel: 569 (955)

This article was first published on Jan 3, 2017.
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