I received a letter from the OAC stating the club has been sold. My life time membership has been derminated. Anyone out there know anything about this reported sale?
pigpen - We are trying to track down details. As soon as I get any info I'll post it on the main page and put a link here. ~Kate
Sweedes - When you contact OAC, can I ask you get some additional background for us, I'd like to know just what it means to be "derminated" is it anything like termination? ~ Edog
Edog, I think it means banned from the tanning beds.
"Edog, I think it means banned from the tanning beds."
Sometimes this forum is a beautiful thing :)
teigyr + 1. Banned from the tanning beds! That is hilarious, PlantLover. Thank you.
Ok Ok...I can't type. The word should have bee terminated.
And yes, I am still looking for info regarding the sale of the OAC. Kinda find this hard to believe. Probably a scam to get rid of non-paying dues members.
Was your contract listed with any present or past owner..or was it with OAC? I find it difficult to believe a 'new owner' can summarily dismiss existing contracts on the books without negotiation. Just because the representatives of the new owner says it's so doesn't mean it is, regardless how loud or how often they say it. Maybe you should get 'lawyer'd up'.
I've heard about the lifetime membership that was once offered. Can I ask approximately, the price of it, and how long ago it was offered?
'Non paying' dues members? Contrare! The membership you are referring to was a significant one time cash outlay that helped get the club off the ground. Almost like a founding partner in a way..you think?
I bought a family 'silver' membership in 1995 for $3000 from a club member who was moving out of state. The transaction took place at the OAC. The OAC did not get any money. The $3000 went to the club member who owned the membership.
The letter was sent by the general mamnage, Mark Durall. The letter states the club has been sold. No names were given as to who the new owners were. Again, I really doubt there has been a "sale".
Membership cost was in the 'thousands'. OAC was one of the few clubs that survived the scandal that led many other clubs to collapse because of cheating with the one time cash up front offer for life time memberships in the eighties. I think WA state either stopped or severely restricted gym/healthclub life time membership. OAC (regardless of owner tags), until now, has been faithful to the existing contract.
The state Attorney General's consumer office should have some useful info on what OAC is allowed and not allowed to do with those memberships.
I think in this case it means he's been skinned.
If that's the case maybe they need to visit with a dermatologist and not the attorney general or secretary of state.
P.S. Don't pick it, or it will never heal.
so if the 'lifetime memberships' are transferable, it would seem pigpen has a case. not sure if that was written in the original contract.
anyway, I'm curious how many 'lifetime' memberships they might have sold/exist (assuming that since they opened in 1979, that maybe 20% of those people have died in the past 32 years). any hunches?
what if I was really old, say 84, could I transfer my 'lifetime membership' to my 7 year old grand daughter? that doesn't seem fair somehow.
Sounds just like Chase taking over Washington Mutual. Free checking for life was changed to $25 per month!
OAC: Decent (if decaying) club. Shifty, arrogant management.
I'll post after I have my appointment with the "shifty, arrogant management" (I totally agree).
I wonder if I have the right to ask who the new owners are? I believe they are non-existant.
Seems odd I can't find out anything in the public records of a sale.
PP: I think Mondo had a good suggestion re contacting the attoney general's office before your meeting. Know any lawyers? Not to sue, but to pick their brains before the meeting, as well.
I think Rob McKenna is too busy planning his gubernatorial campaign to give a flip about some health club, but you can try.
As of this Friday afternoon 02Dec, Geeky Swedes have attempted to e-mail and call OAC for more information without any responses. Deadline for response for members is 31Dec.
Looks like the BNT got something more: http://www.ballardnewstribune.com/2011/12/02/news/ongoing-oac-sold-lifetime-memberships-dissolved
edit: they didn't get to Durall like I originally posted.
At this point we are still working to talk with Durall for clarification and information. As of right now we have the letter and emails from people who are affected by the change in ownership. ~Kate
All good things come to an end. This can only help the rest of the members that won't need to cover the non paying "lifetime" members.
Yes, all good things do come to an end
but in this case I signed a Lifetime
membership contract with OAC over
30 yrs ago. At the time the club was
hurting for new members to keep the
business going. Had it not been for
folks like myself and others there would
be no OAC today. A contract is a promise
meant to be kept and OAC and myself
signed a Lifetime agreement. As far as I
can tell I am still alive. Existing membership
and folks thinking about joining might
want to question the fact that OAC wants
to treat longtime members like garbage
and just dump them. Shame on OAC!
I think at the very least, the OAC should have to change their name or something. if the 'lifetime' memberships meant the lifetime of the company's ownership, this new guy should have to start from scratch and come up with a new name.
unfortunately, SAM is already taken ("shifty arrogant management").
Well, I have a lifetime membership to Family Fitness Centers of America.
I feel your pain, and also wonder why people can sell liability for a profit.
Can you say Barney Frank? lol
I'm one of four people I know of with life memberships. Two died, one moved away. Years went by and I never set foot in the place. Current use is sproradic at best. How much of a burden can that be on OAC resources?
They have to pay for their expansion plans somehow, I guess. Can't they get a bank loan? Oh, I forgot, banks aren't lending, they're just sitting on their asses. I mean assets.
My fiancé has an OAC lifetime membership that he probably paid about $2,000 for back in the '80s. If not for the investment of these lifetime members, the original owner sure wouldn't have been in a position to even have a company to sell now. Not holding the new owners to honor these lifetime memberships was all part of the negotiations when selling the company. What a selfish choice the owner made. I’ll see if my fiancé can dig up his original contract to see if it addresses that issue to make sure he has the legal right to do that.
Since OAC doesn’t post their rates on their website, I was wondering how much it costs for the initiation fee + monthly membership dues or the annual membership, when I ran across this page posted on King County's website...
Looks like rates vary depending on the negotiated deals. King County employees currently get a membership discount, so I wonder if those and other special discounts will be honored by the new owner.
We get a special 10%-off discount at Razzi’s Pizzeria (formerly Romio’s) for being an OAC member. That’s the only thing my fiancé uses his membership for now since he hasn’t gone to OAC in years. :-) His cousin makes up for us both and is one of the (probably rare) lifetime members who goes there quite often.
Sounds like the new owners are really trying to cut the dead weight of members who currently don’t have to pay anything. You can’t call them non-paying members, though, because they did pay...just up front for the lifetime contract.
Let’s hope the new owners change their minds and honor the lifetime membership agreements. That’s the right thing to do!
it is the right thing to do, chickster, but I doubt it will happen.
that's pretty funny that you can use your health club membership to get a deal on pizza!
anyway, this is obviously a hot topic that strikes the nerve of many.
it's an electric word 'lifetime'
it means forever and that's a mighty long time
but I'm here 2 tell u
there's something else
a world of never ending stairmasterrs
U can always use the pool, day or night.
Don't assume that you won't get help from the AG's Consumer Protection office. There's a whole department there to address exactly these kinds of issues. They can tell you if the new owners have to honor the old owner's contracts or not. It's also amazing what a nice letter on the AG's letterhead can do for a business' willingness to deal. Plus, McKenna will almost certainly run on his "helping the little guy" record at the AG's office, so I'd expect him to be even more helpful now that he's campaigning than he was before.
Yes, it has struck a nerve. There are still plenty
of folks around who believe that business's should
be held accountable for their contractual responsibilities.
Last I heard, OAC was a HEALTH CLUB not a WEALTH CLUB.
someone should "get jesse"
boatgeek, Chris(tine) Gregoire was AG when I filed all the paperwork to request that Family Fitness Centers of America not be allowed to sell without ensuring that all of their lifetime memberships be honored by their new owners. My effort was matched by a thousand others in the Puget Sound area, 8 clubs in all.
She never responded, I was told to pay 1000 dollars per year to maintain my lifetime membership, and 7 of the clubs were closing. It's disheartening, to say the least, that she is now my Governor.
Like I said, I feel your pain, but do not expect to get your just due from the crooks that run this state.
Like calliope said, somebody should 'get Jesse'.
Maybe they give a crap.
btw, I posted here sometime back about a Thousand Trail resort closing, and none of you cared, none of the media posted into my email to them cared, and Robby, our current AG was as clueless as ever.
The resort closed, Thousand Trails said the land was purchased by a hospital district, which only shows a purchase across the street, several acres of vacant land. I'm not at all pleased with the complacency of crooks in this state, but, you elected them.
Bone appetit, lol
It's true that a lot of balls remain dropped by our elected officials, but there are others that have seen some action, e.g. gift cards and annual/inactivity fees. It certainly won't hurt to talk with the AG's office of consumer protection.
I'm still surprised that OAC hasn't responded. I'm sure they're getting their attorneys on it and that's why it's taking so long. Schmucks.
Or perhaps they're just not great at customer relations -- look at how the In Ballard Merchants Association botched up what should have been a simple announcement that Santa wouldn't be appearing due to a lack of funding. Instead of having people sympathize with them, they angered many by implying they had chosen to take the Santa budget and spend it on social media instead.
Didn't get much information from Mark Durall, but he did respond to two questions - confirming the club had been sold and whether or not current dues-paying members would be affected.
Interesting addition to the BNT article linked to above...
"It is also curious that Washington Secretary of State records show that the corporation that purchased the club, Sewanee Inc, has some of the same governing members as Olympic Racquet and Health Club Inc, which is the previous owner.
Owner James Riggle, chairman of the Olympic Racquet and Health Club, is now serving as vice president of Sewanee Inc.
Likewise, Debera Riggle was vice president and treasurer at Olympic Racquet and Health Club, and she now serves as secretary of Sewanee, Inc.
The corporations also share the same agent."
So...just change your name, shift around titles and "poof!" you're not beholding to lifetime members? Does that mean I can get married, change my name, shift my title from Ms. to Mrs. and then I'm not the same person anymore and can get out of being obligated to my contracts? Seems to me that if the previous owners have any financial holdings in the "restructured" corporation, they're not totally off the hook. It will be interesting to find out more details as they surface...
the name shift does seem extremely shady.
maybe they should change to 'Olympic Racket & Stealth Club' to avoid further confusion.
I'm curious though, are there really that many lifetime members that they're crowding the place? I only went in this place once years ago and decided against purchasing a membership since the child care area was closed due to foot-and-mouth disease.
Isn't the owners' name perfect: The Riggles would like to wriggle out of the contracts. The strategy of asking for the members to bring in their contract copies is shady. Sheesh, after 25 years, if it were me, I sure wouldn't have my original copy. Doesn't the club have a copy? Haven't these folks been acknowledged as members every time they've walked in the door over the last 25-30 years? They are just hoping to disqualify a few complainers this way. I am so glad the only times I went to this place I was using a free, promo pass.
GI - I know of a family with a lifetime membership and the only use it gets is when the now grown son visits from out of state several times a year. I'm with you, there can't be too many of these members.
I remember when these types of memberships first came out, and immediately clubs did the 'change their incorprated name' maneuver to get out of honoring them. I'm pretty sure the laws changed to stop allowing them.
I will find out in my upcoming appt with Mark what they are offering and post back. I definitely appreciate the club may be trying to save some money but to do it via these means is reminiscent of shadier days. Disheartening to see OAC, once thought of as a family-friendly neighborhood club, would publicly blame the situation on an ownership change when in fact the governance is the same. Would have far preferred them saying the time has come for them to 'buy back' the memberships.
i can't post to comments on the main page- but has anybody else noted the difference in "governing persons" names that are listed on the business licenses (links posted on updated main page).
ORHC is james & deb "Riggle" in woodinville
Sewanee Inc. is james & deb "Rigole" at the health club address
I call shenannigans!
Being able to keep the same name, and end contracts written under that name seem like a no-brainer for illegality.
I emailed Jesse Jones at King 5 about the OAC Lifetime Membership issue and gave him links to the My Ballard article and the Ballard News Tribune. We have traded voicemail and email but have not spoken yet. I am guessing that the more folks he hears from the more likely it is than this might end up on the nightly news so please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well since people are trying to fan the flames with Jesse. Let me play devils advocate here, and take some of the passion out of this, or perhaps inject the sense of people whose dues adjust with the regular costs of life. I start with from this place; because memberships like this were sold by others as scams in the 80s, does not mean OAC is scamming lifetime members now.
A life time membership purchased in the 80s? An aging institution that is trying to reinvent itself? Lets face it, this place is a few years from having a cozy rundown feel to just being a dump. Which leads me to this could it be you outlived the business? The owners clearly have a master plan to rebuild the block and establish their facility as the premier exercise club in Ballard, with a larger pool, hotel, and better facilities all around. When it is done, it will not be the same facility holders of lifetime memberships purchased privileges to all those years ago.
The short of it: Yes, SOME of you anted up for the club when they needed you, and I am grateful for that. Perhaps the owners could introduce a graduated scale of payment reflecting gratitude for your past contribution. Beyond that get over it. You were not scammed. The club needs money. The present value of what ever contribution you've made in the past, is now a debt to be covered by members like myself.
And if you bought your membership from one of the original members as a transfer, quit your b*tching. If you want something for nothing try and find a rent control building with a gym in the basement already.
Edog, I don't think it's unreasonable to hold the sellers of a "lifetime membership" to their words. If there are so many negative consequences to the company, just don't sell them as "lifetime memberships". If you were stupid enough not to figure out the business consequences of the transaction you initiated, that's on you, not the customers who bought the membership in good faith. If the club wants to legally end these obligations, there are legal routes, for example buying out the customers or declaring bankruptcy.
I know a number of people who still have lifetime free checking because their banks decided business would be hurt more by buyouts/bankruptcy than by allowing a small group of customers to continue fee-free.
The "Glolden Prestige" membership agreement clearly states "No Dues Ever". When we purchased the lifeitme membership it represented sevreral years worth of monthly dues. If the club had gone out of business or if we had to take job out of town we would have been out our investment. We took a chance that both the the club and us would be in Ballard for several more year. There can't be very many of these memberships out there since they stopped selling them over 25 years ago and many of the original purchasers have moved or passed away. Letting a few old geezers like me ride an exercise bike a couple time a month can't cost them too much...
Maybe homeowners can stop honoring that mortgage agreement after 20 years and just say "C'mon Bank of America, get over it. That was a long time ago. We've outgrown that silly agreement and now we need the money for a new SUV."
Has anyone found/read over any of the original lifetime contracts? Reading those with a *very* fine tooth comb would be in order. Multiple times.
Some people have attorneys that can wrangle damn near anything out of a vague or non-specific wording, or a clause inserted that may seem innocuous at first, but will allow for later changes under certain circumstances.
Without a contract in hand, read over extremely carefully, no one here can really truly speak to the fine points of the legalities. Perhaps OAC is completely within their rights, perhaps utterly breaking the law.
Only an original contract could settle the issue (and not many people are that good at filing and keeping their paperwork).
Membership paperwork was important enough for me to keep in a safe deposit box because of the capital investment involved.
Will there be labyrinthine searches for the 'definition' of Silver and Gold Prestige memberships?
Give 'm Hell, OB! Please keep us apprised of your progress :)
Two questions: 1. How do they define the word 'lifetime' (of person? company? ?) 2. Do they spell out any circumstances under which they can break / end the contract?
How would you feel about posting a .pdf copy of that contract (with your personal info blacked out, of course). I would love to read that document...
I'd also be interested in seeing a copy, if you've got the time/energy to post it, ob.
I'll attempt to scan and send the membership form to Kate at MyBallard. The only feature that distinguishes this is the 'null set' for fees, tax and balance with the membership type listed as Silver Prestige.
An interesting aside under Section 4. SENIOR CITIZEN MEMBERSHIP. Club usage is denied from 4:00 to 7:30 PM Monday through Friday. Reasonable when you consider seniors have nothing to do all day anyway?
Good luck. While I'm of the mind the club is changing and is probably legally entitled to do this. It sounds like they really missed an opportunity here, and are not treating some of their members very well. This cold turkey approach sounds like more of an eff U than it needs to be. They could have called you all personally, or had a big meeting where the said we were so happy you helped us was back when, but look at our future plans, the club you joined is effectively over... we are so grateful for your original contribution, here is what we are going to do for you before we impose normal dues on you after our grand reopening in x number of years.
I imagine this must be a bit awkward for the Geeky Swedes, considering OAC is an advertiser (at least, currently).
Dan - It's not awkward at all. We cover the news. If a sponsor doesn't agree with or like our content they can reassess their marketing dollars.
We don't deny coverage of a topic because it deals with an advertiser. We also won't post something just because an advertiser wants us to. ~Kate
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