For full details, read Part 1.
Ok, to recap: Now unemployed, I went to the LA Fitness in Downingtown, PA with my friend who witnessed everything and asked the night desk clerk what I needed to do to end my personal training membership because I could no longer afford it. He gave me specific instructions, which I followed, and then wound up getting charged $160 despite my effort. When I tried to talk it out with the manager, Brian T., he talked to me like I was garbage, challenged me to come down to the gym for clarification, would not give me his manager’s contact information, and then rudely terminated our conversation.
At this point, I was incensed. Livid. Pissed off.
I did a search on the LA Fitness website to try to find information about the Downingtown gym chain of management and a phone number for the next rung on the ladder (think “district manager”). Of course I didn’t find anything. So I conducted a Google search and finally had to settle for the corporate call center number.
I called the toll free number and Craig C. answered. I gave Craig C. all of the pertinent information, including the horrendous way I was treated by Brian T., and the I listened as Craig C. toed the company line and told me that there was no way to get out of a personal training contract with LA Fitness without buying out. Seriously? I told Craig C. that even car loan companies work with people in times of financial change. Home mortgage companies work with people who find themselves in a change of financial circumstances. Do you really expect me to believe that LA Friggin Fitness couldn’t do the same? We really couldn’t come to some workable solution at all? Apparently that is exactly what he expected me to believe.
Now, at this point in my story, the absolute worst thing that could happen to me when caught in this kind of frustrating position happened: the tears of frustration started. It’s not something I can control all of the time and this was one of those unfortunate moments when the tear ducts were activated while I was in a state of complete and utter dissatisfaction. I’ll hand it to Craig C.—he hung in there with me while I went on a short diatribe about how my house was being foreclosed on and now I was stuck with this gym membership that I could no longer afford and they had taken $160 out of my account that I was counting on being there when I needed it, as the guy at the front desk had assured me it would. Good ole Craig C., he listened like a champ yet kept repeating the same spiel that I had now heard over and over again.
Recomposed, I asked Craig C. to give me the number for Brooke C. (Brian’s manager). He refused. Completely appalled that I was getting absolutely nowhere, I asked for the CEO’s name. And damn if Craig C. didn’t snigger at me. This set my frustration/outrage rocket into the stratosphere and I called him on it. He, of course, denied it and told me that all of their conversations were taped and anyone could listen to it and know he didn’t laugh.
Kid, don’t tell me about taped conversations. I was an air traffic controller. You don’t know anything about tape transcriptions. And even if there ever were one done, do you honestly think I would trust anything truthful about our conversation to be in there? Your company has lied about everything else. Your company has treated me like a flaming bag of dog crap on your front door. At this point I insisted on having the CEO’s name (hey, it’s public information anyway) and he finally responded with Louis Welch and asked if there was anything else he could do for me. I asked for his manager’s name—Mike B., who never intervened in this conversation—and I asked for Brooke C. to receive my information and contact me regarding this night’s events. Craig C. then informed me that he could see in my file a note from Brian T. to Brooke C. about tonight’s calls and I asked him again to indicate in his notes that I wanted to hear from Miss Brooke C. myself.
Well, here we are, February 7, 2012, and I have yet to hear from Brooke C. at all. Nice customer service skills, Brooke C! My gym membership has been canceled, which never was my intention until Brian T. acted like such an ass hat to me. LA Fitness could have been collecting $30 from me every month if they just would have treated me like a human being. But now they will never see another cent from me and I have started my social media campaign warning every single person I know not to be caught in the scam that is the Evil Empire of LA Fitness.
Do you know what else I came across in my Google search to find contact information for LA Fitness? Hundreds…no, thousands of comments from other dissatisfied, disgruntled customers and former customers of LA Fitness. Many have experience similar circumstances as mine, and all have experienced horrific customer “service.” Even their employees have a complaint website! In the first 24 hours after my dispute erupted with LA Fitness, a campaign on Twitter was in full effect regarding a protest on all LA Fitness gyms in the UK. Why? It’s very interesting, actually. After a 7-month pregnant woman whose husband had lost his job asked LA Fitness to terminate their personal training contract, LA Fitness refused, citing they had no such clause in their contracts for changes in life and income circumstances. Only after the story appeared in The Guardian and someone tweeted the link did LA Fitness give in to their PR nightmare and the UK government officials are looking into gym contract practices at other LA Fitness locations (see here:
If you have an issue with LA Fitness, you can call 949-255-7200 and speak to someone in a call center in Irvine, CA who doesn’t give a crap about you. The number listed for their corporate headquarters is 949-502-2043. If you would like to write to CEO Louis Welch, well, the only address Craig C. would give me (which I am sure goes to some other person who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you) is LA Fitness, P.O. Box 54170, Irvine, CA 92169. However, the corporate address is listed at 6400 Irvine Blvd, Irvine, CA 92620. The (unverified) contact information that I found for Mr. Welch is 7 Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-1206. My correspondence will be going directly to him as well as the National Director of Business Development, Scot Mackay, and Christopher Perry of LA Fitness International (among others) until I get a resolution.
If no one from LA Fitness seems to think I am worthy of receiving a resolution, well, I suppose it will be time to exercise my media training.
If you are thinking about joining an LA Fitness, I urge you to please take a look at some of the comments on these websites prior to signing anything with them.
For the reasons listed above–and oh so many more–I nominate you, LA Fitness, for the Silver Sucky Award. There is no way that you could possibly suck more hind teat that you already do.