GARWOOD, NJ — Dozens of people are disgruntled over billing issues stemming from their attempts to cancel memberships at Crunch Fitness’ South Avenue location.

Among them is Kate Castellone, who had moved out of nearby Westfield over the summer and so was no longer using the gym. Castellone, 63, said that in September she went to the gym in person, traveling from her new residence in Ocean County to sign a cancelation form, but that now she is getting text messages from Crunch Fitness saying they’re going to send her account to a bill collector.

“I’m so glad they’re not getting money out of me anymore,” Castellone told TAPinto Westfield. “But now they’re going to take me to collections court. I need this like I need a hole in the head.”

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She explained that the gym no longer has her credit card number because she changed it after her wallet was stolen. Castellone said she has left repeated messages at the gym but has yet to get a call back. She decided to take her problem to the press after seeing other members posting to a local Facebook group about their similar billing issues with the gym.

On Tuesday, Ashley McGuire, the gym’s acting general manager, discussed those concerns, which come after the state allowed New Jersey gyms to reopen at a quarter of their capacity in September, following their extended closure due to COVID-19.

“Anyone who was charged when they were canceled, we will refund them,” McGuire said in a phone interview. “We are not in the business of taking money from our members. We believe our members are like family, and we do hope they will come back.”

While McGuire said that the refunds are not completed in house, the gym is “working on getting everything resolved for everybody the best that we can.” She said members can either cancel by coming to the gym in person and signing a form or by sending a letter to the gym.

“The policy does call for a certified letter, but a lot of people who don’t feel comfortable going to the post office, they’ve sent regular letters, and we’ve still accepted it as a cancelation,” McGuire said.

She discouraged customers from canceling payment through their credit card companies as it will put their Crunch accounts in arrears.

“We do ask if anyone is having issues, they come to us first before going to their credit card company because it’s just going to make their account become past due,” McGuire said.

As for the social media comments pertaining to the gym’s billing practices?

“If anybody has anything that they need addressed, if they can reach out as soon as possible that would help a lot before they go to social media,” McGuire said. “I would like to apologize on behalf of Crunch. We’re here to be here for everybody.”

Maria Cruz, 43, of Iselin, however, told TAPinto Westfield that her repeated attempts at contacting the gym directly to cancel and obtain a refund were unsuccessful — until she started posting to the gym’s Facebook page.

“I think I became such a pain that they didn’t have an option but to get rid of me,” Cruz said. “Anytime they posted to Facebook, I would post my whole story.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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