Complaint / review text:
LA Fitness in Brandon, Florida enticed my fiancee into a membership and then added a personal trainer service which she paid separately (in person) on a monthly basis. When she had to move out of the area due to job requirments, to a location that was more than 50 miles from any LA Fitness, she cancelled the membership and even paid for an additional month that she didn't use due to their questionable calculations.
Despite this, she continues to be billed $200 a month via credit card information that the Brandon office got from her membership application, which did not cover any fitness training. When challenged on these fraudlent charges, the individual introduced as the senior manager "Josh" explained that the fitness membership was just like buying a car. If you opt to keep it in the garage, you still have to pay for it.
When I explained that (as a business owner myself) according to my own understanding of Florida and Federal law, LA Fitness has a right to claim money they feel they may be owed but do not have the right to abuse credit card information or make charges against an account which the owner of that account has clearly stated they do not authorize. Since my fiancee cancelled in person, and has confirmation of the cancellation and since LA Fitness confirms that the cancellation was due to her moving out of the area, they are wrong on two accounts. Firstly, they are charging without authorization citing a membership agreement they have confirmed is closed and secondly as the car analogy is rediculous since a car is a physical item you own and LA Fitness is claiming that they should still be paid for existing even though there is no way they could ever provide the services they want to charge for. (They do claim she can drive there before or after work but since the trip is 2 1/2 hours each way, that isn't anything a reasonable person would consider practical).
Josh ended our conversation saying that given the economy, they couldn't afford to let anybody cancel their membership and so, by the direction of "Kelly", whom handles these issues, they WILL NOT cancel any memberships once they get a signature on the page.
I spoke to Kelly who claimed to have a signed paper authorizing credit card payments for the personal training. When pressed for the details, she explained that her copy of the original membership agreement (for the gym not the trainer) had a clause that stated that LA Fitness could charge the user's credit card FOR ANY AMOUNT THEY DEEM APPROPRIATE FOR ANY REASON THEY DEEM APPROPRIATE. She offerred to provide me with a copy of this mystery paperwork. I accepted the offer and explained that even if this were the case, since LA Fitness had confirmed that membership agreement being cancelled with the last applicable charge being 3 Dec 2009, they had no authorization to make additional charges on an agreement that was no longer in force. Her flustered explaination was to say that the agreement would be in force as long as they (LA Fitness) decided it was in force, an answer I found rather extraordinary.
I told her that I didn't think that the Florida or Federal courts would be sympathetic to that interpretation, to which she outright scoffed and decried that they had a signature on a document and would continue to charge whatever they thought was a proper fee. She confirmed that she would send a FAX of her copy of the agreement.
When that didn't happen, I called her back and confirmed that she had the right FAX number. She confirmed the number and claimed to have sent the paperwork hours beforehand. At present, she still has not been able to provide the mysterious paperwork that authorizes credit card charges in any amount and for any purpose LA Fitness feels is suitable to help them combat difficult economic times.
However, they did send a message stating that in their view, the previous membership cancellation was not in force and would continue, as well as further attempts to charge additional training fees.in their view, the documentation provided for the original cancellation was inadequate to prove that we had actually moved. We could dispute this claim, in person, at their offices, with proper documentation, although they have, at present, been unable to define what they would consider to be "proper" documentation.
They've also stated that should we provide proper documentation, the cancellation of their services will only begin at the date when they've reviewed, accepted, and approved of the documents and cancellations.
LA Fitness in Brandon, Florida has gone beyond mere predatory contract practices and is engaging in outright criminal activity. Do not trust these people with your credit card information as they have proven that they will take credit card info from one agreement and use it to charge for another one, in this case, an agreement (service) that doesn't seem to have an existing legal document to authorize any charges. Further, the only cancellation policy they can clearly define is to pay 50% of the remaining charges (which seem to shift a bit with each conversation) with only a vague promise that they won't see fit to continue to charge afterwards in case they need further help with the bad economy.
On a personal note, the most annoying aspect of this is that these people arrogantly tell you they wil continue to submit credit card charges for which they know they do not have legal authorization to charge (if by no other means in that they themselves confirmed the original membership cancellation) for services they fully admit they are incapable of providing in any reasonable manner.
LA Fitness are thieves, pure and simple. I note by a simple Google search that something similar is a common practice for all LA Fitness establishments by the conduct of the staff at the Brandon location is especially criminal.