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UPDATED: LA Fitness: 'We're Honoring Lifetime Memberships'

Paul Norris, principal at LA Fitness, says the company has made the decision to honor Bally's lifetime memberships

[Update, Tuesday, December 21]

LA Fitness has now decided to honor Bally lifetime memberships in full, including nationwide access. .

[UPDATE, Wednesday, December 7, 12:57 p.m.]
Patch is now receiving reader reports that Bally lifetime membership holders are able to verify their information and contract with LA Fitness at this site. Several users said that while it appears that the contract they had previously is now being accepted by LA fitness, it shows an expiration date of 12/1/2014.

This appears to be consistent with what Paul Norris, principal at LA Fitness, told Patch in a phone conversation earlier this week. Norris stated that lifetime members would initially be given a three year membership, at no cost the first year, and then $1 for each following year.

Patch's understanding was that this would then be "re-upped" for $1 a year in continual contracts. However, agreements could be different for each individual based on their unique contract, and whether or not they have already signed a new agreement with LA Fitness. According to Norris, the company will be putting out a press release in the near future to officially explain offerings. Patch recommends members wait until that release, and also thoroughly review any contract, before signing.

To see if your contract is being recognized by LA Fitness, follow these instructions:

  • Visit lafitness.com/Pages/Announcement.aspx, and click on the box that says verify your account.
  • It may be necessary to try different variations of your name, including abbreviated initials, and also entering the zip code and phone number used when first signing up for a Bally's membership. According to some users, the keytag number is the first initial of your last name, and then the numbers from your Bally's ID card, excluding the first four zeroes.

[UPDATE, Monday, December 5, 8:17 p.m.] After the publication of this report, a number of readers contacted Patch to say that LA Fitness location managers told them they would not be honoring lifetime memberships. Upon attempting to contact these locations, we were informed that managers had been instructed to direct all media inquires to the company's Irvine, California offices.

Patch reached back out to Paul Norris, principal at LA Fitness, who further clarified by stating that the decision to honor lifetime memberships had not yet been relayed to all locations, but that the lifetime memberships would be honored.

"We're going to get a statement out on our website, and condense all the information into one spot, right on the front page," said Norris, adding that the message should come within several days.

Norris also said that decisions regarding lifetime memberships were complicated by law, stating that lifetime memberships are now illegal in all but several states. However, Norris said the company viewed it as good customer service to find a way to honor the agreements.

"We don't want to disadvantage our members, especially the people who've been around for 20 years," Norris said. "We're doing it for good will. There's not many [lifetime members], but we don't want anybody to be at a disadvantage."

Although official details are pending the company's statement and may be unique to each customer, depending on the terms of their original contract, Norris said that a lifetime customer would be offered the chance to sign an LA fitness agreement that would allow them to continue to visit the location for one dollar a year, in order to keep the agreements legal.

In addition, Norris said that for those interested in being able to visit any other LA Fitness location in their respective state, LA fitness would offer a special rate of $19.99 a month for membership.

Finally, Norris said that all LA Fitness locations formerly owned by Bally's would allow members to continue to visit throughout December without signing any new agreements.

[Original report, Monday 5:00 p.m.]

Bally Fitness members upset with the changes stemming from a purchase by LA Fitness may now find some relief, as the company has decided to honor lifetime membership agreements, according to Paul Norris, principal for LA Fitness, who called Patch.

On Sunday, Patch reported that a number of local residents were frustrated after the Bally's Total Fitness location in Willow Grove became one of 171 across the country to be purchased by LA Fitness.

According to members, LA Fitness representatives told them last week that Bally's lifetime memberships, some of which were purchased for thousands of dollars, would not be honored in the switch. Patch follow-up calls to local LA Fitness centers confirmed this information.

However, according to Norris, who called Patch Monday afternoon, those memberships will now be honored.

"The [lifetime] memberships weren't purchased and weren't part of our responsibility, but we've made the decision to honor those lifetime memberships," said Norris. "We certainly don't want to disadvantage any members, or former members, of Bally's."

When asked when that decision was made, Norris said that the company had difficulty communicating its policies to all locations after heavy winds knocked down telephone wires at the company's Irvine, California offices.

"The acquisition was an assets sale. Lifetime memberships were not a part of the acquisition, and we're sorry it wasn't communicated to all involved," said Norris. "The day we did this acquisition we had 70 mile per hour winds in Los Angeles and the lines were knocked out," Norris said.

When asked what procedure members would now need to follow to become lifetime members of LA Fitness, Norris said it could be done in a visit to any of the newly owned locations.

"[Members] need to sign an agreement to allow them entry, but it would be virtually the same terms of the agreement they have now," Norris said.

According to a ClubIndustry.com article, the is one of 171 Bally's facilities sold nationwide to LA Fitness for approximately $153 million. The sale included 13 in the Philadelphia region, of which four will close and nine will continue to operate under the LA Fitness banner, including the Willow Grove location. Bally's now operates 100 locations in the U.S., while the addition boosts LA Fitness from 360 to 538 clubs.

Patch will check in with its readers this week to confirm they are able to convert their lifetime membership. Please check back for additional coverage. To see our original coverage of the story, .

FRANK BENADA March 25, 2013 at 04:48 AM
Anyone have updated information? I have a Bally Premier Plus membership. It was converted into a Bally Sports Club. I havent been to a Ballys in years but maintain my annual dues hoping there would be an opportunity for one in the future. Then I found out about LA Fitness. Another gym close by was purchased by LA Fitness. What do I need to do to attend this gym? Or, is there a class-action suit against them? Anyone with any info will be helpful. fbadala@yahoo.com Greatly appreciated...
randy March 30, 2013 at 09:12 PM
i was a member of ballys any club in us premier plus membership i was told repeatedly by the 2 young men who they put at the counter that by signing the la fitness contract all conditions of my ballys membership would be in effect at la fitness and after a couple weeks they told me i would not be allowed in the club unless i signed the contrac yesterday i went to get transfer paperwork as part of my ballys agreement i could will, sell ,the membership with a small transfer fee i went to the clairmount mesa club where there was no one there who knew anything about it! and was told to call back on monday. well la fitness put those 2 young men in position to answer all the questions about the sale ect and made them reps of there business i sure hop they dont have a problem with them giving verbal contracts out as when they told me all the perks of the original contract would remain in effect i would not have signed anything without them telling me that i am current paid thur 2022 there record i was paid thur 2032 when it was being run by ballys what happend to the other 10 years?
Matt Anonymous. April 07, 2013 at 06:50 AM
I(Ballys member) called one of LA's gyms, and I was told that I can use LA Fitness gyms anywhere in the nation like like old Ballys membership guidelines. This announcement was published on their website last year. Wish the staff at the gym told us. They didn't raise my membership fee... Hope it stays.
Martin Saposnekoo April 08, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Matt Anonymous (str..t.n) I know You!!
tex July 05, 2013 at 07:02 PM
What the heck did you do to this website with the update? Why on earth is the Patch website recommending a story as "popular" which appeared 18 months ago??????

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