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.