Wilmette, Illinois
6.5K views
Not resolved
17 comments

Well, I have spent some time reading prior complaints, and all to varying degrees are accurate. However, I'm going to give you the real inside scoop of how business is viewed and conducted by LAF. First off, I left the company after 3 1/2 years of employment with LAF back in 2011. I've worked my way up the ranks from a lowly (and underpaid) Operations Manager (OM) to Member Service Manager (MSM) to finally an Employee Support Supervisor (ESS). I was hired as an OM to pretty much maintain the facility and act as a checks and balance conduit between the Sales, Personal Training and the Operations dept. I came on board because I believed what the Executive Vice President conveyed to me; that my position existed to maintain the positive attributes LAF "held dear". Stupidly, I bought into this. Since day one, I began to notice serious oddities in the way business was done. From being hammered to stone wall members from cancelling their accounts, to harassing them by making what LAF calls "Clear Up Calls". Daily, I and all other OM's in the company were forced to make their employees call members and threaten them to give up their credit card numbers from a roster of delinquent accounts called a "Goldmine"; which is pretty much a digital Rolodex of all members that "owe" money to LAF. If you've been a victim of this, you know exactly what I am talking about. Chances are you were called at least 5 times a day. This is because every day every part-time employees in the company are calling YOU.

We also were encouraged to delay payments to vendors responsible for fixing the problems in our club (i.e. broken plumbing, HVAC, Pool, carpet cleaning etc...) This helped to preserve the company's bottom line. It was also my job to invoke the all powerful legal binding "agreement" ( a contract) to retard the cancellation process (by making members pay to mail off a cancellation form); or in the Personal Training Departments (Pro-Results) case to deny cancellation outright. Obviously the financial ramifications for an unsuspecting member is serious. I've had people lose their homes, health (as funny as that sounds) and entire lively hood because of these PT contracts; which can run upwards of $1,000 per month the company will continue to take out of your account.

As an MSM, I was a "Customer Service" rep designated to be on the phone with angry members (all complaining about the same exact things). While it was my job to "hear" what members were complaining about, it was incumbent on me to deal with the issues as quickly as possible. I was reprimanded twice for cancelling memberships over the phone. I also had many chances to witness the Vice President's (VP's) reprehensible treatment of their sales staff and unsatisfied PT clients. If you think the sales counselors are bad enough, you should get a load of their bosses. They are like a pack of rabid pit-bulls starving for your money. If the sales manager/GM cant consistently cajole the money out of your pockets during your first visit to the club, its bye-bye to them and on to the next guy that can.

As an ESS, I watched the time clocks of employees in my district like a hawk. I always had to be on the look out for the infamous "overtime". whoa unto the employee that worked an hour overtime (although working off the clock to "take one for the team" is never frowned upon). Too much of this occurrence warranted instant termination. At this point, I was encouraged to chew out OM's that appeared to be overwhelmed with their jobs. If they could not get the job done with what little means the company provided them, then they were unfit to work for LAF. I had to drive this point home daily, as it was done to me (Unfortunately, this is why LAF has been so successful as a company) . Support was out of the question at this stage of employment. The hire up I rose, the more of an *** I became. In this tyrannical organization, the bigger the *** the better. This is what success was based on.

I am ashamed to say that I have worked for this company as long as I did. I resigned back in Sept of 2011 because I could not do this kind of work anymore. I was unemployed and relieved for 3 months before I found a much better job that suited my educational background. As you may already know, LAF just bought 171 clubs from Bally Total Fitness (I find this amusing). Well, according to a trusted source still with the company (a VP), LAF is losing allot of their original members because, "the acquisition integrated the trashy Bally's members with LA Fitness' original members. The original members are pissed off and the company is hemorrhaging cash by the day because we were sued into honoring Bally's *** contracts. The lawsuits are piling up daily and we are closing down Bally's clubs as a result to control the situation. If we do not, our first IPO will be a failure and our investors will jump ship."

So, there it is in a nutshell. From a glimpse of daily business practices to current events, its easy to see why this company will not be around too much longer. For too long this kind of behavior has gone unregulated in the industry. So much so, that ordinary citizens are beginning to protest legally. What LAF and businesses like it fail to realize is that the consumer is more educated than ever. All it takes is for the right competitor to enter the market to end this tyranny. For now, its the consumers voice that speaking loudly enough. Suffice it to say to LAF, never *** the hand that feeds you.

Product or Service Mentioned: La Fitness Personal Training.

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Anonymous
#1505182

I am trying to cancel my LA Fitness membership. I tried to cancel via the app.

The app does not allow this. I called customer service to cancel and was told "You cannot cancel over the phone" "Other options are available" but the bottom line is they want to make it very difficult if not impossible to cancel. I told them that I am not required to provide a reason. I do not want to hear a marketing ploy to keep my membership.

I am not sending a fax document requesting permission to cancel my membership. I refuse to jump through hoops to cancel.

Anonymous
#1034004

I worked for Comcast and felt the same way about it. I worked there almost four years.

However I just started my time as a customer. I was paying $66 at YMCA. Lifetime is closer to $80. La is a lesser Gym then both.

However for About $1.20 per day for access to a pool as late as midnight most weekdays I am satisfied. If lifetime was closer I would pay to swim there, YMCA's pool is over booked as it should be, it's an expensive asset. But that limited when I could swim. I would get kicked out for "geriatric swim", or "children *** in the pool party".

If they leave a lap lane open because they know I am not nice when they kick me out the smell of the pool changes when there is a program on.

Anyway, LA fitness members I observe, don't know how to swim so I never wait long for a lap lane. That is all I want!

Anonymous
#927305

OMG I cannot agree more... Horrible company to work for.

I was the OM of the newly opened Bronx location and to say it was a dreadful work environment is a understatement. I have been in this industry for a long time and was shocked that this is how the company operated.

The club grand opened 14 months late and it was up to ME and only ME to deal with approximately 100 plus angry/furious/psychotic members PER DAY who wanted refunds.. All I could do was "DOM Action" it and hope for the best...The members blamed me and the sales staff simply acknowledged that they lied to new prospects and they received commission and of course "Welcome to LA Fitness, that's how we do things".. The level of lies and deceit was insane...

And it starts at the top.. I cannot believe a company willingly promotes and rewards staff that lie to members and say anything to get sales.. The last gym I managed we FIRED staff for outright lieing.. But not LAF..

It's encouraged and it's deemed acceptable...

Horrible place to work... I did love my front desk and kids club staff..

And I did like a couple of the sales staff... I could go on!!!

catsupdog
#884862

ArmyDude, I also thank you for the insightful and well-written entry.

I know this is all from some time ago, but I've just recently been victimized by the kind of forgery you mentioned in the comments below. Since you have a unique perspective on the company and have seen this behavior from the inside, I would really love to speak with you.

I am in the process of gathering my materials/participants for a class action suit.

Getting to hear more from you could be of real value.

I can be reached at catsupdog1@gmail.com

Here's hoping this reaches you. Thanks.

Anonymous
#726634

Can anyone give me some advice? To get out of PT and the gym membership, I canceled my credit card, but I stupidly did not change my phone number or my address. I will say that I never actually sent in a notification to cancel my membership or my PT. The manager at the LA Fitness told me I should just cancel my credit card on file.

I stopped going to the gym and personal training in July, and between then and now people from various LA Fitness gyms around the USA contacted me about "updating my card on record". However, I received a 1 call about a week ago from a "debt collector" and I am scared.

I am really confused because I thought debt collectors worked with people who failed to pay back loans (which I have none at the moment). LA Fitness did not "loan" me any money...so should I be scared of this single phone call?

Thanks

Anonymous
#1192972
@Robyn

Eventually all personal training accounts are sent to debt collectors.

Anonymous
#519971

Ya seriously don't sweat it about the training. If you stay firm on ur stance to not pay they won't make you.

Two, its not that serious. Don't pay bc everyone is right they don't have ur ss number.

Laf is nothing but talk. Army dude explained la down to the t

Anonymous
#479169

ArmyDude, LF sounds like the old American Fitness of the 80s. I'll still join LF but I sure appreciate the forewarning so I never go to work for them. Thanks for a well-written piece too, its all the more credible.

Anonymous
#467646

ArmyDude,thank you so much for the insightful info. I have the same unfortunate experience.

I am in the middle of cancelling PT contract that I never signed. I don't even have one as I'm typing. PT manager who deceitfully sold the sessions told me he couldn't print out the contract and that I had to ask the OM for one.

This is an infringement upon our rights.

This needs to STOP! Please continue to go viral and educate others.

Anonymous
#824630
@SoCal

Yes, I am also cheated by PT contract in LA Fitness, GA. While having discussion they never referred about the contract , but when I want to cancel then they are saying there is contract and I need to pay $700+ to cancel the contract.

Anonymous
#467104

Thank you for sharing. This is very compelling.

I have been lied to and cheated by LAfitness. I also believe that companies that operate in this fashion don't last forever. There needs to be a considerable groundswell from Lafitness customers, (past and present) who have been cheated. I painfully discovered that there is no one that you can personally speak with to correct any issue concerning overpayments or anything else.

There's a weird double-talk, we won't help you kind of attitude. The Woodbridge Virginia location is no different.

Stinking, lying cheaters. I may never be refunded my overpayment, however, I hope to go viral complaining about this less than ethical company.

Anonymous
#465507

I'm an ex-Bally member, but I'm not trashy, but my membership agreement might be. LA Fitness leaves a lot to be desired so I feel like I never really left Bally's. The Arlington, VA club is so poorly managed that it's killing the best of what is a potentially nice 2-year old facility.

ArmyDude
#464554

Whitney, I am sorry to hear this. However, this does not surprise me one bit.

You have to remember this is how LAF makes the most of their profit. They "sell" horrible (and unsafe) PT services and *** you into a contract. In your case, what you have here is outright fraud. I've witnessed many occasions where VP's and Regional managers actually told their sales counselors to forge a signature to lock a member in.

Without a signature, the contract is legally void. Of course they would try to forge your original signature you signed on the original fitness (gym) membership (if it looks like yours, you are screwed...according to LAF). What you need to do is prove that he emailed you a blank copy of the agreement. Then, you will have to go to your home club and have the Operations Manager compare both signature on your gym membership and PT contract.

Because they will not match, this will give the OM sufficient ground to approach the districts VP to have the contract cancelled. Threaten to sue and contact the BBB. If your contact is not cancelled out by this point, call or email Jill Grueling (Executive Vice President) at Jgrueling@lafitness.com and vent to her. If they refuse after all of this, just walk in and change your cc# to a bogus one.

Thats it.

They can never report you to collections because your ss# was never given. Hope this helps.

Anonymous
#464512

Could you maybe give me some advice since you worked there? After telling the trainer numerous times I didn't want into a contract he lied and told me he was giving me a deal, no contract and what I was signing was a receipt...Never gave me a copy of the "receipt" AKA contract..but emailed me a blank copy...

He later wrote in that it was a 12 month contract...and forged my initials all over it...Any advice?

I've tried calling and you guessed it...NO HELP. They all tell me it's my fault for signing even though I was told it was a receipt for debit card authorization...

Anonymous
#463857

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHAT YOU ARE WITNESSING IS THE IMMINENT, AND ULTIMATELY PERMANENT DEATH OF TWO DISGUSTING COMPANIES WHO HAVE SHAMED THE HEALTH AND FITNESS INDUSTRY FOREVER. BOTH COMPANIES WILL SOON BE AGAIN FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY, AND BOTH WILL GO COMPLETELY UNDER AS A RESULT OF THE PITIFUL AND EGREGIOUS ACTS OF THEIR UPPER MANAGEMENT.

THERE IS EVERY BIT OF EVIDENCE THAT THESE TWO COMPANIES RUN THEMSELVES LIKE A PONZI SCHEME, OR A MAJOR FRAUD SCAM...IT'S DISGUSTING. SAY GOODBYE TO BOTH, AND HELLO TO ANOTHER GOOD COMPETITOR TO MOVE IN AFTER.

pvanduyk
#641726
@SAY GOODBYE TO LA FITNESS AND

I have been to several LA Fitness clubs to have a sales rep give me a tour of each club. I guess it would be great for the company if I paid $100 per tour.

Anonymous
#463441

NEVER use your actual Credit Cards when signing up for a membership or personal training either. Use a pre-paid cc and a fake phone number.

in this instance, If you happen to miss a payment or just quit while having a balance, they will try to call you repeatedly.Having a pp cc and a bogus number on file will stop their harassment. But they cannot report you to a collection agency because they never obtained your ss# and the credit reporting agencies/banks will never take gyms/healthclubs seriously.