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Is L.A. Fitness Not Fit for Your Bally's Body?

L.A. Fitness and the Ballyhood Controversy of 2011.

Chatsworth and Northridge have been the long-time homes for the Bally's Health Clubs on De Soto and on Corbin. 

L.A. Fitness purchased the California Bally's Clubs and a maelstrom of debate and criticism has befallen L.A. Fitness across the nation. 

Bally's sold many lifetime contracts during its tenure of over 30 years, including dollar-a-year memberships as well as set contract prices of $29 a year.  Seems L.A. Fitness is trying to abrogate these contracts at its locations across the country. 

The Internet shows general consternation with L.A. Fitness in the way they are handling the transition with Bally members. Seems clubs like the one in Studio City mandated that all Bally's members would have to surrender their cards and sign an electronic agreement before they could work out.  That, of course, is the legal definition of coercion and throw in a violation or two of the Unfair Business Practices Act embodied in Business and Professions Code 17200.

The Northridge location, which has been on Corbin since 1981 was closed, which means that L.A. Fitness should honor Bally memberships at their Northridge location on Devonshire.  Seems that L.A. Fitness has commented differently according to an article in the Chicago newspapers. 

The Internet is full of stories from the last week regarding the actions of L.A. Fitness in Illinois, Minnesota, and New Jersey, so we should expect some more horror stories about the Los Angeles area clubs. 

Seems L.A. Fitness should just honor memberships from Bally's as they are honoring the ground leases for former Bally's clubs.  Seems that there a hundreds who have these memberships from the 1980s and 1990s which L.A. Fitness may or may not honor despite their legal obligations and the bad faith business practices statutes.

Hopefully they will be able to save the location on De Soto which has been a landmark in Chatsworth for 30 years after that transition from Holiday Health Spa. 

There is also the issue of whether a gym owner holds the gym in trust for the members which brings up all sorts of other issues which may be seen in a class action. 

So will L.A. Fitness be a fit new owner and partner with the Bally's members?  We will see.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Helen S. Murphy December 09, 2011 at 02:58 PM
I like Bally's and hope LAFitness keeps it the same and honors our contracts at the same price.
Leigh Datzker December 09, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Unfortunately, LA Fitness closed the Northridge Club and is trying to force people to sign new deals. The problem is that their contract contains two very important clauses which inculdes an escalator fee provision as well as a provision that allows them to terminate the agreement without notice and reason. Be very wary about signing any new agreements with L.A. Fitness and do check the internet on the nationwide experiences of other members, especially in Chicago.
Mark December 10, 2011 at 09:38 PM
I am one of the Bally's members that has been going to the club on Corbin for years. I also just did a three year renewal of my Bally's membership last August. I called the LA Fitness on Devonshire to see what was going on and they told me I had to "upgrade" my membership too $19.00 a month to go to LA Fitness gym's otherwise I could only go to Bally's gyms. What if they decide to close the rest of the Bally's gyms or what then? I've been a member through the Jack Lallane and Holiday Health Spa changes and I never saw anything as screwy as this
Leigh Datzker December 10, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Bally's left thousands holding the bag from the articles and conversations I have had with people. I know of one business nearby that bought 20 memberships just before the Corbin location ceased business. I would remind L.A. Fitness that aborgating contracts and your rights maybe cause for a lawsuit under Business and Professions Code 17200. They cannot impose their will on you and you should be careful in signing any of their contracts as I stated in my blog. Also, look at the Chicago Tribune piece of this week on the internet.
derek December 20, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Show your disdain for "corporate" facilities by supporting local independent fitness centers. LA Fitness is invested in communities throughout the nation and Chatsworth is only another dot on a map! It is unfortunate that the grandfathered members of Bally's and the facilities they acquired over the years have been thrown into this quagmire but it is simply a sign of the times. As these large chain facilities grow and dominate they in effect are becoming like the banks by deciding what is best for the customer rather than the customer dictating the needs of the market. Seek out independent operators who live and work in the same community, your community, and invest in them!
D December 22, 2011 at 07:19 AM
I have a long-time contract with Bally’s since 1988 and today L.A. Fitness refused to allow me entry to the gym unless I signed a new contract with brand new terms. This is NOT acceptable. When L.A. Fitness assumed the old Bally’s contracts, they assumed those contract terms. Fastest way to rectify this is in small claims court. There is strength in numbers. Why wait months to rectify this when in a matter of weeks you can have a court render a decision. When L.A. Fitness bought out Bally’s they also bought out ALL obligations, including your contract. Go to small claims court to have that contract enforced. This is NOT a bankruptcy where there is no one to hold accountable. L.A. Fitness has bought your contract and if they won’t honor it they are in violation of your contract. Plain and simple. In 30 days or less you will get your resolution through small claims court. Do it now. Its only $30 to file and you can do it online.
Leigh Datzker December 22, 2011 at 03:54 PM
L.A. Fitness really doesn't have a decent club in the West Valley. The Northridge club contains worn and ruste equipment, coupled with their old televisions coated with dust,, and poorly maintained lockerroom facilities. The cardio machines date back to 2002 as there is no mandatory towel policy. It is not a good facility and the old Warner Center club is just old and worn, awaiting the new club in February or March. We will see if the new facility that opens in Woodland Hills is miantained and whether the Northridge location will get a major makeover. The fact is that L.A. Fitness is acting illegally here as indicated in their Studio City clubs (and on the internet throughout the US) and any club that refuses admission to Bally's members. If L.A. Fitness is honoring Bally's leases, which are contracts, then they must honor the Bally memberships. Perhaps a class action is indicated here against L.A. Fitness under the Business and Professions Code 17200 and 17500.
george l walter July 09, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I have been a member since 76 when it was holiday spa I have a $40 per year membership. I have gone to the Woodland Hills facility, received a new membership tag. I was told by the person at the desk she had never seen that low of a renewal fee. She said do not let the fee laps, said I could renew for two-year at a time.
Nestor Rodriguez January 07, 2013 at 08:04 PM
May I ask who you spoke with at the Woodland Hills facility? Like you I have a national membership and pay 65 a year and I am having a hard time getting LA Fitness to honor my membership. Thx

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