ATTENTION: I intend to pursue a Class Action suit against LA Fitness for reasons of fraud (specifically forgery). IF YOU HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE SAME SORT OF SCAM, PLEASE CONTACT ME AT: email@example.com
It's clear in reading these complaints that this is a systematic, company-wide offense. There are enough of us to bring a legitimate suit, it is just a matter of banding together as one voice. Please share the contact info above with anyone you think may want to get involved.
In brief, what happened to me is that I signed a contract in person, and later received a confirmation email attachment with more expensive terms and a forged signature. It was "cleverly" set up so that the initial down payment matched; the forged contract had no initiation fee but higher monthly payments, so as they expected, I wouldn't notice something was amiss until later down the line.
MY EXPERIENCE IN DETAIL:
My girlfriend joined the gym several months ago and was able to talk her way into a monthly membership of $20/month (multi-gym). Please note: this was not due to a special coupon or one-time offer... they give radically different deals to different people if they think they can get you to sign up for something, rather than not at all. I knew this full well, but just considered it "business." Shady, but certainly not illegal. Even still, I had considered joining so we could go together, but only if I got her same $20/month deal.
Lo and behold, we were at a fair recently when 2 LA Fitness employees (male) approached us to try and sign us up, I told them to save the speech, as I was already considering joining, but would only do so at the $20/month level. Of course I was given the "we can't do that, how about $35/month" stringing along. I told them if they can't give me the deal, no worries. We'll just part ways and I won't sign up. After a while, one of the guys left for a few minutes and came back saying "I have some good news. I just talked to my manager and he said that we can give you the $20/month, multi-gym deal, but with a $30 sign-up fee." Great, I said, you've got a deal.
As the contract was for 2 months up front + the initiation fee, my total came to $70.
Also, there was no way to make a physical copy of the contract since we were on fair grounds, not in an office. Thankfully, I took pictures of the contract. ALWAYS TAKE PICTURES. As I did so, I remember one of the employees saying "you don't have to do that bro, it's gonna be in your inbox in a few minutes! We're emailing you the attachment." The junk email address I gave them was not linked to my phone, so I figured I would check when I got home.
Quickly, I saw the initial charge on my bank account for $70. This was the correct amount that I agreed to, so I thought everything was fine and did not immediately scrutinize the attached contract in my email (this was a mistake). As my first monthly payment approached, I saw a $35 charge on my bank statement. As I laughed out loud, half livid at the absurdity of it, I quickly checked my "attachment" contract to find that it had incorrect terms filled in (typed, when the real one was hand-written) and a FORGED SIGNATURE in the locations to sign.
I immediately put a stop payment on LA Fitness through my bank and went to the nearest location first thing in the morning. The manager told me there was nothing she could do, as my account in their system was for $35/month. She told me that they "actually did not offer $20/month" to which I explained that was a lie. I told her I have a witness to the encounter of signing and the contract and showed her a picture of the real one with my *actual* signature. She tried to pass me along, saying that I would have to call corporate in order to rectify it. Great, I said, let's call them together.
The corporate lady was the predictably cold, slimey, empathy-less, lying robot who presumably excels at a corporate/customer-service position. She also explained to me that they don't offer $20/month. I explained to her that actually, they do. My girlfriend pays this rate, and I have seen her account with my own eyes. I asked her if I were to present her with a picture of this account, if that would convince her that this rate exists. "No it wouldn't sir."
Gotta love customer service. I am begrudgingly impressed by the depths of their dishonesty--it almost sounds like they believe themselves, "criminal laws" or "facts" be damned.
After reminding her that I have a picture of my contract, she asked to speak to the manager again. The manager pulled the corded-phone around into the other cubicle and murmured for a while, and eventually told me that they will agree to cancel my account and refund the stolen money. I told them that I needed a receipt of this transaction IN WRITING. "I'm sorry sir, we can't do that." I pleaded for anything, an informal piece of paper, ANYTHING that is evidence that my cancellation and refund has been submitted and acknowledged. Instead, they "assured me" the money would be there in 5-7 business days.
I am still waiting on my funds.
So in conclusion, while you may know that all gyms are greedy or shady, please be aware that LA Fitness actually participates in CRIMINAL FORGERY. And by the looks of these and other comment boards, this is far from an isolated case. I would tell you to stay away from them, but actually, I hope that more cases like this continue to occur so long as every customer takes pictures of EVERY document and keeps a record of EVERY interaction. Please be warned that a photo of my real contract was the only thing that saved me. Verbal assurances mean nothing and this company is hungry for any opportunity it can take to steal from you.
Again, if you went through a similar ordeal or have any more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Product or Service Mentioned: La Fitness Membership.
La Fitness Cons: Being defrauded.