Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't sign up with Preggi Bellies

at least, not unless you have the money to throw away or you're 100% sure you can finish your course of classes.

You know I normally don't write posts like this but this but I've been back and forth countless times with this company and I just feel like I need to let you know what you may be in for.

It took a loooong time for me to fall pregnant so my doctor told me no exercise in case we jeopardise this pregnancy unless you want to join Preggi Bellies.

I'd always been reasonably active, wanted to stay fit throughout my pregnancy so I joined up.

You have to pay upfront for your entire course of classes - either 25, 30 or 35. I'm not a fan of the paying in advance thing since you never know what might happen so I took the least amount of classes (25) and paid my R2500.

Long story short... I have a busy life, went to Ireland, and had two preggy "incidents" so I only used 8 of those 25 lessons.

After the two "incidents" the doc told me to stop exercising as we didn't want any more drama!

So I contacted them to request a refund. And there the trouble began.

  • They avoided my emails and phone calls for over a month. I started getting a bad feeling...
  • Then after the babies were born (8 weeks early as it happens), I started chasing up again.
  • Finally got an email telling me they don't do refunds but I'm welcome to use up my remaining 17 lessons. First of all, I have twins. Who has the time to go back to classes (9 weeks of them as I'd think 2 maximum per week) with twins??? I barely have time to brush my teeth!
  • After lots of back and forth, they eventually offered me R660. Work that out - I'll wait... R2500 for 25 classes = R100 a class. 8 classes taken means I should be expecting R1700.
  • Apparently there's a 15% admin fee. Okay..... even so, HUGE jump from the R660 you're offering me to the R1700 I'm expecting.
  • How can you take off a 15% admin fee PLUS only give me half of what's left? Daylight robbery!
  • I tried to reason with them... "I didn't not use up the classes because of laziness; medical reasons prevented me from continuing" and "this will result in reputational risk for you as I write a very popular blog..." but they were not having any of it.
  • So eventually I stated my case one last time (I do like to get my opinion out there!) and decided to conserve my energy, take the R660 and let it go.
  • I was also going through bouts of crying every day and this wasn't making me feel any better.
Hence this post!

So a warning to any other pregnant ladies out there. Please please please learn from my mistakes and don't sign up with Preggi Bellies unless you have the money to throw away if something goes wrong with your pregnancy.

Of course the irony of it all is that once this happened, many of my friends said that having to pay upfront was what held them back from joining up. AAAARGHHHHH!

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se7en said...

Aaahh - the power of blogging... I will be linking this as soon as I can find a relevant post to pop it into!!! My husband did a management course and one of the first things they learnt was that positive word of mouth grows a business but negative destroys it. So I'm behind you all the way!!!

I joined the regular gym for this pregnancy and just lumbered up and down the pool lazily... I felt fantastic, it really worked well for me... I haven't been for two weeks... I keep thinking I will pop... and then don't... Maybe I should take this huge belly for one last swim!!! No I really can't face it!!!!

Becca said...

Thanks for the warning!

Forgetfulone said...

Well, I'm not gonna get pregnant again since my twins are 13 now, but I also had problems with the pregnancy, and if I were in your shoes, I would be angry. Lucky you have a popular blog and can get the message out there. How are things going for you? How old are the twins?

jacinta said...

Same thing happened to me a couple of years ago. You sign up at the beginning thinking it will all be fine and then you just get bigger and bigger and tireder and tireder and you have to go to at least 2 classes a week or they stop you going. Then you have the baby and it takes quite a bit of recovery (I was 42 so probably more for me) and then you have to find the time to go back when you aren't feeling great about the company any more. I'm with the person that said 'go swimming' or go for a walk. Much cheaper and probably just as good for you - no loud loud music and smelly gym to go to either!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I just finished my pregnancy with them and they were incredible. Sounds to me like you are bitter for no reason. I reccommend this program to everyobe

Ashley Camen said...

A friend just told me about your blog. I've recently joined Preggi Bellies and love it. They were professional kind and very thorough. I'm loving the classes. Your blog describes incidents but you never say what they were and having children is a choice and not a reason to expect everyone to simply refund you. You sound overwhelmed and depressed and exercise would have helped not hindered. Perhaps you need to accept your laziness rather than blame such an incredible program. I'd tell all my friends to go and tell those who read your blog not to take you at face value.

Anonymous said...

Very clever (you think?) Preggi Bellie employees! Your last two posts are a dead giveaway you're trying so desperately to uphold a reputation. Yes your classes/instructors are fantastic, no one is disputing that. The problem here is with your administration policies which take complete advantage of women who are pregnant and who fall into the 'unwell' category and can't continue with classes. You TRAP women into buying BULK classes for your own benefit and in doing so you become an organisation that CHEAT your customers at a vulnerable time when their circumstances change. I have exercised my entire life and thought this would be a wonderful way to keep fit throughout my first pregnancy. I am a State Basketballer (hardly lazy), and unfortunately a medical condition now prevents me from attending any more classes. I provided a medical certificate from my Obs stating this and was told I was lucky I be receiving a refund (usually only given to those who miscarry). A disgraceful reference to make. They charged me a $90 admin fee - I attended 5 classes. Who do you think you are?

Too bad for an organisation that provides classes tailored for pregnant woman, your philosophy toward customer care is discusting. About time you considered re-writing that fine print before it becomes too late.

A Current Affair is calling - only a matter of time. The internet is a very powerful tool.

Melbourne, Australia.

Anonymous said...

I have been to Preggi Bellies, I have spoken to the Admin staff it didn't take months for them to get back to me.

I read the contract, it states no refunds. should you need to stop classes, you can use them in the post natal classes. True many mothers are too busy, or get overwhelmed that's fair, yet you seem to blame the company for your being tired or busy.

I think it's kinda of messy of you to complain and get a refund.

you made a decision not to go to post natal classes (whatever the reason), if you've got time to complain maybe you've got time to get your butt to class.

just saying

Des said...

Thanks for the warning! You were definitely fully entitled to a refund because it was a medical reason after all! It seems Preggi Bellies are just like those dodgy gyms you hear about.

Alana said...

Wow thanks for the posts. I was thinking of joining however Im not convinced as this is a risk. Im not lazy however Im 20 weeks preganct and i dont know how ill feel at 30. I will just join a gym.

Also dont listen to the posts stating you sound depressed or lazy... seems like a little finger pointing going on.
The company should look after the costomers and not rip them off.

They appear to do alot of screaning and want clearance befopre you begin why would this not continue to be a priority... it seems the money is what is a priority!!!!

I wont be joining thank you

Anonymous said...

I did preggi bellies classes with my first pregnancy and found the entire experience to be awful! After doing a trial class myself and another lady were pressured into buying an excessive number of classes based on how long we had to go in our pregnancy. I didn't like the classes early on but committed to going regardless as I had paid so much money! The other lady that joined at the same time hated the classes also. There was only one instructor out of about 4 or 5 that I had throughout the classes that was any good. 1 was new and was basically learning at our expense. 1 couldn't give a shit about her job. 1 was just weird and the other yelled at me in a packed class to "MOVE YOUR ARSE"! I was 39 weeks pregnant at that stage with a massive belly and a tiny frame and I was really in no condition to do so with all sorts of aches and pains. She later apologised when I informed her how far along I was. The damage was done, I was embarrassed and went home in tears. I complained but no one ever contacted me. I also had to change a couple of bookings but despite making several phone calls no one called back. I now have my beautiful son who is 16 months old. I lost my weight and weighed less than before i was pregnant after about 12 months. Here is where my complaint really begins..... I have severe muscle separation! Now I do believe that I may have had a degree of muscle separation had I not have done preggi bellies but mine is very severe and I basically look like I am still pregnant! Almost every preggi bellies class included doing sit ups on a Swiss ball or laying in my back (which is not recommended after 20 weeks due to the potential of restricting blood flow to the baby) and doing various exercises involving abdominal muscles. Each time I did these exercises (2-3 times a week for 28 weeks) my stomach contracted in such an unusual way, much differently to other mums to be that I noticed. My stomach looked as though my baby was basically being squished in a vice from each side. These exercises during pregnancy are completely unnatural as the stomach muscles can not possibly join due to the presence of the baby resulting in the muscles being strengthened around the baby. The final result... Separated muscles that have poor connective tissue due to continually being strengthened in the wrong position. As there is poor connective tissue there is next to nothing holding my internal organs in place. The weight of my internal organs press out wards. My stomach is hard due to the organs pressing outwards and I can feel my colon and its contents directly under the surface layer of my skin beneath my belly button. I have been slim my entire life and always had a flat stomach and to see my stomach as it is now is so disturbing. I hate to think how many women have suffered this same fate at the hands of these uneducated trainers and their employer. Preggi bellies should not be conducting these types of excercises on unsuspecting pregnant women. The above negative posts are clearly from related preggi bellies parties and are down right nasty. No one wants to feel ripped off and I am sure if they put themselves In your position they would feel no different. I applaud you for speaking out and thank you for providing the forum for me to tell my story.

Anonymous said...

I have done preggi bellies through all 3 of my pregnancies right up until 2 weeks before I was due. I was never EVER made to do sit ups on the ball ?? Or any sit ups at all - what state are you doing the classes - Melb ? I am in Bris. Although I often used to dread going to class as I felt so tired, I always felt fantastic afterwards, any niggly aches or pains never got worse and I slept so well - that was my main motivation for going. I also loved the post natal classes - I was lucky the gym they ran them at had an excellent creche. I am really disappointed they have stopped them here. I heard one best instructors here in Brisbane has her own PT business called bodyfabulous so I am going to try to follow up with her for some post natal sessions. Let me know if you can recommend anything else ?