CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story

The American dream of owning your own successful business seems to be going up in smoke for a lot of the Curves Franchise owners. The story you are about to read may seem like a Steven King horror novel but it is a real story that has happened to my wife and I. To all of the past, present and future owners of a Curves franchise please take the time to read the whole story as at the end we explain what we plan to do and how you as an ex or present owner may want to get involved.

My wife and I had owned and operated our own business for over 20 years and had been very successful at doing so. While we were making a great income from our business there was something missing in our life. Neither us felt that we were contributing to society but just taking and we decided to make a major change in our life. That was when we heard about Curves for Women. It was a new franchise that only had 300 or so clubs and for the first time in years we both became excited at the prospect of actually helping people reach their goals. We bought our first club in 1997 located in a city of thirty thousand. From the first day it opened it was more successful than our wildest dreams. Not only were we making excellent money but the personal rewards helping people better their lives was a truly rewarding feeling. I can still remember as if it was yesterday the first time a Dr. of one of our members came in to check out what we were doing as he couldn’t believe the changes his patient had gone through. She had gotten off her high blood medication and had lost over 40 pounds in 4 months. It was truly amazing and over the years we have seen it happen numerous times over and over.

We sold our first club in 2001 and bought two more franchises. My wife became a mentor for Curves International around this time and I was helping to sell franchise for Curves International as so many of are members wanted to own a club. It was at this time that we started to see problems arising with Curves International but we attributed it to the fast growth that Curves was going through. In 2002 we bought two more franchises but this time they were in what was called a metro-area instead of city under thirty thousand in population.

The first problem we encountered with Curves International was in early 2003. Curves sold a franchise that was a corridor of land between one of our franchise’s and the next city 8 miles from our southern boarder. It was obvious to us that the territory didn’t have the necessary population to support a facility and that Curves International was selling any location just out of greed and the fact that there were so many people who wanted a franchise. The people who bought that franchise tried to open up on our border but it had always been an unwritten but followed rule of Curves International that you open in the middle of your territory so that disputes between owners over stealing members from your territory didn’t arise. We immediately filed a complaint with Curves International and they stopped the new owner from opening at that location. Unfortunately for the new owners there were no other commercial locations between the two cities so they were forced into selling that franchise back to Curves International for a loss.

It was also at this time that Curves International started to change personnel. The employee’s who we had a personal relationship with that had started Curves International with Gary Heavin were leaving the company at an alarming rate. Seven employees that were the top management of Curves left or were forced out because of Gary Heavin’s greed. They ended up filling a law suit against Curves which was later settled out of court. It was at this time that Diane Heavin became involved with Curves and a whole new history was being written about how Curves was started. The original Curves member guide which was written by Gary Heavin and June Manley was taken off the market and the new Curves book authored by of course Gary Heavin was on the top 10 of the Times best seller list.. To make sure it was on the Times best seller list all the clubs had to order at least on case. That is when we as owners realized Heavin was a manipulator and not the born again Christian he portrayed to be. It was also at this time that the price to buy a franchise more than doubled in price. This came as quite a surprise as Heavin had always maintained that he would never ever increase his franchise price and he even swore on the bible in front of a group at club camp that he would never break his word on that. Well as we all know he didn’t keep that promise for long, which just shows his greed.

At this point my wife and I became quite concerned and even considered selling our business but other problems arose concerning Curves International that demanded our full attention. In 2004 another Curves location located on our boarder of one of our metro-areas hired two of our employees and stole around 15 members from our club. Both employees had signed the anti covenant not to compete and in our state those agreements are strictly enforced by the courts. We considered going to court but since it was another Curves facility we decided to file a complaint with Curves International. And to let them handle it. What a mistake that was as they did nothing. We transferred the members files but refused to transfer the money for the members dues until such time that Curves International responded to our complaint. We were told by the area director, which was a new position at Curves International, that we were trouble makers and he refused to send any of are clubs the members appreciation bags. Shortly thereafter Curves International resold the corridor of land that had been sold back to them at a loss from the previous owners and they allowed the new owners to open up in nearly the same location that they had refuse the previous owners only a year and a half before. The new owners advertised in our area and ended up getting 10 or 11 members to transfer to their club. Again we held their monthly dues but did transfer the members files. We immediately filed a complaint but again got the same response nothing. It didn’t take long for most of the members who transferred to come back to our club as the other location was small and in a very run down area and to this day that club has not shown a profit and has been sold numerous times over the years for little to nothing.

Then in 2005 the real problems with Curves International started that we are still contending with today. In one of our metro-areas a competitor by the name of Ladies Workout Express opened up right across the street from our location. Unknown to us they had hired our manager and one other employee from that location and when the employee’s left they had stolen off our computer our member files. They ended up stealing over two thirds of our membership with in a week. The employees had signed the covenant not to compete so we immediately hired a lawyer and prepared for a lawsuit. As I stated before in our state that agreement is strictly enforced but it took four months to get it into court. During this time that location was losing so much money that we decided to move the location next to our other territory so that both clubs could stay open. We sent in the required change of location form to Curves International but never heard anything back from them so we went ahead and relocated in late 05. The owners of the Ladies Workout Express eventually went broke because of the lawsuit and the fact that they would end up owing us monetary damages. They filed for bankruptcy to prevent us from collecting any monetary awards in Dec 05 but we did have the satisfaction knowing that we did what was right

In early 06 we were informed by Curves International that because we abandon that location they were terminating all of our franchise agreements. We immediately requested mediation for all of our clubs which is authorized by our franchise agreements with Curves International. We never heard back from them so we hired a lawyer in Waco, TX to represent us. He proceeded to send them a letter requesting the same mediation process and they did respond to him. They sent him letter stating that it was premature to go through the mediation process at that time as they were in the process of researching our reason for moving. Curves International continued to debit our account for the franchise and advertising fees for all the other clubs we owned but stopped talking the fees for the one territory that they stated we abandoned. The lawyer had us send Curves International a check for the fees and a new authorization form for them to deduct it from our account. Neither our lawyer or ourselves ever heard anything back from Curves International so we all assumed that things were back to normal.

In the spring of 07 we made the decision to start selling off all of our clubs and to completely retire. It didn’t take me long to sell the club we owned that wasn’t in a metro-area and I agreed to stay with the new owner’s to help train them how to run the business. We sent all the documentation into Curves International and the sale was completed by January 08. That freed my wife and I up to concentrate on our metro-area clubs and to get them ready for sale. In Feb of 08 we heard that a Curves club was opening in one of our territories within a mile of our current club. We could not understand how Curves International could do such a thing. We again filed a complaint by phone and e-mail to Curves International and several weeks later we were informed by e-mail that they didn’t know what we were talking about. We were told we didn’t own any franchises and hadn’t since we were terminated in 05. That came as quite a shock to my wife and I as our franchise and advertising fee’s had been deducted all along from our checking account and we had just recently sold a club that they were telling us we never owned. We had a local lawyer send a letter to the new owners explaining the situation and that we would be seeking legal recourse against Curves International and depending on the outcome they were opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit. During this time we had bought and paid in full for the Smart Equipment for Curves International and were waiting for the installation which was scheduled for the June 24th. On June 20th , a Friday we received a phone message telling us that the Curves Smart Installation was canceled and that we had to call Curves legal for an explanation. We left messages both e-mail and phone every 30 minutes on Monday June 23rd and finally late in the afternoon we received an e-mail stating that one of there lawyers would be in touch with us before the end of the day, They never sent an e-mail or a phone call as was promised but by mid day the next day they did respond by e-mail. It stated because of the problems with the members transfers, the fact that we abandoned a franchise, and that we had interfered with the opening of the new franchise located in our territory we weren’t approved for the Curves Smart. Yet in late May they had sent all the promotional ad material for the Curves Smart and of course we had gone to a considerable amount of expense for training the employees, advertising and promotion of the Curves Smart equipment. It was at this point that my wife and I decided that drastic action had to be taken against Heavin and Curves International.

While we still love the concept of Curves we feel that because of the deceptive and we believe fraudulent business practices that Heavin has allowed under his management Curves will eventually end up in the toilet so to speak. After spending many hours on the internet we have found that there are many lawsuits against this man and his company. Just read some of the post’s that are on from owners concerning the new ten thousand fee if your club goes under and closes to the vitamins that were sold in Feb and March by Ideas in Action at a discount to owners without telling them that they would expire at the end of May. The lack of support and communication from Curves International that all of us owners are going through is intolerable. It is impossible for an owner to get through to them on the phone and good luck if you expect a call back in a timely manor. The fact that we as owners pay a lot of money for our advertising fees and have no accounting of where it is spent and a quite frankly we never see many ads in our area.

I have taken the time to do the necessary research to find several good lawyers who handle franchise law who are more than willing to help Curves owners who are having similar problems with Curves. I for one am going to go after Curves International and Gary Heavin in a court of law. These are not class action but group action lawsuit and if you don’t understand the difference contact me and I will explain it to you. There have been over 200 such lawsuit filed against Curves in the last several years and while some have been settled in mediation others are in the process of going to litigation. If you are a past or present Curves owner who has experienced these problems and want satisfaction whether it be monetary or revenge please contact me. We have several options that we can go and I for one am positive we will win as the other lawsuits have been successful so far and have set a precedent for ours. It is time for the owners of Curves franchises either past or present to stand up together and put a stop to Heavins’s ramped destruction of peoples lives just for monetary greed.

Thanks for reading our post and God Bless you all.



1,365 thoughts on “CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story

  • September 18, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    BTW Look what I found, while waiting for the AG’s office to get back to me, and after reading the post by “Another Curver” I decided to follow her advice and search for Nevada Law on the topic. I was able to pretty quickly find this:

    NRS 598.956 Rights of buyer upon closure of dance studio or health club; election of remedies.
    1. If a dance studio or health club is closed for more than 1 month, through no fault of the buyer, he is entitled to:
    (a) Extend the contract for a period equal to the time the studio or club is closed; or
    (b) Receive a refund pro rata of the amount paid pursuant to the contract.
    2. If the dance studio or health club is closed without fault of its owner or management, the election of remedies under subsection 1 must be made by the studio or club. If the studio or club is closed because of the fault of its owner or management, the election must be made by the buyer.
    (Added to NRS by 1989, 2040; A 1993, 1965)

    Since the closure is permanent, no extension can be granted. So, not only should he not be drafting us, the ONLY option is to pro rate the refund from the closure date.

  • September 18, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    We Closed our curves july 31st, and they have left 2 messages on my voicemail saying they have heard we closed and to call them about arrangements,the 2nd message said call or they were turning our franchise over to legal. I can’t tell you how much stress is off of me after closing curves every month was a struggle to pay the bills. I stayed so stressed out it was bad on my marriage and my family, I don,t really care if they turn it over to legal,I don’t know what they can get we have spent all our savings and still owe a buisness loan. Has anyone on here closed without giving them notice? I would like to know what happened.In the economy today if you have to give up something the gym for alot of people would be 1 thing to give up maybe not everybody but in a small town it is. People are more worried about having a job than going to the gym. When I went to curves camp in 07 the lady over my team was a curves owner and also a cordinator, I was told they let her go along with alot more at curves international,I guess it is alright for them to do what they have to do,when we have no other choice but to close because we have run out of money they want to sue.

  • September 18, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Send an e-mail to Sean at and request it to be forwarded to me with your phone number and we will be happy to go over the procedures and options you have. Many owners have gone through what you are going through so take a deep breath as you are not alone.

  • September 18, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I usually do not post on this site as my husband takes care of this side of the business for us and he has done quite a good job helping hundreds upon hundreds of owners who have had problems with the business tactics of Curves International. At this time after reading the post from a member of ours, I felt I needed to respond to her outlandish accusations. First off we don’t owe her a dime as she is mistaken on how the billing works period. My husband had every reason to react the way he did to the traveling member who had been told she was not welcome in our club on several different occasions. If I had been there I would have called the police and she would have ended up in jail for trespassing. She had been warned about this by myself, my husband and the other trainers and just refused to listen. Furthermore your statement about Robert being a “God fearing man” is not only uncalled for but darn right insulting and offensive. As Sean has stated so eloquently the purpose of this site is “Our site is focused on the plight of people who are losing their businesses, their homes, and their retirement savings” as a result of the business tactics of Gery Howard Heavin and Curves International. If you had any moral integrity you would come in to the club before we close and I or Margaret would be more than happy to show you your payment record form the day you started to the end of September which will prove that you are wrong. Oh and by the way you don’t need to worry about who you are as you are right about one thing. Members do talk and many have told us who you are and none of them agreed with you although there have been several that we had to show them their payment record to prove that you are wrong. Upon seeing it they have all been satisfied that the billing has been done correctly.

    You not only owe Sean an apology but you owe us one as well but we won’t hold our breath as I’m sure it won’t be forth coming. This will be our last post concerning your misinformed posts so be it. Kareen

  • September 21, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    First, I’ve pulled out my statements for the month I joined Curves and the following ones. There is, as I said, a withdrawal just 30 days after joining and each month after. There is no point in me arguing about it here. That was never my intent, my intent was to make sure others were aware of the situation possibly effecting them too. You can of course dispute this with your bank just as I have done. I’ll leave that to the banks to figure out. I showed them my contract with Curves, and THEY have the dates that money was taken so it doesn’t really matter what the club’s records say, what matters is what the contract and bank records say. I’ve filled out the form to stop the club from withdrawing any more from my account. For anyone that didn’t get this done before their money was taken, they can get their money back. Your bank can tell you how.

    I’m sure many members have been outraged and discussed it with each other and maybe even discussed what has happened here since you sent us here, but I have not. I just got done explaining to Robert how silly it was for him to think people don’t talk. You really believe that I would make that same mistake? No, I’m sorry to say that I’m quite sure that I am not the only member irritated with the way this was handled. So no, no one “told you” who I am because I haven’t told anyone! Other than to grab the note I haven’t even been in the club since. And when I was, no one was there, no other members and not even Margaret.

    As to an apology, no, I didn’t owe Sean (I assume he is the moderator?) an apology. I’ve said and shown several times that I NEVER EVER accused HIM of anything. I never “screamed at him”, never “flamed him”, and despite the truly disrespectful comments here, comments that I see in posts by various people, including Robert (making fun of people who aren’t even here? Is that how you are helping?) still, with all that as the norm, I did none of that. Reading back over the old messages, it didn’t take long to get the gist and tenor of the posts here, so I take comfort in the irony of it when it is I who is accused of being disrespectful. I submitted my original message that I wrote to the moderator (along with his original response) EXACTLY as I wrote it ASKING what privileges ROBERT had with respect to comments and if ROBERT had been the one to remove the note after it had originally appeared. After posting it for others to judge for themselves I asked where in it I did ANY of what was claimed.

    Lastly, I do feel bad for those of you who have run into trouble with and even lost your businesses because of the actions of others. I really do. My family has been running small businesses since the 20s. Through the years and tough times, they’ve made and lost more money than I care to imagine. If someone defrauded you, you have remedies. I saw mention of an upcoming court case. Hopefully they can determine if that is the case. I am sympathetic to the plight of all of you and believe it or not, want it or not, I even feel sorry for you Robert. However, your loss does not give you the right to take from me. You believe you are allowed to take the money, we and our bank do not. So just as your court case will decide who is right for you with your case against Curves, the banks can decide who is right with this. If you were wronged, I hope that the courts are as swift for you as my bank was for me.

  • September 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Gee this member admitted she was wrong ” There is, as I said, a withdrawal just 30 days after joining and each month after” and yet refuses to apologize for any of her wrong accusations. She tries to place blame on someone else instead of accepting her own blame and doesn’t even bother to try to work it out with the company by going in to see her records. How much of a coward can she be. I doubt that the owners will go after her but by being a owner I can tell you she has signed a contract which will be up held and they have every right to make her pay. I have even had members dispute the charges with the banks and on every occasion we were successful on making the charges stick. She nothing but a free loader and unfortunately the world is full of them as times are ruff.

  • September 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Its funny that she refuses to come in and discuss the problem but she obviously doesn’t communicate well. We know exactly who it is I can tell you it’s not worth discussing it here on this site. We will take her to collections if she refuses to pay and thus leave a black mark on her credit file. Now days that will do her more harm than the 34 dollars she is trying to cheat us out of. Normally I would have just let it go but in this case I can assure you she will be turned over to collections by the first of the month. She can explain it to them and it will be on her credit report for the rest of her life. So be it. End of story……………

  • September 22, 2009 at 2:36 am

    I don’t know if you are intentionally misquoting me or if you are missing/ignoring the parts you don’t like. Either way, I got a good laugh because like many wives, I accuse my husband of “selective hearing” sometimes but this is a new one. It seems several here have bad cases of “selective reading”. unhappy You will note that I ALSO said that I paid my FIRST month UP FRONT then 30 days later my second month was taken.

    Since I guess I wasn’t clear with that, maybe if I lay it out for you it will help. Let’s say I joined on July 20 (I didn’t but it’s for illustration purposes and I don’t want to go through the math for all the months involved) and on THAT DAY I paid for my FIRST month’s dues. That has me paid from July 20 to August 20. Then “just 30 days later” on August 20 my SECOND month is taken which pays IN ADVANCED for August 20 to September 20. Now, when they take money on SEPTEMBER 20, what month does THAT pay for? That’s right, IN ADVANCED for September 20 to October 20 – just like I said.

    Or here, you say you are an owner too? Let’s say you moved into your building on January 15th. I’m sure you landlord had you pay your first month’s rent IN ADVANCE when you moved in (yes, I believe that normally the first month would be prorated, and rent would be due on the 1st, but my dues were not prorated and I’m trying not to change the dates too much to avoid any further confusion). Then “just [31] days later” on February 15th your landlord charges you rent again. You are now paid up through March 15th. We agreed so far? So now on March 15th your landlord once again charges you rent. BUT on March 18th the government seizes his property. And in the process they lock you and all the other tenants out. When you make your claim for lost rent, are you out 3 days rent or 28? Using the argument put forth here before, that we members should NOT be upset that hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars has been lost by us when Mr. Lay is losing his business, should you and the other tenants even be upset at the landlord? Maybe the landlord lost millions and you only lost a few thousand. A mere drop in his bucket.

    I’m trying to avoid dropping this to a lower level, and don’t want to be accused of the same name calling and making fun of people that I just expressed disdain for, but I mean, come on, THIS is basic accounting. If you can’t figure this out, maybe it is you who is “[trying] to place blame on someone else” for your problems.

    And what “blame” should I accept? Blame being shocked when we read that he was still going to be taking our dues despite the fact that they were closing the doors less than a week later? Blame for the imagined accusations against the moderator? Blame for NOT being bullied and taking the “cowards” way and letting my bank handle the heavy lifting?

    As to the contract I signed, I believe that Nevada law referring to closed gyms (shown above) addresses that. You must have “selectively not read” that too.

  • September 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

    My god, member, this family is losing their business of 20 years and you’re publicly berating them and beating them up over $34.

    How many people have you told this story to? While they act sympathetic, for $34 you’re telling everyone around you that you’re a sad human being completely lacking compassion for others. I hope the Lay’s realize they should just feel sorry for you because they’ll rebuild and get on with their lives, but you’ll still be a sad human being even after you get your $34 back.

  • September 22, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I almost feel like sending her the $34. She’s definitely on the wrong website. I don’t think anyone here has any compassion for her.

  • September 22, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Please, after closing my Club and still trying to find a way to pay my July’s home mortgage, I’ll send you the $34.00 myself…do you have a PO Box so that no one really knows how pathetic and who you are.

  • September 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    This unhappy member doesn’t make sense if you read her post from the beginning. It should be obvious that she is lying and can’t or won’t even go in to the club in question to confront the owner or manager. If her complaint was legitimate it would certainly be the normal and correct way to address the problem. Instead she resorts to trying to publicly berating them. What a coward and yet makes accusations that are obviously not true. Her inconsistently throughout her posts show she bends the truth to fit her story. She is a sad human being and really needs to seek out some form of psychological help. When they send her to collection and ruin her credit she will probably have a nervous breakdown. Even though she is nut’s to put it mildly lets all say a prayer for her as she certainly needs some form of help.

  • September 23, 2009 at 3:02 am

    No need to send anything. I had my bank stop/reverse the payment. Thank you for your concern though. Of course, you seemed to miss the point. It’s not about ONE $34 payment that they weren’t entitled to, it’s about ALL payments that they took from members just days before closing. I realize that they are claiming otherwise and that they were entitled to that money, but I’m going to put stock in my bank’s records and not Robert’s. I recommend that any other member check THEIR records/bank statements. There is a limited time frame in which to pull back money taken this way.

    Just out of curiosity, since you seem to be hung up on the amount of money taken, what is the magic number where it’s no longer acceptable for someone to take money that they aren’t entitled to? $50? $100? $1000? Is it OK to take $34 from 100 people but not OK to take $3400 from 1 person? I’ve lost tens of thousands in stocks over the last two years. I’ve seen my retirement nest egg disappear before my eyes. Is it OK if I take $34 from anyone I can? I mean, it’s just $34 and I did lose a lot so show me some sympathy. I don’t know anymore. I always thought wrong was wrong. There are lots of people out of work around here, 13.5%. There are lots of people in financial straits. Lots of people losing their homes. Which ones are and which ones aren’t allowed to take money from others? And how much can they take?

    As to “unhappy”, your “selective reading” disability has caused you confusion that I will be unable to clear up. But please, feel free to continue making your “point”. The name calling certainly makes your argument stronger.

  • September 23, 2009 at 8:47 am

    The Lay’s club is closing because the cost of providing the service to members exceeded the amount members were paying.
    So that means that every month they’ve been losing money on your membership. Isn’t that great? You should be delighted… you not only got your money back but you know you benefited from someone else’s misfortune! And you’ve got $34 for celebrating at Cinnabon!

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:02 am

    I too am a member of that club and I have spoken to over twenty members who all agree that this member is wrong. She needs to check her account and pay the September’s fee before they send it to collections as I’m sure they will.. But in any case as members we are surly sorry that they had to close as it was a beautiful club and we will all miss it very much. The owners were excellent and the trainers were all very nice and motivating. It is a shame that the franchisor has turned out to so crooked. We had no idea that there home offices were treating the franchises like that. Shame on them and we all hope the best for the owners in their future endeavors. Oh, just for everyone’s information the owners refused to let us know who it is that is complaining but we all figured it out and she has always been a constant complainer and never had anything good to say about anything in the circut while during her workout. While this last week of going in has been sad and Friday will be the last day it has been a pleasure not having her around constantly complaining who she is being ripped off and taken by advantage of by someone or some business.

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  • September 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you ADMIN for your kind words and even though our last club will close on this Friday September 25th our legal fight will continue with Curves International on two fronts. We will have our day in court sooner than later at this point and of course we will still be there to help other owners who going through the nightmare caused by Curves International and Howard Heavin. Closing will be bitter sweet but it will give us more time to devote to this site and the legal issues concerning all clubs. Robert and Kareen

  • September 25, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Two years ago when we were given a preview of the Curves Smart I was all excited. I was thinking this will put Curves above all other fitness clubs because of the technology. I came across a website that had a similar setup to curves including the mytrak success coach. I had emailed my AD and told her my concerns of someone opening up such a club in my area and without franchise fees could sell memberships at a lower cost. She said not to worry because Curves had bought the rights to use this software. I have now noticed that the shapes for women no longer has the mytrak system. But as I was researching other things came across this site

    This is also another way to own a Curves like gym. I am also closing my doors at the end of this month and to be quite honest it was the purchase of Curves Smart that finally did me in. Had I known you could own one of these other clubs and have the success coach without going thru Curves I wouldnt have done it. I feel for the other club owners that have invested lots of money. I am also in debt up to my eyeballs but not as much as others. I wish I had found a site like this two years ago when I purchased mine. I worked long hard hours to try and keep my club going and it is a relief to be done with it all and find a normal job that actually pays. Good luck to everyone and God Bless

  • September 25, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    You are so right about the curves smart. It was sold as new technology but is over ten years old and never worked than and doesn’t work now. The advance workout is a much better workout than curves smart. what gets me is the owners who in thier own mind know the truth still try to sell it to there members like the clubs just down the road from me. They are no better than Heavin and won’t admit that the curves smart does not work. I guess some snakes just like to lie in the same bed as the others and are only out for greed regardless of the truth.

  • September 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    As the owner of the PACE hydraulic circuit training program (the very first Curves club in Harlingen, TX had our PACE equipment as Gary Heavin was an independent sales rep for PACE), I have helped thousands of people successfully open their own non-franchise clubs over the years. Not being locked into a franchise formula, my customers enjoy the flexibility to format their clubs any way they want (including additional profit centers, products and services). Because of the large number of Curves clubs closing in the last couple of years, I have sold many circuits to those people who see an opportunity and a need to service Curves members left high and dry. Many of these customers are offering a combination of women only hours during the day, then coed hours in the evening. It makes sense, especially in smaller markets, to appeal to as much of the population as possible. And let’s face it, there are just as many out of shape men out there as women and many of them are just as intimidated with the hardcore clubs as women. You will have no where near the same number of men as women, but if you can increase memberships by 20-25% by offering coed hours in the evening, it may be something to consider.

    To make things clear on MyTrak, they do have an exclusive agreement with Curves for women only clubs. However, some of my coed customers have also added MyTrak to their PACE equipment with great results. I am familiar with MyTrak; they make a great product that I strongly endorse, but they cannot sell to any women only clubs.

    I invite anyone interested in PACE or our Kids PACE Express program to visit or read my blogs at

  • October 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I just went over the list you provided but it is not all the lawsuits that have been filled and is only partially correct. I know of many more that have been filed that don’t show up on that list. It appeared to me that those are the ones that have been filed in the federal district court in Waco. Even so there are many more in that court as the group action lawsuit is filed in that court also and has over 200 litigants with over 800 ready to be filed depending on the outcome of that trail. The group action lawsuit is set to go to trail in March of 2010.

  • October 8, 2009 at 8:40 am

    HELP!!! I have read some of the horror stories listed. I to have to close my club. I can not get anyone to return my calls from CI. I do not know what to do. I have had my club almost 7 years and have paid my dues. I do not have 10,000 dollars. Because of the recession I have to close. I love my members and hate to dissapoint them but I have no choice. The closing packet was sent to me but I’m scared to send it in. Is there any help out there? I have to do what I need to do today. Will they let me out without the 10,000 fee. Has anyone out there been in my shoes. Please someone respond as I need advice and help NOW.

  • October 8, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    We’ve all been there! Our club has been closed for over a year. We refused to pay the $10,000. They emailed us two more times, first lowering it to $8,000, then to $6,000 – we still refused. Next came a letter from Curves Legal stating we now owed fees for the remainder of our franchise agreement, somewhere in the amount of over $42,000, with a fair amount of scare tactics! (Read our story above: CA Ex-owner on October 16th, 2008) We then sent a letter back to legal, refusing to pay anything and the reasons why. Now I will knock on wood before I say this, but it has been over a year that we sent them that letter and we have not heard a thing yet.

    We are not part of the legal action that many of the people above are pursuing, and I’m sure someone will respond on how to proceed in that direction, or direct you to on what other options you may have. Remember, you are not alone, we’ve all been through this horrible experience. It hardly makes it better, but at least maybe knowing there are so many of us out there, you might feel a little better…

  • October 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Donna.
    Like You, I had to close my club. I closed it Feb 28th this year. I decided to close it on the Sunday before that, because my landlady told me that Friday that she was putting “for Lease” signs in my window that weekend. On Sunday she told me to have all my stuff out of the place by March 1st.
    Of course I did everything I could to keep Curves International properly informed and I asked them for advice on the best way to proceed. They contradicted themselves, ignored information I gave them, gave me conflicting advice and instructions, and generally sounded like fools and idiots. I also had Curves Smart. The one thing they did spell out, there is no “standard” $10,000 fee. At least Not Anymore. They said, if I write a letter asking for a settlement instead of paying all the outstanding royalties and ad fees, then they will put it to a review board and the review board will make a suggestion for a settlement. Then they told me not to write a letter but to hold onto the closing packet.
    Well, then they forgot about me for 6 or 8 or 10 weeks. I think it was sometime in May that I got a notice that I owed some $40,000 for the balance of royalties and such. At that time they also called me to urge me to quickly remove the curves smart equipment (which I had been leasing) from the machines before my landlady took posession of them. Well, in Feb and March I had given them as much notice as possible that my landlady took possession of the machines on March 1st and that I had pursued all the leads they’d given me to find buyers for the curves smart and that they had, by email and by phone, told me absolutely not to remove the curves smart from the machines (because it would void the warranty). even when i told them the warranty would be irrelevant once she took the machines, they still told me, in email and on the phone, not to remove it. so of course, i had no way to do it then (in may or whatever)
    however, i did inform them that i was filing for bankruptcy. they never asked for the bankruptcy attorneys name or the case number. i am just now filing, so they havent gotten any legal notices yet either.
    since then I have not heard one word. it’s been what, 7 months since I closed. ridiculous.
    oh by the way, they did collect royalties from me on March 5th. the one time my bank granted me an overdraft (with fee) was for that charge. so i closed that account.
    i do have another franchise, that i’m struggling to hold onto, and you would think maybe that’s why they’re giving me some slack. when i closed the bank account, i told them i would only give them the info for drafting me on the other franchise if they gave me a new draft authorization only for the only franchise, and that i would sue them if they ever tried to draft anything on the closed business from that account. i told them i’d take it to the ach review commission and then they’d lose all their privilidges for using ach.
    i believe that is a real possibility.
    they are very frustrating but i think they have a backlog of closed cases. i have been told by others (gossip?) that they are understaffed and overworked. of course they’re busy with the big lawsuit that “unhappy” is part of it. and all the little lawsuits. i would like to know more about gofigure’s lawsuit against them too.
    my attorney told me not to worry about any of it, because our state law supercedes whatever was written in the franchise agreement.
    and i wonder if there isn’t a time limit on their taking legal steps? does anyone know that?

  • October 10, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Yes there is a time limit on them taking legal steps but I believe it is 4 years although it maybe 5. I will have more info on the laws suits in the coming weeks including updates on the go figure filling so stay tuned.

  • October 10, 2009 at 10:46 am

    To another Curver,
    What state are you from? CI is telling me I have to give away (women’s prison or another Curve) or destroy my equipment. If that’s the case how can a landlord just take possession of it? What can they do with it? I read in my CI agreement that they can buy it back for the sum not exceeding $1,000. If that’s the case then I guess it is mine so how can they tell me what do do with it. Did you file for bankruptcy? I don’t know about you but I feel I am in a nightmare that I want to wake up from. I believe that with Robert’s help I will wake up and I will have the strength to fight the monsters and win. Best of luck to you and I know what you are feeling. Would like to hear from you.

  • October 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Donna. Thanks for your response. I was not early enough to get into the lawsuit with Robert, but I’m watching it and I’ve talked to him. Thank you.
    I am in WA state. My contract also said that they had first right of refusal to buy it back from me for up to $1000, but that was only upon completion of the 10 yr licensce. I did not complete the 10 years, but it does make it sound like we purchased the equipment, doesn’t it. (It makes me think there’s more grounds for a class action lawsuit. But I digress.) My CPA and the IRS also thought it made it sound like a purchase, and I had been using that in my accounting methods (both for depreciation and writing off the initial start up investment).
    Why did I let my landlord “seize” my equipment? I had no other choice, really. I didn’t have any funds for storage (I suppose I could have put it into my yard and covered it with tarps, but that still would have involved getting it moved and I would have to hire someone at that point, time was an issue) and I already knew several other franchisees who had closed their doors and been “threatened” by CI and had tried to comply to their demands for how to get rid of the equipment. The problem is their is too much of it out there, so one guy I know has three circuits in his backyard “shed”.

    Also, in my state at least, Tenant Landlord law gives the landlord remedies like auctioning off my business equipment in the case of my failure to fulfill my lease, and that supercedes Curves International’s claim to have me destroy the equipment (according to my landlord’s attorney, my bankruptcy attorney, and the local sheriff’s office).

    And since I’m already out of compliance with their requests by simply refusing to pay them their fees for a business that had to close because of lack of money, I’m not worried about it. I’m not planning on going to Waco anytime soon though, because from what I understand then the law would have something on me.

    One thing I did worry about, for 5 seconds, was when I found out that another Curves that closed was trying to donate their circuit to a non-profit retirement center in the territory of my franchise that is still open. But I can’t control everything. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

  • October 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how many ambiguities are involved in dealing with CI? The more I think about it, the more I feel like they try alot of “stuff” by intimidation and very little by actual legal right. But maybe that’s true throughout the business realm. I guess it’s why lawyers keep so busy. Too bad though.

  • October 12, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I don’t believe that’s it true throughout the business realm but it is certainly true with business that are run by unscrupulous individuals such as Curves International seems to be. All of the closing procedures such as the closing fee, signing of a so called ” mutual release”, and ect.ect. are all done through intimidation, trickery, and lies and has no legal president in the courts at all. But I would agree that the business lawyers stay very busy as a result of all the law suits brought on by the individuals who gotten taken by the unscrupulous business owners. It’s really unfortunate when those unscrupulous business owners use Christianity as a selling tool to help perpetuate the fraud and as we all know, Curves International does that as well.

  • October 12, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Hi Another Curver,

    I don’t quite follow your statement of ” I’m not planning on going to Waco anytime soon though, because from what I understand then the law would have something on me.” What would they have on you? You have done nothing wrong that I can see and should have nothing to worry about. Once the first group action lawsuit goes through with a favorable ruling for the litigants there will be a second and probably 3rd wave with quite possibly a class action lawsuit to boot.. You may want to consider joining one of them as it is you ( along with all the other owners) that have been been wronged not CI. They really don’t have a leg to stand on. Not this time- No Way–No How While justice has not been swift, March of 2010 is just around the corner and approaching fast.

  • October 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Robert was right on. Settlement from 10,000 now wanting 2,500. And its only been 12 days. I don’t close until Oct. 30th. They were also nice and I wouldn’t have to pay it until the end of Nov. I wonder If I ask nice they’ll say i don’t have to give away my equipment to another Curves or destroy it -I can do what I want with it. What do you think?

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  • October 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Has any curves owners paid a lower settlement and been able to keep there machines?

  • October 12, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    If so was the equipment in the mutual release you signed part of your settlement

  • October 12, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    The equipment is yours to do with want you want period……The mutual release is only to prevent you from filling a lawsuit. Don’t sign it ever as by doing so you give up your rights to join any type of lawsuit against Curves International and Howard Heavin. Yet they can and will still sue you!!!!!!!!!!

  • October 12, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Unhappy, thanks for your encouragement. You’re right, of course, I have NOT done anything wrong. I just meant I do know where I stand in Wa state courts. And I am looking forward to the next wave of legal action. Thanks.

  • October 24, 2009 at 9:53 am

    First of all whoever said this, But the system is specifically designed for the female body. The founders of Curves originated with co-ed and it didn’t fly.”

    Gary didnt design anything! He stole the idea and has great PR skills so he leads you to believe that its his idea. pace exercise group. THAT is the ORIGINAL hydraluic workout. This workout is NOT designed for woman ! It was originally designed for people in physical therapy to introduce light resistance to their muscle.s

    Curves is down 5000 clubs this year, does that sound like a growing franchise?

    This company wont be around in the next few years.

    It makes me sick to see how good he is at marketing and how dishonest he is AND how people believe this individual.
    He INVENTED curves smart to make it seem like this was the answer to member retention yet clubs are closing with or without curves smart.
    I hope he is sued heavily and loose his company.

    This man is no different than the crooks you see on wall street that had to have their billions and would hurt anyone to get them!

    He should be sued and be forced to pay back the money he HAS STOLEN from people wanting a business opportunity..
    What a THIEF and dishonest person..

  • October 24, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I get a kick out of how curves markets curves smart. Custom designed workout tailored to your specific goals all on NON ADJUSTABLE EQUIPMENT that DOESNT change resistance, reps or anything.
    Being a fitness professional, this is a downright lie!

    I love how they market their curves smart in the new book, by saying it is good for sport specific training??
    The keyword there being SPECIFIC. Curves is cookie cutter.

    Its all one big lie and great marketing. Curves smart does push the user , but there is no POSSIBLE way it can be tailored to your goals. How it is supposed to tailor to your body type when it is all the same??

    We were once a club with 700+ members and we now down to 594. Due in part to the recession and other things.
    We may not be here in the next two years…

    its a shame to see..

    Lies, lies,lies..

  • October 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I am the spouse of a former Curves owner in Southeast Virginia. My wife and her partner closed their Curves last year. The echo still reverberates monthly as we pay back rent and business loans. Like many others, I have been checking this site periodically in hope that the Curves goons are not going to show up at my door. I am somewhat mystified by two faces of Curves we all see on the web. The glowing reports from franchise magazines and the reality of franchises closing at the speed of light. I am curious about the disposition of the equipment. We paid for it, it’s on our business loan, yet are we to destroy it? We attempted to donate it to the local school system for a weight loss program but were denied. Right now it’s wrapped up in the barn. I think our horse is even bored with it.
    Any ideas?

  • October 24, 2009 at 8:24 pm


    Just for your information, Gary Heavin did not invent the Curves Smart system. It is actually technology that is about 10 years old called MyTrak. Yes, it is a good system to challenge the user to work harder than their last workout, but used on non-adjustable equipment like Curves, it does nothing to increase the load. The user is supposed to push harder than their last workout, but eventually they will reach a point where they are pushing as fast/hard as they can and hit a plateau. At that point, no electronic bells and whistles are going to do anything except monitor the fact that they have stagnated. Any certified trainer can tell you that in order to keep getting results, you need to increase either the frequency of exercise, the intensity of exercise (which they have already done and maxed out) or the duration of exercise (or change the type of exercise).
    You are correct that the Curves one-size-fits-all workout is not sports specific; nor is it a progressive program. The MyTrak system does not increase or decrease the resistance; it merely monitors the effort of the user encouraging them to stay in the “green” zone. It’s a nice feedback system to help retain bored members- for awhile; eventually they will drop out as well as you are witnessing.

  • October 25, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Good chance I’ll get slammed, since this post goes against the flow, but ANYONE can Google and see for themselves. So, to correct you, with hydraulic resistance exercise the resistance does change. Actually, it must change. The faster the movement, the greater the resistance. So, the greater the number of reps in a given amount of time with the same ROM (and you want full ROM to get muscle overload) means faster motion and therefore greater resistance. Hatred of all things Curves can’t change the fundamentals of fluid dynamics.

    The “weakness” with Hydraulic Resistance (and find me a system that doesn’t have a weakness), is that it favors endurance over increasing mass. In other words, you aren’t going to choose this type of exercise to “bulk up”. But honestly, what percentage of women out there are trying to “bulk up”?

    Not trying to get into a brawl here, but since many of us who have nothing to do with Curves use hydraulic resistance as part of our regimen, it’s pretty important to get the facts straight. Hate the player, not the game. :) Thanks.

  • October 26, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I closed my club on August 31st and Curves told me that I would have to pay 2,500 by Sept 15 and have all the paper work to them. I am still waiting for the curvessmart paperwork to show up so I can have the new curves sign off. I received a notice today that I now owe more than 25,000.

    Is there an attorney that I can contact. I have numerous emails from Curves and they never get back to you.

  • October 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Hey Fitdude,
    Yep, I know. Hey Den, THERE IS NO ADDED RESISTANCE WITH HYDARULICS other than pushing harder the harder it pushed back..thats it.
    There is NO GPO, graduall progressive overload that is NEEDED to keep the body changing!
    Women dont generally BULK UP! Hydraluic ressitance mimics that of water fitness. Ever do resistance training in a pool with paddles? Thats the same level of resistance that you’ll get with hydraulics.
    In fact, hydraulics were INITIALLY designed for people out of rehab that needed some simple load beaing to help them strenghten their muscles.
    fitdude is right. Curves smart doesnt adjust ANYTHING to the workout, its simply a monitor of progress that will evantually plateau.
    Oh and Fitdude, I was actually being sarcastic about Gary inventing curves smart. Its his half assed effort to help member rention WHICH IT DOESNT DO!

    Another fact, Den, google Pace exercise group .This is the original hydraulic.
    He steals the idea, takes it o mexico , makes cylinders down there for dirt cheap and gives himself a name that appeals to women, CURVES.
    Now years later, hes lost half of his clubs in the US alone.
    There will come a time that this company will eventually go away. It may not be for another 5 years or so, but it was a fad!

    You cant keep doing curves with or without curves smart and expect results, but the thing here is taht people believe him!
    He has great salesmen skills.

    I went to( had to) go to a regional meeting with one of this puppets preaching about. Having been a trainer for over 10 years, this made me laugh.

    His puppet said, Gary says if you can walk you can squat?! WTF!?
    He clearly has never trained anyone.
    Den, the fcat is that missing GPO, this exercise program is limited and will eventually go away.

    I heard that Curves is going bankrupt too! This company does deserve to go out of business because of the lies they preach and how they decieve people.
    this company is no different then the crooks on wall street! Greed driven.

  • October 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    You are still misstating the facts. There is no comparable change in resistance through the stroke in a pool in your example (unless the pool is filled with something other than water or is pressurized). With Hydraulic resistance in a cylinder, as I said, when you increase speed you increase resistance. It’s not a simple “push back”. When you move an object through a hydraulic material under pressure and change the speed, the resistance changes. Period. If you up the reps from say 10 to 15 in the same time period, you must have increased the speed (unless you know something about physics, space and time, that I don’t and can do more reps in the same time period WITHOUT changing the speed) and therefore the resistance will have changed. This is not my opinion, it’s a simple fact of how object move in hydraulic materials. You don’t have to believe me, like I said, I’m sure ANYONE can Google something like “hydraulic resistance equation” and literally see for themselves.

    So, if you have someone do the same exercise in the same time period with the same ROM but increase the reps, you will have increased the average resistance across the entire exercise.

    As far as what it was originally designed for, really? That is going to be the crux of your argument: “it was INITIALLY designed for THIS and THAT is ALL it will ever be.”?

    That’s utter nonsense. By that logic, computers should go back to punch card days – or further. None of us should be using the internet and “the wheel” should be used for what? What shall we say it was “INITIALLY designed for”? Come on now, to say that ANYTHING is limited by its original design – never to be improved upon – is just plain silly…

    Is it perfect? No. But like I said, find me the perfect program without limitations.

    As I have no direct experience with the Curves Smart, I can’t address it specifically, but I did make some calls to the actual manufacturer who has nothing to do with Curves and from what they explained, it seems to monitor things such as ROM, speed and acceleration, reps, heart rate, etc… and modifies their “target” each workout to progress to their goal. They said it can be tailored and you can choose different fitness levels. They have a K.I.S.S. red, yellow green light system to tell the user if they are going to fast, slow or just right. I am interested in seeing it at work as from what they explained it seems interesting.

    As to the rest of your message, rant all you want about Curves and the people who run it, that doesn’t matter to or affect me and has no bearing on my position, so I won’t waste my time or anyone else’s addressing your accusations and claims.

  • October 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I agree with you (and I think Phil does as well) that pushing faster against a hydraulic cylinder will produce more force. But let’s face it, a 50-60 year old woman can only push so fast in 30 seconds; she will eventually reach a plateau where she is pushing as fast as she can and is only going to be able to perform x number of reps in that time. She will also reach a plateau in fitness results; that is when they get frustrated, bored and drop out. I have personally heard this from hundreds of Curves members/staff. This is the built-in inherent flaw in the Curves system- limited membership lifespan due to limited results.
    Without being able to restrict the flow of the hydraulic fluid like Pace equipment does, Curves equipment is not truly adjustable.

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