• Report: #141398
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Tue, May 03, 2005
  • Updated: Tue, October 31, 2006

  • Reported By:Binghamton New York
Vestal Parkway Binghamton, New York U.S.A.

LA WEIGHT LOSS CENTERS Unethical practices, Emotional Blackmail of clients ripoff Binghamton New York

*UPDATE Employee: all true


*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Happy I left


*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Agreed gave my two weeks notice for the exact same reason

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I am writing this to expose once and for all LA Weight Loss Center practices. The tactics people have been complaining about are not isolated instances but a unethical business practice of LA Weight Loss, a practice which I was trained in as a center manager, through their corporate training center in Scranton NY. I have retained their training materials as proof of these unsavory practices.

We are instructed to reduce the potential client to a sniveling bowl of jelly through a systematic questioning approach. Specific personal questions pretaining to your health, lifestyle, relationships, and desires are probed in the consultation, seems innocent enough, huh?. But the reality is we want to make you cry, we want you to be disgusted with yourself and we want you to sign up. This is our only desire because our salaries are commission based. All the information you provide will be thrown back in your face to remind you of how weak you are and to keep you in the program.

There is no sincerity here. As a matter of fact when you make the initial call to inquire about us. We have a detailed script located under every phone in the office, to address ambiguously your every question and to GET YOU IN THE DOOR, we were trained and timed on this script.

It gets more sinister...

Once you come in for your free consultaion you will be kept in a small office with the center manager for as long as it takes to get you to sign the contract. And hey, forget about getting a chance to read it in detail, we will sidetrack you and stall you so you will not even realize you only have 3 days to get buyers remose. No matter, even after 3 days good luck trying to get your money back.

Now for the facts. It is $7.00 per week max but not a pay as you go, we will figure out based on 2 lbs per week wt loss how much your weight loss weeks will cost, then we will add another 6 weeks stabilization weeks (cause you may backslide and gain the wt back), and another 52 weeks for maintenance, because again you are a siveling bowl of jelly and you have failed at this before so it makes sense that you will need an additional year of our help.

Grand total to lose 20 lbs $476.00 God forbid if your need to lose 100lbs=$756.00, But wait these are not your only costs.

After an Atkins-like induction period that we fondly call TakeOff with a Hollywood Diet type of drink, while your blood sugars are low and you are excited that you lost 4 lbs in 2 days from a drink fast we will then hold you captive in the office and sell you our tasty nutritional bars (they are good), at $2.00 per bar, now you don't buy the bars one at a time, you buy all of them, yes all of the bars you will need for a year and a half program eating 2 per day. Bidding on the bars start at $525 and up, I sold one lady and she was a sweetheart $987.00 in bars alone!

By the way the bars taste so good because they have real chocolate in them and all of the calories needed to keep you fat! Come on girls you don't lose weight eating 2 candy bars a day and I believe that they are designed to make you crave them.

The staff knows this and we avoided eating the bars ourselves like the plague.

And just try asking anyone what is in them, you won't get an answer because no one really knows, but I had several clients return bars with strings in them that looked like dental floss. Gross!

What did I do? I gave them more bars.

Wait didn't take off the lbs yet? Here are some costly suppliments, that hey I don't know whats in them but I think they block fat and carb absorbtion. As employees we do not receive the materials safety sheets or ingredients lists on them. Nor do I believe the chemical compositions of which the FDA has approved. When asked I was told don't worry about it.

You will be asked to come in 3 times per week to weight in and get sold cause we have to keep our revenue flowing, we have snacks, shakes, even salad dressing and coffee flavored beverages you will love it.

Well enough of the humor, I left because I was dissolutioned, I tried to do the right thing by my clients dispite the "Louis Vuitton Girls" who were my bosses, these unfeeling, non nuturing women have no qualms or conscience about ripping off overweight ladies and employees.

Surprizingly they were not successful on their diets either. They actually celebrate and laugh at good stories about ladies crying or attempting suicide before calling them as a last resort. God help them.

I decided I needed to go. There are some great people who get caught up in to working for this company because their initial desire is to help people and then they are told not to. This is why they have a high employee turn over.

They don't care however, because new managers and counselors can be found via HotJobs and the local colleges. Professionalism is sorely lacking at this company and lies are rampant.

Counselors are not trained to be weight loss counselors they are trained to be salespeople in lab coats and yes they want you to have the illusion that they are dieticians. we will even take your blood pressure and wear a sythescope, and in some states a blood test, not that we really know how to evaluate it.

And now in some centers they have curcuit training gyms.
The people who are successful on this plan would have been so on any diet.

It is a good well rounded diet game plan, However, the new FDA approved food chart is a great plan too and customized and very condusive to weight loss.
I did lose 15 lbs on the plan, the other 97 lbs. of weight I lost doing aerobics for 2 hours a day every d**n day! I went from a 2x to a size 8, in a year but I was told to tell potential clients after showing them my "FAT" pictures that I did it on LA weight loss.
Listen ladies, you don't need these people or anyone eles to help you lose weight and be healthy you only need one thing. Belief in yourself.

Commit your mind to what you want and go out and do it!
Here is something you will never hear LA weight loss say. It is only a healthy permenant lifestyle change that insures long term weight loss.

These people are not even qualified to help you and neither was I. There is more to losing weight than the weight, if you need counseling seek a counselor, if you are sick see your doctor, if you need to lose weight don't eat more than you burn. You will be better served walking 15mins a day. Oh and if you really must have their plan go to ebay and get it for $5.00, buy a food scale and do some exercise, this is the truth!

Scared Thin Manager
Johnson City, New York

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/03/2005 12:30 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/la-weight-loss-centers/binghamton-new-york-13905/la-weight-loss-centers-unethical-practices-emotional-blackmail-of-clients-ripoff-binghamt-141398. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

all true

AUTHOR: Rene - (U.S.A.)

Yes all is true. I would like someone from the Attorney General office to go in an act as a potential client to uncover this scam. We are told to not tell the client how many'Bars' they have, sell 12 months worth of anything at a time,never say dollar amounts in front of a client and that sometime we have to "lie" like make up fake "specials" and never to question how things are done!! If you have ethics- NOT the place to work!!

You can lose weight on your own or with a good counselor- no way is it $7 week- the money is in the required bars and supplements- often thousands by poor souls who need real help!. The managers get big commissions and prizes for goals-and the area manager even more!! The centers in the South are franchises-so operate differently. The owner Vahan Karian has numerous mansions and never is around- this is a cash business NO sales tax!! Based in Horsham PA
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#2 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

I just wanted to share my thoughts as a good friend of a former employee in VA.

She worked there for over 2 years and developed many great relationships with the center clients. Most people would come in and only see her because she obviously cared and refused to emotionally blackmail people (even though she felt like that was what LAWL had told her to do in many training sessions).

I guess that's why she was fired. Evidently, a VP took a disliking to her and made it known to the umpteenth manager during her employment that she didn't like my friend and wanted her out. She'd accept any reason so . . . .

One day this mgr asked my friend, in front of a prospective customer, to complete signing up a lady. As anyone that has punched a clock knows, you can't punch out and punch right back in. My friend explained that she had already clocked out. When she returned to her office, she had a phone call with upper management who said they had a nasty letter from the lady that was supposed to sign up that said my friend was very rude. I've known this lady for over 8 years now and have even seen her at work with difficult people, and she doesn't lose her cool and she doesn't treat people rudely. She was told she had to apologize to this lady and try to get her back in, which she did in a timely manner.

Two days later, my friend was terminated (without even being given a reason). Another former employee advised me this lady came in 2 hours after my friend's termination and signed up.

I know there are several ladies that will not return to the office now. Many ladies have demanded refunds (and from what I've read here, I wish them luck!). One lady even came in and found out my friend was no longer there and went back to her car and wept because she has no faith or trust in the other counselors.

I know several people personally that my friend helped to lose weight through the center. She could have given away all the secrets to her friends but she has integrity. I feel that was a wasted quallity with this employer.

I can also tell you that in the time she worked for LAWL, I personally can name at least 10 people that have come and gone, several since her termination. I know there are many more that I never even knew about.

I wish all you ladies that have not had a good experience the best of luck . . . in your refunds and your weight loss!

God Bless!
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Happy I left

AUTHOR: Lavinia - (U.S.A.)

I worked at LA Weight Loss for about a year at the Rhode Island. I went through the trainings and sold program and also cunsult with clients. What I didn't like was my Area Manager. She was so self centered. She didn't want to hear that the person can't afford all she wanted was package A. I did self some high selling PSV's but was told not to sell anymore just because I didn't get some real over the edge big packages.

I was very frank and honest with the clients. Everything I was though at training I never told them. I never lied to them or anything I told them how it is from the start so they knew what they was getting themselves into.

For the pills, I did my own research so I knew who to recommend them too. I started to use one and it screw my whole monthly cycle so I stop recommending that particular pill to women. My manager got mad with me and told me what do I know about medicine seeing she was a RN.

All I can say is the plans works but not fast for everyone but it is costly. So if you really want to join it be prepared to pay a very high cost and to be push hard to buy the A Package.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: Barbara - (U.S.A.)

As a ex-manager in Buffalo I can say all those negative comments from ex employees aren't just sore words. Everything I read about being trained to shake down helpless desperate souls to pay through the nose while just about calling them fat, is true. After we expose the underlieing emotional pain, we were trained to sock'em into expensive programs, with rebates that NO ONE ever gets back, and then lump sum bulk buying "protein" bars. (these kill me, check out the carbs!)

The regional and district managers in this area are a joke. The one is so overweight herself! No, shes not on the program. The other lost weight, supposedly from the plan.

I was told about how i would make my earnings from store sales percentages. What they never said was I wouldn't make but minimum wage for the week if we didn't meet the personal AND store sales goals for the week! Imagine paying a manager minimum wage! Not only that they expected no less than 6 days a week and 60 hours!
I never got home before 8 pm.

I was constantly trying to keep my staff but the area mamnager would scream at them when they didn't sell to goal. EVERY person walking in there was suppose to buy EVERY visit because you had to make them feel they were helpless and couldn't do it without help.

It's a scam. I never saw anyone reach a goal.

OH and on top of it all...I was injured at work from the negligence of another employee, the area and regional manager tried to find someone to say I was acting and it was all a frame job!
IMAGINE THAT! I was hurt in the presents of the area trainer and a client! What kind of shifty people are they? I wish they would have tried to get someone to lie, I would have sued!

If they got your money, I am sorry for you.
If your thinking this is a good program, run the other way with your wallet and learn to count calories, or do the most reliable- slim-fast!

Thinking of working here? Your in for the shadiest job ever.
Sad the Scam continues in Buffalo.
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Agreed gave my two weeks notice for the exact same reason

AUTHOR: Ciani - (U.S.A.)

I just gave my two weeks notice for the exact same reason that you wrote about.

At the moment I work with a heartless young woman(area supervisor) from Penn. who doesn't give a crap about no one but herself and the revolving men in her life.

A matter a fact that is all I heard about in training class(28 people quit before training class was over),I should have quit that day.But I didn't.I SIT IN THE CLASS AND LEARN HOW TO SELL CANDY BARS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT.

I should have quit then,but I didn't.Then I go the center as an assistant manager,and work with a young woman who has been there for many years.

She believes in the program,.She started as a counselor and finally got to be manager.Like you said,she can't see the forrest for the trees because she is finacially stuck,but after a month I DID SEE THE LITE.I felt guilty everytime I sold a PSV to a woman who just got finish paying $500.00 just three days before.But I was not the only employee who felt that way,a young woman also felt the same way.

She arrived a month before me,and has threaten to quit many times.The sad thing is the manager wants to quit,but can't.

She is in debt up to her ears in medical bills,because SHE HAS NO BENIFITS.Can you believe it six years and not a benifit,unless you pay $300.00 out of pocket every other week.There have been countless asst managers over the pass year before me and will be afterwards.I am quite sure there have been atleast 20 employess in that center since the begining of the year.

They got wise quick,just like I did.The treatment of the employees is the worst Ive ever seen.You are totally mislead,about pay,hours,benifits and I could go on.I WOULD NOT SUGGEST THIS COMPANY TO ANYONE who needs a job.
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