On Friday I received a wonderful email in which I was informed by the editors of the Crucible Literary Magazine that two of my poems were selected for publication in the Fall edition.

In addition, my poem “Mal de Mar” was featured in the absolutely stunning Issue 7 from  Firewords Quarterly.

Open Letter to Gold’s Gym

July 5th, 2016

Board Members of Gold’s Gym International, Inc.

I write to you today as a highly loyal, but highly concerned, Gold’s Gym member. After finishing my enlistment in the US Navy, I was so very excited to get started with the little things that I was deprived of while on Active Duty. Buying a house, going to school, and joining a gym were among my top priorities. I am a vocal fan of bodybuilding, and the associated culture because the empirical evidence shows that progressive fitness and focused health consciousness can – and will – lead to a longer, more prosperous life. I also strongly believe that being able to hone the discipline one needs to go to the gym six times a week is among the most important of life’s critical skills, which has the potential to positively affect other aspects of everyday life.

With these premises in mind, coupled with the elite history of Gold’s Gym, I found it only natural to become a member. I cannot say enough at how satisfied I am with my experience thus far at the Loveland, Colorado location; from the facilities, the staff, right down to the contractors installing new equipment, there has not been a time when I was even remotely motivated to think of what a different gym would be like. With all this firmly said, I see a catastrophic trend spawning from current and former customers and their utter dissatisfaction with your business associates: ABC Financial.

Being a member who has never really had any type of financial alteration to my account, I have very little personal experience dealing with your third-party billing company. However, with a simple Google search, one is able to see vividly how disgusted patrons are with ABC. Not only do they fail miserably at their flagship function of billing customers, they’re also routinely inadequate at problem resolution, customer service, and corporate evolution.

My research began after failing to convince half a dozen of my acquaintances that Gold’s Gym is the best gym to join. They all had either personal or indirect experience with patrons cancelling their membership, and they unanimously quoted ABC Financial and their hideous policies as the reason for completely disagreeing with my recommendations. On the Better Business Bureau’s website, ABC have 12 visible summaries. 11 of those are negative, and all 11 deal with the headache and unprofessionalism of ABC’s cancellation conduct. The complaint history shows 636 complaints in the last 36 months. 453 of those are associated with problems stemming from Collection and Billing Service. 12.5 billing complaints per month about an organization whose sole purpose is to bill customers: that’s an absolutely absurd number of fundamental failures!

As far as I can tell, their A+ rating from the BBB is simply because they have a dedicated employee who logs on and resolves all complaints filed against them. Frankly, that’s not how to run a business. How can they consistently clean up a mess without even once reasoning that a better, more complete conflict resolution starts with preventing the complaint in the first place! I am sympathetic to structured policies, business law, and the time associated with major changes, but being as I have found a complaint about ABC’s incompetence in regards to billing services from July 23rd, 2003 – only two years after the internet reached 50% of American households – I can confidently say that ABC has been stagnant on repairing a fundamental issue within their business structure for the better part of two decades, and, thus, can safely assume that they do not wish to improve at all.

On, ABC has earned 88 1-star ratings out of 90 total. The comments from former Gold’s customers – as well as the other fitness institutions that ABC represents – are unanimously dissatisfied. Patrick of Winchester, MA quotes “Please, if you sign up at a gym ask who their billing company is before you make any commitments. ABC is a garbage company and people need to know.” I ask you why, sir? Why should the largely hands-off experience of membership fees affect a consumer’s decision to join your gym? Why should the actions – or inactions – of a completely separate business cut down on Gold’s revenue? Why should ABC Financial even be a factor in a customer’s decision at all? John of Wappingers Falls, NY says “The financial institution behind Gold’s Gym is “ABC Financial”. Perfect bond between scam business and scam bank.” I’m sure you’ll agree that Gold’s Gym being labeled as a “scam business” is thoroughly inaccurate. However, Gold’s is the unfortunate face of ABC’s misconduct, so is it not natural for several customers to misidentify the source of their stress? Charles of Arlington, MA says “I recommend against a Gold’s Gym membership as [ABC] are the folks that you need to deal with.” What a preventable tragedy!

ABC Financial has, is, and will continue to negatively impact Gold’s reputation, membership population, and, therefore, sustainability. James of Frankfort, IL concludes “Seriously… a scam. Somebody needs to expose this rip off!!!” Well, sir, here I am. I am absolutely appalled by this corrupt, incompetent business, but am confident that by alerting you – the largest and most influential client of theirs – to the consistent carelessness of ABC Financial, that you will use your authoritative muscles to find an appropriate resolution for your customers, and for the long-term reputation of your business.


Cody A. Conklin