My wife is the latest victim of LA Fitness and their personal training scam. We signed up for a membership at the Lawrence (Indianapolis) location in November. She was offered a "free assessment"; basically a short workout with a trainer followed by a high pressure sales pitch to sign up for personal training sessions. She agreed.
This is where the trouble started. First, she was never allowed to read through the contract she signed, and was never given a copy of it that day. She was also not made aware of LA Fitness's 3 day cancellation policy. Her first training session wasn't even until after the 3rd day! Then, her trainer had to reschedule her first session, then he didn't show for the rescheduled session. She was put with another trainer, and never given a baseline fitness assessment (body fat %, cardiovascular endurance, etc.). The trainer then proceeded to overtrain her to the point of exhaustion. I have a background in physical fitness and have been weight training for a decade. I clearly saw the symptoms of overtraining. She could barely walk the next two days from the soreness. I LITERALLY had to help her out of her chair and clothing, like she was elderly (she's 28).
Clearly she was traumatized by the experience, and wanted to cancel the contract. Upon visiting the LA Fitness and conveying my dismay, I was repeatedly told to have her "tough it out" and that they'd put her with another trainer. I also caught a glimpse of their computer screen for personal fitness clients. It has a coding system for registering a potential client's interest in signing up for personal training: unknown, cold, warm, and hot! Pressure sales at its worst.
I was redirected to several different people, with the obvious intent of giving me the "runaround" in order for me to give up. Finally my wife and I met with the head trainer, who proceeded to apologize backhandedly, and talk down to my wife by telling her it "took courage" to work with a personal trainer. Brodie Morris is his name, FYI. He told me he did not have the authority to cancel her contract; that had to be done at the corporate level.
We then contacted the corporate office. We were told several times the VP of Operations would return our calls, and are still waiting...I then filed two complaints with the BBB of Los Angeles (where LA Fitness's corporate headquarters are located). The first was for false advertising/services not provided; the second was for contract issues. They are both pending at the moment. I have since asked for a copy of my wife's fitness contract, which my location did provide. I should have had them sign and date it (duh) as it could then be proven I received it in December and it was not my wife's original contract. It was a copy, and that is clear, should we take this matter to court.
I still use the club as I have no problem with the facilities, and might as well get my money out of it. But I am disputing all personal fitness related charges for now, and considering pursuing legal action. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
In summary, LA Fitness runs a scam operation with regards to personal training. They give you a "free assessment", tire you out physically, sit you down and tell you how out of shape you are and how you need personal training. I can teach my wife what she needs to do to become fit, she doesn't need a year's worth of training sessions at $40 per session to get fit. She's not overweight, just a bit out of shape, and definitely not in terrible health. This company preys on people's body image insecurities (especially women, b/c the majority of people I see working with trainers at LA Fitness are women), and then pushes them into long term contracts with no way out. 3 days to cancel? Are you joking? This is a terrible business, and after searching the internet I realize I am not alone; there are thousands of similar complaints about LA Fitness.
Avoid this gym (or at least their personal trainers) at all costs!!! I am learning the hard way.