Powerhouse Gym customers charged membership fees

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge gym has started charging its members, but the facility isn't even fully opened yet.

Powerhouse Gym was supposed to open in January 2012, but is still under construction.

Just this week, people who signed up for memberships noticed Powerhouse had started charging their checking and credit card accounts for membership fees.

Stephanie Montalbano is one of many people looking to get help. She showed up to what used to be the Powerhouse offices. The office is now closed and the phone number associated with it doesn't work either.

Montalbano actually paid her fees up front. She shelled out $830 for a three-year membership. She said she's been getting the runaround. Now, her friends who also signed up just noticed the membership fees on their accounts.

One of the gym's owners, Ronnie Olah, refused to do an interview because he said his family has been dragged through the mud over the gym and all the problems.

Off-camera, Olah said the gym started charging people's accounts because it is partially opened. He showed a room with some equipment inside, mostly exercise bikes, and said he would talk with the media and explain everything soon.

Montalbano also spoke with Olah. She said he promised her a full refund.

"It's stealing. It's flat-out stealing," said Montalbano. "We're not able to use it and it's not even close to being finished and they're taking money out of people's accounts. It's unbelievable."

As for the gym itself, Olah said it is close to opening.

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