On the day LA Fitness completed its takeover of 171 Bally Total Fitness locations, the phones at the company’s corporate headquarters in Irvine, Calif., went on the fritz, Stuart Goldman reported in Club Industry.
Apparently, the windstorms that disrupted the power last week in California also affected the phone systems last Thursday, LA Fitness Principal Paul Norris told Goldman. “Two-thirds of our systems have been knocked out,” he said.
This caused great angst for some Chicago-area Bally members who couldn’t get their questions answered. Would LA Fitness honor Bally lifetime memberships? What will happen to the Total Martial Arts program? Will Bally members be able to stay with their favorite personal trainers?
Here are a few answers:
Although LA Fitness did not acquire the lifetime members in the purchase, the company will honor Bally lifetime members, Norris told Goldman.
Norris added that it is against the law in most states for clubs to offer a contract of more than two or three years and said the Bally lifetime members eventually will switch over to an LA Fitness contract for $1 a year.
In some cases, Bally members will be able to get refunds for programs that were discontinued, such as the Total Martial Arts program. Still, many people don’t want the money; they want the program. So far, 440 people have signed a change.org petition asking LA Fitness to keep Total Martial Arts.
It's uncertain whether Bally members will retain their personal trainers. Norris also told Goldman that LA Fitness has rehired most of the employees of the acquired Bally clubs. But Victor Perfili, a trainer for a Bally Total Fitness Club in Chicago, said on the Club Industry Web site that "I had to leave my position as top trainer and leave my clients there because LA Fitness did not offer me (even half of the) compensation I was getting while working for Bally Total Fitness."
Some members, meanwhile, have seen their Bally clubs close and been reassigned to clubs further from their house.
Other changes are ahead. More information is expected to be made available on the website, in addition to this list of new clubs acquired by LA Fitness, including Bally gyms.