Report: #1043510

Complaint Review: LA Fitness

  • Submitted: Mon, April 15, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, April 15, 2013
  • Reported By: daijobu16 — Long Beach California
  • LA Fitness
    PO Box 54170
    Irvine, California
    United States of America

LA Fitness Fraud, Personal Training, Rebilling Irvine, California

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I have never been so lied to, taken advantage of nor treated so inhumanely as I have been by LA Fitness. 

Here is a brief run-down of what has happened:

1)     Misled extravagantly when signing up in order to get us to sign up for more than we thought we were

2)     Lied to multiple times about what freezing meant financially in order for LA Fitness to continue charging erroneous amounts to our card.

3)     A website that conveniently crashes when someone tries to freeze an account or change their billing

4)     Lied to over the phone in order to get a card number

5)     Lied to by the billing department and new member department multiple times

6)     Billing never updated, despite phone calls and online updates

7)     Personal grief and suffering increased to almost unbearable amounts by LA Fitness.

What LA Fitness can do if they wish to actively resolve these issues:

1)     Cancel the personal training

2)     Cancel my and my husbands membership

3)     Refund ALL monies taken from my account since 11/13/12

a.       A search of our club activity will see we have not been to a club since Oct 2012, which is when I thought I had frozen the accounts. I point this out so that it is clear we are not trying to get a refund for ANY of the time we actually used the membership

b.      I would also like to point out that originally I simply wanted to freeze the accounts while I dealt with the emotional and financial toll of my mothers death; it was  the inept mishandling of this account that is leading to the cancellation and my irate distaste with LA Fitness.

The details:
Late August 2012 I received a flyer from a young man as I was coming out of PetCo. It offered one week free at LA Fitness (Carson Ave,Long Beach, CA). Enthusiastic about getting back into shape, I called the number and made the appointment. When I went in, the gentlemen I made the appointment with wasn't there, but David J took over. I was told that there was no one week free pass (though I had the flyer in my bag) and then I would have to join right then to access the facilities. I was very uncomfortable but wanted to join a gym, and said I would need to bring my husband in first.

We came back the next Saturday, and signed the membership contract and paid the fees. David then encouraged personal training, which I was interested in. It was pitched as a once or twice a week thing that could be stopped at any time, that we could do once or twice so long as we scheduled it advance. I very clearly at this point asked about the personal training fees and was told it was $40/week. David then passed us over to Emilio, who sold us two sessions a week at $24/per. He went over the math; $48/week; $96 billed every two weeks. I again asked what if we needed to cancel? and was told it was charged bi-weekly and so long as we canceled within 24 hours we would not incur a charge.
Enthused, we agreed. We gave our credit card. We were charged. We made our first appointment. THEN, Emilio pulled out a list. He called it our fitness compact. It was pitched as a we cant guarantee results if you dont do these things agreement, not as an additional contract (please note we had ALREADY been charged for the personal training. The business part of the deal was over, or so we thought). Emilio said, you are agreeing to 52 weeks in order to see results. And I asked, again, but we can still cancel at any time? And he assured me that yes, what we were looking at was just an informal list of what we needed to do to expect results. I read it,
and confused, asked again, to confirm, that we could cancel at any time. At this point I brought up my mothers illness and the expected toll that was going to take at some point in the future.

Emilio assured us the membership could be canceled at any time, and that LA Fitness would totally work with us. We understand that life sometimes gets busy and you may need to take a break. He said.

I would like to point out that all of this was being observed by a student of mine, who was an employee of LA Fitness (I was not aware of this until I was there); it was very uncomfortable to try to discuss my personal financial issues with my student there, and though I expressed my discomfort nothing was done.

 I should have known by the word switch to membership that it was a boondoggle, but I (foolishly) though that a large business like LA Fitness would not stoop to swindling its customers.

We were charged $112 each two weeks, instead of $96, but the training was good and I thought perhaps I had misunderstood that one point.

My mother passed away and in late October I begin having to travel to San Jose a lot to deal with the effects of that. I tried to freeze our membership online but the website would freeze and crash every time I
attempted it. I went into the club in late October to freeze the membershipfrustrated beyond belief at the websiteand was told I had to do it only at certain times. I called and was told only one person could help me and that the person I was talking to wasnt sure what the person who could help mes hours were. I was told if I froze my account online it would drop the fees
to $10/month for the gym and $15/month for training.

 In early November, I had stopped scheduling personal training appointments and had contacted my personal trainer that I needed to freeze for a while due to personal issues.  I went online and froze our membership, I thought. I clicked all the buttonsbut apparently your website crashed,
again, while confirming internally.

 Thinking I had frozen the membership and the training, I canceled the credit card on file. Two days later my husband begin receiving constant phone calls10 to 15 in an hourfrom LA Fitness. At first he ignored them because he thought it was a telemarketer (unknown caller), then when he
answered, he was told the following:

1)     We were behind on our dues and about to be taken to collection
a.       As this phone call was on 11/13, and the dues (which I had thought frozen, but
thats another issue) were exactly two days overdue, how we were about to be
in collection I dont understand

2) They needed a card immediately to charge $29.99 to, and only $29.99 to.

My husband, unaware of finances and who does not handle the bills, gave the guy our bank card thinking it was only $30.

That day, on 11/13, we were charged $30, then another $30, then another $112. Three days later we were billed another $112. I was in San Jose dealing with my mothers memorial service, so was unaware until I went to buy Thanksgiving dinner and my card was declined. Upon going online, I saw the charges.
I would like that image very clearly burned in your mind.

Buying Thanksgiving dinner for my family, in the midst of the grief of losing my mother, the first Thanksgivingthe first Holidayafter her death; and my CARD. WAS. DECLINED.

I called LA Fitness; I was told my husband needed to talk to them. He called. He was told:

1) That everything was frozen. Including the training? he asked, and was assured it was.

2)     Our monthly bill would be a total of $20 for the frozen membership and another $15 for the frozen training, for a grand total of $35/month

3)     That they would be refunding at least some of the amounts taken out of the account above, but it could take up to two weeks.

4)     That they had removed BOTH the bank card and the Capital One card from the billing and replaced it with the American Express

a.       I had also done this online, but for some reason my account was not updating the

Two weeks later, in mid December, I checked the bank, expecting a refund. There was another $112 charge. Not to American Express. On the bank card. The one that was only going to have $30 charged to it and now has close to $500 charged to it by LA Fitness?

 I called the LA Fitness customer service number. Explained. They gave me corporate. I spoke to lovely young woman who could not help because I had signed a 52-week agreement.
This is the first I have heard of it described as a 52-week payment agreement. It was, as I said above, explained in entirely different terms at the time we signed it.

 After the phone call, I have actually gotten the following done (which I have been attempting to do since October, please keep in mind):

1.      Our memberships are frozen to $10/month and LA Fitness would be working on 'settling the personal training issue'

Thinking all was settled, and I went off and enjoyed the holidays.

In late January I called again, and was told the only way I could settle the personal training issue was to pay $612, or half the amount owed. I asked numerous times if that would settle my accounts. I was assured it would bring ALL PAST DUE amounts current.

I paid it. Plus another $45. 

Two weeks later I got my tax refund and I paid down my Capital One Card.

Instantly close to $500 was charged to if from LA Fitness. I called. I was told it was from "Nov/Dec/Jan," but remember, I changed ALL billing to the Amex in Oct, did they even get that card? I was told to dispute the charges by LA Fitness and that they would 'do what they could.'

I disputed the charges. Cap One refunded them. Then LA Fitness CHARGED ME AGAIN. Just TODAY.  for $300. Cap One says I 'lost' the dispute, despite having a receipt which says 'paid in full.'
I asked to freeze the personal training, because I had been told I could do that for $15 way back in October. Again, she cited the 52-week agreement. 

My argument is this: I was blatantly misled on the agreement. LA Fitness has badly handled my account in EVERY way; due to this I will never be returning. LA Fitness can attempt to make right on this situation by doing the ethical thing; which is ignoring policy for the sake of their morality, or even, if they wish, in the spirit of the season; or they can shamelessly chase the corporate dollar and continue to capitalize on my pain and suffering.
Please let me know if I can assist any further with any receipts, affidavits on conversations or any other documentation.

In other notes, LA Fitness is FILTHY. I found used tampons in the showers, mildew and mold through out the bathrooms and got a fungal infection from the pool. I was continuously disgusted I visited.
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