The Back Story.
On June 6th, we received an email from a reader asking us to investigate Iron Gods Gym, a website that was advertising used Assault Bikes for $199.95 and used Concept Two Rowers for $399.99.
Since we began investigating and asking question, Iron Gods has shut down their website and ceased all communication with our team. Here’s how things unfolded.
If it’s too good to be true…
Then it probably is.
But we still got really excited about the idea of having an Assault Bike at Morning Chalk Up HQ, so we went ahead and hopped online to check it out. The website seemed totally legit. It was easy to use, all of the products had high quality images and full descriptions. We picked out the bike we wanted, that supposedly 542 other people were looking at at the same time. All the reviews were positive, and shipping was free! What’s not to love?
We ordered one assault bike and paid for it on the boss’s credit card. We got an email confirmation immediately.
So far, so good! The confirmation email came from a man named Steve Rogers from a Gmail address. There was no shipping information on the confirmation email. So we replied to them, like good little consumers that are accustomed to Amazon Prime’s effective speediness, to ask what the shipping window looked like. We got a very prompt response from Iron Gods using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
“All Used Assault Bike orders will ship out at the same time on June 15th by freight. This saves us a lot of money doing it like this and is the only way we can offer these prices.”
Kinda makes some sort of sense.
The next day, June 7th, we emailed them again, asking if we would receive any tracking information once the bikes shipped via freight.
But, this time, we received an automated response from Steve Rogers but from email@example.com:
“This is an automated message to answer the most common questions we are getting. We are getting too many emails and cannot respond to them all so we will only respond to the emails that the question is not answered here.
- All Used Assault Bike orders will ship out at the same time on June 15th by freight. This saves us alot of money doing it like this and is the only way we can offer these prices.
- All Used Concept Rowers will ship out together on July 20th by freight. Same reason.
- The delivery times for used equipment are stated on the product page when you placed the order.
- The used equipment has been used in competitions for about a year. They have wear and tear and some scratches and dings. But are in perfectly working order. They are well made and tough. We guarantee they will operate perfectly for at least 6 months.
- We do not have phone support at the time. We have full-time jobs and are just doing this on the side for now. We can barely keep up with the emails.
- If you are requesting to cancel your order you will get an email confirmation for the cancelled order. You should see the credit back onto your card within a few days depending on your bank.
- If you didn’t use a coupon code you received then I am sorry but we cannot go back and credit the order anymore.
If any of these did not answer your question then we will personally reply.
- Thank you for shopping with us and have a great day!
So, we waited…
And waited. And then we started hearing from other readers.
Many of them had placed orders with Iron Gods Gym and never received their product. But, like us, they were getting emails with explanations that kind of almost made sense. One affiliate owner emailed us that she had purchased five bikes. But once she heard that the website was a scam, she went to Facebook and started to ask around. She reached out to a private Facebook group for CrossFit Affiliate owners to see if anyone had any information on the website. Several other affiliate owners had similar experiences as her.
Maggie Ludwig, owner of CrossFit Waukesha, ordered two assault bikes and never received them. She reached out to the company several times to no avail. “I finally got a refund notice once I threatened to go to the police,” Maggie told us. As of this time, Maggie has not received the promised refund.
And Darsi Callaway, owner of CrossFit 350, had originally ordered five used assault bikes for $499.75. But after hearing the site was a scam, emailed the company to cancel her order. Five days later, she had still not received her refund. She emailed the company again, who wanted to work with her, offering her a free bike if she canceled the refund and waited for her bikes to ship in July instead. “Ok we will void the refund and send your bikes in July,” they wrote in an email. “I’ll just go ahead and hook you up with the 4th bike for the remaining balance since you’ve been so cooperative,” he promised her.
Darsi told us, “After a few emails back and forth trying to figure out where the refund was that he said had been processed. I fessed up to him regarding the whole story of the reason I canceled my order because everyone thought he is a scam. He was bothered by that. I told him I would much rather have the five bikes than the money back. He got back to me and stated the $99 bikes were gone but did still have $199 bikes.”
Darsi pressed for the refund and got it the very next day.
Oh, well that’s good to hear.
Buoyed by the legitimacy of the refund, she decided she’d try one more time, this time with a bank protected credit card just in case, and ordered one bike. When that bike didn’t show, she emailed for a refund again. They responded immediately, and three days later, her money was refunded. She was confused. How can this be a scam if they refund the money?
David Gysland, owner of RX Industries in Lewiston, MN was wondering the same thing.
“In reality, the biggest tip off was the price. They were selling the bikes at $99.00 with free shipping. Well, anyone who does freight shipping knows it would cost more than they were charging.” He did his homework and decided ultimately not to place an order with them. Using the website, Whois.net he learned everything he needed to know about Iron Gods and their $99 Assault Bikes.
“The site was registered just three weeks ago with and is not registered with the state of California where it claims to reside. On its contact page it lists as it’s 1055 West 7th St, 33rd Floor Los Angeles as its address. Research of that address reveals its a ‘Virtual’ office space leasing company so they have no store front, despite having a large inventory of used equipment. It claims to sell used and new fitness equipment, many well below market costs all with shipping free shipping worldwide with two key ship dates it will all ship on and you receive no tracking (shipping on these large items would exceed the cost of the item). There is a phone number listed on the site, but no one answers, it kicks to an automated reply. Emails to the irongodsgym.com have revealed they claim to be just ‘two guys with day jobs’, however they claim they have warehouse’s in several countries. I inquired about picking the merchandise up directly with them and they said I could not. I asked about seeing the merchandise and they said I could not. Many members on the CrossFit owners forum have reported ordering from them and have to date received nothing, nor any tracking.”
We’re officially worried.
Can you blame us?
But, on June 15th, as promised, we received a shipment notification from Iron Gods, letting us know that our used assault bike was on its way. The email offered a “Track this order” options and told us it would be three weeks and we would have our assault bike. Except, the track now option did not work.
Officially leery, we emailed Iron Gods again and asked for an update. Instead of the timely and human response we got the first time, we received an auto response that had clearly been copied and pasted but then also received a personalized email, but from another email address entirely. Van, writing from firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
“We understand that you would like to get an update about your order. I have checked and confirmed that your order has been fulfilled already. Please know that since your order was shipped via the cheapest freight company called EAGLE, there will be no tracking number available. However, please be assured that if your order is not delivered within 3 weeks, you can contact us back and we will issue a full refund. Please do let us know if you have further questions.”
We waited some more.
Three weeks, to be precise.
We emailed Iron Gods again, asking where the heck was our bike? We got a personal response three days later, on July 9 stating “We are so sorry to hear that you have not received your order. It should have been delivered last July 6 or 7. We highly rely on the freight company to deliver the shipment, however, it appears that they have failed to do so on some orders. Good thing is that all orders are insured so we are happy to issue a full refund. The refund should be processed within 3-5 business days. Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience caused.”
Duh indeed. On July 12th, we received an email that our order had been refunded.
While we waited (some more) for our refund to appear we decided to reach out to some of the brands that Iron Gods carries on their website. We reached out to Assault Fitness first, who took the time to call us. Nicky, who works in customer relations, told us “It is a total scam. Do not order a bike through them. We’ve had a number of people reach out to us a few that have ordered and never received product so we have the recommendation to avoid them at all cost.”
We also reached out to Concept 2, whose rowers are listed for sale on the Iron Gods website, to see if they had heard anything. They had. Meredith Breiland warned, “This is a scam website. Our lawyers are working hard to take down this website, but scammers are usually one step ahead of us. Feel free to call us if you come across any other offers that are too good to be true. We never have sales or discounts, so low prices are always a red flag.”
And Titan Fitness, whose equipment is also listed for sale on Iron Gods, also replied to us. They had no idea of the scam, stating: “We sell direct and do not have a dealer program. I would steer clear of any other sites that are not ours! I will definitely pass this information along to our legal team!”
With all this information in hand, we formally reached out to Iron Gods for a statement. We’ve contacted them several times and, despite their earlier vigilance in replying to our emails, have not responded to our requests.
So now what?
As of this writing, the boss has still not received his refund. (He’s forgiven us.) We still don’t know what the catch quite is, as some customers have received their refunds while others have not. What we do know is not one single person we contacted has ever received the equipment ordered from Iron Gods.
So, as the old saying goes, if its too good to be true, it is.
Looks like no Assault Bike for Morning Chalk Up.