The Lexington-based fitness club chain Urban Active plans to dedicate an employee full-time to resolving customer complaints after the Better Business Bureau announced this week the company had received an "F" for its operations in central Ohio.
The company has been given the same grade by the Central Kentucky chapter of the organization.
In Central Ohio, there have been more than 200 complaints filed against the chain during the past year, with 78 of those unanswered or unresolved, "as Urban Active did not respond to BBB's written requests for their side," according to a statement from the BBB Central Ohio.
The Better Business Bureau of Central & Eastern Kentucky has processed 93 complaints against the chain during the past three years, with 62 resolved.
"The more troubling thing is that some were not dealt with at all," said Heather Clary, director of communications for the local BBB. "Granted, companies are not required to respond, but most do because they want to resolve issues and have a good customer experience record."
Urban Active is not a BBB-accredited business, according to the BBB Web sites.
The complaints in both locations have centered on billing and contract issues. Kip Morse, president and CEO of BBB Central Ohio, said in a statement that most are from customers who continue to have money withdrawn from their bank accounts after they say their contracts have been canceled or expired.
John Gragg, general counsel for Urban Active, said the complaints represent less than half of 1 percent of "our overall membership base."
That said, the chain is "going to be very pro-active about this," Graff said.
"We're going to take somebody who was probably dedicating 10 percent of their time to this to 100 percent," he said. "We've reached out to the Lexington BBB and asked them for a meeting to discuss steps we can take to improve our ratings and our responsiveness."
The BBB representatives encouraged consumers to read contracts closely before they sign them.
"Consumers need to read the fine print on the contract before they sign and keep a close eye on their bank statements to ensure they're not getting billed for more than they should," Morse said.