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Predatory Personal Training Contracts
Posted by JElkington on 11/30/2010
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 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.

     
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LA FITNESS SCAM - Stay Away From This Club
Posted by Nataliaspinelli on 08/22/2012
HOPKINS, MINNESOTA -- I was scammed into a personal training program at L. A. Fitness in Hopkins MN.

The VP Daniel [snip] told me “I have a lot on my plate and lots of things to do.” When I spoke with him regarding my situation.

I also found out that the training manager Brett - the one responsible for my scam was terminated from the company because of his lack of integrity. I am sure there are many others out there that were scammed by Brett and other staff at L. A. Fitness.

I recommend a memebership at Lifetime - more expensive but the customer service is worth the extra $$$

I lost a lot of money. I was willing to work with them to find a resolution instead of asking for my $ back but they did not go out of their way to even care about my situation.


BE AWARE of LA FITNESS —— PAY MORE $$$ AND STAY AWAY FROM THIS CHEAP HEALTH CLUB.
     
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You Can Never Cancel Your Trainer Service in LA Fitness
Posted by SunnyCK on 02/07/2011
I have been being LA Fitness member for years. The only thing I don't satisfy is their cancellation policy. I have not idea why can't I do that online. I have to send an mail to their office and the letters can never be received by them. ..

I signed up a trainer service in the last May and on the second of I signed up I called that club and let their manager who helped me to sign up I want to cancel the service and at the time he said he will do that for me. I was okay about his reply and just left that away; however, on the next month I got my CC bill and found out they still charging me for the server. So, I wrote a letter to their office and let them know I want to cancel the service, and I have been waiting for few days .... never got reply back, so I decided to do that through my CC company. I did a dispute on the charge on my membership fees. After almost a month my CC company refunded my initial membership fee, so I thought LA fitness has canceled my membership for the trainer service, but I was wrong they kept charging me my monthly fee. So I did another dispute on the monthly fee, and I wait for another month, ... this time they sent me my agreement to my CC company and told them I have signed up the service that's why they charged me. So I sent an letter to them again and it was never been received again. And they kept charging me again. I was like I can never cancel it once I signed up.

After that I went to my club and asked one of their employees about that, and she said she will ask that manager for me and get back to me later. Well, I have been asking she for few times but she still said couldn't contact that manager or he is off. .. And I gave up this time. I believe she won't be able to help me too.

Recently I called their headquarters office and talked to a guy, on the first time he said he needs to locate my information and asked me leave my number and will call me back later; however, he never called me back. So, on the next day I called again and this time he can located my file, then he told me I have balance and kept telling me I need to pay, and he never listened to my explanation, so well then I have to told him I will call him back.

Now I think I can only to ask my CC company and see what can they do for me.
     
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Posted by tnchuck100 on 2011-02-07:
If you are beyond your contract expiration date you need to send your notice of cancellation by certified mail/return receipt requested. Upon receipt of the delivery confirmation you can then prove to your credit card company that any further charges are fraudulent.

However, if you are still under contract you are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Posted by a.c :) on 2011-05-19:
wow that's incredible!
Posted by just me on 2011-11-01:
contact your state attorney general's office for their assistance, especially if they have a consumer protection section.
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High-pressure Sales of Personal Training
Posted by Lila1213 on 01/18/2011
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 6pm 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 gonna deal with the LA Fitness salesmen

     
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Posted by dan gordon on 2011-01-18:
I just started with a trainer at 24hr fitness. He wants to start slow. I can't imagine working you to death then expecting you pay so much. Its a seperate entity than LA Fitness and just another reason I left and went to 24hr. Way different vibe and very happy to have left LA Fitness.
Posted by ok4now on 2011-01-19:
Good for you for walking and not falling for their pressure tactic. This is a common sales tactic to get your C.C. payment then lock you in with no recourse. I have been subjected to this highly unethical scam by car dealers, window & gutter sales people and carpet dealers. They force you to make a decision NOW or the "great deal" is no longer available. Reputable businesses do not do this. Keep looking.
Posted by rockfishing on 2011-01-19:
Good thing you caught it before you got scammed. As I tell my kids when dealing with salespeople. That great deal will be there tomorrow or the next day if you are dealing with a reputable company. When anyone tells you you have to sign now or you will loose whatever, then it's time to run, not walk, away. The older you get, the easier it is to say no to these scam artist.
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False signature
Posted by Scammed Customer on 12/16/2009
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- When I first walked into LA Fitness to find out about prices (because the information is not online and they won’t give it to you over the phone-wonder why), the “weekend manager” sat me down and went over some basic prices, after he was finished he asked me “So how would you like to pay?” Reminder: I only went in to compare prices, and I had told him that. He was so pushy about getting me to join, I finally gave in. But that was NOT the worst of my experience with LA Fitness. I signed up for my free personal training session-which went really well-until I was basically forced to go over fees for training sessions. I decided to try a couple out, handed over my credit card and signed for what I believed to be was that fee. Little did I know that what I was signing was basically my life away! After a few sessions I decided I no longer needed training, I went to talk to the personal trainer manager about it and he informed me I had signed a YEAR CONTRACT! I about had an anxiety attack! I asked him when I did that, because no one put a contract in front of me to sign, or gave me any copies of this so called contract. Apparently when I signed for my credit card fee, I was also signing a contract. He showed me my electronic signature on a contact that I know I would have NEVER signed if I had seen it. I was so furious! I called the corporate office and they refused to talk to me. My mom even tried calling both the La Cienega location to talk to them about it, and they hung up on her! This whole process has been the worst experience I’ve had to deal with-with a gym-and I would not recommend signing any “credit card” fees with LA Fitness, you might be signing a contract!
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-16:
So you gave in because he was being pushy? That's mistake number one. They're pushy because they make good commissions on these long term contracts. You're going to have to fulfill the contract they are not going to let you out of it. At lease you get to be one of those "cool" gym people for at least a year. By the way, good luck when you try and cancel the membership after the year is up.
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Being A Former Employee
Posted by Musclehead on 03/17/2009
CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA -- As a former employee, I would like to tell anyone who wants to know the truth. These people do not care about you at all. All they want is your money. Once they got your credit card they got you. As an employee I saw first hand how they work each person, they are liars and cheats. And they treat there employees like dogs, lousy pay, and they want you to keep working the members for more money. I would recommend you stay away from these people if at all possible.

Find yourself a small local gym and go there... at least you won't have to feel like a dollar sign.
     
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Posted by dan gordon on 2009-03-17:
hate to tell you but Ballys, La Fitness all operate with sales people not gym fanatics. It serves the purpose well as a very few % of people will continue will use the gym but many will keep paying the fee, myself included.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2009-03-17:
and when did you loose your job at LA Fitness?
Posted by TGT101 on 2009-03-18:
I'm sorry to burst your bubble but this is not only true about all gyms it is true about all companies. Do you really think any company really cares about the individual? Every company is in existence to make money.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-18:
I always recommend the YMCA. The OKC metro 'Y' is extremely inexpensive and no contracts. You can cancel anytime you want for any reason. The facilities might not be as sexy as some but it's more than adequate if your goal is physical fitness. Also, nobody is denied membership or program participation because of financial limitations. Basically if you can't afford a membership your membership is free. How cool is that?

Check out your local YMCA -- You'll be glad you did!

Good review!
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How Do I Cancel My LA Fitness Pro Results Body Of Change Personal Training Contract?
Posted by Someone who knows on 11/08/2008
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 onetime 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 (LouisW@LaFitness.com)
The owners personal 'right hand person' is Suzzie Horton cell 949-633-8072 (suzzieh@lafitness.com)
The head of human resources is Mindy Stokesberry 949-255-7236 (mindys@lafitness.com)

Rob Bryant heads the legal department. (I'm not sure but his email may be robb@lafitness.com, robertb@lafitness.com)

Some other top brass contact info:

Mike Ulliberry 'Super Duper' Regional VP
cell 480-824-3826 (mikeu@lafitness.com)

Todd McSeveny 'Super Duper' Regional VP cell 954-650-1325
     
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La Fitness Ripping Off Customers With Forged Contracts
Posted by Fedupwithlafitness on 04/26/2011
MILL CREEK, WASHINGTON -- Potential customers need to be aware of LA Fitness when given a tour of their facilities for membership. They try and sell you personal training and forge your name to the documents after you leave. Then you are charged for this on your credit card or debit card. If you try and dispute it, they do not return phone calls.

When you do get an employee, they are rude and do not care. It is a nightmare trying to deal with this company. It takes months to deal with it.

     
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Posted by dan gordon on 2011-04-26:
dispute with your cc co not with LA Fitness. Since they use an 'electronic' contract it shouldn't be too hard to dispute.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-26:
How did they get your credit card info?
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-04-26:
They required your credit card number just to tour the facility??? Personally I would not agree to that.

Have they supplied you with a copy of something that has your forged signature on it? I would file a report with the police if they did.
Posted by just me on 2011-11-01:
Same sort of thing happened to me. Contact your state's attorney general consumer protection agency. They helped me out.
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Fooled into Personal Training - Impossible to cancel
Posted by Theleo on 09/04/2009
I have offered a free session of the personal training. They pushed me for the taking a personal training by showing discounts and free sessions at sign up.
La fitness guy did not tell me about the cancellation can't be done within a year. I freeze account for few months.
La fitness customer care worst. Lack of information. First they told me you can cancel the personal training if your moving 25 miles away from the club. Then I was actually about to move from that place. So after moving to new place I called them and asked to cancel the membership.
Now LA Fitness customer said you can cancel the membership if you are 25 miles away from any of their club. WOW. so I should travel 25 miles to go to gym even if there is one next to my door
I am in New Jersey they have club at Startan Island. So I told them to go there I have to pay 10 dollars in toll and its 20 miles from my place.
And Believe me They said NO we can not cancel it
You have to keep paying monthly charges.
You can pay out and cancel the membership for that you have to pay 6 months charges. Isn't it cool. You been there for month or two. Pay 6 months charges and cancel the membership. Its Easy.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-09-04:
You would have needed to sign a contract stating those cancellation terms or else they wouldn't have a leg to stand on. You shouldn't have let them rush you through the process. You had every right to read over the entire contract to know what you're getting yourself into before signing up.
Posted by dissatisfied customer on 2012-02-27:
Buyer Beware -Horrible experience!! It is probably the most unethical fitness facility. We became members and the sales agents signed us up for personal training sessions which we found we could never use because one most of the trainers are not well trained themselves and two the ones who are trained are never available. The sales agent told me we could cancel at any time which I found when we went to cancel is untrue because they suddenly show you the fine print which says to cancel you owe them 50% of the balance - something they never tell you when they make you sign up. They have no customer service and are most unprofessional. Makes one wonder what the health of American business is today.
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Working for LA Fitness
Posted by Musclehead on 03/24/2009
CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA -- I was a personal trainer at LA Fitness for over a year. There was some new blood coming into its own in upper management and looking for a way to make a name for themselves. After giving all I could to make a living there I was wrongly accused of stealing training sessions. I and many others with this company used a simple practice for getting paid. When someone ran out of the sessions that they were paying for, we would train them for free on that day and charge them at a later date... Most don't know or care as long as they can train when they want to. This goes on all the time, as a matter of fact I'm sure all the trainers do it every day all over the country. I learned how to do this from one of the other trainers at the gym. So as it come to pass, once this new person took over and the economy took a dive, the co. started doing research and found out what was going on. In there infinite wisdom they decided to give me the ax... I still don't know why I was singled out, maybe its because I wouldn't do all of the things they wanted me to do.(rob people blind). Well anyway, they took my last paycheck, and fed me crap about refunding sessions and taking it out of my pay. Needless to say I'm not very pleased about how it was handled, and would like nothing more than to warn anyone who thinks this is a good place to work, or even be a member of, be very careful.

This place is full of crooks, ex-cons, and people who do not care about anything other than money. like I said before once they got you your theres.... BE FOREWARNED THIS PLACE SUCKS.. ALL THEY WANT IS YOUR MONEY !!!!!!!
     
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Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-03-24:
Contact your state's labor board.

They have no right to deny you the money you earned on the job for reasons that have nothing to do with the status of your employment.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-24:
So it sounds as if the whole "Train now, pay later" tactic was a bit shady and really a violation of company policy, and therefore you were being accused of giving free sessions. If that's the case, you have no room to complain for being let go. Doesn't make a difference if all of your fellow trainers did the same thing. It's like speeding down the road with 5 other drivers, and telling the cop who pulls you over "Well everyone else was speeding, too!" It's just not a valid excuse.

If i'm mistaken and that was actually permitted, then they had to have some other solid evidence against you to make accusations and ultimately dismiss you because of it. If they didn't, they open themselves up for some big wrongful termination lawsuits.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-22:
Hey, taking your last pay check is NOT LEAGAL! They would have to take you to court or prove without a doubt that you did something and only a Judge can decide wheather you owe them or not. Go to you local labor board. It doesn't sound like they can prove anything and you deserve you pay from this crappy place. That guy was wrong that posted that they can take your pay check. Not without the court systems being involved. Companies are not above the law!!! Good Luck
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-22:
Not exactly true, a company can withold your paycheck if they determine you owe them money upon termination...they do not need a court order to do so. But, you also have the right to challenge it, you should start by contacting your HR dept and ask them what your next step is.
Posted by Ponie on 2009-04-22:
'...people who do not care about anything other than money.' Evidently you're in that league otherwise you wouldn't complain about not getting your paycheck. Just let them keep it if you 'do not care about' it. By your own admission, you were giving away training sessions even though they purportedly were paid at a later time. How can a company keep their books honest and straight if this goes on? I'm sure some do it, but when caught there's usually some penalty to be paid.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-22:
If you are an ordinary employee working for the company (employer is deducting payroll taxes) and not a self employed contractor then no employer in any state with or without court order can garnish/deduct an amount from a paycheck that would result in the employee getting paid less than the the state/federal minimum wage.

If you are an 'ordinary' employee as I described then report them to DOL in Tampa 1-866-487-9243.
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