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L.A.Weightloss Center DISASTER!!!

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Old 04-08-2001, 04:50 PM   #1
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Hi all, I'm new here and I think I've got the hang of this posting thing.

Anyhow, while I am sure that there are many reputable L.A. Weight Loss Centers in America with wonderfully supportive employees, I thought I'd just let you all know about my first experience with them.

To make a long story short, I joined and upon further thinking about the mandatory $28 box of L.A. Lites I had to buy each week, I decided to cancel my membership within the 3-day time limit. The employees at the center pretty much kept touting the snack bars as possessing "magic fat burning" qualities, but upon further inspection of the ingredients, I just didn't see what was so inherently "fat burning" about them and at $28 a week, I just didn't think it was worth it. If I didn't have to buy the bars, I would have had no problem staying with the program.

Well, I walked into the center to sign a cancellation form, and as politely and warmly as I could, I told the manager that I was very impressed with how nice and enthusiastic everyone seemed to be there, but at this time, I just couldn't afford the $28 a week for the bars. This is where it got ugly.....

The manager said, "Can't afford them??? JENNIFER, YOU NEED TO LOSE 93 POUNDS!" I very POLITELY told her that the ingredients in the bars didn't seem to possess any special fat burning qualities and as far as nutrition, each bar contained only 2% RDA calcium, 6% RDA iron, and not a tremendous amount of protein (8 grams). The first three ingredients are corn syrup, cocoa coating, and invert sugar. she said that she had been eating them and had lost 15 lbs. (gee, I wonder if she was eating less and exercising at the same time, in which case, she would've lost weight without the bars!).

Anyhow, I told her nicely, "Oh, I WILL lose the 93 pounds on my own." She then said, "No you won't......you haven't lost them yet..what makes you think you're going to lose them now?" I then replied, getting rather angry, "I WILL lose the weight" (I'm not sure why I thought I had to justify myself in her eyes) She then says, "Okay...I want you to come back in here after you've lost the 93 pounds....I tell ya, it ain't gonna happen."

I was dumbfounded at her unnecessary cruelty. What had I done to her personally to make her be so nasty with me? It's not like they weren't getting any money out of me - they kept the non-refundable Enrollment Fee of $199!!! I told her how disapointed I was with her attitude and plan to write L.A.Weight Loss Centers Headquarters and the Better Business Bureau with a complaint against her. What a witch! if that's they type of people I would have been dealing with and PAYING to serve as my weight loss support, I am GLAD I got out of there!!!

Anyhow, that was just my experience with L.A. Weight Loss. I'm still seething.

Jennifer
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Old 04-08-2001, 06:45 PM   #2
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Would I ever be writing the nastiest letter possible!
What a proper twit! I can't believe anyone could do that nor do they have the right to say anything like that to you. Don't be satisfied until you receive a personal apology from her and the President of the company.
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Old 04-08-2001, 11:29 PM   #3
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Default LOL...sounds like my ex-center

You wouldn't like to share just where you are at would you? It sounds like my center from ****.

BTW..... my neighbor works for a bank in their credit dept and said the #1 item people try to have removed from their credit card within 3 days is LAWL. I hear (from her) that because you have to sign the contract before you even see the "diet", you CAN get ALL your money refunded legally and they can't legally keep your "registration fee". Supposedly it is illegal for them to make you sign without seeing the product.... especially since they usually lie about it. In my case it was "Oh, it's not about restriction, it's about food combinations". LOL.... It is completley about restiction. Want a chuckle? After my first week on the plan (stupid me, I stuck with their abuse for 6 months), I asked my "counselor" (ie. salesperson) why they told me no one will ever know you are on a diet because you can eat almost anything. I told her I had gone to a football party where they had nachos, chilli, beer, tacos, the usual... and there wasn't one single thing I was allowed to have. Her response was "No one would ever know you are on a diet if you just tell them you are sick and go home". I almost fell outta my chair!!!

"Headquarters" will not answer you unless you want to purchase a franchise. In my case they referred my complaint to my own center who called me basically to yell at me.

The bars are loaded with one ingredient....profit. That is the SOLE reason for their being manditory. They are high in calories, low in nutrition and if you didn't have to eat them, you could have some real food. Most of the centers $$ comes from either the sale of the bars etc. or from people who pay up front and quit. Some way to make a living, huh? I'm happy for the masochists that have success with this plan, but in general, their success rate is VERY low because their restrictions and expectations are too high. I heard they have one of the lowest success rates in the biz...(let us not forget, they are a biz...not health care professionals).

Oh...one more "funny". 2 of the counselors at my center wore "nurses" outfits and one wore a pin that said "nurses are special". When I asked her where she went to school, she said she didn't...it was just part of their "costume".

Get thee to WW...asap... and then go in and show them all!!!
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Old 04-09-2001, 12:12 AM   #4
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Dear Barbs88,

I wouldn't mind sharing the location of the "L.A. Weight Loss Center from ****" - it was in Ohio.

Thank you SO MUCH for your reply. You know what? You are ABSOLUTELY right - for some reason, they were TOTALLY evasive when I would ask them what kind of food plan I would be on before I signed their contract. In fact, they told me they were not going to reveal to me what I would be eating until I finished the 2-day juice, bar, and meat/veggie quick loss phase (or whatever it was called). It sounds totally sketchy for them to not give me the information I wanted about what kinds of things I would be eating until AFTER I signed a contract.

To whom would I appeal to get my FULL refund back? Certainly not headquarters, from what you said. The Better Business Bureau? In addition, I have half a mind to call a local TV news reporter who regularly covers businesses that are in the habit of unfair or shady practices on a segment of the news.

Thank you so much for all the helpful information. You are a godsend. It's good to know that there are some
helpful, truthful people in the world who aren't out for your every last dime.

I'll keep you updated if you want.....my direct email address is jennym1173@neo.rr.com.
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Old 04-09-2001, 12:50 PM   #5
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Hi Jenny,

I am sorry to hear about your LAWL disaster, what a b**** the manager was!

I think you are absolutely right - tv news reporter - or your paper would be a great way to go - nothing any company hates more than negative publicity - Barbs is right get to WW -

... and yes I go to LAWL, I just hate to hear when people have such a bad experience at ANY customer service driven business!

Good luck and let us know what happens
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Old 04-09-2001, 01:31 PM   #6
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Default I had the same experience...

...but not with LAWL (which I have never seen anywhere here in the San Francisco Bay Area - despite the California connotation!).

In 1989, I went to a Jenny Craig weight loss center for the 'free consultation'. Even though I had very little money, and told the staff there that I was just researching the program to see if it was for me, the sales counselor managed to persuade me to write out a check for over $300 that night!

It only took me two meals the next day to discover for myself that there was no way I could eat the food for any length of time - or afford it for that matter.

Luckily for me, I worked for an attorney at an insurance company with a specialty in contracts. After giving me a lecture about even signing up for JC in the first place, he told me I had three BUSINESS days to change my mind. He advised me to stop payment on my check immediately (I did so), and bring all the food back to the center along with a voided copy of the contract.

I did give them $20 for the food I had eaten (a small packet of musli cereal and a can of beef ragout which resembled Alpo dog food). They tried to get me to stay and talk to the manager but I said no dice...and walked out of there. Never heard back from them.

Bottom line is - generally with contracts (exceptions being automobile sales contracts) you have three business days to change your mind and receive a full refund - the sales people don't want you to know that though!

If you paid via Visa or Mastercard, may I suggest filing a chargeback request to get your money back - check with the bank that issued your card. I would also DEFINITELY contact the consumer action department of your local TV news station.

You know, so many of these weight loss centers and companies selling weight loss products have us nailed. They've been making the same sales pitches to us for decades - they know what works. Even now, seeing all those infomercials with the 'before' and 'after' photos strikes a chord within me...the same one that is struck with most of us - "it worked for this person...maybe this is the magic bullet I've been looking for!". The title of one book about these promotions says it so well - these companies are truly "FEEDING ON DREAMS" - our dreams of being thin and normal!

Good luck and take care...
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Old 04-09-2001, 01:34 PM   #7
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Jenny:
I don't know who you go to. Like I said, if you have it on a credit card, you can go to your credit card and THEY take care of it. I wish I hadn't been so desperate when I went in and signed their stuff. $900 down the drain. I couldn't go for money back because I waited too long, but if you went with the 3 days.... you SHOULD be able to get it ALL back. I considered going to the state attorney general myself. I am aboslutely convinced, after studying all the ins and outs of the plan that their entire POINT is to get the $$$ at that first meeting and then get rid of you ASAP, whether it's from you giving up (no skin off their noses) or from just plain rudeness or indiference, their objective is to have alot of turnover and to sell bars.... success is not their top priority. Now, I know that Teri and others have had alot of success and I suppose it takes a certain personality type to put up with it all.... some of it borders on abuse, but to each his own. I just honestly absolutely feel there are dishonest business practices invilved here.
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Old 04-09-2001, 01:45 PM   #8
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Default My opinion...

...as far as the reasons that some clients and would-be clients of LAWL are reporting widely different experiences....

This company runs via franchising - I haven't seen their franchise rules but given the widely varied experiences, I would have to say that the only rules the company really has is that each center sells their proprietary products (supplements and foods) and pays their franchise fees regularly - then each center probably has free rein to do whatever they want as far as how they treat their 'clients'.

http://www.laweightloss.com/

I just checked their website - you may want to read the 'franchising' part of the site to get a feel for what really count$ with them (and most companies like them).

Franchises can be run very well, and they can be run sloppily - depending on how determined the parent company is in making sure that each store operates up to the standards set by the parent company (McDonald's is an excellent example of a company that maintains very high operating standards and demands the same from their owner-operators - Jazzercise is another).

Anyway, try doing a chargeback with your credit card - couldn't hurt!
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Old 04-10-2001, 10:42 AM   #9
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I am so sorry to hear of your trouble! I am going to LAWL myself and doing great. I have a great center. I actually, needed all the restriction since just about every food was my weakness. I loved all the junk food equally. I had a yucky experience at a WW center so I guess all of them have the bad ones.


I do hope you turn in your center to the BBB. I have the web address for them it is so simple to make the complaint that way and much faster!! All you need is the centers address. I would recomend doing 2 complaints one against headquartes and against your center.

http://www.betterbusinessbureau.com


I am thinking of giving up the bars. I like eating them but it is expensive and I could eat something else in their place. I am getting sick of eating them and don't think I could stand them for months!

I am refusing to drink the new Juice. They told me about it when I was seeming to reach a plateau. That wasn't part of my contract so I won't do it. I am asking tomorrow about the bars.

I hope that thingsa imporve. I ahve had success but I do see the problems with LAWL.

Karen
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Old 04-10-2001, 11:30 AM   #10
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The BBB isn't really going to help you. You will be better off going to the Office of Attorney General- Bureau of Consumer Protection. They will help you get your money back and if too many people have the same complaint they could file a lawsuit (not for you because they don't represent you as a lawyer would but it would be for the state).
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Old 04-10-2001, 11:54 AM   #11
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I agree with what everyone said. Try cancelling your check (of course that is the reason they don't give you the plan for 3 days.... to get you past that legal 3 days thing...coincidence??? I think not.) Try doing a charge-back and try the attorney general. BUT GO FOR IT...if I hadn't waited so long...I wouldn't fought to the bitter end.

It is so hard for me to bash this place and still cheer on the people who are having success with them. Whatever works, I suppose but I still repeat...and I will believe it until the end... the basic set up of the place is to first hook you in, get you past the 3 days, give you an unattainable plan (nobody, I repeat NOBODY can do that plan without ever once goofing up), SELL THE BARS AND SUPPLEMENTS (#1 goal...not your weightloss) and then get you outta there ASAP for the next sucker. THAT is why the cut rate on bulk... to sell the stuff UP FRONT. ALL the money is preferable UP FRONT cause they absolutely know (or hope) that the vast majority won't stick around (I missed ONE weigh-in and they refiled me in the "quitter" file..couldn't wait).

Also...for those who hang in and loose... they don't teach you any lifetime skills. Restriction doesn't work forever. Their "combinations" are not based on any medical fact...just a cute way to trip you up. The 3 time a week weigh in? Another way to trip you up. Everyonce has a life and can't dedicate that much time every week to weigh-ins. When I went, it was 30-40 minutes to get there...30-40 minute wait for a "counselor"...weigh in, ask you when you last had a bowel movement and shove you out the door...then drive 30-40 minutes home again. It would almost KILL my day. They are like lab workers watching us rats run through the maze. Just see how many stupid things they can get us to do AND PAY THEM!!! It's pretty funny when you think about it.
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Old 04-10-2001, 09:47 PM   #12
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I had the worst experience ever with them also. I work with an attorney that started the program & convinced me to give it a try. The following day I made an appt. by phone. When I got there I filled out their form & in the back it asks if there's any medical conditions & I wasn't going to check that I have Hepatitis C but I figured what the heck, why should I lie. After I was done they gave me a tour of the center & showed me all the pictures hanging on the wall then was asked to go in the back & get on the scale. Just about when I was taking off my shoes she said "oh no, we can't help you, I'm sorry. I asked why & she said because you have Hep C. I explained that I am in the early stage & I would get a note from my doctor & she still said she was very sorry but they couldn't help me in case I become ill. I spoke to the attorney I work with & she feels I was discriminated because of this. She wants me to pursue it & file a civil lawsuit but I really don't want to be exposed. I was never so humiliated in all my life. I'll stick with Weight Watchers.
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Old 04-10-2001, 10:00 PM   #13
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I forgot to mention that this woman wasn't soft spoken either. Everyone that was there knew I had Hep C!!! Why wouldn't they accept my doctors note

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Old 04-11-2001, 12:57 PM   #14
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Default me too

I just happened to be reading through the treads and caECme upon your message. I couldn't believe it but when I cancelled my LAWL membership the manager of their office SAID THE SAME SORT OF THINGS TO ME. She said, if you haven't lost the weight so far, you never will lose it. I lost over $500 because they said I couldn't cancel at first and the next week they said I missed the 3 day cancel period. WHAT A CORRUPT AND UNETHICAL COMPANY. I believe the similarities in management responses are not an accident but rather a ploy they must use at their training seminars. Don't feel badly about this experience. I did blame myself for a while for being taken for so much money before seeing the program but I just let it go. Take care and be well, you will lose the weight in a gentle and good weigh.
regards, Happywisdom
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Old 04-18-2001, 09:01 PM   #15
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I am not trying to start trouble - but I have to say one thing as someone who used to manage a LAWL center, I was not trained to say such things to clients, nor did I ever, and yes I had clients cancel on me.
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