Platinum Gym members have voiced their disgust as they arrived to find the shutters closed last Friday.
Among the hundreds of angry Platinum Gym members left in the lurch, there were many who paid membership in recent days.
Indeed a sales push was underway at the premises in recent weeks with sales staff unknowingly promoting a ‘special deal’ for Mother’s Day with prices ranging from £200 for a year, £100 for six months and £75 for three months ‘Diamond membership’ which includes unlimited access to the adjoining Cabelo health and beauty clinic.
Fionuala, who didn’t want to give her full name, said her daughter had just bought her a year’s membership last week as a Mother’s Day present. “She joined as well to entice me to go, it was a lovely thought. It was paid last week and he said he would not accept a credit card, only cash. He must have known by that stage he was going out of business.”
Roseanne Muldoon paid £470 in membership fees for her daughter who has mental health problems and her grand-daughter who cares for her. When the shutters were raised last Friday morning, Ms Muldoon - who said she was “absolutely gutted” entered the premises vowing not to move until someone explained where her money had gone.
“I thought I would get my daughter membership as a treat and paid £270 a couple of weeks ago. I then decided to get membership for my grand-daughter who cares for my daughter - that cost £200 as part of the so-called special offer. She was due for her first appointment at 5.15 on Friday but she has nothing now. I’m absolutely gutted, I could cry but I can assure you that this man will not get away with this. This was a really rotten thing to do on anybody, it was being sold as a Mother’s Day treat - that’s atrocious.”
Sharon McDermott of Ballymagroarty and her sisters paid the gym £440 in cash this week: “I’m always saying that I’ve never been caught out with an April Fool but this is the biggest April fool ever and it’s not funny.”
She added: On Tuesday both my sister and I paid £200 up front for ‘Diamond membership’ and that was after the gym rang me last week to let me know of the special offer - it normally costs £350. On Thursday my other sister joined the gym for a year for £40 and Mehran himself tried to talk her into taking a Diamond membership. He also rang my husband Joe on Thursday at around 4.30pm and asked him to join. He even suggested that he pay over the phone on credit card when Joe said he’d come in and pay himself the next day.”
Platinum has also been running a ‘special deal’ of an extra free year’s membership for members who introduce a friend to the Diamond deal.
Ms McDermott said she feels so embarrassed about recommending three friends who each paid £350 up front to Mr Ghanbari.