So on Wednesday, I reviewed a really great fitness accessory called Armpocket. Today, I’m going to talk about another fitness companion, an iPhone app called GymPact. Unlike Armpocket, I would tell you to stay far the F away from GymPact. The creators of the app care more about taking your money than they do having you as a customer.
The theory behind GymPact is good. You make a “pact” to go to the gym a certain number of times a week, then once you get to the gym you check in a la Four Square and it will track your GPS location to make sure you’re there for a minimum of 30 minutes. If you successfully meet your goal for the week, GymPact gives you money (it’s like 50 cents per workout). If you don’t meet your goal, then they fine you $5 per workout, times what your pact amount was. So a $5 wager x 2 missed gym days = $10 fine. This would be fine if the app actually worked.
The stakes are high and when you think about it logically, GymPact has more to gain from you not fulfilling your workout pact than you do from fulfilling it. But if you’re a regular gym-goer, then this pact should be easy peasy for you to keep & make enough to buy a Gaterode for your troubles. I was told to check the app out by the guy who works at the front desk of my gym. I briefly looked into it and figured, “Hey, I can easily do this.”
I checked their site to see if Pure Barre would count and their website clearly says, “We can verify any fitness facility that is separate from your home or office. University gyms count, and so do yoga studios, swimming pools, tennis courts, martial arts studios, rock climbing gyms, outdoor tracks, or any standalone exercise facility.” Sounded good to me. I was planning to make 3-days a week of Pure Barre my Sept. fitness goal along with a minimum of 2 Pilates classes anyway. Gym attendance would be no problemo for this girl. So I downloaded the app and set up my account, going with the recommended 3 days a week, $10 wager pact. I checked in 4 times during my first week, only to learn that it didn’t actually count! It was a trial or test week of some sort. I was kinda confused by this, but decided to keep going.
My “trial” week may have gone smoothly, but my first “real” week – you know, the one that counts for money – was a giant failure. Not only did it magically stop recognizing my gyms, it also would “cancel” my workouts without saying why as I was doing them. My phone would be in my locker and I’d come back and find that the workout “didn’t count” according to GymPact. That first “real” week, I attended a “standalone exercise facility” and attempted to check in on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It only accepted the Tuesday and Thursday check-ins. This means that I didn’t meet my pact and the makers of the app were coming to claim $10 from me.
I reached out to their customer service on the Wednesday of that week to find out why it had cancelled my Pure Barre workout and sent me an email saying it was not recognized. After all, the website says studios count. I sent another email on that Saturday to find out why my workout had been cancelled again. I offered to send them an attendance statement from both Fitness Connection and Pure Barre to prove I’d worked out 5 days. I didn’t hear anything from them. That Monday, they charged my credit card for the $10. I sent a third email to customer service on Tuesday, Sept. 18. It’s now Thurs., Sept. 27 and I have yet to hear back from any of my three emails. On Tuesday, I called my credit card company to dispute the charge. It may only be $10, but if you can’t be bothered to answer an email or three about your app’s malfunction, then you obviously care more about collecting my money than you do about keeping me as a client.
I went to iTunes itself to read the user reviews for the app, instead of just glancing briefly at the rating on my iPhone like I had originally done. It turns out that I’m not by any means the only person having problems using GymPact. The reviews are filled with people who were mistakenly charged, who had workouts canceled without explanation, people who had reached their goal and never paid even though they’d been charged on weeks they hadn’t met their goal, complaints about the pay outs getting smaller each week, etc. Almost every review mentions the non-existent customer service. I wish that I had done this before I’d downloaded the app. I did a quick Google search and found this blog, which also raises some great points about the credibility and legitimacy of GymPact.
Bottom line: If you’re thinking about downloading the GymPact app, DON’T DO IT. After my experience with it, I have no reason to believe it isn’t anything more than a scam to take your money. But hey, at least it’s forcing you to workout, right?