I was enrolled into the LAfitness gym and personal trainer program on Nov. '06, with the intent to defeat the holiday season which each year helped me gain a few more pounds. The trainers/salespeople at the Irvine/Michelle street location were all smiles and bending over backwards to get me to sign a contract. Once the contract was signed, all the smiles and the excitement slowly dissappeared.
I was matched with a trainer called Jesse the day I signed. He was presented to me as the best match for the program I was looking for. However, the day I showed up for my appointment with him, I was told that he had been promoted. Therefore I was assigned a new trainer, a young man who clearly stated that this was a temporary job for him; a position he would keep until he finds a "real" job. Hmm... when I signed the contract, I thought I was promised an exclusive training elite, unique to and most important especially trained byLAfitness!!! Anyway, After 5 or 6 sessions with him, I showed up at the next appointment and waited, waited and waited only to find out that he had quit a few days earlier. Nobody at LAfitness cared to call me to give me notice and to reschedule with another trainer. Atr this point, I am clearly becoming impatient.
After voicing my disappointment (I was stood up, after all!), I was promised to be re-matched with a new trainer. The Manager (Jesse) promised to personally give me a phone call to reschedule with the new trainer. I waited, waited and waited for a phone call that day...in vain. I was stood up one more time.
By then, it was January-February '07. I then got busy with a new job. I consequently lost touch with my training. After a few weeks, I proceeded to call LAFiness again in an effort to reschedule an appointment with a trainer. I learned that Jesse was gone and that a new manager replaced him. Hmm...didn't I hear that before? Not a good sign. I explain my story to the new manager who profusely apologized and promised that it would not happen again. To which I responded that I was disappointed and therefore wanted to discontinue the personal trainer program, $58/month. Unfortunately, the managers of such large facilities as LAfitness centers are not empowered to cancel membership. I was given a number which I called. After struggling with finding a live person, then the correct department. I am told that the cancellation was to be done in writing. And no, email doesn't do it.
This was starting to be a real adventure. I wrote a letter to a PO box in Irvine through the post office, requesting a certified mail receipt. By now it is March 7, 2007. When I received the receipt 3/9/07, I trusted that business was taken care of.
Fast forward to today, August 31, 2007. For the last 3 months I have not been at the gym. My plantar faciitis prevents me from doing certain exercise and find myself swimming at the pool in my complex. Upon my return from vacation, I decide that I should cancel my general membership with LAfitness since I am no longer taking advantage of it. I call the LAfitness center to ask what the process was, only to find out that my personal trainer program ($58/month) was still active. It had never been cancelled and I had been charged $58 for the last 6 months when I should not have!!
I am then being told by, yet again, another new manager at the center (Eric) that I should contact the Irvine HQ to get it fixed. Meanwhile, he would "queue" an urgent request to the admin staff to help resolme my issue. This time, I am fulmigating. I call only to hear that the service does not accept calls. I could leave a VM if I wanted.
What does it take to cancel a membership? Should I do the letter-writing again? Clearly it did not help the first time. So here I am writing this report. I will call back after labor day. If I do not get any result, I will cancel the EFT, making sure that I send another certified mail receipt to LAfitness ahead of time to let them know of my imminent action. If they have no sense of civility, it doesn't mean that I should immitate them.
That's it for now. I will follow up as things evolve
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