Google-backed fitness club service enrages members

ClassPass tosses monthly-unlimited plan

Following a series of outrageous price hikes in April, a popular fitness club service has once again shocked its loyal customer base — this time, ClassPass is discontinuing its most popular membership option: the monthly-unlimited plan.

When Google-backed ClassPass first launched in May of 2013, users flocked to the fitness start-up, which offered $99 monthly unlimited plans, allowing them to take as many classes as they wanted at various boutique workout studios in their region.

But unluckily for those consumers, the plan was just too good to be true. Throughout the last three years, ClassPass has struggled to sustain its business model, hiking prices to $125, $190 and finally to its most recent rate increase of $200 for the unlimited membership plan.

Although the company has been backed by Google Ventures, who funded it with $30 million last year, the venture capital was just not enough to continue its current business model.

Members of the fitness class subscription service were less than thrilled Wednesday to wake up to an email from ClassPass CEO Payal Kadakia. In the open letter, Kadakia wrote that the decision to do away with the unlimited option "did not come easy."

"When we launched Unlimited two years ago, we saw a magical thing happen: You began taking more classes, exploring new studios and falling in love with fitness," Kadakia wrote. "Unfortunately the plan simply didn't work."

Starting Nov. 3, new users will only be able to sign up for ClassPass's Base and Core plans, which offer five or 10 classes per month, respectively. Current members can access their Unlimited membership plans until the end of the month, but will be automatically enrolled in the Core plan beginning in December.

And if you thought users were angry about the price hikes back in April, expect customers to be outraged by the company's decision to remove its most popular service.

Many turned to social media to rant about the shocking changes. Several unlimited plan users expressed their disagreement and took to Twitter to vent about their frustrations.

Kadakia did write that the company expects to roll out new features in the coming months, including "on demand video, 'out of studio' experiences like group runs and social features that will enhance your membership."

Now, clients will have to decide if they want to continue using the subscription service, or give the traditional gym and alternatives like FitReserve a try.

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