LA Fitness Complaint - Predatory Personal Training Contracts
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.