Franchise Dreams Becoming Nightmares for Many Fitness Club Owners

Posted in News
Tue, Sep 25 - 9:33 am EDT | 10 years ago by
Comments: 65
Be Sociable, Share!
    Use Arrow Keys (← →) to Browse

    60+ Contours Express Franchise Owners Allege Fraud, Breach of Contract by Franchisor

    (FranchisePick.Com) Curves for Women can be credited for setting off the fitness franchise gold rush.

    In a little over ten years from the launch of their franchise program in 1995, express fitness franchise Curves for Women grew to over 10,000 locations. The consumer concept was simple: A women-only 30-minute circuit training exercise program geared for non-supermodels at a flat monthly fee. The franchise concept was also simple: Low investment. Low space requirements. Minimal payroll & inventory. No real experience necessary. In short, a big room with fitness equipment and a boom box.

    Predictably, dozens of Curves knock-offs and variations began to pop up, each hawking their “unique,” low-investment franchise opportunities. Overnight there were not only dozens of new express fitness club franchises for women, there were men-only 30-minute club franchises, senior citizen club franchises, 24-hour fitness club franchises, retro-themed club franchises… even an exercise club specifically for golfers. Experienced franchise salesmen and brokers found themselves surrounded by inexperienced individuals eager to get in on the latest hot new concept and to be in business for themselves but not by themselves for less than $50K. The rush was on.

    Contours Express: The Great Pretender to the Curves Throne
    contours_express_thumb1.gifCurves challenger Contours Express launched in 1998. The Contours Express website states: “leveraging the success of Curves® while upgrading the product offering and member experiences, Contours Express has created The ‘Better Idea In Women’s Gyms.’ The company is now the #2 Women’s circuit training gym behind Curves. We are the second fastest growing with over 600 locations worldwide in 20 countries, and rated among the most affordable.”

    However, more than 60 Contours Express franchise owners have filed a petition for damages in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County against AABB FITNESS HOLDINGS, INC. (formerly known as CONTOURS EXPRESS, INC.), CONTOURS EXPRESS, LLC, and franchise broker JAMES E. HOGG (dba Franchise Visions), alleging fraud and breach of contract. Among the numerous complaints, each of the plaintiffs allege:

    • “The Contours Express UFOC dramatically understated the cost of building out and operating a location.”
    • “The owners of Contours Express and their representatives also made “earnings claims” or verbal pitches regarding profitability, which are prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission, to entice the Plaintiffs to purchase franchises and their lenders to finance them.”
    • “Once hooked, the franchisee had no way out. The typical franchisee’s working capital was exhausted soon after they opened their location and most could not service a debt load of 50 to 100 percent greater than they had been led to believe.”
    • “… the franchisor provided little or no support to the franchisees as it agreed to do under the franchise agreements signed by the parties. In fact, once the stores were opened, very few of the franchisees were ever visited by representatives of the franchisor.”
    • The franchisor failed to assist any of the franchisees in selling their locations because they would receive a higher franchise fee if the franchisee closed without selling their location and the franchisor could then sell the territory to a new franchisee.
    • The franchisor covered up the many franchise failures by not disclosing all of the franchisees who had left the system, as required by law.

    Many of the complaints are being echoed by franchise owners of other chains, especially those alleging vastly understated start-up costs and necessary working capital and overly optimistic and illegal earnings claims and profit projections. Recent FranchisePick.Com posts on fitness franchise Butterfly Life has prompted fiery comments and debate between current and former Butterfly Life franchise owners (See links below)

    We’ll be continuing to follow the Contours Express legal dispute and other fitness franchise program controversies, and the lessons these disputes hold for those wanting to go into franchising with both eyes wide open.

    Related reading:
    Is Contours Express a Great Fitness Franchise?
    Is Curves for Women a Good Franchise Investment?
    Will the REAL Butterfly Life Franchise Please Wave Its Wings?
    The Contours Express Second Amended Complaint for Damages document, Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC) and other documents are available in the FranBest.Com franchise document library.


    A-Franchise-A-Day! by FranBest.Com

    Discover the best coffee franchise opportunities at FranBest’s Coffee Franchise Guide

    Where to promote your top new franchise? Start with Top New Franchises.

    To contact the editor of, email info[at] or call 717-656-2107 ext. 24

    Use Arrow Keys (← →) to Browse

    Be Sociable, Share!

      Related Posts

      • Pingback: Franchise Dreams Becoming Nightmares for Many Fitness Club Owners at PIGASYS

      • Joel Libava

        I am certainly not surprised by a lawsuit like this. Not only should one do the required due diligence on a franchise, but according to your story, one must be careful about who they listen to.
        Joel Libava
        The Franchise King Blog

      • Pingback: Contours Express Franchise Owners Allege Fraud, Breach of Contract at FranBest Fitness Franchises

      • Pingback: Contours Express Franchise Owners Allege Fraud, Breach of Contract at Franchisor Marketing

      • Pingback: Contours Express Franchise Owners Allege Fraud, Breach of Contract at Franchisee Marketing

      • Gina Marie

        Joel is correct that “due diligence” is required in researching any franchise. However, one would also expect the marketing material provided by the franchise and their representatives to accurately reflect start up costs, necessary working capital, as well as what ongoing support is provided. When clubs are closing nationwide at an alarming rate it appears that obviously there is a break down in their ‘proven system’.The material used and the information given to entice new franchisees is not truly indicative of what the reality is when opening and running the franchise. If that statement were not true there would not be over 50 claimants in the lawsuit mentioned on this web site. I would hope the company would be more concerned with addressing and correcting the problem than with trying to discredit those who have already suffered great loss.

      • sean

        Gina Marie Good points. I wonder if the new CEO is taking steps to correct these problems. Does anyone know?

      • Joel Libava

        Gina Marie,
        You are absolutely correct. 100%!
        The materials must have correct and TRUTHFUL info……..
        Joel Libava

      • TM

        I have heard from franchisees at Contours Express that the new CEO is stopping at nothing to fix the issues. I know there have been a lot of staff changes.

      • sean

        TM said:I have heard from franchisees at Contours Express that the new CEO is stopping at nothing to fix the issues.
        Does anyone know if they’re doing anything to to boost membership and retention on the club level?

        By the way, I apologize if anyone had trouble accessing the Contours Express franchise lawsuit document and the Contours Express franchise disclosure documents yesterday. There was a problem but it should work fine now. Download them at the FranBest document library:

      • sean

        The Butterfly Life franchise agreement, franchise offering circular, area development agreement, area representative agreement, and list of franchisees are posted as free downloads at the FranBest.Com Franchise Document Library:

      • Gina Marie

        It is great news that Contours Express has hired a new CEO and made a lot of staff changes in an attempt to fix the issues. It is also encouraging that they are finally acknowledging that there are issues that need fixing. It is unfortunate that it took over 60 owners/former owners to file a lawsuit in order for that to happen. You know the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Obviously it was broken and I truly do wish them well in fixing it so others do not have to suffer the emotional distress and financial loss as those who were under the previous leadership.

      • sean

        Obviously, it was broken and I truly wish them well in fixing it…
        When all else fails, they can always resort to the secret weapon: the Green Prosperity Prayer Hankie

      • Ex Ms Contours

        It sounds like Butterfly life should have their own lawsuit too!

      • Ruth Nimbalker

        Franchising is a deadly game… is people who have worked out a system to steal money from innocent families all over the world legally….they involve banks and landlords. Until the goverments take a heavy hand against this industry, lot more families will be destroyed…. people who have been involved in franchisng need to voice out to their nations and also their goverments, become a voice everyone of you who has been ripped out, tell the nation stop this disaster, set up your web pages, use the internet to bring your information to the world so we can stop this coporate bullies.

      • sean

        it is people who have worked out a system to steal money from innocent families all over the world legally… unless goverments take a heavy hand against this industry, lot more families will be destroyed
        Ruth: I’ve worked in franchising for 20 years and can tell you that the majority of franchisors are not crooks… most offer legitimate business opportunities structured for the end goal of mutual success with their franchisees.
        However, I agree with you that there are many who are in the business of selling franchises, not in the business of creating successful, profitable franchisees. I would add that it will take pressure from the legitimate franchisors to run these bandits out of town. After all, the good franchisors are being robbed as well… the pool of viable franchise owners who could be thriving in a strong organization are being hijacked and bankrupted by those with little more than a slick sales pitch. Many of the offenders do this in company after company… somehow the franchise organizations tolerate, even protect them.
        Franchising is still a great way to go into business for many people… but buyers need to do careful homework and thorough due diligence.
        I am compiling a library of excellent articles and other literature to help individuals find the best – and avoid the worst – of franchising at FranBest.Com. (
        Check out the FranBest Franchise Guide there.

      •; N/A Norm

        Sean, First, correct, please correct your numbers as there are over 60 plaintiffs involved in the action filed in Missouri! There would be far more Contours owners involved by at least double. There are those of us just about broke but hoping for a miracle before they have to close in the next month or so. Then there are those already bankrupt and/or now totally financially ruined. Finally, there are those afraid of retaliation by corporate Contours. Legal action was threatened against litigants in an email to all the franchisees by the Contours Express president Bill Helton. Contours Express corporate gained the confidence of potential franchise customers by outright lies, failure to send the required UFOC to some of the plaintiffs, ommissions of truth when questions were asked, and total misrepresentation of financial costs. This I call a “con game.” I have experienced the stress and distress of being involved with this franchise times 3 since I opened 3 last year. More later.

        N/A Norm

      • cynthia

        i was an owner of a contours express-it essentially destroyed my life financially as well as my partners. i was able to access the disclosure documents submitted by contours- ironically i am not on that list- nor are several of the other locations i know to have closed. how do i get in on one of these lawsuits?? i wish someone had contacted me- it would be great to get some some of reparations

      • Ex Ms Contours

        Cynthia- I’m in the CE lawsuit and very grateful. It’s a shame that you didn’t get in on it. When did your club close? If you contact our lawyer maybe there can be another lawsuit filed if enough people are involved.

      • Pingback: Failed Contours Express Fitness Franchise Owner Shares Experience, Advice at PIGASYS

      • Pingback: Fiscal Fitness Proving Elusive for 30 Minute Workout Franchise Owners at PIGASYS

      • On a Mission

        If the CEO is doing so much now why have we club owners not even heard of him. I did not even get an email saying we had a new CEO. He has done nothing to help my club. As far as that goes I have never seen anyone from corporate at my club and I just started getting an occasional phone call asking “how are things going” about 2 months ago. With the lawsuit going on I am not sure we should even talk to anyone at corporate. I can I trust them now?

      • Ex Ms Contours

        On a Mission- you are still open, are you in the lawsuit? I find it somewhat surprising that since there is a new CEO he would make everyone aware of himself, but of course we are talking about CE Corporate-that sounds like their MO. But at least they are NOW checking up on you. I hope it’s not too late.

      • Missy

        Contours Express is a joke! Their overall idea was good, the equipment is good, but corporate is a joke. They tell you to get this and do this and buy this and they don’t even know what they are talking about. It’s just one hyped up lie after another. Now all the franchiees are stuck with all the Chicken Soup for thhe Soul crap that won’t sell. Just one more failure for corporate. One more time the franchiees have benn let down and have to EAT it financially.A word of advise to anyone interested in opening a franchise DON”T!!! Run like hell in the opposite direction. Quickly

      • Worried

        I have had my Contours Express Franchise opened now for 7 months. I currenly have 93 members of which 66 are EFT payers which is what you want the most of for cash flow and monthly bills. I am working at this business almost entirely by myself. I cannot afford to pay anyone yet to so it has primarily been just me. I not only stay in my club 12/13 hours days but I also offer personal training as well as hold an aerobics class (which I conduct myself). I have stopped any more advertising other than getting my current members in assisiting me in “word of mouth” advertising and getting them to take flyers to their churches, schools, places of business and gold tournaments. My members want very much for me to succeed and are trying hard to help me. I did very little of what corp. has suggested in advertising due to the fact that I have to be in my store. Additionally, I cannot continue to dole out money for everything they expect me to. I have decided to try and sell this club now rather than later. Not sure if I will get the help in marketing it that the people in Corp. have told me they will do. Come January, I am praying to increase my memberships enough to offset my expenses but I can see that retention will be a problem. I would love to get more information about when this lawsuit is scheduled to go to court. If you look at it in one way, and Corp is held responsible and has to pay out all these damages and goes under, then we as owners will be on our own (which we really are anyway) and $395 richer every month. If they are not found not guilty of fraud this might be good as far as those of us who want to try and market our clubs for sale. As long as that lawsuit is looming out there and potential franchisees know this, it’s got to impact their decisions on whether or not to purchase a franchise. I opened my store in March of 2007-the same month this lawsuit was started. My timing was terrible.

      • Worried

        Meant to type “golf” tournaments not “gold”. My bad but hopefully, you all know what I meant.

      • Ex Ms Contours

        Worried- I wish you all the luck in the world! I was in your same shoes this time last year. I asked Corp to help me try and sell my club. All I got was Charlie telling me to put an ad in the local paper and give CE’s 800 number, they would take care of the rest. So I did and never heard another word from them. Finally after waiting about 3 weeks I called Charlie and asked if anyone had called about buying my club. He said no that this was not a good time of year to sell! What? You mean that’s it? I thought. I closed my doors two weeks after that and joined in on the lawsuit.

      • Getting scared!

        Worried, I would love to talk to you. I have been open since June and have about 60 members. I would like to compare notes, maybe we can give each other some good idea’s. I have to keep going at this point, if you want to leave me your email. Thanks.

      • betty

        hey, getting scared and worried, there is another blog out there discussing this issue. another law suit is in the works, just contact norm, he left his email and number, i believe on the other blog. you can find it by googling, contours express going out of business, that’s how i found it. google will lead you right to it. i too am hanging in there, i have 150 members but cant get above that as i am over my year. every time i gain one, i lose one, and 150 members is not cutting it. i need 250 to survive, um it seems like such an easy thing to do, just get 100 more members….not!!! my members are working for me too, referrals, flyers, i have some dropping flyers off door to door. it’s crazy. i have gone to every business, offered to feed them lunch, doctor’s offices, flyers on windshields, resorting to making a fool of myself being the over zealous cheer leader, only to get one member…these women out there need to be convinced that they need to take care of their bodies through strength training and cardio, but we as individuals cannot do this unthinkable task. it has to be “out there” all the time, touching the masses, convincing women, yes, just like curves does, that you deserve to do this for yourself. without name recognition, and without the ability to have men, we are on a constant up hill battle with little reward at the end….it’s so sad, i dont understand corporate, i feel like it’s such an easy fix. they expect us to put out all the money for ads….what a joke….and dont worry about being at your club all the time and not out in the community, because, believe me i was, and it got me very little….you are not failing because you are not out there, you are failing because corporate in not out there….

      • Kunst

        When all you do is copy, you have none of the positives and all of the negatives. Those who sold Contours Express (Butterfly Death, etc — we call them “the clones”) were opportunists and parasites. Those who bought were misguided at best, fools at worst.

      • sean

        See the latest post on Contours Express. It’s a guest post by the son of a Contours Express franchise owner, recounting her experiences:

        “How do Businesses Like Contours Express Survive?”

      • Joel Libava

        Wow. Sean lives.

      • sean

        New post about a similar situation:



      • Pingback: Butterfly Life Chairman Gergley Offers Commissions to Ex-Franchisees

      • Jose

        I agree with many of the people today who have bought womens only franchises. All of the Franchisors including CURVES are out for one thing, get rich quick for themselves. they do not explain to the new buyer theimportnace of operating the business. Years ago when I applied to get Curves info to open a curves, I got calls from dozens of Piad consultants for all the womens only companies begging me to purchase one. Curves was alittle more snudy and thought I needed them so bad I was willing to pay anything they said. The problem is the begging and letting anyone own a fitness club. Wrong thing to do. I know more Fat, smoking out shape lazy women and men who own clubs its crazy. No wonder they are all failing. The Joke around the country now when Curves is in the parade is ‘Here comes the Fat women Float right behing the Ice Cream wagon.
        Contours and all the other womens only clubs are not any different.
        But I place most of the blame on the new buyers. Who in there desire to get Rich quick, now want to blame the franchisor of Curves and Contours etc. And the Crooked attorneys around the country who allege FALSE claims against the Franchisor to get rich themselves leaving the Franchisee holding the bill when the companies file Chapter 7. Again the Greed Continues! Greedy, Lieing Law Firms, and greedy Lieing franchisee wanting to get rich quick. Shame on all of you.
        Nothing will replace hard work and Pride in what you do. Stop watching Television it is messing with your mind. There is no money tree in the back yard as mom said.
        So remember Business is hard work! And those who work hard reap the reward.

        [crossposted at]

      • http://FranchisePick Suzy

        My husband and I recently moved to the U.A.E. for job commitments for the next 2 years. We are interested in starting a Curves in this country. There is nothing like it at all. I am very familiar with the Curves program and was a member for many years. After reading all of the comments written about buying a fitness franchise it sounds a little daunting. We were thinking that starting it here would be like it was in the States 10 years ago—we would be on the ground floor and then sell in a few years. We have a sponsor and an ideal location in conjuction with another small business. Over head would then be low. Opinions are welcome before we commit ourselves..

      • Barb

        It gets me so angry to read all these sad stories. All the stories are consistant in these express excercise clubs. We went through the same thing and opened a 123 fit. Which is one of the worst because it’s associated with Quiznos. Story after story of families ruined financially. From the marketing to desperately trying to get new members. People are not dedicated to excercise just because you are. People need to listen. In November of 2007 I started doing what killer due diligence is. Most of us who started to open a franchise in the fitness industry doesn’t understand killer due diligence. I have been studying the mind of the franchisor and you would be appauld when you understand what makes him tick. It is not good. Study the mind of the zor. You need to study and learn. Perhaps it will help you understand what happened to you. I have spent 12 hours a day asking guestions to zors and franchise lawyers and it has been depressing to learn what they are about. There are no mistakes only learning lessons. I have learned to be cautious. It is not about trusting your zor but verifying everything they disclose to us from the beginning. Bottom line all of us never understood the risk factor of opening a franchise. But I still don’t excuse them from misrepresentations, fraud and non-disclosures. We have to learn that there are sharks out there and when they look at potential zees all they see is our money. Do they want us to succeed. Absolutely not!!! It has taken a tremendous amount of studying on my part to understand. Even at the expense of asking stupid guestions and looking like I know nothing. Frankly after being robbed I don’t care what they think. I got enough information to understand what happened to us. 123 fit and all these other franchises will continue to razzle dazzle the good citizens of our country because their in the business of selling franchises because they make their money up front. You are disposalble. In the words of one of our area directors to a zee who is suppose to open, “You can step away anytime!” What does that tell you? They already made their money. Until franchisees stand together and yell at our government about how we were robbed and they see our consistant stories nothing will be changed. We are what they called whiners and not doers. Franchising is about building the king Zor’s empire. They don’t care about you. I am not bitter and pray I never will be bitter. Only wiser and will be wise in the business world and be able to see a shark. Verification is more important and understanding the risk. I feel for all of you because I know how you feel too. All we can do is support each other. Financial hell doesn’t last forever. Although I am currently in the heat of financial hell I know something will kick in. My faith in God has always been my tool to survive lifes obstacles. Even being robbed by very bad people. All we need is the right person willing to help the financial troubled zees.

      • Barb

        Commenting on Jose’s blog. Jose most businesses take 3 to 5 years to really take off. My husband and I worked hard all our lives to get in a position to buy a franchise. I don’t think you know what you are talking about. The true greed is the franchisor. My husband and I worked for 9months and never got a pay check. Our problem was from the beginning. Our build out was over twice as much as what our CEO told us it would be. That was our demise. You need to have at least 3 years working capital. If the build out was half as much we could of stayed in business for 2 years. Not enough money still. Go into business thinking of the worst case scenario and have a back out plan. The franchisee who goes in business with an illusion of getting rich fast is deceiving themselves. So don’t call zees greedy they are just trying to create a job for themselves. Many are lucky to get to break even. The assets of the franchisor is the franchisee. Haven’t you heard all the horror stories in the franchise world. Why is that? If you want to blame anyone of greed put it on the right foot. Remember the franchisor gets free labor to build it’s brand and the franchisee if they don’t have enought has to sell on pennies on the dollar to the franchisor. Or take a chance that someone will sublease their sight. The sooner the franchisee gets out the better. Have a back out plan and get a good franchise lawyer. So have money on the side to pay that too. Until the laws are changed and throw out one sided UFOC’s I would tell anyone notto buy a franchise. Unless they absolutely know their zor is a good one. There are very few good zor’s out there. If you are running one you are the very few. Jose you don’t know what your talking about.

      • sean

        Barb: You make a lot of very good points. One of the few things that will come out of an experience like this is if you are able to share the hard lessons with those who are about to make the same mistakes. Keep contributing. You’ve got the right attitude – you’ll get through it. A few thoughts:
        We went through the same thing and opened a 123 fit. Which is one of the worst because it’s associated with Quiznos.
        Quiznos is not a franchise success story. Search the net and you’ll see horror stories and many many lawsuits. However, people sign up without ever even hearing about these widespread problems.
        The true greed is the franchisor… don’t call zees greedy
        I’ve worked with franchisees and franchisors for nearly two decades. The majority of franchisors DO want do want franchisees to succeed, and store failures are not in their best interest. Three things that concern me about many of these fitness franchise concepts are 1) flat fee royalties as there is less incentive for the FR to boost unit sales, and 2) The Area Rep structure that incentivizes new franchise sales but not support for existing owners, and 3) FRs insisting that no industry experience is necessary. Why would you not want people who understand the industry? Because they’d ask annoying questions, like how do we retain members long term?
        I agree that most franchisees are not motivated primarily by greed or get-rich-quick illusions. Most are looking to build something of their own that they can be proud of. Many are looking for something that has more personal fulfillment and a positive impact – helping people get healthier, working with their families, etc.
        These are probably the motivations that the salespeople appealed to when they signed you up: freedom, control, independence. Too many, though, learn what killer due diligence means AFTER it’s too late.

      • Barb

        What amazes me is the zor has no idea how much this has hurt people not only financially but many other ways. We went from well to do to life style when a couple is starting out. We paid our dues only to come to this. If all these people feel like me my heart goes out to them. Emotionally this is the first time I actually cried real hard. It saddens me beyond belief. I am grateful I have no little ones left at home. But this is a time when I should be spoiling my grand-children, traveling and enjoying my life. It’s not only about money but the principle that people can be so bad to ruin people’s lives. I have to share this with the zees because unfortuanately you have to go through the process of grief. I loved my club and the many relationships I developed in the short time we were opened. I miss them. Monetary wise it has been hard. It has been a big lost. I have to share this with people -this is still not as bad as loosing loved ones. I lost 2 children in my twenties and this is nothing like that. Yes you will grieve and sometimes blame yourself, your spouse and anyone to relieve the the pain. Once the financial loss is dealt with and the emotional pain is gone, you will adjust your life to your situation. The truth is we trusted too easily. As I learned it is not about trust it is about verifying the zor’s disclosures. You have to be cold hearted to purposely hurt others. I thank God I’m not like that. Unfortunately you have to let yourself grieve to accept what’s happened to you. I will continue to write goals because goals give you something to live for. And there’s nothing better than when you reach a goal. I have decided business is not for me. Too many sharks out there to deal with. I have to give me some time. Perhaps I’ll change my mind and become stronger to do some shark killing. Why is the franchise world behind most businesses? Why isn’t there representation beside lawyers that over charge you for their services? We have representation when we hire a real estate agent. I know because I am a real estate agent. We need representation to protect the average person from this evil franchise world. Due diligence is a process in which the average person needs help. I am hoping one day to see the laws change in our country to give protection to the little guy from evil zors. I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am going through the process of grief. You have to, to reach acceptance. If I feel like this I know there are thousands out there that are or have been in my place. Because I have seen your stories on the internet. My passion is writing and if you feel like I do please share your stories on the internet so many will be saved from financial hell.

      • sean

        Here’s a current Butterfly Life franchise offer posted for your input:

        Butterfly Life Franchise Offer: 10 Franchises for $65K.

      • Columbus

        What is going on with the CE lawsuits?

      • Another Ex

        It is very sad, these people are heartless, have no idea of the trail of destruction they leave behind all in order to make a buck. These people have sold their souls for money, if there is Karma, they are in trouble and if there is a God, they are in trouble again, justice will always be served, in this life or the next, you reap what you sow……

        We have no legal rights really, the point is we signed a one sided document, we trusted is correct because most of us believe that people are essentially good. How much that belief has changed. I count myself lucky, I have lost my investment, the doors will shut in a couple of weeks, but my family is still together, we still have our house. I am one of the lucky ones. Money can be saved back up, bills can be slowly paid off. It is too late for me, but I will warn others. When it dawned on me that I was sinking money into this so that I could continue to contribute to their millions of dollars NET profits, that was it.

        I can stay home and spend time with my wife and kids for negative profits. I could stay home for a wage of zero. The whole point of anyone making an investment is to get a return on that investment. So why these we signed something saying they make no earnings claims is beyond me.
        I’m older, much pooer, but a HELL of alot wiser. be warned, if you are considering a franchise, if you want to know what the earnings are- phone as many franchisee’s as you can and ask to see their annual tax returns. This is one place they will NOT lie about their earnings.

        Once you have done that spend a year working as an emlpoyee for a franchisee, learn it from the inside. You may be on minimum wage for a year, but after that you will have no interest in a franchise and your investment will not be lost.

        To all of you good luck, we can’t change the past, but we can change the future -

      • sean

        Another Ex:
        I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It’s a very hard and expensive lesson, but it’s clear you learned it and will come through with the best attitude possible, and a fighting spirit. The financial loss can be recovered with time. Keeping the family and spirit intact, I believe, are the most important things.
        For those who have done things ethically their whole lives, who believed what they were taught as kids and what they taught their kids – this process is a rude awakening.
        The first big shock is the realization that there are a good number of people in the world who see this all as a big game. It’s nothing personal to them. They believe that you get away with what you can grab and the naiive and trusting deserve what they get.
        The second big revelation is that no one is going to come to your rescue. If your neighbor steals your car out of your driveway, you call the police. You get your car back and they go to jail. If someone takes your investment worth many times more than that, there’re no police to call. You’ve got to come up with a hefty retainer just to sit in at a card game that’s already stacked against you… just for the hope that you can win back some of your winnings.

        Scammers need the shadows to survive, and they need their victims to skulk off quietly in order to continue. So… let’s not.

      • sean
      • sean

        Here’s a story about a group of members banding together to reopen their Curves club after the franchisee shuttered two Oak Park area clubs.

        Your comments invited:
        CURVES FRANCHISE: Members May Reopen Closed Fitness Club

      • This has gotta stop!!

        I’m guessing that by now “Another Ex” (above)must have closed his doors, I’m wondering if he has contacted the AAFD or one of the BFL trustees.

        It may be his only chance at stopping these pompous asses and possibly getting restitution.

      • sean

        Please visit and comment on the interview with Butterfly Life franchise owner Matt Wilson. 

        Please forward these links to others who would be interested, and encourage them to comment.
        Franchise Pick:  BUTTERFLY LIFE: Unhappy Franchisee Interview With Matt Wilson, Franchise Owner  Unhappy Franchisee Matt Wilson Shares His Expensive Lessons  BUTTERFLY LIFE: Interview With Franchisee Matt Wilson
        Read other Butterfly Life franchisee interviews

      • Pingback: CURVES FRANCHISE: Members May Reopen Closed Fitness Club

      • another unhappy curves

        This is a way an owner can get out of the mounting dept that curves has cost them, Its a desperate move on the part of the owner . They know they will not suceed and pass the buck so to speak. what a shame owners resort to more scams. This is happening more and more and curves allows it because they are still collect all their so ca;;ed traing fees, so you see how this is a scam and still curves gets paid I dont know how true this is but now almost 1000 lawsuits are being filed Internationally as well as here in USA Those crooks will be stopped

      • Sean Kelly
      • unhappy


        800 FRANKLIN ROOM 800
        WACO TX. 76701
        CASE OR DOC # 07′ CV’ 048


      • Pingback: Gun Violence Claims Life of Contours Express Franchisee (UPDATED)

      • unhappy

        If you go call the Waco court they will send you the copies of the law suit that has been filed for 50 cents per page. There are over 2 thousand pages so it can get very costly but you can get them by going to and it will only cost $2.50. You will need to sign up first but it is a government site and very easy.

      • unhappy

        To all Curves Owners,

        It is time we take our complaints about Curves to another level. All owners who are posting here should file a complaint with the BBB in their area and file a complaint with the Attorney General of their state. Than they need to go to the Federal Trade Commission web site and file a complaint with that federal agency also. Here is the link for the FTC Just maybe Howie will get the message that it is time to change the way he operates his business.

      • unhappy

        Important message to all Curves owners.
        There is another site that all current owners of a curves franchise needs to be aware of. The site was set up by Curves using our advertising dollars so we all need to use it. It’s intent is to allow owners to converse with other owners and to share ideas. It is a good site if you are looking for ideas on how to save your club or just have questions for other owners. Here is the link

        Please go there to check it out and voice your opinion on the current posts and voice your concerns. This site is strictly for owners.

      • unhappy

        To all past and present curves owners

        It is time for all past and present owners of Curves franchises to stand up and file complaints against Curves International and Gary Howard Heavin. I’m sure we can all agree that this company is in serious trouble with all the club closures and while the economy certainly has hurt our business the main set back is how the company is being run into the ground by Gary Heavin and his co-hearts. It should be obvious to all owners that the only way this will change is if we take action as a group. Some owners have been talking about a boycott of the monthly franchise and advertising fees that we pay. While that will certainly get their attention if enough of us follow through we can accomplish it even faster if we all file complaints with the BBB in Waco, TX, the BBB in your area, the Attorney General of your state, the Attorney General of the state of TX. and the Federal Trade Commission. I have included web site addresses where you can go to file such a complaint. Please do so ASAP and lets see how Howie handles the complaints.

      • Sean Kelly

        We set up a separate site for those wanting to buy or sell fitness clubs and/or equipment.

      • Prima S

        Sean, I need to get in touch with unhappy. Thxs.

      • unhappy

        I just heard an alarming report that 150 Curves franchises in the state of Fl. have closed since the first of the year. If any one can confirm this please post here at once as if it’s true Curves International is in worse trouble than anyone expected.

      • ritajwilson

        Not sure about Florida, but I know three have closed this week in Southaven, MS….I was in that area yesterday on work and saw them.

      • Sean Kelly

        Recent Curves failures listed here:
        The post above has links to stories of closures in OR, NH, NJ, FL and MN. Also asks you to list closings you know of.

        The post also cites 369 as the # of health clubs having closed in FL in the past year. I haven’t seen evidence of 100 clubs in FL closing this year.

      • Pingback: CURVES: Franchise Overview & Links | Unhappy Franchisee

      • Sean Kelly

        Curves is named AAFD’s Total Quality Franchising Franchisor of the Year.
        Comments invited:

      • unhappy

        To all curves owners who have had problems with curves International and Gary Howie Havein please send your complaints to the BBB of your city and Waco TX. As well as the attorney general of your state and TX. And the federal trade commission. Below are web links where you can file the complaints on line.

      Be Sociable, Share!