On Your Side: Left in the Dark

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News 12 at 6, July 25, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Some members of a now-defunct gym say they've been left in the dark after the facility closed overnight.

The Powersouth Gym on Mike Padgett Highway shut down about a month ago. The former owner says it all came down to finances. Several members say that's fine, but a little warning and a refund would be nice.

"I came up here one day to work out; the door was closed and there was a note on it," said former member Lenny Wilkes.

That is the same story 12 On Your Side has heard from several former Powersouth Gym members over the past month. They say the gym literally closed overnight.

"Three Ryder trucks were parked in the back loading up the equipment," said former member Megan Lightcap.

She just happened to be driving by the Mike Padgett Highway Gym when she spotted something strange. "Treadmills, elliptical [machines]; they were loading everything up," she continued.

What's troubling for Megan and many other members is that they had just paid a year's worth of dues up front, just weeks before the gym shut down.

"One contract was for $1000," said former employee Felicia Brown.

Felicia and her fellow ex-employee Jennifer White say the store was taking new members, almost up until the last minute because they say the owner never told them they were about to be out of a job.

"It was just handled wrong," Jennifer said.

"He always told us not to believe the rumors," said Felicia.

12 On Your Side tracked the owner, Randall Key, at his other gym, on Gordon Highway where a truck sits with the Powersouth logo painted on. He told us the gym was shut down because he was getting in too much debt by keeping it open.

He also said a management group called Apex was supposed to send out letters and refund money, but a few delays kept that from happening as quickly as he wanted.

Most of the members say the letter and the refund will help, but an apology wouldn't be so bad either.

"I felt like I had been tricked into a membership," Lenny said.

12 On Your Side called Apex about this. A spokesperson said for the folks who prepaid several months or a year of membership, the gym is responsible for offering refunds.

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