SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA -- As a gym, it is great. However, the Personal Training (PT) program is full of deception, deceit, bait & switch, & trying to extort more money out of you to keep your same trainer. Am super irked by PT. Had 3 major issues since Dec. Initially bought 4 sessions at a high rate per session + an Initiation Fee. Was told I could buy more sessions later & the rate per session would be dependent upon the # of sessions I bought & wouldn't have to pay the Init Fee again. LIES told by Ron to make the sale.
Went to buy more sessions in Jan at a lesser rate per sesh. They said "nope, would be at your initial rate even if you bought 100 sessions." To get a lower per sesh rate, had to pay Init Fee again & buy X # of sessions per month for a year. Discussed w/ HQ & Regional Manager (took a month & multiple contacts to hear from him) in Feb by phone on a Fri.
Had Chris ** as my only trainer in Dec. Fri night signed a year contract w/ Baracka & set up session w/ Chris ** for next morning. Sat after sesh, went upstairs to see Baracka to schedule next sesh w/ Chris ** & was told his last day at Co is in 2 days. WTF? No one thought to mention this to me before I signed the contract? The regional manager didn't know? Baracka didn't know? And Chris ** didn't even have the decency to tell me in person during our sesh? Now I am locked into a year & have to start over w/ another trainer? Felt deceived & ripped off a 2nd time.
I train for BMX racing. It is super competitive & am trying to compete at the National level. It is not like I am just a once in a while gym goer or trying to lose weight. This is serious business to me. I had lower back issues during most of 2014 & was why I only wanted 4 sessions initially to try it out. I wasn't even sure I could work out all year. Doctor had recommended I get a PT to help me with back issues.
I had to begin all over again & explain everything now w/ Thuan as my new trainer? I wasn't sure he understood my goals/needs for the first month or that we were on the same page. It worked out well & I saw improvement. However, I went to schedule a session w/ him in Sept & the system said I couldn't as I didn't have a Master Trainer (MT) plan. LA Fitness made him a MT. To stay w/ him I have to pay more $ or find a new PT. WTF again? This is the 3rd issue w/ PT now in 7 months. And would be my 3rd "personal" trainer. HQ said my contract didn't specify a specific trainer.
I could talk to Ron (NOT - since I think of him as a liar and can't stand him) to pick a new trainer or pay more for the same trainer since Thuan is now classified as a MT. They gave me the # for the Springfield LA Fitness Manager. Had to call twice to reach him as he never returned my call when I left a msg. He said same - pick a new trainer or pay more $ to stay w/ Thuan, my trainer of 7 months.
To me, a "personal" trainer is like a doctor. Someone new just can't step in & take over. Nor did I want to have to explain everything & begin w/ someone new again. I thought it was BS I had to pay more $ to keep my trainer when I had a year contract at a specified rate per month.
I asked Baracka what if I pay for MT & then Thuan leaves like Chris **? He said I would be locked into the higher rate & would then have to choose a new MT. I asked who, given my situation re BMX racing & lower back, which he was aware of & knew who I was, would be a good PT instead of Thuan as I didn't think I should have to pay more $. He told me Kevin ** would be the best fit for me.
Had my session w/ Kevin ** on Monday this week. He is basically brand new to the company; it was only his 3rd week there, or I was his 3rd training session. I can't remember which. But he didn't know what BMX was or how to train someone for it. Baracka essentially deceived me too. He was NOT picking the best personal trainer for me & my situation. He was basically sticking me w/ the "new" guy.
3 issues w/ a gym in 7 months for a 30 year member is ridiculous. I am completely disappointed & frustrated by the whole PT situation. Apparently the MT switch to try to get more money out of someone is a common practice by LA Fitness as I have seen articles on the net now concerning this at other locations. What a rotten stinking business practice for something that is supposed to be "personal".
SARASOTA, FLORIDA -- Joined the La Fitness at 8502 Cooper Creek Blvd, University Park FL, 34201. I signed up for a monthly membership at $34.95 on Set 30, 2015. The manager I was working with was named **. ** stated it was a month to month contract and that I could cancel any month that I wanted. ** then asked if I was interested in signing up for personal training. I stated "yes". ** stated it was $360.00 for 1 month of personal training that consisted of 8 sessions. I stated to ** that I would try it for 1 month. ** then asked me for my debit/credit card. I gave it to ** and he charged me $360.00 for 1 month of personal training.
On November 5, 2015 ** called me and stated he needed my credit card number again to charge me $360.00 for personal training. I gave it to him. After getting off the phone I remember that I paid ** in full and wondered why he was charging me again. I called back ** and asked him why he was charging me again and he stated "the new $360.00 charge is for the new month." I stated that "I already paid you when I signed up" and he stated "you signed up for 52 weeks." I said "no I didn't." He said "Yes you did." I said "you verbally told me it was for a month."
While talking to ** I remembered that he never gave me a copy of the personal training contract. He said "I will get it to you later." I have searched the internet and see that this is a common practice at La Fitness to scam people into signing up for a year of personal training when they think they are signing up for a month.
CHANDLER, ARIZONA -- I signed up for a year of personal training. The second week I had to 2 sessions booked, so of course I plan my schedule around them... I showed up... no trainer. I started asking around at the gym about the program and was told some frightening things:
When I tried to cancel I was told I would have a $800.00 penalty??? REALLY!! After they breached the contract & wasted my time! I wish to God I had read the 1,000 plus bad reviews about LA Fitness 1st. I'm done with them! Lots of other gyms.
CALIFORNIA -- It's a very sneaky thing they do-physically exhaust you til you can't think, then tell you to sign because this one-time-only offer in front of you. Where should I start... Just joined this gym after my original gym went out of business. I'm a 24 year old athletic female. I immediately made an appointment to redeem my 'Free Session with a Personal Trainer' for 6 pm the following day. I show up on time and my trainer finally shows 45 minutes late.
We do a rigorous session involving weighted stair climbing, lunges, leg press, etc.(for 3 days after I COULD NOT WALK, due to the soreness & tightness of my Achilles tendon, I could not flex my foot, the only relief came when I walked on tip toe. I suspect the trainer did not realize he was overworking my legs, and neither did I because I trusted the trainer.)
Throughout the session, the trainer, a young male, complimented my hair, told me I was "pretty" & "hot" and then informed me he and his friends love to drink & bar-hop & I should come sometime (Hmm, is he actually hitting on me...or is he trying to ensure he makes a sale?)
After my session I expressed interest in pricing, so I was taken, red-faced & covered in sweat, back to the negotiating tables. They showed me the paper with the prices listed on it & start reading it, crossing of some prices & writing in a cheaper to make it seem like I was getting a deal. I asked if I could think about it, and he replied no, this deal was too good to sleep on. Now or never. Well, it worked, I fell for it.
I swipe my credit card, go to sign the signature pad- but the pad doesn't work! So they print out a hard copy for me to sign... only then do I see the $3360 they are trying to charge the card (they only show you the weekly (not total) price, so in my exhausted stupor I asked him repeatedly "So it's $140 charge, that's all?" he had repeatedly replied "Yup!" he must have not realized I was referring to the total charge. Total charge is actually $140 x 4 x 6)
I'm so glad they were having technical difficulties & weren't able to get my signature on that contract. I stood up & quickly explained "I can't do this after all, sorry to waste your time, I have to go." and I left. Oh but wait, just as I get a foot out the entrance, my trainer stops me & whispers that he "could get in a lot of trouble for this"..."& don't tell the boss"... but his friend on the outside world will be my trainer for a much lower price than LA Fitness trainers! "Here's his phone number!" I never called.
This sounds obvious but PLEASE bring your calculator & actually add it up if you're going to deal with the LA Fitness salesmen.
SACHSE, TEXAS -- I joined LA Fitness last week. I was told if I did a 7 day trial that the costs would go up when I walked in the door. I asked to take one class and they let me. Then I was told I had to go learn how to use the machines and that was a scam!!! They did three wimpy exercises which I already knew. Then they spent the rest of the time giving me a sales pitch about options for training.
They want you to commit to a year package. Then they told me it would be $50 for a 25 minute session! That probably is maybe twenty minutes max of working out when you consider rest between reps and walking to and from machines. That is insane!!! Then they tell me that I have to do this today or the prices will go up. I said NO!!! They said if I don't do it today, I probably won't and that is true because you would have time to think through the scam! These people are about money. I wonder what I will get a sales pitch on next!!! Be cautious.
WINTER PARK, FLORIDA -- I join LA Fitness in July. They give you one free personal training session with their smooth talking salesman. I had put on some weight and he made me feel like I needed help to lose the weight. I was willing to do anything. I had a few sessions and was disappointed. I was hurting so much that I found it hard to come in on other days to work out. I was told I would hurt but it would get better. I just listen to what they said and did my best.
The contract was for 3 months at $200.00 dollars a month which is $50.00 dollars a week. I was see the trainer weekly. On my 9th week I made it a hour long session because I often felt rushed. The next day I was in so much pain in my lower back. I called my doctor and was able to get an appointment for the following day. One x-ray, one MRI and an appointment with a neurosurgeon later, I knew I would not be going back to the gym. My main priority was getting better so I could get back to work.
I called the gym to informed them of my injuries and ask for a refund on my 2 last session which totaled $100.00. I was informed by the manager of the gym that I had to be disable in order to get my money back. I refused to be disable. I just thought of it as a lost. Like I said before my priority was getting back to work. I am a nurse so I need my back.
To my dismay I got my credit card bill and I had a charge for another $200.00. from LA Fitness. I thought it was a mistake. I went to the LA Fitness to clarify these charges. I was humiliated by their condescending manager who informed me that my training contract automatically renews itself if I do not cancel it in writing.
I told him that I completed my contract obligation and he should me on the contract where it states "If this is a FINANCE AGREEMENT IT WILL AUTOMATICALLY CONVERT TO A MONTH TO MONTH AGREEMENT AFTER THE INITIAL TRM AND WILL CONTINUE UNTIL YOU SEND A 20 DAY WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLATION VIA CERTIFIED MAIL". I never heard of such a thing. Shame on me for not reading the contract completely. I read total $650.00, $50.00 joiner fee and I paid them the money.
I was losing 2 sessions due to injury and now I have an additional 4 session that I have no intentions of using. I called the credit card company and filed a dispute and they informed me that LA Fitness is schedule to take an additional $200.00 making an additional 4 training sessions totaling 10 training sessions. I would not allow any of their trainer to touch me.
Currently I am fighting to get my money back and stop anymore deduction on my credit card. This is a nightmare! The staff was so wonderful until I signed on the dotted line. None of them informed me about the automatic renewal. Not even when I was signing the contract nor when I injured myself. This is trickery, BUYER BEWARE. I am devastated and afraid.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- I have been fit for over 20 years and belonged to many gyms and this was the arm pit gym from hell. Trainers - Of course, I fell for the "free" personal training used car pitch and was insulted at the ignorance of the personal trainers. I am a type 1 diabetic and not once did they ask if I had any medical conditions. After being dragged through a kindergarten level explanation of the benefits of exercise, I basically had to tell the guy, "I'm sorry, but your service isn't worth free, much less $50 a session."
Locker Room & Equipment - Deciding to keep the membership for 90 days due to long workdays/winter weather and the inability to work out outside, I soon encountered the "wet dog" smell of the locker room that never went away. Everything seemed "greasy" and unsanitary, and no effort was made to keep the place clean. Not only that, you had to try 2 or 3 cardio machines to find one that wasn't bent, squeaking or otherwise not working. Seriously, how can it be good for you to use an elliptical with one bent pedal??
Towels - On many occasions, they were out of the towels I paid the extra $5 a month to use and on more than one occasion, the towel smelled like it had never been washed - only dried. It is enough to make you vomit when you are working out and go to wipe off only to smell someone else's dried sweat.
Management - I enjoy shooting basketball a couple of times a week, but the basketball courts at this place are overrun by teenage thugs from 6pm-close every night. Not an organized league, just a group of parking lot thugs playing full court indoors. I've waited as much as an hour and a half for these thugs to get off the court and even after front desk staff indicated they had received many complaints, still failed to take action.
Threat of assault - The last straw came just last week, after 3 of us waited around and tried to squeeze in some b-ball time, only to be run over by the full court thugs as usual. This time, one of them punted a basketball at me and told me to get off the court. I said, "I pay my dues just like you, so you need to share the court." After being further intimidated, I walked out and canceled my membership immediately.
Customer Service - I have not heard from the "Operations Manager" that was supposed to contact me about the incident. I did receive notification that my membership was canceled per my request, but that it was still active until July 20, 2009. I demanded a refund from corporate and they referred me to the "Ops Manager" at the location, who said it was his 2nd day on the job. The corporate membership moron had the nerve to say, "why don't you just try to work out at a different time of day?" I joined to avoid evening rush hour traffic, so I need to pick a time other than 6-11pm?? Did I mention that they start shutting the lights off 15 minutes before the posted closing time??
I am pretty confident this chain will be out of business soon and it suits them well. Their staff can go back to selling the used cars glutting the market and the thugs can find a basketball rim in a parking lot somewhere.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- Do not let yourself get talked into signing a contract for personal training sessions. We were lied to by an LA Fitness employee at the McDonough GA location. LA Fitness knows that they have these sleazy liars working for them getting the signatures on the contracts. They move the sleazy liars around from location to location so they can put the blame on the trainer when you complain after realizing you were screwed over.
When you sign up at the club, you will probably be offered a free session with a trainer. I thought this would be an opportunity for someone to familiarize us with the equipment since after signing up for regular membership (no contract), I was not shown anything, not even pointed in the direction of the locker rooms.
So, I came back with my family for our free session and in hindsight I realize that it was a hard sell tactic in which the fast talking salesman/trainer gives you a strenuous workout on the treadmill and running on the racquetball court to get your endorphins kicking and make you feel completely out of shape so you will realize that you could really benefit from the program.
This guy was very good at this. Then when we sat down to talk about the program he promised more sessions than the regular program (15 per month instead of 4 per month which I had scoffed at) and we finally agreed to sign up. He entered in all the info and then went to put in the extra sessions. The system would not allow him to enter 15, so he kept reducing the number until it took 9.
I told him that wasn't what we were sold on and he promised that there would be no problem with us getting the sessions. Against my better judgment, I signed the contract. Things were going well for a month or so but then I noticed the guy that signed us up was never around the gym anymore. Called to schedule a session and was told we were out of sessions for the month. I asked if our salesmen/trainer was there and was told he didn't work there anymore.
I explained what he had promised and was told that he had done this with other people, but that isn't how it works, and that the "extra sessions" were for the whole year, not per month. So, we don't even get 9 sessions per month after he sold us on 15. We were sold on 180 sessions per year and ended up with 57. This guy is very skilled at deception, and LA Fitness is happy to have customers be deceived as long as they sign the contract.
The man who signed us up is a very fit young black male who has a great talk. As of 3/12/09, he is working in Atlanta GA at the Lenox / Buckhead location, and also trains at the Atlantic Station location. The location he signed us up for personal training is McDonough GA. Do not believe a word that anyone trying to get you to sign a contract at LA Fitness says.
To cancel your La Fitness Pro Results personal training simply write a letter to the Better Business Bureau, and wait. Having an attorney send a letter to their corporate office also helps.
These are almost always guaranteed to work if your problems are legitimately concerning (and referencing) trainer no shows, being switched trainers numerous time, harassment, stolen sessions, or misrepresentation at the point of sale (the time of signing up), such as being told you can cancel your contract at any time with no penalty or not being told effectively and directly that your contract will automatically convert to a month to month program upon completion, both of which I'll discuss next.
Very often La Fitness Pro Results sales representative will mislead you by telling you that you may cancel your personal training contract at any time with no penalty, which is completely false, (in some states) such cancellation usually requires a buy-out fee/penalty of 50% of the remaining balance and can total many hundreds of dollars. Some are in excess of a thousand.
Also La Fitness Pro Results sales representative will mislead you about your contract automatically renewing. One of their 'gimmicks' in this regard is to use 'fast talk' and refer to this as your "Rate for Life Guarantee", when in effect all of their personal training contracts are set to automatically renew after their initial term (month to month).
In April 2008 (or approximate to that time) La Fitness mysteriously cancelled numerous contracts (and stopped billing) those which had entered automatic renewal, in which members checking and credit cards accounts were being billed for MANY months after their initial term, some for over a year, with payments ranging $100-$400 monthly. These contracts (payments/drafts) were mysteriously cancelled yet to my knowledge none of the funds were ever returned to the clients. This was done company wide, and was not mentioned to upper management or club management. This was a one time thing.
They did not cancel all auto-new contracts. It appears they only cancelled those who had been in auto renew for quite some time, as they let many in auto-renew at that time continue, and they still continue to automatically renew contracts on a daily basis.
It may also be possible they've decided to let all contracts auto-renew, yet set a pre-determined amount of time they would allow such contracts to continue to be billed (for example an additional 12 months), then cancel future drafts at such a pre-set time.
It was suggested to the owners of the company and their corporate brass to provide a list of ALL clients not using their personal training. This was suggested as a way of increasing customer service. This was rejected. Why? They feared that if 'non using clients' (but who were still being billed/drafted) were contacted, they would immediately become aware they were still being drafted for a contract they thought was completed and not using, resulting in people contacting their banks in order to stop electronic billing, and this could cost the company millions!
As a result, the only list provide to the club is a much shorter (safe) list of members whose accounts were active recently, but who have not used their personal training in the past 30 days. Anyone outside of that time frame is not put on that list due to the reasons I just explained.
I've been told directly by the owner and "La Fitness Top Brass" their fear is having an attorney/attorney general shut down their ability to auto-renew contracts which would cost the company millions of dollars yearly.
Also their clients have had thousands upon thousands of sessions stolen by trainers, resulting in trainers fraudulently getting paid at the loss of sessions to the clients, very often with neither the client nor La Fitness even being made aware, and sessions never being restored. La Fitness is aware of the loopholes which allow their clients sessions to be stolen, but have done little to correct the problem due to cost and inconvenience. Such solutions could include a finger print system, or a signature verification system, or simply locking down accounts which are not being used.
Also all La Fitness gym members need to be made aware that their billing information (while safely hidden) has the potential to used by the personal training department to bill ongoing services for personal training without the main members knowledge/authorized signature. This has also happened numerous times, to unwitting spouses and often by underage children, using their parents accounts even with the sales representative knowledge the child is underage and doesn't have their parents approval. Sales representative have also fraudulently and intentionally charged accounts of members for personal training services without the members' knowledge.
If you have had problems in these areas above, you may choose to contact an attorney, the Better Business Bureau and your State Attorney General. The owner of the company is Louis Welch (**) The owner's personal 'right hand person' is **. The head of human resources is **. ** heads the legal department.
WINTER PARK, FLORIDA -- Honestly, the gym fee is reasonable, and the staff has been friendly and professional. However, I learned a pretty important (and expensive) lesson when it came to signing a contract for the personal training. First, the "pitch" was a pretty high-pressure situation (more on this later). When I expressed my financial reservations, I was told "Don't worry about it. Just let me know if it becomes a problem, and we'll figure something out." I wish I had gotten that in writing.
When the finances became a problem, I found out I was on the hook for 50% of the year's fees for canceling. Technically, this was all in fine print on the contract. I admit I should have been more careful. But, this information was not clearly conveyed during the signing, which by the way took place after an intense "trial" workout. To say I was in the right state of mind to make a major financial decision would be a lie.
Management handled my concerns professionally and assured me that the sales staff would make contract obligations clearer in the future, but obviously that doesn't do much to help me out. Ultimately, I can't fault the local branch much, and I will continue to use the basic gym membership, as it is affordable and nearby.
However, I feel that the L. A. Fitness business policies would best be described as predatory. By this I mean the "pitch" for personal training is, as mentioned previously, a high-pressure situation. This is not the fault of the individual salesperson, per se. The staff clearly follows a scientific approach to sales that involves gathering information about the client's motivations and all their possible excuses and uses this information after the trial workout to convince the client that they need to hire a personal trainer. The contract itself is designed to screw anyone who changes their mind or later finds out that they can't afford it.
The lessons here: A) Do not sign a contract unless you KNOW that it fits safely within your budget. B) Do not sign a contract unless you KNOW that you need a trainer to help you keep fit. If you do sign a contract, and later realize that it just wasn't meant to be, LA Fitness will get your money, and they will not apologize for it.