LA Fitness / personal training contract
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I thought I was old and wise enough to know this, and to trust my gut when it screams NOOOOO! But I fell for the promise of "free training sessions" if I signed up. I even fell for the high pressure pitch when I said I wanted to think about it. "I may not want to make you the same offer tomorrow..." I feel violated!
I probably told this personal training manager at the San Marcos, CA club 10 times or more that I had NO INCOME, and was using a small amount of savings for a few months to get in shape for an upcoming job on a sailboat. He assured me that I could cancel my contract anytime and the automatic payments would stop. All I had to do was come talk to him when I wanted to cancel, and he would take care of it. I questioned a few things in the contract, that I admittedly did not read all that well, and he kept assuring me not to worry about it. Like an idiot, I trusted him. I had put on some weight and had fallen off my work out routine. I was feeling flabby and out of shape, and must have appeared as vulnerable as I felt.
This personal training "manager" did give me a few "free" sessions, and I also got the lame half hour one I supposedly paid for. I never really felt my needs were being met but figured this will come in time. After the first month, I realized I was better off physically and financially on my own and went to him for guidance as he instructed. He rather callously handed me a piece of paper and told me to send it in and everything would be ok. Again, I believed him. A few days later I received what appeared to be an email confirmation so I felt ok. What I did not see, because my trusting nature refused to see it, was that the effective date was almost a year later! Imagine my surprise, anger, frustration, and fear when I saw that another $39.00 had been debited from my seriously depleted bank account!
After several persistent calls, and some rather rude comments from the Operations Manager of the club, I was told that the VP agreed to cancel my contract, effective immediately, but that I would not receive any refunds. As of today, August 31, 2009, I have not received the promised email confirmation and am in the process of writing to this Operations Manager, the VP, and the president of LA Fitness. I also canceled my debit card so hopefully that will keep these sharks out of my bank account.
I have expert legal advice from some very good friends who happen to specialize in class actions. One of them just settled a huge consumer case and is looking for another cause to champion. Maybe this will be the one!
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