First I will say that technically this is all in their contract, so they covered their bases legally. However, there's a difference between "legal" and "moral/ethical." They will pressure you to sign up for PT, give you the hard sell, pressure you to sign it quickly without giving you time to read it, etc. And frankly I never expected such a restrictive contract from a gym, I certainly hadn't experienced it before.
PLEASE read the contract fully before you sign anything with them. Basically, you are stuck in it. In order to cancel your PT contract, you need to send a hard copy letter to their main office in CA by certified or registered mail, then wait for them to get it and respond (what is this, 1985?). They only offer a few reasons why they will allow you to cancel, such as moving a certain distance away from any LA Fitness location or a doctor's orders. And you need to provide "supporting documents" to prove it. If they're not satisfied with your reason, you will have to pay 50% of what you owe in your remaining contract.
Why??? All I want is to stop using their service, and then I'll stop paying for it. Why should they get to take my money after they stop providing me the service? And even worse, although they already had my billing information, rather than just cancel the PT and take the fee, they send me an e-mail saying they're going to continue billing me for the remainder of the PT contract time and I have to go in to the local gym in person if I want to cancel and pay the fee. So what was the point of sending them the letter? Also, this was after they already canceled the gym membership part of my contract--so they were going to continue charging me the full price for PT even though I wouldn't be able to come into the gym and use it!
The PT itself is not worth the money (I paid over $300 a month). They sell it as an hour-long session, then you find out that the last half hour is you doing cardio on your own, so it's only 30 minutes of actual training. And usually that ends up being more like 20 minutes, since you spend a few minutes scheduling your next session and then the trainers usually want to run out for a break in between sessions.
Many of the trainers are inexperienced or don't sound like they know what they're talking about. They are totally overscheduled so good luck getting a session if you work or have a life. The popular times fill up quickly. Sometimes I had to wait a week and a half or more between sessions because there wasn't room on the schedule. Yet they charge you the same amount per month even if you don't get to use all your sessions. Also, the turnover rate for trainers seems really high, so you might have to start all over with someone new a couple of times.
You really don't get the feeling that the trainers or managers care about you personally or your progress--and why would they, once they have you in a contract they know you're stuck with them, so they have no incentive to try to keep you satisfied. The trainers are nice enough, I'm not attacking them personally, but it just feels like a factory where they're trying to squeeze as many people into the program as possible, rather than focusing on their current clients' needs and goals.
I spent big money on this place and feel like I got very little out of it. I've definitely learned my lesson and will not return to any LA Fitness again.
Comments on the Stoneham location: the facilities are OK, the weight equipment is pretty good, the cardio equipment could be updated (machines don't have individual TV screens, etc.) It seems to be "bro dude" central so I hope you like that crowd. The gym gets way too crowded at certain times (after work) especially the locker rooms. The locker rooms are too small, sometimes I can't even find a locker. And for some reason they don't even have real lockers, they're wooden cabinets that look like they belong in a kitchen and make an annoying BANG every time someone closes them.
Product or Service Mentioned: La Fitness Personal Trainer.
Monetary Loss: $700.