LADY OF AMERICA: Members of Closed Franchise Forced to Pay

Members of the Woodlands, Texas LOA Lady of America women-only fitness club are outraged.  They claim franchisee Alex Valladares closed without notice, and they are being hounded to pay off the membership contract for a club they can’t use.

According to MyFox Houston, members found themselves locked out of the club on October 15th, 2009, a year and a half after opening.  They claim the LOA franchise owner Alex Valladares never posted a 30 day notice, as required by state law.  They also claim that they are being told by Lady of America that they must continue to pay on their contracts because they are being offered membership at the co-ed Gold’s Gym 7 miles away:

The women say they’re still bound by multi-year contracts and being hounded by debt collectors.

"They more or less imply they will destroy my credit if I don’t comply with their request. They have written me letters telling me since they’re no longer allowed to debit my credit card, I owe them the full amount which is about $500," said Holmes.

The women say Lady Of America is telling them they can’t cancel their contracts.

Under the Health Spa Act, Texas Occupations Code, a contract is still valid at a closed gym as long as the gym offers members equivalent facilities located not more than ten miles from the health spa. The women have been offered to attend a Gold’s Gym in Magnolia, seven miles away, but they argue it isn’t equivalent.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Attorney General’s Office are both investigating.

Numerous complaints against Lady of America, National Fitness

According to article commenter DS:

LOA (LADY OF AMERICA FITNESS FOR WOMEN) doesn’t collect their debt directly. As soon as you sign their contract it is collected through a company called National Fitness located in Utah which has a D rating with the Utah BBB. National Fitness says they are a collection agency from the beginning and treats you as such from the start. Everytime you phone to inquire about your account you talk with a different person. It is all scripted and impersonal. Not a good situation for anyone – not a good way of doing business. I’d advise to find another gym.

Searches on consumer complaint site RipoffReport return 62 complaints for National Fitness and 77 complaints for Lady of America, many stemming from similar practices.

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