'Fiasco' as KAL members struggle to book sessions

'Fiasco' as KAL members struggle to book sessions
By Tony Earnshaw
Local Democracy Reporter

NEW YEAR resolutions to get fit may have to be paused in Kirklees as the borough’s gyms struggle to cope with a rise in online bookings.

Such was the seasonal demand last year for exercise classes at centres managed by Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) that a server froze at peak booking times.

Consequently many KAL members had difficulty booking advertised classes.

Issues have continued into 2020 with one critic claiming it’s getting worse.

Kirklees resident Mike Wood, 64, who goes to studio cycling sessions, described the ongoing glitch as “a fiasco”.

He added: “Kirklees Active Leisure are still encouraging new members to join at prices in excess of £300 per annum but I witnessed a new member this morning in tears of frustration as she couldn’t get on any of the classes she took out membership to attend.

“They are taking more and more memberships but they’re not able to deliver both in terms of class sizes and on their system.”

When he visited his local gym Mr Wood found staff “fed-up to the teeth” with problems and customer complaints.

“They are on the front line so they are taking the stick.”

He said emails and Facebook messages to KAL “are largely ignored or not responded to”.

He added that staff were offering apologies to irate customers but that they couldn’t fix the problem.

“On balance I do get on most of the classes most of the year, but for two months in the year your membership is almost null and void because you can’t get on any of the classes.”

Mr Wood received a response apologising for the booking breakdown and a promise that someone would call him “but no-one ever did”.

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “KAL’s app is used by many customers on a regular basis with largely positive feedback.

“Occasionally, during busy periods when lots of customers try to book the same class at the same time and especially at this busy time of year, when customers are trying to be more active, this does cause technical issues.

“KAL work with our ICT partners to try to resolve any issues that arise as quickly as possible, as our priority is always customer satisfaction.

“A small number of our very popular classes may reach capacity shortly after becoming available to book, such is the demand from customers...

“... KAL would like to apologise to any customer who has been affected by technical issues relating to trying to book onto a fitness class and will continue to work to address these as soon as we become aware of an issue.”

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